Thursday, December 3, 2009

Favourite Reads of 2009, Part V. . .

Today we go to Kitchener Public Library where Laura Reed, Coordinator of Children’s & Teen Services, gives us her favourite picks of the year. If you love animals and children's books - this is the list for you!

Laura's Favourite Reads of 2009:

Where’s Tumpty? by Polly Dunbar
Who can resist Pru, a chicken who really knows how to accessorize, Tiptoe a bunny with impossibly long ears, and Tumpty an elephant who believes if he closes his eyes no one can see him? Not me! Tilly and Friends are a perfect cure for a bad day, no matter your age.

Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Calef Brown
Every year there is a picture book I secretly believe was written just for me. This year it is Gertrude. It fills me with joy every time I read it (usually to myself, but sometimes to other adults). I love that it was published, that it made its way to the shelf, to my desk, to unsuspecting children.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Tales by Lucy Cousins
These eight retellings are simple, direct, and surprisingly authentic feeling. They are just right for reading aloud, especially to preschoolers. The illustrations are bright and simple, making even the image of the hunter hacking off the wolf’s head rather amusing.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Well written prose, the $20,000 Pyramid, A Wrinkle in Time, and mental gymnastics… what more could you want from a book? I loved the workout this book gave me, the questions it left unanswered, and the fact it may bring children to the shelf looking for Madeleine L’Engle.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Okay, I admit it, I didn’t read this book when it was released; I didn’t even read it when it won the Newbery Medal. It just didn’t grab my attention. Then I read Neil Gaiman’s acceptance speech in a recent issue of Horn Book, and it inspired me, and I am very glad it did. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, I appreciated Gaiman’s playfulness and wicked sense of humour. Bod is a truly memorable character, and ever since finishing it I have been looking for an opportunity to stroll through a graveyard.

The Cuckoo's Haiku and Other Birding Poems by Michael J. Rosen; illustrated by Stan Fellows
Beautiful. Of Northern Cardinals – first feeders at dawn/ paired like red quotation marks/ last feeders at dusk. Beautiful. A joy to revisit.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
I admit I had low expectations when I started this book (don’t get me started on celebrity children’s authors), but I was pleasantly surprised. Walliams simple, cheerful text, accompanied by Quentin Blake’s lively illustrations make for a lovely read. I just wish it wasn’t such a leap from reality, that a 12 year boy could really wear a dress without soul-crushing consequences.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze by Mo Willems
I love elephant and piggy. I really love books that include sneezes. Sneezing is one of my best skills. Sneezing always makes kids laugh, every time. Even in the time of H1N1, this is my “open in case of programming emergency” book… we just sneeze into our elbows.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
…because sometimes you just need to read an adult book. And, if you are going to read an adult book, it should be big and dense and oh so satisfying. And, if Henry VIII can be there all the better! Happy memories of a weekend spent with Thomas Cromwell.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This is my book of 2009, because this is the year I fell in love with it all over again. First, it came out on top of Elizabeth Bird’s 100 Best Picture Books list on her Fuse #8 Production blog. Then there was the movie - the achingly brilliant movie from the brains of Sendak, Jonze and Eggers. It is like meeting your first love twenty years later and he is single, has all of his hair and loves cats.

Laura Reed is the Coordinator of Children’s & Teen Services at the Kitchener Public Library. She has been a children’s librarian for over fifteen years, and she is still excited by children’s literature everyday and thinks children’s books make the best Christmas gifts for people of all ages.

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