Monday, September 28, 2009

Fresh from the Library: Books with an Autumn Theme

As usual, I changed the books in the sidebar, but have been pokey about writing a post about the new finds. Now that Fall is officially here, we thought some autumn-themed books were in order. So, here are the latest books to make the journey from the library to our home:

This book is fresh and fun. The illustrations are very "folksy" and mostly black and vanilla, with touches of red and yellow. Very eye-catching to my little ones. The tale itself runs along the lines of "The House That Jack Built," one line building upon another and another, previous lines repeated after a new line is added. Cumulative text, I think they call it. I know that makes absolutely no sense. But it doesn't matter because it's a delightful read. Go check it out. My daughter loves that the little girl and her Papa shared the pie with the animals at the end (she was quite worried, as we were reading along, that the animals would be forgotten). My son likes to point out the sneaky fox and the cat on the pages (and the cat is hiding in the tree eating pie on the last page, which my son finds amusing. Not sure why, but whom am I to question the sense of humor of a one year old?).
Hush! A Thai Lullaby: this was a favorite of Roo's a few years back (my, has it really been years?) and I thought Rascal would enjoy it. He did. But I'd have to say Roo enjoyed the encore presentation the most.

There's something so appealing about this story (For me, that is. My husband detests this book). The bright, contrasting illustrations are lively without being overstimulating. I like the fact that they feature some unusual backyard creatures making less traditional, but more accurate animal sounds: the pig says, "uut, uut" instead of "oink" and the frog says "op, op" instead of "ribbit."

The story line is one I know well: a mother trying to keep all noises to a minimum in order for her sleeping boy to stay a sleeping boy. Well, while she encounters one noisy critter after another, her mischievous little toddler has awakened and is monkeying around the hut, having a blast. My daughter likes to point out on each page what particular mischief the little boy is getting into (and noticing when his antics mirror that of the particular animal the mother is trying to quiet: for example, the baby is swinging by his arms from a beam, while the mother is pleading with a monkey in the trees to hush).

Maybe what appeals to me the most is the ironic truth running through the pages: the mother tries her hardest to quiet the noises in the environment to make it as sleep-inducing as possible for her babe. And then, after all that commotion and expended energy, she finally retreats to bed (although "bed" for her really isn't bed, but a windowsill on which to lay her head. Also sounding way too familiar to me) herself. Then, just as she's nodding off, the baby is WIDE awake. At least, that's the way it goes around our house.

Sheesh! That's a lot to say about a single book. And, frankly, I'm feeling wiped out. We did manage to pick up a few others, but I think I'll just list them and add a quick note or two!

Pumpkin Moonshine: To be honest, my first thought was that this was about underground whiskey-making. Really. Maybe I've just watched too many Little House on the Prairie episodes. That ol' Mister Edwards and his moonshine, you know. Anyway, it is actually a cute little Halloween tale written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, the works of whom I absolutely adore.

Leaves: My husband says that this is just a shorter version of Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (which I will discuss another day because it is one of the selections in our Autumn Book basket). I agree that there are similarities: there is a young animal (in this case, a bear. In Fletcher, it's a fox) who grows concerned when he sees leaves falling off the trees. In both stories, they try to put the leaves back on the trees, to no avail. In Leaves, the bear hibernates in his leaf-filled cave and when he wakes in Spring, he thinks the new buds are there to welcome him from his long winter's nap. In Fletcher, the young fox discovers that bare trees can be just as beautiful as those clad in yellow and orange leafy-goodness. Both books sweet additions to your Fall reading list.

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