With the close of the year and the hope of the new, I thought Oh, Baby! Go, Baby! was a perfect pick for your totz. Based on Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Place You'll Go, here's a great interactive format with tot appeal.
Pull tabs move the baby along, a turning circle whirls you into a Seussical landscape, while foil and fur add tactile experience. The images deliver all you expect from Dr. Seuss.
I particularly like the chosen text which is encouraging, but it still pauses and reveals there will be times when you don't reach those high heights. However, then you can try once more and maybe attain with joy. "Baby, you'll move mountains!"
Read this fun work with your totz. Show them their mountain is waiting. Cheer them on into the new year!
I like The Robot Book! I especially enjoy this novelty book's many gears and movable parts. It's steampunk for totz. It's very sturdy and will stand up to lots of use. And as you'll see when you hit the last page--it has heart (with gears).
My feature this week is I Like Fruit by Lorena Siminovich. I'm so impressed by the Candlewick division Templar Books. Every work is such a beautiful piece of art.
Open this touch-and-feel book and explore both color and fruit. Whether it be a red strawberry, raspberry, and cherry, or the orange cantaloupe, peach, and orange, your totz will be delighted with the colorful array and love tapping the textures.
All the images are created with interesting, delicate collage. The left spread is divided into four panels illustrating three fruits and the color featured. The right spread is one whole fruit, cut open to illustrate the inside and outside. The fruit skin is often depicted with three collage print changes, yet the entire image is successful as a whole.
Find this delightful work with your totz and then pass the fruit!
Creating children's books is a vast collaborative process. Even down to the simplest board book, there is a synergy between the entire creative team's efforts. From the writer's words, to the agent's input, to the editor's tweaks, to the art director's choice of illustrator, to the illustrator's vision looping back to the writer's words, to the marketing team's suggestions, to the printer and binder, to the final book. Even still, I've left out crucial team players.
Today, Joan and I will often turn in board and picture books with illustrated dummies of our vision. At times we are asked to develop those images further, and other times, our designs are shared with another illustrator, as a further guide to our concept. Sometimes they are withheld to bring a fresh look to the table.
Maybe this process is what made me so excited for Design, The Archive Series, by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Here is a visual record of those images and concepts which fed into our beloved children's animated films. We solidly know the scope and presentation of Bambi and now Tangled, but what were the whispers, the emotions, the sweeping colors that guided those final choices? Stylized or abstract; watercolor, oil or pencil, each entry conveys a mood which in turn shaped a film.
This immense work is a document to the progression of film imagery in the United States. What a treasure to saturate yourself with Mary Blair's paintings, and then Chen-Yi Chang's, and my favorite, Eyvind Earle's. It is a pleasure to find inspirations and wisps of familiar characters.
I recommend this collection for your own coffee table. Totz and their siblings will devour the pages, along with you and your friends. Who knows? Maybe it will feed a budding artist in your very midst.
If you are lover of all things Disney, check out this blog for more, more, more!
Let It Snow! is a new 8x8 paperback picture book written and illustrated by a talented, amazing friend, Maryann Cocca-Leffler. The simple, rhyming text will appeal to totz, and this could easily become a board book in future as well:
Lacy trees, hills of white, sledding, snowmen, snowball fight.
In a world of brightly-colored picture books, this one's simple shapes, calm colors, and quirky characters stand out. The story is fraught with childlike-tension--the annoyance of one character that wishes to be left in peace to enjoy a book, while another pelts him with frenetic questions about what a book is? The tone of the questions is somewhat disparaging. You mean the book doesn't DO anything?
A witty, wonderful, unforgettable ... book.
Note: Can you find the word I've never read in a picture book before? (Parental discretion is advised.) Extensive review quotes, under 'Product Description'
Reaching out right now for our big sister site, rgz, catch the following. Do you know any groups that support low-income teens? If so, consider A Novel Gift!
BREAKING NEWS! First Book is giving away more than 125,000 brand-new books to low-income teen readers.
