Review: Sleep Like a Tiger

Sleep Like a Tiger
Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really fine text (and how do you make a bedtime book, a theme so common in children’s books, still seem fresh and new?) and imaginative, compelling illustrations make this picture a complete package. Zagarenski, illustrator of Red Sings from the Treetops, which was one of my favorites, has just the right touch here — a bit of magical realism, with the pictures becoming more dreamlike as the girl falls asleep. I love how the parents don’t argue about her not being sleepy, but just say okay, and give her a bedtime task (putting pj’s on, brushing teeth). I love the patterns of the illustrations (in the wallpaper, the clothing), the stuffed tiger among the animals she sleeps with, the allusions to familiar and not so familiar animals sleeping patterns; the dog is “curled up in a ball on the couch, where he’s not supposed to be” and later she “right where she was supposed to be.” Most of the illustrations have an angular quality, yet the dog and the tiger seem wonderfully soft and textured. Much to appreciate here!

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A Poem to Remember

Make the Earth Your Companion

Make the Earth your companion.

Walk lightly on it, as other creatures do.

Let the Sky paint her beauty- she is always

           watching over you.

Learn from the Sea how to face harsh forces.

Let the River remind you that everything will pass.

Let the Lake instruct you in stillness.

Let the Mountain teach you grandeur.

Make the Woodland your house of peace.

Make the Rainforest your house of hope.

Meet the Wetland on twilight ground.

Save some small piece of Grassland for a red kite

on a windy day.

Watch the Icecaps glisten with crystal majesty.

Hear the Desert whisper hush to eternity.

Let the Town weave a small basket of togetherness,.

Make the Earth your companion.

Walk lightly on it, as other creatures do.

-J. Patrick Lewis

from:

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 poems with photographs that Squeak, Soar, and Roar! Edited by J. Patrick Lewis (National Geographic, 2012).

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Today’s Weeding Gem

More weeding fun, with Herbert’s Space Trip, from 1965.

What is this mysterious planet Herbert travels to?? In the chapter entitled, “I’ll be Doggoned” Herbert lands on the dog planet.

Pretty quickly, the dogs put Herbert in the zoo:

Soon, however, Herbert is being instructed in the dog language

and teaching them to play baseball.

1965: post-Sputnik, pre-Apollo 11 — what a discovery Herbert has made!

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The Joy of Weeding

Is finding treasures like these:

and

What discoveries have you made lately??

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Mazza Fall Weekend Conference Lineup

This weekend is the Fall Conference at the Mazza Museum (International Art from Picture Books) in Findlay, Ohio. I’m very excited to be attending! And here is why:

David Macaulay

Erin Stead

Philip Stead

Erin & Philip Stead

David Ezra Stein

Gary D. Schmidt

cover of What Came from the Stars

Jon J. Muth

Mo Willems

How amazing is this???!!!

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November is Picture Book Month!

Here is the display I created for picture book month:

Yes, it’s heavily focused on Caldecott winners, since I have Caldecott on the brain as I’m planning my first mock Caldecott discussion this January. And Chris Raschka’s A Ball for Daisy is right up on top as he led off the discussion of why picture books are important on the Picture Book month website.  Living in Ohio (or Swing State Hell, as Jon Stewart puts it), it’s hard to keep the election off my mind, hence So You Want to be President? is right up there too!

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Playing at the library

Yesterday (November 3) we celebrated International Games Day  @ your library. The indoor hopscotch board was very popular. It was great to see so many children (and adults) trying it out, and stopping to play a game.

It was great to hear a dad explaining how the game of checkers works to his son (if you start on the black squares, you have to stay on the black squares), to see a mom demonstrating how Twister is played to her toddler, to see families engrossed in the game of Life. All in all, a very fun day to be @ the library!

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A library in a lighthouse

We started visitinImageg and climbing lighthouses a few years ago on our annual visit to St. George Island. First at Cape San Blas, then the St. George Lighthouse, and today the Crooked River Light near Carrabelle.

In the keeper’s house museum next to the light (a replica; the original house is nearby but privately owned), there is a library box.

Did you know that there were rotating library boxes in the late 1800s? A small collection of books was kept in a wooden box and these were exchanged on a regular basis. What kind of books did they contain? According to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy “the books were carefully selected from books of a good standard appropriate to the families who would use them. While largely fiction, other classes of literature were included in reasonable proportions including technical books when requested.” Their website (http://www.michiganlights.com/lhlibrary.htm) gives more details including a list of actual books circulated. The library box I saw wasn’t full, but they re clearly trying to find the original books. I saw the beautiful embossed blue leather cover of A.T. Mahan’s The Gulf and Inland Waters. In the photo below you can see the strikingly decorated cover of Paul Du Chailly’s My Apingi Kingdom: with life in the Great Sahara, and sketches of the chase of the ostrich, hyena, &c.  from 1870.

