Shhh…It’s Sleepy Time
Ideal for helping youngsters wind down from a busy day, The Family Bedtime Treasury: Tales for Sleepy Times and Sweet Dreams (Houghton Harcourt, 2012; PreS-Gr 3) presents a cozy collection of eight beautifully reproduced slumber-themed picture books and eight illustrated poems. The offerings represent an enticing variety of storytelling moods and artistic styles guaranteed to hold the attention of young listeners.
Tried-and-true favorites, such as Audrey and Don Wood’s buoyant The Napping House (1984) and Joyce Dunbar and Debi Gliori’s night-fears-assuaging Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Bed (1998), are joined by newer works, including Wendy Watson’s almost wordless (but bursting with sound effects) Bedtime Bunnies (2010), Karen Beaumont and Jackie Urbanovic’s farmyard treat, No Sleep for Sheep (2011); and Olivier Dunrea’s Gideon (2012), starring a childlike gosling who would rather play than nap (until he falls fast asleep atop a haystack). Presented on single and double-page spreads, the poems include a traditional Hawaiian lullaby illustrated in sunset hues by Kate Kiesler (Fishing for a Dream, 1999); Calef Brown’s night-flight ode to a “Young Moth” (Soup for Breakfast, 2008); and Dana Jensen’s wistful “When Stars Make Wishes,” illustrated by Tricia Tusa (A Meal of the Stars, 2012, all Houghton Harcourt).
An appended section introduces the featured authors and illustrators, highlights some of their publications, and lists pertinent websites, encouraging parents to seek out more wonderful selections. The book comes with an audio CD recording (which can also be downloaded) of 21 classical music pieces played on oboe, cello, and keyboard, just right for settling down wide-awake little ones and inspiring flights of fancy. Recommend this thoughtfully complied, pleasingly designed volume to patrons seeking out bedtime or naptime suggestions—they’ll appreciate the package deal.
An Inventive Tale…Back in Print
First published in 1965, Doris Burn’s Andrew Henry’s Meadow (Coward-McCann; K-Gr 4), winner of the Washington Governor’s Art Award, has been reissued by Philomel. A middle child, Andrew Henry Thatcher is often left on his own but has no trouble finding things to do. While his inventions—a helicopter crafted from barrel and broom in the kitchen, an eagle’s cage in the living room, a merry-go-round powered by his sisters’ sewing machine—utilize his imagination and ingenuity, they also annoy his family members, who insist that he cart his contraptions away. Fed up, Andrew Henry packs up his tools and treks to a meadow where he constructs a house of his own design, complete with a fir-bough roof and landing platform for dragonflies.
Soon joined by other young runaways whose passions and hobbies are also balked at by their loved ones, the resourceful boy builds each child a dwelling that is tailor-made to his or her needs. It takes the grownups four days to find their missing offspring. Fortunately, the youngsters are ready to go home; Andrew Henry’s family provides him with a basement workspace and plenty of newfound appreciation. This charmer of a tale is illustrated with crisp pen-and-ink artwork filled with cross-hatched textures and finely wrought details. The inviting new cover is adorned with a zoomed-in image of the protagonist in his built-by-hand abode. Consider reintroducing this timeless title to your collection and adding it to your list of recommendations for books about inventions and creativity, family relationships, and finding one’s place in the world. And try it out on fans of TV’s Phineas and Ferb.
Never Enough Lyle
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt celebrates the 50th birthday of Bernard Waber’s charismatic crocodile with the release of the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury (Houghton Harcourt, 2012; PreS-Gr 4). Beginning with The House on 88th Street (1962), the heartwarming tale that first introduced this lovable character to the Primm family and to readers, this handsome compilation showcases three other standbys: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (1965); Lyle and the Birthday Party (1966) and Lyle Walks the Dogs (2010), an enchanting counting book brightly illustrated by Waber’s daughter Paulis. In his introduction, the author provides background about his creative inspirations and shares his heartfelt feelings about the books’ generation-spanning appeal. The volume ends with brief bios and (then and now) photos of father and daughter. A bonus audio download of a tale read by the author is also available. The artwork looks fantastic, and the stories are as fresh and funny today as when they were first published. Purchase this four-in-one volume to win over new Lyle fans, replace battered or missing copies of these favorite titles, and spiff up picture book sections.
The Little House Celebrates 70 Years
First published in 1942, Virginia Lee Burton’s Caldecott-Medal-winning tale of a “pretty Little House” built in the countryside and the challenges and changes brought on by the passage of time and the demands of progress is a true picture book classic. Houghton Mifflin marks the title’s 70th anniversary with a new edition (Houghton Harcourt, 2012; K-Gr 4).
In his introduction, the author’s son, sculptor Aristedes Burton Demetrios, describes growing up in a “house very much like the one pictured in this book…an idyllic and magical setting, replete with a roaring brook, rocks to climb, and winding paths.” Recalling time spent by he and his brother in “Jinee’s” studio (once a barn), serving as models for a work in progress (The Song of Robin Hood), or being corralled and read aloud to as guinea pigs for her latest tale, Demetrios provides delightful insights into Burton’s creative genius and role as both artist and mother. The book includes an audio CD of the story read aloud and a bonus track of the author’s Maybelle the Cable Car. The book cover features a foil background—as blue as the sun-warmed sky illustrated within—that adds a festive note to the well-known jacket. Replace worn or missing copies with this elegant multi-media version.
The Family Bedtime Treasury: Tales for Sleepy Times and Sweet Dreams. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2012. Tr $18.99. w/CD. ISBN 978-0-547-85786-2.
BURN, Doris. Andrew Henry’s Meadow. illus. by author. Philomel. 2012. PLB $14.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25608-0.
WABER, Bernard. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury. illus. by author & Paulis Waber. Houghton Harcourt. 2012. Tr $10.99. ISBN 978-0-547-51618-9.
BURTON, Virginia Lee. The Little House. Anniversary Ed. illus. by author. Houghton Harcourt. 2012. PLB $16.99. w/CD. ISBN 978-0-547-79044-2.
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