Sunday, May 31, 2009

June: readertotz playlist

I'm switching over the blog to celebrate June! Check out the updated playlist. Any Pee Wee fans out there besides me? ~ Lorie Ann

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poetry Friday: Around the Green Gravel

Happy Poetry Friday to you and your readertotz!

Song Intro Image


Around the green gravel the grass grows green,
And all the pretty maids are plain to be seen;
Wash them with milk, and clothe them with silk,
And write their names with a pen and ink.

Catch the full roundup with Irene Latham at Live. Love. Explore!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesdays Win: A Little Puppy

A Little Puppy
Drop a comment here on readertotz for a chance to win A Little Puppy, an adorable board book by Jane Feder and Amy Schwartz just published by Candlewick Press! Good luck, and don’t forget to check back to see if you’ve won next Wednesday when we'll announce the winner and also post a new contest for yet another book! (Due to mailing costs, open to USA only.)

Congratulations to DebReader, winner of the May 13th Wednesday Win, Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants on readertotz! Please email joanholub at aol dot com with your snailmail addy.

~ Joan Holub and Lorie Ann Grover

Monday, May 25, 2009

Max the Minnow: William Boniface
The totally cool thing about this sturdy board book is the eyeballs. They're actually balls about one inch in diameter, and they're weighted, so they follow you no matter how you tilt the book--even if you flip it over to the back cover.

The eyeballs are so eye-catching that you almost miss the fact that the book is actually an empowering story about self-worth. A little fish named Max wants to be a big fish, but eventually realizes . . .

That "Big Fish" aren't just made.
It's what you do with what you've got,
That helps you make the grade.

I noticed that the book has been reprinted well over twenty times, so these pop-eyes are very pop-ular!

Max the Minnow
by William Boniface
illustrated by Don Sullivan
Accord Publishing, 2000

~ Joan Holub, author-illustrator

Friday, May 22, 2009

Poetry Friday: Kookaburra

kookaburra Pictures, Images and Photos


Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree.
Merry, merry king of the bush is he.

Laugh, Kookaburra,

Laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gumdrops he can see.

Stop, Kookaburra,

Stop, Kookaburra,
Leave some there for me.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.

Wait, Kookaburra.

Stop, Kookaburra.
That's not a monkey, that's me!

Catch the roundup with Susan Taylor Brown at Susan Writes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

For the Older Sibling: Higher! Higher!

YAY! *running around the room* Leslie Patricelli has a new picture book! Higher! Higher! is spot on perfect for the older sibling of your readertotz and your totz themselves!

A little girl and her father go to the park to swing. "Higher! Higher!" she calls as the father faithfully pushes her. She soars higher than the giraffe in the zoo, buildings, mountains, planes, into outer space where she waves at a passing monkey in a rocket ship and greets an alien on a swing. "Hi!" Then it's back, back down to earth and the arms of her father, so she can shout, "Again!"

True to a child's experience and imagination, this work will resonate with your readers. Leslie's colors and shapes are in keeping with her well-loved board books. It's such a treat to sink into the textures with the larger format. The canvas shows through beautifully. What a great effect for the glow of the earth, the stars, and even the little girl's face. Be sure to spot Baby in the plane. And take a moment to appreciate and enjoy the hand lettering.

Pick up Higher! Higher! and then hit the swings!

Higher! Higher!
by Leslie Paricelli
Candlewick Press, 2009

~Lorie Ann

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More, More, More: You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!

Cover Image

So, I'm not an avid baseball fan. When You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! arrived, I didn't expect to connect. Yet, the lenticular cover was compelling as it enabled me to see Andre Carrilho's illustrated Sandy pitch when I opened the cover.

With endpapers of Sandy's baseball card, the story begins. Told from the viewpoint of an old-timer, Sandy's introduced as a leftie who pitched from 1961 to 1966. Illustrating a rocky start where Sandy is frequently benched or is on the mound with unpredictable throws, the story progresses. Amidst difficult performances, he's mocked by others in the field for being Jewish.

Given more time on the mound, he fails and quits the game, only to return in spring. With the bases loaded, there finally is a connection, and Sandy throws his first no-hitter. He's able to relax and let his body perform. "What a thing of beauty that was."

