Mindfulness in Nature: A Review of Tisha and the Blossoms

Tisha and the Blossoms
Wendy Meddour
Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Candlewick Press
May 17, 2022
Ages 2-5

Tisha spends her day feeling rushed, as she is constantly being told to “hurry up” by those around her. She must hurry to catch the bus in the morning, hurry through her project at school, and is even told to hurry during recess so that she does not miss lunch. When Mommy comes to pick her up from school, Tisha asks if they could slow down, frustrated by the amount of hurrying she has been doing all day. Mommy agrees, and the two walk home rather than taking the bus. On their leisurely walk, Tisha and Mommy talk, connecting to each other and the nature around them, even stopping to spend some time on a bench in the park. Once they arrive home, Mommy suggests to Daddy that they have a picnic as a family rather than a typical dinner at home. This allows the whole family to slow down and genuinely enjoy each other and everything around them. 

In keeping with the story’s theme of celebrating what is around us rather than hurrying through life, the illustrations feature elaborate backgrounds with less focus on the characters themselves. Several full-page spreads highlight details that can only be appreciated through slowing down. The art style is abstract and displays a variety of visual perspectives. The text is presented in an abstract way as well, with the layout changing on each page and certain words emphasized through the use of a larger font. While the central focus is on Tisha and her parents, diversity is apparent in the background characters. The story itself, and the way it is presented alongside abstract mixed media images, truly embodies the importance of mindfulness, and of sharing small moments which become even better when surrounded by loved ones. 

Queen Quest: A Review of The Queen in the Cave

Queen in the Cave
Júlia Sardá
Candlewick Studio
May 24, 2022
Ages 5 to 9

Franca dreams of a queen in a cave. Feeling a strange need to abandon all she once enjoyed, Franca recruits her younger sisters, Carmela and Tomasina, to journey with her on her quest through the dark forest to find the queen. Although her sisters become afraid of the forest and the creatures they meet, Franca motivates them with her own blooming confidence to continue. When Franca, Carmela, and Tomasina finally reach the cave, they are given the most unexpected surprise in discovering the identity of the queen.

This imaginative picture book explores themes of overcoming one’s fears, being curious about the unknown, and being brave enough to keep going through life. Although Franca recruits her sisters in the beginning of the quest to travel with her, she learns that it’s okay to drift apart from the people and activities she once enjoyed, indicating the transition from childhood to adulthood. The illustrations and tone of the story also exhibit the shift, starting with a lighthearted tone and clean portrayal of the sisters and moving to a heavier tone and a darker color scheme focused on Franca. The fantastical illustration of the forest and the creatures fill each page with hidden objects that catch the attention of any reader and make them want to look again to see new objects that one might have missed. The fairytale-like tone of this picture book for older children, emphasizes the reality of growing up and learning to embrace your individuality, couched within a whimsical adventure. 

 

Sharing Nature Through Seasons: A Review of Emile and the Field

Emile and the Field 
Kevin Young 
Illustrated by Chioma Ebinama 
Make Me a World 
March 15, 2022 
Ages 4-8 

Young Emile loves the field close to his home, spending time alone in the field where he appreciates all the animals. He sees the field as a living being itself, thoughtfully wondering about things the field cannot experience that are far away from it, such as the sea. He also contemplates how the field changes during the seasons. He is upset that in the winter he must share his field with others who come to loudly play in the snow. When Emile shares this thought with his father, his father explains that no one owns the field and that sharing it ensures that it will continue to exist. The book closes with an illustration of Emile playing in the field with someone else in the spring. 

This is Young’s first book for children, though his experience with poetry and essays comes through in the lyrical writing style. The book is written in rhythmic verse, with many rhyming lines. The text on each page is sparse and appears in a variety of placements. This highlights the watercolor illustrations which bring the vibrant field to life through the usage of a wide color palette. The textured look of watercolor further brings the field to life. The initial textual description of Emile’s field even takes pause early on to allow for a full two-page illustration which depicts the lush field. The illustrations are key to storytelling as at the end of the book we see that Emile has learned to share the field only through illustration. This ending highlights the theme of thoughtfully enjoying nature while sharing it with others. The eye-catching illustrations and rhythmic writing make this book a great option for story time and new readers. 

Bedtime Q&A: A Review of Goodnight, Butterfly

Goodnight, Butterfly 
Ross Burach 
Scholastic Press 
March 3, 2022 
Pre-k to 3rd grade 

