“… brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things!”
I can’t be the only one who gets this stuck in my head when a package of books arrives in the mail!
I was excited to receive our latest shipment of books from Raincoast Books, and as usual, my kids almost ripped the package out of my hands. This shipment had a little of something for everyone.
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Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard
Becoming Bach is a lovely and beautifully illustrated picture book about Johann Sebastian Bach, the famous composer. We covered three of Bach’s pieces using SQUILT‘s Baroque Era last term, and my oldest claims that he’s her favourite composer.
The book is written from Bach’s own perspective, from childhood on throughout his life. It is very light in the text department so it is quick to read, but the illustrations are so well done that it will force you to take your time as you turn from page to page. The pictures really help the reader grasp how young Sebastian saw music in his head, patterns everywhere that he turned into songs.
The book also includes a one-page, full text, biography of Bach’s life which, as the adult reading the simple picture book to my children, was interesting and helpful to me and my older child.
Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature by Cindy Jenson-Elliot
Illustrated by Christy Hale, this book tells the story of the man (and boy!) behind the famous black-and-white photographs that we all know so well. So far, we haven’t discussed photography as an art medium so this is a new topic for us to explore.
Speaking of art mediums, the book’s illustrations were created using both traditional & digital collage techniques. While I really like the textured collage backgrounds, I’m not a fan of the graphic images and I found that effect quite disappointing. I’ve had the same reaction in the past to other books using similar styled graphic images.
The book begins with Ansel as a busy young boy who loved the outdoors, had a difficult time sitting still, and was eventually taken out of school to learn at home (yay! homeschooling!). I don’t know much about Ansel Adams other than what I learned from reading this children’s book, but it sounds to me like he ended up receiving a classical education at home studying piano, French, ancient Greek and nature study! This passionate and curious young man was given a camera by his parents and the rest, as they say, is history.
Our Raincoast book package also contained these two board books which were enthusiastically received by my 3-year-old. With two older sisters, it’s pretty rare that we get any new books in her age range.
Slide-N-Seek Earth by David W Miles
The first one, Slide-N-Seek Earth, has a really interesting format. It’s an interactive board book and each page has a sliding wheel that changes the picture. I’ve not seen anything quite like it, even my 9 year old was intrigued by the mechanism involved.
It’s a very short book with only 5 scenes: an animal burrow, a greenhouse, an underground mine and an under city view. When your child pulls the ribbon, a new aspect of the underground scene is revealed (for example, the groundhog’s tunnel).
If you’ve got a rough playing toddler, I’m sure that you’ll find the slide-n-seek wheel much more durable that the typical lift-the-flap style board book.
Colors of Nature by Kate Riggs
The other board book we received was Colors of Nature by Kate Riggs & Paolo Domeniconi. It’s also a very short book — only 8 sentences long, so you should be able to get through it with your babies and toddlers who have even the shortest of attention spans. This book associates colours with the seasons of the year, beginning with the green buds of spring and ending with the greys of winter.
Many thanks to Raincoast Books for providing me with these books for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.