Staff Picks for Children
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Recommended by Liz at West Kendall Regional
Wolf in the Snow
By Matthew Cordell
This nearly wordless book tells a tale of adventure and kindness in a series of expressive illustrations. A girl wearing a red coat leaves school to head for home across vast fields, while a wolf pack begins its journey across the same landscape. As a massive snowstorm starts to fall, a lone wolf cub gets separated from its family. The little girl discovers the cub, and she sets off to help the small wolf while braving the storm and overcoming her fear of wolves. The little girl reunites the cub and the wolf mother, but she is exhausted and falls to the ground unable to continue. The wolves howl for the little girl’s mother who finds her with the help of the family dog. The end of the book shows the human family reunited in front of a warm fire.
Matthew Cordell has created an exceptional picture book combining the themes of kindness and heroism with incredible illustrations in pen, ink and watercolor. The little girl's journey is heroic, and among the many outstanding pictures in the book is the meeting between her and the mother wolf, the illustration conveying the surprise and panic both feel. The wolf pack’s determination to help the little girl find her family is notable, as is the final illustration of the human family snug in its warm home. A peek under the book jacket shows a series of drawings of both the wolf and human families.Check Availability
By Stephen Savage
In a city full of brave trucks with exciting jobs, mild‑mannered garbage truck works hard and unnoticed collecting the city’s trash. When a terrible blizzard traps the fire truck, bucket truck and tow truck, garbage truck sneaks into a garage to become Supertruck. He quickly digs out the city from the deep snow and frees the other vehicles, then returns to his secret identity of a garbage truck.
Supertruck wears glasses as a garbage truck and—just like Superman—no one can guess Supertruck’s secret identity. Supertruck may be a superhero, but he is just as proud to collect trash as he is to save the city. The illustrations are bright and vibrant until the blizzard hits, and the colors of the town become white and blue. An excellent book choice for fans of trucks and superheroes.Check Availability
A Penguin Story
By Antoinette Portis
Edna is a penguin who sees the three colors of her world—the white of snow, the black of night and the blue of the ocean—and wonders if there is anything more. Though the other penguins are content with what they have, Edna sets out on a journey to find something else. Her quest ends with the discovery of a large orange object, and she runs back to her penguin friends to share her find. All the penguins follow Edna and see an orange research station set up by scientists dressed in orange parkas and gloves. The penguins help out the scientists, who finally fly away in their orange airplane leaving behind one orange glove. As Edna wonders if all the world has is white, black, blue and orange, a small green ship appears behind her in the distance.
Portis’s simple illustrations use only a few colors and simple lines, but her penguins are delightful and expressive. Edna is full of humor and feeling, and her joyful orange “WOW” upon finding a new color is one of the best moments in a fun and endearing tale of a penguin with big dreams.Check Availability
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
By Joyce Sidman
An evocative collection of poems about the animals that live in harsh winter climates, which includes a paragraph or two detailing the science behind each animal’s survival in cold environments. From tundra swans, garter snakes, moose, bees and wolves, each animal tells its story of winter along with the facts behind migration, hibernation and adaptation. Poems such as “Snake’s Lullaby” include lyrical passages such as “Brother, Sister, flick your tongue and taste the flakes of autumn sun” and fascinating facts like garter snakes hibernate or bromate in groups of up to 20,000 in underground caves and passages.
Rick Allen’s amazing hand‑colored linoleum block prints are the perfect accompaniment for the lyrical poems, and his illustrations move and twist throughout the verses bringing life to these winter animals. An ideal book to share with a child to discover the wonders and mysteries of nature and winter.Check Availability
The Storm Whale in Winter
By Benji Davies
In this welcome sequel to The Storm Whale, Noi and his six cats still miss their friend, the little whale they rescued from a storm. As winter approaches, Noi’s father must go to sea for one last fishing trip before the island is closed in by ice. When Noi’s father has not returned before dark, Noi leaves his cozy house to find him. The sea has frozen over, and he sees his father’s abandoned boat trapped in the ice close to shore. His father is not on the ship and for the first time Noi is afraid, but the little whale and his family have come to the rescue. The whales push the fishing boat through the ice to the island’s lighthouse where Noi finds his father.
A heartwarming tale of friendship and family which perfectly captures the beauty and dangers of the ocean. The illustrations ably depict the magic of a snowy winter night on both land and sea, and powerfully convey Noi’s fear for his father as well as his joy at seeing the little whale again. In the end, spring has arrived, and Noi and his father can put to sea with a freshly painted boat to visit the little whale.Check Availability