Bear Despair

518DdLZqx6L._SX300_by Gaëtan Dorémus, Enchanted Lion Books (2012).

Summary: In this wordless picture book, Bear is sleeping when his Teddy Bear is stolen by Fox. Bear is so mad at Fox he eats him up! Then Teddy is  stolen by Lion, who throws Teddy off a cliff. Bear eats him up, too.  Bear is then stolen by a hawk and an elephant—read the book to find out what happens and how Bear finally gets his Teddy back.  Artwork is very interesting, almost like the book was drawn with a scratchy ink pen.

Uses: A great book to introduce a discussion about why we should not take things that aren’t ours.

Awards: Starred review by Publisher’s Weekly, New York Times book recommendation.

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.



Blue Chicken

bc-coverby Deborah Freedman. Viking, 2011.

Summary: In this clever picture book, Chicken seems to literally jump off of the page! Chicken just wants to help, but she gets into a pot of blue paint and creates a big ol’ mess. Beautifully done, with realistic looking splashes of watercolored ink. A book that will keep kids laughing till the end.

Uses: A great book to introduce kids to the medium of watercolor. Also, since the book was inspired by the poem, The Red Wheelbarrow,  read this poem to children and then have them draw a picture of it.

Awards:  Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2011, Kirkus Reviews and BookPage “Best Children’s Books of 2011”, Eric Carle Museum “Top of the Shelf: Best Picture Books of 2011”, Exhibited in The Original Art 2011 at the Society of Illustrators, Children’s Book-of-the-Month selection,Children’s Choices 2012 Reading List, Georgia Children’s Book Award Nominee, 2012-2013, Booklist “Top 10 Arts Books for Youth: 2012.”


All the Water in the World

allthewaterby George E. Lyon and Katherine Tillotson (illustrator), Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (2011).

Summary: This book introduces the water cycle to a preschool/early elementary audience. Beautiful illustrations, full page spreads, lots of color and even a vertical spread!

Uses: Water/science unit. For example:  talk about the water you and your students use every day. What are sources of water in your home and at your school? How does water help you accomplish what you need to do every day?

Awards:  School Library Journal & Booklist starred reviews, CBCC Choices, ALA Notable

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.



Grandpa Green

2012by Lane Smith, Roaring Brook Press (2011).

Summary:  Grandpa Green is a gardener. But he was a boy once, too. In this book, Grandpa Green’s great-grandson walks through a topiary sculpture ode to Grandpa Green’s life. We find out in the end that now, Great-Grandpa forgets things. But his garden helps him remember all the important stuff! Poignant and plainly, magical.

Uses: What an interesting way for children to learn about gardening! Also a fun introduction to the new word “topiary” and what that is and how people create them. Could be an interesting and sensitive introduction to Alzheimer’s of a grandparent or family member, too.

Awards: 2012 Caldecott Honor, NYT Best Illustrated Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book, Society of Illustrators Silver Medal, Amazon Best Book, Kansas City Star Top 100 Books, Barnes & Noble Best Book, School Library Journal Best Book, Seven Impossible Things Top 10 Book, Time Out New York Kids Best Book, Junior Library Guild Selection.

Read at the Knoxville Public Library.


Along a Long Road

alonglongroadby Frank Viva, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2011).

Summary: Drawn in only 5 colors, readers speed off on a bicycle ride along a glossy, yellow road that goes through towns, by the sea and through a country.  Was created as a single piece of 35 foot (!) art and the continuity shows–page by page as the story flows along nicely.

Uses: Use to introduce or reinforce prepositions: up, down, and all around! Have students draw a picture to represent each one after reading the book together.

Awards: The New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2011, School Library Journal’s Best Books 2011, An Amazon Best Book, Chicago Public Library: Best of the Best 2012, Finalist: The Governor General’s Literary Award (Illustration), Kirkus: Seven Impossible Things, Chicago Public Library: Best of the Best 2012, Shortlisted: Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, Illustrators 54: The Society of Illustrators.

Read in the Knoxville Public Library.



61ayvM3949L._SX300_By Laura V. Seeger. Roaring Book Press, 2012.

Summary: Vibrant illustrations and die-cut pages make this a very pretty book.  It discusses different shades of green (forest green, lime green, fern green, etc.).

Uses: A wonderful book for a young adult art class! I’d love to see it used to introduce different shades of the same color. Have students create (and name!) their own shade of green.

Awards: Caldecott Honor, Kirkus Best Book, Publisher’s Weekly, Horn Book, School Library Journal & Kirkus starred reviews

Read at the Knoxville Public Library.


Jack and the Baked Beanstalk

jack-and-the-baked-beanstalk-by-colin-stimpson1by Colin Stimpson. Templar, 2012.

Summary: A fractured fairy tale!  Jack and his mom run a little café, but business has dried up. Jack buys a can of baked beans with their last few pennies. His mother, angry, throws it out the window. It grows a magical baked beanstalk. Jack climbs it and meets a giant that is kind, but bored of always counting his money. So Jack takes him back down the beanstalk and the giant helps to save his family’s business!

Uses: Have students compare/contrast the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk with this tale.

Awards: Starred reviews in both Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. Recommended by NYT online book page.

Read in the Knoxville Library.