Monday October 8th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? On this Thanksgiving Day weekend I am especially thankful for extra reading time and the community of readers that participate in Jen and Kellee’s meme each week to share what they are reading from picture books to young adult reads. I always learn so much about fantastic books by hearing about what others are reading and sharing.

I read lots of fantastic picture books this week, many discovered at my local public library.

Pssst! by Adam Rex was a lovely surprise. Having just visited the Seattle Woodland Zoo this summer with my children, this book helped me deal a little bit with my zoo “thing.” While I love that people are able to get up close and personal with the animals and that it fosters understanding and inspires awareness about the plight of many endangered animals, I also am uncomfortable about these animals being in cages and stared at all day long. This book is about a little girl wandering from animal exhibit to animal exhibit hearing from each animal about something that they need. It’s everything from tires to flashlights to bicycle helmets. Luckily there is a store across from the zoo that happens to sell everything she needs to grant all of these wishes. What these animals do with all of these objects I will leave for you to discover. But as I say, it calmed my zoo “thing.”

Squid and Octopus Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu. This book contains four wonderful little stories in one picture book. Gorgeous colours – muted blues and greens mostly with some sunny orange and yellow here and there. There is a nice mix of humour and a theme of friendship and I love the commentary by all of the other creatures in the ocean that is spread across the pages.

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini Grey In this last year, I have developed quite the adoration for Mini Grey books. (Read more here.) The fabulous thing about the Traction Man titles is the focus on the celebration of play, the imagination and the just plain silly. This book is set at the beach and Traction Man has quite the adventure. One large wave draws him out to sea and he is eventually whooshed into a dark and scary cave. He is rescued by a young girl and brought to the Dollies’ Castle where he is decked out in a flowery ensemble and served raspberry ripple ice cream. How will he escape? Much of this humour may be more geared towards adults, but I think there is easily enough here to completely delight young readers as well!

The Retired Kid by Jon Agee Being a kid is sure hard work. Haven’t you heard? The child in this story heads to a retirement home, officially retiring from being a kid. At first all seems great. Lots of naps. Pool parties. Golf carts. Certainly better than spelling and violin practice. But soon aspects of retired life don’t seem so rosy. I love the image of the boy in Friday night swing dancing classes. Perhaps his kid life wasn’t so bad after all? A great book to illustrate the saying “The grass is always greener . . . “

Lines that Wiggle written by Candace Whitman and illustrated by Steve Wilson. This is a beautiful book celebrating the variety of lines that we come across in everyday life. Highlighted here in wonderful illustrations and raised off the page sparkly swirls that just begged to be traced with your finger, this book is a lot of fun to explore. Thinking of all kinds of art projects it might inspire . . .

Watch Me Throw the Ball by Mo Willems. I keep coming cross Elephant and Piggie titles that I haven’t read.  This one has the perfect message: bring fun to everything that you do! It’s all in the attitude!

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan We had friends come for dinner and one of them brought this to share as a read aloud for the adults while all of the kids (seven of them at best count) were running amuck. A beautiful story of hope reminding us to find beauty in the smallest of things. The illustrations could take one days to study. Simply so full of meaning.

I have also been reading and really enjoying Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day  George. In this busy fall, it has been more difficult to get time to read novels. This one was recommended to me by my daughter who loves George’s books. I hope to wake up early in the morning and finish it.