Spring 1999  Shoppe Talk San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe

    One of the best parts about being children's booksellers is visiting with you, our customers, who come to our bookstore looking for the next good book to read.  We can see your enthusiasm and love to "talk books" with you.   Part of the whole reading experience is the opportunity to share the excitement that accompanies a new reading discovery.  We love it when we have made a recommendation and you come back to thank us.  Somehow, no matter how elaborate the web becomes, we can't imagine life without the personal, day to day interactions of buying and selling books.  We look forward to your next visit.

The Life and Times of a Child
With her first Amelia’s Notebook, author/illustrator Marissa Moss began a series of delightful picture books written in the style of a youngster's journal in a composition book. When our young customers came into the store asking for the book with "handwriting" on the cover, we knew we had a series that offered inspiration to budding journal writers. In the latest book in the series, Amelia begins fifth grade. Her best friend is not in her class, she hates her new teacher instantly, and there is a girl in the class who is downright mean to her. The one thing she has to look forward to is spending a week at Space Camp with her old friend, Nadia. At camp, AMELIA TAKES COMMAND and comes home again with a payload of confidence, enough to stand up to the bully and regain her sunnier outlook. Moss intersperses the hand printed text with drawings and "memorabilia." And coming in early spring is her creative and slightly off-beat DR. AMELIA’S BOREDOM SURVIVAL GUIDE which she wrote while sitting in the doctor's office waiting for her sister Cleo. Also, happily, the Amelia books are all now available in paperback. Stop by the bookstore and meet Amelia now appearing in six books. (Ages 8-12, $5.95, or $12.95 hardcover.) 

Marissa Moss not only explores the life and times of contemporary children like Amelia. Her RACHEL’S JOURNAL; The Story of a Pioneer Girl is the result of thorough research of handwritten journals of young pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Although it is fiction, Moss says that every major incident in the story actually happened to someone traveling on that overland trail to the Pacific. Rachel begins her journal on March 10, 1850, in Western Illinois. Seven months, and many adventures later, her family arrives in California's Sacramento Valley. With a lively conversational tone we learn what life is like on the Trail. Fording swollen rivers and crossing the desert are no picnic but their family is one of the lucky ones to arrive in the newly declared thirty-first state. Rachel, like her modern counterpart, Amelia, draws in the margins of her journal. A map at the beginning helps the reader track the pioneers’ progress. And Moss impresses this reader and perhaps will inspire others with her excellent hand lettered printing. (Ages 6-12, $15.00) 

More Journals & Diaries
At about the same time that the first "Amelia" book appeared, Linda Kranz published a keepsake journal, All About Me, designed for young diarists to record their thoughts and feelings. Questions like, "What is the best thing about being a kid?", or "What hurts your feelings?" are offered as writing prompts. Now available is a sequel, MORE ABOUT ME, with more questions and places to write important information. We liked the pages designed for the youngster to record compliments he has received and who offered them, with the additional suggestion that "when you are feeling down, turn to these pages and your spirits will soar." (Ages 7-12, $12.95 each title, paperback)

If there ever was a whirlwind of a girl, it is AGAPANTHUS HUM. She loves to run and whirl and cartwheel. Which is fine, except that she wears eyeglasses and they go flying off in the midst of her enthusiastic acrobatics. Her parents, gentle and understanding, decide to take her to a circus to see a real acrobat. There they find out from the beautiful acrobat lady who also wears glasses, that before you kick up both feet and do a handstand, it's a good idea to give your glasses to your mom. Jennifer Plecas’s amusing color sketches capture the spirit of author Joy Cowley’s irrepressible AGAPANTHUS HUM AND THE EYEGLASSES. This is a beginning to read chapter book that also works well as a read-aloud. (Ages 4-8, $13.99)

Rosemary Wells, creator of well loved picture books for the youngest listeners and early readers, brings her considerable writing talents to an intriguing biographical sketch of nursing pioneer, Mary Breckinridge. The determined and intrepid founder of the Frontier Nursing Service began her medical mission to the isolated families in Kentucky's Appalachia after serving in France in the aftermath of World War I. MARY ON HORSEBACK; Three Mountain Stories, with illustrations by Peter McCarty based on actual photographs, is an inviting trio of stories that give young readers a clear picture of the desperate situations that she encountered and how she was able to bring twentieth century medical help to children living in remote mountain outposts. The organization Breckinridge founded with just three nurses traveling on horseback in 1925, continues its services to this day, visiting an average of thirty-five thousand families each year. (Ages 7-11, $16.99)

