ONLY MY DAD AND ME

June is the month to honor dads.
What children’s book is your ode to fatherhood?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Dad

NameplateKristisGemIONLY MY DAD AND ME
Text © 2003, Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Illustrations © 2003, Tiphanie Beeke

ONLYMEANDMYDADPicture Book Fiction

Age Range:  2-5 years

Grade Level:  Preschool-K

Harper-Festival, HarperCollins Publishers

Award
2004 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award Winner

When it’s only my dad and me, We pick shells from the sand, And jump waves hand in hand. ~ ONLY MY DAD AND ME

Only My Dad and Me, is a wonderful rhyming book that takes the young reader through seasonal rituals. This book resonated with me as I read it with my children because the setting is always outdoors, which was our favored place to explore. The double flaps of the book reveal how time spent together can build a lifetime of beloved memories that celebrate the friendship a child has with their father.  Beeke’s saturated hues and watercolor style further celebrate Satin’s capricious narration. Their married simplistic style creates an overall feel of energetic love, that Only a Dad and child share.  The perfect picture book to celebrate the Father’s Day season.

~ Kristi

ONLYMYDADANDME ONLYMYDADANDMEII____________________________________________________________________

We go sailing away. “IT’S SUMMER! HOORAY!” When it’s only my dad and me. ~ ONLY MY DAD AND ME

Kids love buried treasure. This quiet little gem provides the joy of discovery with whimsical watercolor surprises on hidden double flap pages. Your young ones will ones enjoy opening the folds to spot a dancing squirrel amidst autumn leaves, a winter snow bunny eating a carrot, a spring scarecrow and a bluejay nest, summer seashells and fishing mice, during four seasons of adventure with a bunny father and child.

Kudos to Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Tiphanie Beeke for creating such a sweet tribute to fatherhood.

~ Anna

ONLYMYDADANDMEIIIONLYMYDADANDMEIV

KEM Sapphire

Watch for Kristi’s gem again next week!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book is your ode to fatherhood?

July’s KidLit Gem Theme - Reptilian Tales

MY DAD IS BIG AND STRONG, BUT . . .

June is our month to recognize fathers.
What children’s book would you recommend for Father’s Day?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

About favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Dad

NameplateAnnasGemIMY DAD IS BIG AND STRONG, BUT . . .
Text © 2012, Coralie Saudo
Illustrations © 2012, Kris Di Giacomo

MYDADISBIGANDSTRONGBUTCoverPicture
Book

             Fiction

                 Age Range:
4-8 years

              Grade Level:
Preschool-Third

       Enchanted Lion Books


Awards

Kirkus, Starred Review

At first, I try to be nice. ~ My Dad Is Big And Strong, But . . .

This father/child picture book is a French import that shows how humor and tenderness can survive translation. In it kids everywhere can experience the universally exhaustive side of bedtime manigances (That’s French for shenanigans. Aren’t you impressed?) The protagonist must convince his father that it is bedtime; that he’s read him enough stories; and no, the dark is nothing to fear. What a delightful way to affirm a strong and playful bond between a father and child. All this while empowering the child with a newfound empathy for his or her caretaker.

I hope Coralie Saudo’s deadpan text will make you laugh out loud while you study Kris Di Giacomo’s unique and funny illustrative style with its muted and earthy color palette. Wouldn’t you love to be a little birdie in the corner as Saudo and Di Giacomo tuck children into bed? With their humor and creativity, it must involve entertaining negotiation.

Fathers: experience My Dad Is Big And Strong, But . . . with your children. It might not make the lights-out process less eventful, but it’s sure to make the ritual more fun.

~ Anna

MYDADISBIGANDSTRONGBUTIII

MYDADISBIGANDSTRONGBUTII

MYDADISBIGANDSTRONGBUTI

And when he looks at me with those pleading puppy dog eyes, I give in every time and read him another story. ~MY DAD IS BIG AND STRONG, BUT . . . (the next page)

MYDADISBIGANDSTRONGBUTIV

GEM Ruby

Watch for Kristi’s pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book would you recommend for Father’s Day?

