Our Holiday Hiatus

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GOOD READS WITH RONNA IS TAKING A SHORT BREAK

Thank you for stopping by the blog today! Rita, MaryAnne, Cathy, Hilary, Mary, Dornel and Ronna are taking a one week break from reviewing. We’ll be back the first full week of August to bring you more of the latest and greatest in kidlit and announce our giveaway winners.

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter our COMICS SQUAD: RECESS! giveaway.  Here are the details if you missed them when Dornel reviewed this fabulously funny new middle grade book.

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GIVEAWAY DETAILS: We’re delighted to be giving away two copies (value $7.99 each) of COMICS SQUAD: RECESS! courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers.

RULES:

1. Please send an email to Ronna.L.Mandel at gmail.com and write COMICS SQUAD: RECESS! in the subject. Please supply your name and address, too!

2. Be sure to LIKE US on either Facebook and/or Twitter to be eligible and let us know you have. You must be a US or Canadian resident to enter.

3. Contest ends at midnight on August 5, 2014, and (2) winners will be notified on August 6, 2014.

Good luck! See you VERY soon.


Tilly’s Staycation by Gillian Hibbs

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Tilly’s Staycation, by first time picture book author/illustrator Gillian Hibbs, (Child’s Play Inc.; July 2014; $16.99, Ages 3-8), is reviewed by MaryAnn Locher.

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Tilly’s Staycation written and illustrated by Gillian Hibbs, Child’s Play, 2014.

When I first read Tilly’s Staycation, by first time picture book author/ illustrator Gillian Hibbs (Child’s Play Inc.; July 2014; Ages 3-8; $16.99), I couldn’t help but think of my own childhood. How I longed for a real vacation at some exotic getaway. A place with a built-in pool, a beach, and colorful fruity drinks with fancy paper umbrellas. Some place you couldn’t get to by car, but could only reach by plane, boat, or maybe both!

In this inventive picture book, Tilly watches as one after another of her friends sets off on vacations to India, Paris, Florida, the beach, and camping, leaving Tilly behind. Her mother says not to worry, they’ll have fun together without having to go away. Tilly, however, is skeptical. While she enjoys having a special breakfast in bed with her mom, she isn’t so sure how much fun they’ll have when the city bus they take drops them off at the library.

With a creative mom and an imaginative child, books become adventures, an ordinary picnic becomes a secret rendezvous, and swimming at the local pool – an underwater expedition. Tilly and her mom find treasures at the local market before they head back to their house to spend the night in a vacation home they build for themselves in the living room out of blankets.

Hibbs uses bright primary and cheerful secondary colors to mirror the childlike happiness her words and illustrations inspire.

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Interior spread from Tilly’s Staycation by Gillian Hibbs, Child’s Play, ©2014

Just like Tilly, I never did get that fancy family vacation, not like the ones my friends went on, but I did get to use my imagination to escape the confines of my yard and have a fun-filled summer.
By the end of the book, Tilly says, “I can’t wait to tell my friends about my staycation.”


Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

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HAVE YOU SEEN MY DRAGON?(Candlewick Press, $16.99, Ages 2-5) written and illustrated by Steve Light, is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

⭐︎School Library Journal – Starred review

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East Side, West Side, all around the town …

Steve Light’s charming and clever counting book, Have You Seen My Dragon?, takes us all over Manhattan soaking up the sights and counting various things found there. Light’s latest book was a recommended read by book buyer and author Catherine Linka and now I’m sharing her tip with you.

And speaking of tips, Light’s book includes numerous modes of transportation kids want to see in a busy city: taxis, subway cars, bikes, boats and buses, all for the counting – there are 16 subway cars and 17 taxis in case you were wondering! Whatever item is being counted is highlighted by being the only color on an otherwise detailed black and white page. What a marvelous way to grab kids’ attention and pull them back in again and again to search and savor every lovingly drawn line.

I’m a former New Yorker so I especially appreciated this free ride to my hometown. As readers we wind our way all around the Big Apple with a little lad who is searching for his pet dragon. The beauty of this picture book is how Light has created a captivating counting story using inviting pen-and-ink illustrations that yield beautiful surprises as young readers seek and find the cheeky dragon. All the while your child may be looking out for the hidden-in-plain sight dragon, you’ll be noticing humorous little gems that Light’s illustrated to keep you on your toes.  Take the monkey, for example, just under the dragon fountain. He’s reaching for the zookeeper’s keys!

From Central Park to China Town, with patches of pinks and reds and purples scattered throughout the pages, there is simply so much to see and enjoy in Have You Seen My Dragon?  I have no doubt you’ll agree that this picture book has everything youngsters want in a picture book and then some. Enjoy your trip!

Click here for activities, author notes and more.