Stanley Yelnats really didn't commit the crime for which he was convicted. He just happened to be walking home after a difficult day at school when, as he told the judge, "the sneakers fell from the sky." The problem was these were no ordinary sneakers. They had been donated by a famous baseball player to use in a fundraiser for a homeless shelter. And someone had stolen them right out of the shelter's display case. The judge told Stanley he could go to jail or Camp Green Lake, a camp for bad boys. Stanley had never been to camp and thought maybe he'd get to make some friends and swim in the lake. But the truth was, there was no lake at the camp, nor was anything green. Once, a long time ago, there had been a lovely lake but that was before a terrible injustice had occurred in the town. Now, except for the camp, the land is barren. And every day the inmates of the camp are sent out into the dry, flat wasteland to dig HOLES. This is the bare premise of Louis Sachar’s incredible tale of family fortunes and misfortunes. Sachar constructs a story out of an odd assortment of what seem initially to be unrelated parts. But ultimately, as HOLES are dug, something more than dirt is uncovered. In this breakaway Newbery Medal winning novel, Sachar reveals himself as a master storyteller. This is one of those rare books that you will want to begin again the minute you reach its satisfying conclusion. (Ages 10++, $16.00)

Grandma's town was somewhere south of Chicago, out in the prairie. Beginning in 1929 when he was nine-years old, and every August for six years after that, Joey Dowdel and his younger sister, Mary Alice, spent a week visiting her. Seven short stories paint a loving portrait of a feisty widowed grandmother whose singular ideas on justice and charity outshone and outsmarted the local constabulary, the hoity-toity banker's wife, and the rowdy pranksters who terrorized the town. Richard Peck takes us A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO into a heartwarming hoot of a novel that begs to be read aloud. And if you need any more convincing, we've just learned that the American Library Association's Newbery committee has awarded it a 1999 Newbery Honor. (Ages 8-Adult, $15.99)

Beware the cunning MARLFOX. He seems a magical creature, slipping in and out of his victims clutches by seeming almost invisible. And a pack of them are loose in the land, on their way to Redwall Abbey where unsuspecting inhabitants have become a bit sloppy about protecting their peaceful enclave. We are delighted that master storyteller, BRIAN JACQUES has woven for us another great yarn, the eleventh in the delicious Redwall saga. His time tested skill at weaving many subplots into one satisfying whole is as intact as ever. Three distinctly different groups are headed for Redwall Abbey. The Marlfoxes have sailed from their island in the middle of treacherous Hidden Lake on a quest for treasure for their mother the Queen. The second group is a family of squirrels seeking travel respite. When they discover Marlfoxes roaming the land, they know they must warn the Redwallers of danger afoot. The third group is a troupe of traveling entertainers with more bravado and appetite than talent. It is symptomatic of Redwall’s lagging spirit that the Marlfoxes are able to steal their precious Martin the Warrior tapestry. And therein lies the quest and the opportunity for new heroes and heroines to emerge as four brave youngsters set forth to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Jacques continues to dazzle us with the quality of his books. One of the special treats of being children's booksellers is the enthusiasm we see in youngsters who have discovered his series. It has been over a decade since the initial appearance of Redwall knocked our socks off. (Ages 9+++, $22.99)

April may be the poetry month designate but around our bookstore any day is poetry day. However April may still be a good month to bring poetry into your daily routine and here are some ideas for doing it.
Steven Schnur pleased us two seasons past with his excellent alphabet acrostic celebrating Autumn. Once again he has provided a creative jumping off place for teaching poetry and for appreciating the special pleasures of SPRING. Begin with "April", After days of
Rain, the last
Ice and Snow finally
Leave the earth.
Then read through the alphabet of springtime pleasures, taking notice of shells waiting to hatch, kites in the wind, and seedlings just sprouted. And this lovely poetic collection is illustrated once again with Leslie Evan’s richly colored linoleum cut prints. (Ages 3-10, $15.00)

Little Dog, from his "cold nosed" morning wake-up to his bedtime snuggly lump has the starring role in Kristine George's LITTLE DOG POEMS. Thirty of one little girl's loving glimpses of her charming pet take us through a doggy day of guarding the skies, hiding dog cookies under the couch, and chasing the noisy vacuum cleaner around the house until it "learns its lesson and stops growling". June Otani’s watercolors are as refreshingly light as George's humorous poetic sketches. Beginning readers will want to read this on their own but we know many independent readers who still enjoy a good cuddly read-together of LITTLE DOG POEMS. (Ages 3-8, $12.00)

