Since Jen talked about the Cybils awards on Monday, I'm making my Thursday three about the Fiction Picture Book, Nonfiction Picture Book, and Easy Reader winners.
How to Heal a Broken Wing
by Bob Graham
A pigeon is hurt on the city sidewalk, and everyone walks by -- except one boy and his mother. They bring the bird home, take care of it, and let it fly away. I'm keeping the plot simple, so that I can leave room to say that I have not shown this book to one adult yet who hasn't been deeply moved by it. Kids may see the simple story first, and then the kindness beneath. Adults can see the deeper levels of helping others, healing wounds, and letting go. Or even, as I told my seventh grader, "that sometimes we're the bird." Bob Graham's illustrations are wonderful, and truly tell the story more than the simple text. Look for the way the pictures gain color as the decision is made to Do the Right Thing (see a hint of it on the cover). It's an amazing book.
by Nic Bishop
The brilliant cover will draw you into this nonficition book, and the fantastic photos will keep you there learning more about frogs than you ever thought you wanted to know. This guy is the Monet of nature photography, drawing out the color and essence of all the creatures he captures on film. The text is pretty simple, making it perfect for the late preschool to early elementary crowd. While those with arachnophobia may want to skip an earlier title in this series, Frogs shouldn't raise any alarms -- especially when the deadly poison dart frogs are so cute!
I Love My New Toy!
by Mo Willems
Mo Willems has found continued success with his early reader series featuring Elephant and Piggie, and deservedly so. This is a man who can convey more humor and emotion with four pen strokes than an entire season of SNL. In this title, Piggie has a new toy, but doesn't know what it is. In trying to identify it, Elephant breaks it. In the end, everything is fixed -- the toy and the friendship. The expressions and situations are funny, but what wows me about this title is the entire range of feelings captured in one little easy reader book. There's pride, delight, remorse, anger, embarrassment, irritation, forgiveness, and love. That's packing a lot in! If you haven't seen this series yet, you need to. (Um, now might be good, since the book is bargain priced at Amazon to reduce inventory.)