THE EMPORER’S EGG

June is our month to honor our fathers.
What children’s book makes you think of your dad?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Dad

NameplateLousGemITHE EMPORER’S EGG
Text © 2002, Martin Jenkins
Illustrations © 2002, Jane Chapman

THE EMPORERS EGGPicture
Book


Nonfiction


Age Range:
4-8 years


Grade Level:
Preschool-
3rd Grade


Candlewick
Press


And because he’s egg-sitting, he can’t go off to the sea to feed. So that means two whole months with an egg on your feet and no dinner! Or breakfast or lunch or snacks.”
~ The Emporer’s Egg

With June honoring fathers, let The Emperor’s Egg serve as a shout-out to all those single dads, stay-at-home fathers, and any guys who shoulder the bulk of child-rearing. And yes, I’m also talking about penguins here.

The Emperor’s Egg draws us into Antarctic family life from a male Emperor penguin’s point of view. After the female lays an egg, she disappears to feed all winter. The male warms, protects, and hatches the egg, then feeds the chick until the female finally returns to land.

Stellar non-fiction picture books intertwine facts with emotion-evoking narrative. In The Emperor’s Egg, author Martin Jenkins slips in non-fiction tidbits while getting us to really care and root for the penguins. Illustrator Jane Chapman’s soothing acrylics capture charming penguin body language, while bringing life and depth to a barren landscape.

Whatever your family situation, if you’re looking for a Father’s Day book that really embodies dad devotion, check out this gem.

~ Lou

THEEMPORERSEGGIV ___________________________________________________________________

And when it gets really cold and windy, they all snuggle up together and shuffle over the ice in a great big huddle.
~ The Emporer’s Egg

THE EMPEROR’S EGG is an EGGcellent tribute to fatherhood; plainly stating the sacrifices that are made as the Emperor patriarch. I love how the narrative begins with the extremes of nature while the illustration portrays a simplistically painted landscape. The illustrations are seemingly simple, yet masterfully rendered. Much like the extremes of the Arctic cold and starvation, the bold brushwork allows the onlooker to feel the heaviness of the dire situation. Then, CHIP, as though the sound of the newborn chips away the icy cold, the narrative and brushstroke’s shift and we are introduced to the feathery ways of parenting a penguin chick. This to me is a true picture book, as neither the narrative nor the illustration would behold such beauty, if it weren’t for the other. A true union that hatches a gem worthy of royalty.

~ Kristi

THEEMPORERSEGGIII ____________________________________________________________________

It’s mom! She starts trumpeting “hello” and the father penguin starts trumpeting “hello” and the chick whistles. The racket goes on for hours, and it really does sound as if they’re extremely pleased to see each other.
~ The Emporer’s Egg

There’s something special about waddling penguins, newborn babies, and doting dads. Martin Jenkins, author of Chameleons Are Cool and Grandma Elephant’s in Charge, combines them to add another irresistible animal-centered picture book to the Read and Wonder series. Through Jenkins’ enthusiastic and conversational writing style young and old readers will fall in love with the biggest penguins in the world. Their unconventional, gentle, and efficient tag team-style cooperation toward making a family offer subliminal inspiration to us humans as we strive for a higher level of selflessness and commitment. Jane Chapman’s lifelike illustrations and Jenkins’ clever footnotes pull the story together for an authentic nonfiction experience. If you enjoyed National Geographic’s March of the Penguins, you’ll enjoy The Emporer’s Egg.

~ Anna

THEEMPORERSEGGII

KEM Diamond

Watch for my pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book makes you think of your dad?

IDEA CLONES

How many times have you written a story or thought of an idea, only to read or see something similar, somewhere else, a day, a month, or a year later?

I wonder what Dan Santat, creator of The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend and the creators of Big Hero Six thought when they first saw each other’s chubby white guy protagonists.

BEEKLEIIIBigHeroSix

Did they notice the physical similarities?
If so, did they say, “Oh, look! Great minds think alike! I’m so flattered!”? Or, did they say words you shouldn’t express in picture books or PG movies?

FeastIIdea clones haunt me.

I had just finished a manuscript about a dog who glories in the food of his master, loses all hope when his master changes his eating habits, and regains hope again when a meatball plops on his tail. Then I saw the short film The Feast.

My heart plopped like that meatball.ANNOYINGABC

I wrote an alphabet manuscript revealing the ABCs through children’s name. Then I read Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner, an alphabet book revealing the ABCs through children’s names.

Annoying? Yes.

I wrote about an ostrich who wants to fly. FLIGHTSCHOOLThen I read Flight School by Lita Judge, about a penguin who has an ostrich friend who wants to fly.

Seriously?

I changed the character to a pig. Then I saw a television commercial with a flying pig and remembered Mo Willems’ Today I Will Fly.

Is nothing sacred?

