how much traffic is going to my site Our Picks! for August 2006: Picture Books for Older Readers | Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT

our picks!:  picture books for older readers

Special Selections from Perrot's Youth Services Staff

August 2006

 

Naturally, but mistakenly, many people regard all picture books as being intended only for very young children.

However, some picture books are created specifically to deal with difficult and/or complicated issues and are intended for an older audience.

Because of sophisticated format, treatment of serious or sensitive issues, treatment of historical events (such as riots or the Holocaust),

or because they are adaptations of works of fiction, these picture books, which include many wonderful choices for reading aloud, deserve special attention.

 

 Check this page monthly for recommendations from our staff! Each month will focus on a different category of books.

We'll pick our favorites, and tell you all about them!

Each book cover is a hyperlink to that item in the catalog, so click there to place a hold. 

 

Have questions about our picks, or need other recommendations? Call us! Our number is 203-637-8802.

Lassie Come-Home, adapted by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Lassie Come-Home, adapted by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Susan Jeffers

An outstanding adaptation of Eric Knight's 1938 classic about the loyal collie who refuses to accept her fate when she is sold, out of financial necessity, to a wealthy duke. Jeffers' superb, realistic watercolors range from snapshot size to breathtaking double-page spreads of the Scottish countryside. Raising such issues as poverty, black lung disease, and cruelty to animals, this powerful story is a perfect tool for promoting empathy and compassion in youngsters.                     

 

 

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, retold by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Dennis Nolan

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, retold by Bruce Coville, illustrated by Dennis Nolan

A classic Shakespearean tragedy is made accessible to younger readers. Children can now enjoy the story of these lovesick teenagers and the mischievous games of Prince Oberon and his faithful servant, Puck. The text is both grand and colloquial ("The course of true love never did run smooth. Besides-- I have a plan.”). There is comedy and drama in the quarrel scenes and in Puck's merry mischief. Amazing and dramatic illustrations help recreate this passionate, yet humorous story. A great book to give as a gift due to the beauty of its pages, both in word and in picture.

Butterfly House, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Greg Shed

Butterfly House, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Greg Shed

In lovely, musical language, Bunting describes how a young girl and her grandfather rescue a caterpillar from a hungry jay and place it in a butterfly house (really a cardboard box), where they can feed and care for it. Eventually, it forms a chrysalis, emerges as a painted lady butterfly, and is released into the wild. After the girl grows up, she finds that butterflies seem attracted to her yard: karma, perhaps because of her earlier kind deed. Appended with directions for raising a butterfly, its fine art and inter-generational story makes this a great choice for families with young nature buffs.

Night Golf, by William Miller, illustrated by Cedric Lucas

Night Golf, by William Miller, illustrated by Cedric Lucas

As Tiger Woods grows increasingly popular among children, it is easy to assume that golf is a "color-blind" sport. However, it was only within the last 40 years that African-Americans have been permitted to play in professional golf tournaments. In Night Golf, Miller tells the story of James, a young boy who overcomes racial barriers to realize his dream of being a golfer. This requires both the rigorous work of caddying and his strength to face humiliation with dignity. The only way he manages to stick with his dream is to accept the kind guidance of an older caddy, who shares the secret of "night golf." By practicing on the course in the darkness of night, James builds the skills and confidence he needs to show the other players his talent. Historical information before and after the story provide the necessary context for readers.

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888, by Ernest Thayer, illustrated by Christopher Bing

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888, by Ernest Thayer, illustrated by Christopher Bing

Thayer's poem about mighty Casey's strike-out during the Mudville Nine's legendary baseball game was first pseudonymously published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 8, 1888. Since then it has appeared in countless anthologies and in several picture book editions for children. This re-telling of the famous poem uses sepia-toned pages to evoke the bygone era of baseball in its youth. Small historical touches, such as actual game ticket stubs, arranged around the illustrations serve to further set the mood. This is a wonderful rendition of the timeless American story of the celebrated player, mighty Casey, and his trip to bat at the crucial moment of a game.

Jackie’s Bat, by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Jackie’s Bat, by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Joey is the batboy for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, and he is unsure of how to deal with Jackie Robinson. His father says that a white boy shouldn't have to serve a black man. So Joey doesn't shine Jackie's shoes, and he ignores his requests. As the season progresses, Joey notes the changing reactions of Jackie's teammates, players on the other teams, and the fans around the league, both black and white. He comes to admire and cheer Jackie's patience and talent and to respect him as a man. An afterward and author's note give additional information about Robinson's character and life after baseball.

The Wolf Girls: An Unsolved Mystery From History, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth

The Wolf Girls: An Unsolved Mystery From History, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth

In 1920, two young girls are brought to an orphanage in Midnapore, India. The missionary who runs the orphanage claims they are feral children, raised by wolves. But is that the truth or a hoax? In the final three pages, the authors outline four possible theories as to what really happened and urge readers to examine the clues for themselves. This approach is valuable for young people, for it demonstrates that much of history is interpretation rather than proven fact, and that historians must often be detectives of the past.

 

 

Me, All Alone, At The End Of The World, by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Me, All Alone, At The End Of The World, by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

A solitary boy lives in peace and harmony with nature-- until Constantine Shimmer's End of the World Tours and Inn invade his private space, converting his home at the End of the World into a pleasure park: "Fun chock-a-block from your eyes to your teeth!” The boy enjoys meeting and exploring with other youngsters his own age, until he can no longer hear the wind or silence, see the sunsets through the haze of bright lights, or sleep in his hideout. Climbing into an air balloon, the boy abandons his place of "fun without end"" to live on the Top of the World on the edge of a mountain in order to find fossils and treasures, listen to the wind, and be happy all alone, again.

 

 

All of these books can be found in our NEW Picture Books for Older Readers collection, located in the shelves across from the Folk and Fairy Tales..

Look for the red stars on the spines.

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