Sunday, May 12, 2013

Picture Book Party


Title: World on a String
Author: Larry Phifer
Illustrator: Danny Popovici
Publisher: Storytime Works
Pages: 36
Review Copy: Netgalley
Release Date: June 4, 2013

Summary: Picture book that offers a uniquely uplifting perspective on loss. 

World on a String is the story of a young boy, Charlie, who finds and befriends a big red balloon. Soon, Charlie and his balloon become best friends. They play together. They go to school together. They do everything together.Then, one night, Charlie’s balloon comes untied in a thunderstorm. At first, Charlie is very sad. He imagines that his friend is lost, tangled and all alone. However, by remembering the happy times they shared, Charlie is able to shift his perspective, deal with his loss and, ultimately, he imagines his balloon as a very important part of the starry sky. -- image and summary via Goodreads

Review: I fell in love with the playful illustrations from the very first page. They bring the words to life and add depth to the story. The soft yet vibrant colors keep the reader floating gently through to the end. The bubbly bath and pirate scenes are sure to amuse readers. The text could have been stronger without the rhyming, but it has a positive and helpful message. World on a String would speak gently to a child who is grieving the loss of something or someone. The text was okay, but the illustrations could almost carry the book alone. I hope to see more illustrations by Danny Popovici in the future.

Title: Good Night, Monkey Boy (Board Book)
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Audience: Ages 2 to 5
Pages: 36
Review Copy: Edelweiss
Release Date: May 14, 2013

Summary: Who's that eating a banana? Swinging from the shower curtain? Making faces in the mirror? Why, it looks like a monkey! 

But not to Mommy. Mommy knows it's her own monkey boy, and even monkey boys need their sleep. But first, they need to clean up their room and take a bath. Then she'll read a story. "Good night, Monkey Boy...and no more bananas!" -- image and summary via Edelweiss

Review: This is a sweet bedtime story that speaks of family love. Monkey Boy is a charmer in spite of his monkey-like behavior. Any child who has been a little too wild during the day, will appreciate that Monkey Boy still gets plenty of loving and fun. Young children will be sure to enjoy his sly banana smuggling. His facial expressions are also adorable.   It would be fun to mimic them while reading. 


Title: dreaming UP
Author: Christy Hale
Publisher: Lee and Low
Pages: 40
Review Copy: Netgalley
Release Date: October 12, 2012

Summary: A collection of illustrations, concrete poetry, and photographs that shows how young children's constructions, created as they play, are reflected in notable works of architecture from around the world. -- image and summary via Goodreads

Review: The thought that went into this book amazes me. The book highlights some amazing  architecture. What sets the book apart though, is that for every structure, there is a mixed media illustration of young children creating a similar structure with everyday materials such as stacking cubes, legos, mud or even the cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls. There is also a concrete poem that also speaks of the children's creations while it gives the reader another way to imagine or "see" the shapes that make up the two structures. There are four layers to the book: the photographs, the artist's illustrations, the text, and the shape of the text. Tracing the many shapes was a lot of fun and young readers will want to get out their building materials and get to it. This was also a multicultural work. The authors chose works from all over the world and there is a diverse group of young people in the illustrations. I was glad to see that there was a mix of both boys and girls too.

Sometimes as an adult reading to a young child, I wish that the authors provided more information in simple non-fiction texts. Happily, I discovered that there are fantastic endnotes. They included brief, but interesting biographies of the architects and details about each work of architecture. Two of the fourteen were female, but there is a gender imbalance in that profession so this may just be a reflection of that reality. I loved this book and will definitely be adding it to our collection to inspire our future engineers and architects.


  1. Hello, hello.I thought that it would be awesome to get acquainted with you after finding you through your blog Rich in Color.It's so hard finding other people who are openly passionate about this subject, so i'm so glad to connect with you and all the other bloggers who contribute to your blog.

    Hope i can see you back at my blog.It too talks about multiculturalism in books.And i'd love your input XD

    1. I am glad you stopped by! Thanks for sharing your link. I love your blog and am happy to know it exists. I look forward to getting to know you and your work.