Stuck - Oliver Jeffers (2011)

         Kites always have a knack of getting stuck in trees. But things get a lot worse, for Floyd, when he tries to rescue his stuck kite.
        Floyd throws a shoe, to get his kite back. Sadly, the shoe also gets stuck. Then he tries another shoe, which gets stuck too. He throws a cat. Obviously, the cat gets stuck. Then a ladder, a bucket of paint, a duck, a chair and there is a whole list of other things including a boat, a house, a whale, a truck.....

What's Wrong, Little Pookie? - Sandra Boynton (2007)

ISBN 10 : 03758 45526
ISBN 13 : 978 03758 45529
     What if it is one of the days, when your baby (or toddler), is fuzzy or upset, simply for no reason? The same sequence goes on here, but how does Pookie's mom handle it?

It's all in a day

      Pookie is upset one day, for which Pookie's mom don't know the reason. What could be possibly worrying Pookie? She asks various questions to Pookie, to know the cause. 

What's in the Woods? - Charley Harper (2013)

Image Credits :
ISBN 10 : 07649 64534

       Bird Watching is a wonderful experience, provided the weather is pleasant. But what if the weather is not working right? Well, there is a way. Just pick a copy of 'What's in the Woods?' by Charley Harper and enjoy a walk through nature in the midst of cozy indoors.

An Indoor Bird-Watching Fun
          "Oh, there is a grouse, a scarlet tanager and a blue jay. Wow, a red-bellied woodpecker is pecking that tree. Can you hear the cardinal's song? Is that a chipmunk, that rustles near? Oops! Watch out! A snake slithers there." This is only a short list in our nature watching fun, through Charley Harper's vibrant illustrations. 

About the author : Eric Carle (1929 - )

      It could be just a crawling caterpillar or a slow moving turtle, a boisterous monkey or a gigantic elephant, every animal takes a vibrant color in Eric Carle's fascinating collages. Among many authors and illustrators, who are loved by children, Eric Carle is special, to be fancied by babies and toddlers.

Career :

      Starting his career as a graphic designer and art director of an advertising agency, Eric Carle's world is always attached to arts, designs and illustrations. It was in 1967, he joined hands with Bill Martin Jr., and made his first ever children's book 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?'. The success of this book marked the beginning of a successful author and illustrator.

       Through out his career, he authored many books and illustrated some books along with authors like Richard Buckley, Bill Martin Jr. and others.

Works :

     No essay on Eric Carle would be complete, without the mention of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", the most acclaimed work of the author. It was translated into over 30 languages and still continues to awe every generation.

      In total, Eric Carle has authored and illustrated more than fifty books, the most famous among them being, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", "The Grouchy Ladybug", "Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me", "The Very Busy Spider" etc.

Techniques :

       The uniqueness of Eric Carle's sketches starts from his innovative mind, conducted to the medium through his collage techniques, using hand painted papers. He uses a variety of materials including brushes, sponges to get various textures in his illustrations. 
       Apart from the illustration, the lights in the 'The Very Lonely Firefly' and the chirping sounds in the 'The Very Quiet Cricket' add life to his already wonderful books.

Awards :

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Award - 2003
  • Regina Medal - 1999
  • Honorary degrees from various deemed universities.
  • Japan Picture Book Award - 2000

    Also, many of his books have won various awards, including International Children's Book Fair First Prize for '1,2,3 to the Zoo' (1970), American Institute of Graphic Arts Award for 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' (1970) and various other awards.

From This Blog

Titles about Eric Carle and his works, in this blog:
           (Click titles to read more.)


Horton hears a Who - Dr.Seuss (1954)

Horton, the hero, who saved a world

      Who needs an introduction to Horton, the humble, cool and brave elephant hero, who saved the world of  Whos', despite all the hardships he faced? Of course, he is a one-of-a-kind hero, who can't be forgotten that easily.
       Horton's life was normal, until the day he heard voices from a small clover. Eventually, he understands that there are people (In fact, a whole town, Whoville) in that clover and he even communicates with the Mayor of Whoville. But the people in Whoville are so minute and can't be seen with normal eyes. 

