Showing posts with label Lost in the City. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lost in the City. Show all posts

1.05.2012

Snowy City: The Big Storm

Another book about a cat in the snow!

Rhea Tregebov's The Big Storm is set in 1930s Winnipeg (at least that is the city I came up with when I used Google Maps to track down the named streets and locations). Jeanette's family live above their delicatessen, where everyone has their job to fill and Kitty Doyle's is to be the best mouser on Selkirk Avenue. The family cat also walks Jeanette to and from school but one day, instead of meeting Kitty Doyle for the walk home, Jeanette runs off with her friend, Polly. Polly's mother makes the most delicious latkes and they are not to be missed. Unfortunately, a big storm has come and Jeanette realizes that she has left her best feline friend waiting in the snow. Not to worry, all turns out well: girl and cat are reunited.

This is a nice little book and a good choice if you like books about pets or cats. I had a hard time getting over a muddled plot point however: Jeanette tells Kitty Doyle not to wait for her after school because of the snow, but suddenly she thinks otherwise? It bugged me, but my kids did not notice at all. I have a bit of a weakness, however, for snow covered cityscapes and Maryann Kovalski's illustrations provide plenty of those, along with some delightful cloche hats.

This book has been out of print for some time, but if you're lucky, your library might just have a copy. Read it with your cat, purring on your lap.

Want More?
Visit the author's website.
Visit the illustrator's website (she also illustrated Rivka's First Thanksgiving, which I reviewed here).

Big Kid says: We really need some snow.
Little Kid says: Cat book! Cat book!

11.11.2011

Huggy City: Loopy

I love it when I find books for this blog purely by accident.

Aurore Jesset's Loopy is a Swiss import (How many other Swiss picture books do you know? Oh, look! I've reviewed one!) about a girl who has left her favorite toy bunny at the doctor's office. After I read this book I felt sure that someone must have already made the connection with Knuffle Bunny (Oh, look! Someone has!), but here the protagonist's mommy has refused to make a midnight run to retrieve the toy. (The Swiss are obviously more sensible than we are.) Consequently, the young girl imagines all sorts of worrisome adventures Loopy must be having -- ghosts in the doctor's office!, bunny-eating garbage trucks! -- and how she might save the toy. Not to worry, though, her bunny is returned to her by someone who knows how important just the right huggy is at bedtime.

I really enjoyed Loopy, as did my 2 year old. At first I thought it might be too scary for him, but the child's narrative voice is direct, simple and honest, and Barbara Korthues' illustrations are so interesting, with their toy cars and kids flying around in paper airplanes, that he found the book much more fascinating, than frightening. Unlike Knuffle Bunny, we never see the adults, despite their influence on the action of the book. This is the girl's story and their are no red-headed bleary-eyed parents to steal the show.

We first see the nighttime city out the bedroom window, with it's black buildings dotted with yellow-lit windows, but as our heroine imagines the worst the row of buildings turn into a crocodile -- mirroring her imagination of how dangerous the world must be for a lost, alone stuffed blue bunny. At street level, however, the buildings take on a more colorful palette and are more benign, though still an appropriate backdrop for the girl's fears.

Don't be put off by the idea that Loopy might be scary, it has a joyous ending and is a book worth checking out.

Want more?
Read a good thorough review at The Imperfect Parent.
In addition to Knuffle Bunny, other books on the them of toys lost in the city include: The Teddy BearLa La Rose. and

Little Kid says: She got her huggy back. [note: we call bedtime friends "huggies"]

7.03.2011

Companion City: The Teddy Bear

The Teddy BearIn David McPhail's The Teddy Bear a young boy looses his beloved teddy bear in a diner. The lost bear, taken out with the trash, is adopted by a homeless man. At first the bear misses the boy, but starts to enjoy life in the city with his new companion. One day, many months later, the boy sees the bear, left alone on a bench by the man and reclaims him. When the homeless man finds his bear missing he becomes very upset. Showing compassion and kindness, the boy returns the special friend to his new owner.

It might be hard to picture my own child willingly giving up his precious possession to another person, but that makes the reading of this story all the more important. I was expecting this to be another lost and found toy book, in which a child is joyfully reunited with his precious object and all is well with the world, but it is more than that. This is a gentle story about kindness, loneliness and the need for us to reach out to each other. The boy's willingness to approach the homeless man when his parents simply want to run away reminds us that children often look past rough appearances to see the beautiful.

Those of us who live in the city are always reminded of those living without a home of their own. The Teddy Bear is a lovely way of initiating a conversation with your child about the needs of others.

