Friday, September 30, 2016

Picture Books About Change - September #kidlitpicks

Another month of excellent #kidlitpicks/@kidlitpicks of books about change (theme chosen by @chickadee.lit). After you read the quotes below, check out #booksaboutchange to see photos of all the recommendations.


A lot changes in September. I mean, as the ancient Greeks will tell you, change is the only constant…but there’s something about September that sparks a bit of reflection—on the tilt of the Earth, the passing of the year, the meanderings of the path of life.

In September, the cadence of family time shifts as a new school year settles in around us. The dinnertime light is altered as we approach the autumnal equinox, and we trade swimsuits for sweaters or vice versa. We might even find that the foods we crave adapt to the harvest. Pumpkin latte, anyone? September calls our attention to traditions and homecomings and gives us reason to both revisit the past and plan for the seasons ahead.

There are no better guides for us in this transitional month than books, of course. After all, change is at the heart of every compelling story. 

Little Tree, by Loren Long (shared by @readingisourthing) “Change is a good thing. New beginnings are exciting. Letting go is the only way we can move forward.”

Yellow Time, by Lauren Stringer (shared by @spiky_penelope) “As the season begins to change from summer to fall, it's finally yellow time, a time when yellow leaves in the trees mean large imaginations and lots of fun.”

You and Me and Home Sweet Home, by George Ella Lyon and Stephanie Anderson (shared by @ilovebooksandicannotlie) “They are able to move into their very own home and start their brand new life together.”

Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams), by Ma Isabel Sanchez Vegaraand Mariadiamantes (shared by @afriendlyaffair) "These ladies are awesome [and] deserve celebration."

Wherever You Go, by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler (shared by @the.book.report) “Just when you think you are settled and have a plan or an idea of what you think your future might look like, life has a way of stirring that up and changing those plans. ”

Bear Hug, by Katharine McEwen (shared by @homegrownreader) “It truly is a visual expression that is wonderfully shocking with its simplicity and strength.”

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree, by Gemma Merino and Panda’s Pants by Jacqueline Davies and Sydney Hanson (shared by @book.nerd.mommy) “They help kiddo's realize that sometimes trying something new can be wonderful!”

The Water Princess, by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds (shared by @hereweeread) “Try to imagine having to walk on average four miles each day (which is the equivalent of about 70 football fields) just to collect water.”

Bella’s Fall Coat, by Lynn Plourde and Susan Gal (shared by @astoryaday) “Every season there is a change and there is a purpose for everything that occurs in our lives.”

The Journey, by Francesca Sanna (shared by @chickadee.lit) “The world refugee crisis is larger than ever, but we can all contribute to changing that by offering up as we are individually able.”

Maybe Something Beautiful, by F Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, and Rafael L√≥pez (shared by @happily.ever.elephants) “There is so much power behind the idea that art can lift up a community.”

Where’s the Starfish, by Barroux (shared by @bookbairn) “Such a fabulous book to encourage us all to make small changes for a big difference.”

The Fox and the Star, by Coralie Bickford-Smith (shared by @bookbloom) “A gentle reminder that change can sometimes result in something better and more beautiful than previously imagined.”

Perfect Square, by Michael Hall (shared by @howifeelaboutbooks) “Explains a difficult concept to kids in a way they can easily understand.”

The Leaving Morning, by Angela Johnson and David Soman (shared by @smallysbookshelf) "For young children, change can be a mixture of longing and excitement - longing for the familiar and excitement for the new adventures ahead."

Grandad's Island, by Benji Davies (shared by @fee_loves_) “This poignant story deals with loss and bereavement, one of the greatest changes we face in life is the death of a loved one.”

My Dad Used to Be So Cool, by Keith Negley (shared by @ohcreativeday) “How has parenting changed you?”

Tree, by Britta Teckentrup (shared by @alittlebookhabit) “Whether you are moving from summer to autumn or winter to spring this book is my favourite for talking about the seasons.”

