Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apples and Pumpkins

Wow!  Lizzy and Anne Rockwell's Apples and Pumpkins, one of our favorite fall books, received an update.  Take a look at the 1989  cover:

And compare it to the new 2011 cover:

Here's the publishers description:
In Apples and Pumpkins, a little girl spends a glorious fall day picking apples and searching for the perfect pumpkin. This classic story and perennial backlist favorite has delighted audiences for more than twenty-five years, and now it’s been revitalized to reach a new generation of readers. Featuring a new cover and an updated interior with rescanned artwork and reset text, this edition is both familiar and fresh—just like a fall day.

Yep, I knew we had good taste around here.  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie

 Amelia Bedelia is back!  And this time author Herman Parish (nephew of Peggy Parish, Ameia Bedelia's creator) and illustrator Lynne Avril revised Peggy Parish's classic character from an I Can Read book into a picture book.  Parish and Avril present Amelia Bedelia's beginnings as a young girl eager to experience life and intent to confuse word denotations, thus preserving the humor of Amelia Bedelia.  Jump into fall with Amelia Bedelia (Isn't that just a fun name to say?  I love reading it aloud, too!) in Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie (c. 2010).  You can imagine the catastrophic possibilites with Amelia Bedelia visiting a farmer's market . . . to purchase "Granny Smith" apples . . . to take back to Grandma . . . to bake a pie.  Typically Amelia Bedelia saves the day in spite of her unperceptive mishaps, see how Parish and Avril conclude this tale.

Note:  I personally prefer reading or hearing the original I Can Read mishaps of Amelia Bedelia.  However, the kids seemed to enjoy the update better.  To each their own!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dappled Apples

 It's apple season!  Wahoo!  That's cause to do a celebration dance as autumn peeks its head around the corner.  The kids and I are mesmerized by the illustrations in Dappled Apples (c. 2001).  Jan Carr's simple, rhyming text tugs the attention of the tots.  But it's Dorothy Donohue illustrations that beg an encore.

Donohue crafts her illustrations by creating art collages from handmade, textured cut paper.  It has prompted me to attempt an art project with the kids modeled on Donohue's illustrations.  We shall see how it works out.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mouse and Mole

(c. 1993)

We've made some new friends here at my house, friends whom the kids absolutely adore.  And if it was possible, they'd invite them over for a snack and play date.  Would you like to meet them too?  Think of Mouse as a phlegmatic personality: rational, steady, kind, laid-back, and content.  Now contrast him with Mole . . . ah, how to describe Mole.  Well, he needs coddling.  He's not the brightest bulb in the package.  But he's endearing.  And it's Mole's personality that drives the light humor in the Mouse and Mole tales, the delightful creation of author Joyce Dunbar and illustrator James Mayhew.

(c. 1996)

The illustrations first won over the Mister and the Missus, and now we find ourselves saying to each other "Hello, Daffodil!" or "Meet Humphrey Stick."  Yes, the illustrations made us stick around to hear the stories and to discover the illustrator: none other than James Mayhew, already a household favorite.  You see, we first stumbled on Mouse and Mole courtesy of our dear friends Rich and Lori and the DVD they gave us.  The only other time I've recommend that you check out or purchase a DVD was Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit series.  So that should tell you something about the quality of this set of vignettes.  Since each story is brief, you don't have to read (or watch) the entire book (or DVD) in one sitting, which makes for a wonderful bedtime collection and a wonderful collection for a maturing reader.  And, my personal favorite, each vignette depicts a particular season, so when you've completed the whole series, you've experienced a spring, summer, autumn, and winter Mouse and Mole.

(c. 1993)

I especially think that this review from Practical Parenting expresses the our affinity for Mouse and Mole: "Warm and witty illustrations . . . perfect to snuggle up with on a chilly afternoon."

(c. 1996)

I also like the subtle character development in the Mouse and Mole series.  Just read it!  And you'll find yourself chuckling not only with the storyline but with the images they create.  We all know a Mouse.  And we all know a Mole.  And we've experienced uncannily similar situations with each.  I guess the best way to explain the series is likening it to a British version of our American friends Frog and Toad.  In fact, the dedication of the first Mouse and Mole says "for dear old Frog and Toad" with the illustration of Mouse and Mole reading Frog and Toad books.

Note: I was grieved to discover that this wonderful series has fallen out of print.  However, do check your local library, as ours holds the DVD collection.  Also, I had no trouble acquiring the complete set from online bookstores.  But please don't confuse them with a more recent collection listed under the same title yet written and illustrated by a completely different person.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Monday Morning

I can't tell you how thankful I am for all this rain!  Our lawn was beginning to look like we didn't care about it.  It's been so long since our last day of rain that the kids have delighted in this seemingly unusual occasion.  And you know how I feel about rainy days . . . they're the perfect excuse to enjoy pots of tea and snuggle down with some good books . . . oh, and the kids.

Today we're reading One Monday Morning by Uri Shulevitz.  If you haven't checked out a Uri Shulevitz book yet, here's your chance with the perfect rainy day read.  Shulevitz presents an enchanting, imaginative book that also teaches the days of the week and sequencing skills.  And, as in most of Shulevitz's books, his illustrations depict a broader, detailed story than his actual text.  So, really, why would you want to miss out on this enriching book?