Monday, August 31, 2009

Edward Unready for School: Rosemary Wells

How cute is this? Although it's not a board book, it's a nice size for totz at 7"x7", 24 pages. Part of a series of Edward books by Rosemary Wells, it deals with a fear. In this case, it's the fear of going to school for the first time. However, it doesn't have the traditional ending one might expect -- the main character realizing he is ready for school.

After a series incidents indicating that Edward really isn't ready for play school quite yet . . .

"Edward's teacher said, Not everyone is ready for the same things at the same time."
"We'll just take him home until he is ready," said Edward's mother and father.

This comes a few pages before the actual ending of the book, but I think the lines are immensely reassuring. A child who might feel like a failure for being "unready" for some feat may well be relieved.

And who can resist Rosemary Wells' adorable illustrations of Edward? His expressions of uncertainty at the prospect of school are realistic and touching.

I love this book!

Edward Unready for School
author-illustrator: Rosemary Wells
Dial Books, 1995

~ Joan Holub, author-illustrator

Friday, August 28, 2009

Poetry Friday: Dreams


Friday night's dream, on Saturday told,
Is sure to come true, be it never so old.

I've never heard this before. You? And it of course brought Janet Wong and Julie Paschkis' book to mind. What a beauty it is! Be sure to find it for your totz! Happy Poetry Friday!

Catch the full roundup with Kate Coombs at Book Aunt.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thank you, Karla Kuskin!

Our thanks to Karla Kuskin, children's author and illustrator who gave us so much. She died last Thursday at her home in Seattle, age 77.
From Traces

We will continue to treasure her beautiful voice and imagery.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pop-Up Counting Animals: A DK Publishing Collaboration

This week's board book review is simply named Pop-Up Counting Animals. I wasn't convinced I'd be engaged, but I shouldn't have doubted. It's DK Publishing.

Using Dave King's special photography, a bit of flat graphics, and Fiona Gowen's paper engineering, this collaborative work pops! When the first kitten opens beside the number one, you just have to say ooooooooh. And when the five butterflies flap free of the book at the close, you say aaaaaaaaaah. In between, watch for fish, chicks, and parakeets. (Which color would you choose?)

Sit down with your totz and pop open this board book with amazement. Thanks, DK for bringing this back as a revised version of the 1995, Number Pops. Here's to keeping the best in print!

Pop-Up Counting
Photographs by Dave King
Engineered by Fiona Gowen
DK Publishing, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty!

Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty is celebrating their three year anniversary this month! Woot!

Z-Dad invited illustrators to springboard off of one of the children's illustrations and contribute to the party. Here's Gracie's version of "Smitten" at age 6:

And that's mine. Drop over to the site and enjoy their 400 drawings!

~Lorie Ann Grover

Friday, August 21, 2009

Poetry Friday: Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants, Video

I was just over at JD Lester's Facebook, and she had posted this sweet video of a mommy reading Monkeypants. So cute and perfect for Poetry Friday!

Let us know if you've posted a reading video with your baby. We'd love to share it!

Catch the roundup with Kyle at The Boy Reader.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

For the Older Sibling: Song of Middle C

The art is what initially attracted me to this book. It's a pleasing blend of the contemporary and the retro. The palatte is subdued, the lines simple, and there's plenty of fun to be had here.

Now on to the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Told in first person, it's a fun, realistic, smart tale about a girl who's facing her first piano recital -- "Dance of the Wood Elves." Her mom says "Practice Makes Perfect." So she practices and teaches us a thing or two about preparation and piano skills as we await her big day. On recital day, she practices bowing in front of her mirror. She wears her lucky underwear (pink with music notes) for good measure. All the kids line up waiting for their turns to perform, but . . .

At the recital, I wait and wait and wait.
Did you know that piano recitals take a long,

long time? Especially when your song is the

very last song on the program.
The very, very last song.
But am I nervous?
Hoo boy, no!
Not one tiny bit.
That's because I'm cool as a cucumber.

Then, she's on the bench and things quickly go awry:

Fingers? Hello?
Wood elves, where are you?
Lucky underwear, don't fail me now!

