(And we’re back from the dead.)
I’ve recently decided that lists on a blog is no way to keep track of books. It’s not searchable, it’s not taggable, it’s not organized, gosh darn it! In fact, given what we all know about me, I can’t believe I didn’t realize this earlier. After a failed attempt at creating a spreadsheet (too much by-hand input required and still not searchable), I remembered a lovely book organizing tool I found back in college: LibraryThing!
So now I’ve been busy inputting recommended reading lists into the database (almost done with the Book Crush list, then on the the award lists) along with our recent library hits. You can browse my database by heading over to my LibraryThing page. I hope this database can be useful to other people as, ideally, it will be made up of only truly awesome picture books without the drivel and the twaddle. (On a side note, “drivel” and “twaddle” are technical terms in my book, “drivel” referring to overly sentimental children’s lit and “twaddle” being overly commercialized pulp lit.)
Since I’m not really including the bad stuff in this database, I’ll limit my library hits reviews to the actual hits. Unless of course there’s something outstandingly bad enough that I just have to share and mock it. :D
Top of the Pile
Question Boy meets Little Miss Know-It-All by Peter Catalanotto
Our entire family adored this book, and that’s rare since reading picture books is the bane of my husband’s existence. The book is pretty much what the title suggests it is, with superhero costumes for all, even the garbage man. The plotting is awesome and for once, the ending of a picture book is every bit as satisfying as a novel. Illustrations are also spot on and hilarious.
Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
When this came up on the Book Crush list I was entering, I vaguely remembered the pictures of it from my childhood. The pictures were just as stunning as ever, but the writing was a little weak. I mean, it just sort of ends, with no elaboration on this little mythic world it’s created.
Zelda and Ivy by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
The beginning of a good early reader series. I think the story of two sisters and how they interact and get along is interesting. Probably would have been even more awesome were there any sisters in our household . . . .
Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el
Decent alphabet book. Story in the tradition of each person having what the next one needs, and so they all swap at the end. The text on the jacket cover is misleading though; it’s not about them working together at all.
A Second is a Hiccup by H. J. Hutchins
I love a good educational book that’s actually readable. This book, in a poetic way, gives kids a sense of the scale of different measures of time.
In homage to Harry Potter, our rating scale contains no simple numbers, but is useful nonetheless, and largely self-explanatory:
Disclaimer: These reviews are not intended to be a review of the overall quality of any picture book, but are totally biased and based on their suitability for this mom and her two children reading together. Your mileage may vary based on your children’s maturity, attention span, and interests.