Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf includes Sometimes Cake by Edwina Wyatt and Jasmin Ainslie, which shows the importance of celebrating even the little things. Best friends Audrey and Lion celebrate everything ranging from birthdays to days of the week to colors. Yet one day, Audrey sees Lion looking down and must remind him that even ordinary days can be a cause for celebration.

Freddie vs. The Family Curse
Written by Tracy Badua
Published by Clarion Books
Available May 3, 2022

The Burning Swift
Written by Joseph Elliott
Published by Walker Books US
Available now!

Every Line of You
Written by Naomi Gibson
Published by Chicken House
Available March 1, 2022

Wutaryoo
Written and Illustrated by Nilah Magruder
Published by Versify
Available January 25, 2022

Sloth Sleuth
Written and Illustrated by Cyndi Marko
Published by Etch
Available June 7, 2022

Sometimes Cake
Written by Edwina Wyatt and Illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features new arrivals to the Butler Center for all ages! Among them is the upcoming Wild by Sam Usher which depicts a boy and his grandad trying to figure out how to appease a cat they are taking care of who eventually leads them into the wild. Check out the following variety of recently arrived titles!

Graceling: The Graphic Novel
Written by Kristin Cashore and Adapted & Illustrated by Gareth Hinds
Published by Etch
Available now!

The Last Chance for Logan County: A Legendary Alston Boys Adventure
Written by Lamar Giles and Illustrated by Derick Brooks
Published by Versify
Available now!

Ace Takes Flight: B.E.S.T. World
Written by Cory McCarthy
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available now!

The Forgotten Memories of Vera Glass
Written by Anna Priemaza
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

Princess Unlimited
Written by Jacob Sager Weinstein and Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

Wild
Written and Illustrated by Sam Usher
Published by Templar Books
Available December 14, 2021

Butler Bookshelf

With the holiday season incoming, this week’s Butler Bookshelf showcases books about food! The selection includes both fiction and nonfiction as well as books about families and communities of various types. In A Feast for Joseph, Joseph must adjust to his new lifestyle as he was used to eating with many people when he lived in a refugee camp in East Africa. Now, he is only accompanied by his mother and his neighbor. He must learn that a feast can still be enjoyed, even on a smaller scale. Check out this week’s titles for more food related readings, including inspirational, informational, and humorous selections!

Bake, Make, & Learn to Cook: Fun & Healthy Recipes for Young Cooks
Written by David Atherton and Illustrated by Rachel Stubbs
Published by Candlewick Press
Available December 7, 2021

A Feast for Joseph
Written by Terry Farish & OD Bonny and Illustrated by Ken Daley
Published by House of Anansi Press
Available now!

Feast Your Eyes on Food: An Encyclopedia of More than 1,000 Delicious Things to Eat
Written by Laura Gladwin and Illustrated by Zoë Barker
Published by Magic Cat Publishing
Available now!

The Cookie Maker of Mavin Road
Written by Sue Lawson and Illustrated by Liz Anelli
Published by Candlewick Press
Available December 7, 2021

Our Table
Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Published by Orchard Books
Available now!

Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast
Written and Illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

November is a busy month! It is Picture Book Month as well as Nonfiction November. In celebration of both of these, this week’s Butler Bookshelf features nonfiction picture books. These include the upcoming ¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! The Dance That Crossed Color Lines by Dean Robbins with illustrations by Eric Velasquez. This books tells the true story of how the fusion of Jazz and Latin music created mambo, popularized by a multiracial band led by Machito. The music’s popularity despite continued segregation in dance halls at the time led Palladium Ballroom to open its doors to all, truly showing how music has the power to transcend boundaries. Check out more nonfiction picture book titles below!

¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! The Dance That Crossed Color Lines
Written by Dean Robbins and Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
Published by Candlewick Press
Available November 23, 2021

The Message: The Extraordinary Journey of an Ordinary Text Message
Written and Illustrated by Michael Emberley
Published by Atheneum
Available now!

Penguin Journey
Written by Angele Burke Kunkel and Illustrated by Catherine Odell
Published by Abrams Appleseed
Available now!

