picture book

Book Review: Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong

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apple pieApple Pie 4th of July
Written by Janet S. Wong
Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 1, 2006
Ages: 4-7, 40 pages
Genre/Topics: 4th of July, Immigrant Families

A Chinese American girl is unhappy as she sits inside her parent’s market while 4th of July festivities take place outside. Her parents are busy making chow mein and sweet & sour pork, but the girl states that nobody wants Chinese food on the 4th of July. Her father replies that fireworks are Chinese. The day continues as she hears a parade she’d like to attend. A few customers wander inside for soda and ice cream, but nobody buys the Chinese food. The girl doesn’t think her parents understand American things, even though her mother loves apple pie and her father has lived here as a boy. Finally, evening arrives and customers enter to buy Chinese food for dinner. When the market closes, the family watches the Chinese fireworks while eating ‘American’ apple pie.

Apple Pie 4th of July is a great children’s book to highlight different sides of what it means to be American. The United States is referred to the ‘melting pot’ or ‘tossed salad’, so there’s no formula of what exactly makes an American. The girl learns that she can be proud of her heritage while enjoying stereotyped ‘American’ apple pie. The illustrations and plot are simple for young ages to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Journey by Aaron Becker

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journeyJourney
Illustrated by Aaron Becker
Published August 6, 2013 by Candlewick Press
40 pages, 7+
Genre/Subject: Wordless, Imagination, Travel
Awards: Caldecott Honor Book 2014
 
Journey tells the story of what can happen with a red marker and an imagination. A girl desires an adventure when she asks each family member to fly a kite, play ball, and ride a scooter. Everyone says no, so she’s bored again in her room until she notices the red marker. She draws a red door and heads out on a journey. Her red marker creates a boat, balloon, and even a flying carpet through her journey. Hopefully, her red marker helps bring her journey home.
 
I thought Journey was a delightful and colorful wordless book. There are small details you notice the second time reading. Journey can be enjoyed by all ages, but older ages can take full advantage of asking what will happen next on her journey. Children can write about what they would do if given a magic marker to take them anywhere. Journey is a fun book that will have your imagination to new places.
 

 
 

Wordless Wednesday: Wave by Suzy Lee

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wave
Wave
Illustrated by Suzy Lee
Published April 16, 2008 by Chronicle Books
40 pages, 3+
Genre/Subject: Wordless, Beach
New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 2008

 Wave is the story of a young girl’s day at the beach. The girl appears with a flock of seagulls and at first she is hesitant to go into the water. The girl and seagulls are in charcoal grey on one page and the ocean waves are blue watercolors on the adjacent page. Soon the charcoal and watercolor combine as the young girl has fun in the ocean. Finally, one huge wave causes the girl to get swept away onto the shore. She leaves the beach in a blue dress as a part of the ocean always stays with her.

I thought Wave had a simple storyline, but the drawings add depth. I love how her day begins boring and grey then splashes of blue are upon her as she plays in the ocean. Wave is a good wordless picture book for younger ages, since the plot is simple. All ages will enjoy the illustrations and colors.

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Wordless Wednesday: Sector 7 by David Wiesner

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Sector 7
Written & Illustrated by David Wiesner
Published 1999 by Clarion Books
Genre/Subject: Wordless Picture Book, Clouds, Imagination
Ages: 6+

A boy goes on a field trip to the Empire State Building in New York City. However, it’s a very cloudy day and not much can be seen at the Observatory. A friendly cloud whisks the boy away into the sky. They travel far until they reach their destination: Sector 7. Sector 7 is the control station where clouds arrive and depart. The clouds have a problem that hopefully the boy can solve.

I read Sector 7 to two classes and both groups were skeptical about a wordless book. A student asked, ‘You mean we’re making the story?’ Yes, that is exactly what occurred during read aloud. The students were captivated with picture details and making the story in their own words. Sector 7 is a good book for older ages to pick up clues in the story. Students can write or draw about what their cloud would look like. I recommend this book.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Zoom by Istvan Banyai

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ZoomZoom
Illustrated by Istvan Banyai
Published July 1, 1998 by Puffin
Topics/Genre: Wordless Picture Book, Mystery 
Ages: 3+
 
Zoom is a fun wordless picture book for all ages. The book gradually zooms out to show more of the story. It moves slowly step-by-step zooming out to reveal more. You may think you know where the story is going, but it always keeps you guessing what will be next. I don’t want to describe everywhere that Zoom takes you, since that would spoil it. The story starts at a small element then gradually moves to a more complex environment. Go ahead and guess where the next page zooms out. I included the first three pictures to get a taste of the fun, but it doesn’t wreck the surprises. If you enjoy Zoom the author wrote a similar book, Re-Zoom.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino

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dougDoug Unplugged 

Written and Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino 
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on February 12, 2013 
Genre/Topics: Robots, Adventure, Humor
Ages: 4+, 40 pages 
 

Doug is a robot who is plugged in each day by his parents to become the smartest robot. All the information about the city is downloaded into Doug, but then he notices a pigeon outside the window. Doug decides to unplug and ventures into the city. He learns more about the city than the information that was downloaded, such as garbage cans smell, flowers grow out of sidewalks, and fire engine sirens are loud. However, there was one thing that Doug never downloaded. A boy in the park asked Doug if he wanted to play, but he knew nothing about playing. Soon Doug and the boy play hide and seek and other games in the park. Doug made his first friend. He went home to his robot parents who still thought Doug was the smartest robot.

I thought Doug Unplugged was a very cute and humorous book. We’re all fully aware how much time children (and adults) spend on computers and electric devices. Sometimes they don’t even know how to experience the real world. I also enjoyed Doug Unplugged, because the people and robots are bright colors so there’s no race. Go ahead and unplug yourself from all devices and explore the world!

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Book Review: Rain! by Linda Ashman

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rainRain! 

Written by Linda Ashman 
Illustrated by Christian Robinson 
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on March 5, 2013 
Genre/Topics: Positive Attitude, Realistic, Weather
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

Two individuals look out their window and see a rainy day, yet they have completely different perspectives about the day to come. One individual is an extremely happy young child who shouts with joy that it’s a rainy day. He cannot wait to put on his frog rain hat and boots. The other individual is a grumpy old man who grudgingly puts on his rain gear. The  viewpoints continue on the rainy day as the boy jumps in puddles and pretends to be a frog whereas the old man frowns at others. They both enter a coffee shop and the boy happily eats his cookie while the man drinks his coffee with a frown. The boy accidentally bumps into the older man who yells at the boy to be careful. The negative feeling almost settles on the young boy until he notices the old man forgot his hat. He quickly gives the man his hat. The frown slowly disappears as he jokes to try on the frog hat too. They walk away both with smiles on their faces. This was a very cute and simple book that demonstrates your attitude can make all the difference.

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