Newtons Book News

Childrens Book Reviews

Time for Fall

The season to prepare for winter is now upon us. Here are picture books to help celebrate a season of changing weather, temperature and scenery. All of these books are good for all ages.

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Winter is Coming, by Troy Johnston, and gorgeously painted with acrylics, colored pencils and opaque inks on watercolor paper by Jim LaMarche, has all of the elements that make picture books keepsakes on the bookshelves of many families. This book emits an emotion of perhaps a distant past of walking in the leaves, smelling the new decay and observing earth and sky in fall. Each page takes the reader deeper into the fall season and the colors and images evoke nature this time of year. A young girl takes her drawing paper and binoculars and climbs up to an observation platform in a tree. Beginning with September, the girl climbs upon the observation tree deck and sees a small red fox discovering a dried up apple dangling from a tree. He eats it quickly for “Winter is coming.” Each animal she discovers is always looking for food. And at the end of the nicely placed text, there are the words: “Winter is coming.” The reader learns to appreciate all that animals do to prepare for the coming cold. As winter approaches, she also discovers how quiet the world becomes. The brilliant artistry illuminating the beauty of fall is simply breathtaking! Be sure to check out the front and back end-pages which add to the genius of this beautiful book. Chances are very good you’ll want to keep this book forever.

 

The Very Cranky Bear, by Nick Bland, finds four animal friends caught in a storm so they attempt to escape it by going into a cave. Once inside they find trouble: a large brown bear whom they just woke up! Moose, Lion and Zebra come up with a solution: attempt to make him look like each of them. Moose places branches on his head in order to look like antlers, Lion puts dried yellow grass around his face to look like a mane and Zebra paints stripes on him to look like a zebra. But all this does is make this angry bear even angrier. It’s Sheep who steps away from his own desires and tries to look at Bear through his eyes. Sheep figures it out! The colors of each animal are vibrant, and the expressions of the bear are hilarious. This is an excellent book to help youngsters look beyond their own needs in order to help out others.

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Bear Hug, by Katharine McEwen, is a story about change with seasons – and life. The opening pages give a preview of what’s to come. There’s a beautiful full spread of a forest sprinkled with animals darting through the scene. The variety of trees shows some with bare ground around them and some with their rusty leaves hanging on. Snow is sprinkling down onto the brown earth floor. A young bear sniffs the air and knows the cold is coming. As he heads out into the woodland, he meets another bear and many more changes are about to take place. Every page opens to a full spread casting the wonderful collage of the season.

 

The Scarecrows’ Wedding, by Julia Donaldson, and brightly illustrated by Axel Schefler, is a rhyming tale that begs to be read-out-loud! Harry and Betty are scarecrows who are getting ready for their marriage. But when Harry gets side-tracked to look for flowers, another scarecrow appears and causes a lot of trouble. This delightful story will bring a smile to the reader or listener.

 

Just Right For Two, by Tracey Corderoy, and illustrated with mixed media by Rosalind Beardshaw, has the appearance of fall with colorful leaves, bare trees and golden trees. But the story is actually about friendship. A lone dog has just packed all of his precious belongings in a small suitcase. He feels confident that he has all he needs when he sets off. But when he meets Mouse, he eventually learns that what he really needed was a friend. This is a sweet story that would be a fast read for those night sittings when time is pressed.

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Thanksgiving for Emily Ann, by Teresa Johnston, and illustrated by Vanesa Brantley Newton, is a sweet little picture book that initially depicts an unhappy little Emily Ann who is ignored by her siblings, parents and grandparents who seem too busy with the preparations of Thanksgiving. She decides to hide the turkey, but fortunately her plan fails, and she soon discovers that Thanksgiving is all about appreciating family.

 

Aw, Nuts, by Rob McClurkan, begins with Squirrel bathing his beloved acorns for fall. The trouble begins when he spots a most desirable acorn and pushes and shoves it into his tree that is already packed with acorns. Suddenly, all of his gathered nuts explode out of the tree. His prized acorn bounces down the street and he says, as he does throughout this adventure, “Aw, nuts!” The humorous drawings of Squirrel and all of the antics with this acorn will make you smile. But there’s also a good lesson here: Squirrel never gave up, even when it was looking pretty hopeless!

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Fall Leaves, by Loretta Holland, is a perfect rendition of fall. This beautifully painted book is rich with autumn colors that display all that this season represents. Each open spread describes a specific event connected to fall. On one side are large words, such as “BIRDS LEAVE”,or “SUN LEAVES”, and underneath are two or three sentences describing why that event happens during fall. The opposite side of the open spread illustrates the event rich in hues of browns, oranges and yellows. Parents and teachers will desire this wonderful picture book that easily explains why the days are getting colder and the nights longer to children wondering what happened to their warm sunny days.

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