Monday, 16 December 2013

Five of my favorite books from 2013

In the spirit of lists, here's five of my favorite books published in 2013 (in no particular order):

Molly O'Doon ties a message to a balloon and sets it loose in the sky. The balloon rises higher and higher until the fields look like patchwork and then it crosses the sea.  It eventually comes to rest on the porch of another little girl who happens to be right next door.  They are instant friends. Beautiful illustrations with a magical rendering of perspectives.

A young boy lives by the beach with his father who works long hours and days as a fisherman.  One day, after a storm, the boy is alone on the beach and finds a whale. He brings it home and tries to care for it.  His father discovers the whale and together they return him to the sea. The boy learns a difficult lesson as does his father. Stunning illustrations and a gentle story. 

The life of a loaf of bread, slice by slice, is charmingly captured here. The story unfolds as each slice disappears in the tummies of the baker, the ducks the birds and the dogs. This one left E shouting 'Hooray for bread' for weeks on end.

Sammy and Paul, the plumbing toucan brothers, enjoy veritable celebrity status in our house. We read this book so much that the other day E overheard a woman on the bus talking about 'two cans' of beer and he asked me why they were talking about Sammy and Paul. 

I'm sneaking in a vintage one here because 2013 has been a year of Lyle for us. Lyle is the oh so lovable crocodile who moves in to the Primm's house on East 88th Street. Mayhem, then order, then tears, then laughter, all follow in due course.  They don't make many book characters like Lyle.  He's not to be missed.

And here are two books on my list that are currently unavailable in the UK (!).  I'd hope to give them to E for Christmas but clearly many others out there had the same idea.

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska/Daniel Mizielinska

Under the Ocean by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud

 Happy holidays everyone!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Letter for Bear and more Christmas picks

A few years ago I started a tradition of giving E a new book at the beginning of the festive season. He likes reading them regardless of the time of year, and I like the idea of creating a book trail from Christmas to Christmas. This year our pick was clearly going to be none other than David Lucas' new release, A Letter for Bear, from the marvelous UK publisher Flying Eye Books.

Bear is a dedicated postman who regularly battles ice and snow to ensure that every animal receives their post on time. After a while he realizes that it's a lonely job and he'd like to meet some of the the other animals in town.  He delivers an invitation to each of them for a party and is over the moon when they all eventually turn up and welcome him into the fold. And the biggest surprise of all is the stack of post he receives in return, thanking him for a wonderful party and wishing him a Merry Christmas.  This is a sweet story with a happy ending that gives you a chance to talk about feelings. The illustrations are enchanting in a limited range of colours, and David Lucas' characteristic drawing style works beautifully for the Christmas season. 

Our picks from previous years are still going strong and I can highly recommend them both.  Llama Llama is up to his usual antics in Llama Llama Holiday Drama (I think most of of will be able to relate). The double page spread of Llama Llama collapsed in a heap is particularly comical.

I Love Christmas is a beautifully illustrated little tale from the imminently loveable Ollie. The text is sparse with recognizable references to Christmas that E likes to point out each time we read it. I fully expect this one to make an appearance again this year.

All of our Christmas books are about more traditional celebrations (albeit with animals rather than people).  For a great reference on multicultural Christmas books I suggest reading this post from the whatwedoallday blog.   And if any readers are looking for picture book recommendations for their Christmas list then please give me a holler and I'll do my best to assist!