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!
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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best for First Readers

Photo from the Washington Post article
Photo from Washington Post article

Photo from the Washington Post article

Content and quality matter. This is why at readertotz we aim to raise the profile of board books, and we call for the best for our first readers. 

"Recent research has found that both the quality and quantity of shared book-reading in infancy predicted later childhood vocabulary, reading skills and name-writing ability."

Check out the full Washington Post article by Lisa S. Scott, here. Wouldn't an ALA award help this aim? Say, the Dorothy Kunhardt Award

~Lorie Ann Grover

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Top Shelf: The Pink Hat, Andrew Joyner

Once there was a pink hat... I didn't think a book commemorating the 2017 Women's March could be done for the picture book audience. However, Andrew Joyner with Schwartz & Wade Books has honored the worldwide shout.

In The Pink Hat, an older woman knits a pink hat, as my own mother knit three: one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my friend. In the book, the hat is lost and found and lost, finally to be enjoyed by a young girl. Eventually, she wears her pink hat the day so many others wore theirs, as well. She joins the march, surrounded by diverse people marching for women's rights.

Dedicated to: "all the women who march us forward." Carry on. #Resist

The Pink Hat
by Andrew Joyner
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Shelf: Outside Todo el Día! and Vamos, Body!

Combine the San Antonio Museum of Art, with the San Antonio Library Foundation, and Trinity University Press, and you get a fabulous series of bilingual board books for your readertotz! Along with previous titles including, Black & Blanco! and Hello, Circulos! are two new releases from the Arte Kids Series: Outside Todo el Día! and Vamos, Body! 

The collection of imagery is diverse. The spreads are full of a wide range of styles creating wonderful contrasts. Your totz will be exposed to art from the ancient world to our own time. Questions, statements, and words, in a variety of fonts, label the featured focuses in both English and Spanish. A single image concludes each book as the pacing slows and comes to a close. Backmatter identifies paintings and sculptures from each work.

This work is truly Top Shelf material. Don't miss it.

Outside Todo el Día
Vamos, Body!
Concept and Design by Madeleine Budnick
Text and Illustrations by San Antonio Museum of Art
Trinity University Press, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm Scared: Jennier Holm and Matthew Holm

I'm Scared (My First Comics)

Note: Lorie Ann and I love this so much, we both had to feature it for your totz. Enjoy!

I'm Scared is the fourth board book in the My First Comics series by the sister and brother team of Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. I enjoy that totz are introduced to reading in the format of speech balloons and thought bubbles. (It's never too early for comics, right?)
Chilly the snowflake is scared of everything. The narrator coaxes Chilly into realizing it can be, well, fun, to have fun by trying something new!
Watch for the My First Comics books: I'm Grumpy, I'm Sunny!, and I'm Silly!
The Holms are the bestselling creators of Babymouse, one of my favorite book series. 
Random House, 24 pages