School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Alice Feagan (Kids Can Press, 2015) captures Malala’s vision in the epigram at the beginning: “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education.” In the cut-paper collage illustrations, the stories of real children around the world come to life. Although School Days is a short picture book, it covers a variety of  ways people receive an education around the world. Obviously, it does not capture all countries or situations, but it does provide a nice overview in an easily accessible format. I loved that the stories were based on real people!Continue Reading

The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro

The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) is a celebration and explanation of how a story about a “beguiling” novice becoming the stepmother to singing children became (or inspired), as the book claims “the most beloved film of all time.” It takes a true fan of The Sound of Music to be an eager reader of this book, and I am not surprised to find that I must not be alone, since this book covered the history of the real story and the history of the filming for those interested. I loved learning about the real Maria von Trapp, and the story of the actors, filming, directors, and so forth only helped me enjoy the movie all the more!Continue Reading

The Grasshopper and the Ants by Jerry Pinkney

In his note following his picture book, The Grasshopper and the Ants (Little, Brown and Company 2015), Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney says the picture book is intended to be an “homage to nature.” The rich details of the summer and autumn turning in to winter certainly provide an appropriate homage. As with his richly illustrated Caldecott Medal award winner, The Lion and the Mouse, each page is full of intricate details, with each stroke adding realistic dimension to the collage of color. Even the snow-white winter scenes have a texture that gives dimension, as the poor struggling grasshopper tries to find refuge from the weather.Continue Reading