Monday, October 7, 2019

Clothes and My Day: Rilla Alexander

Touch Words are pretty much that: words raised for the touch. Also raised are elements within the illustrations of Clothes and My Day. These hefty board books invite touch, not with varying textures, but with carefully aligned die-cuts and raised portions.

My Day includes words: make, draw, play, bake, and more. While Clothes features words such as undies, dress, coat, and shoes. Accompanying each word are nouns one might find in the featured item or activity, with adjectives and verbs closing the lists. An example:

roller skates * wheels * blocks * tricycle * pull toy
speedy * rolling * skating * pulling * pushing * running
rolling * pedaling * steering * tugging


This is streamlined nonfiction with flat, hard-edged, digital imagery. Various ages will engage in different ways with Touch Words.

Touch Words
My Day
by Rilla Alexander
Handprint Book,  2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

More, more, more: The Hike

What a breath of fresh air The Hike is! Thanks to Chronicle Books for believing a "quiet" picture book can still hold a place on today's shelves. Alison Farrell's work does so beautifully.

Wren, El, and Hattie are off with their pup Bean to enjoy a hike through nature. Illustrations identify the variety of foliage and fauna they pass along the way. Armed with pencils, poems, and feathers, the three enjoy map-reading, sketching, and basket-making. Reaching the top of the hill, they celebrate before returning home.

I love everything about this work: from the text, to the font, to the layout, to the careful illustrations sharing the beauty all around us. Inspire a walk in nature with this picture book. There's so much to see!

The Hike
by Alison Farrell
Chronicle Books, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

Baby Animals and Body: Stephanie Babin

How about fun fiction for your readertotz? Play Tabs from Twirl has released Baby Animals and Body. Durable thick board books with prominent, arrowed tabs teach first readers concise facts.

Stephanie Babin's text is straightforward: "A dog's babies are called puppies." And "When you are out and about during the day, dirt gets stuck to your skin." Thierry Bedouet has illustrated the animal book while Ilaria Falorsi illustrated Body. I would have thought one person created both sets of images as there is a constancy between them.

From the back covers: "...sturdy pull-tabs on every page that are right for little hands, and bite-size facts that are just right for hungry minds!"

Enjoy these nonfiction works, their action and information.

Play Tabs
Baby Animals
by Stephanie Babin
illustrated by Thierry Bedouet

by Stephanie Babin
illustrated by Ilaria Falorsi

Twirl, 2019 (first published in France, 2018)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

More, more, more: Rabbit and the Motorbike

"Exhilarating . . . Graceful text and evocative illustrations combine in this story about the rewards of facing fears and trying something new." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

This beautiful work is a treasure as we walk through loss and brave living. Rabbit dreams of going down the road, but it's Dog who travels. When Dog doesn't return from an adventure, his bike is left to Rabbit. Watch as Rabbit nurses his loss and eventually takes to the road himself. Life holds wheat fields of comfort, but it also offers roads, motorbikes, wings, and stories that keep us all together.

Here is a heartfelt text, a wide format to hold the scope of the world, and illustration that echoes beloved John Birmingham. Don't miss this work that bears much truth and is ready to share. 

Rabbit and the Motorcycle
by Kate Hoefler
illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
Chronicle Books, 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Top Shelf: This Little Artist, Joan Holub

Celebrations for readertotz founder, Joan Holub! Her "This Little" series continues beautifully with This Little Artist, an Art History Primer.

Painting, shaping, making art.
With creative joy, hands, and heart.

Little artists have great big imaginations.

Introduce your totz to ten artists who have shaped our world culture by reflecting their own insights. A rhyme and portrait is followed by a fact and example of the featured artist's work. Daniel Roode's adorable big-eyed, flat characters create a unity in our diversity. 

Lastly, a final spread collects eighteen more creators. The broad field of art is open to collage, photography, glass creation, performance and more. An end question asks:

Crayons, paper, paint, or clay-
what will you use to make art today?

Bravo, Joan and Daniel! Thank you for this joyful board book!