With comforting assuredness and bittersweet humor, Janet Wong’s new poetry collection, THE RAINBOW HAND; Poems About Mothers and Children, guides us through the myriad of emotions and memories that connect us to our own mothers and to our children. Wong has added another dimension to her fine repertoire of family poetry by honoring her mother, and acknowledging her own recent "mom" role. Present a copy to a new mom or an experienced one, and read aloud from the collection for Mother's day or any day that needs a reminder of that special Mother-Child relationship. (Ages 10+, $15.00)

Haughty and wild, of velvet paw and amber eye, I AM THE CAT. From haiku to ballad, Alice Schertle’s poetry gives cat her place of honor. With lines as cleverly composed as the cats she extols, she gives readers an original perspective on that much revered ancient feline. Cat "flows around my ankles, lapping in soft gray waves against my legs", is "Wrapped in the perfect curve of her tail…" and "drinks the round white moon from a rain puddle." The extra bonus is the accompaniment of Mark Buehner’s paintings of cat being cat. And of course his legions of fans will not be disappointed as they search for his surprises hiding amidst cat fur, clouds and carpet. (Ages 4 to ageless cat lovers, $16.00)

And one novel celebrating a POET
THE MOUSE OF AMHERST found a kindred spirit in the likes of Miss Emily Dickinson. She, Emmaline, had been in her own words, "a mouse-of-little-purpose" in a life that had been meaningless. All of that changed when she took up residence in the wainscoting of Emily's bedroom. There she began to observe the poet at work. Once she began reading her poetry, she too was inspired to write. Author Elizabeth Spires (herself an award winning author of four collections of poetry for adults) weaves eight of Dickinson's lovely poems into the course of this charming 64 paged novella. And to this appealing tale is added pencil sketches by Claire Nivola. All you would need to make the reading of this perfect would be a slice of Emily Dickinson's famous gingerbread. (Ages 5-9, $15.00)

Picture Books Plus
With refreshingly cheerful impudence, Katie Davis’s WHO HOPS? offers the toddler set a chance to show off their precocious understanding of the ways of the world. They already know frogs hop. So do rabbits and kangaroos. But when the book turns silly and states that "cows hop," well then, even the youngest child at story time knows we've gone too far. "No," they say. "Cows don't hop." And then the book agrees, reinforcing their immediate recognition that something is not right. Davis covers a variety of animal moves as she asks who "flies," "slithers," "swims," and "crawls." Brightly bold artwork adds to this merry romp.(Ages 18 mos-6, $13.00)

a Picture Book for Purim or Anytime
In a small Polish village a Talmudic scholar raised his granddaughter Raisel. Though poor in possessions her life was rich in learning. After he died she found work in the city as a scullery maid in the home of the Rabbi. The cook made her life miserable but she worked hard and never complained. When the holiday of Purim arrived with much feasting and celebration by the Rabbi's handsome son and his friends, Raisel was banished to the kitchen, forbidden by the cook to participate in the merriment. That night, Raisel was given three wishes by an old beggar woman with whom she shared her own meager meal. She wished she might attend the special Purim play, driven by a horse-drawn wagon. There she won the attention and the heart of the Rabbi's son when she asked him a special riddle. In RAISEL’S RIDDLE, Erica Silverman and illustrator Susan Gaber spin a new Cinderella story out of ancient traditions that honor wisdom and inner beauty. (Ages 4-9, $16.00)

And one for Easter
If you're looking for a cozy way to celebrate the Easter season then MICHAEL HAGUE'S FAMILY EASTER TREASURY with its collection of stories and poems should help fill many hours of good family togetherness. As always Hague's artwork is a treat and this handsome companion to his last year's Christmas Treasury will satisfy a wide range of listeners. (Ages 3-10, $19.95)

For years we enjoyed the whimsy of EDWARD LEAR’S ALPHABET in any number of books. And now his playful verse has met its kindred spirit in the likes of Vladimir Radunsky whose collage art provides a charming irreverent accompaniment. A special homage is paid Lear who can be seen in various incarnations on some the pages. He's the kite flier on the letter "k" and his likeness and initials are carved into the monument upon which is perched a little urn, ("Urny, Burny, Turny, Urny, Bubbly burny, Little urn). With the "return to phonics" movement currently being reinstalled into early reading instruction (we suspect it has never actually left) it occurred to us that this book will not only teach the alphabet but will further the cause of phonetic instruction. And kids will have a "whaly scaly shaly whaly" of a good time learning from it. (Ages 4-7, $14.95)


