Once Upon an Alphabet - Oliver Jeffers(2014)

              Oliver Jeffers has tried a new wave of short stories, each one to go with an alphabet A to Z. The story for A is with an astronaut, B centers a bridge, C is about a cup and so on.

A is for Amazing, B is for Brilliant ....... Z is for Zesty    

            Bob and Bernard live on either side of a bridge. As they were battling for a long time, Bob decides to end this battle. He burns down the bridge from Bernard's side, so that Bernard can't use the bridge. Alas, how could he return to his own home now, without the bridge?

Where the Wild Things are - Maurice Sendak(1963)

Caldecott Winner- 1964

         Wild imaginations are part of childhood. So, it would be totally fun to make a wild travel to the place of wild things, with the help of those wild imaginations, at times.

Wild things, that are not wild 
           Max was sent to bed without dinner, for making mischief, wearing his fox suit. That night, a forest grows in his room and ocean waves tumble. He travels in a little boat in that ocean and reaches the place of wild things. He is being honored as a king of wild things. But is he satisfied with that? Or, he needs something more, like the warm love of his family?

Publisher : Harper Collins Publications

Classification : Fantasy

 Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1 - 3

My Comment: 

        When I read this book with my kids, I never felt Max is an imaginary boy in the story. After all, how many times we have seen our kids doing mischief and making us angry, but come back to us with the innocent love?

         In the perspective of kids, it is a wonderful make-believe story, taking them to the wild imaginary world. The illustrations make the book more dreamy and this Caldecott winner is sure a classic and a must-read for those imaginary minds. 

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Shadow - Marcia Brown(1982)

      ISBN 10 : 0684172267   
                         (Caldecott Winner-1983)

Follow the Shadow, that follows you
       What is a shadow like? What would be its characteristics? Author Marcia Brown tried to bring answers to these questions, with the elegant sketches of this book.

Seven Blind Mice - Ed Young (1992)

                                Caldecott Honor-1993
ISBN 10 : 03992 22618
         Opinions differ from person to person. But how could seven blind mice decipher the same object as various things? Here is an Indian fable that establishes that incomplete knowledge could lead to false ideas.

A pillar + A snake + A spear + A cliff + A fan + A rope = ?

            Seven blind mice got curious about the new strange thing near their pond. Each day, each mouse takes a turn and examine the new thing. But their opinion differs, since they examined the different parts of that new big thing. One says that it's a pillar, one says that it's a snake, other a spear and so on. 

The Way Back Home - Oliver Jeffers (2007)

            Mars or Moon, home is always the best. No doubts about that. That's why, in this book,  a Martian and Earthling are struggling to find the way back to their homes.

Let's Jump to Moon

          A boy makes a trip to space in his airplane but it runs out of fuel and he crash-lands in the moon. While in Moon in darkness, he has a company. No, it was not a monster. It was a Martian, who was struck in Moon, just like him. 

          The new friends brainstorm about the ways to find "the way back home". What did they do? Are they able to make it to their homes?

Moon Forest - Patricia MacCarthy(2013)

     Life is all about running, in this forest. While some living beings run for preying, some run for saving their life from those preys. It could be either for living or preying, running is more important.

A Moon's Eye View

        Grace through the eyes of moon, as it follows a hunting fox, in the night drown forest. The fox pounces through the forest, while the other creatures take flight for their survival. It was not until we see the fox reaching for her hungry cubs, we could understand the side of this preying mother.

A Pair of Twins - Kavitha Mandana(2014)

         (Tradition :  Dussehra is an Indian festival. It is an ancient custom in India, that during 'Dussehra' festival, a bull elephant with his mahout, heads the procession, which is the highlight of the festival.) 

Dreams don't have gender

         This story circles about a young girl and a cow elephant.The 'unusual' twins, the girl and the cow elephant (named 'Sundari' and 'Lakshmi'), born on the same day, develop a special bonding. The girl dreams of becoming a chief mahout (a person who rides and controls an elephant). But that profession is reserved only for boys of  the family.

Lost and Found - Oliver Jeffers(2005)

ISBN 10 : 0 39924 503 0
ISBN 13 : 978 0 39924 503 9

(2005 Edition Hardcover)
               Objects can be lost and found. Friendships? Here, a boy loses his friend, but not to worry, he finds the friend back soon.

Lost Someone?
            A boy finds a stranded penguin at his doorstep. Pitying the penguin, he takes enormous steps to sail to south pole, to find its home. Well,it is not an ordinary travel. The boy shares great stories with the penguin. They are through rough and good weather.

