Tag Archive | picture book reviews

KidLit Love: What Do You Do with an Idea?

How we learn to handle ideas as children will shape the way we handle ideas for the rest of our lives.

What Do You Do With An IdeaI was a bit skeptical when I first picked up “What Do You Do with an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada. I’m not sure what I expected, but I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be happy with the result. As someone who’d like to one day make a living from the ideas in her head… it can be a touchy subject.

This book is now one of my favorites.

Mae Besom’s illustrations are an absolutely perfect accompaniment to this simple story of a child who, one day, has an idea. He’s not quite sure where it came from, why it’s there, or why he’s the one that it’s following around, but he does know that he can’t get this idea to leave him alone.What Do You Do With An Idea - Interior Pic

My favorite part of this little story is one specific point it makes: Ideas need attention.

You may not be certain you have the time to give to your idea. You may not be certain what your idea wants. But if you make friends with your idea instead of fighting its very existence, unexpected and wonderful things can happen.

Some people will laugh at you or shun you for hauling around that idea. Others will be kind, but simply not understand. In the end, the only relationship that matters is the one between you and your idea.

“I couldn’t imagine my life without it.” 
– from “What Do Your Do with an Idea”

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!

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KidLit Love: Little Red Gliding Hood

While not exactly a retelling, this book is an absolutely adorable story about not judging a person by their image or reputation and it’s filled with favorite fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters.

little red gliding hoodI’m going to admit that I picked this book up because I love figure skating. I love it now, and I especially loved it as a kid. You can keep your baseball and basketball and football… give me figure skating!

Tara Lazar wrote a very sweet story about our favorite Red. This time she’s a skating fanatic, but her skates are old and she needs new ones to keep her feet comfy and keep her safe when dancing across the ice. A competition is announced with the prize of new skates, making this the perfect opportunity for her! The problem is she needs a partner and everyone is already taken. Or are they?

little red gliding hood wolfWhile I loved the story (it didn’t feel like the author was talking down to her reader just because it was a children’s book and Red’s repeated exclamation of “Oh, slippery slush!” made me giggle more than once), I have to give a shout-out to Troy Cummings, the illustrator. All of the artwork was lovely, but the wolf! Oh my. Do you see this dapper wolf? Do you see his skating clothes? I’m in love. He reminds me of my favorite Russian skaters in the Olympics of my childhood. I can’t help it!

I recommend this one wholeheartedly. And if you speed through it the first time like I did, give it a second read and pay special note to all of the side characters, no matter how briefly mentioned. It really helps make the book.

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Maybe a favorite fairy tale retelling? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!

KidLit Love: A Book is a Book

What is a book, why do we read them, and why are they written? “A Book is a Book” written by Jenny Bornholdt and illustrated by Sarah Wilkins is an almost pocket-sized book addressing these questions. Their answers are simple and at times humorous, but always have a lovely sense of truth to them.

The page I’ve listed below is one of my favorites. It’s a favorite for many reasons. I quite like short books when I don’t have a lot of time to read. I totally understand writing a short book because have you ever tried writing a book? Even the short ones take a lot of time to do it well! And I also like this page because as someone who deals with autoimmune fatigue with varying frequency… sometimes it’s really hard to write. Whether it’s because I can’t stay awake, I can’t fight through the brain fog to make sense of words, or because the muscles in my hands or wrists are not up to handling a keyboard or pen, sometimes writing is hard in ways that have nothing to do with creating stories.

(You can follow me on instagram now if you’d like! instagram.com/lissa.clouser)

It’s hard to describe this book in much detail since it is already so short, so I recommend instead that you find a copy at your local bookstore or at the library and give it a read! If you like books of any kind in any way, this one should be right up your alley.

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!

KidLit Love: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

I had an imaginary friend for years. In some ways I think she never went away, but rather merged into my creative subconscious.

BeekleImaginary friends are quite the interesting topic to think about whether it’s your own personal memories, wondering about the psychology of the phenomenon, or just getting a smart punch in the feels when media brings up the topic. (Bing Bong, anyone?)

“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat is sweetly written and stunningly illustrated. The image of Beekle makes me think he could possibly be a distant cousin to Baymax, which honestly is something I’m more than okay with. (Beekle and Big Hero 6 were both released in 2014, but obviously have nothing to do with one another.)Beekle - Interior Pic

When Beekle isn’t called off to the human world by a child’s imagination, he decides he’ll just set out and find his own child instead. His initial impression of the human world is that everything seems… not quite right. The kids he sees aren’t stuffing themselves with cake, everyone is in a rush, and he isn’t quite sure there’s a place for him after all.

But as is so often in both life and stories, right when he thinks he just might give up, the perfect friend comes along.

While I certainly enjoyed Beekle’s story, the art is what really swept me away with this book. The illustrations are vibrant yet easy on the eyes, with just the right amount of detail to keep you enjoying the pictures each time you see them. Dan’s art is everything about picture books that I love and remember from being a kid.

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!

KidLit Love: Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry

This book has three of my favorite things – owls, poetry, and the moon – so how could I not pick it up?

Otto the Owl“Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry” is about an owl who is far more interested in pretty words than he is in doing… well, just about anything owls would normally do. And wouldn’t you know it, all the other owls think he’s weird for it.

This is Vern Kousky’s first children’s book, published in 2015 and suggested for ages 5-8. I think it is a sweet introduction into poetry and would be great for kids who want to make the next leap from simple fun rhymes (Feline in the Bonnet, anyone?) to something a bit more classical without going over their heads. I like that Otto quotes bits of familiar poets like Eliot and Dickinson, but he and some of the other characters make up their own poems too.

Otto the OwlWhen it comes to picture books, the art makes or breaks it for me, and I really enjoyed Kousky’s art in this as well. Though do the other owls remind you of the Fireys from Labyrinth, or is that just me?

*Is there a children’s book about poetry, books, or creativity that you want me to check out? Make sure to leave the suggestion in the comments!