Tuesday, September 30, 2008


LITTLE PANDA by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin)
Just the other day, grandfather Panda was talking to his grandson. I'm going to tell you a story of a little panda and a tiger that flew,' he said. "But that's silly. Tigers can't fly," interrupted the grandchild. "How do you know if you haven't heard the story yet?" asked Grandfather.
CUTENESS ALERT! CUTENESS ALERT! Wooop! Wooop! Wooop! Oh, brother. I don't particularly even like panda bears, but good gravy, the gentle, expressive, and virtually perfect fine pencil lines reminscent of early Martha Alexander are irresistable. Little Bao Bao plays learning games with his mother: running, wrestling, and climbing trees, though his special talent seems to be falling down from them. When Mama is away getting food and a menacing tiger tyke creeps nearer and nearer, what skill will save his hide? If you have been missing that "old school" flavor of picture book excellence: straightforward telling and charming illustration without the glare of the overproduced, then it's definitely time to order Chinese. A compelling, read-it-again-and-again story with subtle but brilliant artwork, all nestled into an intergenerational bear hug. Pair with Helen Bannerman's LITTLE BABAJI, a culturally sensitive retelling of the dreaded Little Black Sambo, in which a boy matches wits with some fashion-conscious tigers. (4 and up)

Also of interest:
High marks on the cuteness scale!

KNITTY KITTY by David Elliott, illustrated by Christopher Denise (Candlewick) Just in time for the fall chill in the air, here is a cozy bedtime story about a mitten-knitting mama cat, whose children all agree that even her capable stitching can't compare with the warmth of curling up beside her. Who could resist the lopsided stocking cap slipping down that sweet kitten's brow? (3 and up)

A CUP FOR EVERYONE by Yusuke Yonezu (Miniedition/Penguin) Little penguin Pucca's daddy has exhausted the local market for his cup-making business, and leaves to see if he can fare better in the next village. While his father is away, the little penguin does a brisk business by making pottery modeled after his many friendly animal neighbors. Pucca's being left all alone may be slightly alarming for American audiences (though parenting protocol, admittedly, may be different for penguins), but if you can get past that, a far more permeating theme is the joy of being able to step up and help your family, even while you're still small. A double-page spread with shelves full of cheerful pottery makes for a grand finale...which cup would you choose? (4 and up)

On a personal note:
Tearfully, I was not able to attend this year's Kidlitosphere Conference in Portland, the monumental gathering of bloggers on the subject of children's and young adult books, but I had a good reason...I had to stay home and blow out a few candles on a delicious cake. But if you would like to join me in vicariously hanging with the AV club, check out this Mr. Linky roundup of posts by attendees. Kim Kasch even has generously posted lots of video feed...is it live, or is it Memorex? I would have preferred to watch the zombie sock puppet show and eaten a Voodoo Doughnut live and in person, but hey, a cyber-version will have to do. And guess what! At the conference, author Sara Ryan was inspired by Leonard Marcus's MINDERS OF MAKE-BELIEVE. Have you gotten in on the giveaway yet? We still have about a week to go.

Speaking of links, the always magical Shelf Elf has awarded PlanetEsme with an "I heart your blog" honor, which is delightful and is to be reciprocated to seven worthy sites, giving me a much-needed goose to offer props to a few of the most diligent and inspiring book bloggers. The Miss Rumphius Effect? MotherReader? Big A, Little A? Chicken Spaghetti? Cynsations? Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves? The ever-popular Fuse 8, or the Herculean efforts of Jen Robinson or Anastasia's Picture Book of the Day? Ahhhhggh, I'm pretty sure the likes of these Alpha Dogs have been hearted already! Well, that's a great chance to visit with some other friends. I wonder if these guys have been tagged:
Matthew Cordell
Bees Knees Reads
No Time for Flash Cards
Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty
The Crafty Crow
and howsabout
Bottom Shelf Books
Mimi Smartypants,
since I really do love them, even if they are for grown-ups.
Here are the rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

All right. Consider yourself hearted. Also, I guess this isn't a blog per se, but have you visited Readergirlz lately? Off the hook! And Kidsreads is also a terrific source for the latest book buzz. Plenty to look at, for those of you home with head colds (I notice that there seems to be a lot of sniffles happening). Get well soon, and have fun!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esme stuff at www.planetesme.com.


Jen Robinson said...

We missed you at the conference, Esme! Perhaps next year... And congratulations on the blog award. Yours is certainly one to love.

Anonymous said...

These critters look adorable - especially Knitty Kitty.

Thank you for supporting readergirlz!

I wish I could have been there.

Kimbra Kasch said...

Esme (that is going to be such a popular name come December): http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0060494/

I love Panda's and I'm going to go with Shelf Elf too and say I Heart Your Blog for posting the link to my videos of the kidlitosphere blogging conference here in Portland.

Minh said...

Thanks Esme!

Your shoutout is just the motivation I need to get back to writing...! And I'll be sure to pass on the love soon!

Anonymous said...

Esme, thanks for the kind mention of Chicken Spaghetti. I heart PlanetEsme right back!

Allie said...

Esme Thank you so much for the award! I am excited to read through your wonderful blog!

Matthew Cordell said...

Hi Esme! Thanks much for the nod to my blog. Great to have a loyal
reader. Hugs from Julie and me!

Renata said...

Thank you for the lovely post about Little Panda!

Anonymous said...

We missed you, Esme! I hope to see you in DC next fall - or at ALA in Chicago this summer! (fingers crossed!)

:-) Anastasia

Burgin Streetman said...

i always love getting the love from you! thanks sister.

Becky said...

I love your list of books not only do they look cute, but the majority of them are about animals. My kids thrive on books that are about animals, whether they be fictional or non-fictional animals. For instance, tonight we read a great book called, "Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog," written by Barbara Techel. It was a true story about a disabled dog- my kids loved it. I am always on the hunt for new books to read to my kids and am going to go to the library tomorrow to see if I can find these books! Thanks for the great tip!

On On said...

wow tooooooooo cute!!!

I love Panda... and just bought a Morn Creations Panda Bag here:

Nice to meet you.


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