Keep THE DISAPPEARING ALPHABET in clear view for its pixilated, thought-provoking creativity. Richard Wilbur wonders about the "what-ifs" of losing any of the twenty-six letters. Losing letter "b" wouldn't matter much in a word like "dumb" but ""If it were absent, say, from BAT and BALL, There'd be no big or little leagues AT ALL." His rhyming observations are decorated with lively, stencil-like illustrations by Caldecott award winner, David Diaz. Wilbur offers up a great springboard for a thoughtful language exploration either at home or in the classroom. (Ages 5-Adult, $16.00)

TELLING TIME WITH BIG MAMA CAT is done with nary a digital display in sight. Hour by hour we follow Big Mama through her busy day, from her 6 AM stretch to her bedtime at midnight. She's invaluable in her housekeeping duties, cleaning up any spills from baby Katie's 9 AM bottle to "prewashing" the dinner dishes at 9 PM. A couple of naps during the day provide some variety to her assorted mini-snacks. Dan Harper’s concept book sports its own built-in clock with moveable hands that offer a child the opportunity to change the clock to match Big Mama's schedule. Appealing illustrations were designed by Cara Moser and painted by Barry Moser. (Ages 3-7, $15.00)

Did you know we have a 13th Century mathematician to thank for encouraging the Western world to use Arabic Numerals? Do you know the other name for a 90 degree angle? Can you read a Venn Diagram? Do you even know what one is? If any of these questions intrigue you we have just the book for you! G IS FOR GOOGOL; A Math Alphabet Book by David Schwartz. Definitions are backed up with illustrations by Marissa Moss who inserts comments in the cartoon style of her own popular Amelia diary-books. Schwartz has made a serious contribution to the furthering of math by bringing its terminology into play at this age level. There is one defined entry per letter and a list of other words that also begin with it. We can hope that Schwartz has plans to do sequels. (Ages 7+, $15.95)

More Picture Books
Molly Rose Goldman and her famous author grandmother, Lois Wyse, like to do things together. Molly's class took a field trip to the natural history museum and when she discovered her grandmother had never been, offered to take her there. The result is chronicled in their book, HOW TO TAKE YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO THE MUSEUM. Their playful dialogue adds lively insight to their tour of the exhibits. Grandma says the 60 razor sharp teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex are like giant steak knives. Their walk through the Africa section reminds her of a safari. Molly says that when she shows her Grandma a diagram of the human circulatory system, comparing it to a "big map with highways and roads and rivers," Grandma reminds her not to litter. Molly knows her Grandma is trying to tell her not to eat junk food. This personal and informative introduction to museum going sports lighthearted watercolors into which illustrator Marie-Louise Gay has inserted photographs of museum subjects in much the same way as the dialogue is sprinkled with fact and fancy. (Ages 5-9, $12. 95)

Nonfiction Picture Books
A welcome entrance to front and center, is Aliki’s WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AND THE GLOBE. In "five acts" she unfolds the story of London's theater, its acting companies and its stellar playwright. Queen Elizabeth's role in the Renaissance, the various playhouses and their rivalries, and the dramas surrounding the history of the Globe Theatre are played out in Aliki’s beautifully illustrated introduction to Shakespeare's world. In "Act Five" she brings us up to the present day with thanks to visionaries like the late actor, Sam Wanamaker and architect Theo Crosby who spearheaded and oversaw a modern reconstruction of the Globe which re-opened in 1997. This year is the 400th anniversary of the first Globe Playhouse. Aliki’s richly detailed panorama helps mark the occasion. (Ages 7+, $15.95)

Lizzy Rockwell’s GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT; A Kids Guide to Food and Nutrition is good enough to read and clear enough for youngsters to understand. Rockwell’s useful introduction to nutrition provides an important starting point for children to grasp the importance of their own role in eating a healthy diet. Her illustrations are as straightforward and informative as the text. For example, "The Food Guide Pyramid" showing suggested daily servings of the various food groups is accompanied by text which explains what each group provides. Perhaps with this excellent kid-friendly book as a jump start, some of the potential eating disorders children experience might be avoided. Rockwell includes a few kid-friendly recipes, summarizing which of the nutrients they contain, and what food groups are represented. This is a great beginning. (Ages 5-10, $14.95)

