A River of Words

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A River of Words
The Story of William Carlos Williams

Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008

From the dust jacket: “Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So when he grew up, he went off to medical school and became a doctor – one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry.

“In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be poet.”

I checked this book out not necessarily for the story, but for the illustrator, Melissa Sweet. The LoC fell in love with her artistry after reading The Right Word. We love collage! And in this case, the artist accentuates her collage with watercolor. I was familiar with the story of William Carlos Williams and it was good to see his story illustrated for kittens. Most poetry just flies above my head but his is about every day things in every day language. Beautiful, succinct word pictures. Expose your kittens to both collage and poetry – read them this book! A fun summer activity would be to have them write a poem about whatever they want and then create a collage using magazine pictures and coloring book pages! I just might do that myself!!

Rating 5 out of 5 for glorious artistry!

Reviewer: PeggySue peggysue-loc

 

 

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The Three Pigs

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The Three Pigs

David Wiesner
Clarion Books, 2001

From the dust jacket, “Three pigs…Straw, sticks, bricks…Huffs and puffs…You probably know the rest. It’s an old story, and every time someone tells it the same thing happens. But who says it’s supposed to? Who’s in charge of this story? Who gets to decide? Has anyone asked the pigs? No? Well, it’s about time someone did.

“Here, thanks to David Wiesner, is the answer.”

I don’t know if David Wiesner ever read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, or if Jasper Fforde read Wiesner’s books? Wiesner has that same off-the-wall, so-far-out-of-the-box imagination that it just blows your mind. In case you don’t remember, Fforde’s Thursday Next series is all about an alternate England where books and all their characters have a life & world of their own inside Book World.  Just like Fforde’s characters can go from book to book, Wiesner’s pigs go from story to story, picking up friends along the way before they finally settle back in their own story. Loved the concept, loved the illustrations, loved these three pigs. When you read it, be sure to keep an eye on the wolf. He’s just going along with the story but some of the looks on his face are priceless. He can’t figure out what’s going on around him and even though the narrator says he ate the pig, he can’t find a pig to eat! Too funny. Seriously, too-too funny!

Rating 5 out of 5 paws – I reviewed this book several years ago but I finally got my own copy at a library book sale and thought it so special, I’d review it again!!

Reviewer: simon-locSimon

 

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The Right Word

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The Right Word
Roget and His Thesaurus

Jen Bryant
Melissa Sweet
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014

From the back of the book, “If only all the ideas in the world could be found in one place, then everyone would have one book were they could find the best word, the one that really fit. Peter carried this idea with him like a secret treasure.

“The story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus, one of the most widely used reference books ever published, is presented in this delightful picture book biography…”

So the reason we picked up this book (at a library sale – for a $1.00! Score!) was because of the illustrations. We came for the art and stayed for the story!!

The story of Peter Roget is fascinating – he collected words in long lists for most of his life. When he was 8 he wrote his first book filled with lists of words! Words and their meanings became his passion which ultimately ended up in a one-of-a-kind book categorizing words according to their meaning, not their spelling.

The illustrations are something else altogether. The artist created collages out of mostly watercolor (I think) as well as other mediums (acrylic, gouache, etc). These collages are so intricate and stunning, you have to read the book first, then go back and linger over every page to make sure you see everything. If you’re familiar with author/artist Graeme Base and how detailed his illustrations are, then you’ll have an idea of what M. Sweet’s pictures look like. Gorgeous! Fascinating! Amazing!

If you see this book at the library, check it out!!

Rating 5 of 5 paws for fabulousness!!

Reviewer: simon-locSimon

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I Wish I Was Sick, Too!

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I Wish I Was Sick, Too!

Franz Brandenberg
Illustrated by Aliki
Random House, 1976

From Goodreads, “When Edward gets sick and gets special treatment in bed, his sister thinks itis unfair and wants to get sick as well.”

Very cute story about a kitten who is jealous of her brother. Now, kittens, let’s be honest – when one of your siblings was getting special treatment for something or another, were you jealous of them? Did you wish you could get special stuff, too? I’m sure you have, we all do; its apart of being a cat (or person). And even though its in our nature to be jealous of others, we can choose not to be. I know its hard, but there’s an old adage that says, “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it.” And getting what we wish for doesn’t always turn out to be a good thing.

Elizabeth is jealous of her brother and wishes she were sick so she could get special treatment, too. Well, she did get sick and it makes me wonder if it was worth feeling miserable, probably queasy and weak just to get those niceties of eating in bed, phone calls from aunt and uncle, grandma reading to her and so on. She must have thought it not worth it because she was so grateful to get well.

This little picture book is a good way to learn not to be jealous of others. Next time you’re feeling jealous over what’s going on with a sibling or friend, remember that its better to be thankful for the good that’s in their lives as well as yours!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for a good life lesson and very cute illustrations.

Reviewer: Simon

simon-loc

I See a Cat

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I See a Cat
Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book

Paul Meisel
Holiday House, 2017

From Goodreads, “When a housebound dog spies a cat, a bird, and other animals outside a glass door, he is excited: I see a cat. I see a bird. I see a squirrel. When the dog’s beloved boy comes home from school, the two pals dash outside, determined to get up close and personal with all the backyard wildlife!”

When I first saw this book on the library’s website, I told mom to get it right away! What could be better than reading a book about cats? Reading a book about cats because this isn’t a book about cats. Its about a DOG!!!! A dog who is waiting for his human to come home and sees a cat walk by his window. A d-o-g. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that the cat only appeared on a couple of pages.  However, mom said I shouldn’t say a book is bad because its about a dog and not a cat. After all, dogs are people, too, just like cats.

Anyhoo, it is a cute cat and a cute dog and a cute book. Its very easy to read for earliest readers as the phrase “I see a…” is repeated on every page. Little kittens (and puppies) will enjoy spotting the animals and insects and learning to read the names (just don’t let those puppies get too crazy about all the squirrels).

Rating: 3 paws out of 5 because it is not about cats!

Reviewer:

simon-locSimon