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown (shared by @childrensbooksgalore) “Mr. Tiger embraces his wild side! Roar!”

The Podcast - Episode 21

Let's celebrate Banned Books Week! I talk about a few banned middle grade and young adult books, then try to guess their star rating on Goodreads. (A total rip-off of Adam Carolla's Rotten Tomatoes game, I'll freely admit!) Play along and tweet your score, or leave a comment on Facebook or the blog!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or PodBean.


Sound off on this week’s topics:
What banned books have you read?
Do you think any books should be banned?
What was your score in the Goodreads game?

Books discussed on this week’s podcast include:
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Witches by Roald Dahl

Banned Book: The Hunger Games


The Hunger Games is a dystopian series that features an annual event pitting young children from each of the twelve districts against each other in a fight to the death. The event is televised and is treated with the enthusiasm of our Olympics.

I read the Hunger Games series once all the books were released, because I’m really bad with series. I like to binge-read them, like binge-watching an entire TV series in a few marathon sessions. I really liked the series, with the exception of the second book, which just seemed like a placeholder. I saw the first movie but waited to see the rest until - you got it - they were all released and I could have a marathon. I keep planning to re-read the series and then re-watch the movies with everything fresh in my mind, but that hasn’t happened yet.


These books were banned for being too violent and unsuitable for the target age group. I have no problem with the reasoning, because these are violent books. I do disagree with the banning, of course. There is no reason to ever ban a book, just don’t read it! Don’t allow your kids to read it until they’re mature enough! Let everyone think independently, governing his or her own self (and children until they’re ready).

Banned Book: Where the Wild Things Are


Where the Wild Things Are is a classic, and one book that I really love, despite the hype. I haven't seen the movie even though it was pretty hyped up, and sometimes when people rave about how amazing the book is, I roll my eyes (sorry!), but then I read it again and have to admit it's really good. It's unique and innovative for the time when it was originally published, and has great imagination behind it. And the illustrations, of course, are gorgeous. It's a timeless story, and I can't picture a time when people would NOT read it to their kids.

Except those people who tried to ban it, of course. This book was banned because of its dark and disturbing nature, but also because Max being sent to bed without dinner was seen as abuse.

ABUSE.

Don't get me started on overprotective parents these days, but... really?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Banned Books: The Witches


I loved Roald Dahl as a kid, and I love him as an adult. I keep saying I am going to re-read all of his books, read his short stories for adults, and try to get my hands on his screenplays, but that project has been in the works for a couple years now, so we’ll see. I have recently re-read Matilda, accompanied with watching the movie (which my son became addicted to!) and seeing the musical, so that was a good start. 

The Witches was a nice follow-up, because I only read this book once as a child. I love Roald Dahl’s writing because of how the silliness is presented with a straight face, so it’s fun to try and decide what was off-the-wall, and what’s true. (As a child, it can be hard to find that line sometimes…)

Though I’d only read the book once, as soon as I cracked the cover, I could remember it so vividly. I think Quentin Blake’s illustrations really helped that matter, because he has such a distinct style that fits perfectly with Dahl’s stories. I couldn’t remember the climax or the resolution, though, so it was really fun to re-read this book and not know the outcome!

This book was banned by some libraries because of perceived misogyny - witches can only be women, and witches are horrible, so women are horrible, right? I think this is a pretty crazy reason to ban a book, do you agree?

Banned Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


I have my old picture book copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but a friend gave my son this cute board book version so I wanted to showcase it! This book is a classic regardless of what format you read it.

This is probably one of the silliest reasons for banning a book... A Texas state Board of Education member mixed up this Bill Martin with another Bill Martin - one who wrote the adult book Ethical Marxism: the Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

Kids, this just proves that you gotta do your research!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Banned Book: Charlotte's Web


Fern is a young girl who speaks out against her father trying to kill the runt of a litter of pigs. Since she makes such a passionate point, Fern’s father lets her keep the pig as a pet. At least for a little while… When it’s time for Fern to sell her pig, whom she named Wilbur, she sends him to her uncle’s farm down the road, so she can still see him. Fern visits the barn often, and becomes friends with the animals, who can talk. Charlotte, a wise spider, comes out of the woodwork (no pun intended) to save Wilbur’s life when the farmer is thinking of making bacon.