They’re great books, too, donated by generous publishers. Among the three dozen choices are P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast’s HOUSE OF NIGHT series and Alyson Noël’s SHADOWLAND. We need your help getting the word out about the A Novel Gift campaign. Right now! Right now! As in, now! Let's get organizations serving these teens registered with First Book so they can be matched with inventory during the holidays. Here’s what we need you to do: Post to Facebook and tweet your beak offabout these books using the hashtag #novelgift. Here’s a tinyurl link to their registration page:http://tinyurl.com/2a5mwpj. Or you can link to this blog post:http://readergirlz.blogspot.com/2010/11/novel-gift-over-125000-free-books-to.html Then, get in touch with every group you can think of that works with young adults–schools, after-school programs, church youth groups, community centers, etc.—and let them know that these books are available now. The five-minute online registration these groups can use is here: http://booksforkids.firstbook.org/register/. First Book is also eager to answer questions, either by email to email@example.com, or by phone at 866-READ-NOW or 866-732-3669. If you participate, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our blog roll of thanks to run December 31. Be a part of A Novel Gift! OK, go! And thanks, sincerely, from First Book and the readergirlz teams.
We've turned the Thanksgiving corner and many are anticipating Christmas. It's Christmas Time! is a clever addition to holiday books for readertotz.
Author Salina Yoon calls this book a Slide and Play. Out of the cover slides a purple panel which is not fully removeable. However, within the panel are foil circles which little fingers can remove. In the above illustration, the flat dots of color really are the foil circles.
On the following pages, these then can be added to a snowman or wreath. They can be popped out and inserted into a gingerbread house, used to decorate cookies, or shining wrapping paper. Finally, of course, they can be added to the full spread of the Christmas tree. The accompanying text walks us through these seasonal activities. It ends with the sweet:
"The Christmas tree is trimmed with lights.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
The flat illustrations with bold color are fun and appropriate. Your totz will be challenged to see the circle shape as various objects while their excitement grows for the Christmas celebration.
It's Christmas Time!
by Salina Yoon
additional illustrations by Angela Navarra
design by Pamela Notarantonio
This just in from a press release:
"Candlewick Press has been named a recommended children’s book publisher by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) in a new report and consumer guide released by (RAN), “Rainforest-Safe Kids' Books: How Do Publishers Stack Up?” in which leading book publishers were ranked based on their paper policies and purchasing practices.
Candlewick Press makes every effort to uphold the highest environmental standards. Candlewick’s environmental policy can be found on Candlewick’s homepage."
Could these characters be any more adorable? I love Duck & Goose. It's winter, and Goose is enjoying all kinds of wintery pleasures such as catching snowflakes, sledding, and making snow angels. Duck looks on, saying things like:
Goose, it is not time for catching snowflakes.
It is not time for sledding.
Turns out that:
Come on Goose!
It's time for Christmas!
A sweet, sturdy board book totz will enjoy this holiday season. And it has great glitter on the cover, which I always enjoy (and totz will too). Nice!
For our Pick for the Older Sibling, I'm giving a giant shout out for The ABCs of Rock. Seriously, you may purchase this one for yourself. It's on my coffee table right now.
Doesn't our classic rock culture just scream for an ABC book, starting with AC/DC and ending with ZZ Top? Pair Melissa Duke Mooney's picks with Print Mafia's edgy graphic renderings of icons from each band, and you have a lasting treasure. Twenty-six expressions of twenty-six bands. Think Andy Warhol meets Roy Lichtenstein.
You might use this work to introduce your favorite bands to your totz and their siblings. Is anyone really too young for Bob Dylan or Heart? There's also letter identification and cool objects to recognize and name: eyes, an elephant, a rocket ship, glasses, a camera. Concluding Art Notes from Print Mafia give their personal responses and thoughts to each feature.
Pick up this picture book, reminisce, share it with your groupie, and then rock on! As Iggy Pop says, "Have a ball with these ABCs of Rock."
The ABCs of Rock
by Melissa Duke Mooney
illustrated by Print Mafia
Tricycle Press, 2010
Okay, I was skeptical. A picture book from President Barack Obama? Does he have time to write a picture book? I first was happy to see that the project was acquired and concluded prior to his taking office.
Secondly, I was moved to see that all the proceeds will be donated to a fund for children of fallen or disabled soldiers. Random House is also contributing to the scholarship fund.
With those facts on the table, I opened the work and was honestly moved by the text and art. Here is a letter to President Obama's daughters which honestly reads like a love letter to our entire nation. It is a pause in our stream of history to applaud great Americans and be inspired by them. Different races, genders, and contributions are showcased, from Georgia O'Keefe to Sitting Bull. President Obama shares what we have gleaned from each of the Americans. Helen Keller gave us courage, Neil Armstrong made us brave to "take our own big, bold strides."
