Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Miss Alison's latest book reviews

As a book reviewer for School Library Journal, our Children's Librarian, Alison Donnelly reads and writes about fiction and non-fiction titles for various age ranges.  Here are her reviews as published in the June issue of School Library Journal.  If you are interested in reading any of these titles, please let us know and we can order them for you.

You Are a Gift to the World/The World Is a Gift to You by Laura Duksta, illustrated by Dona Turner. Published by Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky.

K-Gr 2–This flip-sided book is cleverly designed to contain two stories with the same ending, repeating the format of the author’s I Love You More (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2007). “You Are a Gift to the World” is a sweet ode to a child and the joy that she brings to her parents and the world by virtue of being. Flip the book over, “The World Is a Gift to You” is an elemental story of the value of the natural world and how things we take for granted are precious and worth revering. The artwork is charming and comforting. The images of children with their families are reassuring and gentle, and the middle “ending” page of both stories is sure to be enjoyed over and over.

Hush, Hush! by Margaret Wild illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. Published by Little Hare, distributed. by Trafalgar Square.

PreS-K–Because he is not yet sleepy, Baby Hippo takes a walk through the jungle. He hears a constant “Hush, hush!” as the parents of the other animals gently encourage them to settle down. Of course, the Hippo’s journey makes him very tired, and soon he snuggles up with his mother. The large illustrations, saturated with color, are soothing, simple, and sweet, and the story is gentle and comforting. But with so many bedtime stories available, this appealing book by the team who created Kiss, Kiss! (S & S, 2004) may be an additional purchase.

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis, illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone. Published by S & S/Aladdin.

K-Gr 2–Kilodavis introduces the difficult themes of bullying and being different, based on the experiences of her four-year-old son. The book tells of a boy who “plays dress up in girly dresses” and is laughed at when he wears them to school but has the support of his family. It is tenderly written and simple enough to be understood by young children. Readers learn about the child’s experiences, good and bad. At the end, powerful questions are directed to them for thought and discussion: “If you see a Princess Boy….Will you call him a name? …Will you like him for who he is?” DeSimone’s illustrations are colorful, bright, and positive. Children may ask why the people depicted have no faces, which may spark discussions about how we are all the same. This is a book about unconditional love, social acceptance, and a strong family. It is also a call for diversity, tolerance, and an end to bullying and judgments. It will be well placed in elementary school counseling offices as well as in school and public libraries.