I read this book as a kid and loved it, as well as the cartoon movie adaptation. I re-read it over the summer in my book club for adults with disabilities. I remembered the general story, but forgot a lot of the details, as well as the writing style, which I think adds a lot to the story. The book club seemed to enjoy the book as well.

This book was banned because “talking animals were seen as an insult to God.” Yes. Really.

Banned Book: The Giving Tree

Can you tell this is my childhood copy of The Giving Tree?

This is another one of those picture books I was shocked to see banned. What could possibly be "wrong" with such a sweet classic like The Giving Tree?

Some people think the book is sexist, because the boy is always taking from the female tree without giving anything back.

Oh...kay...

It also "criminalized the foresting agency". Really? It's a picture book! I know a lot of picture books have deeper themes and can really resonate with you, but I never would have thought that about this book!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Banned Book: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.


Another book I read and loved as a kid. I was convinced I was going to be as cool as I thought Margaret was by sixth grade. (I had a different cover version with what I thought was a gorgeous Margaret.) I don’t think it happened, but I always love a Judy Blume children’s book. I loved reading about stuff that was going to be happening to me in a way that was relatable and easy to understand, instead of a heavy nonfiction book of facts.

Re-reading it as an adult was still really enjoyable, maybe mostly due to nostalgia, but I think kids these days (wow am I old!) would still relate to the book. The storyline of Margaret’s first period is pretty dated, with her having to learn to attach pads to a belt with a series of hooks… I’m sure there are new novels dealing with this that would be more helpful for preteens. The storyline is entertaining and quaint.

This book was banned because some people thought it was sexually offensive, immoral, profane, and offensive. I don’t think it should be restricted from readers because they need to know this information (well, updated information in the case of periods, but still), and it’s easy to read since it’s in a fiction story.

Banned Book: The Sissy Duckling


Judging this book on title alone, I wasn't that surprised it was banned. Except I kind of thought it had been banned because it encouraged name-calling, or something along those lines. I can't really think of an instance where "sissy" isn't a derogatory term.

In reality, this book seems ahead of its time. The "boy" duckling doesn't like doing stereotypical boy things, and he's sick of being teased, so he runs away. He wants to live alone so he can be true to himself. His father disowns him, which makes it a tough book to read, but it tells it how it is with no holds barred. I think that goes really far - with adults and kids. I really liked reading it (I've been on an LGBT YA kick lately), and it made me tear up at the end.

The Sissy Duckling was banned because of "gay positive themes". It shows a boy who isn't a "typical" boy being true to himself, yes, but shouldn't we encourage that no matter what the platform is? I don't think this book should be banned, of course; instead I think it should be brought into the spotlight more! It is a positive book, and we need to start that message for kids as young as possible.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Banned Books: Harriet the Spy


Harriet the Spy was one of my favorite books as a kid because my cousin and I loved to pretend we were spies. I mean, we were spies, with walkie talkies and secret notebooks and code names. But it was all in our head, because I’m sure everyone we spied on could see and hear us, and acted accordingly.

This book was banned because adults worried that it encouraged kids to spy, lie, and swear. Well...yeah! That’s what makes it a great book, right? Kids don’t want to read about straight-laced, unrealistic characters. They want to explore the city with Harriet, peek in windows over her shoulder, and feel independent of their parents. The reasons this book was banned were the reasons I liked it so much!

While researching this book, I found out that the author wrote a sequel, The Long Secret, and a spin-off/sequel, Scout. I haven’t read either yet, but I’m excited to read them. There are also some Harriet the Spy “sequels” written by other authors, but I prefer to stick with the original. The movie adaptation of this book is pretty true to the storyline.

