About Me

My name is Genevieve Woods and in addition to being the mother of an adorable preschooler named Oscar and his adorable toddler brother Henry, I am the Children's Buyer at Spellbinder Books, a small independent bookstore in Bishop, California. I am often asked by customers for recommendations...and thus the idea for this blog was sparked.

Many sites recommending books for kids are created by librarians and non-profits. While these are great sites, they often recommend out-of-print books. This site is all about the great books that are available now! While I am not being paid for these recommendations, I would appreciate it if readers would purchase the books I recommend from local independent bookstores, or even B&N. Basically don't buy from the evil empire (A_A_O_), because if you do much of our literary knowledge will be lost.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Most Beautiful Book I've Ever Seen

We received our copy of Jerry Pinkney's The Lion & The Mouse yesterday, and I have to say, it is the most beautiful book I've ever seen. The book has no words with the exception of roar and a squeak here and there. It tells its version of Aesop's fable of the Lion and the Mouse in pictures.

You open the cover and there is a safari scene with giraffes, zebras, lions, yellow grasses and washed out skies. Then, on the title page you see a mouse walking in the footprint of a lion. As the pages go on you see the mouse escape an owl and end up on a lion's back. The lion looks at the mouse and lets the her go; she returns to her nest and babies. Then you see men setting up a net, you see the lion walking into the net, and you see the lion caught in the net. The lion's roar echos across the Savannah and the mouse hears it, she runs to find the lion, chews through the net, and sets him free. The mouse brings home some net to feed her babies.

Except for the night scene when the mouse first runs from the owl the whole book is done in warm soft colors; yellows, oranges, browns, reds & pale green. I feel the heat of Africa emanating from the pages. More than a story, more than a book, it is an experience of art, a masterpiece that happens to retail for $16.99.

Jerry Pinkney has illustrated FIVE Caldecott Honor books, but no actual winners. If I were a judge this book would be a winner, it is as previously mentioned, a masterpiece. The Lion & The Mouse is Spellbinder's Book of the Week this next week, so at 20% off you can get a masterpiece for $13.59 before tax.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dr. Seuss is great, but P.D. Eastman takes the cake!

A Dr. Seuss book came out in a board edition for the first time today. It is Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, and it is very cute. It is not, however, as cute as my all time favorite Seuss book, which isn't actually by Seuss. My favorite is Are You My Mother? an I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Book by P.D. Eastman. Maybe it is the repetition or the idea of a bird thinking a large construction vehicle was it's mother, but the book has stayed in my mind throughout childhood, into adulthood, and now in motherhood! The board book is one of my FAVORITE books to read to Oscar. He doesn't understand the story, but he thinks the pages are very tasty!

So for this week's Book of the Week I wanted not just one Are You My Mother?, but three!; there is the hardcover, the board book, and the ultra-cool fabric edition. The fabric edition really takes the cake. It has a removable baby bird, that you can take out of his egg and DROP to the bottom of the book as he falls out of his nest. Don't worry, you won't loose your bird, it is attached to the book's spine with a ribbon. On the next page you can walk your bird along as he asks a kitten, chicken, and dog if they are his mother. On the next page he meets a cow and a SNORT. The SNORT lifts him up, up, and UP (with a pouch), and on the final page the SNORT drops the baby bird back into it's nest where it snuggles under the Velcro wing of it's mother......awwwww.

If you don't know what a SNORT is you clearly weren't read to enough as a child. Are You My Mother was originally published in 1960 and has been a staple in schools, library's, and homes for over 30 years. So if YOU don't know what a SNORT is, you need to search out one of the many copies of Are You My Mother to find out! You can of course find it at Spellbinder Books, and as it is the Book of the Week it is 20% off this week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Book for the Roaring Set

Cute, new, and soon to be classic; everyone loves the Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. The Library Lion came out in 2006 as was on the bestseller list (New York Times & IndieBound) for some time. The illustrations are timeless, so much so that when it first came out I overlooked it. I always take note of flashy and bold illustrations in picture books, but then I don't always read the stories. The tale of the Library Lion is so classic only classic illustrations will do; the pictures and the story fit each other perfectly.

This is the story in a nutshell: A lion is allowed in the library because he follows the rules, he even helps the librarians with dusting and what not. One day a librarian is injured and the lion has to break the rules to get the librarian help. He is sad because now that he has broken a rule he has to leave the library, but because he broke the rule for a good reason he is allowed to stay. Yeah!

This is a book that I feel I grew up with, except I didn't; I was 30 when it was first published. However, I have a feeling a lot of future adults are going to remember it as a book they grew up with; the book is now available in paperback, a significantly cheaper option that should spread the story far and wide.

This week's Book of the Week is Library Lion! As always it is 20% off in the store.