Archive for the ‘2013’ Category

Flora and Ulysses

This year’s Newbery Award winning book, Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, is such a fantastic book! I’m glad it won.

I was drawn to the book by the fun cover art and the promise of a story about a superhero squirrel and his adventures with Flora, the cynical main character. The book has great pictures, including some funny comic strip sections, but I spend the bulk of my reading time in the car LISTENING to audio books so how does this one fare? It’s a great audio book! Kate DiCamillo must have written in descriptive phrases to go along with the audio version of her book because each comic strip section is described in detail and has accompanying action music. The voice talent of Tara Sands makes all the characters engaging and real.

Here at the Allen County Public Library you can enjoy Flora and Ulysses in these formats:

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On Monday the children’s book awards for 2013 were announced. Congratulations to all the winners.

Today’s post is going to focus on children’s picture books that were not eligible for the Caldecott because the artist does not meet the award requirements.  Usually that means they don’t live in the United States.  So here are a few of my favorites that may have ‘gotten away’ in 2013.

It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard is full of surprises.  It starts off easy going, just going to share a story, but wait what is that?  It looks like a…. TIGER! RUN!  The child in the story is having no luck getting away from that tiger.  It’s full of fun and silliness.   It’s a terrific book to read aloud together and act out.  Outlandishness ensues when every time you have to yell TIGER! RUN! again. The illustrations were rendered in ink and digital media.  They are bright, eye-catching, and inviting.  Tankard scans his ink drawings and rebuilds the pictures with the computer. They are collages using drawings instead of photographs.   Tankard hails from Canada.

Whose Egg? by Lynette Evans, illustrated by Guy Troughton has amazing realistic watercolor paintings.  There is a short verse that gives clues to the animals that have laid each egg, then a flap to lift to reveal whose egg it is. Troughton, originally from the UK, now lives in Australia.  He’s a naturalist and loves painting nature. He’s a zoologist and an award-winning artist.  For parents and teachers, Whose Egg? is an informational text book;  children will love to find clues in the pictures and words and guess whose egg it is.

A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na is such a lovely, sweet book about different animal babies.  It contrasts and compares babies that walk, that need help, that have scales, or come from a pouch, and many more.
The illustrations were created in Photoshop by combining handmade painterly textures with digitally generated layers. The handmade painterly textures are enhanced by the thin black lines. The technique used makes the pictures look like collage.  Il Sung Na lives in Korea.

A Letter For Bear by David Lucas is a heartwarming story.  Bear is a letter carrier, but he never gets any mail. One day he has a little mishap and has to knock on all the animals’ doors to get them the right letter.  Then bear thinks maybe he needs to send the animals a letter inviting them to his party.  It’s a Christmas party, but the whole feel of story is not christmasy at all.  The art is beautifully done in geometric designs that harken to Gerald McDermott, and Drummer Hoff‘s Barbara Emberley.  The artist said, “I drew the pictures in dip pen and Indian ink on watercolour paper, adding tone in grey watercolour. I scanned the images in as grayscale, then added the layers of translucent colours. There are only four pure colours in the book:  bright blue, violet, pink and a softer burnt orange colour.  It is printed in pure pantone inks, not in the CMYK process – rather like screenprinting – so the red, for example, is orange overlaid with pink.  It’s rather like an old coloured engraving.”  Lucas lives in London, England.

Gobble You Up! by Gita Wolf, illustrated by Sunita and Prabhat  is a brilliant book, words and art.  Based on a Rajasthani folktale, this story is translated by Susheela Varadarajan and so many more hands helped make this book. You’ll have to check out the artists’ and author’s notes to read the whole process of how this book came to be.
The story reminds me of the Danish Folktale – Fat Cat or There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  In this story a jackal ends up swallowing his friend and a bunch of other animals.
The artwork is so authentic; it’s a beautiful stylized native Indian art called Mandna.  This art form is practiced by women only, and I know I can’t do it justice describing it here.  You’ll have to take a look at it yourself. The artists live in India.

