Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ Category

Week-end Book Review: I Like to Play by Marla Stewart Konrad

Saturday, August 24th, 2013



Marla Stewart Konrad,
I Like to Play
Tundra Books, 2010.

Ages 3-6

“I like to play, don’t you?” is the opening and closing sentence in this beautiful collaboration between Tundra Books and World Vision Canada, a development and advocacy organization dedicated to helping children, families and communities across the globe overcome poverty and injustice. With text by Marla Stewart Konrad, I like to Play is the latest book in the World Vision series of photo essays, whose aim is to communicate visually the ways in which children the world over are different and the same. The other titles in the series are Getting ThereMom and Me and Grand.

The book cover of I Like to Play shows a young child playing doctor, using a toy stethoscope. Inside, simple sentences about different forms of play are accompanied by striking images of smiley children dancing, skipping, jumping, flying kites, building with blocks, playing ball; children learning and growing and making the most of their environment and circumstances; children having fun and making sense of their world through play.

The photo credits listed at the beginning indicate the countries where the photos were taken and give an idea of the book’s scope: Armenia, Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Honduras, Indonesia, Malawi, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

After reading and looking at all the photos, children will figure out for themselves that rich or poor, solo or in group, with store-bought or homemade toys, or with no toys at all, playing is something children do, no matter where, no matter what.

Royalties for the sale of the book go to support World Vision’s work with children.

Aline Pereira
June 2010

paw_sm_MC To read more book reviews from the PaperTigers team, click here.

Celebrating René Colato Laínez’s 10th book release “Señor Pancho Has a Rancho”!

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Rene Colato LainezRené Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran American award-winning author of many multicultural children’s books and has been a featured guest blogger here on the PaperTigers blog. Earlier this month René’s 10th book, Señor Pancho Has a Rancho, was released!  As René says in his blog post introducing the book:

When I came to the United States, I discovered that not only people had problems learning a second language. Many farm animals had the same challenge too! El pollito said pío pío and the chick said peep peep. I am sure that you know that Old MacDonald had a farm. Now, he has a new neighbor, el señor Pancho, and in his rancho he has many animales.”


Señor Pancho Has a Rancho
By René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Elwood Smith (Holiday House, Inc.)senorpancho

“Old MacDonald Had a Farm” goes multicultural in this rollicking Spanish-English rendition.

The barnyard animals on Old MacDonald’s and Señor Pancho’s farms have a hard time communicating. MacDonald’s rooster says cock-a-doodle-doo! While Señor Pancho’s gallo says quiquirquí. The English-speaking chick says peep, peep, but el pollito says pio, pio. Then the cow says moo—and la vaca says mu! Maybe they’re not so different after all! So all the animals come together for a barnyard fiesta, because dancing is a universal language.

… [Readers]  will enjoy learning the names of the animals in both English and Spanish and comparing the onomatopoeia in each language. Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm. -Kirkus Reviews

This is an excellent choice for read-alouds, but it also includes a glossary and pronunciation guide, making it useful in one-on-one contexts for young readers looking to develop Spanish vocabulary. -School Library Journal

To celebrate the book release René has been deemed  Luna Press and Bookstore’s author of the month in September and will be appearing in the store on September 14th to read from and sign his books.  Lots of fun activities are planned and you can visit Luna’s Facebook page or René’s blog for more details. The store is located at 3790 Mission Street in San Francisco.

Week-end Book Review: Bye, Bye, Motabhai! by Kala Sambasivan and Ambika Sambasivan

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

Bye, Bye, Motabhai! by Kala Sambasivan and Ambika Sambasivan (Yali Books, 2013)
Kala Sambasavin, illustrated by Ambika Sambasivan,
Bye, Bye, Motabhai!
Yali Books, 2013.

Ages: 6-10

The “large, lumpy, yellow-brown camel” Pavan is a camel with a dream – he longs to escape from his owner Motabhai, a sabzi-wala (vegetable-seller) in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, and head for the glamour of the life of the racing camels in faraway Dubai.

