Told in free verse, a sparse style befitting the barren landscape of the Dust Bowl during the 1930s, this is the story of a young teen girl whose family is struggling to survive season after season with no wheat crop, withstand the brutal dust storms ravaging the land, and retain their sense of hope in the face of despair. Despite the moments of sadness and tragedy, it is ultimately a story about overcoming unfortunate circumstances, keeping (or rediscovering) one's faith, and the importance of family. A great story about weathering hard times.
Two brothers, Richard and Cherry Kearton, grew up in the Moorlands of Britain watching birds and delighting in the beauty and magnificence of the natural world. When they became adults and moved to bustling London, they missed the wide open spaces and abundance of creatures they knew from the country. Thus began their adventure to take cameras and capture on film the birds, nests, and locations they loved. Using ingenious methods of disguise (such as crouching in a hollowed-out ox hide), they shot pictures of birds that had never been photographed before. With the publication of their book, millions of readers could name and identify the same birds the Kearton brothers had watched all their lives. Chock full of information and accompanied by lush illustrations, this is a great book for young nature lovers, aspiring photographers, and history buffs alike.
Can a simple story of a little boy helping his family make applesauce show children the importance of sustainable agriculture, the strength of family bonds, and the sheer delight of tasting the sweet rewards of your own effort? You betcha! Applesauce Season is the story of a little boy who goes with his grandmother each fall to the Union Square Farmer's Market to buy apples for making sauce and "eating out of hand." They bring the many different kinds of apples home (Honeycrisp, Jonamac, Pink Lady, Northern Spy, Cortland, Red Delicious, etc...) and the entire family participates in the annual tradition of sauce-making. Gerstein's use of colors and patterns lends the illustrations a subtly 1970's/1980's feel. Gen X parents will wax nostalgic and their kids will likely beg to try out the recipe at the back of the book.
Tao Nyeu's second book, Bunny Days, is divided into 3 small chapters "Muddy Bunnies"; "Dusty Bunnies"; and "Bunny Tails." In each one, an adorable group of curious little white rabbits find themselves in a pickle of one sort or another. Thankfully, there are caring and responsible grownups (Mr. Goat, Mrs.Goat, and Bear) to help them out. In one scene, the bunnies get covered with mud and Bear helps them placing them in his washing machine (on the delicate cycle, of course). Later, when their fluffy tails are accidentally cut off, the tails are easily (and painlessly) sewn back on. There is a slapstick quality to the humor, but the tone remains sweet and playful- reminiscent of a classic like Peter Rabbit. It's the illustrations, however, that distinguish this picturebook. Using a combination of analogous colors and carefully chosen white space, Nyeu's soft shapes and rounded lines create a setting in which, at the end of the day, "everyone is happy."
A great biography for 4th grade and up. Josef Albers was an artist, a teacher, and the man who invented Color Theory. If you love modern art, this is a must-read- for ALL ages!