Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Vintage titles

Last summer, while visiting Maine, I discovered The Cat at Night, a wonderful picture book by Dahlov Ipcar, a Maine author/illustrator, which was originally published in 1969 but was reissued in 2008.  I just discovered that her work has been a piece of the puzzle that has kept a small publishing house afloat despite the recent financial tribulations of many small presses.

The Cat at Night is truly a lovely, yet simple book about the unknown activities of our feline friends at night and the power of shadows to make the mundane mysterious.  The art is vibrant and clear, while the text is just enough to lead the reader through the story.

The link above goes to where you can get a peek at the art--I tried WorldCat but most libraries apparently don't have the reissued edition yet.  Another one to peruse at the bookstore or request from your local library (if no one asks, they don't always purchase...).

The full story of Islandport Press and Dahlov Ipcar's books is from Publisher's Weekly here:
It's Mainly Maine at Islandport

Building a library for your children

I have often gotten questions from parents about which books they should purchase to add to or begin their family library, in particular based on their children's ages and developmental stages.  While I can usually spout off a couple of titles, and there is an abundance of bibliographies and websites that cover children's literature, they are oftentimes overwhelming, especially to new parents or parents who are themselves English Language Learners.

The relatively new site Twenty by Jenny is the answer. 

Jenny Brown, (former teacher, children's book editor, and reviewer) give parents "the best 20 books for your child" in four age-based lists from birth to teenagers.  Beyond her lists of classics, she puts out a monthly newsletter that highlights one or two new books.  While it is read by many people in the children's book world, the site and newsletter are truly targeted at parents, and her enthusiasm for books and reading is infectious.  Take a look before your next visit to the library or bookstore with your children.