Quirky, Weird and Wonderful:

These are books that I have discovered over the years and want to celebrate.
Some are out of print, some are new, but most of them have fallen through the cracks for some reason
or another and are not on the general must read lists of books for children.
This does not mean I do not love award winners and best sellers,
but I have a soft spot for the unappreciated and misunderstood.
Please understand that my taste is eclectic, slightly warped and a bit dark.
I like books that make me laugh, books that make me cry, and books that make me think.

I welcome suggestions. Enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summertime from Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward ; Illustrated by Mike Wimmer

It is over 100 degrees today and I thought of this book.
I love the song
Summertime from Porgy and Bess and this illustrated version does a wonderful job of capturing the lazy heat of summer and the love of family. Brothers and sisters run in fields, sit on porches and are watched by loving parents.

I spent a few years of my childhood in Alabama and just seeing these pictures reminds me of the south. I remember ice tea, hiding in the shade, and relatives asking me to give them some "sugar" (kisses).
Mike Wimmer's paintings are just lovely. I keep buying copies and giving them away - especially at baby showers.

This is a wonderfully evocative rendition of African-American country life. I've heard a few gripes by people of color that there are too many books about slavery, immigration or struggles in general. This book is a celebration of the good things - even when life is hard.

If you like books based on songs, there are a few more that I'd recommend - the strongest based on African-American spirituals and also wonderfully illustrated. Check out: This Little Light of Mine, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, and He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I love reading It's a Wonderful World illustrated by Ashley Bryan. A new version of This Land is Your Land has great illustrations by Kathy Jakobsen, though I wish they were larger. Lots of lists around but these are my favorites right now.

Summertime from Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward ;
Illustrated by Mike Wimmer
Aladdin (June 1, 2002)


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