Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Jane Yolen.
All Star! Honus Wagner & the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever
The baseball card of "…the bandy-legged son of German immigrants" sold for almost three million dollars in 2007. Honus Wagner was an all-around player who could hit, run, and play shortstop equally well. Highlights of his life and some of the myths that swirled up around him are presented in evocative, energetic text and handsome paintings.
Birds of a Feather
Stunning, full color, close-up photographs of birds combined with evocative poems in different forms present memorable portraits of birds. Factual material about each feathered creature is inserted on every double-page spread to complete the picture.
Bug Off! Creepy Crawley Poems
Short, imaginative poems combine with brief facts and handsome, full color photographs to introduce a variety of insects. Fact or fiction can be shared independent of the other to find out about everything from the common house fly to the colorful lovebug and many more insects.
Commander Toad and the Space Pirates
Commander Toad and the crew of the Star Warts are back, this time to confront villainous space pirates. As in other Commander Toad books, puns and silliness are complemented by humorous illustrations.
Commander Toad in Space
Sort-of-serious illustrations are perfect for this comical parody of familiar science fiction films. The brave commander of the Star Warts spacecraft is a Toad who saves his ship from the dangers of a watery planet and its resident monster, Deep Wader.
Elsie and her father leave Boston to begin afresh after Elsie's mother dies. Elsie takes with her a pet canary. It is Timmy Tune and a host of other animals that help Elsie turn "her house into a true prairie home." Lyrical language and evocative watercolors tell a touching story.
Grumbles from the Town: Mother Goose Voices with a Twist
Children familiar with traditional rhymes will enjoy these take-offs, while those who don’t know them will enjoy the sound of the poetry read aloud. Humorous illustrations echo the tone of the poetry in this playful collection.
Here There Be Dragons
Yolen wrote all of these varied entries about the delightful dragon, and relates the poems, and short stories from a variety of genres, complete with a background as to their inspiration.
Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
A young child's world is presented in a variety of poems, each illustrated with verve and humor. The large pages support the well-organized collection sure to be appreciated by young children and the adults who share the poems with them.
A boy and his father in a big red camper come to the aid of a toad attempting to cross a desert road. This surprisingly tense story is told in few words and strong illustrations from a toad’s eye view.
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies?
The ever popular dinos are back, this time making and eating cookies always using their best manners. Rhyming text and outrageous illustrations are humorous. Two recipes and "scratch & sniff" are extras presented in this brief board book.
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?
They’re back! This time, the creators of How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? take on obnoxious and downright gross behaviors at mealtime. While kids will find delight when the Amargasaurus flips his spaghetti into the air or the Lambeosaurus blows bubbles in milk, adults will appreciate the presentation of calm and more appropriate behavior.
How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?
Short rhyming text contrasts with illustrations of huge dinosaurs who are ailing with sniffles and coughs. Of course, the dinosaurs (with their names tucked into each page) are being helped by a caring but seemingly small adult in this companion to How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?
While parents may be miffed when young dinosaurs test limits, they are always reassured of their parents' cunfailing love. Told in rhyme, this latest addition to the series by this talented writer/artist team is sure to please young children as they cuddle with their parents.
Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs
Enter into a cemetery for animals, read their epitaphs, learn their fates. Though not for the faint-hearted, the sometimes gory tales are always darkly humorous and enhanced by appropriately gloomy illustrations.
Least Things: Poems about Small Natures
Short poems (haiku) were written in response to but also evoke creatures shown in crisp close-up photographs of small animals and insects in their natural surroundings. This collection and others by Yolen/Stemple introduce information about nature, and could be used as part of the science curriculum.
Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan
Jamie Barrie was always a storyteller. Here his life and selections from his work — including Peter Pan — are presented in a handsomely illustrated and formatted book. Sources consulted as well as a selection of Barrie's work are included.
Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys
Instead of brawn, imagination and intelligence save the day in these tales from various countries around the world.