Mozart : The Wonder Child - Diane Stanley (2009)

           Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgang Gottlieb Mozart was just three years old, when he first played a clavier. He lived upto the age of thirty five. It is these thirty years, that are covered in this book.

Child prodigy to the wizard of music

          Diane Stanley's book, about Mozart, brings out the events that shaped the musical genius, in the form of puppet show.

Opposites - Sandra Boynton (1982 - First Ed.)

ISBN 10 : 0671973525
           Nothing is alone in this world. Everything has an opposite and every child is learning this natural concept in various ways. This book is Sandra Boynton's way of seeing opposites.

A world of Opposites

           There is a heavy elephant playing see-saw with a light rabbit. A tall giraffe is standing next to a short pig. A fast-running dog is comparing its speed with a slow-moving snail.

The Greedy Python - Richard Buckley (1985 - First Ed.)

ISBN 10 : 0887080014

Too much of anything is good for nothing

      Overeating has never been a good thing. And that's exactly what happened to this python. He is very long and strong. Also, he is very greedy, especially when it comes to eating. 

      One day, he starts eating a mouse, then a frog and a bat. This list goes long with a fish, a bird, a porcupine and so many other animals ending with a giant elephant. Soon he feels sick and he coughs back every animal, he has eaten. 

      Being a greedy python, he has never learnt his lesson and started eating his own tail and OOPS......?

Illustrator : Eric Carle

Publisher : Picture Book USA - First Ed.

Classification : Moral, Emotional (Greedy)

Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1- 3

My Comment:

       This book comes from the rich combination of Eric Carle and Richard Buckley (I cannot count how many times I have read "The Foolish Tortoise" to my kids, another book from the same author and illustrator combination).

       The animal illustrations by Eric Carle are always vibrant and could catch the eyes and minds of kids (including babies and toddlers). This book gives me another opportunity to tell the same about the great illustrator.

       The narration of Richard Buckley combines mockery and rhyming, with a perfect moral. In my view, the moral works in two ways:
  • My preschooler son understands it in a simple way; 'If you eat with greed, you will destroy yourself'.
  • To my second grader, I explained this analogy; 'If you become greedy about anything (money, fame etc.), it would eventually destroy you' (A bigger moral for a bigger boy).
      Also, the narration of the author is direct and precise to make it understandable to even smaller kids. To sum up, this python would make a good reading time, filled with fun and moral.

      Note : This book fits toddlers also. But since the concept of a python eating himself might be heavy for that age group, I didn't mention 'toddlers' in the age group of this book.


The Wright Brothers - Pamela Duncan Edwards(2003)

ISBN 10 : 0786819510

What Happened in 1903?

  •  What happened in 1903?
 First successful powered flight in human history.

  •  Who made this remarkable feat?
 Wright Brothers made this first successful powered flight in human history.

Big Sarah's Little Boots - Paulette Bourgeois (1987 - First Ed.)


ISBN 10 : 0922103700
             Sarah loves her yellow rain boots, which are as yellow as a bathtub duck. They went SQUISH, when she jumps. And, finally, that day comes, when Sarah can no longer fit into those boots. Poor Sarah, what would she do, if her dear boots shrunk? She tries to pull them hard, fills them with rocks, plants and waters them. But the boots are not growing back.

             It was then, her mom informs her that it is not the boots that are shrunk, it is Sarah who has grown. Big Sarah has to get a new pair of red striped yellow boots and pass her old boots to her little brother. Alas, the new boots went SPLASH, when she jumps. Will Sarah really enjoy her new boots?

            Illustrator : Brenda Clark          

            Publisher : Kids Can Press

            Classification : Emotional (Growing up)

            Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1 - 3

My Comment:

           Yes, this story is absolutely enjoyable. But I would say, it is a must-have book in home, if you have a emotional kid, who don't want to grow out of anything. The little girl, Sarah, of this story can be easily matched to any kid, who gets pretty attached to their things. The narration is lovely and the tricks by Sarah to "grow up" the boots are heartily enjoyed by me and my kids.

           There is a lot of emotion binded in this story. Through the eyes of Sarah, the author has passed on happiness, sadness, naughtiness and other feelings to the reader. The segments where Sarah passes her boots to her brother will, sure, make you love this big sister.