What do you do when you lose a tooth? Selby Beeler asked children from all over the world and the answers appear in her book, THROW YOUR TOOTH ON THE ROOF; Tooth Traditions from Around the World. The recurring traditions seem to be tooth fairies and mice, throwing teeth on the roof, and planting them straight to insure the replacement teeth will grow in straight as well. G. Brian Karas takes the reader on a visual journey from continent to continent, depicting children in their native dress in their regional settings. The last pages of the book talk about tooth structure and the four different kinds of teeth and their specialized functions. (Ages 4-8, $16.00)

Throughout the centuries there have been individuals with a thirst for adventure. They have traveled to places on this earth remote from their own early life experiences, risked wolves and ten-foot boa constrictors, crushing cold and searing heat. Annie Smith Peck climbed mountains in Peru at aged 60. Mary Kingsley explored Africa and once fell into a concealed leopard pit, fifteen feet deep and lined with twelve-inch ivory spikes and lived to tell about it in her diaries. One of the most controversial explorers of the nineteenth century, Richard Burton, disguised himself as a Muslim pilgrim in order to enter their holiest shrines of Mecca and Medina. Author Bo Zaunders and artist Roxie Munro combine their talents in this handsome volume, CROCODILES, CAMELS & DUGOUT CANOES, introducing readers to eight intrepid adventure seekers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Ages 8-14, $16.99)

Laurie Keller has just made it so much easier for all geographically impaired to unscramble THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA. It seems that Kansas woke up one day and decided he was bored living smack dab in the middle of the country. Nebraska, his kindly neighbor, suggested that they throw a party. That evening Idaho and Virginia announced they were going to switch places, in order to "see a new part of the country." It was accomplished quickly, but not long after, the rearranged states began to have second thoughts. For example, Alaska, wanting more interaction, found himself between a thumb (Michigan) and a handle (Oklahoma) (a new wrinkle on "a rock and a hard place!). Kansas, having switched with Hawaii, was "feeling lonesome and seasick." So, of course, they all quickly returned to their original spots, happy to see their old neighbors (or no neighbors) again. Well maybe Keller didn't make memorizing the United States map easier, just a lot more fun. (Ages 5++, $16.95)

The Art Corner
Begin with exploring the contents of Gail Gibbons’s ART BOX In it you will discover all the tools you need for drawing, coloring, and painting. Besides the standard fare, she suggests less often used tools like the protractor, French curve, compass and triangles. She also provides introduction to the color wheel. Gibbons has the wonderful gift of offering basic information on a topic with great clarity so the youngest children interested in the topic will be comfortably able to grasp it and make use of it. (Ages 3-8, $16.95)

More from The Art Corner
Then discover WHAT DO ILLUSTRATORS DO? courtesy of author/illustrator Eileen Christelow who has created a clever scenario to demonstrate the answer her title asks. Two book illustrators live next door to each other. Each is illustrating his/her own version of "Jack and the Beanstalk." Their pets are seen chatting about the coincidence and they are the narrators of a part of the story line. They also provide a convenient sounding board for their respective owners for whom Christelow provides word balloons as well. Along with informal cartoon strips are paragraphs supplying background information on terminology like "dummy", "sketches", and "point of view." This amusing companion to What Do Authors Do? is such an excellent introduction to the world of book illustration that we suggest that even adults entering this field would find it useful. (Ages 6+, $15.00)

Follow up with TALKING WITH ARTISTS; Volume Three, informal conversations with a baker's dozen of some of the most outstanding individuals whose artwork appears in the best contemporary children's picture books. Pat Cummings is like the Barbara Walters of children's book illustrators, asking questions that offer insights into the lives and work of award winners like Peter Sis (a 1999 Caldecott Honoree) and Paul O. Zelinsky (The Caldecott Medalist for 1998). In these personal glimpses we discover how they get their ideas, and what they use to make their pictures. They describe what their normal working day is like, where they work and if they have children or pets. We learn about their childhoods and get to see what they looked like when they were young, and what their artwork looked like then and how they look now, and what their artwork looks like now. (Ages 8+, $20.00)

