Monday, April 17, 2017
Alerting all dog lovers! Shake, Wiggle & Roll and Heads & Tails are adorable new board books from Chronicle Books by Carli Davidson. In the first, totz learn about actions, including walk, jump, and lick. In the second work, parts of dogs are illustrated up close and then in a full body photo: tongue, legs, belly. White backgrounds showcase these fun pets who are named and listed in concluding spreads.
Top Dog is one more in the series. Find these for your beloved dog people and their readertotz. So cute!
Shake, Wiggle & Roll
Heads & Tails
by Carli Davidson
Chronicle Books, 2017
Monday, April 10, 2017
This book is adorable. Stacked pages flip down to introduce a family of nesting dolls. Masha and Her Sisters by Suzy Ultman is clever with beautiful, patterned folk art in subdued colors. There's Natasha the storyteller; Larisa, the performer; and Olya, the chef among the group. The bodies of each sister are illustrated, front and back, with their beloved items: books and ink, measuring cups and pots, recorders and lutes. The mechanics of the book are so smooth, it's fun to manipulate the pages.
In this age, where we avoid labeling, I'd remind totz that these are things the sisters enjoy. The sisters are more than the labels the book is illustrating. Does that make sense? One can enjoy storytelling and be a nature lover. This work can raise that conversation. Also, there are no descriptions which broaden the roles of women beyond the familiar. Yet, they do reflect the time period of the art. Another chat to be had.
When concerns are addressed with your readertotz, Masha and Her Sisters is dear.
Masha and Her Sisters
by Suzy Ultman
Chronicle Books, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Oh, deliciousness! A never-before-published work by Margaret Wise Brown! North, South, East, West is the question the young bird asks her mother before flying off into the world. Which way should she go? Mother never answers, but she allows the bird to discover the world on her own. Eventually, the bird returns east, to her first home. There she finds a mate, and when their eggs hatch, she sings the song her mother first sang to her. She, also, leaves their question unanswered for the chicks to find their own way.
The language is as beautiful and tight as you'd expect:
"Her mother taught her to ride the wind
and to fly above and below the storms,
and glide on the strength of the wind.
Greg Pizzoli's flat, graphic illustrations offer space for the little bird to soar in the world. The simple shapes are accessible and appealing. The digital work looks like a rough-edged print. What an honor to come alongside Margaret's text. Well done, Greg!
And thanks to Harper for bringing this work to the shelf. Whether we are north, south, east, or west.
North, South, East, West
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Monday, April 3, 2017
Touch, Think, Learn books are, "Fun for fingers, eyes, and minds," says Publishers Weekly in a starred review. Fly! by Xavier Deneux is a beautiful mix of story, puzzle, and play pieces for first readers.
Bird comes to a tree, concluding her journey. She watches the tree eventually produce apples, and her mate arrives. After they build a nest, two chicks are born and fly to find their own tree. The graphic, printed quality of the airy illustrations invites the reader to expand the storytelling as they refit shapes into new imagery.
Such a lovely, thoughtful book for your readertotz.
by Xavier Deneux
Handprint Book, 2017
Monday, March 27, 2017
How about revisiting a classic? With a downloadable song via a QR code, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang, is a chunky delight for first readers. Push and pull features, and turning wheels cause owls to open and close their eyes, stars to rise, and creatures to enjoy the night sky and park.
The illustrations convey friendliness and safety for your totz. Enjoy the Sing Along With Me! book. And then fall quietly asleep.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang
Nosy Crow, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I began Top Shelf this year to identify what I perceive as the very best for first readers. As soon as I saw the title, Pete with No Pants, I said aloud, "This is a book for me."
Pete is an elephant searching to define himself. Is he a boulder? Is he a cloud? With a penchant for knock, knock jokes and not wearing pants, Pete is on the hunt for self-identification. Rowboat Watkins, author of Rude Cakes, has again brought freshness and ingenuity to the picture book world.
Rowboat's message, illustrations, and the sidebar discussion among the squirrels and owls will bring smiles to you and your readertotz. The illustrations, "pieced together with this and that," are muted and patterned. Maybe watercolor, pencil, and a bit of charcoal?
Pete with No Pants is Top Shelf. Welcome, Pete! I can't wait to share this with my daughters. And they are in their twenties. :)
Pete with No Pants
by Rowboat Watkins
Chronicle Books, 2017
Friday, March 10, 2017
New from Cartwheel Books, with thick flannel arms and ears is Are You My Cuddle Bunny? Sandra Magsamen's short poem illustrates a mother bunny asking her little one a series of questions. This is a great book for Poetry Friday.
Do you like to snuggle in the rain?
Do you like to nuzzle on a train?
Do you like to hug in the breeze?
Do you like a squeeze under the trees?
Illustrations are drawn like stitched fabric. The colors are bold and flat. Cuddle your bunny and this book.
Are you my Cuddle Bunny?
by Sandra Magsamen
Cartwheel Books, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Your first reader can help the bunny hop, hop over the blue rocks, under the green bush, and through the sunflowers. Laced onto a bound string, the puzzle bunny piece can hop through the various die-cuts in Hop, Hop Bunny by Betty Ann Schwartz and Lynn Seresin.
Neiko Ng's soft-valued and soft-edged imagery shows a bunny who likes to play, climb, and explore. And his daddy is waiting for his bunny's return to the carrot patch.
Whether for the upcoming holiday; or for dexterity, and color and action identification, look for this "follow-along book" from Chronicle.
Hop, Hop Bunny
by Betty Ann Schwartz and Lynn Seresin
illustrated by Neiko Ng
Chronicle Books, 2017
Friday, March 3, 2017
For those eager for spring, you may be ready for Seeking a Bunny. Another board book from Angela Diterlizzi, illustrated by Allie Smith, takes the Easter holiday and hops away with it. Consider this for Poetry Friday:
Have marshmallow chicks
and green grass and flowers
Come in all weather
especially spring showers
What should the Easter Bunny be like? Bold graphic images, with main characters surrounded by a thick black line, lead the way in the search down the bunny trail. Here's a quick-paced contribution to the upcoming holiday. Seek the bunny with your readertotz.
Seeking a Bunny
by Angela Diterlizzi
illustrated by Allie Smith
Little Simon, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
Did you see Tree by Britta Teckentrup in 2015? The Peek-Through Picture Book is a great pick for Poetry Friday. First readers will follow the seasons illustrated through changes to and around one tree.
"Birds flit through the leafy bowers.
The forest is abloom with flowers.
Birds are singing, foxes play.
Summertime is on its way."
Watch the changes with owl through the pages' clever die-cuts. Happy Poetry Friday, readertotz!
Tree, a Peek-Through Picture Book
by Britta Teckentrup