          The illustrations keeps you nearer to Sarah by exhibiting even her minute expressions of disappointment, grunts, hopes, delights and anger. In total, I am sure, you would hear "Can we read it again?" from your kid, after the first time.


Go, Shapes, Go! - Denise Fleming(2014)

It's Show Time

              The show is about to begin. But it is not any ordinary show. It is a show of shapes, conducted by a mouse. At first, a square slides in, then an oval bounces to the top of square. Then a circle comes rolling to fit in the oval. Soon, triangle, rectangle, arc and some more shapes fly in. All the shapes together form a monkey.

Daisy-Head Mayzie - Dr.Seuss (1994)

ISBN 10 : 0679867120
      (This is the last book written by Dr.Seuss. The illustrations in this book are not by Dr.Seuss, but are inspired by his other works. This manuscript was found after he died and was published later.)

A Daisy Over-the-top  
      The world turns upside down for little girl Mayzie, when a daisy sprouts and blossoms on her head. When her teacher, the principal, her parents and a group of other grown-ups are trying to get a hand of the problem, media invites and makes Mayzie popular. When Fame makes her alone, detached her from family and friends, she cannot take it anymore, until she turns to her normal self.

Freight Train - Donald Crews(1978)

ISBN 10 : 068880165X

                   (Caldecott Honor - 1979)

          Young or old, trains never miss to attract any person of any age. Here is a classic train, that attracts children for several decades.

Journey of a freight train          

          Meet this freight train on its journey. Count its colorful boxes, a Red caboose, an Orange tank car, a Yellow hopper and so on. Watch it as it moves through the tunnels, crossing trestles. Follow it as it moves through day and night. Cherish its memory after it is finally gone, leaving its smoke behind.

The Three Questions - Jon J.Muth (2002)

Three Questions and three values for life

ISBN 10 : 0439199964
          Based on the short story 'The Three Questions' by Leo Tolstoy, this clever adaptation by Jon J. Muth, gives answers to three questions, asked by a boy named 'Nikolai'. 

          Nikolai searches answers for three questions:
  • When is the best time to do things?
  • Who is the most important one?
  • What is the right thing to do?
           Since he is not satisfied by the various answers given by his friends, he goes to a wise turtle. But, Leo, the wise old turtle, is not going to reveal the answers directly. He has a way to make Nikolai to understand them.

         Publisher : Scholastic Press

            Classification : Moral (Philosophy)

            Age  : Grades 1- 3

My Comment:

      We might have read many books to our kids, to enhance their vision. But there are certain books, which enrich us in the process. I consider this book as one. The answers to the three questions not only appease the kids' quest, but make us a bit more enlightened.

    The adaptation of this story, from Leo Tolstoy's original, is very apt. While the original comes with a king and a hermit, this adaptation characterises a boy who is asking the questions and a wise turtle answering them. This makes the book more approachable to kids. The watercolor paintings add a firm backstage to this wonderful story.

            Totally, I consider this book reading as a distinctive experience with my kids.


Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell (1982 - First Ed.)

ISBN 10 : 1416947370
25th Anniversary Ed.
       Ever thought, which animal would you like to pet? Well, it is not an easy decision. The pet has got be perfect for you.

A Petting Zoo

          Here is a kid making serious considerations. He writes to a zoo, requesting a pet. But the animals they are sending are either too heavy, or too tall, or too fierce and so on. But he is not going to give up until he gets the right pet.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle(1969 - First Ed.)

         Caterpillars and butterflies never get old in children's world. They are always delightful and lovely. That's how this book is also to kids.

Spread your proud wings                                         

           It is a Sunday Morning. An egg pops and a caterpillar comes out. On Monday, he eats through one apple. On Tuesday, he eats through two pears and on Wednesday, he eats through three plums and so on. After he becomes a big caterpillar, he builds a cocoon around himself and emerge out as a butterfly.