One day Motabhai is fully occupied dealing with the repercussions of Pavan’s mischief and Pavan seizes his opportunity to escape – with four children on his back. They are supposed to be on their way to school but there is no doubt that they embark on the adventure as gleefully as Pavan himself. The ensuing chase not only draws in a donkey, Bijilee, who wants to make friends, but also various irate officials, as well as the animals’ owners. With a little ingenious help from the children, Pavan and Bijilee manage to escape detection, paving the way for the next story in what is set to be a four-book series. By the time young readers get to the end of this naughty camel’s hilarious adventure, they too will be joining in the chorus that forms part of the book’s title: “Bye, Bye, Motabhai! / Off I go to Dubai.”…

Read the full review…

Week-end Book Review: Watermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Lisa Moser, illustrated by Stacy Schutt,
Watermelon Wishes
Clarion Books 2006

Ages 4-8

The stuff of happy childhood memories often includes seemingly endless summer days and in this story, the boy Charlie is living through just such a summer with his Grandpap. However living the idyll does not mean being idle and, although there is plenty of time to play together, it is always within the context of their labours—for central to the book is the progression from seed sown to watermelon harvested.

While picnicing, they seek out new shoots; they go fishing to celebrate the flowers appearing on the vine; and they go to the swimming hole when they count ten small watermelons.  All the while, Grandpap is trying to guess what Charlie’s wish will be when he finds the one, perfect wishing melon.  First time round, young readers/ listeners will be guessing too; subsequently, they will revel in their superior knowledge! Their attention will also be caught by the colorful and deceptively simple illustrations, which reflect the brightness of happy summer days—and remind us of the active waiting with their watermelon-themed borders.  Schuett is also great at conveying facial expressions and the smiles are infectious.

Exploring as it does that special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, this is a book that will stand up to being read again and again.

Marjorie Coughlan
March 2007

paw_sm_MC To read more book reviews from the PaperTigers team, click here.

Week-end Book Review: Dill the Little Elephant by Ming & Volker, illustrated by Yusof Gajah

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Dill the Little Elephant, retold by Ming & Volker, illustrated by Yusof Gajah (Oyez!  Books for Children, 2013)Retold by Ming and Volker, illustrated by Yusof Gajah
Dill the Little Elephant
Oyez! Books for Children, 2013.

Ages 4-8

“One day in the forest, a baby elephant was born” – an elephant called Dill who will capture young readers’ hearts from the start, as a newborn looking out at them through one intelligent eye. Dill’s adventures begin only a few days later, when he becomes separated from his herd. His search to be reunited with his family is a catalogue of misadventure, but at every stage of the journey (bar one, when Dill is teased by a crocodile) he encounters animals who offer help and friendship, even a home – though circumstances always intervene and the journey continues…

Read the full review…

New Jimmy Liao features on the PaperTigers website

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013


PaperTigers Gallery: Jimmy Liao; illustration from his book The Sound of Colors

We are very excited to welcome artist Jimmy Liao to our Gallery on the PaperTigers website.  I love this illustration from his book The Sound of Colors, and I first fell in love with Jimmy’s work when I encountered The Blue Stone a few years ago.  Then, at the Bologna Book Fair in 2010, I was bowled over again by the vibrancy and joyous imagination of his work.  I just wanted to follow the little girl up that blossom-lined avenue!

Bologna Book Fair 2010 - 25/3

…and as for the meadow on the cover of One More Day with You, that you can also see here, along with other examples of Jimmy’s books…

Bologna Book Fair 2010 - 25/3

So I am thrilled that Jimmy has taken a pause on his phenomenal creative journey to join us at PaperTigers.  His books have taken his native Taiwan and also China and Japan by storm, and have been translated into many languages;  alas, they are not as well represented as they should be in English.  Please can we have more!

In our Gallery, Jimmy shares with us images from the three books that are available in English (When the Moon Forgot, The Blue Stone: A Journey Through Life, and The Sound of Colors: A Journey of the Imagination), as well as others — all depicting a physical journey within the realms of imagination: so head on over to the Gallery to find out more about Jimmy and his own personal journey as an artist, and to view some gorgeous examples of his vibrant artwork. (I should perhaps also point out that in the last few years Jimmy has also collaborated with well-known children’s authors to create some wonderfully imaginative children’s books – it would just be wonderful to have more of his own author-illustrator work available too.)

And is it possible that we have more for you? YES indeed!  For alongside Jimmy’s Gallery, we also have a very special Personal View “The Journey of Translation: Walking with Jimmy Liao“, written by author Sarah L. Thomson, who adapted the three titles mentioned above for publication by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as picture books in English for children.  In the article she talks about the poetry within the books – and her article is itself a poetic tribute both to Jimmy’s work and to the art of translating – do read it!

And do share with us your own experiences of Jimmy’s books…theme_2013_journeys


Week-end Book review: The Matatu by Eric Walters and Eva Cambell

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

The Matatu by Eric Walters and Eva CampbellEric Walters, illustrated by Eva Campbell,
The Matatu
Orca Book Publishers, 2012.