As a librarian, I appreciated the description of how the process worked:

In 1876 portable libraries were first introduced in the Light-House Establishment and furnished to all light vessels and inaccessible offshore light stations with a selection of reading materials. These libraries were contained in a portable wooden case, each with a printed listing of the contents posted inside the door. Proper arrangements were made for the exchange of these libraries at intervals, and for revision of the contents as books became obsolete in accordance with suggestions obtained from public library authorities.” (Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy).

The life of a lighthouse keeper and  his family could be extremely isolated. I’m fascinated that reading was offered as a means of relief/compensation. What excitement must have accompanied the arrival of a new box! What books would children have looked for among these contents? Mine certainly enjoyed climbing the lighthouse!

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Liar & Spy

Anticipation.

A new book by Rebecca Stead. Fabulous review by a friend on Goodreads lucky enough to have an ARC. Finding out ARCs will be available at ALA and begging a colleague to search for it while there (though didn’t have to beg to hard because she’s also a fan.)

Could any book live up to this hype?

I gave it my ten year old son, a voracious reader, who has not yet read When You Reach Me. I said as little as possible, hoping not to bias him, but to get a real feel for the book.

And?

The title is a winner. He noticed that right off the bat: spy, huh? Binoculars hanging off the S in the title . . . cool.

Here’s his review in his own words:

Liar and Spy is good because you never know what’s going on until the end.  There is a LOT of suspense but not too scary. You can guess who the spy is but not who the liar is. The taste test is strange but cool. It is awesome how every one’s name is unique.  

I wasn’t disappointed. What would you expect from someone who has a “Sir Ott” on the wall of her house? Georges is named for the famous French painter, but the “s” at the end of his name, though silent, is a source of teasing at school. Georges’ family is struggling economically, so they have sold their house and are moving to an apartment. Georges is struggling at school to cope with changing friendships and bullying behavior . . . typical middle school stuff.  When his dad signs him up for the “Spy Club” via  sign in the building basement, he meets Safer, who trains Georges into being more observant.  Despite it’s slim size, this book is a school story, family story, and friendship story all fully realized, plus with a satisfying bit of mystery interwoven throughout.

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A trip down the Amazon

The Great Snake: Stories from the Amazon (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2008) is a fascinating collection of nine stories interwoven with factual details of  author Sean Taylor’s travels through the Amazon rainforest. The inclusion of these elements sets the stories in context and makes the book work as nonfiction as well. Taylor’s descriptions  convey an intense sense of place, detailing the flora, fauna, smells, and the environment of the rain forest and the people he meets and swaps stories with. Taylor’s source notes are a joy, listing the individual from whom he heard the story, the place, and often other versions. An endnote from the author explains the current destruction of the rain forest and the risks this environment is facing. The only additional thing I would have liked was a map of the locations mentioned.

Taylor has visited the rainforest multiple times and is married to a Brazilian. Illustrator Fernando Vilela lives in Brazil and his work has won awards from the Brazilian branch of IBBY. Villela’s woodcut and print illustrations wonderfully complement the text, often weaving around it, enclosing the text, or becoming part of the story. You can get a sense of their intricacy and vibrancy by viewing the Google preview of the book: http://books.google.com/books?id=hDodnFV7LjcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=great+snake+stories+vilela&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ozPeT-OjLYbq8wSTosH0Cg&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Here is an excerpt of one of the factual notes, to give you a feel of the sensory descriptive language Taylor uses:

The river is a great brown mirror. In it I can see the blue of the sky, the white of the clouds, and, far off,  the green of the forest. Perhaps a quarter of all living species in the world live here in the Amazon. There are spiders as big as baseball caps. There are monkeys which weigh little more than chickens’ eggs. There are frogs which moo like cows. There are fish which jump two metres out of the water to snatch beetles off branches.  There are butterflies so bright that you can see them a mile away.

     Sometimes I think people here tell so many extraordinary stories because they are surrounded by so many extraordinary creatures. Sometimes I think it is because so much mystery lies in the water and the rainforest. (p. 12)

I especially appreciate the combination of factual information with stories from the people of the rain forest. A book which will help cultivate a sense of wonder.

For more great non-fiction recommendations, check out Nonfiction Monday.

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