So I changed the protagonist to a giraffe. FLYDUMBOFLYThen I saw Birds Can Fly and So Can I, by Noa Nimrodi.

Sigh . . .

How about a Mouse? Or better yet, an elephant, you say?

You’re killin’ me.

Idea clones aren’t new:

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
Abraham Lincoln

Idea clones don’t haunt the pros.

SeenArtThe most successful artists don’t sweat over being original, they sweat over being authentic.

Look at Beekle. Dan Santat knows his creation is a totally different guy than Big Hero Six. He’s laughing all the way to DreamWorks Animation, with his Caldecott Medal.

ArtNMaxLook at Art. He’s the central character who makes for funny wordplay in Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s Seen Art?, David Wiseman’s Art and Max, and Kelly Light’s Louise Loves Art.

Everyone loves Art. No one cares that his name isn’t original.

 

LOUISELOVESARTReally, there’s not an original idea out there. If you can imagine it, someone else can and likely has. It’s like naming your child “Ava,” thinking you’ve thought of the most original name in the world.

Luckily, no one else is going to create an Ava or an Art just like your Ava or Art. So, in our own small way, we can be original in our authenticity.

Here’s to chubby white guys, Avas and Arts. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

HUSH LITTLE BABY

May is the month to honor mom.
What children’s book is your ode to motherhood?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Mom

NameplateKristisGemIHUSH LITTLE BABY
Text © 1997, Sylvia Long

HUSHLITTLEBABYcoverBoard Book
version
of the
well-known lullaby

Fiction

Age Range:
Infant -
7 years

Grade Level:
Preschool -2nd

Chronicle Books
LLC


AWARDS

Child Magazine “Best Books of 1997″
1997 Bookbuilders West Award

Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to show you a hummingbird. If that hummingbird should fly, Mama’s going to show you the evening sky. ~ Hush Little Baby, by Sylvia Long

Bedtime was such a special ritual for my children. And thanks to Sylvia Long’s, Hush Little Baby, we all sang a lullaby together as we read this book.  Long’s magical version of the lullaby quietly takes the reader on a journey out the bedroom window, all the while, reassuring the young child that Mama will be there at every turn of the adventure. Long’s rich illustrations are as peaceful as the setting sun, and as beloved as the creatures that scurry to bed at dusk. This book is a tribute and a celebration of motherhood, and all the blessings it beholds.

~ Kristi
____________________________________________________________________

When the nighttime shadows fall, Mama’s going to hear the crickets call.  ~ Hush Little Baby, by Sylvia Long

Sylvia Long’s masterful illustrations have the timeless appeal of Clement Hurd’s Runaway Bunny and Milo Winter’s The Hare and the Tortoise from The Aesop for Children.  Long says she changed the classic lullaby’s promises of materialistic reward (Papa’s going to buy you . . . ) to words offering comfort in the natural world. (Mama’s going to show you . . .) My thoughts: Papa needs to buy Mama a diamond ring. Fussy bedtime bunnies won’t find contentment in jewelry. Kudos to Long, for taking something beautiful and making it even better.

If you loved this cuddle time board book, you’ll also love Marla Frazee’s charming 2007 version, Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song With Pictures.

~ Anna
_____________________________________________________________________

HUSHLITTLEBABY-SYLVIALONG

Copyrighted material

HUSHLITTLEBABY-SYLVIALONGII

HUSHLITTLEBABY-SYLVIALONGIIIKEM Sapphire

Watch for Lou’s pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book is your ode to mom/motherhood?

June’s Theme - KidLit Gems for Dad

GASTON

May is our month to recognize mothers.
What children’s book mothers go above and beyond?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Mom

NameplateAnnasGemIGASTON
Text © 2014, Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrations © 2014, Christian Robinson

GASTONCover450Picture
Book

Fiction

Age Range:
4-8 years

Grade Level:
Preschool-Third

Antheneum Books
for
Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

Awards

Kirkus, Starred Review
Horn Book Magazine, Starred Review
Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
Publisher’s Weekly, Best Summer Books 2014

Mrs. Poodle admired her new puppies, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. ~ Gaston

Gaston is a story about a delivery room mix-up that goes right. What’s not to love? It has humor. Fi-Fi? Foo-Foo? Ooh-La-La? I bet Kelly DiPucchio’s critique group spit cappuccino out of their noses when they first read these names out loud.

It has smarts. Alliterations please the ears: “There was much to see. Daffodils. Ducklings. Dogs.” Attention-getting cues engage: “Would you like to see them again?”

