Friday, May 5, 2017

Poetry Friday: Find It! Twist, Yoga Poems

Twist Cover

Celebrating a ten year birthday, Twist, Yoga Poems is brilliant and beautiful. Janet S. Wong's poetry nests in Julie Paschkis' art as the two illustrate yoga practice. I find I fall into the lyrical words and symmetrical images while being stirred to strike the poses.

Cobra

Darkness
pushes Cobra up from damp soil.

She lifts herself higher,
to dry out her heart.

Find this treasure from 2007. And then strike a Warrior's pose. Twist with your totz.

Twist, Yoga Poems
by Janet S. Wong
art by Julie Paschkis
Margaret K. McElderry, 2007

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Top Shelf: My Little Cities, London, New York

My Little Cities Cover

My Little Cities Cover

I love this new series from Chronicle Books: My Little Cities, by Jennifer Adams with illustrations by Greg Pizzoli. So far, I see London and New York. And Paris and San Francisco.

Veering away from adult board books, Adams' rhyme is child-relatable and interweaves beautifully with Pizzoli's graphic art with simple shapes and subdued color. These works will appeal to first readers and then offer more as they grow and learn about the featured cities.

Now, how about Athens? Dubai? Madrid? Moscow? Shanghai?

My Little Cities, London
New York
by Jennifer Adams
illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Chronicle Books, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Shake, Wiggle & Roll: Carli Davidson

Shake, Wiggle & Roll CoverHeads & Tails Cover

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
Top Dog
by Carli Davidson
Chronicle Books, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Masha and Her Sisters: Suzy Ultman

Masha and Her Sisters Cover

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

More, more, more: North, South, East, West; Margaret Wise Brown

North, South, East, West Cover

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
Harper, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fly! Xavier Deneux

Touchthinklearn Cover

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.

Fly!
by Xavier Deneux
Handprint Book, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: Yu-hsuan Huang

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Cover

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

Top Shelf: Pete with No Pants

Pete with No Pants Cover

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

Poetry Friday: Are You My Cuddle Bunny?

Are You My Cuddle Bunny? Cover

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

Hop, Hop Bunny: Betty Ann Schwartz and Lynn Seresin

Hop, Hop Bunny Cover

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