Loren Long's acrylic paintings on board are the perfect accompaniment to the text. There's something intrinsically right in the medium on board. I particularly love how she adds each character to the left side of the page to join the Obama sisters. It's a beautiful rhythm that is finally hit with a full spread of all kinds of American children.
And then the final stanza:
"Have I told you that they are all a part of you?
Have I told you that you are one of them,
and that you are the future?
And have I told you that I love you?"
Such a beautiful balance of patriotism and familial love. Thanks to the entire team, including Executive Editor Michelle Frey. Bravo!
Do you know Mini Masters from Chronicle Books? I love this series, and you certainly will as well. How about combining a rhyming text upon a colored field, opposite Henri Matisse' paintings? Magical!
The text of A Magical Day with Matisse describes the content of the masterpiece featured on each spread.
It then arcs into a story as the reader joins characters outside for fun, then returns inside to rest, feast, and finally sleep. Your totz will be exposed to great works of art, absorb the style of Matisse, and learn the skill of reading and interpreting paintings.
Among other works included in the series: A Picnic with Monet, Dancing with Degas, and In the Garden with Van Gogh. Look for the boxed series sets as well.
Thank you, Chronicle Books, for treasuring fine art and totz!
In this 8x8 lift-the-flap hardback, Bosco the dog speaks directly to totz, which I enjoy. He invites totz to venture into the book:
I'm Bosco. This book is about my friends and me. Let's go see what's on the next page.
Bosco and his friends go on a simple adventure in which they see things, such as ladybugs, mice, etc., and they count from 1 to 10 along the way. Everything is brightly-colored with pop-ups, pull-tabs, and lift-the-flaps. These are some really unusual novelty elements. I love the spread where Bosco and his pal cat chase three mice off the page. This pop-up is very appealing and clever, as are the others in this cool book. I hope your totz enjoy it as much as I do! Bosco's Busy Morning Author-illustrator: Chuck Murphy Robin Corey Books
I met Anna Grossnickle Hines eleven years ago and was impressed by her creations. How lovely to have readertotz now to share her work with everyone!
I Am a Backhoe is a sturdy-paged toddler book for lovers off all things construction. On one page, a young boy plays out an action. On the following page, the construction equipment is illustrated along with his action.
I dig my hand
into the sand,
my scooper hand.
Dig. Dig. Dig.
Lift, turn, tip.
Each featured action and truck is posed on a colored background to link the set. Daddy eventually joins the boy, and they conclude by reading the same text which began I Am a Backhoe. They both like trucks.
I was just ready to praise the loose strokes of saturated paint, when I discovered the art was created digitally! It is rich and flows freely. Truly a feast. Endpapers showcase the unique tools of the trucks, like the roller and hoe. This makes a nice foreshadow or conclusion to what was explored.
If you have a truck lover, or a tot with eyes drawn to construction, be sure to share I Am a Backhoe! Note, men and women operate the machinery. Thanks, Anna!
Yes, readertotz is a board book site, but we do like to take a moment to acknowledge those exceptional picture books we come across. Thumb Love by Elise Primavera is one for certain!
Dedicated to thumb suckers around the world, Elise's Lulu takes the reader inside the intimate love story of a young person and her thumb. A direct dialogue opens and closes the work while Lulu's story of thumb love is sandwiched between the address.
Always there for her, Lulu's thumb make's sure she feels loved and that she's comfy. It doesn't matter who ridicules her, and the possible dangers of teeth realignment and pronunciation problems seem unreal. All is love, until Lulu has a dream that truly frightens her into inventing a twelve-step program to end her damaging relationship.
The thumb cries over her resolution, but Lulu carries on. Whether it be a firm announcement of quitting, a little Tabasco, a sock, or sleeping with the thumb wedged out of sight, Lulu makes progress. And when she fails, she begins again.
Elise's charming text and illustrations of love exchanges between the thumb and Lulu are heartfelt and humorous. "Can we at least be friends?" the thumb asks. "Sure-but don't get any ideas." Lulu says with a wink.
What a fun, wonderful addition to children's literature. Be ready to welcome Lulu as she stands before the crowd and says:
Hooray! A new Sandra Boynton board book. I still remember how excited I was when I first saw Sandra's quirky, hilarious cards in the stores years ago. No one else was doing anything like she was at the time, and I consider her a creative pioneer.
