Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Library Finds: Great Books for Children

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. A book for children 5 and up with oodles of creativity. The story is of a grandfather who tells his grandchildren a tall tell about a town where it rains food. I don't understand why authors tell stories about people telling stories. I think the middle man should be eliminated. (Book Rating: 8)

Mustache by Mac Barnett. An excellent book for an only child or any child with narcissistic tendencies, which I suppose might be anyone. The story is about a very bad king who is very handsome. I chuckled to myself throughout the first reading, and continued to chuckle as Philip read the book to the children again and again. He does great voices. (Book Rating: 9)

The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base. As always, this author's illustrations are phenomenal: full of detail and hidden pictures. This book is a bit tough for a 5-year-old. Probably perfect for a 7-year-old. A mystery book with clues and extra items to find in the pictures. Great rhyming cadence too. (Book Rating: 10)

Pest Fest by Julia Durango. Despite being slightly grossed-out, this was a clever, well illustrated—perhaps too well illustrated—bug book about insects competing to be the best pest. (Book Rating: 7)

Beautiful Moon: a Child's Prayerby Tonya Bolden. Although this book seemed to be lacking in poetry, I loved how it compelled my children to think about the poor and worried and sick. The story is about a boy praying for different people. Lovely illustrations. (Book Rating: 7)

Mazeways A to Z, by Roxie Munro. A fabulous book for children who must sit still for long periods of time. Each page was a maze within a letter of the alphabet with instructions on where to go and other items to find along the way. (Book Rating: 10)

Rosie's Ballet Slippers, by Susan Hampshire. How could I not fall for a book entitled Rosie's Ballet Slippers? I have a daughter named Rose who likes ballet, but I suppose a Sandra or Lily or Ava would enjoy this book too. The illustrations look like they were pictures done from photographs and are done very well. This book outlines all the basics of ballet for a young child. (Book Rating: 7)

Locomotive by Brian Floca. A marvelously well illustrated book that explains all the inner workings of a train trip across the United States back in the day. Accurate (as far as I could tell), and easy to understand, though rather long for anyone under 5.  A Caldecott Award winner as well as a Robert F. Sibert Honor book. (Book Rating: 8)

Mister Bud Wear the Cone, by Carter Goodrich. This book had so many emotional interactions between two dogs and their owner that I must put it in my list of favorites. This is a great book to open discussion with children about shame, frustration, guilt, gloating, bullying, mocking, forgiveness, and sympathy. And it's just a simple book about a dog that has to wear a cone on his head. Nothing feels forced. Simple but well expressed illustrations. (Book Rating: 8)

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker, by Jessica Ahlberg. Very creative perusal through various fairy tales. A little girl and her dog go on a journey through the book's cutout windows going from one fairy tale to the next. Minimal text, detailed illustrations with plenty for children to see and find. (Book Rating: 7)

The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg. This is the author who also won picture book illustration awards for Jumanji and the Polar Express. Excellent alphabet book that acts something like a guessing game as parents and children try to guess what is happening to each letter on each page. I believe these are charcoal drawings. Excellent still life. Phil said this was his second favorite alphabet book. (Book Rating: 9)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Can Happen When We Forget

If I don’t secure my position before sleeping,
by dawn my wounds will continue their seeping.      
Then if I shout not for the doctor, I’ll suppose
In my weakness that my friends have turned into foes.

I’ll make the stars of greatness my competition
for beside their glow my value feels threatened.
Their authority endangers my elusive control,
and their rightness points at my soot-black soul.

So, to attest my worth that vanished overnight,  
I’ll make their art and religion a slight.
I’ll belittle their efforts to stand on their backs. 
I’ll spotlight their flaws to hide my ill acts.

“How does she manage to get so fat?”
“She must be attention-starved to talk like that.”
“I’ll submit not to him nor enlarge his huge head.”
“Their brand of Christianity what good can be said?”

Thus my critiques become self-built certainty
that because I’m not like them, I must surely be
a person of superiority and surpassing worth 
deserving honor and respect henceforth.

And if at my fault-finding anyone snaps,
I can easily prove its all in the facts.
And since I call truthfulness the greatest of virtues,
I prove myself better again with this ruse.

Up goes the cry from the wreck in my tracks,
from speech filled with words intended to slash.
Words behind which I hide vacant spaces 
un-patched one morning when I forgot His graces.

I must before the day overtakes me
remember who’s power o'r all things decrees
that I have great value in Him who foresees,
that one day spotless and strong I shall be.

It is in vulnerability that I strike at a threat.
It is in my humanness each day to forget
that the goodness in me needs no daily defense.
He that paid it, sustains it and petitions it hence.

And if in the morn I remember this way—
He calls me good because of Him who was slain—,
then neither greatness in friends nor shining of stars 
nor the authority of enemies will threaten my heart.