Book Reviews: Fall Book Review
SHARED by: Katherine Grier, Librarian at York Avenue Preschool
I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli
I particularly like this picture book about Autumn because it is one of the most comprehensive ones I have found about my favorite season. Fall weather, holidays, foods, decorations and more are all described in rhyming couplets and soft colored-pencil illustrations that are full of warmth and detail.
The rhyming text is not at all forced or cliché, but is rather creative. On one page the reader is told “I know it’s autumn when our class makes acorn art,/ when there’s a turkey sticker on each spelling chart.” On other pages, leaves are falling, geese are flying, warm coats and socks are reluctantly being worn on chilly mornings, tempting piles of crisp leaves are raked and ready for jumping, jack-o-lanterns with crooked smiles wait on doorsteps, pumpkin muffins and apple pies are baked and yellow mums bloom in the flower beds. A family which includes a live-in grandfather celebrates all of these Autumn delights and I believe you and your children will enjoy celebrating right along with them.
WonderFall by Michael Hall
Wonderfall is a great new Autumn picture book for ages 3-5. It is a perfect read-aloud for home and classroom that celebrates the changing seasons through the experience of a single tree. The tree interacts with people and squirrels as it undergoes vivid changes from green in summer to bare in winter. The illustrations of the book are vital to the story. They are done in beautiful paper collage. The leaves and branches of the tree are oversized and glorious. They enliven the page no matter their color. Even the winter pages are amazing. The squirrels, yellow school bus, Halloween, Autumn harvest and colorful parade also are splendidly depicted. Fifteen poems underscore the themes and concepts on each page. The title of each poem is an adjective ending in the suffix –ful which has been cleverly modified to include the word —fall. In “Peacefall,” the oak’s acorns drop, “plink, plunk, plop.” In “Dutifall,” the tree notices schoolchildren carrying knapsacks waiting beneath it. Eventfall, frightfall, thankfall, delightfall, plentifall all are WONDERFALL too.
If all of this is not enough, the last few pages of the book are full of scientific information about different animals, seasons, trees and ideas like hibernation, migration, and dormancy, making this a truly special addition to every child’s library.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff
Although this is not strictly a Fall book, there are many wonderful Fall images in it. That is why I traditionally read it to the YAP students in the Fall season. It also happens to be my personal favorite in this beloved series by Laura Numeroff. The story is the sequel to the more widely read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but I believe that in this book Ms. Numeroff does everything better: the story is less repetitive and the illustrations are way more fun. It is another circular story featuring a loveable—and very hungry– moose and a little boy who invites him into his house for some freshly baked muffins. The illustrations really bring out the characters of the ungainly moose and the little boy.
They are full of fabulous little touches and details which are hidden throughout. On an early page, the moose sits cross-legged at a table devouring muffins with blackberry jam. Later on, he looks dapper in a red sweater. The moose’s sock-puppet play rivals many professional kids’ shows I have seen here in NYC. I love how the moose scares himself with his own Halloween ghost costume and how he tries to hide behind the sofa. In the end, we see that all of this fun and mayhem has been happening inside while the boy’s mom has been busy raking autumn leaves outside. This fact is as comforting as the warm muffins the moose requests again and again.
Fox Makes Friends by Adam Relf
This book is one of my go-to stroytime picture books for Fall. It is a moving tale of friendship featuring some of the cutest forest animals ever. It is a very large book in size and it is really well illustrated. The story starts off with Mama Fox suggesting to her lonely child that he go out and make some friends. The determined little guy sets off to do that…literally. “What can I make a friend out of?” he wonders. He gathers a variety of Fall fruits, vegetables, nuts, and twigs and builds his first friend.
When he discovers that this friend does not talk or play, he builds another, bigger friend. Soon, a blue squirrel and a brown bunny come out of the forest to watch Fox build yet another friend. When they join in and “help” him, he discovers what friends and friendship really are all about. Fox Makes Friends is not a long book, but is one that children and adults alike can really appreciate and enjoy.