Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book 304: The Blue Book of Fairy Tales

The Blue Book of Fairy Tales, (based on Andrew Lang's tales), illustrated by Gordon Litie, Little Golden Book, originally published in 1959.

The other day, I was in World Market, and my five-year-old son spotted a spinning rack of Little Golden Books.  There was a good mix of books on the rack, including reprints of some classic titles.  I let my son pick out three.  This was one of them.  (OK, I *might* have helped him pick this title out -- a Little Golden Book based on Andrew Lang's color fairy tales books?  Yes, please!)

This book is every bit as good as he, OK, as I, thought it would be.  The tales are beautifully and simply told, and the illustrations are classically gorgeous.  Included in this book are Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, and Toads and Diamonds.  I was a bit envious of Beauty's hair.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book 303: French Ways and Their Meanings

French Ways and Their Meanings, Edith Wharton, Berkshire House.  (Originally published in 1919.)

I always enjoy Wharton's writings. Her novels bely her study of human nature.  So, not surprisingly, a non-ficition book about the French people and culture would be all about human nature.

This book was written nearly 100 years ago, so certainly some aspects have changed for both cultures.  Women in the US routinely work alongside men.  My social circle is not limited to other women as would seem to have been the case in America a hundred years ago for married women.  I cannot "partner" with my husband in his work as Wharton describes for the French women -- I am not a rocket scientist --  but I can and have influenced decisions he has made within his career.  So, either the US has "grown up" a bit as a nation and within its culture, or I have been deeply affected by my French maternal grandmother.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book 302: Splat the Cat Sings Flat

Splat the Cat Sings Flat, character created by Rob Scotton, text by Chris Stathearn, illustrated by Robert Eberz, HarperCollins, 2011.  Preschool and Early Elementary.

We own quite a few Splat the Cat books at our house because, quite frankly, he's adorable.

The story for this book is simple, although some of the words are a bit complex, like the name "Seymour".  That really isn't a problem in our house.  My son reads the words that he can, and I help him with the rest.  In fact, I like books that challenge young readers and listeners and expand their vocabularies.

The real reason we buy Splat the Cat books, though, is for the artwork.  Splat is impossibly adorable and I often find myself wanting to ruffle that fuzzy fur.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book 301: Duke Day for Annie

Duke Day for Annie, by Agy Wilson, 2014.

The illustrations for this book are intriguing.  They seem to glow from within, and are modeled and shaped to perfection, as if they were 3D renderings.  Only, unlike 3D renderings, there is a softness and sweetness to them that would be difficult to sculpt.  As I said, intriguing.

There also are some intriguing lines in the text.  My favorites include onomatopoeia:  whip, snap, chug, ding.  And the story, also, is sweet, without being "precious".  Clearly, the story came from the author's heart.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book 300: Good For Me and You

Good For Me and You, by Mercer Mayer, Harper Collins, 2004.

When my son was a little over a year old, my mother bought him this book for Christmas.  This book is about making the right exercise and dietary choices.  I thought the book might have been a bit advanced for my son at the time, but shortly after he received the book, my son climbed up his bookcase and took a bite out of the back cover of the book.  Um, I guess he understood the context after all.

Now my son is five, and he adores Little Critter.  We even have a toy Little Critter in our house, who apparently misbehaves at exactly the same time my son does.  As a five-year-old, my son understands that playing outside in the backyard is even a better choice than climbing the bookcase, and that an apple for a snack is a much better choice than a paperback cover.

All in all, this Little Critter book is yet another winner.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book 299: Knight's Castle

Knight's Castle, by Edward Eager, Harcourt Brace, 1956.

Knight's Castle is not my favorite book Edward Eager's magical series.  Even so, it is a fun read.

The original children from Half Magic have grown up, and two of them have had children.  The story of Knight's Castle was probably ever bit as good as the earlier Half Magic, but I just didn't warm up to the children in this book as quickly as I did to the ones in the first book.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book 298: Press Here

Press Here, by Herve Tullet, Chronicle Books, 2011.  Toddler to Preschool to Early Elementary.

Confession:  I didn't actually buy Press Here -- someone bought it for my five-year-old son -- but I would have bought it had I known about it.

When I first looked at the book, I didn't think much of it.  Then I read it out loud to my son.  We read it at least three times in a row and we only stopped because I had to make dinner.

The book itself is such a delightfully simple concept, and in its very simplicity is its magic.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book 297: Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty

Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, by Michael Teitelbaum and Sue DiCicco, Little Golden Books, 1997.

The other day, my five-year-old son watched Disney's Sleeping Beauty for the first time.  That night, he wanted me to read the LGB version of Sleeping Beauty to him.  I was happy to comply.

The text of this LGB, although abridged by necessity, follows the story of the movie pretty faithfully.  I don't actually mind straying too much, but since we had just seen the movie, I was happy that the book dovetailed with the movie so well.

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney film for its sheer artistry.  I could get lost in those lush and lovely landscapes.  The book did a good job capturing the artistic feel of the movie; it would have taken another Mary Blair to have reproduced it entirely.