Friday, April 22, 2011

Suzette and Nicholas

Satomi Ichikawa's Suzette and Nicholas In The Garden is a treat for the eyes, one of those books that almost renders the words pointless because the pictures are so amazing that the book would be hard pressed to be made better or worse by the text. I stumbled on this lovely gem at a book sale benefit and my eye was immediately caught by the almost wallpaper look of the cover.

When I opened the book, I was struck by the beautiful soft color of the illustration, lovely rendering of the gardens, and the sweet floral frame surrounding the text on each page.

The illustrations definitely have a bit of Japanese flair and wonderful pops of color make the scenes burst alive with springy air. You can almost smell the blooms and feel the warm sun on your face as Nicholas and Suzette travel through the garden surrounding their home.

It seems like a fitting tribute on this Earth Day. A book so full of pictures of a lovely garden and children enjoying the gardens. Even as they climb garden walls, peer into the pond, pull their baby brother in a wagon along the paths of blooms and investigate the insects therein, you see a childhood full of nature and children who appreciate this nature to it's fullest.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Finn's latest book obsession is a gorgeous watercolor alphabet book called LMNOP and All the Letters A to Z. He's completely fascinated by letters and this book is a great way to help him become familiar with all the different sounds.

Finn's favorite part of each page is the letter found naturally in each picture. He can't wait to trace the letter every time we turn the page. The letter in each picture is a capital letter, which isn't my favorite way to help a child become familiar with letters and their sounds, but the illustrations are so beautiful, I'm able to forgive that aspect. The poetry is very lyrical and easy to become familiar with although some of the verses seem to be a stretch.

The letter C has many uses of the hard C sound (like S) which kind of annoys me, but other verses are simply lovely, like the L verse. You really become familiar with the lilt of the L sound through that verse.

Overall I wouldn't use this as a singular resource, but LMNOP is a beautiful, engaging, interactive way to help familiarize little ones with the alphabet and it's sounds.