Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas in the Mouse House: Maggie Kneen

I really do love Templar Books. The quality is exceptional. This week's recommend is Christmas in the Mouse House. Be ready to visit a turn of the century mouse house preparing for the holidays.

Papa and Mama Mouse have hidden twelve stars throughout the home, and it's the work of the children to find them in order to decorate the tree. Along the way, they decide to make their own ornaments, too.

Author/illustrator Maggie Kneen's traditional, watercolor spreads contain multiple flaps per page and a few pop-ups which expand the story. What fun to search for the stars, find sweet surprises, and spot the Christmas Mouse.

Watch and help the Mouse family create "the most beautiful Christmas tree" ever. This will be a treasured holiday read with your totz!

Christmas in the Mouse House
by Maggie Kneen
Templar Books, 2011

November: Community Service

Okay, it's the end of November. Do you still have Halloween candy left over? Or maybe you want to buy a bag right now for this idea? Here's the suggestion for this month's community service:

Send that abundant Halloween candy over to the troops! Visit Operation Shoebox for details.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Photo Friday: Turkey Hat!

Isn't this the cutest? Click here for the free pattern. Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving, totz and parents!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shapes: Jan Pienkowski

I picked up several of Jan Pienkowski's books last week. Though the interior pages are not board, these titles are board book size and are just right for the youngest totz. The present basic concepts in a fun, easy-to-grasp way. The art is bright and bold with a fat black outline, and is reminiscent of one of my favorite authors of books for totz, Todd Parr (The Okay Book).

Jan Pienkowski has a background in advertising, publishing, children's television, and greeting cards. He is the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal for The Kingdom Under the Sea and Haunted House. He lives in London.

Author-illustrator, Jan Pienkowski
Walker Books, 2008

Friday, November 18, 2011

Poetry Friday: Over and Under the Snow

"Over the snow I glide. Into woods,
frosted fresh and white.

Over the snow, a flash of fur-a red squirrel
disappears down a crack.

'Where did he go?'
'Under the snow,' Dad says."

Another non-fiction, poetic, picture book recommend today! Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal is as crisp, poignant, and fresh as a field of new snow. Who is above and secretly below the winter layers?

Whether it be the size, layout, or father with child outdoors, there's a hearkening back to the beloved Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. This beautiful work will be equally loved.

Over and Under the Snow
by Kate Messner
art by Christopher Silas Neal
Chronicle Books, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November For the Older Sibling: I Want My Hat Back

Initially, I was attracted to the cover of this book, and the bear's expression. But I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Was it going to be too spare and all about the great art, I wondered? But I loved this book, the minute I read it.

Bear's hat is gone, and he's looking for it with determination and stoic patience. We don't know what his hat looks like, but we go on the journey with him as he politely asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. They say no, one by one. Eventually, a deer asks a question that creates a "hey, wait a minute" moment for bear.

A sly, wry story that is perfectly illustrated. Totz will love discovering the secret before bear does and may very well be shouting at him to send him in the right direction. Highly recommend this one!

Book trailer

I Want My Hat Back
Author-illustrator: Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rescue: by Matthew Reinhart

I had lower expectations for this pop-up book, only because of its soft paper cover, but I was immediately impressed when I opened the work. Matthew Reinhart's Rescue illustrations, text, and engineering have great impact and tot appeal!

What appears to be paper collage creates a great collection of those who give their lives to help others: police officers, lifeguards, helicopter pilots, paramedics, and fire fighters. Each spread depicts the individual on the left and a pop-up action scene on the right. The text on the left describes the rescuer, while the text on the right elaborates on the emergency.

Totz will love the high action of society's heroes. My favorite is the the female pilot. The helicopter shoots up off the page as a hiker climbs the ladder to be rescued.

Don't be fooled by the paper binding. It helps to keep the price down, and Rescue is sturdy. It will hold up to many readings!

Rescue, Pop-Up Emergency Vehicles
by Matthew Reinhart
Robin Corey Books, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poetry Friday: Monday is One Day

"The hardest part of going to work is being apart from you.
Let's count the days until we're both at home
with a special thing to do."

I recently attended a reading and signing with Arthur A. Levine. What a lovely opportunity to hear him read his own work.

In Monday is One Day, your totz will find solace in celebrating the small moments with loved ones each day. Yes, daycare, work, and school may separate us, but looking forward to being together eases the situation. The beautiful rhyme and rhythm in the text will have you quickly repeating the lines together.

The sharp, fun imagery and color palette by Julian Hector remind me of the beloved Curious George. How can that not echo comfort?

Enjoy Monday is One Day with your totz this Poetry Friday! 

by Arthur A. Levine
illustrated by Julian Hector
Scholastic Press, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Michelle Sinclair Colman: Artsy Babies Wear Paint

This sturdy 20-page board book is perfect for small artsy totzy hands at 5 1/2" square. Whether they're throwing clay at the floor, making their own collections (of stuffed animals), enjoying a still life (by eating it), or posing (au naturel, of course), these urbane babies are sure to inspire a new generation of Picassos. With illustrations by Nathalie Dion the simple text is full of gentle humor about the totz artistic abilities.
About the author and illustrator:
After her first child was born, Michelle Sinclair Colman was inspired to create the first book in this series: Urban Babies Wear Black. Now Michelle draws her inspiration from two urban—and artsy!—children. She and her family make their home in Waccabuc, New York. Nathalie Dion studied graphic art at Concordia University.

Titles in this board book series:

Illustrator: Nathalie Dion

Friday, November 4, 2011

Poetry Friday: November's Around the Block

Here's this month's Around the Block With Sesame Street. Listen in as Cab Calloway sings "Hi De Ho Man!" Happy Poetry Friday!