Monday, June 28, 2010

Into the Wild by Lerryn Korda

How about another adventure with Little Nye and his friends? One just in time for a summer vacation? When it's warm out and you have the urge to go into the wild, what might you need? Well, you need to be brave because of the mountain climbing and grizzlies. And you need to be okay in the dark when you go camping. Plus, you have to sit still a long time to fish. Little Nye and her friends are convinced they have what it takes and set the other side of the yard.

I love the challenge that Gracie sets before her friends and how they all rise to meet it. The fact that they adventure in their own yard sets a realistic, fun example for totz.

Lerryn Korda, both author and illustrator of Into the Wild, creates such a unique blend of gouache and digital collage. The expansive white spaces hold flat color spaces, a uniform black line, and textured areas. Each spread is a surprise as the different elements combine in different ratios so successfully. The variety is a delight.

If you are headed out camping or your totz enjoy a backyard adventure, pick up Into the Wild.

Into the Wild

by Lerryn Korda
Candlewick Press, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Photo Friday: Reading Hug Hug!

Here's a sweet tot, at a local signing, reading my Hug Hug! Adorable!

Happy Photo Friday! Send me your totz pics at readertotzatclearwiredotnet

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Open Letter to Children's Publishing

*Feel free to repost*
Published in Publishers Weekly.

Dear Children's Book Publishing Industry,

As I read PW's article, "An Impassioned Plea for Picture Books" by Judith Rosen, reporting on Ken Geist's plea for picture books at the NECBA meeting, I had a few thoughts.

As the article notes, most picture book print runs which were previously 20,000, now hover at 6,000. What I see as a reviewer of board books is an overwhelming number of picture books being published. So much mediocrity is being churned quickly through the presses, with the hope of one bestseller being found. Smaller runs support this effort to throw a multitude of stories into the pot while watching to see if one bubbles to the surface.

My challenge to you is to print fewer books. Dedicate and determine to publish only the very best, and then show us that you believe in that picture book with a larger print run and your full marketing dollars directly supporting it. Publishers, quiet the voices so that we might find and hear the book you believe in, the book that will touch parent and child, and foster readers for life.

As a corollary, I have to say that, yes, the picture book may create the lifelong reader, but even more likely, the board book will. A high quality, literary novelty or board book is often the child's first encounter with literature. In your pursuit this year to raise the profile of the picture book, don't forget the first books. Here is the reason Joan Holub and I continue to support readertotz. Board books are the roots of picture books. Let them be nourished as well.

Thank you for all you do for our children and literacy, publishers. Now show us your best.


Lorie Ann Grover, author and illustrator

More, More, More: Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't)

The jacket flap claims, "A librarian and a contrarian face off in this tale of a very reluctant reader." That is the perfect description of Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't). I was thoroughly charmed by this new picture book written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Michael Emberley.

Center stage is the librarian, Miss Brooks, who loves to read and dress up for reading circle. She reads her favorites, books for holidays, and asks the children to share books for Book Week. Opposite is the reluctant reader, Missy, who finds every objection possible in every book: "Too flowery....Too clickety....Too yippity." Until one book is found that connects, a book about warts.

Barbara's text is just a little edgy, and the realism makes this work come to life. When Missy is asked to write her own Halloween poem, she recites, "Eek! A Freak!" It's that consistent demeanor that makes the reader love her and finally rejoice over her book discovery. Sympathy easily swings in favor of Miss Brooks and Missy's mother, as well.

Michael scans his pencil drawings onto watercolor paper and then paints the imagery. You'll love the atypical librarian with her dreadlocks, boots, and hoop earrings. Missy in her knit hat, glasses, and overalls is perfectly rendered to carry her nonconforming attitude.

Barbara formerly wrote, produced, and designed for Sesame Street, while Michael is the son of Ed Emberley, and brother to Rebecca. All have contributed multiple books for our totz!

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't)

by Barbara Bottner
illustrated by Michael Emberley
Knopf, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Karate Pig: Alan Katz
Oh have you met Karate Pig?
He's not too small.
He's not too big.

Yes, I have now met Karate Pig, and I love him. And this book.

Turns out that Karate Pig likes to share. Which sometimes means he must CHOP things in halves. Or, in the case of a pizza, in eighths. In fact, he's driven to split an entire page right down the middle, at which point the narrator posits:

Any more of his kung fu, and I'm afraid this book is ruined.

A valid concern, since Karate Pig is slamming, kicking, and chopping his merry way through each page. The page corners and pages separate in very intriguing ways with each chop or kick. I've never seen another book like this one when it comes to unusual pull-out pages and a gatefold flap. Like the pig, the book is not too big or too small, and is very sturdy, which is nice, since it can take a pounding from karate totz who are sure to enjoy its rowdy, POW-erful, good humor. I like the fact that Karate Pig introduces basic fractions in a painless way as well. Well done!

