Archive | Books We Love

Books We Love: April 2009

By Kay on Tue, Apr 21, 2009


Ballet of the Elephants

Ballet of the Elephants

by Leda Schubert

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Winner of the 2007-2008 Texas Bluebonnet Award, this book filled with watercolor pictures of the true story of the Ballet of Elephants was captivating. When Igor Stravinsky (composer of The Nutcracker) was asked by George Balanchine (Russian Choreographer) to compose a piece of music for John Ringling North’s circus elephants to perform to, Stravinsky gladly jumped at the opportunity. My 6 year old listened to the story fascinated by the idea of elephants performing ballet, and was even more enthralled at the end when she realized this had been a TRUE story. Great book for introducing Stravinsky as a composer. Continue reading…

Books We Love: Matisse: The King of Color

By Kay on Tue, Mar 31, 2009


Matisse: The King of ColorA bit about the book…
Laurence Anholt has done a beautiful job of telling the story of Matisse and his nurse, Monique, who became a nun, in a way that children can relate to and enjoy. Since I didn’t know anything about this artist, I also enjoyed getting to learn more about his personality and his art, too.

What we loved…
While the illustrations were quite unique, I also loved the way that the author used typesetting to help ‘illustrate’ certain passages. During a passage about “diving in tropical lagoons and rowing on blue-green seas”, Anholt typesets the words in curves that go around the fish in the picture behind the words to hint at the motion of swimming and waves. But, more than anything, it was the story itself that captured both my attention and the attention of my six year old. There’s just something fascinating to me personally about an artist creating a chapel in a new and different way.

Continue reading…

Books We Love: Carnival of the Animals

By Kay on Wed, Jan 28, 2009


Carnival of the AnimalsA bit about the book…
While we had listened to a few of the movements from Camille Saint-Saens’s “Carnival of the Animals” (specifically Yo Yo Ma’s performance of “The Swan”), Kate had never really appreciated it the way I wanted her to. So, when I saw this book was at our public library, I decided to check it out and see if it would help her to fall in love with this clever composition. From the moment we read the first pages and listened to the first accompanying piece, we were hooked! Kate couldn’t wait until our next ‘school day’ when we could listen to a few more of the movements and read along in this book.

What we loved…
Barrie Carson Turner has done a fabulous job of commentating and setting the tone for this entire work of Saint-Saens. The first few pages describe why Saint-Saens wrote the piece (although I’m not positive it’s historically accurate, it’s a very cute story) and then describes an orchestra, the different instrument families, and how they are all arranged during a concert. A perfect introduction to the orchestra! The illustrations, by Sue Williams, that accompany this are a great visual for kids to ‘see’ it all, too. Turner’s descriptions of each musical movement and it’s corresponding animal are incredibly written so that you can easily hear the subtle nuances of each piece without getting bogged down in too much verbiage.

Continue reading…

Books We Love: Jane and the Dragon

By Kay on Tue, Jan 6, 2009

Comments Off on Books We Love: Jane and the Dragon

Jane and the Dragon

A bit about the book…
We first were introduced to the characters of Jane and the Dragon during the tv show of the same name in the qubo block on NBC Saturday mornings.  Kate instantly fell in love with Jane, and the CGI by Weta workshops (think Lord of the Rings trilogy) was pretty cool, too.  We’ve since found the books and have enjoyed them even more.

What we loved…
Martin Baynton has found a fresh way to address character issues through this series.  In this book, the moral of the story is to follow your heart and do something unexpected.  By the end of the book, I was in tears as Jane, who was supposed to grow up to be a lady-in-waiting is able to finally become what she really wants to be – a knight.

Continue reading…

Books We Love: The Princess and the Pea

By Kay on Fri, Nov 14, 2008


Since we go to the library on an almost weekly basis and have probably checked out hundreds of books at this point, I thought it would be fun to start a category of small posts about the books we’ve enjoyed the most. So, here’s your first glimpse at one of our favorite books of late. I hope you enjoy and also share with us some of your favorites, too!

The Princess and the Pea, by Lauren Child

A bit about the book…
The Princess and the Pea has long been a favorite fairy tale of mine, so when I saw this title, I just had to check it out. When we got home to read it, I realized that, while based on Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale, it was a version written and illustrated by Lauren Child, the author and illustrator of Charlie and Lola, a book series and one of our favorite cartoons on the Disney Channel.

Lauren’s artwork is really fascinating because she uses a mixture of photographed and hand-sketched elements together to make a very unique look. The kids enjoy it because it’s a bit whimsical and her characters are so funny. The parents love it because of the depth and detail of each picture. You’ll catch yourself saying, “Oh my gosh. Look! It’s a teeninesy little bowl of peas on the kitchen table.” “Wow! Look at the detail on the chandelier” and on and on…

Continue reading…

Holy cow!! Great use of visuals to help explain the proposed budget cuts and their actual impact on the overall budget.

You’ll never fold tshirts the same way again!

If you ever wanted to hear someone put a mommy’s day into a song, try this one! (I guarantee you’ll laugh your butt off.)

A little on the political side, but interesting nonetheless…

Children’s Books We’ve Read