Little Pookie is a pig. The first page illustration of him is so pignant, oh, I mean poignant. Really sweet and childlike. Pookie is waking up his/her pig parents because it's Pookie's birthday. However, it's the middle of the night before this big event. So Pookie is coaxed back into bed, only to return at precisely 5:32 a.m. with yet another birthday announcement. Parents reply:
You're back little Pookie. It's 5:32. Well, okay, it's your day, Happy Birthday to you!
The fun day plays out with piggie pancakes, a balloon, and friends. And it ends with a wonderful happy birthday wish. This story took me back to a time when birthdays were so important--when I thought the world revolved around the fact that it was MY birthday!
A sweet, sturdy, rhyming, realistic board books totz will love!
We usually title these monthly picks as 'for the older sibling', but this one skews young, so we're going with 'picture book pick' this time. Lucy Cousins has a knack for creating eye-catching, age-appropriate books, and this is one of those. How many times have you heard your totz say: I'm the best? I know I said it a lot when I was a kid, which usually launched a squabble or at least some hurt feelings among my siblings and me. This book begins with:
Hello, I'm Dog, and I'm the best. These are my friends--Ladybug, Mole, Goose, and Donkey. I love them. They're great, but I'm the best.
Uh-oh, I feel a squabble coming on, don't you? Dog proceeds to point out all the things he can do better than his friends, adding "I win." Double uh-oh. Saying that in my family when we were kids definitely started an argument.
Dog's friends have hurt feelings, and they counter by pointing out they ways in which they are the best. Dog has an epiphany and apologizes. But he's still THE BEST in the end!
In celebration of Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish selling over 100,000 copies, I thought to post this fun interview with illustrator Debra Ziss. Listen in with your totz:
1. Can you describe your process, Debra?
i usually see something in my head the moment i read the manuscript. then i sit down at the computer and "sculpt" in illustrator. by this i mean that i draw shapes and refine them until they begin to look like something. what i see in my head is NEVER what appears on screen. i'm usually pleasantly surprised by the end result.
2. Want to share an early sketch?
you can see sketches on: debbiedoesdoodles.blogspot.com i posted my original ideasfor the book along with some finishes so readers could see the process. Like this:
3. Do you have any totz in your life now?
i sometimes test out my drawings on my "peanut gallery", my friends kids. if they like and understand what i've drawn, i know it's good!
4. Um, do you like to eat fish?
sushi is a personal favorite. good nite fishies!
Thanks, Debra! I love how our work came together. Thanks also to editor Rotem Moscovich and Scholastic. *hugs* And final thanks to everyone who has purchased copies for your totz!
Here's one last look at that sweetie pie reading to us:
Gigi in the Big City is packed full of lift-the-flap and turn the dial fun! Author/illustrator Charise Mericle Harper has created an amazing day in the city for her character. Bravo to Robin Corey Books for investing all out in the concept.
For more mature totz, (Publishers Weekly advises 4-8) each page is filled with little flaps, pull tabs, and dials which flesh out Gigi's city experience. Multiple layers allow you to dress Gigi in various outfits before she heads off to the museums packed full of imagery. She considers the people she passes and dips into their stories, has a makeover, and concludes the day by writing and dreaming.
Joan is going to LOVE this work as it's packed full of interesting nonfiction facts. From definitions, to examples of shoes, gems, and mythical creatures, to types of books, there's so much to explore!
Gigi and her world are rendered with flat shapes with high kid appeal and a bit of funk to keep things lively. Enter the Big City with Gigi and be ready to be wowed!
Kudos to the team for bringing the board/novelty format to an older audience. Woot! Gigi in the Big City by Charise Mericle Harper Robin Corey Books, 2010
Shout out for readertotz on BlogHer! Definitely check out Jenna Hatfield's article on the beauty of picture books. It's spot on regarding parents pushing their children past the format.
Slow down! There is time for every step. Saturate your totz from day one and grow through each category of children's lit. And then revisit them all. In a house of college students, we still heart our board and picture books and early readers and middle grade and young adult...
I was at Target today and admired this book on the shelf. When I returned home it was waiting for me in my mailbox. So I have a little inside scoop on its creation, straight from author J. Elizabeth Mills herself. I always enjoy hearing how an author came up with an idea, and here's how this book began: "I was riding a Seattle public bus on a gray May day, listening to the rattle, bam, shake, and clatter of a bus that sounded like it was held together with Popsicle sticks and bubble gum.The preschool song The Wheels on the Bus" came into my head, and I began to imagine what a Halloween bus might sound like."
