Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Beep! Beep! by Sam Hearn



After a short break, we are back with a board book revving up for summer vacation. Beep! Beep! has graduating pages which bring vehicles of color out for a race. The work nests in a shallow box for added durability.

Male and female animals race out of the city in colorful cars, vans, and trucks. The surprise on the final page shows everyone was driving to a foot race.

Teaching on several topics, totz will enjoy choosing their own winners. Beep! Beep!

Beep! Beep!
by Sam Hearn
Cartwheel, 2016

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words: Jan Gerardi



How does this book not exist already? Well, it does, but it is spread out through Dr. Seuss' collection of works. Here now are 100 words illustrated by Jan Gerardi in Dr. Seuss' style. Grouped in categories and introduced by cats in hats, A, B, and C, first readers may learn and be entertained, simultaneously.

There are Wild Animals and Farm Animals, Outside and Home, Clothes and Pets included. The board book is large, so the entries do not feel compressed. I find it particularly fun to recognize familiar characters: Red Fish, Blue Fish, Yertle, and more.

Blocks of color frame the featured illustrated words. White portions hold the iconic font. Enjoy this introduction to the Dr.!

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words
illustrated by Jan Gerardi
Random House, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tiny Town and Tiny Farm: Suzy Ultman







I really enjoy Suzy Ultman's work for first readers. Tiny Farm and Tiny Town are thick-paged, shaped board books with die cuts. There's a patterned depiction reminiscent of Scandinavian art. Or maybe needlework. The small layout is filled with illustrations and capitalized words which identify objects and animals.

It is easy to image propping these books open for further play. They would create inspiring settings for the imaginative. Muted colors offer contrast to the sparse use of neon. What delightful work!

Tiny Farm
Tiny Town
by Suzy Ultman
Chronicle Books

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More, more, more: A Round of Robins



A Round of Robins is such a joyful, lyrical presentation of nonfiction. Following a pair of robins, the rocking rhythm and rhyme brings tenderness to creation. And reviews agree:


«  “A charmer of an animal family story, with rhymes that are a pleasure to read aloud.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

«  “An utterly charming choice for most collections, perfect for one-on-one and small group ­sharing.” – School Library Journal, starred review

«  “Follow a pair of robin parents as they raise not one but two sets of baby robins in this factual and funny volume.” – The Horn Book, starred review
Here is my favorite spread:

A heater hides on Mama's chest
To warm each egg inside her nest
With sensors set at incubake,
In just a dozen days she'll make
Four little ones all set to hatch-
An up-and-coming birdie batch.

Sergio Ruzzier's art in muted colors with expressive characters adds to the charm. Happy National Poetry month, everyone. Enjoy this delight with your readertotz! 

A Round of Robins
by Katie Hesterman 
illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier 
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

More, more, more: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo


The reviews are coming in for John Oliver's children's book, written by staff at Last Week Tonight. Congrats to all in this effort! 

"Sincerely delightful-full of the attentive details and poetic grace notes that distinguish good children’s books.”  –The New Yorker

“Above all, this is a sweet and funny book about of tolerance, friendship, and the one message even our youngest kids can grasp perhaps more easily than perhaps any other: Love is love. I know my own kids would love getting this for Easter.” –Cool Mom Picks

"A joy... Ignore the grumbling about Oliver turning the bunny America deserves into a metaphor for partisan politics, because the book is a 40-page triumph." –Esquire

"This cute, funny, and inclusive picture book has a positive message about celebrating who you are and loving whom you want." –Common Sense Media

by Jill Twiss
illustrated by EG Keller
Chronicle Books, 2018


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Top Shelf: Main Street Magic, Ingela P. Arrhenius



How delightful! Take a stroll down a main street in France. With thirty flaps, many holding a surprise or pun, there's a sophistication in this thick-paged book for readertotz. Follow along with the main character as he sets out to explore.

There's the patisserie with brioche and macarons, the fish market where cats secretly linger, the fashionable ladies at the salon, and a thief at the museum. However, with the guard nearby, all is safe. The day concludes with the circus and the question, "What's next?"

Endearing illustrations are made with simple shapes. Flaps are fun to find. This is Top Shelf quality for your readertotz.

Main Street Magic
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Chronicle Books, 2017

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hello World! Jill McDonald





Jill McDonald, author/illustrator, offers up a nonfiction series, Hello World! Whether your readertot is ready for dinosaurs, weather information, birds, the body, or the solar system, Jill delivers age-appropriate content. Her appealing, youthful illustrations appear to be cut and torn paper. Large text for the youngest reader and smaller text for the older, the books will sustain as your tot grows.

Introduce your readertotz to their world. There's so much to see and learn. Hello World! is a first step in discovery.

Hello, World!
Dinosaurs
My Body
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Snuggly Puppy: Jannie Ho



Text developed in house, Nosy Crow has Snuggly Puppy on the lookout for a perfect hug. Not one that is too prickly, busy, jumpy, or splashy. She finds the perfect hug with her mother and father.

Tabs pull to reveal further information as Snuggly Puppy visits her community. Jannie Ho's patterned, flat illustrations are non-threatening, with a soft palette, creating a safe space for readertotz.

Explore with your first readers what makes a good hug. Potential life lessons in this board book.

Snuggly Puppy Looks for the Perfect Hug
illustrated by Jannie Ho
Nosy Crow, 2016

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Shelf: This is Not a Valentine, Carter Higgins



This is Not a Valentine, by author Carter Higgins, is a beautiful celebration of love and how different that may look to others celebrating Valentine's Day. A Valentine may be a spent dandelion, a plastic ring, or a rock shared. It may be a second best hiding place. It is knowing the person you appreciate and sharing life, including the scraps and drippy glue.

Illustrations by Lucy Ruth Cummins are fresh and endearing with a lot of white space as she illustrates love. This is a treasure for the holiday and a testament that the way we love is perfectly enough. Whether or not we call it a Valentine.

This is Not a Valentine
by Carter Higgins
illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Chronicle, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Where Did My Friend Go? Family Changes: Azmaira H. Maker



Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., has brought forward two works for totz facing great change. Where Did My Friend Go? Helping Children Cope with a Traumatic Death aims to reassure the youngest that all are working to keep the child safe. With the loss of a friend, it is normal to be scared, worried, sad, and mad. Community stands around the survivor in love.

Family Changes, Explaining Divorce to Children shares salient points: the child is not to blame, they may experience physical discomfort such as a stomachache, they will be loved in two homes. The fictional story of rabbits brings the situation to life.

The illustrations of Where Did My Friend Go? are unattributed photographs, design by Monkey C. Media. The language is sparse with process questions concluding the work. Polona Lovsin illustrated Family Changes with warm, comforting images. The text is heavy in the midst of the fantasy. Process questions complete the work, as well.

Confronting trauma and change, it is difficult to find appropriate works for first readers. Azmaira H. Maker's works are a place to begin.

Where Did My Friend Go? 2017
Family Changes, 2015
by Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D.
illustrated by Polona Lovsin (Family Changes)
Aspiring Families Press