Karate Pig
Author: Alan Katz
Illustrator: Daniel Moreton
Publisher: Little Simon, 2009

Friday, June 18, 2010

Photo Friday: Em and El

How about an occasional switch from Poetry Friday to Photo Friday? Don't pictures of totz just brighten your day?

If you want to share an image of your favorite tot send me the image at readertotzatclearwiredotnet I'm happy to post the love you share.

Ready, set, go!

Oh, and these are my totz, Em and El. Happy Photo Friday!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June Pick for the Older Sibling: The Garbage Barge

Do you remember this news story?

In 1987, a barge loaded with many tons of garbage left Long Island, New York. The garbage could not be buried locally, so the plan was to dump it in a landfill somewhere else. But it was turned away from ports over and over. It became infamous as the most unwelcome trash ever! This book is an amusing fictionalized account of that intriguing tale.

The barge visits North Carolina, New Orleans, Mexico, Belize...and winds up returning to New York. Meanwhile, it is the talk of TV and is splashed all over the news.

The Garbage Barge serves as an encouragement to recycle and take better care of our shared environment. The ending pretty much says it all:
MORAL: Don't Make So Much Garbage

The illustrations are fascinating. Like nothing I've seen before. Check out the video on the Amazon page that showcases their creation. A cover Red Nose Studio created for Angie's List magazine is a favorite of mine. On the blog, click on the September 2009 link.

The Garbage Barge
Jonah Winter, author
Red Nose Studio illustrations
Schwartz & Wade, 2010 (A Random House imprint)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Totz News: Win Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug

Hey parents and totz!

This just in from J.D. Lester about Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug. What a sweetheart. Get over there and play!

"Did you know I'm doing a nationwide giveaway as part of a parent nickname contest? One winner per state. Participating parents just need to post their kids' nicknames on my author page and that's it. They're entered. Voila.

And in honor of the reading parents in the contest, I'm going to give several hundred copies of Doodlebug to our university hospital here in Lexington, so docs can take the books to clinics serving pediatric neurology patients in Appalachia."

Isn't that the best? You know we heart community service at readertotz and readergirlz. Way to go, J.D.!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug, by J.D. Lester
I'm so happy to see Mommy Calls Me Monkeypants now has a companion board book from Robin Corey Books. J.D. Lester and Hiroe Nakata have teamed together again to bring your totz more rhyming couplets in Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug.

Illustrating both child and parent and animal behaviors, J.D. brings a lot of fun to her spreads.

Daddy calls me Shoo-Be-Doo...
we sing an ocean song. (whales)
Daddy calls me Mini-Me...
we're swinging right along! (monkeys)

Your totz and you will be surprised with each page turn as the nicknames are inventive: Goo-and-Go, Hockey Puck, and Hide 'n' Seek. You'll be adopting them before you know it.

Again, Hiroe's illustrations are light and airy, capturing the atmosphere surrounding a freedom of expression. Joy and lightheartedness are conveyed in the loose white edges around the watercolored imagery.

Enjoy Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug this upcoming Father's Day and then year round! Take a peek at J.D.'s Photototz entry here!

Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug

by J.D. Lester
illustrations by Hiroe Nakata
Robin Corey Books, Random, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Poetry Friday: Pure Imagination, Gene Wilder

I ran across this for our totz playlist in the sidebar, but I really enjoyed the video this morning, too. It's brilliant! Happy Poetry Friday!

Monday, June 7, 2010

When Daddy Comes Home: Lorie Ann Grover

Woo hoo! This one's by our own Lorie Ann Grover! It fits the month perfectly, since Father's Day is on the way.

A warm story about that thrilling moment when Daddy comes home at the end of a day. Ah, I remember it well, and it was cause for excitement. Your totz will also absorb fun facts effortlessly in deceptively simple sentences.

When Daddy Dog runs home,

(lift the doghouse-door flap to read:)
his puppy barks.

When Daddy Whale splashes home,
(lift the water-splash flap to read:)
his calf hums.

I didn't know whales hummed. Very cool fact. The active verbs used for the dads' actions (elephants stomp, monkeys swing, birds soar) as they arrive home add to the excitement that builds toward the arrival of "your Daddy".

Adorable illustrations will catch your totz' attention and the sturdy pages will stand up to repeated readings. A wonderful choice for totz, particularly around Father's Day by Grover, whose Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish was a Parents Magazine 20 Best Children's Books, 2009.

When Daddy Comes Home

Author-illustrator: Lorie Ann Grover
Little Simon, 2005

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poetry Friday: Little King Boggen
illustration by Blanche Fisher Wright

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.

Happy Poetry Friday, all!