This is not a board book, but the content is appropriate for one, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it out in board book format in future. It's an 8x8 paperback with a rollicking rhyme scheme, and I predict totz will adore singing along with it this Halloween season.
One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE, RATTLE and SHAKE, RATTLE and SHAKE. One spooky bus goes RATTLE and SHAKE, All through the town.
Ben Mantle's illustrations perfectly capture the gently-silly-spooky characters. I love that the bus wheels are jack-o-lanterns.
It's the perfect book to enjoy on the bus this October!
Congratulations to readertotz co-founder, Joan Holub, on the lucky 13th reprinting of her Halloween book for ages 2-6: Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic, Cartwheel). Still in print and going strong--a favorite of totz since 1997!
Guess who says boo? A ghost
Scratch and hiss? Who is this?
Okay, we're going to make you guess that 2nd one. Take a look at Joan's book in your favorite bookstore to enjoy more guess-the-Halloween-creature fun! (There's even a mirror inside.)
Meet Mimi, the adorable toddler finding her own voice and way with aplomb and energy. Author Yih-Fen Chou explores imitation as a means of learning in Mimi Love to Mimic. Mimi reads like Mommy, makes soup like Grandma, and imitates Grandpa's manners, which have room for improvement. The endearing turn at the close shares Grandpa and Grandma imitating Mimi. Lovely!
The 8x8 format with stiff pages is great for readertotz. The highly awarded Chih-Yuan Chen's multimedia illustrations are appealing with a mild palette and simple shapes.
In Mimi Says No, Mimi asserts her independence as she makes her own way through her day. Mommy is close by and available to help, but Mimi forges onward on her own as she dresses, pours her milk, and walks to the park. A large fold-out increases the drama of an accident.
Again, text and image are tight and polished. I only would have preferred Mimi to say, "No, thanks," rather than just telling her mother, "No," repeatedly. And "I'm sorry," would have helped when she spills her milk. Of course, both ideas can be discussed during the reading with your totz.
The dust jackets refer to both books as picture books. I'd say the size and thickness of the pages skews it younger for little hands.
Find Mimi for your readertotz and be charmed. The works have been translated into fourteen languages already! Mimi Loves to Mimic Mimi Says No by Yih-Fen Chou illustrated by Chih-Yuan Chen Heryin Books, 2010
Check this out! Maybe a little fun for you and your totz?
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham Random House Children’s Books and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. have launched the “HAM It Up” video contest, calling for fans across the United States to channel their own Sam-I-Am and submit a video capturing their interpretation of a scene from the book. The grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 cash prize, a year’s supply of Ham I Am! products, a beautifully framed 50th Anniversary Green Eggs and Ham print, a flip camera and a Dr. Seuss library of books. Originally published in 1960, Green Eggs and Ham has sold over 13 million copies in North America.
Click the Ham It Up link for full details. Would you like them in the rain? Would you like them on a train...
Karen Katz's Princess Baby books are a big hit with my neighbor's 3-year-old daughter. She particularly likes this one because she can carry it around easily by the built-in 'handle'. This concept is perfect because PB is headed for Grandma's for a sleepover and she is packing a bag to 'carry' with her.
This sturdy board book has lots of big flaps, some glitter, and princess-pinkness. And there's a storyline to pull totz through the book, which I like. PB is packing her goodies, but she's looking for one special item. Although she doesn't find it at first, she does find other things to pack in locations such as under the table (lift the flap) and in a trunk (lift the flap). In the end she finds what she's looking for: her prince, a stuffed bear. This is an ending that really satisfied me. A very cute, age-appropriate book!
The perfect companion for Princess Potty, pick this novelty book up for your pirate, mateys. Instead of forest creatures and sparkles, there's a black potty flying three Jolly Rogers, cannon balls, and a big x to mark the spot!
Of course, every pirate has a special sea shanty, keeps his toilet paper in his treasure chest, and announces, "Anchors away!" Right?
Author Samantha Berger just nails this presentation. Your pirate totz are going to love potty training with this book as an aid. Again, Amy Cartwright's imagery is clean and adorable whether it's a page full of little symbols or a full spread. I particularly love the mother's eye patch in the shape of a heart. And the pirate's proportions are as cute as can be.
Enjoy Pirate Potty, with your crew. Punch out the included hat and decorate it with the gold doubloon stickers for a job well done!
Pirate Potty by Samantha Berger illustrated by Amy Cartwright Scholastic, 2010