Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year 2020---One Little Word Part Two

How is it that two days, sixteen hours and a half, have passed in this new year already?  By the time I am finished with this blog post only a few minutes will remain in this third day.  One of my favorite authors, Margarita Engle mentioned in a post:

My abuelita followed the Cuban tradition of Las cabanuelas, in which the way you spend the first 12 days of January determines the way you will spend the year's 12 months.  I plan to read, write, and daydream.

If this is true, and it makes perfect sense, my days of this year will be spent reading and writing about children's literature, walking with my canine companion Mulan, and weather permitting, enjoying all the out-of-doors has to offer.

In my endeavor to showcase as many 2019 fiction picture book titles as possible before delving into the 2020 books, I have a new list to add to yesterday's postOne Little Word of my choosing will be assigned to each book.  Links are provided to the publisher, author, illustrator and other informative insights about the book.  The books are listed in order of release date.  Let's keep making 2020 the best year we can.  We need to for all those who come after us.


I Am Love: A Book of Compassion (Abrams Books for Young Readers, September 17, 2019) written by Susan Verde with art by Peter H. Reynolds

In this first-person narrative we follow an individual who seeks to alleviate darkness from another person's world by searching for a light in their own heart.  This leads to speaking about all the various forms love can take, including love of self.  In a word---together.

I can listen and not say a word.  I can be there.
Love is being present.

I can hug and hold and say, "Everything will be alright."
Love is comfort.


I Want A Dog (Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, September 24, 2019) written and illustrated by Jon Agee

Pulling her little red wagon, a young girl enters the Happydale Animal Shelter in search of a dog.  There she is offered a multitude of options; none of which are a dog.  It isn't until she is finally asked about the qualities which make a dog special, that she leaves with a perfect match.  In a word---priceless.

Welcome to Happydale Animal Shelter.  Are you looking for a porcupine?  A weasel?  I've got an adorable armadillo.

No, thank you.
I want a dog.

A dog is an excellent choice.
A dog makes an excellent pet.

But wouldn't you prefer this awesome anteater?



Anxious Charlie to the Rescue (Candlewick Press, October 1, 2019) written and illustrated by Terry Milne
Nerdy Book Club

A lyrical narrative about a little dog believing he must not stray from his set routine each day.  When a friend needs his help, what will Charlie do?  Will his worry get in the way of his selflessness?  In a word---liberating.

At bedtime,
Charlie checked
under the bed . . . BOW WOW!

and behind the curtains.

And he arranged his toys in a neat row:
"All into bed. Rabbit, Panda, Ted,
to keep us lucky.  Dog, Doll, and Ducky."


A Map Into The World (Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., October 1, 2019) written by Kao Kalia Yang with illustrations by Seo Kim
Watch. Connect. Read. a chat between the author and Mr. Schu
The Lerner Blog a video made by the author about this book
The Lerner Blog the story behind the story

A beautiful blend of multiple stories about immigration, generations living together and understanding the wisdom each offers and how we celebrate birth and ease the grief of death.  In a word---lovely.

The green house became our house.  I helped Tais Tais hang the special story cloth about how the Hmong got to America on the empty wall by the big window of the living room.
We saw an old man and woman through the window.  They waved.  We waved back.
Later, my mother and father brought me across the street.  The old man's name was Bob, and the old woman's name was Ruth.  Up close, I could see that they were even older than Tais Tais.


Roar Like a Dandelion (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, October 1, 2019) written by Ruth Krauss with drawings by Sergio Ruzzier
Activity pages
Nine Kinds of Pie---Philip Nel's Blog---a focus on this book
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast---in depth post at Julie Danielson's blog with lots of art and chats with Sergio Ruzzier

Twenty-six zany, spirited activities are introduced to readers, taking us from A to Z.  How many can you or will you do?  In a word---charming.

Jump like a raindrop
Kick away the snow
and make spring come
Look under the bed for poetry


Beware! (Charlesbridge, October 8, 2019) written by Bob Raczka with illustrations by Larry Day

Using only the letters a, b, e, r, and w, a tale is spun about the meeting between a bee and a bear.  They both realize it's best to make your own judgments about individuals instead of relying on others' assessments.  In a word---delightful.

A wee bee, Bree.
A rare bear, Abe.

"Bree, beware a bear."
"Abe, beware a bee."


The Hike (Chronicle Books, October 8, 2019) written and illustrated by Alison Farrell
Hello Small Empire---an amazing chat with Alison Farrell including process thinking and art for this title

Three young girls set off for a day in the nearby woods, climbing to the top of a mountain and back down again.  Along the way they and readers see a multitude of flora and fauna appropriately labeled as if written in a journal.  And at the end we are given a peak in eight journal pages kept by Wren.  In a word---preservation perfection. (Okay, I couldn't resist using two words.)

