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Click to search this book in our catalog A Perfect Day
by Lane Smith

Book list Two-time Caldecott Honor Book awardee Smith tackles the animal world with gusto and joy as he describes the perfect day in the outdoors. A ginger cat snuggles among the daffodils in the sun, and a dog sits in the cool water of a wading pool. Chickadee enjoys the birdseed in the birdfeeder, while squirrel is content with a dropped corncob. But whoa! A large brown bear arrives to confiscate the corncob with a toothy yellow smile. The bear goes on to swallow all the seeds in the birdfeeder, slurp down all the water in the pool, and scare the cat out of the daffodils. So who got the perfect day? Only the contented bear, asleep in the flower bed. Smith's innovative textured artwork and pen drawings give a visceral feel to the sunny day, and his muted palette complements the variety of surfaces and patterns. The humorous surprise ending will make children squeal as they ponder the concept of perfect. Moral: What is perfect for one may not be for another!--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Smith (There Is a Tribe of Kids) takes readers to a house in the countryside in a neatly constructed story that reveals how simple pleasures create a "perfect day" for several animals. Cat couldn't be happier sitting in a bed of daffodils, Dog rests in a cool wading pool, and a boy named Bert ensures that Chickadee and Squirrel have something to eat. Smith's artwork is a riot of color and texture-forceful brushstrokes evoke animal fur, and gestural flowers create blasts of color in the landscape. Then a hulking bear shows up, and Smith uses repetition to cleverly recast the calm declarations of the first half of the book ("It was a perfect day for Cat") as Bear steals Squirrel's corncob, devours Chickadee's birdseed, dumps Dog's pool over himself, and makes giddy flower angels in the daffodils ("It was a perfect day for Cat"). Bear is more galoot than menace, though Smith does conclude with Bert and the other animals bidding a hasty retreat. Perfect, readers will understand, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-An enjoyable afternoon is upended by an unexpected visitor in this charming book by the beloved children's writer and illustrator. It was the perfect day for young Bert, his cat basking in the sunshine, his dog frolicking in a plastic pool, a chickadee enjoying the birdseed-even a squirrel was relishing a corncob. Then a bear lumbers onto the scene and-well, it WAS a perfect day. The simple tale combines the elements of repetition and surprise for a satisfying read that will appeal to young audiences and beginning readers. The gestural illustrations, which have the appearance of paint loosely brushed over a textured surface, expressively capture the mood of each animal. In one image that sums up a spoiled moment, viewers see Bear flailing snow angel-style in the flower bed vacated by Cat-the proverbial uninvited guest who ruined the party. The tale was inspired by a black bear that is a frequent visitor to the artist's studio; a photo of the mischievous creature helping itself to the contents of a bird feeder appears with the author's blurb. VERDICT This gently humorous book is sure to circulate well in any picture book collection. A perfect way to introduce the concept of point of view.-Suzanne LaPierre, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Du Iz Tak?
