Monthly Archives: October 2014



Here is a ship
that holds her place.

Brian Floca is fast becoming one of our very favorite authors/illustrators. This book, like Moonshot, is spellbinder. Although the story takes place much closer to home, it is just as poetic, fact-filled, and beautiful (although it is shorter and therefore quicker to read aloud).

The illustrations were based on a retired lightship that is now part of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City–I’d love to visit it with the boys someday.

Author: Brian Floca
Illustrator: Brian Floca


Too Many Toys


One day, Spencer’s mom had it up to here with
all the toys. “SPENCER!” she yelled on her way upstairs.
That’s impossible! thought Spencer.
Then she said, “We’re going to get rid of some of them.”
“Pick out which toys you don’t want,” she ordered,
“and put them in this box.”
“BUT I LOVE THEM ALL!” Spencer cried.

This book will tickle every kid that ever had to defend a dearly (or newly) beloved toy and every adult that has ever stepped on a Lego. The illustrations are somewhat odd, but very effective, and an unexpected twist ending adds a nice touch.

Author: David Shannon
Illustrator: David Shannon


Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas


There was once a lovely elephant seal who lived
in the city. Most elephant seals live in the ocean, in
salt water. They sleep on rocky coasts and lie along
sandy beaches. But this seal was different. She
swam in the sweet, shallow waters of the Avon River
where it flowed through the heart of the city of
Christchurch, New Zealand.

Elizabeth, named after the Queen of England, is very happy in her unusual home and she becomes a sort of mascot for the city until she develops a dangerous habit of basking on asphalt roads. Can Elizabeth and the city co-exist?

This sweet, quiet book is interesting and enjoyable. Including a photograph of the real Elizabeth at the end of the book was an especially nice touch.

Author: Lynne Cox
Illustrator: Brian Floca


Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11


High above
there is the Moon,
cold and quiet,
no air, no life,
but glowing in the sky.

Here below
there are three men
who close themselves
in special clothes,
click–lock hands
in heavy gloves,
click–lock heads
in large, round helmets.

It is summer here in Florida,
hot, and near the sea.
But now these men are dressed for colder, stranger places.
The walk with stiff and awkward steps
in suits not made for Earth.

This outstanding book tells an amazing story, reads like poetry, is full of interesting facts, and is beautifully presented. It is not a short book, but reading it aloud is a pleasure.

Author: Brian Floca
Illustrator: Brian Floca


One Kitten for Kim


Kim had a cat named Geraldine and seven kittens.
One kitten was striped like a tiny tiger. One was round,
and soft, and white as a snowball. Two were black as a
midnight sky, and three had black and white polka-dots
all over.

Kim thought that having seven kittens was fun. Kim’s
mother and father did not agree.

So Kim is sent out to give away six of the kittens. And he succeeds. There is only one complication: everyone who takes a kitten thanks Kim by giving him a different pet in exchange. This is a great book to read with early readers and non-readers, due to the subtle humor and repeated rebuses (pictures that take the place of words).

Author: Adelaide Holl
Illustrator: Don Madden


From Dawn Till Dusk


My brothers and sister and I grew up on a farm of steep, wooded hills and fields with rocks as big as your head. There was work enough on that farm to keep us busy all year long from dawn till dusk.
On winter nights, as the wind whistled ’round the house and snow piled up against the windows, our mother told us stories of how our Scottish ancestors left their rocky farms to journey to America for a better life.
We thought of the rocks here, of Vermont’s long, bitter winters, and of the hundreds of trees that had to be cut down to make a farm, and my brothers would say, “Why’d they ever move
Then they’d argue about where they wanted to move to when they grew up.

“Think of all the things you’d miss,” I told them.
“Miss?” they said. “What would we miss?”

For the rest of the book, the author and her brothers provide points and counterpoints of the difficulties and joys of farm life. It sounds incredibly difficult and wonderful and very exotic to us suburbanites. The author ends by noting:

A few cousins moved away, to New York and Michigan and even one to Africa, but my sister, brothers, and I, and most of my cousins, are still here, sugaring and haying and cutting wood. We also cross-country ski and canoe and gather together to eat, laugh, and tell stories. And no one talks about leaving.

Author: Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Illustrator: Mary Azarian