It has heart. Despite parenting alone and discovering a post-delivery mix-up, the canine supermoms, Mrs. Poodle and Mrs. Bulldog, raise well-adjusted,  thriving offspring. This is the perfect book for those who question their place in the world. While researching Gaston, I was surprised by nature vs. nurture debates.  My take: While every family situation is different, one element remains the same. Belonging isn’t about similarities. It’s about love.

Christian Robinson’s retro illustrations, including the Poodle and Bulldog family pictures; make me miss my sentimental supermom; and my fairly normal, but unique gold, orange, and green childhood.

~ Anna
___________________________________________________________________

From that day forward the families met in the park every afternoon to play. Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette taught the poodle puppies a thing or two about being tough.

Likewise, Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston taught the bulldog puppies a thing or two about being tender. ~ Gaston

Gaston reminds me of Romeo & Juliet, two families from opposite sides of the tracks, circling their territory. This age appropriate picture book’s delightful alliteration, rhymes and Matisse-esque illustrations contribute to the age-old adage, “opposites attract”.  Children will delight as the “brutish or brawny” and the “proper or precious” unite. Three cheers for the mothers in this story that wisely, stand-by as Gaston and Antoinette explore their true identities. And unlike Romeo & Juliet, where the families are meddling, there is a happy ending to this love story.

~ Kristi


GASTON1GASTON2GASTON3GASTON4

GEM Ruby

Watch for Kristi’s pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book moms excel in the motherhood department?

I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE

May is a month for mothers.
What children’s book makes you think of your mom?

Welcome to KidLit Gems!

Join us in a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.

This month’s theme: KidLit Gems for Mom

NameplateLousGemII LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE
Text © 1997, Lisa McCourt
Illustrations © 1997, Cyd Moore

I LOVE YOU STINKY FACEILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE1Picture Book, Fiction

Age Range: 3-7 years

Grade Level:
Preschool-
2nd Grade

SCHOLASTIC,
CARTWHEEL BOOKS
A division of Scholastic Inc.

1998 National Parenting Publications Awards Honor Book

“But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a Cyclops, and I had just one big, gigantic eye in the middle of my head?” ~ I Love You, Stinkyface

Here’s one of my own family’s favorites! Imagine all the sweetness of the classic picture book Mama, Do You Love Me? but with dinosaur claws, slimy seaweed, and bug sandwiches tossed in. In I Love You, StinkyFace, author Lisa McCourt creates a bedtime exchange between a mother and son with just enough silliness to keep the ‘mush factor’ in check. The mother’s funny, reassuring responses validate each reader’s uniqueness. No wonder Scholastic snapped this up!

~ Lou
___________________________________________________________________

“Then I would look right into your one eye and say, “I love you,” and I would sing to you until your one droopy eyelid finally closed and you fell fast asleep.” ~ I Love You, Stinkyface

How do you write a picture book that allows mothers to express their unconditional love for their children in a non-gooey, non-sappy, non-gushy way (even when we are gooey, sappy, and gushy)?  Author Lisa McCourt knows. You insert the magic word:  “stinky.” Add “dinosaurs,” “monsters,” and “aliens,” and gooey, sappy, gushy mothers can get away with saying the “l” word eleven times in a row–thirteen if you read the front and back covers. Love, love, love!

Cyd Moore’s thoughtful and playful illustrations, particularly the child’s embrace of the mother’s face and the one-eyed monster in pajamas, lift the story to a whole new level of wonderful. Children will love looking for the monkey, bunny, toucan, and tin man.

~ Anna
____________________________________________________________________

“But, Mama, but Mama, what if I were a Green Alien from Mars, and I ate bugs instead of peanut butter? ~ I Love You, Stinky Face

I can’t think of a better board book tribute for mother’s day. Lisa McCourt’s I Love You Stinky Face is the epitome of a mother’s unconditional love. “Mama” is certain she can manage any creature her child morphs into and nothing can change that, not even a: skunk, slimy swamp monster or alien. Cyd Moore chose muted tones and playful, yet ominous creatures for the illustrations that strike the perfect balance of scary, yet quiet for a bedtime story. And, like life, there are scary creatures out there that just need a little maternal love to tame them. If only all the world had “Mama’s” wisdom.

~ Kristi


ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE2Note:

These photos are from the abridged board book.

ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE3ILOVEYOUSTINKYFACE4KEM Diamond

Watch for my pick next!

We want to hear from you!
What children’s book makes you think of your mom?
Extra question for moms: What children’s book makes you feel motherly?