Welcome, Readers!

The contest Save the Picture Book has ended. Telling people about funny, informative, beautiful, or generally awesome picture books continues. I also share middle grade books, book apps, and educational apps that my kids and I like.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Children's Book Roundup: Week of February 6

This is a roundup of children's books and apps mentioned this week on my Facebook page, Author Bridget Heos.

1. App
Bobo Explores Light
Game Collage, LLC

Bobo should be the poster robot for nonfiction book apps. Under the theme of light, he explores everything from photosynthesis to auroras. Pull down screens provide additional info like sidebars in a standard nonfiction book, although in this case they include videos. The main screens are interactive. You can shoot lasers, for instance. There are a couple typos, but I'm certainly one to talk, say my proofreaders. J.J. opened the app to tell Bobo goodnight. That is the true measure of the story.

2. Nonfiction Picture Book
Groundhog Gets a Say (Puffin, 2007)
by Pamela Curtis Swallow, ill. by Denise Bunkus

Ii...iit's Groundhog's Day! Which means 1. The movie is on at 8 p.m. CMT. 2. Your middle grader could start 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass, in which a girl must relive her 11th birthday until she gets it right, and 3. Groundhog finally gets a say in this funny nonfiction picture book. By the way, we have 6 weeks left of winter, which, our meteorologist said, you could also learn by looking at the calendar. Oh, come on! Let the Groundhog get his say!

3. Board Book
We Belong Together (Cartwheel, 2011)
Joyce Wan

Continuing our week of Valentine's Day books...This board book reminded me of a gift book. As it turns out, the author/illustrator owns her own greeting card company and has been designing cards since she was a little girl. I guess it is a gift book in a way...for little ones. I love the art and design.

4. Picture Book
Zombie in Love (Atheneum, 2011)
by Kelly DiPucchio, ill. by Scott Campbell

I never knew how much I liked Valentine's Day until I joined Pinterest. As it turns out, I LOVE Valentine's Day. It's the pastels. As a boy mom and boy sister, I've never been exposed to many pastels and therefore have never built up immunity. Like Vizzini in Princess Pride, I fall over dead every time I see a pastel, such as the lilac on this book cover for Zombie in Love, which by the way is a great book to read to boys on Valentine's Day.

5. Picture Book
Who Will Be My Valentine this Year? (Cartwheel, 2011)
by Jerry Pallotta, ill. by David Biedrzycki

Look no further. I will be your Valentine. I LOVE this hippo. Though the rest of the book doesn't match the hilarity of the cover, it is a sweet story about one hippo's quest for friendship on Valentine's Day.

6. Picture Book
Pierre in Love (Orchard, 2007)
by Sara Pennypacker

Now for a love story. Pierre, a fisherman, dresses in disguise to leave gifts for Catherine, a ballet teacher. Little does he know that Catherine is in love with a fisherman she's seen from afar. Some critics say the love story will go over children's heads. I don't think so. Remember, kids=shorter than adults, not dumber than adults.

7. Nonfiction Picture Book
Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan (Philomel, 2004)
by Floyd Cooper

Just returned from my 3rd grade son's wax museum. You press a "button" on each kid's hand, and he or she speaks as a famous person. I loved seeing who the kids chose. My son was Michael Jordan. There was also an Amelia Earhart, Davy Crockett, Princess Diana, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Jr., Salvador Dali, Anne Frank, and more. They prepared by reading biographies like this one. So, for writers, the wax museum is also good for business!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Endings

The perfect book to end Save Everything! (and the Picture Book) must be Happy Endings: a Story About Suffixes by Robin Pulver, ill. by Lynn Rowe Reed (Holiday House, 2011.)

In this hilarious follow up to Punctuation Takes a Vacation, Silent Letters Loud and Clear, and Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day, Mr. Wright has saved suffixes for last...as in the last few days of school. Suffixes are so excited that it is finally their turn. But the students are in no mood for studying. They are ready for summer.

Mr. Wright tells the kids they'll have to tackle the endings after lunch. That makes the endings nervous. If they're going to get tackled, they better get in shape! They head to the gym to workout. When the students return, the endings are gone. The students make signs in hopes of finding them. The suffixes on the signs, of course, are missing.

This is a book to read-aloud to introduce endings, but also to let kids spend time with on their own in order to catch everything going on in the illustrations. It's the perfect book to end Save the Picture Book! because there is so much to it, both in terms of learning and making kids laugh.

As the year-long event winds down, here is a wrap-up, by the numbers:

680...the number of picture book reviews by students in preschool through eighth grade.

108...the number of picture books the event promoted, in addition to picture books teachers selected from their libraries.

60...the number of books given away.

18...the number of teachers and school librarians who received picture books for their libraries.

1...the fourth grade teacher who planned to revamp her curriculum to include more picture books.

Unknown...the impact one picture book can have, even if it only brightens somebody's day. That day might be the day that most needed to be brightened!

A big thanks to all of you for making this happen by donating picture books, spreading the word, and most of all voicing your love of picture books!

This blog will now shift gears slightly. The purpose will be two-fold: to share picture book activities and events, and to share children's book reviews. I post very short reviews of picture books, nonfiction, middle grade, and children's book apps and educational apps several times a week on my Facebook page Author Bridget Heos. Actually, they're not really reviews because I only talk about books I like. (Hey, I'm a writer first. I'm not against negative reviews, but I don't want to be a part of them, either.) Here, I'll do a roundup of my "reviews."

I invite you to join in the conversation here or on Facebook. I love hearing what children's books people are reading.

We did it! We saved everything! (and the picture book.) Now I need to go fix some meatballs for my children. The end.