Did you read any books with amazing art that were not eligible for the Caldecott Award?  Please comment and share. And I hope you enjoy the titles I’ve grouped here.

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Early this morning hundreds of librarians gathered at the annual American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting to hear who won the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal. Here they are!

Caldecott Medal Winnerlocomotive
Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca

Honor Books
Journey written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
Flora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Mr. Wuffles written and illustrated by David Wiesner



Newbery Medal WinnerFlora
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Honor Books
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
Dollbones by Holly Black
Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Visit the American Library Association’s website for more information on award winning books, audio books, and videos.

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And The Winner Is…


We had a lovely time this morning talking about picture books and debating which one was worthy of the Caldecott Medal. There are so many great books from 2013 that could be chosen by the real committee but when it came down to the voting here’s our winner:




floraFlora and the Flamingo written and illustrated by Molly Idle

Our honor books were Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca, Journey written and illustrated by Aaron Becker, and If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead.

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January is such an exciting month!  It’s a new year … we have plenty of snow and cold temps here in northeast Indiana to keep things interesting … children return to school after a winter break…and your library holds it’s annual Mock Elections, in anticipation of the REAL American Library Association book awards for children that will be presented later in the month.  On January 27, to be precise.

The library’s Mock Caldecott program will be held this coming Saturday, January 11, from 9am to 1pm.  All adults interested in children’s books are invited to attend this FREE event.  Refreshments will be provided, as well as some wonderful information about picture books, picture book art, and the history of the Caldecott Medal.  We’ll discuss some of the books we think might win the Caldecott this year, and then we’ll hold a vote to choose our own “Mock Caldecott” winner.  Will we choose the same book as the official Caldecott Committee?  Find out on Monday morning, January 27 at 8am EST, when the American Library Association makes its official announcement of the Caldecott winner and other youth media awards from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

We have two more book titles to add to our reading list — these were suggested to us last minute, and we believe they absolutely do fit the criteria.  They are:

 The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan will make you laugh and the illustrations will make you want to look at this book again and again and again.  Sophie Blackall’s art was created using Chinese ink and watercolors, then cut out, arranged and photographed.  The effect is amazing!
  Another book with 3-D style illustrations is Stardines by Jack Prelutsky.  This is a collection of poems, each about an original “animal” — like Stardines — or Swapitis — or Tattlesnakes.  Each poem is accompanied by detailed and very original shadowbox illustrations, created by Carin Berger, that just need to be seen.

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Hopefully you’ve been following our Mock Newbery Pinterest Board about some of the great books for children and Young Adults which were published in the last year.  Here (at last) is the final discussion list for the ACPL Mock Newbery 2014:

We’ll plan to have each book briefly introduced followed by a discussion of that title using the actual criteria used by the “real” Newbery committee. And then we’ll vote to arrive at our Mock Newbery winner.

Here are the details:

WHO:        Adults interested in great new children’s books

WHAT:      ACPL Children’s Services Mock Newbery discussion

WHERE:    Allen County Public Library  900 Library Plaza  Fort Wayne, Indiana

WHEN:      Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

We hope you’ll consider joining us for our “in-person” discussion. You can register online or you can call Children’s Services at 260.421.1220 to register.

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True or False?

A great new series of “True or False?” nonfiction books has just been received at the Library! These books are appropriate to be shared with pre-readers or can be read independently by new readers. Written by Daniel Nunn, there are five titles in the series:

Each book follows a pattern. On the right-hand page, a statement is made; the reader must decide if that statement is true or false and then turns the page to find out if they are right and to find a bit of additional information. For example, a statement in the Colors book is The red light on a traffic light means “Go!  True or false? Turning the page leads to the answer: False! The read light means “Stop!” The green light means “Go!”

These books are so much fun, with such clear, colorful, and bold pictures,  that I think I will need to incorporate one into an upcoming storytime.

Check ’em out at your Library!

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