The streak lasts for six years during which he honors a Jewish High Holy Day in the 1965 World Series by sitting out of the game. He eventually retires at the height of his career to protect his body.

So, what connected with me?

* The passion of the narrator created by author Jonah Winter
* The discipline of Sandy as he searched for his game
* How he was mocked for his beliefs and didn't sway
* That he practiced his faith in a public way
* That he knew when to stop for his body's sake
* And the unique illustrations of Andre Carrilho

With a limited pallette, Andre creates an historical time. There's an elegance in the textures, gold use, charcoal renderings and thin red line. A retro-graphic touch and new expression are captured in this work.

No wonder this picture book is garnering starred reviews. Thanks to the author, illustrator, and publisher for bringing to light Sandy Koufax for everyone.

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
by Jona Winter
illustrated by Andre Carrilho
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Noisy Peekaboo! Baa! Baa! Dawn Sirett

Cover Image
Get ready for flaps, large spreads, and farm noises in Noisy Peekaboo! Baa! Baa! Your readertotz will be lifting the flaps looking for the adorable stuffed animals behind rugs, bags, and buckets. Every left side of the spread features a beautiful toddler, with several ethnicities represented. The right side contains the flaps and sounds set in vibrant color.

The only disappointment is that the book is just five pages. The thick conclusion houses the sound mechanisms. However, with three to four flaps per spread, your reader will be kept busy. Check out Noisy Peekaboo! Baa! Baa! and join the barnyard fun.

Noisy Peekaboo! Baa! Baa!

by Dawn Sirett
Designed by Rachael Parfitt
DK, 2009

~Lorie Ann

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poetry Friday: Sleep, Baby, Sleep

I love the image of the dreamland tree, don't you? Off to get my sketchbook! ~Lorie Ann

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Sleep, baby, sleep,
Thy papa guards the sheep;
Thy mama shakes the dreamland tree
And from it fall sweet dreams for thee,
Sleep, baby, sleep,

Sleep, baby, sleep,
Our cottage vale is deep;
The little lamb is on the green,
With woolly fleece so soft and clean,
Sleep, baby, sleep,

Sleep, baby, sleep,
Down where the woodbines creep;
Be always like the lamb so mild,
A kind and sweet and gentle child,
Sleep, baby, sleep.

Catch the full roundup with Kelly Polark at Kelly Polark.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesdays Win: Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants by J.D. Lester
This is a special Wednesday because we have a second copy of Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants to give away! This is extra fun because we just got a message in from the wonderful J.D. Lester, author of this book. She was having technical difficulties and couldn't post, so Kathy at Random House passed this on to us from her . . .

"Hi Readertotz! I'm JD, the author of "Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants", and I am such a huge fan of your site! I am excited about your book give-away because, interestingly, that's the same day my little monkeypants (my daughter, Scout) will turn 4. I can't wait to show her your site on her bday. Truthfully, she is kind of weary of hearing Monkeypants now since I wrote it when she was just 6 months old -- but, fortunately, she loves the sequel, "Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug", which is going to come out next year from Robin Corey/Random House in time for Father's Day. Please tell all your mom-readers that I love hearing their funny nicknames for their kids, and I feel such a kinship about how goofy we are when it comes to our babies. So, keep reading, moms, dads and everyone with a special little person in your life - and thanks for inspiring us, Readertotz!"

So drop a comment here for a chance to win Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants. Good luck, and don’t forget to check back to see if you’ve won next Wednesday when we'll announce the lucky winner and also post a new contest for yet another book!

Congratulations, Swati! You won Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants in last week's Wednesdays Win! Please send your snailmail address to joanholub at aol dot com

~ Joan Holub and Lorie Ann Grover

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Spring!: Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko
After reading Lorie Ann's blog last Monday about Jill Ackerman's board book Welcome Spring, I looked on my shelf for other favorite toddler books about spring. It's Spring! is a different spin on the same subject matter.

In April the robin began to sing
to tell the rabbit it was spring.
The rabbit hopped and thumped his feet
to tell the deer the air smelled sweet.

