The Night Gardener by Terry Fan My rating: 5 of 5 stars Magical. The story and imagery in this tale are simply magical. To wake up each morning to the sight of neighborhood trees transformed overnight to beautiful, magnificent topiaries? This is the stuff of sweet dreams! An enchanting bedtime story. And a lovely gift for anyone who sees beauty everywhere and wishes to create their own in this world.
Born from the Heart by Berta Serrano My rating: 4 of 5 stars A bursting heart. Isn't that what love so fierce can feel like? And the imagery of the mother's protruding heart from her chest in this beautiful love story visually depicts what crazy-intense love does to the human heart--blows it up HUGE, defining us and emanating from us. If the imagery in this book is odd, it's powerful.
If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a thing of beauty. The limited orange and navy color palette is stunning--inventive, joyous, and unexpected in a children's picture book. There's a decidedly French feel to the imagery--ornate, delicate, lovely, high style. The book is a collection of lyrical observations about our world and its goodness. Sweet, tender, rhyming statements of
Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland by Sujean Rim My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a straight-out story of immigration about a bear family that traveled far to start a new life by a woman who came to the U.S. from Singapore as a child. Imagine being asked this question by your classmates as a little one: "What are you?" (Cringe) Rim was again and again. The pain and
I'll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony My rating: 4 of 5 stars I'm a sucker for fat 'n fluffy animal illustrations and Mr. Panda delivers them in spades. Just looking at the chubbers brings a smile. But there's also an important lesson here--one of manners. Of patience and gratitude. None of Mr. Panda's animal friends have the resolve to wait around and see what he's cooking up in the
The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh My rating: 5 of 5 stars As Hedgehog lies in a “lonely little nook of a lonely little tree,” she hears someone say, “Friendship is out there—all she has to do is look.” She thinks friendship is a real ship—i.e., "Friend Ship." As she sets off on her journey to look for the vessel, she picks up a collection of animals along the way.This
The Lost House by B.B. Cronin My rating: 4 of 5 stars Design geeks, take notice of this picture book--it's a distinctive beauty. There's a small peek-a-boo die cut on the cover. Cool. And the colors and illustrations are magnificent. Each page features a different electrifying neon "wash" of color (magenta, acid green...) comprised of intricate background images (similar to stenciling) to scour for the "missing item." Yes, this is
First Snow by Bomi Park My rating: 5 of 5 stars There's something magical about snow and the first snowfall, in particular. This book captures the essence of both. Mostly I love FIRST SNOW for the adorable illustrations by Bami Park. Black, white and tinges of red are the perfect backdrop for the "stars" of each page: the precious Kewpie doll-like animal and children illustrations--chubby, huggable, innocent. Their visual design
Lucy by Randy Cecil My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars for Innovation and Design ***** This book is INCREDIBLY clever in design and structure: a book in four acts, high page count and card-like paper stock which lends an overall heft and quality feel. Love the precious, intricate black and white illustrations circularly framed on each page. It's a story to be savored very, very slowly to digest
Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains by Charles M. Norris My rating: 5 of 5 stars *** Caldecott Nominee *** Mike Norris and Minnie Adkins are treasures, and so is this book. A collection of charming Appalachian nursery rhymes brought to life on each page with photographs of Minnie Adkins' award-winning carvings--a craft she's been perfecting since she was 5 years old. The book offers a sneak peek into Appalachian