the library is a primary destination for my children and i. there is always a huge slippery stack of library books in our living room. we visit several of the regional libraries quite regularly and go through magnificent book after magnificent book. the one disadvantage is that, unless i keep close track of the remarkable reads, i don't necessarily remember their titles and authors.
thus best of the borrowed books is born! i'll be focusing on picture books, as they are the core of my visits to the library with tristan. but also because picture books are the great cross roads of language arts and visual arts.
it may be hard to narrow it down really. i pulled these four out of a stack of about 15 books, and the only reason i didn't continue pulling out more is that the lighting for picture taking was bad. i do apologize in advance for the poor images.
the first book i pulled out of the pile was jazz baby by lisa wheeler and r. gregory christie.
the text of the book reads like a jazz tune, and there is a baby directing the show. who can resist a baby that says, "go, man, go!"
parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles join in to dance and scat until baby falls into a sweet sleep. it's fun to read, look at, and think about. and it is a great introduction to jazz, the feel of jazz, and the fun of it!
i think i like the idea behind on meadowview street more than anything. written and illustrated by henry cole, it is about a girl and her family who move into a shiny new home in a housing development where there are no trees, and certainly no meadows.
you've seen these developments crop up everywhere, and maybe even live in a beautiful new house nestled in one. first the clear cut, then the complete upturning of the earth, and then house after house after house on streets with names like sylvan forest, wildberry lane, and grassy knoll.
caroline of meadowview street has an idea. as her dad starts to mow the lawn she asks that he protect one flower. and then a few flowers. and then a whole patch of them. dad realizes the beauty and diversity in the patch, and pitches the lawnmower. they continue to enhance their natural habitat until their yard transforms into a beautiful nature sanctuary.
the neighbors eyeball the transformation with suspicion and fascination.
but will they follow suit?
the circus ship by chris van dusen is an entertaining romp with sharp illustrations and great empathy for animals.
there is a little bit of drama.
and humor! and what is better than being able to tell your children that the other worldly story you just read is based on a true event?
another such story based on a true event is the wonder horse, by the beloved emily arnold mccully.
even the horse's animal loving veterinarian owner, a former slave named bill key, doesn't think this awkward little foal has much hope.
but the foal is feisty and determined and ends up being brilliant, a horse that can read, distinguish colors, and make change from a cash register. so his owner takes him on the road, where he loves to entertain.
but of course there are haters who try to bring his show down, not only because they think the show is fake, but because they are likely quite racist. you will have to read it to find out how bill key handles the haters!
there were several other books we loved out of our pile. stars by mary lyn ray and marla frazee. minette's feast, by susanna reich. and the baby in the hat by alan ahlberg and andre amstutz. but alas, you will have to click the links to learn more about those!