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."
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.)