Tuesday, January 08, 2008


ANDREW HENRY'S MEADOW by Doris Burn (San Juan Publishing)
Andrew Henry's inventive genius goes underappreciated in his home, especially when he takes apart other household items to supply his creative vision. Toolbox in hand, he disappears into a clearing in the woods, where he builds his dream home and settles in to his life of tranquility. But lo! Who comes through the trees but a neighbor girl, whose leanings towards ornithology have no outlet in her father's feather-free home, so up goes a tree house, complete with birdbaths and feeding stations. Enterprising Andrew Henry build a custom casa for each child who follows. Children will love looking at the double-page spread of the makeshift village, and deciding which abode would suit them best: a tipi? Tower? Castle? Luckily, with the help of a lonesome hound dog, worried parents are reunited with the runaways, and Andrew Henry's dreamy nature is granted a newfound respect upon his return. Happily ever after! This book's sketchy black and white art matches the story's homespun, gentle feel, and the tale plays into children's deep desires for freedom and acceptance. Kudos to the publisher on a brilliant reissue; I can't tell you how thrilled I was to discover this classic was back on the shelves, since it was one of my own favorites when I was about seven years old. While it is not brand new, I would be remiss if you and your child missed the chance to shack up with Andrew Henry! (6 and up)

Also of interest:
More utopian visions in the hizzouse! Teachers, share them all and prepare children to reinvent the world.
THE BIG ORANGE SPLOT by D. Manus Pinkwater (Scholastic) "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I want to be, and it looks like all my dreams." Who cares if that includes a palm tree and a live alligator and paintings of a steam shovel and pretty girls? Mr. Plumbean manages to enlighten and inspire his neighbors. Vive la difference! (5 and up)
ROXABOXEN by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney (HarperTrophy) An old-fashioned tale set in the desert, where children use what they find to create a world of their own. (5 and up)
WESLANDIA by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick) A brilliant and beautiful story (or prediction?) of a nonconformist who designs a civilization around a hybrid crop and bests the neighborhood bullies. Do it yourself, kids! A great classroom discussion and project springboard. (7 and up)

Big news!
The 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Awards have been announced from the Association of Jewish Libraries! I love this award because they have impeccable taste! ;-) This year's gold medals?
Younger Readers category: THE BEDTIME SH'MA: A GOODNIGHT BOOK by Sarah Gershman,illustrated by Kristina Swarner (EKS Publishing)
Older Readers category: THE ENTERTAINER AND THE DYBBUK by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow)
Teen Readers category: STRANGE RELATIONS by Sonia Levitin (Knopf)
Check out the video announcement on YouTube, and visit the AJL page for more information about the award, including a PDF of all of the current honor books.
Mazel Tov to all of the winners! Your excellence gives booklovers such naches (translation from Yiddish: you make us very proud)!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up about Andrew Henry's Meadow. This was also a favorite of mine and my brother's. We were devastated as college students to discover our mom had given away our copy (at least it went to the library book sale). I really enjoy your book reviews, not to mention your own books. Thanks for writing.

Sarah B. B. said...

I am beyond thrilled to know AH's Meadow has been reissued! I have a Salvation Army copy that has always been a classroom favorite - now I can find more! Thanks for kickstarting the blog this year. :)

Unknown said...

Hi Esme,
Thanks for posting the information about the Sydney Taylor Book Awards. We truly appreciate your support!
Rachel Kamin, Chair
Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee
The Association of Jewish Libraries


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