"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

April Picture Book Basket

I noticed this classic by Arthur Ransome in Little Saints: A Catholic Preschool Program when my eldest son was three and immediately put it on hold at the library.  When the Czar of Russia announces that whoever builds a flying ship will marry his daughter, the two eldest and favored sons in a family set out to try and build the ship and are never heard from again.  Eventually, the youngest son leaves home to try his luck.  Along the way, the fool of the world meets an old man who gives him instructions on how to build a flying ship.  The fool listens to the old man and succeeds in building the ship.  As he journeys to the Czar, he meets some interesting people and they are all invited to climb into the ship.  The fool's traveling companions help him overcome hurdles, so that he can marry the princess.  My husband and I have read this humorous story numerous times over the years to our children and they thoroughly enjoy listening to it.

When one of my children pulled this book off the library shelf, I noticed that Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China was sitting next to it. Knowing that we had enjoyed reading Red Butterfly, I checked to see whether Deborah Noyes was the author.  After confirming that this was the case, I added the book in my child's hand to our growing stack of titles to check out.  I am glad that I did.

Deborah Noyes writes in the "time of Rembrandt" about a young girl, Hana, and her father's tulip prospecting. Hana wants to be a doctor and tends to her father's ailments, but as her father worries about his "tulip business", he seems to grow farther and farther away from her.  Hana tries to cheer him up with a sprig of rosemary, fireflies, and by weaving nature's simple smile out of daisies.  Eventually, Hana (Rembrandt's student) paints a beautiful tulip for her father and succeeds in drawing him out.

This book would make a nice accompaniment to a study of Rembrandt.  (Book added on September 29, 2010).

Home for a Bunny (Big Little Golden Book)Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown*
This Little Golden Book has been read to my children over and over again, since Mrs. Lowry (a friend and Montessori teacher) gave it to my two eldest several years ago.  All of my children enjoy listening as the bunny meets various animals in his search for "a home for a bunny, a home of his own, under a rock, under a stone, under a log, or under the ground. Where would a bunny find a home?"

Mortimer's First Garden        Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson
We really enjoyed Mortimer's Christmas Manger, so when I saw this book, I knew that I needed to check it out.  Wanting to see something green at the end of winter, Mortimer plants his last sunflower seed.   He waits and waits for it to grow.  Eventually, Mortimer's doubt is transformed into hope.  With a little patience and help from God, he sees his sunflower seed produce amazing results.  My children appreciate Dan Andreasen's oil pastel illustrations.
Although I will most likely check this book out again, it is not one that I would want to include in our personal home library.

A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins
This book follows the development of baby robins from the beginning of one spring to the beginning of the next. This Lets-Read-and-Find-Out Science book has a good amount of information to help young children learn more about robins.

Otters under Water (Picture Books)Otters Under Water by Jim Arnosky
In Otters Under Water, Jim Arnosky tells the story of two young otter pups swimming and playing in the water.  The simple, one-line text on each page is enhanced by Arnosky's beautifully realistic colored pencil and watercolor illustrations.  My children enjoy both listening to the story and simply looking at all the details of nature that Jim Arnosky has included in this book. 

Rabbits and Raindrops (Picture Puffins)Rabbits and Raindrops by Jim Arnosky
The watercolor illustrations in this book are what originally grabbed our attention several years ago.  The detail that Jim Arnosky put into depicting raindrops is truly amazing.  The illustrations are complemented by Arnosky's story of five young rabbits who enjoy leaving their nest under the hedge for the very first time.

I first learned about Jim Arnosky from Michael O'Brien's Landscape with Dragons.  In addition to Arnosky's Otters Under Water (mentioned above), I also recommend many of his other nature books.

Spring Story (Brambly Hedge)Spring Story (Brambly Hedge) by Jill Barklem
A Montessori teacher and friend introduced us to the Brambly Hedge books about 10 years ago.  She enticed me to check them out from the library by sharing that they came in a nice compact size, like Beatrix Potter's books.  In this story, Wilfred celebrates his birthday by going on a picnic.  When he gets there, he is delighted with what Mr. Apple and the other mice of Brambly Hedge have planned for him.

Saint George and the DragonSaint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (April 23)*
Margaret Hodges has successfully adapted Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene for young listeners.  After a three-day battle, George, the Red Cross Knight, slays the dragon who has terrorized the countryside for years, restoring peace and joy.

Take It to the Queen: A Tale of HopeTake It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope by Josephine Nobisso*
I am looking forward to reading this book for the first time after Easter and will update this listing at that time.  I have heard some wonderful things about it. 

Where does the butterfly go when it rainsWhere does the butterfly go when it rains by May Garelick
In this book, May Garelick shares where creatures go when it rains.  The title is perfect since we often release butterflies from Insect Lore in April.

As always, the books marked with an asterisk belong to my family's home library.

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