Thursday, December 17, 2009

Picture Books

I' ve had a very  hectic day at school, back and forth between buildings.  Here it is at the end of my work day, trying to steal a few blogging moments. 
Peaceful Girl and I read two great picture books the other night and I just had to share them with you.
We read Tomie dePaola's new Strega Nona's Harvest (2009) and were delighted with the garden theme.  It begins like this:  "It was spring, and all the snow had melted."  Just that line gave us such a warm feeling as we are snowed in to our shins!!  Strega Nona brings out packets of seeds and explains how the seeds need to be planted carefully, according to each plants requirements.  She even has her always helper, Big Anthony spread the compost and manure so the plants will have plenty of vitamins.  This is great information for students to hear-what it takes to grow a good garden. There is even mention of planting by the light of the full moon,  a tradition in my family, which causes my husband to laugh and roll his eyes, until he eats the potatoes!!

 I loved the addition of lots of Italian phrases and words like "Arriverderci, buonanotte-good-bye and good night,"-wonderful for children to hear a new language.  I don't remember as many Italian phrases in other Strega Nona stories-this one seemed to have more and I very well could be wrong.  Please feel free to correct me if I am.  I looked through the original Strega Nona and didn't find as many.  The first one does a great job of describing Strega Nona, the Grandma Witch:
"She could cure a headache, with oil and water and a hairpin.  She made special potions for the girls who wanted husbands.  And she was very good at getting rid of warts." 
I think this new Strega Nona will encourage readers to discover dePaolo's many other books, Strega Nona or otherwise.
Highly Recommended for Elementary Everybody
5/5 peaceful stars

The second book we read, Hogwood Steps Out; A very good pig by Howard Mansfield and Barry Moser is funny!!  Even from the cover it invites humor with the face of that sweet pig.  This one begins: "Mud.  That's wat I smell this morning. It's rich, it's inviting."  You can see we are looking at life from a pig's point-of-view and this makes it very funny but not silly.  Whoever thought they wanted to get into the head of a pig-but once there we find an adventursome, strong-willed and happy pig!!  The pictures are realistically-drawn and you can imagine exactly what it would feel like to be the pig as well as the neighbors Hogwood encounters on his walk around the neighborhood.  Hogwood is one smart pig even as he is being led back to his pen!
Highly Recommended-Elementary Everybody
5/5 peaceful stars

Be Peaceful to yourself-


Unknown said...

Elena and I want to read Strega Nona's Harvest now. We love Strega Nona.

Jenners said...

Both of these look good ... though I always dread reading "foreign" words as I think I butcher the pronunciations!!

Playing by the book said...

I'm always on the look out for good gardening themed books (our current favourite is Eddie's Garden: and How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland although the illustrations in Bumpety Bump by Pat Hutchins are also gorgeous. Anyway, I shall now add Strega Nona's Harvest to my library reservations!