Mirror to Nature: Poems about Reflection
A variety of animals in their natural habitat are presented here in handsome full-color photographs accompanied by a range of short poems that they inspired. Both words and pictures present reflections, literal and figurative, and will likely generate discussion.
Miz Berlin Walks
Miz Berlin tells wonderful stories about how she caught crawdaddies the day the sky rained feathers or about the day the flood rose right to her front door as she and young Mary Alice walk together around the block.
My Uncle Emily
Thomas (aka Gib) Gilbert's aunt, Emily Dickinson, gave him a poem and a dead bee to share in school. Because no one understands it, Gib defends his aunt (who jokingly tells him to call her "uncle") and gets into a fight. Gib learns, however, to tell the truth, "but tell it slant…" This engaging glimpse of a poet and her family is based on actual events revealed in free verse and delicate illustration.
The story of a Russian family's emigration to the United States parallels the travel from Paris of Bartholdi’s statue of Lady Liberty. Both tell moving sagas and intersect in a unique way. poignant illustrations make this a memorable presentation.
A mother and son celebrate the gentle coming of nighttime as they walk in the countryside. Textured illustrations are as poetic as the simple text.
A father and daughter go out "owling" on a cold, snow-filled evening with only moonlight to guide them. An introduction by the author to this edition opens the now-classic, luminously illustrated story in which hope "…flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon."
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World
Not all pirates did their dirty work on the sea and not all of them were men. The stories in history and lore of the Sea Queens are presented in an evocative format with bold illustrations, separating fact from fiction.
Sleep Black Bear Sleep
The long, cold nights of winter are the time when bear, frog, and a host of animals hunker down for sleep. Soft watercolors illustrate the drowsy text as the animals await spring and hibernate. Humorous touches augment the tone of the lullaby as everyone — including the listener — settles down.
What is beautiful and how beauty is demonstrated is the subject of this funny and rather surprising Sleeping Beauty parody. Comic illustrations augment the humor and satire.
Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems
A large format is used to present a variety of nighttime poems by a variety of poets, neatly organized in three sections: "Going to Sleep," "Sweet Dreams," and "In the Night." Gentle, whimsical illustrations enhance the mood of each poem that will be appreciated especially when shared aloud.
Take Two!: A Celebration of Twins
Since each poet has a personal connection to twins (Lewis is one; Yolen has twin grandchildren) the poems in this oversized collection ring true. Lighthearted illustrations capitalize on the appealing poetry which plays with words and ideas.
The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories
A brief history of classical ballet opens this handsome, richly told collection of seven stories from ballets. Each story is introduced with information on the production and time period in which the ballet was first performed.
The Devil's Arithmetic
In this historical fiction novel, 12-year-old Hannah find herself transported back in time. As she experiences the horrific events of the Holocaust that were often recounted by her grandparents, Hannah finds new reasons to embrace her family and culture.
The Emperor and the Kite
Though largely ignored by her family, it is the youngest daughter, tiny Djeow Seow, who saves her father, the Emperor, from imprisonment. Handsome illustrations evoke traditional Asian art to create a memorable portrait of love and loyalty.
The Perfect Wizard: Hans Christian Andersen
Life as fiction comes together in this attractive and engaging picture book biography of the man who is known for his fairy tales. Excerpts from these tales are juxtaposed with real events in Andersen’s life to provide a fresh look at the stories and their creator.
This Little Piggy: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games and Pantomime Rhymes
Even the uninitiated adult will be able to follow the clear directions and language in this handsome oversized book, ideal for sharing one to one, adult and child. A lively music CD of select rhymes from the text accompanies the book but is not essential for the sharing.
Morning routines may never seem the same after sharing day's start with a small, chubby knight in armor and his long-eared dog who climb a ladder to wake up large dragons. Cheerful, bright, amusing illustrations and catchy rhymes propel readers to the satisfying start of the day.
Wild Wings: Poems for Young People
This book contains artful photographs in full color with the rich images evoked by short poems. The result is a handsome and memorable aviary for young people.
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