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.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2013 Picture Books I Want for My Family

Believe it or not booksellers cannot buy every book we want for our families. Generally we don't earn a lot of money, and even though most of us get books at a discount we still have to pay money for our books. So while there are a ton of picture books that I would love to get for my family I have to weigh that against paying for bell peppers or gymnastics lessons. But if I could buy all the books I wanted, these are the picture books I would add to my family's collection this year.

The Day the Crayons Quit
By Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Ages 4-9

This is a story told by crayons, specifically Duncan's crayons. The different color crayons have written him different letters of complaint about how they are used. Grey wishes Duncan would color some small pebbles instead of large elephants. Peach feels naked after Duncan tore off its wrapper. Yellow and Orange both feel that they are the true color of the sun, etc. The book is hillarious and is one of those bestsellers that deserves its status completely! It is fairly sophisticated conceptually, I think there are a fair number of 4-year-olds out there who won't get it, but most children will enjoy by age 5 or so. This is one of those stories that parents and children can enjoy together!

The Dark
By Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by John Klassen
Ages 3-7

The dark always lived in the basement, until one night it visited Lazlo in his room, and showed him how to keep it from visiting him again. This book has an air of quiet nighttime about it, and though it is still and gloomy, it isn't scary. It turns the dark into something comforting and regular. Lemony Snicket books are almost always funny, but sometimes they tend toward the snide side of things. This book isn't snide, in fact it is surprisingly loving. I wish I owned it.

Everything Goes by Sea
Written and Illustrated by Brian Biggs
Ages 18 months - 8

We have Brian Biggs' Everything goes on Land and Everything Goes by Air. We love them, especially Everything Goes by Air. Henry (who will be 2 in December) loves airplanes. In fact I think it might have been his first word. But he and Oscar (who will be 5 in December) love boats too. They are boys. The books remind me of Richard Scary in that the pictures are intense and children can get lost staring at them. Also like Richard Scary the books are educational with re-occuring jokes (instead of goldbug we have birds in hats and the author who always draws himself somewhere in his books). But unlike Richard Scary though the books are full of people instead of animals, and the stories can be read in 15 minutes. If I allowed it I'm sure my kids could sit in front of one Richard Scary book for 30 - 45 minutes, and while that would be great for THEM, it is less fun for ME. I have a feeling these Brian Biggs books will also be fun for the boys to wade through as they start to read on their own, it is full of aside jokes that I skip over as the boys don't quite understand them yet. For example Oshkosh and Katetown are two of the destinations in Everything Goes by Air. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part of these stories - the main character, a little boy, is named HENRY.

That Is NOT a Good Idea!
Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems
Ages 3-6

I have yet to read a bad Mo Willems book, but some of them are better than others, and this one is exceptional. And while I'm dreaming of the books I wish I had I would also like his Knuffle Bunny  - the first one. We borrowed it from a friend and Oscar thinks the baby talk is hilarious.

By Aaron Becker
Ages 2-99
This wordless book is almost like a steampunk Harold & The Purple Crayon as it follows the tale of girl who uses her own red crayon to draw her way through a magical castle world. My five year old is ENTRANCED by the intricate pictures. Because the pictures are so AMAZING the book appeals to both adults and children.

Chu's Day
Written by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Ages 2-5
This vivid book tells a humorous but simple story of a little panda with VERY BIG sneezes.

Mr. Wuffles
By David Wiesner
Ages 3-7
Another fabulous wordless book for 2013. Illustrated in panels (like comic books) Mr. Wuffles tells the story of some very small aliens who  align with household insects to escape the fearsome Mr. Wuffles. 


Princess Tales : Once Upon a Time in Rhyme with Seek-and-Find Pictures
Written by Grace Maccarone
Illustrated by Gail De Marcken
Ages 3-8

The pictures are enthralling with seek-and-find loaves and what not that small eyes will love finding, but what I really love about this book are the fairy tales! Each tale is told in rhyme with most only taking up one or two pages. It is amazing to me that someone can tell the tale of Beauty and the Beast in less than two pages of print, much less in rhyme, but it can be done and it is done well!