Monday, August 17, 2009

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree, written by Shel Silverstein, tells the story of a relationship between a small boy and a tree in the forest with few words and simple drawings. The tree starts out as a leafy playground, shade and apple provider for the little chap. Making the boy happy makes the tree happy. But it gets more and more difficult to meet his increasingly demanding requests. His final wish is for a boat and the tree tells him to chop her down and make one from the wood. He does.

Since The Giving Tree was first published in 1964 it has generated controversy and opposing opinions for its interpreted messages - is the tree selfless or merely self sacrificing and is the boy selfish or reasonable in his demands? Either way The School Library Journal has ranked The Giving Tree in the top 100 books for children and it continues to intrigue generation after generation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Animal Index

Image from

Apparently these have been around for awhile but I've just chanced upon them this evening and in case you haven't seen them either, I thought to share. Wouldn't they be a fun addition to a child's bookshelf. I love how the animals seem to disappear and emerge through books. Use them to mark favourite spots or category changes.

This is New York & San Francisco

Images from This is M. Sasek

Miroslav Sasek was born in Prague in 1916 and worked as a painter and illustrator for most of his life. His wonderful This is books paint a delightful and evocative picture of some of the world's most well-loved cities and countries. Having delighted both adults and children for decades these fabulous books are now being reissued for further generations to revel in.

This is New York was first published in 1960 and was the New York Times choice for Best Illustrated Book of The Year that same year. Reissued in 2003 it is reviewed by Amazon, "the charm and uniqueness of New York City was never more beautifully and whimsically created for children than in Miroslav Sasek's This is New York...his vision of New York nearly 40 years ago still remains fresh: the hustle and bustle of Times Square, the ethnic neighbourhoods, the awe-inspiring architecture. Sasek capture the essence of New York that delight children and parents, many of whom will remember the book from their childhood".

This is New York

This is San Francisco was first published in 1962 and Sasek's jaunty and colourful illustrations of San Francisco will still dazzle kids and adults alike. Another instalment from his series of children's travel guides, This is San Francisco is marvellous. From the most crooked street in the world to the Peking ducks in Chinatown, San Francisco is easily one of the world's most enchanting cities. Sasek captures both the breaktaking landscape and the cosmopolitan flavour of the City by the Bay with his wonderful illustrations.

As reviewed by David Horiuchi for Amazon, "with his usual distinctive and charming style, Sasek tours the sights around the City by the Bay...there's a good chance that anyone who grew up in or near San Francisco will remember the book fondly. Everyone else has a joyous discovery ahead".

This is San Francisco

We are very excited the reissue of This is Australia in September this year. In the sleeve notes, "Sasek swings Down Under, arriving not in chains, as the first British colonists did, but in a Qantas big bird which - unlike the Australian penguin and emu - flies very well indeed". You can be sure The Princess & The Pea will have This is Australia on our shelves the moment it is available!

This is Australia

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shout-out to Cloudbusting

Image from Cloudsbusting

Well, the first thing I'd like to do (since I HAVEN'T been able to keep up with blogging each day about books) is shout-out to Andrea at Cloudbusting and thank her for listing The Princess & The Pea as a place to visit! Always so happy to have visitors pointed in our direction. Have a look through Andrea's blog for some beautiful ideas. My favourite at the moment is the posting that takes you to Oiseaux where you can find some gorgeous bookplates! I love bookplates and am always on the look out for new ones to label my ever-growing library.

Image from Oiseaux

Image from Oiseaux

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not A Box

A small rabbit shows you are only limited by your imagination in this wonderful book written by Antoinette Portis who was inspired by the memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her brother. A box is just a box...Unless it's not a box! Antoinette captures the thrill of when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes reality. Her simple, spare text and illustrations show that seeing really isn't believing!

In an interview with Powell's Books Antoinette was asked why she wrote for kids. Her response, "I write books for kids because when I was a kid, they were central to my life. Reading was my most favourite thing in the world. I always wanted to be part of the alchemy. To make something that would be part of children's memories the way so many books are a part of mine". I really like that, and it's a sentiment I can relate to. There are so many of my childhood memories tied to the books and stories I read.

Not a Box has won a number of awards including being named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. It is a New York Times Bestseller and is listed as one of New York's Public Library "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing". In her review for Not a Box, Amy Brozio-Andrews said "Not a Box presents a good opportunity for discussion, imagination, and interaction. Children and parents can guess what the bunny is pretending to be or do before turning the page. And perhaps most creatively of all, Not a Box, makes for a good jumping off point, in that kids can be inspired to looko at their own cardboard box and see more than a box. Even better, parents and kids can play "let's pretend" together".

I love this book and want it for all the little people in my life. From it's dedication, "To children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes" to it's final simple illustration, Not a Box, is utterly adorable.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Follow the Line

Written by Laura Ljungkvist, Follow the Line is the journey of a line from the city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning until night. Each scene contains questions designed to get children counting, thinking and observing. Young counters will enjoy following the very same line all the way through the book, from front to back.

Steven Heller in reviewing for the New York Times said that "Ljungkvist designed this book as a series of tableaus that allow readers to take a long journey, following an almost continuous linear thread as it moves from city to country, becoming everything from buildings and cars to trees and bushes, as well as all the flora and fauna in between...A brief narrative text set in typewriter type appears between the various figures. There are also enough empty visual and imaginative spaces to be filled in by young readers and their parents". To read his complete review click here.

Follow the Line is 32 pages long and has a recommended enjoyment age of 3+.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Book Week

The 2009 theme is beautifully illustrated by 2008 winner, for Requiem For A Beast, Matt Ottley.

Every August the Children's Book Council of Australia brings us Book Week - the longest running children's festival in Australia - specifically August 22nd to August 28th this year. Book Week has been around for 64 years and each year many schools and public libraries from the land down under spend the week celebrating books, in particular Australian authors and illustrators. In a nod to the festival I have decided to blog about one of our own titles each day this month (fingers crossed that I blog each day!) and we have also reduced the prices of all our books by 10% for the whole month.

A lot of time and research goes into selecting the books for our cybershelves. Hours are spent reading critical reviews and poring through lists of the all time greats in children's literature. I am a book nut and think that as cheesy as it sounds the love of reading is one of the ultimate gifts you can give a child. I hope the books in our store reflect this.