In the third installment of Ross Burach’s Butterfly series, the titular Butterfly is awakened in the middle of the night by Porcupine as they are eating their breakfast. Initially, Butterfly is ecstatic at the new experience of being awake at night, learning about what it means to be nocturnal through word play and asking more questions than poor Porcupine can handle. The art shows this through an abundance of brightly colored images in Burach’s signature naïve style of mixed media art. However, as Butterfly tires, the fast pace of the early pages slows down significantly. The puns and traditional wordy jokes of the front half are replaced by sight gags, like Butterfly accidentally mistaking Porcupine for a pinecone. Questions from Butterfly peter out, even if Butterfly is still trying to make night time adventures for the pair to get into, and Porcupine is able to give some advice about falling to sleep. Burach shows the switch in tone using the color of the space between illustrations from a white to the more calm colors of lavender and indigo towards the end of the book. Burach’s use of framing and pace in service of comedy is impeccable. In early jokes, he uses cluttered dialogue and page turns to build tension while releasing it through punchlines. These are given room to breathe by the switch to a single, simpler composition for a spread. While the jokes are less set up later in the story, to aid in winding down, the page turns are still used to hide silly fun, like Butterfly using a book as a bed. In the last few pages, Butterfly finally decides to stop fighting sleep and Porcupine encourages them to think about calming ideas, teaching readers that if you want to go to sleep, it’s better to focus on calm ideas instead of questions you cannot answer. A colorful and funny addition to any bedtime book collection, just be careful, it might be too much fun to fall asleep to.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recent arrivals to the Butler Center, highlighting works by and about African-American creators such as The Faith of Elijah Cummings by Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman. This picture book biography follows congressman and civil rights advocate Elijah Cummings from his beginning as a struggling student through his success as a lawyer and politician advocating for equality. Check it out along with a variety of other selections below!

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky
Written by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
Written by Kristen R. Lee
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Operation Sisterhood
Written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

I’m Growing Great
Written and Illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe
Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Written by Mara Rockliff and Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Published by Random House Studio
Available now!

The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and Illustrated by Laura Freeman
Published by Random House Studio
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! This week’s Butler Bookshelf celebrates the holiday with books about Valentine’s Day as well as books about love itself, in all forms. Love Grows Everywhere by Barry Timms and Tisha Lee showcases love between families, neighbors, friends, romantic partners, and more through a family that grows and sells plants in their local community. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Valentine’s Day Jitters
Written by Julie Danneberg and Illustrated by Judy Love
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

All the Right Reasons
Written by Bethany Mangle
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available February 15, 2022

Glimpsed
Written by G.F. Miller
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Bananas for You!
Written by Sabrina Moyle and Illustrated by Eunice Moyle
Published by Abrams
Available now!

Rebel Boys and Rescue Dogs, or Things That Kiss with Teeth
Written by Brianna R. Shrum
Published by Sky Pony
Available now!

Love Grows Everywhere
Written by Barry Timms and Illustrated by Tisha Lee
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

Today is the start of Lunar New Year! This year we ring in the year of the tiger! Check out featured titles by authors of Chinese heritage below including Friends Are Friends, Forever which tells the story of a young child who moves from China to America. In China, she spent every Lunar New Year making ornaments with her best friend and is initially unsure if she will have anyone to continue this tradition with in America. Inspired by the author’s immigrant experience, this picture book highlights the importance of friendship. Check it out along with other great titles below!

I Am Golden
Written by Eva Chen and Illustrated by Sophie Diao
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

Eyes That Speak to the Stars
Written by Joanna Ho and Illustrated by Dung Ho
Published by HarperCollins
Available February 15, 2022

Friends Are Friends, Forever
Written by Dane Liu and Illustrated by Lynn Scurfield
Published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly Mei
Written by Christina Matula
Published by Inkyard Press
Available April 5, 2022

New from Here
Written by Kelly Yang
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available March 1, 2022

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Written by Lisa Yee
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! These include The View from the Very Best House in Town by Meera Trehan. This debut middle grade novel explores the troubled friendship of Sam and Asha, both autistic middle schoolers. As Sam is accepted into a prestigious school and Asha is not, their friendship is put at risk. In addition to being told from the perspectives of both Sam and Asha, the very best house in town also has its own perspective in this story.

Fossil Hunter: How Mary Anning Changed the Science of Prehistoric Life
Written by Cheryl Blackford
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

Ready for the Spotlight!
Written and Illustrated by Jaime Kim
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Wayward Creatures
Written by Dayna Lorentz
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

The Monarchs
Written by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

On the Move: Home Is Where You Find It
Written by Michael Rosen and Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Published by Candlewick
Available February 8, 2022

The View from the Very Best House in Town
Written by Meera Trehan
Published by Walker Books US
Available February 8, 2022

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features some recent arrivals to the BCLC! These include Lawless Spaces, a novel in verse by Corey Ann Haydu that tells of Mimi’s coming of age through her own journaling and the discoveries she makes looking through the journals of the women in her family line. Check out more new and coming soon titles below!

The Princess in Black and the Mermaid Princess
Written by Shannon and Dean Hale and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Published by Candlewick
Available February 1, 2022

Lawless Spaces
Written by Corey Ann Haydu
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Ear Worm!
Written by Jo Knowles and Illustrated by Galia Bernstein
Published by Candlewick
Available January 25, 2022

Not That Pet!
Written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Published by Candlewick
Available February 1, 2022

Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution
Written by Diane Stanley and Illustrated by Jessie Hartland
Published by Paula Wiseman Books
Available now!

Even Robots Aren’t Perfect!
Written and Illustrated by Jan Thomas
Published by Beach Lane Books
Available now!

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!