The May 2011 Carnival of Children’s Literature

| 15

Once again, it is with the greatest of pleasure that I present to you the latest Carnival of Children’s Literature!

Unfortunately, hosting this month has coincided with a big dose of lurgy in our home so I haven’t been able to spend the time highlighting newcomers and favourite posts – do leave a comment letting me know which post(s) were your favourite.

If you do not have the time to hook up with everyone at the carnival please click immediately below for posts on specific topics:
Interviews | Books inspiring fun projects | Picture book reviews | Nonfiction | Fiction for older readers | Poetry | Illustration | A few more gems


Danielle at There’s a book has a bit of a scoop – an interview with Jon Scieszka. Actually it’s not Danielle doing the interviewing, it her young son! Head on over to find out what Jon’s favourite colour is and whether he things numbers or letters are better…


Aaron at Children’s Books and Reviews has an interview with Sylvia Vardell, a professor at Texas Woman’s University, an author, and a strong advocate of poetry for children. During the interesting interview Aaron asks “Why is poetry important? Is there something especially important about it for children?“, to which Sylvia responds “Poetry is part music and part chocolate—delicious and unforgettable. Everyone should get a taste at some point in their lives. For kids, it’s also primal, as natural as a heart beat and an organic way to learn language and from there, a path to reading.” Do read the rest of the interview!

Author Kathy Stinson would like us to join in a National Poetry Month Guessing Game; four stories in her collection 101 Ways to Dance were originally poems, but which ones?

Books inspiring fun projects

After reading Grace Lin’s beautiful book “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” Bookie Woogie’s family set out to retell the story using shadow puppets. It took them three months to prepare a brilliant 92 second video – it’s so lovely I couldn’t resist including it here (with permission):

Bookie Woogie: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon from Z-Dad on Vimeo.

Janelle presents Charlie Needs A Cloak by Tomie dePaola – Review and Natural Dye Craft. Janelle and her kids had a go at using cranberries to dye some cloth and would love any tips on using natural dyes so if you have any, do pop over to her post!

Picture book reviews

Liz at Children’s Books to Love reminds us of the brilliance of the Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Her post definitely made me get our copy off our shelf to reread.

Cheryl Rainfield admits that she treats herself to picture books. “I buy myself picture books as treats. Not only for the incredible artwork that lies between the pages, and the masterfully told stories, but also for the joy, the hopefulness, the encouragement, the hugely wonderful flights of imagination.”

The Cath in the Hat is cheering for Amanda & Her Alligator!, a beginning reader/picture book from the marvellous Mo Willems.

This past month Sandie at Picturebooks in ELT has looked at books which deal with peace and that can be used to promote discussion around such matters as diversity, prejudice and tolerance. As part of this focus, she shares with us her post War and peace with elephants.

Jama Rattigan has made me hungry with her post slurp slurp yum: plenty saimin by feng feng hutchins and adriano abatayo. Jama also got to speak books and food with Feng Feng – great stuff, just don’t read it if you’re already feeling peckish!

Spring has arrived! Emmy at Emmy’s Book of the Day has been enjoying all the blooming flowers and blossoming trees and reading…In The Garden: Who’s Been Here?, a book which is part of a series by Lindsay Barrett George focused on animals in nature.

Amy at Delightful Children’s Books has created as super resource in compiling multiple Read Around the World booklists. It contains (mostly) picture book recommendations for each continent and is definitely a post I’ll be returning to for some armchair travel.

Heidi at The Book of Life has a podcast for us to enjoy. Author Lesley Simpson talks about her picture book Yuvi’s Candy Tree (Kar-Ben, 2011), a story about Ethiopian Jews fleeing to Israel based on a true story.

Who wants a bunch of flowers, when instead you could have A bouquet of picture books? That’s exactly what Kate the Book Aunt has on offer in her post containing a sampler of recently published picture books. They look beautiful and will last much longer than roses!

Susan, The Book Chook, has a review of “a most unusual picture book”, The Bravest Ever Bear was written by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Paul Howard. Susan writes “It will appeal to kids who may think they’re too grown up for picture books. It’s the sort of book I can see Dads enjoying in a read-aloud, or Year Six boys sneaking peeks at because of the comic-style illustrations and humour. Teachers in early grades who treat Fairy Tales will value the book for its spin on classic tales. And anyone who values storytelling, will want to share it with their children.” Don’t you want to find out more about it now?

Kerry at Picture Books and Pirouettes has a review of Monsoon written by Uma Krishnaswami and illustrated by Jamel Akib. Kerry also gives us an interesting little window into Indian dance and rain symbolism.

Mama Pea Pod tells us about a fun sounding reading challenge she and her kids are taking part in – the 5-A-Day Book Challenge. Head on over to Mama Pea Pod to find out more and see what books they chose in their first week of the challenge.

When you ARE that woman is Reading too much into things… She’s shares a selection of picture books she loves to read with her son and comments “the best books I know allow the kids to flex their independence before curling back up under the duvet in that glorious regression of sleep.”


Anastasia Suen encourages us to try some of the activities included in The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science: 64 Daring Experiments for Young Scientists – sounds like a great book for the summer holidays!

