Alice B. McGinty | Offer children a fun way to learn

Alice B. McGinty | Offer children a fun way to learn

A recent trip to the Champaign Public Library led me to these two new picture books, each offering a rollicking fun time.

"The Sun Shines Everywhere" (2019, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, written by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Luciano Lozano, ages 3-7) caught my eye because I used to read Mary Ann Hoberman's poetry to my children, and we loved her rhythmic, playful writing.

This book not only features her fun crafting of language, it also cleverly teaches many topics all led by the shining sun.

"Some children live in Paris, And others live in Rome. Some children dwell in New Rochelle, And some call China home. Some children live in Delhi, And some in Delaware. It doesn't matter where you live — The sun shines everywhere."

Bright, joyous vignette illustrations invite us in, showing children in all these places surrounding a shining, smiling sun.

Next we read about, and see, flowers growing around the world and learn that flowers need rain, and sunshine, as the chorus repeats, "The sun shines everywhere!"

We go on to read that, "It may shine on Earth's other side, and that is why it's night. It may be covered by some clouds, And hidden out of sight."

We turn the page to see the sun shining on dinosaurs long ago, on pyramids in the desert and all throughout history. Animals all over the world need the sun, even those who sleep during the day. "Everybody needs the sun, to live and grow and thrive," we read.

In a lovely wrapup, we read, "No matter what the time of year, When people see the sun appear, They start to smile, they're full of cheer, And glad to be alive!"

You're sure to love this fun-to-read, informative and wonderfully sunny book.

"Imagine!" (2018, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, written and illustrated by Raul Colon, ages 3-8) offers a different type of fun. In this large, wordless picture book, we see a boy heading out onto the city sidewalk with his skateboard. Off he rides, drifting through New York City and stopping for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art.

There, as he stares in awe at famous paintings, including Pablo Picasso's "Three Musicians," Henri Rousseau's "The Sleeping Gypsy" and Henri Matisse's "Icarus," something happens.

In Colon's earthy scratchboard-style colored pencil and watercolor illustrations, we see the life-sized figures in those paintings come to life, one by one stepping out of their frames and joining the boy.

Joyous song and dance ensues as the troupe prances through the museum, down the city streets and all the way to Coney Island, where they ride the Cyclone roller coaster. Then off they go to visit the Statue of Liberty, make music in Central Park and finally return to the museum.

The story continues, as the boy, alone again, skateboards back toward home. When he sees a large empty wall, he uses the chalk in his pocket to draw a large painting of the characters.Then, back at home that night, he dreams about them.

In an author's note, Colon writes about his visit to an art museum as an adult and how it brought art to life for him, inspiring him and overwhelming him with emotion. "I wonder what would it have meant for me if I actually had seen all these wonders when I was much younger?" he asks.

"Imagine!" answers that question, offering young people an inspiring, visually enriching adventure.

Alice B. McGinty (alicebmcginty.com) is the award-winning author of almost 50 books for children and runs a summer writing camp for teens, Words on Fire. She just celebrated the release of two books, "The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney" (Schwartz and Wade Books) and "Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World" (Little Bee Books).

Topics (2):Books, Education
-