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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (13)

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry
Written & Illustrated by Vern Kousky

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"Otto now knows that poetry should be shared with more than just the moon and the stars. Poetry should be shared with everyone."

This sweet picture book from Vern Kousky is a great little addition to any poetry unit. Not only does it introduce listeners and readers to a few great lines from some classic poets, including Dickinson, Eliot, Keats, and Rossetti, it portrays the joy that can be found in the experience of sharing poetry. I especially love how poetry brings two very different groups (mice and owls) together in a very special way.

After the Bell Rings: Poems About After-School Time
Written by Carol Diggory Shields; Illustrated by Paul Meisel

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Carol Diggory Shields and illustrator Paul Meisel have teamed up again, giving readers 22 more illustrated poems - this time with an after-school them. The collection begins with two poems, both titled 2:48 - one from the students' point-of-view, the other from the teacher's. From these first pages, the lighthearted and an undeniably clever tone is set, continuing through the remaining 20 poems. From a boy who's busted for playing video games instead of doing homework, the chilly moments spent in front of an open refrigerator looking for a snack, and even the unique ways in which your dog versus cat will meet you at the door, Shield's poems offer both humor and wit. Reader's will have no problem identifying with the subjects of the after-school poems and the spot-on illustrations. I highly recommend this one, especially for the classroom and school library.

Rodeo Red
Written by Maripat Perkins; Illustrated by Molly Idle

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I'll be honest: I picked up Rodeo Red because it's illustrated by Molly Idle and I adore everything she's done, but it truly is the collaboration between Idle and debut author Maripat Perkins that makes this book a winner. The story follows red-headed cowgirl named Rodeo Red, a cheeky girl bound and determined to gain her trusty sidekick Rusty back from her sly little brother. Perkins' writing is incredibly sweet and has great rhythm; it's near impossible not to slip into a western cadence while reading Rodeo Red aloud. This story and writing is further enhanced by Idle's illustrations; I was especially taken with the facial expressions and body language she depicts so skillfully depicts. This pairing is utterly delightful and I sincerely hope we'll see more from this duo.

Use Your Words, Sophie!
Written & Illustrated by Rosemary Wells

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In this third picture book from Rosemary Wells featuring Sophie, her parents bring home her new sister and urge her to use her words. Sophie, as usual, declines, choosing instead to speak in all manner of gibberish, from Jellyfish to Baboon to Martian. As Sophie refuses to use her words, her new little sister, who's name changes by the minute as her parents struggle to find one they like, howls like "the queen of the howler monkeys." In the end, it's Sophie, who uses her words and christens her sister Jane, who soothes the baby, simply explaining, "She wants to be called Jane." In the end, the power of words triumphs in more ways than one.
Written & Illustrated by Matthew Cordell

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What a beautiful, heartfelt little book. I'm unabashedly in love with Matthew Cordell's Wish and can confidently say it will be landing on my Best of 2015 lists. Quiet, tender, and warm, this story about an elephant couple that patiently and purposely build their life, then long with hope for the 'you' that will complete their family. Warning: You might find yourself crying by the end of this one.

Love any of the books featured this week? Want to see a certain theme, author, or illustrator explored in an upcoming Story Time post? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Wish looks adorable!!! Plus, who doesn't love elephants in their books?


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