December 16, 2010

A different kind of comic book

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path.
by Jason Shiga

The book begins with a choice: do you want chocolate or vanilla ice cream? The decision you make determines the book's possible outcome: doom or happiness. By following the different paths connecting each panel, you can move forward or back, up or down, or onto other pages, creating your own adventure. I've read the book 6 times so far, and it's always ended in destruction, but who knows? The outcome may be different next time. Meanwhile is definitely a book to get lost in!

This is my final post of 2010. Look for new entries in January 2011.

December 14, 2010

Animal trivia

Out Of Sight

Animals large and small are hiding in this 15½" x 11" book. Young children will enjoy lifting the flaps to discover interesting tidbits about each animal, while older children will want to emulate the book's simple, stylish design.

A minor, yet frustrating, quibble: the authors ask readers "Can you name all eight species of bears?" but do not provide the answer! Nor do they tell us what prehensile means.

In case you were wondering, the eight species of bears, according to Wikipedia, are:

  • American black bear
  • Asiatic black bear
  • Brown bear (which includes Grizzly)
  • Giant Panda
  • Polar bear
  • Sloth bear
  • Spectacled bear
  • Sun bear

Also, prehensile is an adjective used to describe an animal's tail, which is able to grasp or hold something.

December 9, 2010

For budding paper engineers

Pop-Up: Everything You Need to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book
paper engineering by Ruth Wickings
illustrated by Frances Castle

This hands-on book introduces you to the basic folds needed to create 3-D images and moveable devices. Tear-out instructions and press-out pieces are provided so you can complete a dragon, a castle, Frankenstein's laboratory, and a jungle scene. Each project increases in complexity, from simple angled folds to spirals and noisemakers. The instructions are fairly easy to follow, even for someone like me who never got the hang of paper airplane folding. I accidentally crumpled the castle's flag, and couldn't manage the knot on the elastic band (I had to find a longer elastic), but everything stands up!

December 7, 2010

Midwinter Masquerade

by Pat Mora
illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling

On a cold December night, the old men of the mountains (los abuelos) come down to the village to ensure that all the children have been good. After the abuelos chase the children around the bonfire, they join the families in the fiesta.

A warm, colourful introduction to a New Mexican solstice celebration.

December 2, 2010

Creative Idioms

The Cat's Pajamas
by Wallace Edwards

An idiom, as defined at the beginning of this wonderfully creative book, is an expression that can't be translated literally. Wallace Edwards uses his fantastic animal portraits to illustrate 26 common idioms. A lion getting his mane blasted while facing the music, a camel actually cooling her heels while waiting for a train, and a bored cow on a surfboard going with the flow are some of the clever ways of uncovering the idioms' meanings. To ensure readers get the hang of it, the idioms are explained in detail at the back of the book. To add to the fun, a cat is hidden in every painting. So jump in and give this book a whirl. You'll find that idioms are a piece of cake!