Saturday Morning Coffee Talk, July 28
Picture Book Carnival

The Coffee-Table Stack, July 31st

Multiple editions of the Garfield books, bought at a library sale.

A book of stories by Katherine Mansfield. Why did I ever say these were funny? Maybe one was, but the rest are not. Sure, she writes with humor on occasion, but there's a undercurrent of sadness, if not tragedy, that runs through the collection. I am reminded of both Chekhov and Edith Wharton. For grown-ups, by the way.

Once Around the Sun, by Bobbi Katz, a joyful picture book of poems about the months of the year. Love this book! Great for an early-elementary classroom or the home bookshelf. In LeUyen Pham's large, beautiful illustrations a young African American boy is the lead kid experiencing all the glory of the seasons. Winner of a 2007 "Growing Good Kids" award.

Japanese Children's Favorite Stories, compiled by Florence Sakade. A third edition of a 50-year-old collection of folk tales. Charming watercolor illustrations (by Yoshisuke Kurosaki) and good stories, including "Peach Boy," "The Magic Teakettle," and "Why the Jellyfish Has No Bones."

The Seaside Switch, by Kathleen V. Kudlinski. Nonfiction picture book about the changing tides. Right up our alley. Reviewed by Elaine Magliaro at Wild Rose Reader.

Shells! Shells! Shells!, written and illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. A cheerful introduction to sea shells and mollusks. (There is no reason not to be cheerful when introducing mollusks; don't tell me otherwise.) Presented as a dialogue between mother and son Teddy bears on a beach walk, the book uses photographs and cut paper collage for the pictures. For children aged four to eight.

One Small Place by the Sea, by Barbara Brenner. This informative picture book about tide pools features vivid colorful pictures in a "scientific folk-art style," as the jacket flap says, by Tom Leonard. Although there are, at most, only five sentences per page, I still learned a few new things.

Lightship, by Brian Floca. Pen and ink and watercolors render life on a particular kind of ship, a kind of floating lighthouse, that is not in service any more. This picture book was reviewed by David Elzey at the excelsior file. David E. said it's "strangely compelling." I agree. (Am I the only one thinking Caldecott honor for this one?) David E. also wrote,

Very simply what Floca does is show us the bits and pieces that made up the routines of a crew aboard a lightship. While there is no story there is still a sense of being taken along for a tour with everything from the mundane oiling of the engine to the near-misses with larger ships in the fog.

D'Aulaires' Norse Gods and Giants (Doubleday, 1967). Stories of Odin, Loki, the Valkyries, Thor, et al. Junior refuses to have anything to do with this lovely old book (same with Harry Potter), so I am going to read it myself. A classic. (Note: In 2005 the New York Review Children's Collection reissued it as D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.)


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Ooh ooh, thanks for the recs. I'm off to go see if our library has Once Around the Sun and Japanese Children's Favorite Stories.

And I LOVE that Lightship!! It's in my hugely-huge to-review picture book stack.

When it comes to the Floca book, you're not alone. If there's better art in a picture book this year, I haven't seen it yet.


I'm glad you liked ONCE AROUND THE SUN. I think it's a fine collection. It's the kind of poetry book I would have used in my second grade classroom. The poems could serve as models for writing collaborative class poems about the months. The illustrations are terrific, too. I thought it was worthy of a Cybils nomination last year.

Jules, you're welcome! I really enjoyed all of these books.

Chris, another fan! Isn't the art cool?

Elaine, oh, I really like "Once Around the Sun" so much. I may even have to buy a copy. You're right in thinking it Cybils-worthy. I hope that the new award brings it some more attention.

The first-ever picture book carnival is up on my blog, Thank you for participating! Please consider submitting a picture book for the next one I'm hosting on back-to-school books at:


The library had 'em. Can't wait to see them! Thanks...

Hey, Jules. Hope you like them. Don't you LOVE the library? I go there at least 3 times a week.

I love the Barbara Brenner books - One Small Place in a Tree is also nice.

I never even heard of that one until now, Eisha. I will look for it. Thank you! Junior likes the tide pool one quite a bit.

I liked Lightship so much that I read it three times in a row and then started foisting it on my friends here at the library. I had no idea that such a thing had ever existed, and the presentation was lovely and flat-out interesting.

It turns out that my son and husband have been on that very same lightship, which is now docked at the South Street Seaport Museum. It took us a couple of readings before anyone put two and two together--oh, THAT boat.

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