What’s in Your Pocket?: Collecting Nature’s Treasures
Written by Heather L. Montgomery and Illustrated by Maribel Lechuga
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel and Illustrated by Magaly Morales
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Where Do Creatures Sleep at Night?
Written by Steven J. Simmons and Illustrated by Ruth Harper
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

 

Last impressions are always better than firsts: A Review of Invasion of the Unicorns

Invasion of the Unicorns
David Biedrzycki
Charlesbridge
October 19, 2021
Ages 4-8

Just past midnight, in a video arcade, there’s a burst of bright and colorful light. From it emerges Secret Agent Bubble07! Although he looks like a stuffed unicorn toy, he is actually an alien and a spy. His mission: collect data and decide if the alien unicorn army should invade Earth and make humans their servants. To do this, Agent Bubble07 allows himself to be captured by an Earthling family by posing as a stuffed animal in the claw machine. After three long days, a father outwits the machine and scoops up Agent Bubble07 for his daughter. Now, with a family to study, Agent Bubble07 will observe their every move. Will he tell headquarters that Earth should be invaded or will he discover that our planet is worth saving?

Invasion of the Unicorns is a fun and humorous picture book that shows that all people and ways of life are equal. It illustrates the importance of taking the time to learn about something or someone, rather than making judgements based on first impressions. If Agent Bubble07 attacked Earth based on how he felt on his 20th day here when the school kids were being rough with him, he wouldn’t have gotten to experience snow day on his 50th day. Each illustration has a grainy texture. There are also a few panels and full bleed pictures, adding variety and something unique to look at on each page. Biedrzycki starts the book with pictures in grayscale, only using limited color to represent Agent Bubble07’s presence. However, after the unicorn discovers the amazing things Earth offers, the pictures are filled with color. An excellent way to show how good things make life happy and vibrant. Biedrzycki’s unique story is a timeless reminder that, although we may have different cultures and traditions, they are all valuable.

Looking Towards Fall: A Review of The Leaf Thief

The Leaf Thief 
Alice Hemming 
Illustrated by Nicola Slater 
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky 
August 3, 2021 
Ages 4-8 

Squirrel wakes up one day to find that some of the leaves on his tree are missing. He concludes that there is a Leaf Thief on the loose and accuses other animals of having stolen his leaves. Over time, more leaves disappear, and Squirrel continues to panic, prompting Bird to show him the true Leaf Thief. Bird explains that the wind is taking the leaves, that this happens every year in autumn, and that the leaves will grow back in the spring, finally putting Squirrel at ease. 

Hemming primarily uses dialogue to tell the story, with different fonts used for each character. The text is laid out differently on each page, with large text used to accentuate Squirrel’s rising panic. He reacts dramatically to the situation, turning to his friend Bird for guidance. Despite the humorous nature of the situation, Bird takes Squirrel seriously, aptly explaining why the leaves are disappearing. Slater’s illustrations depict rich and vivid environments through a mixture of two-page spreads, single page spreads, and pages split into panels that make the storyline more dynamic. The colors of the autumn leaves are a focal point, though even the pages that do not depict leaves are full of vibrant colors. Paint and graphite textures scanned over the digital art give it a unique feel. Back matter further explains the changes that autumn brings. The Leaf Thief is a humorous story that will leave young readers amused while also providing information about a change they see around them in a straightforward and fun way. 

Add a pinch of belly button lint: A Review of Boo Stew

Boo Stew
Donna L. Washington
Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Peachtree
Available September 1, 2021
Ages 3-7

Curly Locks, the most disgustingly imaginative cook in Toadsuck Swamp, just hasn’t found the right audience for her culinary creations. When a group of spooky Scares (one larger than the last) make their way out of the swamp and into the mayor’s kitchen, the townsfolk are scared silly. Only Curly Locks knows what to do—cook for them! She whips up the best batch of Boo Stew east of the Mississippi and lures the Scares right back to the swamp with promises of feasts to come and satisfaction at finally finding those that appreciate her cooking.

