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Posts by Karen L

All Hail the Snail!

Cover of Escargot
A review of Escargot by Dashka Slater

He’s my new favorite animal, this snail who hails from France.  From his beret, red scarf and blue and white striped shirt, down to his trail of “shimmery stuff.” From his speedy race across a checked tablecloth to reach the delicious salad with very specific ingredients, “a salad with croutons and light vinaigrette and absolutely no carrots,” to his sad realization that no one chooses snails as their favorite animal.  I love this intrepid little character who invites readers to make fierce faces with him to scare away carrots, race him to the salad, and give him a kiss.

Dec 21, 2018

Bedtime beats

Cover of Hip-Hop Lollipop
A review of Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari

Two girls, Lollipop and her sister Tasha are both dancing to their favorite tunes as their parents remind them it is time to slow down, settle and get ready for bed. The language of Montanari’s Hip-Hop lullaby dances across the page in perfect meter. Pinkney’s soft, fluid illustrations provide pitch perfect movement as he depicts this warm family moment as simultaneously universal (how to get energetic youngsters to bed) and unique (to hip-hop, techno and dance fans).

Nov 9, 2018

Book Baby!

Cover of New Board Books
A review of New Board Books by

Bim! Bam! Boom!, Frederic Stehr
With fresh language, Stehr revisits an activity as old as kitchens and toddlers – the pots and pans band.

The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits, Douglas Florian
Join a family of playful bunnies as they cavort through their day, and then settle in for snuggles at bedtime.

Skip to the Loo: a Potty Book, Sally Lloyd-Jones & Anita Jeram
All of the animals are using their potties.  This celebration of successful transitioning to using the potty can be sung as well as read.  And the illustrations are adorable!

May 2, 2018

Heart and depth

Cover of It's Not Like it's a Secre
A review of It's Not Like it's a Secret by Misa Sugira

I tried it, and I liked it! I’m not usually into angsty teen romance novels, but Sugiura provides plenty of layers to this one. Sana is discovering her sexual identity (lesbian), she is discovering her father’s infidelity (he is having an affair of sorts), and at the same time she is struggling with her peers’ racism (she is of Japanese descent), and her own racism (she falls for a Latina girl at her high school and stumbles with her own preconceived beliefs).

Apr 13, 2018

Finding ways to help

Cover of Wolf in the Snow
A review of Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Winner of the coveted 2018 Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children, Wolf in the Snow artistically explores themes of moving beyond fear and mistrust of “the other” to a place of caring and helping. Cordell’s watercolor illustrations depict a little girl and a wolf cub who find each other in a blizzard that renders each of them lost from their families and homes.

Apr 5, 2018

Politics of the time

Cover of Twelve Days in May: Freedo
A review of Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner

In 1946 the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregated seating on interstate buses was unconstitutional. Eight years later the 1954 landmark ruling from the Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education declared public school segregation violated the Constitution. And in 1960 the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of interstate bus passengers at station restrooms, lunch counters and waiting rooms also violated the law. 

Feb 27, 2018

All the honors

Cover of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh
A review of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

Earning multiple awards including a Newbery Honor, a Caldecott Honor (for illustration), and Coretta Scott King Honors for writing and for illustration, Crown celebrates one black boy’s experience in the barber’s chair, and how that fresh cut can elevate both self-esteem and self-confidence. James’ realistic illustrations are dazzling, with bold painterly strokes of color, that capture subtle nuances of feeling, character and setting.

Feb 15, 2018

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