Banned Book: If I Ran the Zoo


If I Ran the Zoo is a typical silly Dr. Seuss book, if you ask me, but it's been banned for the line "all wear their eyes at a slant", which refers to the helpers, accompanied by an illustration of Asian stereotypes.

I never knew why this book was banned, and had never read it before. It was, as I mentioned, a typical Dr. Seuss book to me, but seemed a bit long. I was expecting something along the line of Green Eggs and Ham or Hop on Pop, but this one was a real time investment.

That being said, I don't think it should be banned for the stereotypes portrayed on the pages - instead, turn them into a teaching point. Talk about why it's a stereotype and why it's offensive, and depending on the age of the children, talk about other stereotypes they might know, and debunk them. We should learn from history instead of try to ban it and wish we could erase it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Banned Book: Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You


I read this book when I was a kid, even before I was in sixth grade. I loved reading books about school way more than I loved attending school. I liked thinking about what school could be like, instead of what it was actually like for me. I remember reading Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You when I was in lower elementary school thinking my sixth grade year would be as fun as this.

I re-read the book last month and still really enjoyed it. There was probably a fair amount of nostalgia: remembering myself reading the book and the hopes it gave me for my sixth grade year. The book is a bit dated; it was originally published in 1985, and there are references to guys wearing half-shirts… yeah. But it’s a fun, quick read for kids, and it’s an entertaining story.

 The book was banned in some school libraries because it uses the word “retarded”. I don’t agree with that word being used in any way, whether to describe someone with disabilities, or as slang to refer to something “crazy”, but I don’t think it means a book should be banned. The way the word is used in Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You is to describe Helen, who has a learning disability, but it’s not portrayed as being the correct way to refer to someone as a disability, so I think kids could read it and know it’s not a word they should use, but it’s a word that is used. It could be a talking point with kids to let them know why some terms are hurtful, even if they’re not being used for that purpose.

Banned Book: The Stupids

The Stupids are a family who do everything wrong...but it somehow works out in the end.


They sleep with their feet on the pillows, or sometimes under the bed while the cat and dog sleep under the covers. The same cat and dog who fix the lights after a blackout and drive the car.

These books were banned because they described families in a derogatory manner, encouraged children to be disobedient, and promoted low self esteem and negative behavior.

I thought these books were great! If I heard or read them as a kid, I didn't remember it at all. They made me chuckle a lot, reading them as an adult. I can see why kids love the craziness of this family.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Banned Books Week Reviews

Tomorrow kicks off Banned Books Week!

We started celebrating at work at the beginning of September. Library Card Sign-Up Month goes hand in hand with Banned Books, right? Get a card and check out some books that have stirred the pot!


I made a (last minute) display for Library Card Sign-Up Month.



I wrapped banned books and put a sign on them briefly explaining what they were. I started with fourteen wrapped books, and had six left after a week or two. I wrapped ten more after that, and am keeping track of the numbers. More importantly than that, people of all ages are asking what's inside the wrapper, why the books were banned, if books are still banned, etc. I've loved these conversations!

As far as celebrating Banned Books on the blog, I've decided to share a review of a banned or challenged picture book and a banned or challenge children's book every day of the week - that's seven picture books and seven children's books! 

I'm really excited to share these books, why they were banned, and my thoughts on them, and I hope you'll chime in to join the fun!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What We Read This Week 9/18


Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora. This book is based around accidents and blame and misunderstandings. Zachariah Ohora's illustrations are brilliant; we loved The Not So Quiet Library, and bold illustrations are clearly his trademark since they appear here as well.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Another Ame Dyckman, and another Dan Yaccarino (from last week: Doug Unplugged). This one was a really sweet book about a boy who meets a robot and becomes friends with him, until the robot's switch is accidentally hit and he turns off. The boy takes care of the robot until bedtime, when the robot comes to and thinks the boy has been deactivated. Very cute story and illustrations.

