I finally caught up on some nonfiction picture book reading at the end of the month. As usual, history and biography dominated my efforts for the Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge.
Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Yuyi Morales is a feast for the eyes. This story of O’Keeffe’s rebellious and inspired trip to Hawaii for the Hawaiiin Pineapple Company (now Dole) is a great introduction to the painter’s temperament and artistic style. Be sure to share the illustrator’s note with children and then look up the paintings that inspired Morales’ illustrations, especially Pineapple Bud.
A Picture Book of Sam Houston by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler is a solid biography for introducing the many contributions Houston made to American history. Often credited for the rally cry, “Remember the Alamo!” while commanding the Texas Army, Houston was also a teacher, attorney general, governor of two states, senator, and the president of Texas. An opponent of slavery, retirement was forced upon him when he refused to take a loyalty oath to the Confederacy. Clearly a figure in American history worth getting to know, the Adlers’ biography provides an apt introduction for children and Matt Collins ably illustrated his exploits.
Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy is a great book introducing symmetry and making it fun to look for in objects around us. The text is spare and straightforward working hand in hand with the many illustrations to make the concept clear. A wide variety of examples from nature, art, the alphabet and holidays make the concepts of line and rotational symmetry easy to understand. The back matter with activities and further explanations is helpful as well. The final page explaining why symmetry is an important math concept will be as helpful for parents as children. An excellent book to share as a family before a nature walk or a game of Pac-Man.
Minette’s Feast by Suzanne Reich is based on the fictional premise that Julia Child went to cooking school to learn to cook something her cat, Minette, would prefer over fresh mouse. A host of true facts are contained within the story however including numerous quotations from Child’s own letters and writings. Amy Bates’ drawings will have you dreaming of a vacation to Paris. My favourite illustration is Minette pouncing on a brussel sprout tied to a string. Adults familiar with Julia Child will probably enjoy Minette’s Feast even more than children, but its two protagonists will delight both young and old.