Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Wordless Picture Book The Boys by Jeff Newman

Posted on June 8th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at Jeff Newman’s wordless picture book, The Boys

Storytime Standouts looks at The Boys by Jeff Newman, a wordless picture book about social situations, baseball and joining in.The Boys created by Jeff Newman
Almost Wordless Picture Book published by Simon and Schuster

When a young lad moves houses with his family, he is anxious to find a baseball game in his new neighbourhood. He unpacks his baseball glove, bat and spikes and ventures out into the neighbourhood.

Once he arrives at the park, he hesitates, watching some children from afar. Rather than joining the kids’ game, he is dejected. He slowly approaches a park bench and sits down. Four aging men are already seated, feeding the pigeons.

The following day, the disappointed boy stores his baseball gear away and joins the men sitting on the bench. He helps to feed the pigeons.

The men take note of his appearance when he joins them on the bench a third time. He looks old – probably much older than they feel! It is time for action.

The men give up sitting on the park bench, instead playing on the playground monkey bars and the slide. They are smiling and laughing. They have been transformed. When a bike awaits the boy the following day, it is clear the men think it is time to get moving – they climb onto bikes, a scooter and a wagon, annoying the pigeons and our boy. He just wants to sit.

Little does he know, a plan is afoot. On Sunday the men will play a baseball game. They supply a batting helmet and a bat, and watch as their hesitant young friend hits one “out of the park.”

Confidence regained, the youngster approaches the boys and girls playing at the park and joins their baseball game. The cronies cheer from the stands.

There is much to love about The Boys . Boldly illustrated, the almost wordless picturebook introduces themes of social isolation, self confidence, ageism and the value of play. Readers will find it both thought-provoking and reassuring.

Suitable for children kindergarten age and older.

One of Kirkus Reviews’ 2010 Best Children’s Books

The Boys at

The Boys at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


I want to let you know about four picture books for children that are sure to appeal to both boys and girls. I sincerely hope you will make time to share special books with the children in your life each and every day.

Welcome Winter
Written by Jill Ackerman, illustrated by Nancy Davis

This sturdy, fun board book caught my eye and will have great appeal for toddlers. The illustrations and text are simple and yet very engaging. I especially liked the description of “snow crunching under boots” and a matching slippery, noisy surface that begs to be touched. Very young children will thoroughly enjoy checking out a variety of textures as they learn about the season of swirling snowflakes, cold temperatures and wind.

Welcome Winter at

Welcome Winter at

The Little Word Catcher Written by Danielle Simard, illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Originally published in French, The Little Word Catcher won a Governor General’s Award for Illustration. It was written with Alzheimer patients and their families in mind but also illustrates the impact of aphasia (an acquired communication disorder that is often due to stroke). Elise’s grandmother is losing her words. When in conversation, she has difficulty coming up with the right word to use. The affliction is terribly difficult for her young granddaughter to understand. Eventually, Elise takes comfort in the thought that perhaps Grandma has given her the words to use. A lovely story about the special relationship between a grandparent and a child, The Little Word Catcher will have special poignancy for families dealing with aging and loss.

The Little Word Catcher at

The Little Word Catcher at

Smart-Opedia Junior

The Amazing Book About Everything from Maple Tree Press

It is all too easy to get locked into the idea that bedtime stories or even picture books ought to be fictional. For many children, a good nonfiction book will have terrific appeal not to mention loads of valuable information. Smart-Opedia Junior is intended for children aged 5 through 8 and provides all manner of interesting facts. Generously illustrated, youngsters will learn about body science, inventions, plant and animal life, our universe and more.

Smart-opedia Junior: The Amazing Book About Everything at

Smart-Opedia Junior Smart-Opedia Junior: The Amazing Book about Everything at

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks
Written by Margaret Willey, illustrated by Heather M. Solomon

I wonder how many different books tell the recognizable tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I expect there are dozens and dozens of interpretations but perhaps none quite as original or fascinating as this one. Here, a bold and daring Goldilocks discovers a small, cave-like cabin that is home to three extremely untidy creatures. Should we really be surprised that bear porridge is not at all like the oatmeal humans enjoy or that a bear’s bed is similarly unfamiliar? Children who know the traditional story well will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to consider an alternate account of Goldilocks’ adventure.

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks at

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks at

Giving Voice to a Dream: Leon’s Song

Posted on February 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Leon’s Song – written by Stephanie Simpson McClellan and illustrated by Dianna Bonder
“If you saw Leon dozing in the sun, you might think age had made him all quiet and peaceful inside. You might think he was content to spend his day resting and remembering. But you’d be wrong…As old as Leon was, his heart was young with yearning.”

Leon is an old frog who dreams of doing something important. Although he lacks beauty, power and physical strength, Leon wishes most for a beautiful singing voice. When a dark, threatening shadow appears in the pond, Leon’s world is about to change. Fortunately his special talent is unveiled and the pond is profoundly transformed. A beautifully illustrated, thoughtful tale.

I share Leon’s Song with children every summer. I use it as part of a frog theme in a kindergarten program but the story goes well beyond frogs and pond life. It is a joyous celebration of self acceptance, finding one’s voice and making a difference.

Best suited to children ages 5 to 8

Stephanie Simpson McClellan’s Ponds in Winter K-4 Teaching Unit

Leon’s Song at

Leon’s Song at

Old Bird Reminds Us “Old” Does Not Mean Incompetent or Worthless

Posted on February 11th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Old Bird - written by Irene Morck and illustrated by Muriel Wood

When Papa buys Bird, a gentle mare who will transport Archie and Arnfeld to and from school, he has no idea the impact the horse will have on his farm. Bird follows the children as they do their chores and insists on being allowed into the barn. Bird opens latches and asserts herself until Papa decides she must be sold. Just before the auction, Bird again has her way. This time she shows the family just how she can contribute to the farm. Old Bird is a truly lovely story, beautifully illustrated, that reminds us old does not mean incompetent or worthless.

32 pages, ages 5 and up

Old Bird at

Old Bird at

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.

Blessed with an Imaginative Grandpa and an Amazing Garden to Tend

Posted on June 8th, 2009 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at The Imaginary GardenThe Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
Picture book published by Kids Can Press

Theo is blessed to have a very special relationship with her grandfather, Poppa. When Poppa moves into an apartment, they decide to create an imaginary garden on his balcony. The first Saturday of spring is marked by the arrival of a giant, blank canvas. Before long, Poppa and Theo have created a long stone wall and beautiful blue sky. Soon they have added beautiful spring flowers to their masterpiece. When Poppa leaves for a holiday, Theo worries about tending their special garden by herself. With gentleness and love, Poppa assures her that she will know what will nurture their imaginary garden. This lovely picture book would be a great gift for a special Grandpa.

The Imaginary Garden at

The Imaginary Garden at

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