Tag Archives: Children’s Literature

Road Trip Essentials: Audiobooks

Summer is the season of family vacations and this means often long road trips accompanied by restless travelers of all ages. Regardless of your reading preference or road trip companions, the absolute best way to pass the time on a long road trip is by listening to an audiobook. Sharing an engaging story with your vacation companions can stave off the repetition of, “are we there yet?” and turn even the most reluctant reader into backseat book critic.

Below you’ll find a few of my favorites from a variety of genres and talented narrators. In most cases I have a personal preference for authors as narrators, but some very talented voice actors are noted below. Most genres listed feature children’s (C), teen (T), and adult (A) titles. Although the adult titles may not be appropriate for children/teens, adults should not restrict themselves to only adult titles. A well-executed audiobook, although geared toward a younger audience, can easily be enjoyed by all ages. No matter the variety of personal tastes filling your vehicle there is an audiobook (or two, or three) that will meet your needs.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

The graveyard book

Realistic/Historical Fiction

Code name Verity

Mystery

The Secret of the Old Clock

Memoir/Biography/Non-Fiction

The ultimate David Sedaris box set

Format: Audiobook

Reviewed by Magen, Highlands-Shelby Park Branch 

Five Recently Published Picture Books

bearseascape

The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud

We meet Papa Bear and Little Bear again in this follow up to Benjamin Chaud’s The Bear’s Song. This time instead of hunting for his cub throughout an opera house, Papa Bear tails him from a snowed-in city to a faraway tropical island. Saturated colors and mountains of details to wade through make for a delightful picture book not just to read but study.

 

verylilredhood

Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy and Sue Heap

The Big Bad Wolf has his work cut out for him after encountering a pint-sized girl on her way to Grandmama’s house. Very Little Red Riding Hood insists on calling him “Foxie”, she refuses to share her delicious cakes, and throws more than one tantrum before they even reach their destination. Heapy and Heap rearrange a classic in the most adorable way possible.

 

flashlightboyd

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Explore the world outside at night in this brilliant and original wordless picture book by the author of Inside Outside. With the aid of a flashlight, we are shown contrasting color scenes that splice through the black and silver darkness.

 

pignsmall

Pig and Small by Alex Latimer

Friendship isn’t always easy, and Pig and Bug almost give up on theirs due to having incompatible sizes. They come to realize there are more things they can do together than can’t.

 

diggerdog

Digger Dog by William Bee

Put on your hard hat and join Digger Dog in his hunt for a bone that turns out to be much bigger than expected. Rhyming text and fold out pages make for an engaging read with a surprise ending.

Formats Available: Book (Regular Print)

 Reviewed by Natalie, Main Children’s

By the Numbers

What did you do on your first day — the day you were born?

Steve Jenkins and Robin Page answer this question in their children’s book My First Day by describing what happens to animals after they are born. Readers will see that the beginning of animal life is dramatically varied among the twenty-two types highlighted and lovingly illustrated here using paper collage techniques.

  • A one ounce baby wood duck falls from high up in a tree following its mother and siblings to water. But it’s not the only animal to take a great fall. A giraffe tucks its head and falls about five feet to the ground at birth. But don’t worry, neither are injured.
  • Some animals are more sedentary like the two pound Siberian Tiger cub, which like human babies do little more than sleep and nurse their first few days.
  • Darwin’s frog hops from a pouch inside its father’s mouth having undergone the transformation from egg to tadpole to frog safe from predators.
  • Unlike humans, animal parents don’t have the opportunity to go out and buy a Baby Bjorn so they have different ways of carrying their babies and keeping them protected. Another way baby animals stay safe is to hitch a ride on its mama’s back. The sifaka, a type of lemur and the golden snub-nosed monkey both cling to their mother’s fur when they are on the go.

Another 2013 work of high-interest nonfiction that features animals is Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer. The author makes estimates based on the average adult life span of animals & insects in the wild. Selected facts are stand-alone conversation starters so illustrator Christopher Silas Neal’s mix of drawing, painting, print making and digital art make this a memorable read.

Lifetime is packed with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • An alligator will build 22 nest and lay 550 eggs.
  • A male seahorse will carry and birth 1,000 baby seahorses.
  • A caribou will grow and shed 10 sets of antlers.

-Natalie-

Favorite Read-Alouds Published in 2013

Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

Can you really tell a compelling story using just pictures and two sounds? The answer is “Yes!”


Big Snow by Jonathan Bean

While under the guise of “helping” his mother to clean the house, a young boy is constantly reminded of playing in snow as he waits for a big one to arrive.


Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman must have been pretty busy writing his dreamlike novel for adults, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was recently voted National Book of the Year in the UK. Yet somehow, he still found the time to imagine a little Panda with a tragic flaw. Terrible things happen when Chu sneezes. You can’t even begin to imagine what.


Crankenstein by Samantha Berger

Everyone gets a little cranky time to time. But when especially trying things like long lines or super-hot days pile up, they can turn otherwise sweet children into monsters!


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

I had no idea crayons were so sensitive. Hilarious and not to be missed.


Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

Sophie’s family picks up a spaghetti squash shopping at the farmer’s market but much to her parent’s dismay, Sophie forms an attachment to their dinner.


The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Fans of Mo Willems will love this melodramatic watermelon chomping crocodile.

-Natalie-