Friday, February 21, 2014

“Maple” by Lori Nichols

Age: Picture Book (2-5)
Genre: Fiction

Before a little girl named Maple was born (“When she was still a whisper”), her parents planted a maple tree in her honor. As Maple grows, so does her tree. She loves to play with her tree, or simply watch its leaves dance. But Maple sometimes wishes she had someone else to play with. One day she is surprised to find a new tree growing…and a new baby on the way! Maple is going to be a big sister! And she will share with her sibling the joys of trees.

When I stumbled across this book at the store this week, I read it and had to buy it.  I loved this story of the friendship between a girl and her tree. The pictures are cute and warm and green and show the joys of being outside. I especially like the illustrations of Maple lying under the tree, looking up through the green leaves. I thought the author was very creative to use the growing of a new tree as a symbol for an upcoming birth. This book takes the usual new sibling story and gives it a wonderful, leaf-twirling spin. Maple will make you smile and want to take her home with you, too.

Bibliographic Information:
Nichols, Lori. Maple.  New York, NY: Nancy Paulson Books, 2014.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

“Dino Pets” by Lynn Plourde and illustrated by Gideon Kendall

Age: 2-5 years
Genre: picture book

I recently came across this book at the library and remembered using it in my classroom when I was a preschool teacher. I had used Dino Pets with one- and two-year-olds during our unit on dinosaurs, and they always enjoyed it. Dino Pets follows a young boy who takes home all different kinds of dinosaurs for pets, but none of them works out. He picks the biggest dino, the smallest, the longest, the scariest, but either they don’t fit in his house, they run away, or they frighten his family. He runs out of dinosaurs to get from the pet shop and is sad, but in the end, all the dinos come back to him because, “No one likes to sleep alone.” This is a cute story about trying to find just the right pet that adds in the clever turn of the pets being dinosaurs. I like that it shows an assortment of dinosaurs that are not often used in other books, and an author’s note at the back tells the name of each dinosaur featured in the book as well as some information about it. Kids may enjoy listening to the rhyme in Dino Pets and seeing the funny scenes when the dinosaurs interact with humans. Kendall’s bright and friendly illustrations really bring the story to life and don’t make the dinosaurs seem scary. This is a fun, imaginative, and educational book.

Bibliographic Information:
Plourde, Lynn. Dino Pets.  New York, NY: Dutton Children’s Books, 2007.