Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Bear and Wolf: A tale of two friends

Bear and Wolf, by Daniel Salmieri, (Feb. 2018, Enchanted Lion), $17.95, ISBN: 9781592702381

Recommended for readers 4-8

Bear and Wolf discover one another walking through the snow one day; they wander together, enjoying the sights and sounds of the snowy forest, glancing at an owl flying overhead, and peering into a frozen lake to see the sleeping fish. They part so Bear can hibernate in his den, and Wolf can run with his pack. When Spring returns, the friends reunite across the green forest.

With cool color shades to welcome winter and warm earth colors to celebrate spring, Bear and Wolf is less a story about seasons than about renewal: of friendship and of nature. It also honors the joy of taking one’s time, noticing the details, enjoying the journey. The gouache, watercolor, and crushed colored pencil artwork provides texture and yet, is soft and comforting. Bear and Wolf is a serene story that is nicely paired with books like Tiny, Perfect Things or The Magic Garden. A must-add to storytime shelves.

Bear and Wolf has starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and is on my Caldecott shortlist.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Beauty in the small places: Tiny, Perfect Things

Tiny, Perfect Things, by M.H. Clark/Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper, (June 20118, Compendium), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-946873-06-4

Recommended for readers 3-8

A grandfather and granddaughter go for a nature walk, where they keep their “eyes open for tiny, perfect things”: the glint of light on a spider’s web; the bright color of an apple against the blue sky. It’s a lovely story of slowing down and taking the time to look at the little treasures around us. The grandparent and grandchild stop to examine these tiny, perfect things, leading us on our own adventure; when they arrive at home later that day, mom and dad are cuddled on the couch. A spread opens up to reveal the neighborhood, inviting readers to find their own tiny, perfect things.

Tiny, Perfect Things offers readers a glimpse at a small moment between a grandparent and grandchild, yet speaks volumes about their relationship. It’s also a moving statement to the power of slow movement – the slowing down of life’s hectic pace – and taking the time to notice the little bits and pieces that so many just ignore or don’t see. It’s a tribute to getting our noses out of our phones and enjoying the warmth of a little hand in ours; smelling the rain in the air; listening to the crunch of sneakers on dirt. The illustration is dreamy and soft, like a wonderful daydream, in warm colors. There’s a quiet, beautiful diversity in the story, from the white grandfather and his biracial grandchild, to the multicultural neighbors, to the father of color and white mom at home. You can follow Madeline Kloepper’s Instagram to see more.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to get out the door with our kiddos and explore! There’s a great post on Book Nerd Mommy about Tiny, Perfect Things and nature walks. Get out there! I love wandering around my neighborhood with my kiddo – we found a complete, empty snail shell and some acorns when we were clearing our yard for spring planting. What things can you find when you look?

Tiny, Perfect Things received a starred review from Kirkus.

This is a great storytime add and a nice book to feature in mindfulness collections. You can easily read this in your Toddler/Preschooler Yoga storytimes during belly breathing. You can pair and display with any of the Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds books, like I Am Yoga and I Am Peace; or Whitney Stewart, Stacy Peterson’s Mindful Me.

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Decelerate Blue wants to slow down society’s frenetic pace

decelerate-blueDecelerate Blue, by Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro, (Feb. 2017, First Second), $17.99, ISBN: 9781596431096

Recommended for ages 13+

In a hyper future, speed and efficiency rule the day. Everything is sped up, from literature’s classics to movies. People end sentences with, “Go”, letting the other person know it’s their turn to speak. Angela is a teen who hates this crazy pace of living, especially when her grandfather is being sent off to a “reduction colony” because he can’t keep his numbers up. Angela goes off in search of something he’s left for her and finds her way into an underground community of citizens rebelling against the hyper society. She joins the movement, but their plan to free society from this delirious pace – a drug called Decelerate Blue – is in danger of being found out by the authorities.

This is a case where I love the idea, but the execution left me a little cold. I love the idea of this crazy hyper society where everything is skin deep; no one has real conversations anymore, and even Shakespeare has been edited for brevity. It’s an outcome that is chilling in its plausibility and is begging for a dystopian telling. Decelerate Blue just didn’t grab me like I hoped it would; the graphic novel had powerful moments, but didn’t sit down and unpack them enough to invest me in the characters. The ending bordered on melodramatic, and left me frustrated. I did want to know more, though: what happened after? Did society examine what happened, or did they continue on as if nothing happened? Will the movement continue? Like I said, great ideas, stumbled in the execution.

An additional purchase for your sci fi collections.