Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!
This past week was our Spring Break. We had a wonderful two days of mini-vacation with the kids at an indoor waterpark and then it was off to a 4-day writing conference for hubby. We reunited just last evening and, yes, I am posting rather late today after an unusual week of single parenting (and very little sleep). But at least I’m here!! 🙂
What have I been reading? I’m excited to discuss THREE new books being published (or re-released) tomorrow.
A Little Chicken
Dan Taylor, illustrator
March 12, 2019
Sterling Children’s Books
Dot has got to be one of the cutest little chickens in picture book history! As it turns out, Dot is scared of a lot of things and her family has the photos to prove it. But when it comes to rescuing someone she loves, she digs deep and finds the courage she needs to save the day. But can brave chickens be scared, too?
With brightly colored artwork, we witness the story unfold amidst a steep hill, many trees, bears, a creek, and eventually back to the chicken coop. My 4-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the illustrations of Dot’s expressive facial features ranging from scared to determined to joyful. This is an excellent story to use when discussing fear, name-calling, and even sibling protectiveness. I’ll provide just one page-spread as an example of the adorable artwork:
My thanks to Tammi Sauer for sending me a copy of this book. NOTE: Tammi Sauer also just released Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants — if you remember, I reviewed the original Wordy Bird back in November, so I’m really hoping to get my hands on the new one very soon, too!
The Swish of the Curtain
(Blue Door #1)
Pushkin Children’s Books
Re-released: March 12, 2019
(originally published January 1, 1941)
The Swish of the Curtain is the story of seven ambitious children (4 girls and 3 boys) who start an amateur theater in their community. It all began with an accidentally broken window that turned into cleaning, painting, gardening, decorating, and re-designing an old forgotten building. Over the span of two years, each of the children’s talents and personalities contribute to the success of their productions and, before too long, they are navigating the ups and downs of theatre life and community reaction.
Pamela Brown was quite inventive in the retelling of famous theatrical stories like Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, and the nativity story. I was impressed at the originality ranging from the lyrics written for new songs, the designing of costumes, and the careful staging of each production. I would be lying if I said the story didn’t bring me back to my young teen years and inspire me to consider how to start a local production company for children’s theatre.
NOTE: The older British language was a little difficult for me to understand, at times (for example, the repeated references to the children needing to “make love” to each other and the money system). And there were behaviors that are quite different from children, today (ex: the children smoking cigarettes to calm down). But if explored as a read aloud or team reading with an adult, the language and experiences could make for excellent discussion of what has changed since the 1940s. Also worth noting is that this series quickly became a children’s classic, back in the day, and was noted as a favorite series by many readers of the time (including Maggie Smith!).
This was definitely “the little story that could” for me. Like the famous little engine, the first quarter of the journey was hard for me to get into. I was thinking this was probably because it was written by a 14-year-old back in the 1940s. There were a lot of descriptions of characters (names, siblings, ages, hair color, etc.) and I initially found myself needing to take notes to separate families and keep track of main characters. But once I hit around the 1/3 mark, I was into it and invested in the outcome of these children — excited to see what they would come up with, next. And I do look forward to checking out book #2: Maddy Alone. In fact, this is a 5-book series!
My thanks to Pushkin Children’s Books and Edelweiss Plus for approving an e-ARC for me so that I could provide an honest review.
To Be Read:
Emily Windsnap series
So… something funny happened about two weeks ago. I began re-organizing my reading schedule and looking at my ARCs to make sure I could complete each book and post reviews by release dates. That’s when I discovered that Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince is actually book #8 in a beloved series that started 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve been busy hunting down and reading books #1 through #8. I’m now on book #6 and I can honestly say I’m thoroughly enjoying the whole series. Liz Kessler’s writing is so comforting and the descriptions of the sea and characters make me feel like I’m on each adventure with Emily. Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince is being published TOMORROW, so I’ll be sure to post a review it this week and mention a few more details about the series in next week’s IMWAYR.
You can add this series to your Goodreads list HERE.
Unleaving by Melissa Ostrom.