About the Author : Marcia Brown(1918 - )

        A post about Marcia Brown can be titled in many ways :

  •  A  distinguished children's author and illustrator
  •  An illustrator whose pictures can express
  • Three times winner of Caldecott Medals
  •  Recipient of notable awards and medals

        Regardless of whichever way she is introduced, she is undoubtedly a brilliant contributor to children's literature. Her first book 'The Little Carousel' was published in 1946. From that time on, she has written and illustrated over thirty books.

        Apart from the capturing narration, it is the pictures that impact more in her books. Even before reading her book, the illustrations can convey and transfer a lot to the readers. The magical vibrations of 'Cinderella', the dark 'shadowy' and bright 'real' pictures of 'Shadow', the delightful orange tones of  'Stone Soup' and other notable works had clearly brought her Caldecott awards.

        As Marcia Brown was inspired by many tales and fables around the world, she has molded them into adorable children's books. Marcia Brown's efficient storytelling has given textual and visual life to those folktales and fairy tales.

Awards and Medals:

         The list of awards and medals received by Marcia Brown:

  • Caldecott Winner for three times

  1. Cinderella(1955)
  2. Once A Mouse(1962)
  3. Shadow(1983)

  • Caldecott Runner-up or Honor for six times

  1.  Stone Soup(1948)
  2. Henry-Fisherman(1950)
  3. Dick Whittington and His Cat(1951)
  4. Skipper John's Cook(1952)
  5. Puss in Boots(1953)
  6. The Steadfast Tin Soldier(1954)

  • Regina Medal (1977)
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal(1992)
  • United states nominee for Hans Christian Anderson Award(1966 & 1976)
     Either it is writing or illustrating, the contribution of Marcia Brown to children's literature is enormous and her books would be enriching generations to come.

     More posts for 'Marcia Brown' in this blog:
        (Click titles to get more details.)


If a Bus Could Talk (Story of Rosa Parks) - Faith Ringgold(1999)

Biography By Bus

ISBN 10 : 0689818929
       Marcie is waiting for her school bus, but instead hops on the talking bus, which stopped by her bus stop, on time. It is not just an ordinary bus, but it is the very bus that Rosa Parks, the pioneer of Civil Rights movement, travelled and got arrested for her protest.

The Runaway Rice Cake - Ying Chang Compestine(2001)

ISBN 10 : 0689829728
         A new year is the time for new changes. With hospitality and kindness, the Chang family is in for a positive changes.

A new year to enjoy nian-gao

           After a year of drought and scarcity of food, the Chang family is celebrating the Chinese new year. As they are about to eat the only nian-gao(steamed rice cake) they have, it starts to run suddenly. It reaches a old woman soon, who had not eaten properly for the past few days. The Chang family offers the whole rice cake to the old woman and returns home.

Gregory's Shadow - Don Freeman(2000)

           The myth: On Groundhog Day, people look out for groundhogs. If it comes out along with its shadow, there would be six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog appears alone, it indicates early arrival of spring.

A Warm and Cozy Story
          Gregory Groundhog and his Shadow are friends and are always together. Because their company keeps them both brave and neither are bold without the other. But, a day before the Groundhog Day, the friends got separated.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears? - Verna Aardema(1975)

ISBN 10 : 0803760892

           (Caldecott Winner - 1976)

           Have you ever wondered why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears? Maybe, this story can help with an answer.

A charming tale about annoying mosquitoes

             It was an endless night in a forest, as the owl (Oh, it's the owl's responsibility) did not wake up the sun. She slipped from her duty. as she was moaning over the loss of one of her owlets. But how did it happen?

The Foolish Tortoise - Richard Buckley(1985 - First Ed.)

A Bold Message - "Consider the Consequences"

ISBN 10 : 0689820585
       Everyone makes bad decisions at times. A tortoise is no exception. The  tortoise in this story hates being always slow and takes off his shell to move fast. But before the end of the day, he learns that his shell protects him from various dangers and harsh weather. Finally reaching the shell, he feels safe once again.

             Illustrator : Eric Carle 

               Publisher : Little Simon

               Classification : Moral, Science (Shells)     

              Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1 - 3

My Comment:

    I have always felt certain messages are hard to tell in a kid-friendly way. But this book broke my opinion. It comes with a high level message of "understanding the consequences", in a way even kids can get it. The poetic narration makes it a pleasure to read again and again. 