Jon Scieszka's Trucktown: Race From A to Z by David Shannon, Loren Long, and David Gordon. My son is learning the alphabet (he knows it all except H!) and loves trucks, and loved the other Trucktown book we read, so I had to grab this one from the library for him. He liked it a lot, but more for the truck characters than the alphabet. (I liked the story in the first Trucktown book better, myself.)

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. This is a book we've read before, but my son is so obsessed with garbage trucks that it was time to read it again. We're also on a Dan Yaccarino kick, if you can't tell... This rhyming book is really cute, and it's easy for kids to remember the refrain and say it along with you - or at least say "NO!" when you ask if the garbage truck is full. My son has asked for this one again and again.

Sock Monkey Rides Again by Cece Bell. I loved El Deafo, and my son and I both liked I Yam a Donkey too, so I wanted to read more of Cece Bell's picture books. Sock Monkey is incredibly cute, and my son and I loved the story about how he was going to break into movies with his own starring role! (Sock Monkey was already, of course, a famous actor, even though he only played small supporting roles.) As a bonus, Sock Monkey is a really accessible idea for a character; we had several small sock monkeys around that my son liked holding while we read the story (and for days after).

Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood: A Star is Bathed by Cece Bell. Sock Monkey is nominated for an award, but he finds out that all nominees have to show up CLEAN! Sock Monkey hates baths! They scare him! But with the help of his friends, he gets all cleaned up and goes to the awards show - will he win?

Here Comes Destructosaurus by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. The whole family loved this cute, witty book. Destructosaurus is trashing the whole town, burping fire everywhere, and not listening to the reader, who is trying to keep him in line. When the reader finds out Destructosaurus was just throwing a tantrum because he couldn't find his teddy, the tone changes...but so does the terrifying main character!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Podcast - Episode 20

A review of If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, and a
discussion of some of the issues surrounding the transgender author.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or PodBean.


Sound off on this week’s topics:
- Should an author’s personal life influence how you think about their work?
- If a person is accused of a heinous crime they did not commit, should they do whatever they can to prove/share their innocence?

Links mentioned:
- The documents filed against Meredith Russo
- Article about forgiving transgender people of wrongdoings committed before they transitioned

Books discussed on this week’s podcast include:
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

What I Learned from YALSA

I started a new job as a teen services librarian one month before I graduated with my MLS. I was thrilled to get a full-time position serving my ideal population – at a dream location, to boot! My MLS program was amazing, and I learned more than I expected to. I felt confident with my library skills as I started the job. But any librarian can tell you, everything isn’t book-smarts! (No library pun intended.)

Read the whole post at YALSAblog.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What We Read This Week 9/11

We went to the bookstore a couple of weeks ago and just got around to reading some of our new books. I had a gift card and spent all of it on picture books! I couldn't resist the great titles out there. We read a few library books, but most were our new goodies.


Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino. My son loves robots, so a story about a robot boy was a dream come true for him! He loved exploring the city with Doug, "boop-boop-boop"ing around the map, and making friends. There is so much to talk about while reading this book aloud: identifying what's on the pages, comparing them to what you see in your neighborhood and on walks, and talking about friendships and family. Very sweet book - it was from the library, but we might have to get a copy.

A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Laura Rankin. This might be my personal favorite book from the week. Isabel is a porcupine who wants to hold a balloon at her graduation. Everyone in her class gets a balloon, except the porcupines. It's funny to talk about why porcupines can't have balloons, and the solution is SO clever and cute! Loved this book, and my son loved the balloon illustrations.

Dotty by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos. This is a very cute story about imaginary friends, and when (or if!) it's time to outgrow them. The imaginary friends were all creative and unique - very fun for the kids reading the story! The ending was very sweet.

Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis. This book is really cute and silly. Yelfred and Omek have been best frints since they were blobbies, but they still sometimes disagree and get in fights. The made-up language in this book was fun to read aloud, and readers are encouraged to make up their own words at the end!

