Moonday by Adam Rex (Disney Hyperion, 2013) answers the question, “what would happen if the moon decided to stay in my backyard?” The town cannot wake up, the tide comes in to the narrator’s backyard, and they cannot hide the bright light of the moon.
I really enjoy Moonday because of the ridiculous and bizarre aspects. It feels like a dream: the story begins and ends with the narrator watching the moon out of her car window. It it she who has the idea to take it back up to the hill to leave it there. I love the silly details that make it feel more real than a dream: mom’s best tablecloth, the dogs howling at the moon, Mom saying “zip your coat” as the child walks on the moon.
Adam Rex has provided gorgeous paintings to complement the fantasy. Interestingly, the beginning papers and the end papers are simple sketches of the town: only in the midst of the dream are things realistic and detailed. I liked the style, I liked the fantasy, and I especially liked the neat resolution. Moonday is highly recommended.
Poetrees by Douglas Florian (Beach Lane Books, 2010) is a creative collection of poems about trees, seeds, and the growing cycle of plant life presented in a colorful and innovative way.
The first thing to catch the reader’s attention is the layout of the book. While most picture books have a left side binding, this one has a top binding. It is fun to peruse a book that has such a different approach, and since trees are often tall and majestic, this is simply perfect for a picture book about majestic trees!
Beyond the page layout, however, is the creativity with which the author formats each poem. His “shape poems” are wonderfully accurate. The poem about the baobab, for example, is fat, with a rectangular structure just like the thick tree. “Oak” has two close lines and then two expanded lines and the four-line poem almost resembles an acorn’s thick top and lighter bottom portion. (more…)
It used to be I’d go to a library book sale and come back with large classical tomes I was excited to read. Now a days, it is these simple childhood classics that fill my bags. The types of books I find at the book sale may change, but we’re definitely still reading around this house!
Strawberry has developed a love for reading. It’s not surprising, given the number of books by which she is surrounded. What I’m finding somewhat amusing and annoying is that right now she has a very definite preference for what books we read together: she wants the ones she has read before, and if I try to read something else (to Raisin, for example), she gets very mad and throws a book and has a fit. I suppose this is perfectly normal for 17 months old. (more…)
Martin and Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Little, Brown, August 2013) is a poetic biography of the two influential civil rights individuals who together shared a message during the March on Washington in 1963. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are sweeping and colorful, bringing the reader in to the tale of two talented individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr., is obviously the more well known of the two, but I loved how the lives of both were weaved together. Martin spoke and Mahalia sang. It is a vivid reminder that each has a talent, and both could use that talent to share the gospel of freedom and encourage Civil Rights. Ms Pinkney’s text throughout brings an added talent to the story: that of poetry. I loved the rhythm of the text as I read it.
The picture book culminates in the March on Washington, with the “I have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahalia Jackson’s performance at that historical day. I loved how powerful that moment felt as I read the picture book. I had to find the videos of the events to compare. Unfortunately, the audio recording is pretty poor for Mahalia’s song, but it must suffice.
I’m reviewing this now in anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the August March on Washington. What a special summer that was for Civil Rights!
Note: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher of Martin and Mahalia for review consideration.