Yes, I know that is not a picture of Bernard Waber. It is a picture of Mr. Waber’s friend—Lyle.
Mr. Waber died on May 16 at the age of 91. Here is a quote from School Library Journal:
“In one way or another, I seem to find myself thinking of children’s books most of the time,” Waber once said. “I even enjoy the period when I am between books, for it is then that I am (I hope) susceptible to all manner of adventurous thought….I seem to write best when in motion. Trains, subways, even elevators seem to shake ideas loose from my head. Although I write and illustrate, I believe if forced to choose between the two, I would choose writing. There is a freedom about writing that appeals to me. You can do it almost anywhere—and I have.”
Yes, you can write almost anywhere. And you can read Lyle books almost anywhere, because we did, my brother and I. We read in our tent in the backyard, we read in the trees. And I love Lyle because he makes me happy. I know, I know, I’m supposed to have something more sophisticated to say because I’m all grown up and can look at an author’s body of work and put it into perspective.
And yet … at the passing of Mr. Waber, I am returned to childhood and those moments when the dappled sunlight caught Lyle’s green-ness and made him seem all the more crocodile-y, and only the language of my eight-year-old self remains.
Lyle makes me happy.
The creation of Winnie-the-Pooh will be the subject of a new film.
According to The Daily News’s Page Views blog, Goodbye Christopher Robin, “will explore A.A. Milne’s life between 1918 and 1930 and will disclose details of his relationship with his son, their bond over ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ and how fame affected their lives.”
Shooting is planned for the summer of 2014.
Read more here!
please do not mess up this movie please do not mess up this movie please do not mess up this movie please do not mess up this movie please
The Siouxland Libraries Main Branch is hosting a game party for International Game Day this Saturday, November 3rd, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the children’s area. The library is partnering with the ALA to celebrate the “educational, recreational, and social value” of games by promoting hundreds of game events at libraries across the country.
My family’s new favorite board game is Sketch It! All of us can play it, it can be as simple as you want it to be, and we end up with some fairy adorable sketches for the refrigerator. Here’s our other current fav:
Tenzi is a speed dice game where everyone rolls a gob of ten dice and tries to be the first to get ten of a kind. Variations abound, including the ever-popular “Steal-zi” where you snatch your opponents die and replace it with your own. The perk of this game is that it can take 30 seconds to play a round, so it’s perfect to keep on the kitchen table to play as you wait for your hot chocolate to cool. My daughter brought two packs of Tenzi to a birthday party, and a few girls were so taken by it that they skipped the movie to keep playing. Big fun indeed.
What do board games have to do with reading? Good things take time, my friends. Good things come without batteries or cords. And, of course, good things happen in libraries.
“Nightsong” by Ari Berk
Illustrated by Loren Long
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
September 25, 2012
Ages 4 to 8
“The sun had set, and the shadows clinging to the walls of the cave began to wake and whisper.”
It’s a lovely, lyrical beginning to a powerful picture book. Children need to hear language like that every day, don’t they? And here it is, in a children’s book, paired with just about the most engaging illustrations possible, courtesy of artist Loren Long. All you have to do is go to the library and open the pages and the world of the night is yours.
Chiro, the little bat who swoops in wide-eyed wonder across the cover of “Nightsong” must fly out into the world and then return to his home and his mother. On his journey, he will not always be able to see in the sacred darkness. So, his mother tells him, he must use his sense.
“Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you. Sing, and the world will answer. That is how you see.”
Chiro flies away with her words lifting his wings. Long illustrates the gentle darkness eloquently. Chiro’s fur is textured and ready for petting. His nose is sweetly puppy-like and his eyes hold all the curiosity of childhood doubt and courage. Even the book design is remarkable with its uncluttered dust jacket and shadowy moon. You can feel the illustrations on the cover, using one more sense to engage in the reading.
Author Ari Berk is, not incidentally, a professor of mythology and folklore. He writes on his blog that “Nightsong” is about “how by listening to the world around us, we can see the truth in all things.”
“Nightsong” reads like a classic journey of there and back again—a rare and wonderful offering that encourages and comforts while wrapping the reader in a world of poetic prose and gorgeous art.
“Yoko Learns to Read”
by Rosemary Wells
Disney Hyperion 2012
ages 3 and up
Rosemary Wells is one of those authors who just doesn’t miss. If you see Yoko’s bright eyes on the cover of a book, rest assured that kindness and wonder rest inside.
In “Yoko Learns to Read” the kitten finds herself struggling to keep up with other students because she only has three books at home—all of them written in Japanese. The teacher encourages reading one book aloud per night, but Yoko’s mother doesn’t know how to read any words in English. So Yoko’s mother gives the greatest of all gifts, a library card, and mother and daughter begin to learn together.
Wells captures the agony of not knowing words on the page and the euphoria of learning those beginning words by sight. She deftly weaves in themes of belonging along with the closeness of a family trying to thrive in a strange new world. (And isn’t that what elementary school is to most kids anyway?) Her illustrations are playful and classic. The book is sprinkled with plenty of sight words, making this an ideal book to spark independent reading within the context of a gentle story.
Best of all, “Yoko Learns to Read” shows learning as a process, with struggles, setbacks, and successes. Yoko’s determination and love of books make her the perfect guide for trying new things.
“Iva Honeysuckle Discovers the World”
by Candice Ransom
illustrated by Heather Ross
Disney Hyperion Books (April 2012)
Ages 7 and up
Iva Honeycutt is destined for more than the “incomplete” she scored on her third grade map project. She’s destined for more than getting booted out of vacation church school. Iva has a treasure map, a (sort of) faithful dog, corduroy shorts, and the heart of an explorer. What she doesn’t have is a friend, even though she and her double-first cousin Heaven Honeycutt have been practically ordered to be friends since the day they were born. But Heaven is a mouth-breathing bossy pants who bought the cutest kitten ever at a rummage sale, so who wants to hang out with her?
Iva’s home of Uncertain, Virginia, is packed with the colorful characters that make literary small towns blossom. Cazy Sparkle hosts rummage sales on Thanksgiving Day, Euple Free covers his pickup with silver foil gum wrappers to make it shiny, and Mr. and Mrs. Priddy haven’t spoken to each other in 35 years. The cast of quirkiness almost overwhelms in this first book, but will sustain a series nicely. Fans of “Ivy & Bean” and “Clementine” will welcome Iva’s imperfection and pluck.
After all, any book where a kid tries to baptize a cat is probably worth the read.
“Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms”
by Lissa Evans
Sterling Children’s Books
Ages 8 and up
Stuart Horten, 10, and his clever (but not very sensible) parents have moved to a new town at the worst possible time—the first week of summer vacation. Now Stuart has no chance of making new friends until autumn, unless you count the nosy and perpetually annoying triplets next door. And, no, Stuart doesn’t count them.
But “a very strange adventure” awaits Stuart in this new place. Years ago, his Great Uncle Tony built a hidden workshop before disappearing forever. And who wouldn’t want to find the workshop of one of the greatest magician’s ever—especially if that workshop might also be trying to find you?
All a kid needs for a summer escapade is a bike, a mystery, and a little time to burn. Oh, and maybe a rollicking book for inspiration. Quirky, smart, and original, Horten promises to deliver just the miraculous mechanism for the job.
originally published in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, May 2012