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Flowers, blooming trees, birds, planting and rainy, windy and sunny days lead us to Mother’s Day. Here are new picture books on the subject. The first book is perfect for mothers everywhere. The next three are good for mom’s and their youngsters. The rest are good for ages four through eight.
Certain Women, by Linda K. Burton, is a small sized book that celebrates women who have served the Lord well through the scriptures and in LDS Church history. Examples include the unmarried woman who invited others as she confirmed her knowledge of Christ by posing the question: “Is not this the Christ?” [John 4:29]. Her faith and conviction was so strong that “Many believed on Him.” [John 4:39]. Another is Sarah M. Kimball back in the 1800’s – “The women would churn and cheerfully send their butter to the workmen on the temple and eat without any on their own tables.”
The Berenstain Bears: We Love Our Mom, by Jan and Mike Berenstain, is cleverly packaged because on the flip side of this Mother’s Day Book you find a Father’s Day Book. The book celebrating mom features the beloved Berenstain young bears, with Papa’s suggestion, deciding to make something very special for their dear Mama who is continually baking and making special preparations for her family. The flip side about fathers features another story with the Berenstain Bears.
Stay Close to Mama, by Toni Buzzero, and vividly painted with full-page color by Mike Wohmoutka, is a small-sized board book that will fit perfectly into toddler’s hands. Twiga is a baby giraffe who desires to see all around him. But Mama wants him to stay close to her where she can protect him from possible dangers that might be nearby. The text has a lyrical feel to it and the images of Africa are gorgeous. The author’s note found in the back declares the name Twiga means giraffe in Swahili.
Wish, by Matthew Cordell, is another small sized board book perfect for toddlers. However, the message from this story is a bit different as you read about an elephant couple deciding on a family and having difficulty. There can be different conclusion interpretations. One could be that after much struggle and waiting, a baby arrives. Another could be that adoption is the answer. Either way, a baby makes both parents a mom and dad. The elegantly subdued watercolor, pen and ink illustrations reveal the devotion and explosion of happiness found at the end.
Watch Out for Muddy Puddles!, by Ben Faulks, and brightly painted with acrylic paint filling each open-page by Ben Cory, is rich with imagination. You never know what you may discover when you jump in a puddle. “And tell me, have you ever / been taken puddle fishing? / Look-a very pirates, a giant squid, and-yuck-two frogs a-kissing!” There are crocodiles found in a puddle and even penguins. The rhyming text blends right along with the delightful pictures. You may not hesitate to investigate the next puddle you happen upon!
Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed), by Ged Adamsom, is richly painted with watercolor photoshop to digitally create these mostly open-page illustrations. A little girl loves looking at a beautiful rainbow following a rainstorm. She wishes it could stay forever and goes to bed that night dreaming about the rainbow. To her surprise, the following morning it’s still there. Day after day it remains and becomes the topic and hit of the town. People from all over come to see the rainbow that never left. But soon this rare and gorgeous sight becomes mundane and taken for granted. The rainbow understands what has happened and just as suddenly as it came, it disappeared. The girl hopes to see it again after it rains. There is a strong message here to appreciate the beauties of the earth and never take them for granted.
The Big Umbrella, by Amy June Bates, and co-written with Juniper Bates, fills each of the double-page spreads with lively color painted with a splash of watercolor, gouache and pencil on watercolor paper. This bright red and smiling umbrella can always fit more into its protection. A young girl heads out into the rain and takes this smiling umbrella. As she walks in the storm, more and more unprotected people and animals come under the umbrella’s protection. The message is clear and the text is simple. But the theme is very strong.
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind, by Liz Garton Scanlon, and wonderfully illustrated with mixed media on mostly double-page spreads, begins with a man who lives on top of a hill where he has to deal with the gusts of wind constantly. It’s not until a small girl comes up with a solution. She knew she couldn’t stop the wind from blowing, but by planting many small trees, the wind’s effect could be lessened as the trees grew. This showcases the importance and many uses of trees in our world.
The Digger and the Flower, by Joseph Kuefler, is a picture book with a great message through the simple text. Trucks are working hard building up a city. But one truck, Digger, sees something unusual amongst the rubble. It’s a flower. So he nurtures it, waters it and protects it from the wind. Eventually the other trucks, as they work, cut it down. But Digger figures out what to do to save the seeds. The illustrations are seen on the open-page and they are bold with simple reoccurring colors against heavy black and gray lines.
Bird builds a Nest: A First Science Storybook, by Martin Jenkins, and brilliantly illustrated with mixed media by Richard Jones, is a simple story about birds building nests. But there’s actually much more to learn here: the bird pulling the worm out of the ground, the twig that is too heavy and twigs that are lighter, pushing twigs to fit together and even twigs that fall. Pushing, pulling, heavy, light, and even gravity are some of the scientific concepts to be learned in this storyline. The text is brief, the font is large and the pictures perfectly mirror the activities of the bird. Perfect for a science lesson!