Saturday, September 11, 2010

Elisa Kleven's enchanting books plus a couple of cookie reads

What Are We Reading? Once again it's time to share favorite books of the week:

My daughter is Elisa Kleven's newest admirer, and she's requested Kleven's books nearly every night since we borrowed them from the library this week. So far we've read three of her books: The Apple Doll, A Carousel Tale and The Paper Princess. How is it that we've never read any of Elisa Kleven's books until just now? I just can't understand how this we missed this author/illustrator. Kleven's books are enchanting. Truly and remarkably enchanting. Her stories delight and her illustrations seem to swirl and dance right before your eyes. It's like opening up a bottle of captured, fond childhood memories. While we love them all equally, I only have time to review one of Kleven's books this week.

The Apple Doll by Elisa Kleven; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (July 2007); ISBN 9780374303808; 40 pages;
Book Source: Copy from public library

We picked up The Apple Doll at exactly the right time of year. Kleven cleverly interweaves a story about starting school for the first time with the delights of freshly picked apples. On her first day of school, Lizzy picks an apple from the apple tree in her yard, gives the apple a twig body and names her newly-made apple doll Susanna. She whispers all her worries about school to Susanna and takes her new apple friend along to school for comfort. The other children make fun of her apple doll so Susanna stops taking Susanna to school even though she feels lonely without her. She confides to her mother that she wishes Susanna would last forever and her mother shows her how to turn her into a dried-apple doll. Lizzy is finally able to overcome her school-related anxieties and makes new friends after she proudly shows her new doll during sharing time.

The best part of this book besides the glorious watercolor and collage illustrations? -- In the back of the book, Kleven includes instructions on how to make your own apple doll. My daughter has been begging and begging to make one so you can bet we're going to give this activity a try this week (a perfect activity for our Science Sunday post). At first I wasn't sure how my daughter would react to the sight of the wrinkled grandma apple doll in the book, but she adores it and thinks "grandma dolls" are pretty neat. Too bad my daughter doesn't have show-and-tell at her school! We're going to start our activity tomorrow on Grandparents Day, maybe with the help of Grandma if we are lucky. Also, I'm very enthralled with the Kleven's snowy scenes in both The Apple Doll and A Carousel Tale. I love how she cuts up doilies to make snowflakes. Hmm...just you wait until winter. We'll revisit Kleven's books again then!

Apples get gobbled up quickly in our home, but cookies disappear even faster. My son really enjoyed reading these two cookie books this week:

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Marcellus Hall Margaret K. McElderry (July 2010); ISBN 9781416942061; 40 pages;
Book Source: Copy from public library

I've never witnessed a cookie eating cow, but perhaps author Karma Wilson knows of one. Her newest book, The Cow Loves Cookies, came out in July and we finally snatched a copy from the library. I'm not usually a huge fan of rhyming reads, but I have to admit Wilson really does have a special talent for smartly rolling out rollicking verses. Farmer feeds all the animals on the farm special foods -- hay for horses, feed for chickens, corn for geese ... but the cow loves cookies! There's a reason why, but I'm not telling. The refrain, "but the cow loves cookies" repeats throughout the story and my kids smile every time. Marcellus Hall's larger than life ink and watercolor illustrations show an idyllic farm life with blue skies, happy animals and a contented farmer. Cookies just make a body happy (especially when served with a little milk.)

Like I said, I've never tried feeding a cow cookies, but I have fed them field corn and apples for a treat. Cows have these amazing tongues. I remember quite clearly feeding the cows on my grandparents' farm as a child and feeling their sloppy sandpaper tongues tickle my fingers.

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? by Margaret Wang and illustrated by Christine Schneider; Piggy Toes Press (2005); ISBN 9781581173833; 11 pages;
Book Source: Copy from our home library
You probably know the rhyme but do you know the identity of the thief? Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? by Margaret Wang and illustrated by Christine Schneider is a story variation of this familiar sing-along game. This version is perfect for toddlers because they can count down from 10 to one as the ten mini plastic chocolate chip cookies on the books pages disappear. (It's constructed like that popular Ten Little Ladybugs book). My son prefers to clap along as I read the cookie rhyme and thinks it is hilarious when we accuse various animals of swiping the cookies. He also loves to touch and count those marvelous tactile cookies. The story line is a little goofy with the rabbit reporter and his microphone, but do you want to know my biggest complaint? We get a little hungry reading this one. Those touchable counting cookies look so tempting.

Kid KonnectionLink up your weekend book posts at What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and/or Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.

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An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Well, now I HAVE to know why the cow loves cookies :) It's a good thing my library has it!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Thanks for joining WMCIR and sharing your reads. I was looking for Kleven books after Superheroes and Princesses reviews, but unfortunately our library doesn't have them. So now I am putting them on the request right now. And while I am at it, maybe I can snatch that new Karma Wilson book too!

bermudaonion said...

My son loved to sing "Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar," so I bet he would have loved that book. What a cute cover!

Christy Killoran said...

We discovered Elisa Kleven this summer. We made paper princesses and are currently in the process of making the apple doll. We started ours when there was quite a bit of humidity in the air so we are on day five of letting it dry out. I'm going to post about it this week.

Julie P. said...

We have a version of the Cookie Jar book and love it. This one looks cute too!

Debbie said...

All of these sound so cute, I have to see if our library has them.