Mary Ann Scheuer reviews Into the Unknown, by Stewart Ross and Stephen Biesty (ages 9 – 14). Mary Ann writes “With clear, dramatic storytelling, Stewart Ross follows fourteen great explorers as they set out to discover the unknown. Starting with Pytheas the Greek, who sailed to the Arctic Circle in 340 B.C. and ending in 1969 when the crew of the Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Ross examines where, why and how these brave adventurers traveled. I found this book absorbing and fascinating, on many levels.

At Simply Science Shirley has a review of Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. “This book offers a beautiful description of an unattractive bird that makes the landscape more beautiful.”


My own contribution to the carnival is my purse-emptying post 49 brilliant picture books from the past 5 years as chosen by award winning illustrators. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Carol at Rasco from RIF brings us a guest post by Eric Velasquez. He writes “Part of the fun of illustrating books is that sometimes the images mean more to the illustrator than to the people who read the books and other times if you are lucky the images mean more to the reader than to illustrator or the author, because they add their own back-story to the characters based on their own life experiences.

Fiction for older readers

Camille reviews The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. As Camille says, “A great book to kick off your summer reading!

LitLand has been celebrating teen sci-fi all month and as part of that Debra Black presents 12 Days of Sci-Fi: Infinite Space, Infinite God II.

Lori Calabrese presents A must have for the broken hearted. Lori writes “The book I fell in love with this month was Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson. Not only are the characters irresistible, you’ll want to reach into the book to hug Jessa, choke Sean, pat Carissa on the back, and laugh with Tyler.”

Eva Mitnick review the much touted The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. It’s on my shelf waiting to be read and thank to Eva’s review it’s been moved up a book or three towards the top of the pile.

Pat at Read. Write. Repeat has A GLEE-ful read: The book she’d give Kurt Hummel. And if you’re not a fan or follower of the TV programme Glee, don’t worry, the post is really about the brilliance of librarians who are able to select just the right book for their students.

Over at Jen Robinson’s Book Page there’s a review of a book Jen is tipping for possible Newbery success, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. Jen writes “I think that it’s fabulous. I think that it’s one of the best books that I’ve read in ages. I can’t recommend it highly enough“. That’s an endorsement to get me reserving my copy at the library for sure.

Elissa shares her Thoughts on the Percy Jackson series on her blog, Don’t let life pass you by. She describes it as “more educational, less scary” than the Harry Potter books – what do you think?

Jennifer at Jean Little Library has a review of “a perfect summer beach read“, Lexie by Audrey Couloumbis, illustrated by Julia Denos

Read Aloud Dad shares swith us a round up of a number of different illustrated versions of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. He was looking for an edition which is hardcover, unabridged, beautifully illustrated, physically large so easy to read aloud, and with the magic something that captures a reader’s imagination. Did he find such a version? You’ll have to head on over to find out!

A few more gems…

Mary Ann Rodman shares some ways to keep children and teens engaged in their summer reading assignments in her post Outfoxing the Summer Reading List Blues

Eldon Sarte presents The Great 1973 Little Golden Books Caper, a long eulogy and reminiscence on the role these lovely books played in Eldon’s childhood.

Jon from Write4Kids has something thoughtprovoking and challenging for us to read as part of the Carnival, a free eBook containing essay by Cory Doctorow on copyright, building a tribe of readers and more.

What’s a writer to do when a YA publisher wants her poetry for a use that may violate her principles?” That’s exactly what Laura Grace Weldon has been pondering in her post The Trouble with Principles. What would you do?

In what way are printed books like candles? Shelli shares her interesting thoughts on this in her post Printed Books: Eternal Flame or Up In Smoke?. All about the possible future of printed books (as opposed to e-books) her post is certainly thought-provoking.

It’s been an honour to host this month’s carnival. If you submitted an article but it hasn’t appeared here, please leave me a comment and I’ll update the post – it’s been so busy that there is a chance one or two submissions may have slipped through the net.

Next month’s hosts are The BookDads. If you blog about children’s literature and want to receive reminders about submitting posts to the carnival you can join the Kidlitosphere Yahoo Group.

15 Responses

  1. Susan Stephenson, the Book Chook

    Acres of awesomeness! I won’t pick a favourite yet, because I am still busy snorting coffee after watching Bookie Woogie’s shadow play. Congratulations on such a creative family effort, guys! So much learning must have taken place and the product is very entertaining.
    Susan Stephenson, the Book Chook recently posted..Looking Back to May Past

  2. Liz

    Wonderful post! I still have a few to read but I am partial to your picture books chosen by illustrators post. I also like the Bravest Bear Ever, that one is going on my ever-growing wish list. Thanks for the great carnival!
    Liz recently posted..May 2011 Carnival of Childrens Literature

  3. Amy Pertl-Clark

    Wow Zoe! So many wonderful posts. I took a peek at your post of picture books chosen by illustrators – AMAZING! I am looking forward to sitting down and really reading every word. Thanks for hosting!
    Amy Pertl-Clark recently posted..Books About Ballet

  4. Rasco from RIF

    Thank you for putting together a super Carnival! I am watching Bookie Woogie’s family’s vimeo over and over and over…it’s great!

    I hope your family is feeling much better.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.