Friday, January 16, 2015

December Round-Up

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Beekle was born on an island of imaginary friends. He waits and waits to be chosen by a child and to be given a special name, but it never happens. So Beekle decides to do the unimaginable--he leaves the island to seek the child who will be his friend. This satisfying story of friendship and hope combines narrative text with Santat’s signature slick and whimsical cartoonish illustrations. The vibrant, saturated colors add to the magical atmosphere. Don’t miss the fun endpapers showing a variety of kids and their imaginary friends. This is a wonderful read aloud for preschool or lower elementary kids.

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Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Evan Turk
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
When young Arun comes to live with his Grandfather Gandhi at Sevagram in India, he has a difficult time trying to live up to the Gandhi name, which leads to his anger and frustration. Through discussions with his grandfather, Arun comes to understand his anger and how he can use it in a positive, rather than a negative, way. The bright sun and intense heat of India are wonderfully depicted in the mixed medium illustrations, which use yarn, cotton fabric, pencil, tin foil, and even tea. Turk deftly manipulates shadows and proportions to convey Arun's emotions and perceptions. The text uses words deliberately, allowing this quiet story to speak volumes about anger, emotions, confidence, and peace. Although this book is not a biography of Mahatma Gandhi, it is a beautiful tribute to the man and his message for his grandson and the world. This book is an excellent choice for independent readers, as well as sharing with upper elementary classes.

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Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams, 2014
Madame Chapeau is a milliner known for making whimsically fantastic hats for people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and walks of life. Every year on her birthday she dresses up in her best frock and hat and treats herself to a luxurious dinner. But this year, on her way to dinner her hat tumbles off and is stolen by a mischievous crow. Many people offer to give Madame Chapeau their hats, but none of them hits the right note. At the last moment, Madame’s special day is saved by a little girl who creates the perfect hat. Inspired by the fashion editor Isabella Blow, the rhyming text of this sartorial romp features many a clever turn of phrase. The stylized illustrations feature intricate line work and details galore. This is a fantastic book to share with a lower elementary aged group.

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Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
The terrible Toads, three vile and disgusting criminals, have descended on the spicy town of Drywater Gulch. Thankfully, Kid Sheriff rides into town to save the day with his expert knowledge of dinosaurs. The terrible Toads might be gold stealin’, cattle kissin’, chili insultin’ vermits, but they’re no match for the clever and quick thinking Kid Sheriff. This tall tale uses cartoonish illustrations featuring a palette of browns, reds, and yellows. With humor as dry and crisp as Drywater Gulch, cinematic pacing and angles, and a Wild West font, this story evokes a classic western movie. Use this laugh out loud book for riotously funny read aloud for elementary aged kids.