I like her spunky way of thinking, which serves her well as things don't go as planned. Any child who has ever been faced with the pressure of performing in the spotlight--and haven't we all-- will relate to this cute book!

Song of Middle C
Alison McGhee, author
Scott Menchin, illustrator
picture book
Candlewick Press, 2009

~ Reviewed by Joan Holub, author

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Surprise for the Nutbrown Hares: Sam McBratney
I was surprised, just like the nutbrown hares. Because this book is fatter (about 3/4 inches thick) and has many more pages than most board books. However, it is truly a board book. It's small with sturdy pages. And Candlewick says its for ages 2-4.

The team of Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram is probably best known for the best-selling family classic, Guess How Much I Love You. This book follows a similar style. On a windy day, the Nutbrown Hares have been playing and chasing leaves, and now Big Nutbrown Hare has to rest. Imagine his surprise when he opens his eyes and sees . . . a box monster hopping toward him! Is he dreaming? Should he run away? And what will Big Nutbrown Hare’s response be when the box monster sheds his convincing disguise?

Totz will relate to the situation that unfolds and will enjoy reading this with mom and dad. Anita's website is fun and has art and cards for purchase.

A Surprise for the Nutbrown Hares
Sam McBratney, author
Anita Jeram, illustrator
Candlewick, 2009

~ review by Joan Holub, author

Friday, August 14, 2009

Poetry Friday: A Star

A Star

I have a little sister, they call her Peep, Peep;
She wades the waters deep, deep, deep;
She climbs the mountains high, high, high;
Poor little creature, she has but one eye.

My dad has one eye, and we don't think of him as "poor little creature." Hm. Too dated for our totz?

Catch the full roundup with
Andromeda Jazmon at a wrung sponge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Totz Video: Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish

Cover Image

Is this not the cutest ever?

If you recognize her as one of our totz, please don't divulge her name in the comments to protect her anonymity.

Thanks to her family for filming the moment and allowing me to share this. It just cheers my heart!

~Lorie Ann

Monday, August 10, 2009

readertotz CLASSIC: Bruce Degan, Jamberry

It's a classic post! Yay!

Give it up for Jamberry by Bruce Degen. How awesome to have this 1983 picture book in a board book format. It's a perfect fit.

Revisit this classic or discover it for the first time with your totz. The rhythm is so catching you'll find you are reciting it together throughout your day.

"One berry
Two berry
Pick me a blueberry
In my canoeberry

The fantasy includes a boy and bear off to find and pick berries for jam. Everyone joins the joyful pursuit, from animals circling the bear like a maypole to a goose driving a train. All the action culminates in a jam jamboree!

Bruce uses an ink line and watercolor to capture the fun and excitement of the tale. Full spreads alternate with half spreads and one wordless explosion of blueberries.

Pick up this board book before you go pick those berries at the close of summer. Whether they be strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, jazzberries, starberries...

by Bruce Degen
HarperFestival, 1995

Friday, August 7, 2009

Poetry Friday: Blow, Wind, Blow!

Blow, Wind, Blow!

Blow, wind, blow! And go, mill, go!
That the miller may grind his corn;
That the baker may take it,
And into rolls make it,
And send us some hot in the morn.

Happy Poetry Friday, folks and totz! I'm writing from a bakery, so this seemed perfect!

Catch the full round up with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

~Lorie Ann

Monday, August 3, 2009

Watch Me HOP! Rebecca Young
Watch Me HOP! has "8 Amazing Moving Pictures." These photos that seem to move are actually 60-frame lenticulars. Totz can actually watch a bunny or a grasshopper hop, and an elephant swing its trunk. The animals almost literally leap off the page!

I leap up high
and land with a plop!
I'm a FROG . . .
Watch me hop!

The black and solid color design is eye-catching. I think this photo technique is fascinating and totz I've shown it to have loved it. It's great to see boundaries being pushed like this to create a successful book. It's pretty sturdy and will likely stand up to most totz' handling.

Watch Me HOP!
Rebecca Young, author
Von Glitschka, illustrator
Pamela Notarantonio, designer
Scholastic, 2009

~ reviewed by Joan Holub, author