Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

May: For the Older Sibling, I'm Not.

I love, love, love I'm Not. Absolutely. Here's a book to encourage the introvert, the quiet one blessed with a friend who is "all that." Here is a book to encourage the extrovert concerned with his own short comings.

Evelyn is not ordinary. She's mysterious, fashionable, a decorator, and a jumping bean. The protagonist is none of those. However, Evelyn is horrible at karate, scared of the dark, and crummy at making cookies. She's in need of a very best friend, exactly what the protagonist can provide, while at the same time happening to be great at karate, unafraid of the dark, and able to make the most excellent cookies.

I'm Not. is the perfect work to begin to explore how we are different and how those differences create joy in the world as well as great friendships. Older siblings will enjoy author Pam Smallcomb's humor and Robert Weinstock's cartoon images. Think James Marshall meets Dav Pilkey. How can that not be fun?

I'm Not.
by Pam Smallcomb
illustrated by Robert Weinstock
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2011

May: Around the Block with Sesame Street

This was performed at Jim Henson's funeral. So moving, right? I miss him!

Baby Animals, Pets: Kingfisher

Okay, Kingfisher has the cutest series about baby animals. I chose Baby Animals, Pets to feature first. I just looked to find the author/illustrator, and it appears the images were compiled from various sources and credited on the the back cover.

Regardless, the design and images will melt your heart. A puppy, hamster, guinea pig, kitten, birds, rabbit, and foal are featured. Each receives a half spread accompanied by text on the left with a smaller image of the animal and her sound or movement. Text has been altered and arranged to imitate the featured animal.

Totz and adults will love these bright images paired with vivid background colors. How can you not respond to little guinea pig lips and baby budgies?

Baby Animals, Pets
Kingfisher, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Poetry Friday: Birds of a Feather


Birds of a feather flock together,
And so will pigs and swine;
Rats and mice will have their choice,
And so will I have mine.

The flocks are everywhere right now! Happy Poetry Friday! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More, More, More: Brother Sun, Sister Moon

I thought this work would be exquisite, and it truly is. Katherine Paterson has reimagined the text of Saint Francis of Assisi's hymn of praise, "Canticle of the Creatures." Paired with Pamela Dalton's traditional German/Swiss scissor cuts, the picture book has a symmetrical balance of amazing beauty. The language is just as rich as the detailed watercolored paper cuts set against black backgrounds. Both reverberate truth with elegant simplicity.

"We praise you for our Brother Sun,
who in his radiant dawning
every day reminds us that it was
you who brought forth light."

Publishers Weekly noted the absence of a multicultural cast. I find the depiction of people in keeping and faithful to the heritage of the art form.

The sentiments within Brother Son, Sister Moon are immense and moving in their truths. This work should garner awards and a distinct position on bookshelves. Introduce greatness to your totz through this picture book. Bravo, Handprint Books!

Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Saint Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Creatures"
reimagined by Katherine Paterson
illustrated by Pamela Dalton
Handprint Books, Chronicle Books, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Question: Apps and E-books for Totz?

Photo from justchildrensbooks.com

Hey parents and educators of totz!

Just a few quick questions. Are you using apps for board books to read to your totz? Are you purchasing e-books of board and picture books?

Do you prefer an app on your phone or ipad over an e-book on a reading device?

Does it matter to you that Kindle is not in color? Do you prefer a Nook for that feature for little readers or would you rather the ability to read outside?

Thanks so much for letting Joan and I know. The industry is shifting so fast, it helps to hear your preferences first of all!  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Trucks: Katie Cox

I love this format. This board book is mega-sturdy, with four tabbed pages. Each tab shows a miniature version of a different truck, which is then shown in a large scale photo on the spread itself. The trucks are labeled as--“big rig”, “tow truck”, etc. Very simple, but this is the kind of book that will enthrall the youngest totz.

In the final spread, there’s a quick quiz, with partial photographs of each truck as clues. Readertotz are challenged by the question:

Can you guess which truck is which?


by Katie Cox

Make Believe Ideas, 2010

Friday, May 20, 2011

Poetry Friday: Old Chairs to Mend


If I’d as much money as I could spend,
I never would cry old chairs to mend;.
Old chairs to mend, old chairs to mend;
I never would cry old chairs to mend.
If I’d as much money as I could tell,
I never would cry old clothes to sell;
Old clothes to sell, old clothes to sell;
I never would cry old clothes to sell.

Happy Poetry Friday, totz!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Go! Go! BoBo, Colors: Simon Basher

Basher: Go! Go! Bobo Colors

Totz will love the exuberant BoBo who zooms and bounces about as he explores in Go! Go! BoBo, Colors. The computer generated graphics are slick and sparse with great movement. The colors themselves are printed in a glossy finish, inviting touch.

Aptly, BoBo is drawn with x's for eyes and sports a Band-Aid on his forehead, likely due to all of his boinging about the room. The colored objects he collects/paints appear on the final colorful spread as BoBo bounces on his bed.

Introduce your totz to BoBo and be ready for some inspired imitation around your home. Go! Go!

Go! Go! BoBo
by Simon Basher
Kingfisher, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Poetry Friday: Taffy

Oh, my. I've never heard this, that I recall. Have you? Happy Poetry Friday!


Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my house and stole a piece of beef;
I went to Taffy’s house, Taffy was not home;
Taffy came to my house and stole a marrow-bone.
I went to Taffy’s house, Taffy was not in;
Taffy came to my house and stole a silver pin;
I went to Taffy’s house, Taffy was in bed,
I took up the marrow-bone and flung it at his head.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be A Ballet Dancer: Sesame Workshop

This sturdy board book is part of the Sesame Street Elmo’s World series. I like the fact that cuddly red Elmo is our guide in this intro to ballet, partly because he’s a he and partly because the idea of a monster learning ballet is a funny one! Girl monster Zoe joins him, and they go to a ballet lesson. The story is told through a series of speech bubbles and text. Readertotz can learn the five basic positions as well as some fancy ballet moves:

The twirl is called a “pirouette” (peer-uh-WET).

Some important basics are covered, such as the importance of warm-ups and have good posture.

What could be better than a friendly, accessible introduction to ballet--with Muppets!

I know that my blog partner, Lorie Ann Grover, is going to enjoy this one. She's a former ballet dancer and a big Sesame Street fan! Although Muppet creator and all around good guy, Jim Henson, didn't do ballet to my knowledge, he did help build a crazy maze for some rat pets in his first New York office. This and other interesting facts are in my chapter book biography, Who Was Jim Henson?

Be A Ballet Dancer

Random House, 2009

by Sesame Workshop

Friday, May 6, 2011

Poetry Friday: For Want of a Nail

Oh, Mother Goose. So profound! Happy Poetry Friday!

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's Say HI to Friends Who Fly! by Mo Willems

I'm so, so happy that our totz can enjoy Mo Willems, along with their older early reader siblings. Balzer + Bray's Cat the Cat collection is perfect with spot-on content and stiff pages for little fingers.

In Let's Say HI to Friends Who Fly!, Cat the Cat asks her friends if they can fly, and then she cheers on their successful soarings. Bee, Duck, and Bat definitely fly. But what about Rhino the Rhino who just happens to be sitting atop a boingy park ride, shaped like Pigeon? Can Rhino fly? Your totz will enjoy the humor which is always delivered by Mo.

Find Cat the Cat, and be ready for a giggle. Totz will memorize the simple text and love Mo's next generation of friends.

Let's Say HI to Friends Who Fly!
by Mo Willems
Balzer + Bray, 2010