Want More?
Read an interview with the author.
On the theme of homelessness, read The Family Under the Bridge.
On the theme of lost toys, read La La Rose.
On the theme of lost bears in the city read, When You Meet a Bear on Broadway.

Big Kid says: Why did the man want to keep the bear?

5.05.2011

Wild City: When You Meet A Bear on Broadway

When You Meet a Bear on Broadway (Melanie Kroupa Books)
I might have mentioned before that there is an entire subcategory of picture books about being lost in the city. I should add "lost in the city" to the card catalog in my sidebar. Dealing with the idea of being lost and alone is not a new theme in children's literature by any means, but I can't think of any other books in which a bear is lost in New York City. If you can, please send them my way.

Amy Hest's (whose books have appeared several times on this blog already) When You Meet A Bear on Broadway hits upon another classic theme, missing one's mama. Starting out in a manner of fact manner, Hest gives instructions as to what to do if you ever come across a bear. First and foremost -- be polite (something I will certainly do if I ever meet a wild animal). After ascertaining what Little Bear's Mama is like it is important to look all over the city, especially in the park, where you can climb a high tree. Helping to reunite a wee bear with his mama will certainly remind you of the value of your own mother, so it's good to run on home afterward.

Elivia Savadier's watercolor and ink illustrations are a magical accompaniment to Hest's quirky story. She uses saturated colors to make the  girl and bear stand out against the washed out cityscape. I also like the way Savadier cleverly highlights the role of nature in the city by including prominently colored autumnal trees wherever the duo go.

Yesterday it was tigers, today it is bears, now I just need a book about lions in the city. Got any good ones?

Want More?
On her website, Elivia Savadier discusses creating the book's illustrations.
Visit Amy Hest's website.

Big Kid says: What part of Broadway are they on?
Little Kid says: Bear book again!

4.09.2011

Bunny City: La La Rose

La La Rose (Booklist Editor's Choice. Books for Youth (Awards))We have had a bit of a toddler emergency this week, so I'm slightly behind on my Paris books and I know you'll forgive me if my reviews are a bit less long and boring brilliant in-depth long-winded as usual. Maybe that is a good thing, actually.

So. Enter Satomi Ichikawa's La La Rose, set in Paris' Jardin du Luxembourg. Stuffed bunny La La Rose is "the inseparable friend of Clementine." But one day she falls out of Clementine's backpack during a visit to the Luxembourg Garden. Even though La La Rose must endure the trials of being tossed in the pond, losing her skirt, tumbling down a hill, being picked up by various strangers, she finally finds her way back to Clementine. In the process, we get a tour of one of the world's most famous and beautiful urban public spaces.

My 2 year old loves this book, perhaps because the ending is so comforting. Personally, I wouldn't mind being lost in the Luxembourg gardens for a few hours, myself. For kids who love maps (don't all of them?) the author has provided an illustrated map of the garden in the end pages.

Want More?
I realize linking to Wikipedia is pretty cheesy, but the pages for the Jardin du Luxembourg have some nice photos and links to other sources.

Little Kid says: Bunny book, again!

11.14.2010

Furry City: Beaver is Lost

Beaver Is LostMom says:
There is a significant sub-genre of urban picture books which feature an outsider getting lost in a vast, anonymous city.  In this book, our outsider is the busy beaver.

A beaver, whose ancestors once inhabited the land now occupied by our Northern cities (this one is inspired by Chicago), is lost. Having ridden too far downstream on a log, he finds himself among the city's more domesticated wildlife: a dog here and there, an inflatable alligator, a swan boat and his zoo-bound cousins. Winding his way through the city, he explores the city's varied water features, searching, no doubt for his beloved river.  Finally, with the help of the city's most populous rodent (can you guess?) he finds he way back to the river, and back to where you can see the stars at night.

Elisha Cooper's Beaver is Lost is told almost exclusively through his gentle and detailed watercolors which capture the beaver's curiosity at his new surroundings and his joy when he finds his way home.

Personally, I love wordless (this book has four words) picture books because they afford the opportunity for parents to encourage children in their verbal storytelling skills.

Big Kid says: Where can we go to see a beaver?
Little Kid says: Meow!
Mom says: Actually, sweetie, that's a beaver.

11.01.2010

Soft and Cuddley City: Knuffle Bunny

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards))Mom says:
How could you not love books that are set in your very own neighborhood, have photos of your very own playground, your very own park and even the store when your Mom bought her HEPA vacuum? Add an amusing story about a little girl losing her beloved toy (twice) and Caldecott Honor Author/Illustrator Mo Willems and you can't help but love them. Be sure to check out Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too.

Big Kid says: When can we read Knuffle Bunny Free?
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