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

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 and Rafael Lopez is at

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

BookWalk: Beetle Bop

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Kids love bugs!  That makes this a particularly fun BookWalk selection.  Beetle Bop, written and illustrated by Denise Flemming, is loaded with creepy, crawly beetles involved in all kinds of bug behaviors.

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The book is brimming with words that your young friends can chew on.  If you like for your students to sit silently while a book is read, this is not the book for you.

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The words are also lyrical and rhythmic.  They offer scads of opportunities for interactive fun; be it making the sounds that are described or performing beetle movements.

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From a scientific perspective, it presents a visual representation of the beetle varieties that are crawling all around us every day.

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Vivid colors, nature’s sounds, and graceful and not so graceful movements are whimsically expressed through the unusual illustrations.  These vibrant illustrations were formed by “pouring colored cotton fiber through had-cut stencils.”  (Flemming. 2009)

Spring is upon us and it’s the perfect time to have fun with some creepy creatures.  Try this one out and have a great time with your friends!

Beetle Bop

Denise Fleming, Author and Illustrator


ISBN – 13:  978-0-545-15917-3

ISBN – 10:  0=545-15917-2

BookWalk: Forever Young

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Forever Young, by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Paul Rogers, offers a timeless blessing to all generations.

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This selection repeats Bob Dylan’s words of hopefulness and expectation as he looks in to the future and finds a world in which peace and harmony reign.  Rogers, the illustrator, has graciously allowed us to see his vision of those words and that world.

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Not only does this book repeat the lyrics of the classic song, but through Rogers’ illustrations numerous tributes are made to people and places that colored the 1960s.

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In the initial illustrations, a young boy is captured by the singing and strumming of a man on the street.  The man gives a guitar to the little boy; passing on the tool of his trade and the blessings that accompany it.

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Throughout the pages, the reader sees the young man grow and mature as he follows in the footsteps of the street musician and his message.  Eventually, the young man passes on that old guitar to a young girl with full expectation of the continuance of the message.

This book satisfies me in multiple ways.  It speaks to my musician, my teacher, and my book lover.  I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Forever Young

Bob Dylan, Author (Composer)

Paul Rogers, Illustrator


ISBN:  1-4169-5808-8

BookWalk: Terrific

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This BookWalk selection has a seriously bad attitude and that’s what makes it so much fun.  Terrific, written and illustrated by Jon Agee, shares the story of a man who firmly believes that if anything can go wrong it undoubtedly will.

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Eugene is a pessimistic fellow.  It doesn’t matter what happens to Eugene.  He always overlooks the positive and wholeheartedly searches for the negative.  When he wins a cruise to Bermuda, he is more consumed with the likelihood of getting a sunburn than with the possibility that he might have a good time.  Reluctantly, Eugene sets sail and finds himself shipwrecked and stranded on a deserted island.

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Eugene finds one resident on this remote island; a parrot.  This is a remarkably intelligent parrot that wins Eugene’s trust and helps him to escape their island prison by showing Eugene how to build a boat.

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After guiding Eugene through the boat-building process, the parrot sets sail with him in hopes of finding civilization.  Sadly, the pair runs out of their food supply and fears that they will perish on the high seas.

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As their hopes are diminished, Eugene and the parrot run in to a fishing trawler and are rescued.  I’ll leave the remainder of the story for your own discovery.  This is a book that you and your young friends will enjoy and there are many teachable moments to be uncovered within its covers.

Let me know what you think of this BookWalk selection.  I’d love to hear from you.


Jon Agee, Author and Illustrator


ISBN – 13:  978-0-439-89541-5

ISBN – 10:  0439-89541-3