June 24, 2013

The ABC's of the Alphabet

Hi everyone! I'm going to admit right off the bat that this post is probably a bit less cohesive than the rest--I'm in the midst of traveling up and down the east coast trying to get things done, and I'm writing this post a little later than usual. But fear not, blogosphere, it'll still rock your world...

So originally I was going to do a combo alphabet/counting post, but when I started pulling out all of my alphabet books I realized that was the craziest idea I’ve ever had. There are just too many! Therefore, this post will be exclusively alphabet books. And (like always) there are sooooo many good ones out there!

When I was a wee one my mom bought me Anita Lobel’s Alison’s Zinnia, and I immediately fell in love with it. Each spread features a girl who gives a flower to another girl, but the catch is that the giver always gives a flower to a girl whose name begins with the next letter of the alphabet, and the flowers go alphabetically, too. For example, Alison gives an amaryllis to Beryl (lovely name, no?) and Beryl passes on the love by giving a Begonia to Crystal until eventually it makes it down the alphabet and Zena brings it full circle by giving Alison a zinnia. At the time, it really made me think about the alphabet not letter-by-letter, but as a concept that can be taught in a creative, colorful, and floral way. 

June 17, 2013

Venice Beach

So today I’m going to break away from tradition and talk about a group of books that don’t really have a common theme. These are the books I bought in Venice Beach when I was in LA a couple of weeks ago, and I think they’re all so lovely and unique that I couldn’t wait to write about them later. The store, Small World Books (and I even got to meet the cat pictured there--so sweet!), had a fabulous children’s department that was filled with lots of surprises and books I’d never heard of before. It’s a great store to visit if you’re ever in LA (especially because it's right on the beach!).

First let's chat about Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Luján and Chiara Carrer. From the moment I picked up the book I knew it was special. The book tells the story of Stephen, a young boy who comes across a beetle and decides that he should kill it. But as he raises his shoe he studies the beetle, who is going about its day, completely unaware of what is about to happen, and a major question pops into his mind: where is the beetle going and why? This prompts young Stephen to contemplate the meaning of life, realizing that if he kills the beetle it won't really affect his own day-to-day life, but he still will have taken a life away from the world. Stephen ultimately puts the shoe away and watches the beetle go about its routine. A seemingly innocuous story, it's a wonderful tale that begs the question how much is a life worth? It also makes me feel terrible for killing that gross spider the other day...

June 10, 2013

The Royal Treatment

Hello blogosphere! So the book that sparked this post is King Hugo's Ego by Chris Van Dusen. Hugo tells the story of a very tiny but very egotistical king who mistreats the wrong person, a sorceress in disguise. The consequence for his behavior? A swollen head to match his swollen ego, of course. And the more egotistical he acts, the bigger his head gets until it finally falls off his body and rolls out of the castle. Eventually the king sees the error of his ways, and, after a long discussion with the sorceress, he lives happily ever after with her.

June 3, 2013

Illustrator Spotlight: Emily Gravett

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I just got back from LA so it's been very whirlwindy for me...

Having been a fan of Emily Gravett for many years, I've decided to spotlight her here! Have you seen her work? It’s incredible. The texture, the funny storylines, the unique book designs…she’s fabulous. No joke, I own eleven of her books. Eleven. And I'm waiting for a twelfth in the mail. How many illustrators can you say that about?