Dec 20, 2012

New Titles, Old Souls

 Are you feeling the need to provide every bit of bling and bauble on someone's wish list? Before you use these final shopping days to run out and buy more, read MORE, by I. C. Springman, illustrated by Brian Lies, a book that extends far beyond the usual "less is more" mantra. I wrote about this title in a previous post, and now it's making the rounds on various Caldecott buzz lists. Check the comments on the post and you'll see I predicted that, which wasn't hard to do.

An even more recent release is SKY HIGH, by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine, originally published in Switzerland. It's narrow, vertical format is perfectly suited to the ambitions of wealthy neighbors whose competitive and conspicuous consumption results in self-destruction and isolation, not happiness. (Zullo/Albertine's LITTLE BIRD is also making some Caldecott buzz lists.)

My recent post featured holiday titles by Patricia Polacco. She is undeniably an  icon among author/illustrators and has many fans.

Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin) 2012
Tomie DePaola surpasses the level of icon. He's a living legend, acclaimed for more than two hundred titles, the winner of countless awards. Among the prestigious winners of the Sarah Josepha Hale Award, he was the first to be known primarily for children's book writing. His stories offer something for everyone, every age, and wear well over time.

It's no surprise that his work never disappoints, and it takes no psychic power to predict that this latest will stand the test of time. In this seasonal release, THE BIRDS OF BETHLEHEM, he offers a unique view of the familiar and often retold story of the nativity. Page by page, in spare but poetic art and text, pairs of birds gleaning seeds in the field share their observations of noteworthy events: a long line of people traveling, a full inn, a couple resting in the stable, angels in the night sky.
They follow the shepherds, to learn more.
What they see there, watching from the stable rafters, is the greatest miracle of all: a mother, her husband, and their newborn child.
They witnessed the miracle of birth, of life, of family.

These pairs of birds recognized the greatest gifts when they saw them. We can, too.

And we can let our children know, daily, that even the birds in the trees celebrate their lives, that they are loved, that their lives matter.

Who needs to shop, unless it is for books like these?

Houghton MIfflin Books for Children, 2012
Chronicle Books, 2012

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