Monsters University by Tennant Redbank, illustrated by Matt Cruickshank. This book is an adaptation of the Monsters University movie, missing the bulk of the story and a lot of details, of course, but it's still really cute. My son loves Mike and Sully, and we have a few other Monsters, Inc. books, so this was a nice addition. My husband found the Golden Book on Amazon and couldn't resist!

I Am a Rainbow by Dolly Parton, illustrated by Heather Sheffield. We got this book in the mail from the Imagination Library, which Dolly Parton created in 1995 to send age-appropriate books to kids every month. It's grown to include several countries, so you should check and see if it's available in your area, if you haven't already signed up! Anyway, let me step off my soapbox and talk about the BOOK. This is a really cute book that explores what colors mean in terms of emotion. It's a good way to talk about colors with younger kids at that stage of learning, but to expose them to emotions. It's a book that will come in handy as kids get older and start to understand emotions.

Love Monster and the Perfect Present by Rachel Bright. We are huge Love Monster fans over here - my son loves monsters, period, but he really loves his stuffed Love Monster. He held it while we read this one. Love Monster books are cute and simple - perfect short bedtime stories that tell a sweet story.

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora. I saw this book on @librarymagic's Instagram feed and knew I had to get a copy, because I work in a library that is sometimes, often, not so quiet. This book is going to be a classic, at least in my house, but probably everywhere. The story is simple and engaging, and the gorgeous illustrations add SO much to the reading experience. I want to wallpaper my house with these pages. Also, my son has the same name as one of the main characters, so that makes it a fun read! (Random fun fact: The other main character's name is actually one I wanted to name my son, but it didn't work with the last name. So I knew I'd love this book.)

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker, illustrated by Eda Kaban. Superheroes have superpowers that they usually use for good, but what happens when they have a bad day? Do they destroy the playground, knock over buildings, or cause dangerous weather to spoil a nice day? This book is actually a great partner to Dolly Parton's I Am a Rainbow because it also deals with emotions and how to control them in a calm, logical way. It doesn't hurt that the illustrations are awesome and engaging, and kids love the superheroes. My son loved pointing at the superheroes over and over and asking their names.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

GUEST POST: Spot the Cat by RaisingMom.ca

I was so excited when Erin from RaisingMom.ca contacted me to do a blog collaboration, because I think her blog and her backstory are so awesome. If you haven't checked her out, do it... right after you read this review!

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ABOUT THE BOOK  Spot, the Cat

Author/Illustrator: Henry Cole
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released: March 2016
Ages: 3 – 8
RaisingMom.ca Rating:  ***Starred Review*** 5 out of 5 Stars!


From the Publisher:
“Simple and stunning images tell the story of a cat named Spot as he weaves his way in and out of a city in this wordless picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Henry Cole.
Through this gorgeous visual narrative, Henry Cole shows us a day in the life of a cat named Spot. Spot sneaks away from home by way of an open window to go on a wordless journey through the city. Follow Spot as he weaves through busy city streets, visits a farmers market, wanders into a park full of kite-flyers, and beyond. But while Spot is out on his adventure, his beloved boy owner is looking for him—seeming to just miss him every time. When all seems almost lost, Spot’s story reminds us that there’s always a way back home.
With stunningly detailed black-and-white illustrations, readers will love following Spot on his adventure—along the way finding characters and objects that appear, disappear, and reappear—and cheering for the sweet reunion at the end.”

Description:
I was exceedingly grateful that the author gave Spot a distinctive beauty mark on his flank to distinguish him from the many other potential lookalikes that were placed on each page to throw us off the scent of the wandering cat.  The great loss that the cat's (Spot) young owner feels when Spot goes for a wander is effectively depicted as the young boy searches the town for the beloved cat and puts up "lost" posters.  The delight on the boy's face is palpable at the end of a fruitless afternoon of searching when Spot creeps back and wants in the window.  We celebrate the reunion with him.  Searching for Spot on the delightfully detailed two-page spreads depicting village in this wordless picture book is entrancing.  Each spread is like a whole word unto itself.  There are street scenes, the riverside, a park, the front of a grand museum, a train station, etc. Point of view and perspective are explored and played with.  The whole book is a grand adventure from start to finish.  There are so many details that you can revisit each page a thousand times and notice something that you have not seen before, making this a wonderful story to return to again and again.