In this twist on the Goldilocks tale, Washington’s background as a traditional storyteller shines through in the structure, repetition, and the Southern vernacular that bring the inhabitants of Toadsuck Swamp to vivid life. Her heroine breaks the mold of the most Goldilocks’, with a bolder personality, grand self-confidence, and belief in her ability to make a difference. The text is based on an oral telling from her 2006 recording Angels’ Laughter. Jeffrey Ebbeler has created a diverse cast of hilariously terrified townsfolk that help to highlight Curly Locks’ gumption and bravery, further setting her apart from the often insipid traditional Goldilocks. His sepia toned illustrations and shadowy, bear-like Scares lend a suitably spooky setting and some Southern gothic flare to this fine addition to both folktale and Halloween collections. 

Finding Kinship: A Review of I Am a Bird

I Am a Bird
Hope Lim
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Candlewick Press
Available February 2, 2021
Ages 3-7

A young girl joyfully embraces her morning commute, imagining herself a bird flying to school on the back of her father’s bicycle. She waves to friends and neighbors, and sings to her fellow birds as they soar by. A stern older woman is the only thing to dim her smile, when curiosity fights with anxiety about the unknown person and her unfriendly behavior. Her stranger-danger only increases until the day they discover the woman feeding and singing to the girl’s beloved birds. Maybe they’re not so different after all. Hope Lim’s gentle tale of discovering kinship in the most unlikely place is perfect for our current moment of division. The juxtaposition of the little girl’s joy and the woman’s dejected countenance help build enough tension that the revelation of their commonality feels like a celebration. Hyewon Yum’s vibrant colored pencil and gouache illustrations blend an almost architectural precision with softer, freehand coloring and embellishments (and sweet birds). Her emotive faces amplify the story’s sentiment—the girl’s joy and anxiety, the friendliness of their South Korean community, and the woman’s transformation. A sweet reminder that we can all be happier when we focus more on our similarities than our differences.

Beyond the stars: A Review of Lights on Wonder Rock

Lights on Wonder Rock
David Litchfield
Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
September 9, 2020
Ages 4-8

Heather was searching for something more—magic, friendship, adventure, and aliens! So she spends her nights at Wonder Rock, doing all she can to attract the attention of a spaceship. When she finally gets her chance to jump aboard, Heather realizes she doesn’t want to leave her family behind. She grows up, loses the wonder of childhood, and has a family of her own, but never gives up waiting for her alien friend. When at last they return, Heather once again recognizes that she might already have all she needs here on Earth.

Litchfield’s thoughtful story explores themes of longing, hope, and curiosity about what other lives may be out there for us. His use of dark and muted tones for the forest, juxtaposed with the colorful and sparkling pages where the spaceship appears, help to set off the difference between how Heather sees her life and her expectations about what might await her in outer space. Double-page spreads of wordless panels put a unique focus on the two most important relationships in the story, with her son and her alien friend, and explain the pull she feels between them. Throughout, Litchfield cleverly uses light—sun, moon, and flashlight beams—to focus on Heather’s emotions and the devotion she feels to both her family and her dreams.

Dog Meets Boy: A review of I Always Wanted One

I Always Wanted One cover artI Always Wanted One
Olivier Tallec
Quarto
August 18, 2020
Ages 4-8

Dog has always wanted a boy of his very own, but quickly learns that it’s not all fun and games. Having a boy is a big responsibility—training, feeding, grooming, and figuring out where he wanders off to all day with his bag of books. But even after all the work and all the years, where the boy has “grown bigger and takes up all the room on my couch,” Dog is proud of his boy, and they “remain the best of friends in the world.”

In this twist on the age-old friendship between a boy and his dog, Tallec flips the script and the prescribed emotions of each. Dog has the duties of responsible ownership, and his dry humor and droll observations illustrate that it can be work. But his thoughtful reflections on their evolving relationship demonstrate his devotion to boy. Tallec’s subtle pencil and watercolor illustrations complement the understated text while adding a layer of visual humor to Dog’s opinions. The sight of boy hiding under the dresser or his freshly brushed hair will surely get a giggle from young readers. The horizontal orientation of the book mimics the twisted theme. Both the orientation and detailed illustrations lend themselves to one-on-one reading. A perfect pick for a child who needs to learn what it’s like to belong to a pet.