WRITTEN BY MARISA HOCHMAN
As we head into the holiday season, the oft quoted Game of Thrones phrase “Winter is coming…” could be responded to by hardy Winnipeg folk with a jolly challenge of, “Winter is HERE!” Now is the time to stock up on books to use in our classrooms in the New Year, books to curl up by the fire with over winter break, and books to gift to friends, nieces and nephews, our children or grandchildren as the case may be.
Our first installment of the RCGW Book Review features both new titles and some old favourites, as well as reminders of what’s coming to TV and the big screen from the world of children’s literature.
Read Aloud Books for Newborn – Age 5
Under the Silver Moon: Lullabies, Night Songs & Poems
Illustrated by Pamela Dalton
Published by Chronicle Books, July 11, 2017
A gorgeously illustrated collection of lullabies and goodnight poems from a variety of cultures. The exquisite illustrations are made using a 16th century German paper cutting technique known as Scherenschnitte, meaning scissor cutting. Bright colors set against a dark background ensure that the images really pop! Using a blend of old favorites such as “Hush Little Baby,” “I See the Moon,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” along with other lesser known melodies and poems, this delightful collection is sure to be a favorite keepsake for new parents to read aloud to baby. Research has shown that exposure to the rhythm and rhyme of lullabies and nursery rhymes is highly beneficial in the development of early literacy.
This beautiful book would make a lovely gift.
Primary Readers (Grades K-2, Ages 5-8)
Ella Bella Ballerina and The Nutcracker
Written and Illustrated by James Mayhew
Published by Barron’s Educational Series, 2012
Perfect for ballet lovers, Ella Bella Ballerina is a series of beautifully illustrated ballet-themed books produced by UK author James Mayhew. The books introduce little ones to the most famous classical ballets through the adventures of adorable young Ella Bella, a pupil in Madame Rosa’s ballet class. Each book is an adventure in itself based on specific ballet, and each story begins in Madame Rosa’s dance studio.
It is almost Christmas and Madame Rosa leads her class onto the stage to introduce them to the music of Tchaikovsky and to recount the story of the Nutcracker Prince, as they dance around the base of a twinkling Christmas tree. But they cannot dance all day - Madame Rosa has a surprise for them! Before they can begin, Ella Bella is sent back to the stage herself to fetch Madame Rosa’s special music box, and a magical dreamlike sequence ensues. Ella Bella meets Clara beneath the tree and heads off on an adventure to fight the Evil Mouse King and fly on a magical sleigh through dancing snowflakes with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy.
A perfect winter confection to delight ballet lovers and to prep young ones for their first experience watching the Nutcracker ballet this holiday season.
A Cage Went in Search of A Bird
By Cary Fagan, Illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian
Published by Groundwood Books, 2017
In his latest picture book, award-winning Canadian author Cary Fagan has crafted a life-affirming fable about friendship and belonging. This luminous story follows the adventures of an empty birdcage seeking a bird to fill it. Along the way the cage encounters birds of all shapes and sizes, though none of them is seeking a cage to live in until…
The whimsical richly coloured illustrations in this charming picture book will delight children and adults of all ages. This remarkable yet simple tale about the universal search for meaning and fulfilment through relationship serves as a gentle reminder that while one must seek opportunities for connection, ultimately all good relationships are based on mutuality.
A lovely and unusual story in its own right, this book would be a useful tool in school guidance programs, assisting students who are struggling to be liked or to fit in. In the middle and high school years it could serve as a subtle reminder not to work too hard chasing after others – the best friends and romances are found by being yourself.
It is impossible to overstate the power and beauty of this book.
Tuesday, February 25 at 4:30 PM – Sisler High School. All members are invited. Contact Leslie Dickson if you will be attending.
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