Up There... Old Books for Young Readers

From lambs gambling on the lawn to a deer little girl, from a well-dressed house to a flamingo in the mailbox, this classic from 1970 illustrates our strange language with a playfulness that speaks to the imagination of the child in all of us. -Jeff
Events for Young (and Older) Readers at 57th Street Books 
On February 5 we colored, sang, and ate away our winter blues in celebration of famed Finnish author Tove Jansson's classic and mysterious Moominvalley comic books and novels. Moomin fans young and old learned how to make a Moomin comic strip with comic artist Ali Cantarella and turn cherries into rubies with the help of a magical Hobgoblin's Hat. Join us for our next book-inspired party Sunday, March 12 at 2pm in honor of the one and only Dr. Seuss, and don't forget: 57th Street Books now has TWO weekly storytimes, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30am! 

What We're Reading 

An unobstructed combination of images and text can make or break a picture book. Here are two storytime favorites of late that show why and sing! -Colin

A Greyhound, a Groundhog (Schwartz & Wade, 2017) 
A greyhound, a groundhog, a found little roundhog... So begins, or ends (it's hard to keep track), Emily Jenkins and Chris Appelhans' euphoric, winding romp through butterflies and sun. Friendship is afoot in this pastel-streaked, rhyme-induced daydream of a read aloud. 

Before Morning (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016) 
Beth Krommes' illustrations stand magnificently alone, but the accompanying text is something more and as necessary: Let quick things be swaddled, let urgent plans founder, let pathways be hidden from sightBefore Morning is an incantation for a world, or peace of mind, that no matter the weather one might, even briefly, let be. 


Farmer Duck (Candlewick Press, 2017)
SCENE 1: Slovenly farmer, lying in bed, reading paper, eating bonbons. Duck, serving him breakfast. FARMER: How goes the work? DUCK: Quack! SCENE 2: Farmer leaning out window, dressed only in underwear. Duck, tending the fields. FARMER: How goes the work? DUCK: Quack! And so it goes until the poor duck collapses and the other farm animals come to his rescue by ousting the loutish farmer and sharing the labor. A delightful farm-animal manifesto. 


(Note: This is a 25th anniversary re-issue of an out-of-print title. Available in hardback, paperback, and board book March 14, 2017.) PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW! 

Scythe (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) 
While dystopia has been the dominant narrative theme in YA literature, Neal Shusterman turns the dominant genre on its head by offering a Utopian tale with a dark undercurrent. In the world of Scythe, people no longer face disease, ageing, murder, or any of the other forms of death once known to society. The cloud has evolved and in its infinite knowledge, has granted everyone immortality... almost. There's still the problem of overpopulation, and Scythes must glean individuals using statistics and probability of death from the time before. The honorable Scythe Faraday takes two young individualists under his wing as his apprentices. Their reluctance to kill makes them perfect for the job. Along the path of their apprenticeship, Rowan and Citra question not only their mentor, but the very politics of fairness that dictates who lives and who dies. Something doesn't sit well with the young Scythes-in-training, and what could very easily have become a simple retelling of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, evolves into a thoughtful examination of what propels the best of us in the worst of times... and what sustains our pettiness and greed even when we are granted with all the time we could ever need. A thoughtful and sometimes grim tale of what humanity can turn into without something to strive for. -Kevin

Franny's February Recommendations 

57th Street Books' Children's Manager Franny Billingsley with this month's top recommendations of Children's, Middle Grade, and Young Adult literature.

On January 23, the “Oscars” of the children’s book world were announced, among them the Caldecott (illustration), Newbery (literature), and the Printz (teens) Awards. This month’s recommendations will focus on the award winners, some of which were Franny and/or Kevin’s favorites in 2016. Stop in to browse and click here to see our and the judges' reviews in full. 

1... 2... 3 Questions for Stacey Previn 
If Snowflakes Tasted Like Fruitcake revels in thoughts (and tastes) of snow. What inspired you to write a book about snow, and what came first, the words or images?

I saw a picture of a girl with her tongue out catching snowflakes and thought "what do they taste like?” Then I thought of all the things you could do with them if they tasted like something. Pickles was the first thing I thought of because of a scratch and sniff I had on my door in college. I would hear people scratching the door and smell the blueberry, then the strawberry and could always tell when they got to “pickle” because you would hear a groan. If snowflakes tasted like pickles I thought you could put them on your burger. Then the book morphed into a holiday book so I focused on holiday/winter foods. The words were definitely first then I wanted to do something very clean and graphic for the illustrations. Many people think it is collage but it is all digital.
The young red-capped daydreamer in your book ponders what winter would be like if snowflakes tasted like plump figs, cocoa, whipped cream, and more. In the process of writing, did you find yourself intermittently having to pause mid-sentence (or illustration) for a snack?  

I feel like I am always hungry no matter what! So I guess the answer is yes and no. Yes, I always drink my diet coke while I work and sometimes snack as well and no, because it was not out of the ordinary for me.

What is one of your favorite children's books?

I loved and still love Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I think it is so clever and beautifully done and simple at the same time. I also really love the Toot and Puddle books by Hollie Hobby. The illustrations are so beautiful and a newer one that I love is This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. It is so funny and dark!

Stacey Previn has illustrated over seventeen children's books, including the "Way to Be! series," a 2007 Teachers Choice Award winner, and "Find Spot!," her first book as the author and illustrator. After living in France for a couple years, she moved to Oak Park, Illinois, where she now resides with her husband and two sons.
Signed copies of If Snowflakes Tasted Like Fruitcake available now! 

“All things are so very uncertain, and that's exactly what makes me feel reassured.

Moominland Midwinter 
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