There's something about this story that makes me happy when I read it. It's bouncy without being choppy or forced. I truly experience the delight of a host of animals, who can hardly wait to spread the news of all the signs they've seen that spring has indeed arrived.

And the art is so sweet--Melissa Sweet, that is. I've enjoyed Melissa's illustration since the Pinky and Rex early chapter books.

Note that this book was reprinted in paperback with a different cover, as a Cartwheel early reader.

It's Spring!
by Samantha Berger and Pamela Chanko
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Scholastic, Cartwheel Books, 2003

~ Joan Holub

Friday, May 8, 2009

Poetry Friday: Little King Boggen

Little King Boggen

Little King Boggen he built a fine hall,
Pie-crust and pastry-crust, that was the wall;
The windows were made of black puddings and white,
And slated with pancakes---you ne'er saw the like.

Catch the full roundup with Anastasia Suen at Picture Book of the Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesdays Win: Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants by J.D. Lester
Drop a comment for a chance to win J.D. Lester's new board book, Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants. Good luck, and don’t forget to check back to see if you’ve won next Wednesday (May 13) when we'll announce the lucky winner and also post a new contest for yet another book!

Congratulations, Scarlet! You won Glorious Grandmas in last Wednesdays Win!
Please send your snailmail address to joanholub at aol dot com

~ Joan Holub and Lorie Ann Grover

Monday, May 4, 2009

Welcome Spring: Jill Ackerman

It's the perfect to time to enjoy the season with Welcome Spring! Jill Ackerman describes the joys that a child might encounter. She might smell the flowers, hear the birds, or have raindrops land on her nose. But regardless of the experiences, the child is "safe and dry in Mommy's arms."

Nancy Davis' stylized, flat, sharp-edged imagery is captivating in it's simplicity and brilliance.

Inserted textiles add dimension to the work as well. Satin flowers, silver smooth rain, and plastic rain boots are fun to touch. An additional flap reveals the child and mother happy under the red umbrella. Be sure to note that the rain and sun cause the tulips to open and the butterflies to appear.

Welcome spring with your readertotz!

Welcome Spring
by Jill Ackerman
Illustrated by Nancy Davis
Design by Pamela Notarantonio
Scholastic, 2008

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May Totz Playlist

Here's the playlist from our sidebar for this month. Get dancing with your readertotz!

Do you have a favorite? I love African Alphabet!

~Lorie Ann

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Friday, May 1, 2009


This just in from Paula Yoo, writing Moms and Dads. Have FUN!

7 Picture Books in 7 Days!
Sponsored by

In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo") where people across the country try to write a complete novel in one month, the fine folks at have decided to start the first ever National Picture Book Writing Week, affectionately nicknamed "NaPiBoWriWee."

The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.

To summarize, the basic rules:

1. Midnight May 1st to 11:59 p.m. May 7th: Write 7 separate and complete picture books.
2. You are NOT allowed to write the same picture book in 7 variations. Each book must be complete and separate.
3. No minimum word count. Instead, each book must have a clear beginning, middle and end.
4. You are allowed to brainstorm and research book topics before May 1st.
5. You are NOT allowed to write a single word of your draft until midnight May 1st.
6. There is NO minimum word count required. The fine folks of NaPiBoWriWee require nothing but your word of honor. We will embrace the Honor Code. If you say you have written 7 complete picture book drafts in 7 days, we will believe you. Besides, why would you lie to us? You're writing picture books for little children! Picture Book Authors are nice, honest people who would never lie!
7. Please register on in order to write comments on Paula's blog every day with your progress and questions.
8. If you plan to blog about your NaPiBoWriWee journey, please include a link to:
9. A winner will be chosen from random of all the people who comment from May 1-7 on That winner will receive an autographed copy of Paula Yoo's latest picture book biography, "SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books 2009) by June 2009 when the book is released.
10. For those of you attending the national Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators ( conference in August, let me know and I'll arrange for an informal gathering during the conference so we can meet in person and celebrate our first NaPiBoWriWee!

Happy writing, parents of readertotz!

Poetry Friday: Little Robin Redbreast

Poetry Friday

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a rail;
Niddle, naddle, went his head,
Wiggle, waggle, went his tail.

Catch the full roundup with the wonderful Maya Ganesan at Allegro.