Black and White - David Macaulay(1990)

ISBN 10 : 03955 21513
ISBN 13 : 978 03955 21519

                    (Caldecott Winner- 1991)

         There are four stories in this book, if you consider all of them are different. If you think they are related, there is only one story. David Macaulay has presented a ingenious story (or, stories) which are interconnected and sequential and also offers the readers a story puzzle. 

Travel Between Stories       

         There are four columns in each page. The four stories progress simultaneously in each page in their column.     

     1) A boy is travelling in a train to reach his parents.
      2) There are passengers waiting for a train in a railway station.
      3)The parents of two kids, who return home from work act weirdly.
      4) There is a thief, who is trying to steal  cows.

The Smiley Book of Colors - Ruth Kaiser(2012)


           (The author of this book, Ruth Kaiser, is the founder of 'Spontaneous Smiley' project, with its own web page and Facebook page.  Thousands of smiley photographs, captured by many, fill these pages.  Also, they help in operations for children with facial deformities, by joining hands with 'Operation Smile' charity.)

           Who said only humans can smile? No, not in this book. A purse, a shoe or a cookie... almost anything can smile in this book. (Caution : These smiles are contagious). 

Smile at the smiley          

         Have you ever felt this? A car or a truck, looks like it is smiling with its headlights and the bumper. That's where this book's concept begins. Every page of this book is filled with the such smiley photographs of inverted hand bag, apple seeds, a hat and loads more.

You Are (Not) Small - Anna Kang(2014)

Image Credits : apub.com
ISBN 10 : 14778 47723
ISBN 13 : 978 14778 47725

          (Theodor Seuss Geisel Award - 2015)

Big is small; Small is Big                  
          How does a 'big' become 'small'? If the 'big' gets nearer to a 'very big'. How does a 'small' become 'big'? If the small gets nearer to a 'very small'. Confusing? Read this book and your kid can understand this comparison easily.

          There are two characters in this book, a big one and a small one. They break into a fight about who is big and who is small. Then there is a whole bunch of big and small creatures, who are involved in this comparison.

Animals Animals - Eric Carle (Poem Collection) (1989)

ISBN 10 : 03992 17444

"The wild world of Poems"           

             Poems are great. Collection of poems from around the world, written by great poets is remarkable. If all those poems shine with the bright illustrations of Eric Carle, what's more there to ask for?

            This book is a collection of poems about various living beings to which Eric Carle gives visual life. It starts with the verses from Bible and and includes poems of African Pygmy, Japanese Haiku, Australian Aborigine. Along with these, poems of Rudyard Kipling, Emily Dickinson and other eternal poets are included.

            All these poems, which articulate about living beings, varying from bumble bee, ant, dog, snake to whales, lions and seals, are enhanced by the canvas of Eric Carle.

          Publisher : Philomel Books - First Ed.

          Classification : Poems

          Age : Kindergartener, Grades 1 - 5

My Comment:

            Introducing diversified interests at a young age is always good. In that respect, I consider this book as an important one. It is not a story book, that could be read in a single day. It is good to take time and read this book slowly. (I read two poems in a day)

            Whether your kid already likes poems or not, it is worth a shot, introducing this book. The poems, that are simple and flowing along with lively illustrations, may bring out the poetic sense in your child. Eric Carle's illustrations are vibrant and act as the backbone of this book. (My preschooler son, though he cannot read the book, enjoyed leafing through the book, seeing the illustrations over and over again.)

             Some poems, my kids loved in this book are about barracuda, snake, sparrow etc. But they can't follow and understand all the poems. The Haikus are lovely, but I have to explain them to my kids. Though they can't follow everything, I was satisfied that I introduced this exciting book to them.

Jumanji - Chris Van Allsburg(1981)

ISBN 10 : 03953 04482
ISBN 13 : 978 03953 0448

                    (Caldecott Winner-1982)

       (Apart from Caldecott award, this book has also won various awards like Kentucky Bluegrass award (1983), Golden Archer Award for Primary (1996) etc.)

Cast a Die and Go wild

     What do you expect when playing a board game? Some scores, some penalties, crossing out opponent's coins, finishing in the first place. But, these are not in Chris Van Allsburg's world, where everything can take a adventurous turn.

       Peter and Judy are playing a ordinary looking board game, Jumanji, in their house. Guess what? A lion appears in real life, monkeys ransack the kitchen, rhinoceros stampede in the living room and so on. These animals won't leave away, until either Peter or Judy finish the game. But every time, they cast a die, a new danger is waiting to visit them. Finally who has the winning hand?

       Published By : HMH Books for Young Readers

          Classification : Mystery

          Age : Grades 1 and above

My comment: 

    I have always believed Chris Van Allsburg's books are not just for children. They perfectly fit the taste of an entire family. Of course, who don't like the mysterious events and last page twists?

