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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Reviews of elementary award winners from 2014

Mr. Wuffles by David Weisner (Caldecott honor)
Notes: "Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat's territory to make emergency repairs"--Provided by publisher.
Do not be fooled by the adorable cat on the front cover! This is not your average cute cat book.  It's filled with spaceships, aliens and insects. This book's unusually paired characters and the spare text (some of which is in alien language, not English) will appeal to the vivid imaginations of storytellers, paticularly reluctant boys.

A Splash of Red: the Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jennifer Bryant (Sibert honor, Schneider Family award)
Notes: Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet team up once again to share this inspiring story of a self-taught painter from humble beginnings who despite many obstacles, was ultimately able to do what he loved, and be recognized for who he was: an artist.
An excellent beginner biography of a painter I'd never heard of before, a man who overcame significant obstacles and re-taught himself to paint in a whole new way after being wounded in WWI.  Lovers of art and children with obstacles to overcome in their own lives will find a friend in Horace Pippin.

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales (Pura Belpré illustrator award)
Notes: "A Neal Porter Book"--Title page. Lucha Libre champion Nino has no trouble fending off monstrous opponents, but when his little sisters awaken from their naps, he is in for a no-holds-barred wrestling match that will truly test his skills.
An adorable little boy and his twin sisters, excellent word choice, and cultural endnotes combine to make this a book many children will love and learn from.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan Roth (Sibert award)
Notes: Includes bibliographical references. "A combined history of the Puerto Rican parrot and the island of Puerto Rico, highlighting current efforts to save the Puerto Rican parrot by protecting and managing this endangered species"
Interesting historical information about the Puerto Rican people and fascinating scientific information about the conservation efforts to save the nearly extinct parrots alone would make for a top-notch book, but paired as they are with gorgeous mixed-media collage, this book is truly top notch.