The Hike by Alison Farrell from Let's Talk Picture Books on Vimeo.


Just in case you want to fly (Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, October 8, 2019) written by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Christian Robinson
The Children's Book Podcast

Words from the narrator offer encouragement to readers no matter what they want to do; someone will be there with them every step of the way.  And if they need it, a way back home will be provided with tender affection.  In a word---enchanting.

just in case you want to fly
here's some wind

and here's the sky

here's a feather
here's up high

and here's a wing
from a butterfly


THE UPPER CASE: TROUBLE IN CAPITAL CITY (Disney Hyperion, October 15, 2019) written by Tara Lazar with illustrations by Ross MacDonald
100 Scope Notes---Book trailer premiere and interview with author and illustrator
Picture Book Spotlight---Tara Lazar

Private I is back (7 ATE 9: THE UNTOLD STORY) on a case with loads of grammatical puns and wordplay guiding readers through his investigation.  Where have all the capital letters gone?  Is he the last one?  What is that golden glow in the distance near Cursive Loop?  In a word---genius.

I was dozing in my chair when Question Mark barged into my office.  He looked bent out of shape.
"What's the matter, Mark?" I asked.
"Don't ask," Mark said.  "I'll run out of ink."
True. This town is full of questions.


Sunny Day: A Celebration of the SESAME STREET Theme Song (Random House, October 22, 2019) music by Joe Raposo, words by Bruce Hart, Jon R. Stone and Joe Raposo, illustrations by Christian Robinson, Roger Bradfield, Ziyue Chen, Joe Mathieu, Tom Lichtenheld, Sean Qualls, Selina Alko, Emily Winfield Martin, Joey Chou, Kenard Pak, Rafael Lopez, Pat Cummings, Brigette Barrager, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Mike Curato, Leo Espinosa, Greg Pizzoli and Dan Santat
Educator Guide

The dust jacket, book case, endpapers, title page and interior double-page pictures are illustrated by a gathering of renowned artists in this tribute to the song which accompanies this show.  You'll be singing the song out loud as you try to figure out who created each picture until you get to the end where all is disclosed.  In a word---wonderful.

Sunny day,
Sweepin' the clouds away.
On my way
To where the air
is sweet.


Kiki & Jax: the life-changing magic of friendship (Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, November 5, 2019) written by Marie Kondo with illustrations by Salina Yoon

The method of tidying by only keeping those things which bring you joy by author Marie Kondo is featured in this first children's picture book.  Kiki and Jax, charmingly portrayed by Salina Yoon, have different personalities, one is a collector and the other is a sorter. They find more enjoyment in their friendship by combining their strengths.  In a word---inspirational.

The next day, Jax asked,
"Do you want to go swimming?"
"Sure! Let me get my swimsuit!" said Kiki.
Kiki searched her dresser,
her closet,
and even her toy box,
but she couldn't find it anywhere.
So Jax went home.
He missed Kiki.  But things got in the way.


You Loves Ewe! (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 26, 2019) written and illustrated by Cece Bell
The Children's Book Review---interview with Cece Bell
Nerdy Book Club 

Donkey and Yam (who we met in I Am A Donkey!) and now Ewe are characters along with Ram in a side-splitting tale of word play mix-ups and an introduction to homonyms.  Love is in the air which elevates the hilarity.  This is read aloud gold.  In a word---marvelous.

Cece Bell's favorite passage according to an interview is:

Ewe is the cutest! Ewe is the 
fluffiest! In fact . . . 
I am in
EWE! (Yam)

You is in LOVE? With ME?
Oh, Yammy,
I love YOU! (Donkey)


The Chinese New Year Dragon Nian (Sleeping Bear Press, December 15, 2019) written by Virginia Loh-Hagan with illustrations by Timothy Banks
Writing and Illustrating, Kathleen Temean---interview of both creators

The traditions observed each Chinese New Year are explained in the legend of the dragon, Nian.  This dragon terrorized villagers every spring until a brave, clever girl, with the assistance of a magical warrior who visits her in her dreams, faces this formidable foe.  In a word---captivating.

MaMa herded the animals into the barn.
"Hurry! Nian will devour anything in his way.
He'll eat our livestock and crops.  With his large
mouth, he can swallow many villagers in one bite."

Mei had lost her father and little brother
to Nian's mighty jaws the year before.

Mei helped MaMa hide.  But then she remembered
the warrior's cane and ran to get it.  "I'll be right back."

Mei stopped in her tracks.

She heard a terrible roar and
smelled a terrible smell.

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