Friday, December 14, 2012

Five 2012 Picture Books

This is Not My Hat. Jon Klassen. 2012. Candlewick. 40 pages.

This hat is not mine. I just stole it. I stole it from a big fish. He was asleep when I did it. And he probably won't wake up for a long time. And even if he does wake up, he probably won't notice that it's gone.

 I think I enjoyed This is Not My Hat even more than Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back. In this adventure, a little fish steals a little hat from a BIG fish. Since the big fish was asleep, this little fish is quite confident that the big fish will never, ever know who took his hat. The little fish thinks he's safe...probably. This one is told from his point of view, the illustrations let the reader know more than the little fish. Much more than the little fish! I think this one is quite clever.

 Because Amelia Smiled. David Ezra Stein. 2012. Candlewick. 40 pages.

Because Amelia smiled, coming down the street...Mrs. Higgins smiled, too.
She thought of her grandson, Lionel, in Mexico and baked some cookies to send to him. 
Because Mrs. Higgins baked cookies...Lionel ate one of the cookies. He decided to share the rest with his class...and teach them an English song about cookies. Because Lionel taught his class a song...

A little smile, a little kindness can go a long way. In fact, it may even travel around the whole world. Because a little girl, Amelia, smiled, she brought happiness and cheer to many, many people--almost all of them strangers. Little acts of kindness do matter. And you're never too small to make a difference. It is a sweet, inspirational story. I definitely enjoyed it.

Sky Color. Peter H. Reynolds. 2012. Candlewick. 32 pages.

Marisol was an artist. She loved to draw and paint, and she even had her very own art gallery. Not all her art hung in a gallery. Much of it she shared with the world.

Marisol is so excited to be painting part of a mural. She's volunteered to paint the sky. But when she realizes there isn't any blue paint to be found, well, she's not sure HOW she'll paint the sky after all. But a bus trip home, an evening watching the sun set, and a rainy morning inspire her to think differently and realize that many, many colors that could rightfully be called sky color! Peter H. Reynolds has written a handful of art-friendly picture books in addition to Sky Color. These include ISH and THE DOT. All three have been newly packaged together to form a "creatrilogy."

 Day by Day. Susan Gal. 2012. Random House. 40 pages.

Mile by mile, pigs motor west. 
Brick by brick, pigs build a house...
and piece by piece, it becomes a home.
Neighbor by neighbor, pigs say, "Welcome!"
Arm in arm, new friendships begin.
Then row by row, pigs plant a garden.

I really enjoyed Susan Gal's Day by Day. Readers follow a pig family as they move west, build a home, become part of a new community; a hard-working family that at last takes time to celebrate all together with food, dancing, family...and mud. I just love the illustrations! There are so many great spreads in this one, but I think my favorite is the pigs in their underclothes!!!

Unspoken. Henry Cole. 2012. Scholastic. 40 pages.

Unspoken is a wordless picture book for older readers. It is historical fiction, a story about the underground railroad. The heroine of this story is a young girl who sees someone hiding--a runaway slave--what she does next, silently, carefully--communicates everything that needs to be said. It is so difficult to review a wordless picture book, because the whole story is conveyed by illustrations and it is all left to be interpreted by the reader. But I think this one is worth reading even if you don't usually read picture books.

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Darla D 7:49 PM  

I just discovered Unspoken last week. What a wonderful book! I immediately brought it home from the library to share with my kids, who are happily still willing to sit and enjoy a picture book, despite being "too old" for them.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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