I saw A Home for Mr. Emerson randomly at the library and grabbed it up immediately. What a find! I use picture books heavily to teach history/science/pretty-much-anything and after reading this book, I decided to change up my homeschooling plan just a bit this fall to make sure and include Ralph Waldo Emerson as a featured poet—all because of this book.
Yet another 'bonus' element of the book is the underlying message about how important it is to build the life you dream of, connect with your community and find sanctuary in your home. I also had no idea that this team of Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham had produced 3 other biographies (Those Rebels, John and Tom, What To Do About Alice?, and The Extraordinary Mark Twain) that I am adding to my check-out list immediately. Knowing how important it is to have the right illustrator for the right text and vice versa, I can say with confidence that this duo is a match made in picture book heaven. Kerley has written other non-fiction titles and her Walt Whitman book deserves accolades of its own. Those illustrations are rich and realistic—great for that book. But there's something about the chemistry of Kerley/Fotheringham that I personally really love.
I always like to see folks' monthly picture book baskets. Here is ours all spread out. Most aren't July specific, and the pictures don't include library reads or non-fiction titles that live on our shelf and get pulled out as needed. These are just our pick-up-an-enjoy books for the month:
Author You've Read the Most Books From: Bill Peet just because he is so prolific.
Board Book Baby Loves Best? It's a tie between Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z and Peek-A Who?
Christmas Wouldn't Be the Same Without: Oh so many! But ultimately, if I only had one, it would have to be The Donkey's Dream.
Doesn't Impress You Like it does everyone else: Almost all of the self-esteem picture books (the ones that weigh down the shelves at major retailers and get gifted by well-meaning relatives). I have an especially annoyed opinion of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I know... I'm so unAmerican for saying that.
Earliest Picture Book Memory? The first book I can remember my mama ever reading to me was Millions of Cats. She was an incredibly busy, industrious woman slogging through a ton of housework and nine kids underfoot... but somehow she managed to clear the cobwebs of her exhaustion enough to read us kids stories on the couch and we loved those rare moments when she sat down...
Funniest Book You Can Think Of? Easily, it's This Moose Belongs to Me where Jeffer's witty, perfect humor shines through. I wrote about it here.
Golden Book Favorite: The Saggy Baggy Elephant. It's not particularly superior to all the others. And I do love Eloise Wilkins' books, but this title wins for me out of pure nostalgic appreciation...
Hidden Gem Book: The Summerfolk because I want to be Doris Burn when I grow up.
Illustrations You Would Actually Frame to Display on Your Wall: oh I don't know... woodcuts? (Mary Azarian?), A mosaic artist? I guess probably just A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog; they'd be just simple and lovely in small frames in a bathroom...
Just Finished Reading: The Story About Ping... again (love).
Kids Love This But You Don't: Garfield comic books.
Last Purchased Book: I had to check. It was The Glorious ABC.
Most Worn Out Title in your Home: This varies frequently as the worn out ones eventually become unusable and get tossed into my "to-be-upcycled" graveyard. The current book holding onto its last breath of life is The Princess in the Forest. I will be sad to attend that funeral and will certainly hope to buy it again.
Not Just for Kids: If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. It was a gift to me on my 15th birthday and I love it now even more than I did then.
Out-of-Print Book(s) You Severely Wish Were Not: Everything by Joan Gale Thomas please!
Poetry Perfection: Lynley Dodd is my very favorite wordsmith wizard... so much fun!
Quirky Book You Love: Just one?! King Bidgood's in the Bathtub then. We all revisit this one often.
Reader Book Favorites: All things Syd Hoff, Arnold Lobel and P.D. Eastman
Series You Wish You Owned All Of: Many, many different series or authors. Currently, I wish I owned all of (or any of!) the Henry the Explorer books
Thrift Store Bargain that Thrilled You: Finding almost all of the David Macauley building books in hardback, discarded from a library for 50 cents each.
Unexpected Delight Pulled Randomly From the Library Shelf: Magpie Magic: A Tale of Colorful Mischief.
Virtue Lesson Not to Miss: The Empty Pot, hands down my favorite non-preachy book on honesty.
Wordless Book that Won Your Heart: A Small Miracle. It's my boys' favorite Christmas tale and deserves to be carefully poured over while sipping hot chocolate.
X is Tricky! One Alphabet Book that Does it Right: ... because I judge ABC books by their treatment of the letter X. Worst book I ever saw flat out skipped the letter... sheesh. The Handmade Alphabet wins for the most seamless letter X.
You Wish Your Kids Loved This as Much as You Do: The Monk Who Grew Prayer. It's tolerated around here, but never requested and immediately forgotten for the next book in the reading pile. *sniff*
Zzz... Bedtime Story You Would Reach For First: Time for Bed, in hardback, with full-size pictures please. It's just rhythmic enough. And it earns this distinction mostly because it's the very first picture book I ever bought for my son.
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