Sometimes you read a book, and you cannot get it out of your mind, even long after you have finished it. It stays with you. For me, it is usually a picture book that does this; all the more impressive for the punch it packs into a tiny, concise package.
On a whim, I read a copy of Choose Your Days by Paula Wallace. I paused on each page, breathing in the beauty. And then I read it again. And again. I’m still reading it. And you should, too.
“Choose your days, make them sunny or gray,” says Old Bear, “the keeper of time and keys,” to little Corky. The days fly by quickly, with Corky growing old over just a few pages. As she reaches the end of her time, she pleads for more of it, for the “work undone… play postponed… music unsung.” But like us all, Corky cannot evade death, which she meets willingly–opening the door and walking into the arms of her friend, Old Bear.
Choose Your Days is a spare yet achingly beautiful meditation on impermanence–we “hold the key[s]” to our time, and only we have the power to give it the attention and gratitude it deserves. Wallace’s illustrations have a timeless, homespun aura, lending a gentle grace to a tale that takes on serious themes. Her depiction of death as a cottage full of starry sky and old friends is one that is as comforting as it is stunning.
This is my new favorite picture book, one I will be turning to again and again for the quiet reminder it offers. Young readers will have a lot to explore and process here–but this book offers a safe space to wander and wonder about the magic in each moment.
I want to give this book every single star in the sky.
Ages 3 & up.
Out April 12th!
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Greg Pizzoli’s wonderful picture books (The Watermelon Seed, Number One Sam, Templeton Gets His Wish, etc.) are storytime-savers–with engaging text, perfect page turns, and large, vibrant illustrations, it’s no wonder that his books are a favorite among adults and kids alike. His upcoming book, Good Night Owl, is no different, and it is a welcome addition to any little one’s bedtime reading repertoire.
Have you ever read Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel? Pizzoli’s wonderful new picture book recalls the story “Strange Bumps” in the best way possible. In Lobel’s book, Owl is settling into bed when he is alarmed by the two “strange bumps” (his feet) under the covers of his bed. Chuckle-inducing antics ensue as Owl fearfully tries to escape the bumps and get some rest. In Pizzoli’s book, Owl is settling into bed when he hears a, “SQUEEK!” Like Lobel’s story, readers are almost immediately privy to the source (a wee mouse, in this case), and the clever dramatic irony as Owl tears his house apart trying to find the tiny noisemaker makes this book a winner, especially for reading aloud to younger audiences. Beautifully paced and boldly illustrated in Pizzoli’s signature screen print style (and pay attention to all the little objects in Owl’s house, referencing Pizzoli’s other books!), this book is a definite must for bedtime laughs.
Out April 16th!
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Psst… If you haven’t read Owl At Home, do yourself a favor and do it. Now. Strange bumps and tear-water tea and an ice-cold houseguest–all the perfect blend of hilarity, weirdness, and poignant loneliness.
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I’ll admit it: I’ve been that person who stopped doing what she loved because she didn’t have time. Because she was all out of ideas. I had been blogging about children’s books for a couple of years, and late last year, I hit a wall. Everything I wrote felt stale, stagnant, tired. I was in the midst of a job change, and my life transformed tremendously (and fantastically).
And now here I am, over a month into 2016, and I after one new beginning, I am so very ready for another. So welcome to The Bimulous Bookshelf–my new home for book reviews, musings, and yes, ideas. My old, beloved home was here.
I read Philip C. Stead’s new wonder of a book last night, and let’s just say it was a spark of creative inspiration; a gentle nudge toward the realization that the things that bring you joy should always be given attention.
Ideas Are All Around is a beautiful, meandering, wholly unique picture book that straddles the line between reality and fantasy in a most meditative way. “I don’t have any ideas today,” Stead begins. As he walks with Wednesday, he (and the reader) revel in the beauty that is the process of creating—ideas are out there (they are, in fact, all around), and they are just waiting for us to notice them, to imagine them. Fans of previous Stead books will delight in the winks and nods littered throughout the book: see the animals sitting on the train, reminiscent of the bus spread in Amos McGee; and you just might spot some familiar friends from Hello, My Name is Ruby hanging out in the branches. The collaged art, rendered from polaroids and prints and etchings and other media, are a breath of fresh air that make each page turn an exciting surprise. This is a book to linger over, relishing all of the little details and quiet revelations about the gentle power of imagination.
Ages 5 & up.
Out March 1st!
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There are a lot of birds out today.
I can hear them
but I’m not good at seeing them.
I have to imagine what they look like.