All You Need for a Snowman
By Alice Schertle
Illus. by Barbara Lavallee
Silver Whistle, Harcourt, Inc. copyright 2007
Illus.—wc and gouache on wc paper
32 pp + plain gray endpapers
Clever rhyming text, good meter, good rhymes. Repeated phrasing, “and that’s all you need for a snowman, except….” I think the story follows the rule of three, but I’m not sure.
This is the 3d snow/winter book I’ve read from Harcourt.
Written and illus. by Judy Schachner
Dutton Children’s Bks, New York, copyright 2003
Lengthy text—good read-aloud qualities include song to clap to, wordplay, and Spanish words. Also invites using Spanish accent to read certain parts of the story. Humorous characters, a cat who thinks he’s something else, and his long-suffering mother.
Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic
By Steven Schnur
Illust. By Leslie Evans
Clarion Books, (Hourghton Mifflin),New York, copyright 2002
Illus. hand colored linoleum block prints
Interesting concept: the Theme is Winter. The poems are acrostics of words in alphabetical order, each illuminating the season and overall, creating a story arc or moving through the season. The poems themselves are quite beautiful. Here are a few of the first words which create the acrostic poems: Awake; Bake; Cold; Deer; Ears; Flurry.
Here are two of my favorite poems:
Light they drift
Rise like smoke before coming to
Rest in the
Midnight falls, and
Over rooftops and bare
Oak trees a
Narrow crescent rises.
The Moon Came Down On Milk Street
Written and illus. by Jean Gralley
Henry Holt & Co., New York, copyright 2004
32 pp + plain blue end papers
gouache and mixed media on Arches paper
Minimal rhyming text and many pages of pictures only, based on a quote from Mr. Rogers’ mother, “Look for the helpers,” (at the scene of an accident.) about 86 words. Despite the very important lesson contained in this book, it does not feel didactic. It is immensely reassuring. I think it was written at least in part in response to 9-11.
The pictures look like my sister’s Kindergarten class at play—building, helping, constructing, cooperating.
A good book for troubled times.
Cesar: Si, Se puede! Yes, We Can!
Text by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
Illustrated by David Diaz
Marshall Cavendish, New York, copyright 2004
48 pp not counting plain purple (grape-colored) endpapers
Illustrations were rendered in Photoshop
Text—Goudy; book design by Patrice Sheridan
A detailed biography of Cesar Chavez, told in free verse poems, one to a spread, with Spanish language intermixed into the basically English text.
By using free verse the author was able to reduce the number of words, relying on phrases and descriptive passages and direct quotes. There is a wealth of back matter, including Notes referencing all quotes, a glossary of Spanish terms and phrases, a biographical synopsis, a chronology, and a list of sources including web sources, publications, and interviews. And finally the last page contains a series of extended quotes from Cesar Chavez.
The poems convey the emotional impact of the facts of Cesar’s life and times, emphasizing his childhood and family, although the story of the grape/lettuce boycott is told as is his death. The back matter gives a fuller picture of his life and the political context for his work.
The illustrations are rendered in Photoshop. They look like folk art created with stencils, in soft pastel colors that suggest the colors of the vineyards and farm fields where Cesar labored.
The text is filled with Spanish phrases and words, most of which can be understood in context, some of which are translated in context, and all of which are contained in the glossary at the back of the book.
This is a powerful non-fiction biography, filled with direct quotes from the subject.