by Carson Ellis

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-Using intricate illustrations supported by spare dialogue in an invented language, Ellis elegantly weaves the tale of several square feet of ground in the insect world as the seasons pass. Multiple story lines intersect: a mysterious plant bursting from the soil, the rise and fall of a spectacular fort, and a caterpillar's quiet then triumphant metamorphosis into a shimmering moth. The illustrations demand to be pored over, with exquisite attention to detail, from the extravagantly dressed anthropomorphized insects in top hats to the decor of Icky the pill bug's tree-stump home. Much of the book's action occurs on the lower halves of the pages, the ample white space emphasizing the small world of the critters. As the flower and fort grow together and larger animals come into play, the illustrations take up more vertical space until the climax, when the plant blooms and is revealed to be a "gladenboot" (flower) and all of the insects come out to rejoice. As the weather cools, readers are treated to a delightful nighttime spread of the moth finally emerging and flying to a cricket's tune as the decayed flower's seeds dance all around. Though this could nearly work as a wordless book, the invented, sometimes alienlike language seemingly contains real syntax and offers readers the opportunity to puzzle over the meanings of the words and tell the story using their own interpretations. VERDICT This is a title that calls for multiple readings, as there is something new to be discovered each time. Perfect for one-on-one or small group sharing.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Ellis's (Home) bewitching creation stars a lively company of insects who speak a language unrelated to English, and working out what they are saying is one of the story's delights. In the first spread, two slender, elegantly winged creatures stand over a green shoot. "Du iz tak?" says the first, pointing. The other puts a hand to its mouth in puzzlement. "Ma nazoot," it says. The insects marvel at the plant as it grows, build a fort in it (complete with pirate flag), exclaim as it produces a spectacular flower ("Unk scrivadelly gladdenboot!"), then disappear one by one, like actors exiting the stage. Observant readers will notice other changes over the course of the seasons: a fabulously hairy caterpillar spins a cocoon on a dead log, the log opens to reveal a cozy dwelling, and what looks like a twig atop the log is not a twig at all. Ellis renders the insects with exquisite, baroque precision, outfitting them with hats, eyeglasses, and tweed jackets; in a romantic interlude one serenades another with a violin. Generous expanses of cream-colored empty space emphasize the smallness and fragility of these living beings, who move busily along the forest floor at the bottom edge of the pages. Very gently, Ellis suggests that humans have no idea what wonders are unfolding at their feet-and that what takes place in the lives of insects is not so different from their own. Has there ever been anything quite like it? Ma nazoot. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Ellis (Home, 2015) elevates gibberish to an art form with her brilliant account of a few bugs who discover a green shoot sprouting from the ground. Du iz tak? a dapper wasp asks upon seeing it. Ma nazoot, comes the puzzled reply. Next, three beetles come across the young plant, which has grown a little higher, and the question goes around again, Du iz tak? This time, they go to a nearby log to borrow a ribble (ladder) from Icky the pill bug so that they can sit on its highest leaves. The bugs' curiosity and excitement grows along with the plant, which eventually blossoms into a magenta flower. Soon the bugs have built a magnificent furt among its leaves, complete with a rope swing and pirate flag. Eventually, colder weather moves in (evidenced in the sweaters and hats the beetles don), the flower wilts, and the bugs bid their furt adieu. Readers and prereaders alike will find myriad visual cues in Ellis' splendid folk-style gouache-and-ink illustrations that will allow them to draw meaning from the nonsensical dialogue, as well as observe the subtle changing of the seasons. The entire story unfolds on the same small stretch of ground, where each new detail is integral to the scene at hand. Effortlessly working on many levels, Ellis' newest is outstanding.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Fortune Tellers
by Lloyd Alexander

Publishers Weekly The hands of fate deftly propel this original folktale. A seedy fortune-teller profits from gullible and sometimes desperate villagers who seek predictions for a rosier future. One unhappy carpenter takes to heart the seer's hardly helpful advice--``Rich you will surely be, on one condition: that you earn large sums of money''--and looks forward to a prosperous life. Most surprising to the craftsman, he ends up in the right place at the right time and the prediction comes true. Alexander's chipper text has a jaunty and infectious ``just so'' tone. Amazing coincidences fuse the plot elements, but the story's logic remains intact, successfully suspending the reader's disbelief. Hyman's acrylic, ink and crayon illustrations capture the landscape and people of West Africa in vivid detail. Indigenous plants and animals--including comically placed lizards--dot each scene, and the villagers' lushly textured apparel is spectacular. Especially opulent are spreads featuring the fortune-teller's cluttered quarters and the market stalls with their baskets and pottery. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Gr 1-4?A master storyteller and an art maven join forces to create some marvelous, magical images. The texture of life and the colors of Cameroon are interwoven into this telling tale about a young man who wants to see what his future holds. (Sept. 1992)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list Ages 4-8. Alexander's rags-to-riches story combines universal elements of the trickster character and the cumulative disaster tale. Hyman's pictures set it all in a vibrant community in Cameroon, West Africa. An old fortune-teller assures a young carpenter he'll be rich (if he earns large sums of money), he'll be famous (once he becomes well known), etc. Then the old man disappears; the people think he's been transformed into the carpenter, who quickly takes on the fortune-teller's role, learns the portentous babble, and becomes rich, famous, and happy. Meanwhile, we discover what really happened to the old man: he fell out of the window, had a series of accidents, and disappeared without a trace. The energetic, brilliantly colored paintings are packed with people and objects that swirl around the main characters. Bathed in golden light, the carpenter's dreams of wealth, power, and romance look pale beside the magical daily life of the community. You can look and look at these pictures and see ever more detail of patterns and textures in foods, creatures, carvings, basketware, and, above all, the woven patterned cloths worn by everyone in gorgeous combinations. For the last part of the story--the bad fortune that happens as easily as the good--the packed pictures empty out to a view of wide savanna and the old man falling from the sky like Icarus, lost without a trace. With its ups and downs, this is a funny, playful story that evokes the irony of the human condition. ~--Hazel Rochman

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1-4-- A young carpenter, tired of hammering and sawing, seeks out a fortune-teller to see what his future holds. The cagey old prophet promises him a rosy future--well, maybe. `` `Rich you will surely be,' '' says the fortune-teller, if `` `you earn large sums of money.' '' Moreover, `` `You shall wed your true love . . . if you find her and she agrees. And you shall be happy as any in the world if you can avoid being miserable.' '' Pleased with these promising, if ambiguous, predictions, the carpenter leaves, only to get halfway home and decide he has more questions to ask. But the fortune-teller has mysteriously vanished, leaving the carpenter in the quirky hand of fate where, in typical Alexander fashion, his life takes a surprising and humorous turn. The story's warm and witty tone is reinforced by Hyman's masterful illustrations. Expressive figures are dynamically placed against a West African landscape, in colors so rich and clear that they invite readers to touch the fabrics and breathe the air. Visual details--carved wooden stools, traditional cloth patterns, signs in French--add an authenticity to the story (which is actually set in Cameroon), while touches of humor in postures and expressions underscore Alexander's gentle wit. These illustrations are obviously a labor of love. Vibrant with life and good humor, this is a supremely satisfying creation. --Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Doll Bones
by Holly Black

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-At 12 years old, lifelong friends Zach, Poppy, and Alice are ferociously clinging to their childhoods. Using old Barbies, pirate action figures, dolls from Good Will, and their imaginations, they have created an exciting world of characters in an elaborate game. Figuring heavily in their plotline is the Queen, an antique doll of bone china that belongs to Poppy's mother and is strictly off-limits to the kids. She's also incredibly creepy. When Zach's dad throws away his action figures, the boy is so devastated that he ends the game abruptly, leaving the girls hurt and confused. Shortly thereafter, Poppy reveals that the Queen is made of the bones of a dead girl named Eleanor who has been communicating with her at night. The doll appears to be filled with Eleanor's ashes, and she has promised Poppy that she will make their lives miserable if they don't journey to Ohio, find her grave, and bury her properly. After much persuading, Zach and Alice agree to the journey. The Queen gets scarier and scarier as unexplained events begin to occur along the way. Black has created protagonists who readers will care about, and amusing secondary characters, like a pink-haired librarian and a crazy bus passenger who seems to be able to see Eleanor. This novel is a chilling ghost story, a gripping adventure, and a heartwarming look at the often-painful pull of adulthood. Black-and-white illustrations actually tone down the scare factor a little, making this a perfect starter story for budding horror fans.-Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* A trio of adolescents goes on a quest to satisfy the demands of a ghost. Sounds like standard middle-grade fare, but in Black's absolutely assured hands, it is anything but. Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been playing the same make-believe game for years, one involving pirates and mermaids and, of course, the Great Queen a creepy, bone-china doll at Poppy's house. Then Poppy reveals that she's been haunted by a girl whose ground-up bones lie inside the Great Queen, so the doll must be properly buried. Begrudgingly, the three agree to play one last game and hope against hope for a real adventure, the kind that changed you. With heart-wrenching swiftness, Black paints a picture of friends at the precipice of adulthood; they can sense the tentative peace of youth that is about to be demolished. The tightly focused, realistic tale bladed with a hint of fairy-tale darkness feels cut from the very soul of youth: there is no sentimentality, no cuteness, only the painful, contradictory longing to move forward in one's life without leaving anything behind. Stories about the importance of stories ( Maybe no stories were lies, thinks Zach) don't come much more forthright and affecting than this one. Wheeler's sketches ameliorate some of the tension and dread not a bad thing. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Black's best-selling Spiderwick Chronicles pave the way for this powerful stand-alone, which comes with an author tour, in-theater promos, and more.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Zach plays with dolls. Never mind that they're action figures, heroes in a wild, improvisational saga he acts out with friends Poppy and Alice. Never mind that he's a solid student and rising basketball star. Zach is 12, and his father has decided this must stop. While Zach's at school, the dolls go to the dump, and Zach is left with only rage. He quits the game, but Alice and Poppy haul him out for one more quest: a bus trip to lay to rest the Queen, a bone china doll that Poppy swears is made from the bones of a murdered girl. Another crazy quest from Poppy's fertile brain? Or could this ghost story be real? The wonderfully eerie doll, the realism of the kids' improbable logic, and the ache underlying every character's actions create as much a state of existential anxiety as narrative tension. Black captures the adolescent sense that things are about to explode before they get explained. And it's a darn good adventure, too. Ages 10-14. Author's agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator's agent: Jennifer Rofe, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Eragon
by Christopher Paolini

Publishers Weekly: In the first volume in Paolini's planned Inheritance trilogy, 15-year-old Eragon discovers an odd blue gemstone while exploring an infamous stretch of forest. It is a dragon egg, fated to hatch in his care. Eragon quickly develops a psychic connection with the female dragon that emerges, whom he names Saphira ("His emotions were completely open to her mind, and she understood him better than anyone else"). Eragon narrowly escapes doom with Saphira's help, but the uncle who raised him is killed, setting up a robust revenge/adventure tale. The scope quickly expands: Eragon turns out to be the first of a new generation of Riders, a lodge of legendary dragon-riding warriors killed by the evil King Galbatorix. As a result, he becomes the focal point in a war between Galbatorix's forces and the resistance efforts of the Varden. Paolini, who was 15 years old himself when he began this book, takes the near-archetypes of fantasy fiction and makes them fresh and enjoyable, chiefly through a crisp narrative and a likable hero. He carries a substantial Tolkien influence-fanciful spellings of geographical names, the use of landscape as character, as well as the scale and structure of the story itself. But his use of language dispenses with the floral, pastoral touch in favor of more direct prose. The likeness does not end there: the volume opens with a detailed map of Paolini's world, and ends with a glossary and pronunciation guide for his invented language. An auspicious beginning to both career and series. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal: Gr 5 Up-Eragon, 15, is hunting for wild game when he witnesses a mysterious explosion. At the center of the blast radius he finds a polished blue stone marked with white veins. Brom, the village storyteller, has shown interest in it, so it is to him that Eragon turns when it starts squeaking, then wobbling, and then hatches into a majestic sapphire blue dragon. His decision to keep and raise Saphira starts him on an epic journey of Tolkienesque proportions that is only partially told in the 500 pages of this book. Eragon learns that the Empire's cruel and oppressive king will stop at nothing to get Eragon and Saphira to serve him. Training and traveling with Brom, the teen and dragon learn to work together in war and peace, using a combination of traditional fighting arts and magic. They encounter massive humanoid warriors with savage intentions and are befriended by Murtagh, a human warrior with mysterious ties to the Varden and the Empire. Eventually, they seek refuge with dwarves who harbor the Varden, who exist to free the Empire. Eragon does not approach the depth, uniqueness, or mastery of J. R. R. Tolkien's works, and sometimes the magic solutions are just too convenient for getting out of difficult situations. However, the empathetic characters and interesting plot twists will appeal to the legions of readers who have been captivated by the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and are looking for more books like it.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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