     Also, reading a Chris Allsburg's book is like watching a motion picture. (Yes, this one is a successful motion picture also). The illustrations are deep, multidimensional and multilayered, and can make a  deeper visual impact  just like a movie.The illustrations in this book uplift the mood of the book and are precise to build the eerie atmosphere.

       This book is exceptional in all these qualities and a timeless hit.  (You should have seen my kids' faces, when my voice going up and down, with suspense and action, while reading this story), This book is a complete winner with my boys, who were all excited with the action.  Even though the book more suits for big kids, my preschooler son too enjoyed it. And, yes, we read the book 'once more' & 'once more'.

What Ship is Not a Ship? - Harriet Ziefert (2014)

ISBN 10 : 16090 54474
ISBN 13 : 978 16090 54472

This ship won't sink forever.

           How could you live in a mush-'room'? Is it possible to ride on a sea-'horse'? Is hi-'hat', a hat you could wear? Who would have imagined, a monkey ends with a 'key', but does not have a key? Well, by now, you might have guessed what would be the concept of this book. Yes, it's time for riddles. 

          Three objects, of same pattern, are introduced (a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom). The readers should find the odd fourth one, which don't belong in this set (Mushroom is not a room). Each page has an engaging riddle like this, giving food for brain. And, finally, what ship is not a ship? Have you guessed it?

      Illustrated By : Josee Masse

        Published By : Blue Apple Books

        Number of Pages : 40

        Classification : Informative, Interactive

        Age : Kindergartener, Grades 1 - 3  


My Comment :

       Whether you are serious about lateral thinking or want to have some silly fun, this book can work around any way for you. While introducing the strange word connections of English language, this book also sets a riddle play. Apart from these two points, the author has designed this book as informative also, giving explanations for the words used.

          Needless to say, my kids loved to read (or play with) the book. One reason being, the riddles are not highly complex, but make them think and analyse for a while. (If the questions are too hard to answer, they would not have crossed the second page). It is so good to see my kids trying to guess the answer, as each riddle is read. Also, it comes with a pretty layout, enhanced by colorful illustrations. (Everything including the endpapers are adorable, thanks to the illustrator's excellent artwork).

           Read, or play, this book would be a winner with every kid. After all, which kid doesn't like riddles and puzzles? 

Alphabatics - Suse MacDonald (1986)

ISBN 10 : 00276 15200
ISBN 13 : 978 00276 15203
           (Caldecott Honor-1987)

          Alphabets can make words. But have we ever thought alphabets can make gymnastic (Or, animated) moves? In Suse MacDonald's Caldecott Honor book, the letters are flipped, twisted and moved, to form a picture. Either animation or gymnastics, the book is pure fun.

Animated Alphabets
       'A' is flipped upside down to make an 'Ark'. 'B' is tilted and a 'Balloon' emerges. 'C' makes a rotation and makes the smile of a 'Clown'. In the same way, all the letters of the alphabets get their own animation and change into something, which starts with the letter. ('j' changes into a jack-in-the-box, which forms the cover image of the book.) 

Once a Mouse - Marcia Brown (1961)

        Caldecott Winner - 1962
         When self-confidence crosses the line and becomes boasting, there is always a lesson to be learnt. Based on an ancient Indian fable, this story is about a 'small' mouse becoming a 'big' powerful tiger and starts boasting about his powers.

Small to Big

           A hermit is thinking about 'big and little' (Is it about the physical sizes or thoughts? Who knows what is inside a hermit's mind?). At that time, he sees a mouse, who is being preyed upon by a crow. To save the mouse, he transforms it into a cat, with his magical powers. Again when the cat is about to be snatched by a dog, he changes it into a bigger dog. This series repeats until he finally makes the mouse, a tiger.

The Garden of Abdul Gasazi - Chris Van Allsburg(1979)

          (Caldecott Honor-1980)

       It is not everyday we meet magicians, who turn dogs into ducks. But it is Chris Van Allsburg's world and magic is in the air. 
Magic, Mystery, Mesmerize          
        Alan Mitz is in charge of taking care of the dog, Fritz. But Fritz is not making things easy, as he runs and chews all over the house (except Alan's hat which is protected by Alan). But, things get worse, as Fritz enters the garden of magician Abdul Gasazi during afternoon walk. Alan follows him into the magician's house, only to learn that the magician has turned the dog into duck. The duck (or, dog) snatches Alan's hat and flies away.

Wednesday - Anne Bertier (2014)

           There are two characters in this book: A little round and a big square.(Yes. Seriously!). They play this interesting game: transform themselves into the word they say.

Lighter side of geometry

       As the two shapes say butterfly, the square splits into two triangles and the circle divides into two semicircles and form the butterfly shape.