BookWalk: The Marvelous Toy

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Once again, I’ve chosen a book that blends my love for words with my passion for music.  The Marvelous Toy, is a book that contains the lyrics of one of my favorite songs.  I can’t begin to determine how many times I’ve happily listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary sharing this song and felt the joy of my own childhood.

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Tom Paxton is the composer of “The Marvelous Toy” and his words are brought to life through the brilliant illustrations of Steve Cox.  Paxton is a legend in the music industry and has notable fans, such as Pete Seeger.

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“…Paxton tells the tale of a strange and wonderful toy that moves and marches, bops and stops, zips, and whirs.”  (Taken from the cover notes)

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The Marvelous Toy shares the whole-hearted exuberance a father has as he shares one of his own treasured childhood toys with his son.  That is indeed what this book and song mean to me.  As a mom of two boys, I’ve taken a warm pleasure in sharing the song with them and hope that when they have their own children they’ll do the same.

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Included in this version of the book is a CD with four songs!

1)  “The Marvelous Toy” (with vocals)

2)  “Let the Wild Wind Blow”

3)  “All the Children”

4)  “The Marvelous Toy” (Instrumental)

Make some treasured memories!  Read and sing this one with your friends; young and old!

The Marvelous Toy

Tom Paxton, Words and Music

Steve Cox, Illustrator

Imagine!/A Peter Yarrow Book

ISBN – 13:  978-0-9822939-2-8

Nothing Says Happy Like a Spring Bulletin Board!

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(My friends dipped their hands in paint and made fingery flowers for our bulletin board!)

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(Ms. Shannon White’s friends became the flowers for their bulletin board! 

Thanks for letting me share your bulletin board, Ms. Shannon!)

BookWalk: The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah (Revisited in Honor of the Upcoming Passover Celebration)

This BookWalk will focus on an outstanding multicultural selection, The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah.  This book was authored by Leslie Kimmelman.  Kimmelman has written several children’s books that celebrate Jewish culture and holidays and has a fun way of presenting the unique traditions that go along with them.

The story begins with the little red hen looking at her calendar and realizing that Passover is coming soon.  From there, it follows her classic tale and her repeated requests for her friends to help her with the Seder cooking chores.

You probably remember the basics of the story from this point.  Her friends scoff at her requests for help, so she has to do all of the work on her own.  She gathers the grain, plants it, harvests it, schlepps it to and from the mill, cleans the house, bakes the matzah, cooks the meal, and I guess I’ll leave the rest for your own reading pleasure.

Paul Meisel has worked with numerous authors to bring their stories to life through his illustrations and he’s done a fine job with this one.  He’s used vivid colors and created fanciful pictures that are engaging for young readers and plain fun for older ones.  I particularly like the simple way that he has demonstrated emotional expression in the eyes of all the animals.

The multicultural fun doesn’t end with the story.  Kimmelman has also included an explanation of the Passover celebration, a recipe for making matzah, and a Yiddish glossary.

Don’t stop with this Kimmelman prize.  Check out her website at www.lesliekimmelman.net and be sure to look at her latest work, The Shabbat Puppy.

As always, leave a comment below and feel free to make some BookWalk suggestions.

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah

Leslie Kimmelman, author

Paul Meisel, illustrator

Holiday House, Inc.

ISBN:  978-0-8234-1952-4

BookWalk: Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings

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I fell in love with this book at my school’s recent book fair and knew that it would be a perfect choice for a BookWalk.  It’s Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings.  Does this cover excite you as much as it does me?

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Pat Mora has written 14 delectable haiku about some of the most popular foods found in the Americas.  They include blueberries, chile peppers, chocolate, corn, cranberries, papayas,  peanuts, pecans, pineapples, potatoes, prickly pears, pumpkins, tomatoes, and vanilla.

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Rafael Lopez translated Mora’s words into equally tasty visions.  Lopez is known for his fabulous murals often located in large urban areas.  He has managed to bring that same wide-open freedom and bliss to the pages of this book.

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In addition to the haiku and joyous artwork, this book gives some additional information about each of the foods named.  The regional origins and histories open up perfect opportunities for further discussions.  As a matter of fact, this selection is a superb vehicle for teaching about food, history, poetry, art, and multiculturalism.

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Rush out and find this book!  I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it, too.  You might also check out the websites of the author and illustrator.  Pat Mora can be found at patmora.com and Rafael Lopez is at rafaellopez.com.

Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings

Haiku by Pat Mora

Pictures by Rafael Lopez

Lee and Low Books Inc.

ISBN:  978-1-58430-271-1