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The Gifts of Wali Dad: A Tale of India and Pakistan
May 22nd, 2010 by Noodlenuts

“No shame can come to such as you,” said one of the peris [to Wali Dad]. “Thought your clothes are poor, in your heart you are a king.”

Although my absolute favourite picture books tend mostly to be the funny or silly ones, throughout my life I’ve always been enchanted as well by folk tales.  The best of these are told with beautiful language and imagery, teach practical lessons without being patronizing to young readers, and immerse us—if only momentarily—in some of the most colourful and appealing parts of other cultures. Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re Riding on a Caravan: an Adventure on the Silk Road
May 16th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

We’re riding on a caravan,

a bumpy, humpy caravan,

We’re riding on a caravan

to places far away.

When I first spotted this book, I was initially excited and then almost immediately wary.  I love the idea of books that convey interesting historical and cultural information to kids in an entertaining way, but my experience has been that the vast majority of these books, even when presented in picture book format, are far too complicated for most preschoolers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wabi Sabi
May 16th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

Wabi Sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, natural, modest, and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may best be understood as a feeling rather than as an idea.

This explanation of the concept of wabi sabi is prelude to a story both unique and special.  Presented in a novel vertical format, Wabi Sabi stands out in many ways from the average picture book. Read the rest of this entry »

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Miri and the Magic Door
May 16th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

And there in the wall is an ancient door

In a place Miri knows there was no door

before

Its hinges are rusty,

it’s painted pale blue.

It slowly groans open

and Miri steps through.

It is difficult to categorize Miri and the Magic Door. It is not text-heavy, yet the vocabulary and concepts are suitably advanced for a slightly older audience than that of the standard picture book.  The rhyme scheme is neither smooth nor consistent, but rather than jolting the reader, it has a certain emphatic and percussive rhythm that lends itself remarkably well to being read aloud. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Bachelor and the Bean: A Jewish Moroccan Folk Tale
May 15th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

“Give me back my bean!” the angry old bachelor shouted.

“By the hair of my grandmother’s beard! It is only a miserable bean!” exclaimed the imp. “Look, here is a magic pot. Ask for whatever you want to eat, and it will appear. Only keep the noise down—I hate a racket!”

A grumpy old bachelor meets his match in a jealous, thieving old lady via the reluctant gifts of an irritable imp.  Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
May 13th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

Making an apple pie is really very easy.

First, get all the ingredients at the market.

Mix them well, bake, and serve.

Unless, of course, the market is closed.

With that seemingly innocuous sentence, a grand adventure begins in Marjorie Priceman’s How to Make an Apple Pie and See the WorldRead the rest of this entry »

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Brian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow
May 10th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

I have three first names. Brian Banana and Duck. My last name is Yellow. This is my room at Na-na and Grumpy Yellow’s place.

Brian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow is a little bit odd, a little bit silly, and a big hit with the preschool set, perhaps because it looks and reads a bit like something a preschooler would create him- or herself. Read the rest of this entry »

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To Market! To Market!
May 10th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

Although I’m not generally given to superlatives, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to describe To Market! To Market! from India’s Tara Publishing as an extraordinary picture book, and an amazing contribution to the current (and hopefully continuing) trend towards more multicultural children’s books Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Frères
May 10th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

In Paris’ Latin Quarter, Chef Marcel owns a fancy bistro called Le Bistrot des Sept Frères, or The Bistro of the Seven Brothers.

Le Bistrot des Sept Frères has the very best in mouse cuisine.  Anyone who is anyone eats there. It is the hippest place in Paris!

Tell me you’re not intrigued after that little taste of this extraordinary book–I dare you! Read the rest of this entry »

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Catch That Crocodile!
May 10th, 2010 by Noodlenuts

Wh…what!
H…how?
Wh…why?
Wh…which?

CROCODILE!
CROCODILE!
In the ditch!

As always, Anushka Ravishankar has produced a story that is simple but delightful, funny and distinctive.  Read the rest of this entry »

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