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Bedtime Report #6

I'm behind again, so let's get to it! Before we talk picture books, I want to call out some middle grade. We recently blazed through all of Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes books, six to be exact, and I believe she has a seventh on the way. I was a devotee of Nancy Drew as a youngling, so granted, I was predisposed to enjoy these, and I did! I found them delightful and clever, and loved the evolving interaction between Enola and her infamous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, whom my daughter insists on calling Microsoft. The first book starts off a little slow, at least per my 10 year old, but once it gets going, it's wonderful to ride along on the adventure, and I think the next several books are even better. If you like detective stories and/or strong, inventive female protagonists, these are for you! Also, Victorian England. A certain doctor makes an appearance as well.

Within the past month, a prolific children's author-illustrator named Frank Cooper passed, so, I want to share one of my favorites of his picture books, all of which feature the same soft but realistic and compelling style of illustration: Max and the Tag-Along Moon. Wonderful grandparent-grandchild story ... and definitely for lovers of the Moon. "That ol' moon will always shine for you ... on and on."

Next up, Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan, which my kids found hilarious for its creative personification of garden produce. Also, it's a sweet story, and the names and illustrations are certainly fun. Also, there's a loveable little twist at the end.

Our next book, for me, is all about the illustrations. The spare text tells a cute story that's great to read in voices, but the kids and I ate up the artwork in Where Is the Dragon? by Leo Timmers. They asked for it again, which is always a good sign, and there's an interactive element because of the nature of illustrations, which is great for the kiddos. Did I mention the illustrations?

I already posted about the next book, but I want to call it out again. My daughter commented in the car one day that we should all thank the road workers and construction people who make everything around us. Lo! We had a book about that in our library box that had been on my list for a while: Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler and Loren Long. It did not disappoint. We read this one multiple times, too. It's not only a wonderful story and illustrative tribute to a variety of workers who so often get overlooked but it cleverly reveals the layers of process that go into the production of what we take for granted. Love that last spread, too, but I'll say no more on that point. You'll have to get the book to find out why.

We love art books. We love Jon Agee. So, it was kind of a guarantee we'd love The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee. His illustrations always wow me and draw me in. Every page turn is worth it without the text, but the story, too, creates hilariously wonderful (creative) havoc with an awesome final image.

This one from Barefoot Books was on my list for the longest time and somehow I never picked it up until recently. Bright, bold illustrations carry you along on a fun chase of a jaunt through the market in Catch That Goat!: A Market Day in Nigeria by Polly Alakija. There's so much to look at on every page, and who doesn't love goats?

I don't usually go for books that look too cutesie, but this one got me. The twins rock it, and there's a wonderful sentiment underlying this tale of eyepopping young fashionistas in The McClure Twins: Make It Fashion by Ava McClure, Alexis McClure, and Courtney Dawson.

I have so many books I want to include but I'm going to stop at this next one and save the others. We ventured into the bookstore to browse recently, something we haven't done much of over the past, oh, 1.5 years, and the cover and title subject caught my eye. I love capybaras, largest rodents in the world ... except ROUSes ... The story and voice are gentle and might not entrance all young readers, but the artwork and character-critters should in The Capybaras by Alfredo Soderguit, a lovely and fun story about breaking the rules (in a good way), defying the norms, and making your own family.

So, to wrap, get thee to a library or bookstore to find ...

Wait! I almost forgot. I like to include biographical picture books in each post. So, this week, I'd like to call your attention to a new release and debut picture book: Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America's First Published Poet by Katie Munday Williams and Tania Rex. This book combines gorgeous illustrations with a lovely lyrical narrative that conveys the remarkable achievements of Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet in a quiet but honest way, an honesty explored in greater detail in the biographic background note. The colors and lines of the illustrations are quite compelling and go well with the subject, and Anne's story is told with reverence for her accomplishments in a world in which being a woman narrowly defined one's opportunities and options while acknowledging the contributions of others to her journey.

To the books! To the books! (Enjoy.)

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