This Little Artist, an Art History Primer
by Joan Holub
illustrated by Daniel Roode
Little Simon, September 10, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

More, more, more: We Are All Greta

Follow up the #ClimateStrike with this call to save our world. Take action for your wee one's future.

"This may be the first book about Thunberg, but with the youth mobilization for the upcoming Global Climate Strike in September, it almost certainly won't be the last."-Publishers Weekly

We Are All Greta
by Valentina Giannella
illustrated by Manuela Marazzi
Laurence King Publishing, September 24, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Happy Book Birthday: I Love All of Me

  • Today! She's born! Celebrations!

Happy book birthday to I Love All of Me! Thank you for sharing the joy in this virtual launch party. Feel free to spread the word. May she be held by many tiny hands who know they are worthy, wonderful, and welcome in our world. Huzzah!

Best Board Book of the Season

From “wiggle toes” and “smelly nose” to “blinky eyes” and “bendy knees,” this is a delightful, affirming ode to toddler parts. The smile-inducing rhymes beg to be repeated again and again, while the bold palette and cheery images heighten the book’s enthusiastic tone. 

Grover’s rhyming text soars, and reading the words aloud almost feels like singing a song...a vibrant and lyrical ode to bodies ideal for those learning to explore their own. 

Grover’s book gets right to the point in an unfussy and streamlined way; it’s a breath of fresh air and just right for sharing with the toddlers in your life....With a book like Grover’s at the ready, that grownup can say to a child: I love you just the way you are, and I want you to do the same. What a powerful and compassionate sentiment.

I Love All of Me
by Lorie Ann Grover
Cartwheel Books, Scholastic, September 17, 2019

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Top Shelf: Little Muir's Song

Top Shelf: The Best of the Best

After a short break for early summer, I'm back with a lovely Top Shelf board book pick for your little, outdoor enthusiast. Introduce your totz to Little Muir's Song before your next trek, maybe even into one of our national parks.

In his own words, John Muir expresses his love of the environment which can be a stepping stone into it for first readers. As John said, "Let children walk with nature."

Susie Ghahremani's brightly-edged illustrations are delicate and playful. They honor the words spoken more than one hundred years ago.

"The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past but through us."

This beautiful board book from Yosemite Conservancy directly supports Yosemite National Park. Don't miss this pick. It shares the beauty all around.

Little Muir's Song
by John Muir
illustrated by Susie Ghahremani
Yosemite Conservancy, August, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Poetry Friday: Peek-A-Boo Zoo

Lift-the-flaps to see who is playing peek-a-boo this Poetry Friday!

"I am a cool bird.
I waddle and slide.
In the ice-cold sea,
I swim and glide.

Guess who?"

Look for Peek-A-Boo Farm as well. Happy reading!

Peek-A-Boo Zoo
by Joyce Wan
Cartwheel Books

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Top Shelf: Maybe Tomorrow?

This is my favorite picture book of 2019, so far! I place it in the "perfect picture book" category.

"I miss Little Bird," said Elba.
"I miss her, too," said Norris.
"But you didn't know her."
"No, but you are my friend, so I can help you miss her."

Elba is dragging a big block behind her while Norris dances everywhere, surrounded by butterflies. Elba's heavy block makes her slowly walk and "think darkly." The block isn't fun. Something sad is waiting to come out, according to Norris. Maybe tomorrow it will, says Elba.

As the two friends spend time together, and the butterflies help tote the block, the sadness is shared and held. The block does grow smaller, but Elba accepts she will always have it, and Norris commits to helping her carry it.

Elba's block represents the death of Little Bird, but as you explore this work with your first readers, the block might also be any loss. This gem is a blessing to our shelves and us, regardless of age. Paired with Charlotte Agell's text is Ana Ramirez Gonzalez's art which manages to carry both characters' emotions beautifully. I hope Maybe Tomorrow? is found, given the chance to comfort, and passed forward. Brilliant!

Maybe Tomorrow?
by Charlotte Agell
illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez
Scholastic Press, 2019