[review + giveaway] On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman

 

On a chilly-dilly, boot-tapping, happy-making day, we’re delighted to share Buffy Silverman’s brand new picture book, On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring (Millbrook Press, 2020)!

What’s the weather like where you are? Are you buried under mounds of snow, down with a bit of cabin fever, or reveling in a February thaw?

Chances are good you’ve already been dreaming of spring, and if you live in our neck of the woods, have likely seen the first robins returning from their winter vacations.

All I know is it’s never too early to celebrate the arrival of warmer days as tiny buds appear, animals begin to stir, and slabs of ice slide down the roof. Let the great melt begin!

On a Snow-Melting Day is actually a cleverly crafted extended poem, with each line accompanied by a splendid color photo. Buffy has invited us on a fun, illuminating, multi-sensory lakeside amble featuring plants, birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, and the star of the show — water — in all three of its forms.

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Chatting with Elisa Kleven about Hiro’s Hats (+ a giveaway!)

 

Today, we are delighted to welcome back favorite author/illustrator Elisa Kleven to talk about her brand new picture book, Hiro’s Hats (Wild Swans Publishing Cooperative, 2019).

In this whimsical wintry tale set in the mountains of Japan, an adorable snow monkey finds a colorful hat “flying like a bright bird through the sky.” Soon after Hiro waves hello and the hat waves back, it flutters down to play, jumping in the leaves and flying like a kite in the wind.

 

 

Although his siblings tease him, Hiro loves the hat and considers it a friend. The hat seems to love him back, too. When it begins to snow and the world turns “as white as the moon,” the hat keeps him warm.

Only a friendly robin seems to understand. She wishes she had a hat just like Hiro’s, but he warns her that other robins might tease her. She assures him that they already do, calling her a baby because she loves her cozy nest.

 

 

 

Hiro and Robin joyously play together, making a snow monkey with a moss hat. When the wind snatches both hats away, Robin goes after Hiro’s hat, disappearing into the storm. Now Robin and her nest are gone, and Hiro is devastated. The next morning, Hiro wakens to find he’s wearing a snow hat and he hears singing.

 

 

It’s Robin! The friends are happily reunited and spend the rest of the winter together. With Robin snuggling on Hiro’s head with outstretched wings, he now has a warm feathery hat while she has a cozy nest. Come spring, Robin provides Hiro with the best hat of all, while all the other snow monkeys gleefully celebrate the season with silly spring hats of their own. You’ll have to read the story to find out what actually happened to Hiro’s very first hat. 🙂

Elisa’s engaging text and exquisite mixed media collages will captivate young readers, appealing to their love of creative play and making them wish they could be Hiro’s friend. His personality is so endearing and child-like, and as we see him giving his hat a bath, tumbling in the snow, or gleefully interacting with Robin, he’s just plain lovable and irresistibly charming.

 

 

Hiro’s Hats is perfect for imaginative readers who like emotionally resonant stories about animals, friendship, and the seasons, and who appreciate beautifully textured illustrations with a wealth of fine details. Elisa has also included some interesting facts about snow monkeys at the end for those wanting to learn more.

 

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[review + recipe + giveaway] The Superlative A. Lincoln by Eileen R. Meyer and Dave Szalay

 

We’re celebrating Lincoln’s birthday this week with several sample poems from a new picture book biography and a recipe for his favorite cake.

As a Presidential trivia buff and a big Lincoln fan, I was excited when The Superlative A. Lincoln: Poems About Our 16th President by Eileen R. Meyer and Dave Szalay (Charlesbridge, 2019), came out this past November.

Meyer’s theme of “superlatives” is a fun and effective way to help kids understand why Lincoln is widely considered to be our greatest President. Her nineteen narrative poems — lively, rhyming, upbeat, captivating — describe some of Lincoln’s most commendable skills, attributes, dreams, and milestones, while providing interesting insights into his personality and character.

 

 

The poems are arranged chronologically from Lincoln’s humble beginnings as “Most Studious” (a self-taught learner), to his youth as “Most Distracted Farmer” (who preferred reading to farm chores), to being “Most Respected” (short stint at boot camp), to his tenure as President (a “Most Permissive Parent” whose sons ran wild in the White House). With the “Strongest Conviction,” he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, then later delivered his “Greatest Speech,” the Gettysburg Address.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

“Blue Skies” by Nathaniel Mather

 

1. Well, of course — must share something blue to kick off the first Cool Things Roundup of 2020. Memphis-based artist Nathaniel Mather is a recent discovery for me; another case of love at first sight.

I enjoy the playful spirit and child-like quality of his narrative pieces. Colors, textures, and simple renderings of flowers and animals evoke 19th century primitive folk art, but still feel contemporary.

 

 

His compositions have a wonderful “unstudied” quality about them — a brand of sophistication that’s difficult to pull off well.

 

 

 

 

As a typography freak, I swooned when I noticed text and numbers in some of his work. Letters floating around in paintings always make me happy, but alphabets in two blue trees? Have mercy!

 

 

He wants to produce work that is “true, beautiful, and restorative” . . . reflecting “God’s wonder and grace while wrestling with daily struggles and pain.” One can’t help but feel uplifted by his art.

Learn more about Mather’s work at his Official Website and Etsy Shop, NathanielMatherArt.

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“Letter Perfect” by Alice N. Persons

#58 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

 

I’ve always had a thing for the letter “O.” Hardworking and versatile with many shades of pronunciation in English, its simple circular shape (eternal and open) is pleasing to the eye. Lacking any sharp edges, smooth, amiable O is happy any side up and is always ready to roll.

As a distinctive exclamation, O is a word unto itself and knows how to command our attention in verse as well as song (Shakespeare was especially fond of O):

 

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? (Romeo and Juliet)

O curse of marriage! (Othello)

O brave new world (The Tempest)

O that this too too solid flesh would melt (Hamlet)

O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done . . .(Walt Whitman)

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending (Dorothy F. Gurney)

 

Such heft, such strong emotion! Sometimes, only O will do. 🙂

If it seems like O is always looking at you, it’s because it evolved from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for the human eye. And O is the only letter whose name creates its shape on the speaker’s lips.

Say it now: “O.”

Perfect letter, perfect love.

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“Olives” by Youqing Wang (2017)

 

LETTER PERFECT
by Alice N. Persons

~ for Dennis Camire

let us praise O
so round, friendly,
the circle with no opening
a letter of distinction:
Ovid, Odysseus, Ozymandias
of odd instruments,
oboe and ocarina
traveler to exotic places — the
Orient, Odessa, Opalocka, Oz.
Imagine the peculiar all-O diet:
okra, olives, oatmeal, Oreos, oranges,
osso buco, or oolong tea!
The natural world would greatly miss O —
that ocelot in the oleander,
the owl perched in an oak
and the osprey winging over the orchard,
where an opossum feigns sleep.
Some O names make us laugh —
Ophelia Butt, Olive Oyl, Paddy O’Furniture,
Oprah as Orca
and think of the great Oscars —
Wilde, Levant, Peterson, Meyer, and
the sleek golden Hollywood prize.
Where would sexy writing be without
Oral, orgasm, onyx and opal, the story of O?
O, most perfect letter,
you contain so much that is important —
and best of all, you are always
in love.

~ from Never Say Never (Moon Pie Press, 2004)

 

by Clover Robin

 

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