Feb 25, 2014

A Shortcut to Sharing Titles

Depite my best laid plans to allow this blog to take a short moratorium, I have not neglected my picture book reading. I do record titles read and review them on my Goodreads account, which you're welcome to follow.

I suddenly realized that I could share some of those short reviews here occasionally without investing as much time as a post usually requires. So, here's a start on that plan. If you already read my reviews on Goodreads, just ignore these. I won't be exploring them with further thoughts here, but perhaps I'll introduce you to some worthy titles you've otherwise missed. In each case a short Google search will take you to the author and illustrator websites, reviews, blog posts, etc. I often provide in links. All are perfect examples of the power of picture books to reach readers of every age and for every purpose. And they're gorgeous in word and image to boot!

First up, a book that's had lots of spotlight lately, with good reason: 

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Hardcover) 

Gorgeous illustrations and design, embedded quotations, and fascinating details bring Josephine Baker's life story to readers with vibrancy and excitement. It will (or should) enrage reads with the injustices she suffered and inspire admiration for the dignity and creativity with which she confronted these assaults.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico (Hardcover) 

The most immediate and compelling aspect of this picture book is the vertical format and multi-media art/illustration/collage. It allows the brief but thorough text to soar in its scope and impact, tracing millennia of Puerto Rican history, both social and environmental, through the perspective of the parrots. The extent to which the survival  of the species is affected by encroachments of civilization and natural forces is as frightening but the steps taken by scientists to address those is astonishing. Their success makes me want to cheer.
Photos and other resources in back matter make this ideal for deep reading of narrative and expository non-fiction text. 

Deep in the Sahara (Hardcover) 

As the author's note indicates, this brief and simple story is placed authentically in Mauritania, West Africa in modern times. It's important to note that and share the information with young readers/listeners because its timeless imagery and poetic phrasing make it appear to be, as the say, "in a place and time long ago". 
The rhythm and evocative language of the spare text rolls off the page with the lumbering poetic pace of a camel crossing the desert. It's accessible to the youngest but can also serve as mentor text and an informative resource for older readers (including the vocabulary/glossary in the back matter). 

That's going to do it for now. Hope these brief reviews are helpful.
Back soon to share more. 
Gotta run now!

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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.