Tag Archives: Children’s

Search and Spot: Animals!

EDIT: Take a look at the Vaughan Public Libraries COLOURING PAGES. Each branch has its own colouring sheets that portray a distinctive feature of the library, and you can print out and colour them in via that link! We would love to see your completed colourings!

Laura LjungkvistI haven’t really played spot-the-whatever games for a while now (probably since Where’s Waldo as a child, and even then not much), and whenever I have encountered them as an adult, I’ve found them to be a bit too easy to complete to truly engage with. This one though, is a treasure. Search and Spot: Animals! will keep you entertained (or frustrated) for maybe not quite hours, but at least a good half hour or so! And considering it’s a pretty slim book, I’d say it’s an amazing payoff. It really depends on how easily you can spot the animals, but I personally found it surprisingly difficult, which in turn made the experience surprisingly fun. I’d always get to, say, 9 out of 10 animals before having to start all over again because – fiddlesticks! I’ve gone through the entire 2-page spread, systematically, already! Or there’ll come a point where I start forgetting which of the insects I’ve found and which I haven’t, and, hey doesn’t this look like that insect? No, no, the pink part of its body is in another spot, and haven’t I already found it somewhere up here on the page? Now where’d that go?! Even the cover is a session of find-the-8-rabbits!

This is filed away under our junior section, but in light of the recent boom (or maybe not-so-recent? I don’t remember when those actually became popular…) of adult colouring books, I thought I should highlight these for all ages so we can satisfy our inner children!

Continue reading

Why? and Terrible Things

Nikolai PopovCross-posted with Kidzone, because I would that everyone read both these books.

There are books that you don’t expect to gut you. Least of all when you’re browsing through the junior picture book section. But here are a couple that will do the job quite nicely, whenever you’re in the mood for it.*

Why? is propelled mercilessly forward until the end (as though inertia should apply to the plot of this book, except there is nothing to stop it because the plot isn’t physical and encounters no such impediments – though friction of a different sort you will encounter here, between the two sides), and all the while you’re desperately clinging onto the hope that perhaps Popov will spare us from the inevitable. Alas, Popov does not. (Or perhaps thankfully, because it tickles me pink to see that some picture books don’t shy away from a dash of reality, which can occasionally be dismal.) The colour palette reinforces the somber story as it progresses, the landscape becoming ever more torn. The suit that the frog is wearing also takes on a whole other possibility when we consider that this skin-like suit might have been rendered from… but I’ve said enough already. Beautifully illustrated and told, Why? should become a childhood staple.

And if you’ve already read Why?, then I’ve got something else to recommend you under the cut.

Continue reading

The Giving Tree

Shel SilversteinThis is pretty topical, given Mothers’ Day just passed, right? (On which note, happy belated Mothers’ Day!)

I read Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree for the first time recently upon recommendation, and I’m still (a couple of weeks later) extremely conflicted regarding how I feel about it. Going by the comments on Bibliocommons, it seems like this is one of those books that people feel very strongly about, whether they love it or hate it – I would say this is one of the signs of a good book – and I’m no exception. I love it, because it is such a powerful book, and the story and the illustrations complement each other incredibly well to create a multilayered reading of the story. However you read it, it is still incredibly sad. But reading this for the first time as an adult, I can’t help but view it as being problematic in some ways. Shortly after I read the book and waffled over what my verdict was (I really, genuinely, love it while at the same time finding it troubling, in part precisely because it’s such a childhood favourite), an article on LitHub came up in my feeds, the author of the article being someone who loved the book in her childhood and recently reread it, only to view it now with distaste. So I’m glad I’m not the only one (though perhaps I shouldn’t be glad, because if it was, it could have just been me).

I’m pretty convinced that many children who have been read this book or who claim it is their favourite book probably have some inkling, in their heart of hearts, that there is something insidious about it, and that, viewed from the perspective of unconditional parental (read: maternal) love, the story barrels downhill, exacerbating the damage it does to your heart. That being said, I might just be ascribing a cynicism to readers that does not actually exist – it’s a… I’m not sure “touching” is the right word, but I’ll settle for calling it a touching story, and that might just be that. Anyway, I’ll do my best to outline why under the cut.

(I know it’s a childhood favourite of many, and I don’t want to rock too many boats*, but either way, I am exhorting everyone to either read The Giving Tree for the first time or reread it once more. We’ve got it in book format, kit format, as another kit (not sure what the difference between the kits is, exactly), as an e-book, in Korean, and in Hebrew. So there’s no reason to not pick one up, or to put yourself in line!) Continue reading