     Eric Carle's illustrations should be noted separately, as they carry the  entire background of the story in bright colors.(Obviously, the reason why small kids get attached to Eric Carle's books much. They love to go through the pictures repeatedly.) I am also happy that I can explain to my younger son why tortoises and turtles need shells. So, a lot is packed in this simple book - moral story, poem, bright and meaningful pictures, science. Whichever angle you read this book, you can interpret good things from here.

Stone Soup - Marcia Brown (1947)

                     (Caldecott Honor - 1948)                              

        When the cloud of greed is cleared away, there will be always a sunshine of sharing in every heart. And, this French folktale enunciates that point.

A tale of sharing and caring   

         Three hungry soldiers enter a French village, in the hope of getting some food and shelter for the night, as they were on a long journey and had not eaten in two days. But the villagers, fearing strangers, hide all their food and inform the soldiers that they too are making through a poor harvest.

Touchy-Feely Board Books - Fiona Watt, Phil Coxbee Rox (Year Varies)

ISBN 10 : 0794509576

ISBN 10 : 0794506364
            Babies explore their environment by seeing and touching. And, that's why a book with touch sensin can be a great material for their growing brain. 

That's what a baby needs

          Touchy Feely series of books works best with babies and toddlers. Each book centers about an animal or a vehicle and describes its features. For example, the kitten book goes like this.

                "That's not my kitten, it's ears are too soft."

Picture Pie - Ed Emberley(1984 - First Ed)

A circle is not just a circle; but many

  ISBN 10 : 0316234257       
          Don't ever think a shape is just a shape. Ed 
Emberley has brilliantly shown in this book, that various patterns, birds, animals can be formed using the basic shapes. A circle cut in half, quarter and so on, called as pies, are arranged in various ways to form the objects (The book cover gives more clue).

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids - Sean Covey(2008)

ISBN 10 : 1416957768
ISBN 13: 9781416957768
     Utilize your time. Work hard. Save your money. I know, no kid would lend an ear to this kind of advice. But what could we do? Maybe, use this book next time.

I wish advising is always this fun and easy
         The seven stories in this book branch about seven kids in the '7 Oaks' to emphasize the seven life morals. One kid gets bored. One wants to buy a toy but has no money. One has to study for test, instead he plays. All the seven kids has problems that a typical normal kid can face. Each of the seven morals sets the record straight for each kid.

About the Author : Chris Van Allsburg(1949- )

     Not only kids, even grown-ups would get mesmerized with the fantasy stories of the famous author and illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg. With a dazzling start, as his first book 'Garden of Abdul Gasazi' is a Caldecott Honor Winner, each book created by this author is a clean winner in the field of Children's literature.

     His books are filled with the elements of mystery, built upon supernatural elements. Not only the story-telling, it is the illustrations that strike first in his books and make the book more magical. The dreamy illustrations of  'The Polar Express', the subtle gray dominated illustrations of 'Jumanji' & 'The Garden of Abdul Gasazi' and there is a whole lot to be expressed in this way. No wonder, he bagged two Caldecott awards for 'The Polar Express' and 'Jumanji'. Also he received Caldecott Honor award for 'The Garden of Abdul Gasazi'.

    He has written about twenty books, among which three are successfully transformed into motion pictures.
  •   Jumanji (1995)
  •   The Polar Express(2004)
  •   Zathura (2005)

    Apart from this, he illustrated the following books.
  •    Swan Lake - Mark Helprin(1989)
  •   A city in Winter - Mark Helprin(1996)
  •   The veil of Snows -Mark Helprin(1997)
  •   The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S.Lewis(1994 - The cover art of re-jacketed edition)

Titles about Chris Van Allsburg and his works, in this blog:
        (Click titles to get more details)

Up and Down - Oliver Jeffers(2010)

            This book is a follow up of Oliver Jeffers' 'Lost and Found'. The same pair of friends, the boy and the penguin, occur in this story again.

Friend Or Flying?
            The two friends, the boy and the penguin, almost spend every moment together. But one day when the penguin wants to fly, everything changes. Though the boy helps the penguin to get the experience of flying in various ways, the penguin is not satisfied. 

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