That's Not Hockey!

If you are a fan of hockey, this book is a must read. It is the true story about the goalie who invented the hockey mask.   I really like how the author unravels Jacques journey from a teased child with innovative hockey gear to a professional goalie.  Jacques came from a foundation of creativity and a love for the sport, through sustaining numerous harsh injuries to the face and head, to inventing and wearing the first hockey mask out on the ice.  Oh, and this hockey star- won six Stanley Cups.  His innovation and bravery changed the level of game play in terms of skills, confidence, and safety for the goalie. I appreciate how the author and illustrator don't sugar coat the reality of hockey, from stitches, broken noses, and blood on the ice, you get an idea of the experience on the ice. This is a great read aloud for Canadians, Mainers, and all hockey fan communities. I also recommend this picturebook as a mentor text for your biography units of study with older kids. The double spread full bleed illustrations are fantastic, realistic enough for the genre, yet active and interesting for children to look at. It is cool how the illustrations have a mix of colorful action and black and white in the background.  The amount of text is just right, with fluent lines and a repeating chorus, "Hey, that's not hockey!" I will be purchasing this book to share with my students. I love hockey and I love this important narrative about a vital contribution to the sport.

A Page in the Wind

Jose’ Sanabria & Maria Laura Diaz Dominguez have created a beautiful work of art with their picturebook, A Page in the Wind.  The cover is stunning and presents like a painting that belongs shared on gallery wall space. Each following illustration is set on a white background that frames the art. Told from the point of view of a page, I love this idea of a narrative being born, yet existing without meaning- because the page became unraveled from the others, and stayed unread, “One by one…everyone’s life story began. Everyone but me.” It is a tribute to reader response. I felt empathy for the page while witnessing his tougher times and tangles, and relief when happier moments, “For the first time someone read what I had to say” presented themselves. When a reader or listener connects to text and/or illustrations, true value and worth unlaces and presents itself in true purpose.

Terrific Tongues

Maria Gianfwrrari's new book Terrific Tongues offers an accessible and exciting way to learn about animals. This would make a great mentor text for units of study informational writing.  Kids will love the interactive text, "If you had a tongue like a straw you might be a..."

Illustrated by Jia Liu, the pages alternate between single spread full bleeds of the animal and their terrific tongues in action, and includes a few sentences of facts. The opposite page is an illustration highlighted around a white background, proposing the next question, "If you had a tongue like a mop, you might be a...".

Bear's Adventure

After my interaction with this glorious picturebook, I looked for more of Brian Wildsmith. And why I  look for more when I take a bite of something so savory, is because I might just find an old friend I didn't recognize. Two of his many books, Cat on the Mat and Squirrels are in my collection. I share them on the Autumn book shelf, and even use my multiple copies of Cat on the Mat for emergent readers during their guided reading groups. So back to Bear's Adventure...The  illustrations are stunning. Each page is like a painting or a one of a kind greeting card, sharing beautiful animals, prints, textures, and colors. I have read other fictional tales about bears ending up in the city and confusing man made purposes from the natural world, but I haven't before this book, watched a bear be mistaken for a man in a costume after falling asleep in a hot hair balloon and ending up in a parade. Nor have I seen an urban environment displayed with such colorful and gentle texture and delicate care. This picturebook has adventure, humor, and reminds us that even a moment spent among chaos, has perfection. Bear just goes along with every unraveling mishap, seeming to be led a step closer to where he is suppose to be- no matter what direction he takes to get there.

a box of Butterflies

The art on the cover was the first thing attracting me to this book. I like the sense of sweetness and warmth displayed in the robot and child, and the gentle movement of the delicate butterflies (that match the color of the robot's eyes) exhibit in their flight. The font used in the title adds to the beautiful presentation. The book's clever lead is a fairy tale's final words and Robot expresses he does not know what love feels like. As the child describes similes to emotions, the narrative leads towards text and illustrations describing emotions like worry and anger in accessible ways, before ending with...LOVE. On the last page the Robot has a heart, for a tender resolution. I think if the pages had all been used used to describe love, it would feel less like a teaching tool for emotions, and more like a story about love. With that being said, this is an adorable book. I am going to recommend our guidance counselor adds this to her collection, and reads it to the K-2 kids as part of her practice.