Fall 2012 Sneak Peeks Part One: Picture Books
It’s time for another inside look at the some of the new titles that will be in your favorite bookstores and libraries this Fall. Today’s Part One is all about Picture Books!
Who Pushed Humpty Dumpty? by David Levinthal, illustrated by John Nickle
Bored reading your kids the standard fairy tales? Want to find out what really happened when Goldilocks broke into the home of The Three Bears? Told from the crime fighting perspective of Binky, a fedora wearing toad, these are five fairy tales will make you shake your head and chuckle! Equal parts Law & Order and 1940’s noir detective radio this is a fresh take on old favorites. -Nic
Alex the Parrot by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Meilo So
Most people have associated “animal intelligence” with dolphins, chimps and gorillas. Parakeets and other talking birds were not thought to understand what they were saying, but merely imitating speech. In 1977, this theory was upended by a young biology graduate student named Irene who was studying animal communication at Purdue University. Irene purchased an African grey parrot from a local pet store and named him Alex, an acronym for Avian Learning Experiment. She was fascinated by all sorts of ways animals talked to one another and wanted to find out whether small-brained animals such as parrots exhibited “thinking”.
Alex proved to an ideal subject for Irene’s experiments. Though initially shy and always a little feisty, in short order he became an eager student learning to count, learn shapes and colors and hundreds of vocabulary words. Alex was able to answer questions from complete strangers proving that he wasn’t just responding to particular cues from Irene. Not only did Alex exhibit intelligence on par with, for example, Koko the gorilla, he could go head-to-head with a typical five year old child.
In this fascinating picture book about a real-life parrot celebrity, Stephanie Spinner gives us an inspiring portrait of a dedicated teacher and her feathery pupil who made scientific history. The book is fun to read and informative – perfect too for book reports and curriculum use. Meilo So’s stunning watercolors really capture Alex’s personality and the setting in which he lived. -Tim
Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins, Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Why let a little snow stop you from making a lemonade stand? Brother and sister team Pauline and John-John decide it’s just the thing on a cold blustery day, so they get their money together to buy supplies at the store. Their shouts of “Lemon Lemon LIME, lemon LIMEADE” bring out a few neighbors here and there as well as giving them a chance to learn about counting money – plus a bonus lesson on basic supply and demand. This is a terrific read-aloud, and the money lesson makes it a perfect classroom companion. -Deanna
The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley, illustrated by Billy Aronson
Peg and her cat are ready to start their perfect picnic with a pig until they realize that they have an extra piece of pie and no one to eat it. A trip to the chicken coop to bring one chicken to their picnic results in a hundred chickens getting loose! Peg loves to solve problems, but this one has her stumped. After a few tries at rounding up these crazy chickens, she’s about ready to give up, until cat gives her some great ideas. This cute story about problem solving and simple counting will charm preschoolers. -Deanna
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko
As a mom of children being raised in an interfaith household, I was thrilled to see this title on our fall list. The little girl in the story celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah with her parents, and traditions from both religions are honored by her parents and her extended family. The author touches on a bit of the history behind the holidays as well as traditional dishes and symbols, and even includes a few delicious recipes at the end of the book. I also liked the addition of a timeline showing other holidays celebrated throughout the year in the Christian and Jewish faiths. This is a delightful holiday book told in a cheerful, non-preachy voice and will be welcomed by many dual-faith families. -Erin
You may not know her name but you know her work–for those of us who grew up during the heyday of Disney Animation (yes, before Pixar!) and were lucky enough to have Little Golden Books in our homes, looking at Mary Blair’s art is like stepping back into childhood. She worked on Disney projects including Peter Pan, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, and of course gave us many Little Golden Books including I Can Fly, here in its unabridged glory, as well as Baby’s House, The Up and Down Book, and The Golden Book of Little Verses, some of which haven’t been available in decades. For fans old and new this is the perfect gift for book lovers, and families too! -Kate
Thanks for joining us on RAoR for Fall Sneak Peeks Part One, be sure to come back next Wednesday for a look at our new Middle Grade and YA titles!
And please share your thoughts in our comments section.