And for the final tour of the art corner, come visit a WORKSHOP. Here we find a wood craftsman busy creating the elements of a carousel. He uses ax and saw, hammer and anvil, chisel and knife, screwdriver, drill and all the other tools required to translate into reality the original sketch that directed all that followed. Andrew Clements’s crisp text introduces each tool and his text is transformed into a splendid visual treat by the cut paper and watercolors illustrations of talented, Caldecott Medalist David Wisniewski. This talented pair elevate the lowliest hardware into a craftsman's lofty instrument. (Ages 3-10, $16.00)

Congratulations to the
1999 Newbery and Caldecott Award Winners

HOLES by Louis Sachar was clearly the critics top choice for children’s literature this past year.  First it garnered the National Book Award for Children’s Literature and then, at the beginning of February, it was awarded the coveted Newbery Medal.  We are delighted. Sachar has revealed himself as a master storyteller. (Our review appears under Fiction in this newsletter.)

The members of the librarian’s Newbery committee chose one honor book this year, A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck.  It’s another of our top choices for middle grades and a great selection for family reading aloud. (See review under Fiction in this newsletter).  Peck is a versatile author whose talents have garnered him awards for mysteries as well as science fiction.

More Award Winners
The Caldecott Award was given to SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY by Jacqueline Briggs Martin for its exquisite hand tinted woodcuts by artist Mary Azarian. Wilson Bentley was a Vermont farmer who had such an abiding affection for snowflakes that his family used their accumulated savings to buy him a camera with a built-in microscope. He spent years photographing the fragile frozen crystals. When he was sixty-six years old a group of scientists pooled their money to help him publish Snow Crystals, a collection of his remarkable micro-photography. Martin's uncluttered text conveys the singular dedication of one man to share with the world the beauty he found in nature. Azarian’s woodcuts are gracefully executed with marvelous watercolor detailing in this handsome picture book biography. (Ages 5-9, $16.00)

The committee also selected four additional books to receive Caldecott Honors.
David Shannon's childlike paintings for NO, DAVID! re-created the feelings of a five-year-old budding genius getting through a day of typical pre-school mischief. Off stage his mother's voice tries in vain to avert serial disaster. Even budding readers have been sited sitting together, successfully disciphering its basic vocabulary. (Ages 2-6, $14.95)

Peter Sis also reached back into his own childhood to the time his father, a documentary filmmaker in Czechoslovakia, was drafted into the army and sent to China to produce films and teach film making. What he discovered was a fully involved road building project that ultimately led to the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The diary he kept was stowed away in a box, and only recently was shown to Peter. Seeing the diary opened memories of Peter's childhood and what had transpired in that dreamlike time. With adult understanding he recalled missing his father, and remembered the strange stories he was told when his father returned. TIBET THROUGH THE RED BOX blends memory and fantasy with art and text as delicately layered as a lovely strudel pastry. (Ages 10+++, $25.00)

Uri Shulevitz enters a child's fantasy world as the radio, television and people in the street deny any possibility of SNOW. For indeed it is snowing and the only one in the whole city who seems to know besides the relentless snowflakes, is one little boy and his dog. In a world, becoming increasingly blanketed, he is joined by Mother Goose and Humpty Dumpty who detach themselves from their lookout posts atop a children's bookstore marquee to have a wintry romp with him in the deserted city street. Shulevitz’s soft background washes are as quiet as the muffled silences of heavy snow. Only the child and his fellow revelers glow with joyful spots of color in this quiet celebration of a day of SNOW. (Ages 2-6, $16.00)

The librarians described Brian Pinkney’s artwork for DUKE ELLINGTON as "flowing off the page, filled with color and movement." Pinkney’s swirling scratch board technique provides harmonious accompaniment to Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lively, informal text. The Duke balked at the piano lessons his parents gave him. It wasn't until he heard ragtime that he renewed his own interest in the piano. By the time he was nineteen he was out in the world, entertaining at clubs and parties. He formed a band, moved to Harlem and was on his way. In 1927, when Duke was twenty-eight years old, his big break came when his band played The Cotton Club, "Harlem's swankiest hangout." His nightly gigs at the famed club were aired on the radio, making his band (renamed Duke Ellington and his Orchestra) famous all across the country. The Pinkneys’ own love of music shines through this celebration of DUKE ELLINGTON. (Ages 5-9, $15.95)

Book Reviews courtesy of Jody Fickes Shapiro, Adventures for Kids.  All Rights Reserved
3437 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA  93003   (805)650-9688