Thursday, December 4, 2014

NPR's Book Concierge: Guide to the Best Reads of 2014: Kid Picks

NPR has posted their best books list for 2014!  and it's kind of amaze...just go look, it's truly beautiful. You can use the filters on the left to narrow down the 250 results nicely. My interest is piqued for many. I need to check out past years, I am always looking for my next great read! (NPR's Book Concierge)

These kids books sure look fun, some of them look smart, and some of them look real interesting. Flynn and I have been going to the museum a bunch so I love anything that further encourages his appreciation of art.

*These descriptions are not my own.

Ah-Ha To Zig-Zag: 31 Objects from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
By Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman's whimsical, sublimely silly alphabet book celebrates the newly renovated Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum by featuring 31 of her favorite objects from the collection — a quirky companion volume to My Favorite Things, her selection for adults. Flagged items include a medieval Egyptian cap and a 19th century English glazed earthenware poodle. Just don't look for the dog under D or P. Nope, you'll find it under E — for "the cutest dog on Earth…(Except for your dog)," with all the e's printed in red. And don't look for the letter O in its usual place because — "Oops! We left out O. Oh well. We all make mistakes." Expect giggles. — recommended by Heller McAlpin, book critic

The Odd One Out
By Britta Teckentrup
This wonderful children's book is full of challenges to find the "odd one out" — the one penguin sheltering a fledgling, the scared tortoise who has hidden his head, the bird who caught the worm. Reading the story and finding all the odd animals could take quite a while, but the illustrations are so beautiful you won't mind taking your time with each page. (For ages 2 to 5) — recommended by Sarah Handel, Weekend Edition staff

Thank You, Octopus
By Darren Farrell
Thank You, Octopus is a wonderfully wacky tale about a mischievous octopus helping his charge get ready for bed. When the boy grumbles, the octopus tries to tempt him with a warm bath. "Thank you, Octopus," the boy says — until he realizes the bath tub is full of egg salad: "Gross! No thank you, Octopus." It has some of the same naughty, talk-back-to-the-book fun of Don't Let The Pigeons Drive the Bus! another modern-day toddler classic, and it's funny enough for adults to enjoy rereading again and again. The illustrations are insanely detailed and I especially appreciated the New York Harbor setting. (For ages 3 to 5) — recommended by Anya Kamenetz, blogger, NPR Ed

By Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson
Three things happened to me when I read this enchanting picture book about a mixed-up French bulldog raised by a family of prim, proper French poodles: First, I wanted to crumple up the whole world and commission a new one painted by Christian Robinson. Second, I wanted a French bulldog even more than usual, which is saying something, because I already dream of owning one with an intensity usually reserved for diamonds or beachfront property. And third, I wanted to hug the book to my heart and never, ever let it go. I've only done the third — for now. (For ages 4 to 8) — recommended by Margaret Willison, librarian and book critic

Hooray For Hat!
By Brian Won
Hooray for Hat! is practically the Platonic ideal of a picture book. It uses simple, repetitive language to tell a simple story with a simple message: Bringing happiness to others makes you happy, too. Elephant wakes up GRUMPY — until he finds an amazing hat on his doorstep! But can his hat delight his grumpy friends, too? Where a lesser writer might preach, Brian Won manages to simply delight with his elegant story and bright illustrations. On top of that, the book's many characters and repeated lines invite both (1) the use of funny voices and (2) the shouting-along of familiar phrases; i.e., the two BEST THINGS to include in a read-aloud. (For ages 4 to 8) — recommended by Margaret Willison, librarian and book critic

By Raúl Colón
The conceit of this beautiful, wordless picture book is simple — a little boy is drawing in his bedroom and imagines himself on safari, interacting with the animals he has only seen in books. The way Colón captures how it feels to be engulfed and transported by your artistic endeavor, the way he evokes the perfect endlessness of solitary afternoons spent working hard on what you love best — that's anything but simple. His warm-toned, dreamy illustrations invite you into the story, and the special details — like who the protagonist shares his sandwiches with — reward repeated readings. (For ages 4 to 8) — recommended by Margaret Willison, librarian and book critic

By Aaron Becker
I am almost loath to tell anyone about this magic book. If too many people notice it, Hollywood is bound to come knocking and turn this transporting, elegant story — a wordless picture book that's Harold and the Purple Crayon raised to the power of The Lord of the Rings — into something airless, bombastic and murderously trite. But to read this book once is to want to personally distribute one to every bored kid you've ever seen, Hollywood be damned. "Here," you'd say. "Flip through right now and spend the rest of your day trying to climb right into the pages. I'll wait." (For ages 4 to 8) — recommended by Margaret Willison, librarian and book critic

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
By Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson
It would be nearly impossible to write a bad biography of Josephine Baker, civil rights activist and superstar. Glamorous dancer, spy, sparkplug and owner of a pet leopard named Chiquita — not even the driest prose could make these facts seem dull. But to create words and pictures that match her electric crackle — that's a challenge. Patricia Hruby Powell's vivid, rhythmic poetry and Christian Robinson's arrestingly bold acrylic paintings accomplish something special by simply doing justice to Baker's remarkable journey from segregated St. Louis to performing in Paris. Your kids will be dancing around in banana skirts after reading this one. (For ages 7 to 10) — recommended by Margaret Willison, librarian and book critic

The Night Gardener
By Jonathan Auxier
When Irish orphans Molly and her little brother, Kip, find employment at a rundown English manor house in the desolate countryside, something, or someone, is set on destroying them. As servants to a once-rich family, the siblings are struggling to survive but hindered by a mysterious giant tree that encroaches on the house and into the lives of its inhabitants. Molly's dreams and heart's desire soon turn to horror as she must engage her bravery, wit and storytelling prowess to battle an evil ghostly presence. This totally absorbing tale reads like a classic and is not to be missed. (For ages 10 and up) — recommended by Lisa Yee, author, most recently of Warp Speed

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