Friday, February 17, 2017

Poetry Friday: The Maine Coon's Haiku

The Maine Coon's Haiku Cover

Happy Poetry Friday, readertotz! Today's feature is The Maine Coon's Haiku, and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White. Flat, textured graphics, with a print-like quality achieved digitally, illustrate each cat haiku. Alternating between Outside and Inside, pick your favorite and read more about the breed in the back matter.

Scottish Fold

wind-whipped magnolia
cat's pink-petal toes--the last
to drop from its boughs

Be ready for beautiful language and exquisite imagery.

The Maine Coon's Haiku, and Other Poems for Cat Lovers
by Michael J. Rosen
illustrated by Lee White
Candlewick Press, 20

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More, More, More: The Owl and the Pussy-cat, and Further Adventures

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat Cover

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat Cover

My favorite poem growing up was "The Owl and the Pussy-cat." Edward Lear wrote the "picture poem" for a sick child of close friends. Recently voted Britain's favorite poem, it dances through generations. A new edition, illustrated with Charlotte Voake's gentle watercolors, has been released by Candlewick Press. In conjunction is the picture book, The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat. Author Julia Donaldson was raised on Lear and re-immersed herself in his work to write this text, also illustrated by Voake.

When a crow steals the ring from the end of Pussy's tail, another journey begins. Watch for other Lear characters to make appearances such as the Pobble who has no toes, the Jumbly Crew, and the Dong with a luminous Nose.

What an honor to be asked to write a sequel for such a beloved poem. Well done, all, in these two releases!

The Owl and the Pussy-cat
by Edward Lear
illustrated by Charlotte Voake
The Further Adventures of the Owl and Pussy-cat
by Julia Donaldson
illustrated by Charlotte Voake
Candlewick Press, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Poetry Friday: Love is

Love Is Cover

Happy Poetry Friday! How about a little love in time for Valentine's Day? Find Diane Adams' work Love is, illustrated by Claire Keane (developmental artist for Tangled and Frozen). The work is retro-fresh and rendered in Photoshop. Diane shares the concept of love with first readers by describing the love between a girl and a duck.

"Love is holding something fragile,
tiny wings and downy head.

Love is noisy midnight feedings,
shoe box right beside the bed."

Chaos, comfort, loss, and reunion are all featured. This is a beauty. Love from us to you!

Love is
by Diane Adams
illustrated by Claire Keane
Chronicle Books, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

More, More, More: An Artist's Alphabet



An Artist's Alphabet by Norman Messenger is a visual feast. In watercolor and pencil, objects, animals, people, and the environment assume the shape of each letter of the alphabet. Six interior images can be seen here.

Inventive, gentle, dynamic, and intriguing, the art will capture both the adult and totz' attention. A through Z.

An Artist's Alphabet
by Norman Messenger
Candlewick Studio, 2016

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

More, More, More: Frederick Douglass, The Lion Who Wrote History

Frederick Douglass Cover

Are you ready for a masterpiece? Combine Walter Dean Myers with illustrator Floyd Cooper and have the two present a picture of Frederick Douglass. There is so much beauty in this picture book collaboration: Frederick Douglass, The Lion Who Wrote History, I can't convey the breadth.

Meyers begins:
"This is the story of how one man's careful decisions and many accomplishments not only made his own life better but in many ways changed the history of America."

With a meaty text from Meyers, Cooper's illustrations are both realistic and stylized in his oil on board paintings. There's a flickering glow in each spread. Unique perspectives invite the reader into Douglass' actions.

This work should not be missed. It should be awarded.

Frederick Douglass, The Lion Who Wrote History
by Walter Dean Myers
illustrated by Floyd Cooper
HarperCollins, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nighty-Night and Hair: Leslie Patricelli

Nighty-Night Cover
Hair Cover

Always, always I cheer when Leslie Patricelli offers up a new board book. This round is Nighty-Night and the hilarious Hair.

In Nighty-Night, baby takes us through the evening ritual. A string of couplets helps march your reader to bed. My favorite:

Bye-bye, pants.
Naked dance.

In Hair, it's time for baby to have a haircut. For one hair, that is. "I have a hair!" baby says, then goes on to explain all that must be done for its care. Gender neutral, baby is ever adorable. The book concludes with examples of diverse kinds of hair.

Thank you for two more baby books, Leslie! We heart you!

Nighty-Night
Hair
by Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick Press, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Poetry Friday: I Love You, Honey Bunny

I Love You, Honey Bunny Cover

A sweet first board book for readertotz is I Love You, Honey Bunny. With perky, soft ears which poke out of the top, this is a sure cuddle.

"You're sweeter than the sweetest little honeybee.
You fill the world with love--you're amazing to me."

Happy Poetry Friday to you and your bunny!

I love you, Honey Bunny
by Sandra Magsamen
Scholastic

Thursday, January 19, 2017

More, More, More: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Cover

For the older sibling of your readertotz, I suggest Muhammad Ali, A Champion is Born. Written by Gene Barretta, with dynamic illustration by Frank Morrison, the picture book is a strong tribute to the forces and fortitude which shaped Cassius Clay.

Beginning with one knockout after another, the story continues to show good following difficulty. From one stolen bike, one champion grows, a role model for a generation.

"I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man. I had to show the world."

Add this strong work from Katherine Tegen Books to your collection.

"Impossible is nothing." Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, A Champion is Born
by Gene Barretta
illustrated by Frank Morrison
Katherine Tegen Books, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Please, Mr. Panda: by Steve Antony

Please, Mr. Panda (a Board Book) Cover

How often do we wish there was an award for the very best in books for first readers? Often! This is why readertotz proposes The Dorothy Kunhardt Award for Outstanding Board or Novelty Book be awarded by ALA. Today's recommend would have been a contender for 2015. Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony is unique and adorable and unexpected.

Various black and white animals approach Mr. Panda who is offering a colorful donut from his box. To each he changes his mind: "No, you cannot have a doughnut. I have changed my mind." Penguin, skunk, ostrich, and orca are offered donuts but then denied. Your readertotz will be delighted when the lemur arrives on scene.

Don't miss this wonderful release from Cartwheel Books. Please?

Please, Mr. Panda
by Steve Antony
Cartwheel Books, 2015

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Nutcracker: Jack and Holman Wang

Cozy Classics Cover

Did you take your readertotz to The Nutcracker over the holiday? If so, or maybe if you intend to in the future, you might revisit or introduce the ballet with Cozy Classics, E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker. Text and felt art are by Jack and Holman Wang.

Your first readers can consider the nutcracker gift, sleep, the mouse, and more. Each half-spread is detailed and memorable. The complexity is there for the older child, the simplicity for the younger.

What a beautiful holiday book to add to your child's collection. Cozy up with Cozy Classics. This season, chose The Nutcracker.

Cozy Classics
E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker
by Jack and Holman Wang
Chronicle Books