My Experience:
My three year old found this book to be magical.  She loved finding Spot on each page, but also discovering the many other animals that looked like Spot who were placed there to be distractions and decoys.  She didn't notice until our fourth reading that there were no words, which I found to be fascinating.  She even declared that there did not need to be any.  I agree completely.  Every two-page spread is its own world.  We spent 45 minutes on one spread alone (the train station) just looking at and commenting on all the different people.  We talked about where each may have been coming from or going to and making up stories about them.  What a wonderful time of using our imaginations! We have returned to this book over and over and over, and though she delights in finding Spot in each scene and loves the reunion of owner and pet, my daughter also just loves looking at all the people and their activities in this town.  It is a wonderful way to discuss the jobs and activities of people in a city/town/village.  Certain scenes reminded me of the outside of and steps of The Metropolitan Museum, Grand Central Station and Central Park in NYC and bridges and riverbanks in France, etc.  The farmers market could exist in any town, as could the street scenes.  It is wonderful!  I cannot recommend this book highly enough!


Likes:
    incredibly detailed and beautiful pen and ink illustrations
    fun for parents and children to explore together
    illustrations are so detailed that each time you look at the book there is something new to discover and discuss
    wordless book allows you to create your own story and side stories
   
 Dislikes:
    none!

Why/How Use it with kids:
    read other spot the "xxx" books like "Where's Waldo" and "Find Curious George", etc. to practice looking for details.  There are many such books at many levels for different ages and abilities.
    have your child create their own "spot the xxx" book.  This would greatly work on artistic and design details.
    practice pen and ink drawings (black and white)
    learning about and discussing life in towns/villages/cities from the detailed drawings
    use your imagination to create stories about what some of the people in the town are doing (careers, life in a city, etc.)

About the Author/Illustrator:
Henry Cole has written and illustrated more than fifty books for children, including Big BugAnd Tango Makes ThreeOink?, and Little Bo in France. A former elementary school teacher, he now writes and paints full time.

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About Erin:
Wife. Adoptive mom to toddler twins and a 3 yo. Career as a Teacher-Librarian temporarily on pause. Reads tons of books to the kids. Longs for two minutes alone in the bathroom. Lives for sloppy kisses. Figuring out life on the fly with laughs, friends, and grace!
     I am a “mature” mom – jumped into this in my very late 30s and am now starting to explore my 40s ;-). My hubby is 7 years older, and we joke that our poor kids will have to keep explaining the two old grey-haired fogies at their graduations to all their classmates. Ah well, just think how wise we’ll be by then!

Book Reviews: As a Teacher-Librarian and AVID reader, one of my main filters for
understanding the world is through books (in all formats).  At this stage, I use a lot of books to help my kids explore and understand the world, too.  I want to share what I’ve learned with you. As a former Senior Education Specialist, I have led resource review and selection for a major urban school board, was seconded to a provincial Department of Education as a Manager for Literacy, Numeracy & School Libraries, and have my Master’s degree in Information Literacy and Adult Education.  I’ve been a teacher for 18 years, a Teacher-Librarian for 14 years and am passionate about sharing my knowledge. I am a Director on the board of and do professional reviews for a children’s book review journal: Resource Links.
     Join me on the journey as I explore being a “mature” mom to multiples, toddlers, and adopted children through the lens of children’s books.  I’m learning a lot – the tables are turned on this teacher!

Follow Erin on her blog: www.RaisingMom.ca
Instagram: @RaisingMom.ca
Twitter: @RaisingMom3