Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.

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Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

Image from

Image from

Jeffers, O. (2010). Up and down. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN: 9780399255458

Annotation: The boy and the penguin are best friends who do everything together, until the penguin decides he wants to learn to fly.

Reaction: I love these boy and penguin books. Once I found Lost and Found, I had to read all of Jeffers’ other books. The illustrations are simplistic and adorable, and the story is a sweet tale about two friends being best friends. I love the bright colors Jeffers uses in his illustrations and the big text. Jeffers doesn’t over complicate his illustrations or the text, which allows these books to work well for younger kids while still appealing to them as they get older.

Media Used: Watercolor on Arches cold-pressed paper

Author’s Website


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Christmas Storytime

Since Christmas is three days away, I feel like I should post something holiday appropriate, but as it turns out, I don’t really read many “Christmas” books. Or, like, any. I do currently have My True Love Gave to Me on hold at the library, and I have previously read the first couple of stories, which were excellent (the Rainbow Rowell book opener! Goodness, I love that woman). And then I remembered the Christmas storytime that I put together, so here you go! For this storytime, I went with the Christmas versions of some of my favorites. My kids all seemed to have a good time and interacted with the stories really well. Continue reading

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Grandfather Tang’s Story by Ann Tompert

Image from

Image from

Tompert, A., & Parker, R. A. (ill.) (1990). Grandfather Tang’s story: A tale told with tangrams. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN: 9780517885581

Annotation: A grandfather tells his granddaughter a Chinese folk tale about shape changing foxes and uses tangrams to help illustrate.

Reaction: I picked this book up because the idea of a “tale told with tangrams” was really intriguing. It wasn’t until I started reading that I realized I was confusing tangrams, which are different pictures made with the same seven pieces of a single puzzle, with anagrams, which are different words made out of other words.

The story is a fun folk tale about two fox fairies who have a shape changing contest that almost ends in tragedy, and Grandfather Tang uses his tangrams to illustrate all the different shapes they become. I really enjoy the folk/fairy tales from other cultures, especially non-Western ones, since their traditions are so different, but also not really that different at all. And this one has the fun added element of the tangrams.

The art is loose and impressionistic and has an Asian flavor to it, sort of reminiscent of Chinese brush paintings. The colors are muted, giving the illustrations a feeling of age.

This book would be great to introduce kids to some Chinese folklore and tangrams. I remember other kids playing with them in school, but for some reason I never did. I think it would be a fun activity for a class or family to read this story together and then make their own tangrams stories.

Media Used: None listed, but it looks like pencil and watercolors.

Author’s Website: None

Illustrator’s Website: None