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What’s New on My Nightstand — Monday Book Review: “Fall is For School,” by Robert Neubecker; “Poppy Louise is Not Afraid of Anything,” by Jenna McCarthy, illustrated by Molly Idle; “When God Made You,” by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

March 20th, 2017

“What didn’t you do to bury me / But you forgot that I was a seed.” — Dinos Christianopoulos, poet (b. 20 Mar 1931)

This one won’t be out until end of June, but I received galleys in the mail for review, woot! (I donate the galleys to teacher friends, who use the art for bulletin boards. This works out nicely.) “Fall is For School,” written and illustrated by Robert Neubecker (Disney-Hyperion Books; June, 2017; ages 3-5; 32 pages; $17.99). This is the sequel to Neubecker’s “Winter is for Snow.” Another one to look for: “Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing,” written by Kay Haring, and illustrated by Neubecker.

Fall is time for school, and most kids (and parents :) ) look forward to it. But what do you do, sister, when your brother hates school and says he’d rather stay home? This is a sweet “New York kids” book, with loads of color. The red-headed siblings are a likable pair — the sister, already dressed in her school clothes; the brother, refusing to change out of flip-flops and shorts. How can she coax him?

“Fall is here! Come on with me! It’s time to go to school!”

He’s having none of it. But they will meet their teachers, who will help them learn about Romans, the pyramids and… (this being New York and all)… dinosaurs! (Thank you, American Museum of Natural History.) Great book. Fun story, the art is whimsical and inviting, and will give parents and teachers a good way to segue into a discussion.

Visit the artist online at neubecker.com.

“Poppy Louise is NOT Afraid of Anything,” by Jenna McCarthy, illustrated by Molly Idle (Random House Books for Young Readers; April, 2017; ages 3-7; $16.99) When students tell me their favorite colors (and ask me what mine are), I immediately say, purpleandgreen. Purple and green have been my favorite colors since I was a kid. Flowers, gardens, landscapes, clothes, jelly beans… Now comes “Poppy Louise,” with a purple-and-green theme, so you know it’s good.

She really, really, even though she should be, sometimes, is not scared of anything, much to the consternation of her friends and her big sister Petunia.

“How do we get up on your roof?” she asks her friend Finn.
“We don’t,” Finn tells her.

I love storytimes when the kids cut in, Ms. Nancy, that is not a good idea, is it? No, it’s not. Finn is right to work on his rocketship and leave the roof alone, lol.

“People call Poppy the brave sister and Petunia the careful sister. Petunia prefers to think of herself as wise.”

Is there anything Poppy is afraid of? Read on and we’ll find out.

Jenna McCarthy also wrote the Maggie Malone series. Molly Idle is a Caldecott Honor winner for “Flora and the Flamingo.”

“When God Made You,” by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow (WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2017, juvenile fiction, 48 pages, $11.99) Yay, more purple and green! A little girl, searching for her place in the world, is told:

“God pictured your nose and all ten of your toes. The sound of your voice? God had it composed. The lines on your hands, your hair, every strand, God knew every detail like it was all planned.”

God is there, throughout the book. He’s a hipster, wearing a beret and a scruffy white T-shirt, Capris, white tights and red ballerina slippers. Perfecto.

Mr. Turner’s website is at MatthewPaulTurner.com; David Catrow’s is here. (He has illustrated a ton of great stuff, including the Molly Lou Melon books.)

Happy Monday, everyone, happy spring! And happy reading.

xo

wm

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