The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

Come along on a journey to eastern Africa, where elephants roam and zebras graze in the Serengeti. This is the breathtaking setting of Jerry Pinkney's wordless telling of The Lion & the Mouse, Aesop's tale that celebrates kindness and courage. 

Is your young reader rambunctious and confident like a lion, or more quiet and unassuming like a mouse?  The beauty of Aesop's classic tale The Lion & the Mouse is that neither of these personalities is more admirable than the other, for both are celebrated in their own way. 

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Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal, The Lion & the Mouse is exquisitely illustrated in watercolors that enhance the underlying gentleness of the story.  The only words are the occasional onomatopoeia of wildlife sounds as well as the putt putt of the hunters' truck. This is a book to savor and linger over and cherish. Enjoy! 

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Nana in the City

by Lauren Castillo

When a little boy spends the weekend with his nana, who lives in an apartment in the city, he is unsure about the new experiences the city offers. But with Nana's special help, he quickly discovers that cities are a perfect place for Nanas to live and boys to visit. 

Is your young reader a city child like Eloise, or not accustomed to the hustle and bustle of big city life like the little boy in Nana in the City? If the latter, your young reader might share some of the little boy's fears. Nana in the City inspires independence and being open to new things. Lauren Castillo's book shows young readers that visiting new places and having new adventures is not such a scary thing after all! 

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Maple

by Lori Nichols

 

Maple is a book about the friendship between two maples, Maple the girl and her maple tree. Throughout the seasons Maple and her tree entertain each other with snowballs, games of make-believe, and quiet times of simply enjoying each other's company . Maple sees the joy and happiness that comes from a good friendship. Caring for her tree prepares her for the important job of being a big sister and, like any good sister, she shares her special friend with the new baby.

In day to day life it is easy to pass tress without really seeing them. But without being sappy (ha ha), Maple reminds us to pause and appreciate the friendship that trees offer. 

The pages of Lori Nicols's book are brought to life with whimsical, child-friendly illustrations that perfectly capture the simple happiness of childhood. Especially vivid are the maple tree's leaves that seem to glow and dance above Maple's play. The tree is just as much a character as Maple is, and will inspire young readers to find a tree friend of their own!  

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Also in this issue, Walter the Art Cat makes an appearance! Can you find him?

Maple Collage

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Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything

by Scott Magoon

What's an artist to do when he's painted everything? That's just the question Hugo the elephant artist asks himself when he discovers that he has run out of ideas. A suggestion from his friend Miles sends the pair on a trip to Paris, where Hugo will discover more than just the sights of the city but also a whole new way of looking at the world around him.  

Even the youngest artists can find themselves in a rut, and not just in their creativity. Hugo and Miles In I've Painted Everything shows young readers that, sometimes, one small change can spark a new burst of imagination and creativity. So, this week we are exploring how to look at the same old things in a whole new way!  

In addition to the inspiring story, Scott Magoon's cleverly detailed illustrations give readers lots to look at. This is one of those books where you will want to pull it off the shelf time and time again, just so you can find all the funny details (can you find the bird listening to audio guide in a museum?). 

We hope you enjoy traveling to Paris once again this week. How many sights does your young reader recognize in Hugo and Miles that they visited last week in Crêpes by Suzette?

 

This week's activities are a part of the 2015 Paint-a-thon. Check out EmmaOwl.com for 101+ painting ideas for kids during the month of August!

 

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

by Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend is an absolutely adorable book that kids are going to beg to hear over and over again.  It celebrates the power of imagination, the joy of friendship, and the tremendous fun that can come from doing everyday things when you have a best friend. Most children have an imaginary friend at some point whose name and appearance quite often baffle the adults in their life (my cousin had two imaginary friends: Joe Hunk and Sue Kleenex...we're still wondering about that!). Beekle shows us the importance of these imaginary playmates and how all friendships, real or imagined, are a wonderful thing. 

The Adventures of Beekle - offtheshelfblog.com

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Rechenka's Eggs

By Patricia Polacco

I was utterly captivated by Rechenka's Eggs from the very first page. The old world feel, the beautiful mystery of the friendship between Babushka and Rechenka, not to mention the exquisite illustrations of the decorated Easter eggs, all combine to make this one of my favorite books. Young readers are sure to love the thought of sharing breakfast with a goose, the wonder of the onion domes of the architecture, and the joy of a new friend who stays with Babushka forever. While the story takes place around Easter, it is such a beautiful tale of friendship that it would be lovely to read any time of the year. 

You Might Also Enjoy: The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

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The Perfect Nest

by Catherine Friend
illustrated by John Manders

Where to start with what made us fall in love with The Perfect Nest? First of all, it is fun and silly, but never talks down to its readers it is filled with hijinks and plotting, but also caring and friendship. You will smile, you will laugh, and you will be touched by its final sweet message. The Perfect Nest is rolicking barnyard adventure that shows us what happens when an omelet-craving cat tries to outsmart a chicken, a duck, and a goose, and winds up with more than he bargained for. 

Bonus: Get a behind-the-scenes look at how illustrator John Manders created the pictures for the Perfect Nest. Then, check out his Etsy shop!

 

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Oliver

by Birgitta Sif

Do you know an Oliver? Are you an Oliver? What exactly is an Oliver? Well, Oliver is a little boy who embraces his individuality and is perfectly content with his days full of play. His rich imagination and his faithful toy companions keep his days full of fun and adventures, until one day his tennis ball bounces away... Read the story and find out where his tennis ball leads him. 

'Being yourself' is a lesson we try hard to teach kids, but is one we  often struggle to remember as adults. Oliver shows us that it's okay to just be yourself and presents a wonderful opportunity to chat with your young readers about following their own paths and be happy with who they are. 

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Please Bring Balloons

by Lindsay Ward

Isn't there something enchanting about carousels? The moment the ride begins you are zooming through the air upon a magical beast, the lines between fantasy and reality immediately blurred. And these thrills are not limited to the days of childhood, for as soon as the ride is moving you can return to that state of mind.

Please Bring Balloons is the story of a girl named Emma who finds a mysterious note under the saddle of a carousel polar bear. With the help of some balloons, the pair travel through the starry sky on an adventure, charmingly depicted through colorful, fanciful cut-paper illustrations.

Perhaps the reason this book draws you in is author Lindsay Ward's special connection to carousels. If you read the back flap of the book jacket you will read that her parents met while painting carousel animals, so her deep connection to the magic of carousels is quickly felt by the reader!

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Zephyr Takes Flight

By Steve Light

The wonders of flight have fascinated mankind for generations. From soaring eagles to birds migrating in V-formations, we have all wanted to fly above the clouds. In our own little corner of the world, we are fascinated by flight on a smaller scale: hummingbirds and butterflies have been finding their way to our backyard butterfly bushes, coneflower, and lantana. Slowly but surely we are adding more plants to attract these creatures that enchant us with their graceful flights of fancy, as they stop on their journey from wherever they have been to wherever they are going. We hope they speak fondly of us when they arrive at their destination!

Our featured book this week is also a flight of fancy complete with flying pigs, a secret workshop, and an adventure to a magical land. Join our little heroine, Zephyr, as she does a triple loop-de-loop spectacular into a soaring imaginative adventure. 

 

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