Ages 5-8

No wonder children love trains, planes, buses and the like – they take people places; and when you’re not one of the passengers, you can let your imagination fly about where they’re going and what awaits at journey’s end. These are the kinds of exhilarating ideas that The Matatu inspires in its young readers. Little Kioko has dreamed about jumping aboard the colorful matatu, the brightly painted local buses that pause on route through his Kenyan village in a cloud of dust, carrying passengers inside and luggage and livestock piled precariously high on the roof — and now, for his fifth birthday, oh joy! His grandfather is taking him for a ride all the way to the end of the line and back again. He can hardly wait! …

Read the full review

Week-end Book Review: What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, by Andrea Curtis and Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

What's for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, by Andrea Curtis, photography by Yvonne Duivenvoorden (Red Deer Press, 2012)Reviewed by Charlotte Richardson:

Andrea Curtis, photography by Yvonne Duivenvoorden,
What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World
Red Deer Press, 2012.

Ages: 8+

What’s for Lunch? uses a comparison of school lunches around the world as a jumping off point for a wide-ranging discussion of food issues presented in a poster-like layout. Yvonne Duvenvoorden’s attractive photographs of the lunches will draw children in, as will Sophie Casson’s appealingly goofy illustrations. Children will learn not only about the varieties of foods served in schools globally but also about their presentation…

Read the full review

Kite Flying in Kids’ Books by Pragmatic Mom

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

kite flying pragmatic momAfter a long and dreary winter it finally seems as though Spring has sprung in my neck of the woods. The sun is shining and although it’s been a wee bit windy, the smell of Spring is definitely in the air. It’s perfect weather to fly a kite so Pragmatic Mom‘s recent blog post Kite Flying in Kids Books definitely struck a chord with me. Check out her wonderful list which includes Chinese, Japanese and Korean themed kite picture book and chapter books for kids. She also has information on the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival which takes place later this month in Washington, DC. And if you need more kite book suggestions, do check out our archived article Boundless Sky: Kites and Kite-Flying in Children’s Books.

Books at Bedtime: Two Cat Stories from Tulika Books

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Two very different but equally delightful books from Tulika (India) provide a treat for catlovers to share with their children.

The cover of Where’s That Cat? (Tulika 2009/2011) shows a cheeky wee ginger kitten peeking from behind a curtain (and this is mirrored on the back, but Pooni the cat is no more than a cut-out outline) – but it offers no clue as to the rich detail of the book’s Indian setting.  However, I was sure it would be a treat because it is written and illustrated by Manjula Padmanabhan, who created the wonderful I Am Different. Manjula gave some background about Where’s That Cat? in a blog Where' sThat Cat? by Manjula Padmanabhan (Tulika 2009)post for Tulika when it was first published in 2009.

Little girl Minnie comes home from school and can’t find Pooni. She goes into the garden but, funnily enough, Pooni doesn’t come when she’s called! Minnie asks people all along the action-packed street if they’ve seen the cat, and meanwhile young listeners/readers will be eagerly hunting her out as she goes about her business, practically under Minnie’s nose.  Unusually for this kind of book that plays hide-and-seek with the reader, there comes a point when it really does seem that Pooni has disappeared, and readers’ dismay may equal Minnie’s – but, of course, by the end there is general relief from everybody both inside and outside the book.   Pooni has the last word – “Prrr” – and the final illustration shows Minnie cuddling Pooni, who is no doubt completely unaware of the trouble she has caused.  You can almost hear her purring!

Miaow! by Alankrita Jain (Tulika 2011)The second book is Miaow! by Alankrita Jain.  There are no humans in this story, just two cats, one black, one white; both with green eyes.  The story is short and whimsically charming.  A black cat falls into a can of paint and becomes a white cat – until it rains and the paint all washes off.  Then it meets a white cat and they become friends… maybe even fall in love, but that is left to readers to infer.  The simple story is told elegantly, and the stylised cats in the illustrations capture beautifully the elegant (yes, there’s that word again!) stretches and shapes that cats manage to make with their bodies.  An added bonus are the absolutely gorgeous inside covers that are filled in the manner of traditional Warli art (see Tara Books’ Do! for example) with little black cats doing all sorts of (human) activities.

Do take a look inside both Where’s That Cat? and Miaow! via Tulika’s website (click on “Look Inside” under the cover image).  Like all Tulika’s books, both books are available in several languages, and Miaow! is bilingual with English – the copy I have is English/Hindi, translated into Hindi by Sandhya Rao.  Both these books are perfect for young children, especially if they are at the stage with their reading that they want you to read to them, and then pick the book up for themselves.