Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bob The Artist: Marion Deuchars

Bob appreciates his FINE legs, until he's teased about them. Unsuccessfully, he tries to change them and eventually just hides them. That is until he visits an art gallery. Inspired, he draws attention to his beak by painting it daily. With affirmation for his creativity, he grows confident and finally accepts his legs. And everyone else does, too.

Refusing to be cowed, the reader is emboldened to express herself further and gain self acceptance, possibly changing others' opinions. This is a fresh look at empowerment. Here is the gift of art to impact another, encourage expression, and change lives.

Marion Deuchars' illustrations are endearing in their simplicity. The color palette pops of Matisse. Publisher Laurence King believes in this book. Top quality presentation in every detail proves it.

This is one of my favorite picture books of the year, so far. I love Bob The Artist. You likely will, too. Skinny legs and all.

Bob The Artist
by Marion Deuchars
Lawrence King, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm a Monster Truck: Dennis R. Shealy

I'm back from my trip to the Middle East, and one of the first things I heard is that there's a readertot who likes monster trucks. "Do you have a book on them you could recommend?" Well, I do!

I'm a Monster Truck by Dennis R. Shealy just came to my attention.

"I smash!
I bash!
I love the sound
of breaking glass!
'Cause I'm a...

Bob Staake's zany graphic imagery is perfect to capture the atmosphere of a monster truck event. Between Shealy's text and Staake's illustration, your totz will feel as if they are in the stands. Sure to be a hit with lovers of locomotion, look for I'm a Monster Truck.

I'm a Monster Truck
by Dennis R. Shealy
illustrated by Bob Staake
Random House, 2011, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hello World! Weather: Jill McDonald

How about an introduction to weather? The Hello, World! series from Doubleday brings exactly that in Weather by Jill McDonald. With childlike imagery, the reader sees various conditions and the clothes needed to enjoy them. The repeated spread of the children's house offers great comparisons as the weather changes. Questions will get your totz checking to see what the weather is like today.

How refreshing to bring science and environmental awareness to our smallest readers. Well done, Doubleday!

Hello, World!
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Grumpy Bird: Jeremy Tankard

Today's recommend is Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard. When Bird wakes, he's just grumpy. Too grumpy to do much of anything but walk. As he does, he passes others who join him on his stroll. With friends at his side, it isn't long before Bird is able to lose his grumps.

Tankard's thick bold black outlines along with photo collage and abstract shapes invite a fast read as well as a slow one. One can quickly read the action, but there's also an opportunity to linger with so much to see in each spread. This work, along with its truth, should have wide appeal. Note: a hardcover was released in 2007.

Grumpy Bird
by Jeremy Tankard
Scholastic Press, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Steam Train, Dream Train: Colors and 1-2-3: Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

Inspired by the New York Times Bestselling Picture Book, Steam Train, Dream Train, Colors and 1-2-3 are now in a board book form. In Colors, each car of a different color is focused on, while in 1-2-3 the animals and objects are counted, with a note of the featured car's name.

Of course the oil pastel illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld are from the original beautiful picture book, while the new accompanying rhymes by Sherri Duskey Rinker are fresh. In both books, I did miss a final image of the entire train. I don't think it will stop your totz from responding well to these two concept board books. All aboard!

Steam Train, Dream Train Colors
Steam Train, Dream Train 1-2-3
by Sherri Duskey Rinker
illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Chronicle Books, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Big Kid Power: Maria van Lieshout

It's all about empowerment in the Big Kid Power series from Chronicle Books. Bye-Bye Binky and I Use the Potty help your totz on their journeys to independence.

Rehearsing the past, how diapers and a binky were helpful when they were babies, the protagonists show how they've abandoned both for better ways. Instead of a binky, one can ask for a hug. Instead of diapers, one can wear underwear.

Illustrations have a comic feel with limited color and small dots used for shadows. Both works have saturated color making the books pop from the shelf and in your hand. The above illustrations don't capture the neon color.

This a great series by Maria van Lieshout. We'll be watching for more!

Bye-Bye Binky
I Use the Potty
by Maria van Lieshout
Chronicle Books, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday: In the Land of Words

With the paperback edition of In the Land of Words, compiled in 2004, you can celebrate Poetry Friday with Coretta Scott King Award Winner Eloise Greenfield. The accompanying fabric illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, another Coretta Scott King Award Winner, are layered and stitched with exuberance.

I particularly enjoyed the backstory Eloise included for her poems in Part One. Happy Poetry Friday to all!

I Go to the Land

I go to the land of words,
for I am at home there,
and never leave
for long. My thirst
pushes me through
the open door.
The more I drink
of the falling water,
the more I know.
I drink. I think.
I grow.

by Eloise Greenfield
illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Armistad, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

More, more, more: The Tree in the Courtyard

Stopping everything to tell you about The Tree in the Courtyard, Looking Through Anne Frank's Window. It's chilling. It's beautiful. I don't want you to miss it. Please don't.

Jeff Gottesfeld's text is delicate and poignant while Peter McCarty's brown ink on watercolor paper set the perfect tone. The work is based on this quote from Anne Frank:

"The two of us looked out at the blue sky,
the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew,
the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver
as they swooped through the air, and we were
so moved and entranced that we couldn't speak."

The text weaves the view of the tree with the life of Anne and her family. The conclusion is full of hope as seedpods are planted worldwide in her remembrance. This must win awards. Period.

The Tree in the Courtyard, Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
by Jeff Gottesfeld
illustrated by Peter McCarty
Knopf, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mother Goose: Rosemary Wells

How delightful Iona Opies' compiled Mother Goose rhymes, illustrated by Rosemary Wells, are available in board book volumes. One, Two, Three, Mother Goose and Snuggle Up with Mother Goose are sweet collections for your totz. If your wee ones don't yet know Rosemary's rabbits, ducks and cats, here is the perfect opportunity to make the introductions.

Practice counting or snuggle up for a rest with these two gems from Candlewick Press.

Snuggle Up with Mother Goose
One, Two, Three, Mother Goose
edited by Iona Opie
illustratd by Rosemary Wells
Candlewick Press, 2015, 2106

Friday, February 19, 2016

Poetry Friday: Emma Dodd

Here are two illustrated poems in a small format to celebrate Poetry Friday. Emma Dodd's digital illustrations and heartfelt text are to be treasured. (Note the above pink sun is actually gold foil.)

When I Grow Up

When I grow up,
   I want to be...
clever and funny,
   wild and free.

When You Were Born

When you were born,
the rain stopped...
    the sun came out,
and the sky turned blue.

When you were born,
the snow melted...
    the birds sang,
and the flowers grew.

When I Grow Up
When You Were Born
by Emma Dodd
Templar Books, 2015