Monday, June 20, 2011

Tia Isa Wants a Car

Meg Medina and Lucinda Whitehurst at bbgb Tales for Kids bookstore 
Summertime is the perfect time for Meg Medina's new picture book.  Tia Isa announces that she wants a car "to take us to the beach!"  Her niece thinks a car is a terrific idea and creatively finds several jobs on her own to help Tia Isa save up the money.  As the story continues, we see how the car and the beach mean more than a simple outing.  Several family members still live far away on an island.  As they wait for them to move to America and as they wait to save the money for the car, the girl observes, "Sometimes it's hard to wait for good things to happen."  The young girl and Isa receive a letter with news of Mami, Papi, and Abuelo.  They think of those loved ones in the "breezy house by the sea."  For the girl and her aunt, getting to the beach helps them connect with the home and people they miss.  Claudio Munoz's sun-splashed, energetic illustrations, rendered in pencil, watercolor, and ink, extend the story perfectly.  He shows the warm relationships between the characters, captures both homes, and makes that car look just as wonderful as the girl thinks it is! For an entertaining story, as well as gentle lessons about love and responsibility, look for Tia Isa Wants a Car--Lucinda Whitehurst.  (Picture book, gr. preK-3; Candlewick, 2011)

Meg Medina celebrates her birthday at the Tia Isa book launch party at bbgb Tales for Kids in Richmond, VA

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fabulous Frogs

Leap Back Home to Me, in sprightly rhyming text, features a young frog exploring the world for the first time.  He begins with safe things like leaping over a ladybug or a bee.  Each adventure ends with his mother saying, “Then leap back home to me.”  (Written by Lauren Thompson; illustrated by Matthew Cordell;  Simon & Schuster,  2011)

 The Hokey Pokey is a favorite children’s singing game which is enjoyed as much today as it was two generations ago.  Actually, the origins of this game go back much farther.  The oldest known version is “Hinkum-Booby” which appeared in a collection of Scottish rhymes in 1842.  The oldest known American printed version appeared in a collection of American games and songs in 1883.  The Croaky Pokey! is based on these earlier versions.  Frogs sing the Croaky Pokey, playing instruments and chasing flies with those amazing froggy tongues.  The unlikely lyrics and funny pictures will provide endless amusement.  (Written and illustrated by Ethan Long; Holiday House, 2011)

Rain Brings Frogs reminds us that we have a choice:  look on the dark side or look on the bright side.  Be a complainer or be happy.  Always want more or be grateful for what you have. Nate always looks on the bright side.  When Mom says, “I hate rain.”  Nate says, “Rain brings frogs.”  This picture book with its simple text and colorful illustrations teaches a gentle lesson that many children and adults need to hear.  (Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler; HarperCollins,  2011)--Wilma Snyder.