Plants Can’t Sit Still – Rebecca E. Hirsch (2016, Millbrook Press, MN)
You might exclaim “huh?” when you first glance at the title, but when you consider roots and shoots and flying seeds, it’s true – plants really can’t sit still. I love Hirsch’s lively perspective, and the book has a ton of excellent info for kids and adults alike.
Charley Harper’s A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Charley Harper (2014, Pomegranate, Portland)
Charley Harper’s A Partridge in a Pear Tree is guaranteed to put a grin on the face of the adult reading it aloud – the humorous commentary regarding the growing list of gifts is absolutely precious. The little ones, of course, will like the counting and the repetition of the song. Add to that the almost-stick-figure crayon drawings that are brilliant in their simplicity. Track this one down for the holidays and enjoy!
“Who Could That Be at This Hour?”: All the Wrong Questions Book 1 – Lemony Snicket (2012, Harper Collins Publishers Limited, Toronto)
Lemony Snicket is as delightfully dark as ever as a teenaged version of himself sets out to solve a complicated mystery involving a hideous statue, a peculiar girl and her kidnapped father, a young reporter for a defunct newspaper, and a half-empty town on the shores of a drained ocean. It doesn’t matter that this book is geared to a preteen reading audience – I couldn’t stop giggling and marveling over the absolutely riotous use of the English language.
Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual: Renewing the World’s Bird Supply Since 2031 – Kate Samworth (2014, Clarion Books, Boston)
It’s 2031 and there are no living birds left in the world, but you want one as a pet. So, what do you do? Why, you order all the parts and pieces from Avian Wonders Inc. and construct your own! From decorative crests to specialty wing designs and beaks for all occasions, Avian Wonders Inc. has it all, everything carefully handmade by their skilled artisans. Once the box of your bird parts has arrived in the mail, you can use this manual to figure out how to put your bird together and begin the process of teaching it how to fly and eat and sing.
I can’t say I’ve ever seen a more clever and imaginative way to teach children (and the adults reading the book to them) about wildlife conservation…Samworth has written and illustrated a total masterpiece. My favourite book of 2014, hands down.
The Dandelion’s Tale – Kevin Sheehan and Rob Dunlavey (2014, Schwartz & Wade Books, New York)
Working in a library means I get to see and handle a lot of books…and some of my very favourites come from the children’s section. You don’t need to be a child to delight in the illustrations and stories of the great picture books I’ve come across recently…and The Dandelion’s Tale is at the very top of the heap for me. This sweet little tale of a dandelion gone to seed and her wish to leave her mark on the world quite frankly brought a little tear to my eye – it’s just that touching. The illustrations by Rob Dunlavey are soft and lush, and perfectly match Kevin Sheehan’s gentle story.
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci – Joseph D’agnese (illustrated by John O’Brien) – 2010, Henry Holt and Company, LLC, New York
Wild Fibonacci: Nature’s Secret Code Revealed – Joy N. Hulme (illustrated by Carol Schwartz) – 2005, Tricycle Press, Berkeley
All things Fibonacci have been making the rounds on the Internet as of late, and I think it’s wonderful that people who weren’t previously aware of what the Fibonacci sequence is and how it relates to the natural world are learning about it. Who would have thought that mathematics was so cool? Continue reading
The Meerkat Wars – H.S. Toshack (2012, PakaMdogo Press, First North American printing)
I’ve always had a soft spot for books that involved groups of animals undertaking some adventure, or caught up in some conflict: Watership Down, Charlotte’s Web, Tailchaser’s Song, The Incredible Journey, the Redwall series…so I was very excited to read H.S. Toshack’s The Meerkat Wars, a story of two tribes of meerkats and a very clever, very thoughtful little house cat. Continue reading