Saturday, December 31, 2011

December: Community Service

If you didn't drop coins in the Salvation Army kettle this holiday season, drop off clothes and toys at your local Salvation Army store!

Happy new year, totz and parents!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Poetry Friday: A Farmer Went Riding

Happy Poetry Friday, parents and totz! The last of 2011!

Art by Frederick Richardson, Mother Goose the Original Volland Edition

A farmer went riding
Upon his gray mare;
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!

With his daughter behind him,
So rosy and fair;
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!

A raven cried "Croak!"
And they all tumbled down;
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!

The mare broke her knees,
And the farmer his crown;
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!

The mischievous raven
Flew laughing away;
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!

And vowed he would serve them
The same the next day;
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hippo Says Excuse Me: Michael Dahl

I love, love, love Hippo Says "Excuse Me" by Michael Dahl! What a find from Capstone, Picture Window Books. A simple text creates a plot full of tension as well as a lesson of where and when one might say, "Excuse me."

Oriol Vidal's illustrations will grab your heart. These large hippos are nearly weightless as they bounce down the street above their little shadows. And due to their trying to squeeze into small spaces, there's ample opportunity so say, "Excuse me." All of the included animals emote through distinct features, adorable proportions, and careful eye placement.

I know you and your totz will love this board book as much as I do. Excuse me, I'm sure of it!

Hippo Says "Excuse Me"
by Michael Dahl
illustrated by Oriol Vidal
Picture Window Books, Capstone
January, 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011

Poetry Friday: What Colour is Your World?

I'm such a fan of Phaidon Press and this picture book by Bob Gill is perfect for Poetry Friday. What Colour Is Your World? is a look at the colors surrounding us. Certainly, the grass is green, and milk is white. But what if you ask an artist?

"But suppose you asked an artist? 'It's hard
to tell,' he would
answer. 'Colours
keep changing.
Look at this..."

You and your totz will find yourselves looking with new eyes. Originally published in 1962, Gill's illustration and text treatment have a graphic quality that is so fresh today.

Thanks, Phaidon! Happy Poetry Friday, readertotz!

What Colour Is Your World?
by Bob Gill
Phaidon Press, 2008

Monday, December 19, 2011

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies? Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

This is one of my favorite dino board books by the team of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. Why? Cookies. Scratch 'n Sniff cookies to be exact. I've always liked a good scratch 'n sniff book and I don't see them often enough.

Told in rhyme and beautifully illustrated by Mark Teague, the book delights in each cookie, yet gently instructs readers not to be greedy and to be sure to share.

To top it all off, there are two dino-shaped cookie recipes in the back to make Cinnama-Saurus Rex and Fossilized Lemon Tracks. Yum!

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies? 
Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
Scholastic Cartwheel Books, January 1, 2012

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry Friday: Crouching Tiger

Today we celebrate poetry in prose. Crouching Tiger is a beautiful poetic combination of art and text with great heart. From Ying Chang Compestine's gentle language to Yan Nascimbene's spacious watercolor and ink illustration, you are your totz will love this story of tai chi, family, and the Chinese New Year.

Watch for this work just released from Candlewick Press. Happy Poetry Friday!

Crouching Tiger
by Ying Chang Compestine
illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Candlewick Press, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a Small World: Away We Go!

As a child, my absolute favorite ride at Disney World was "It's a Small World." No matter the length of the line, I'd wait for a ride in a boat to visit all the dolls dancing and singing in their countries. Author Meredith Rusu has brought that experience to a board book format in Away We Go!

With cleverness, Meredith shares means of transportation in various countries. In England, one might ride a double-decker bus. In India, you might ride a train. While in Italy, a child might paddle a gondola. Nancy Kubo's flat, color illustrations capture the original ride at Disneyland while also bearing a tinge of anime to keep the images fresh.

Thank Disney Press for this fun, well-designed release by looking for a copy to share with your totz. I'm sure you'll run across this title when it releases in a few days. It's a small world after all.

It's a Small World, Away We Go!
by Meredith Rusu
illustrated by Nancy Kubo
Disney Press, December 13, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

December Pick for the Older Sibling: Gift Tag, Poetry Friday

Did you see the holiday e-poetry collection, Gift Tag? It was compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. I'm so happy to be in this work with other poets who write for children. Each entry was motivated by an image. You might click and purchase the book for yourself and gift it to others for just $2.99. It's spot on for little ones and older readers. Gift Tag is full of holiday memories, thoughts, and wishes you'll want to read again and again. You will love it! As a teaser, here's my entry. Happy Poetry Friday!

Tucked Between Branches
A green puff swirls
Like angel hair
Golden eyes wink
Beside warm white lights
A round belly bulges
Like a plump ornament
My Christmas tree troll
Curls a smile
And reaches out to me

Lorie Ann Grover, 2011

Gift Tag
compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Power of Cute: Charise Mericle Harper

 The Power of Cute is subtitled, My Very First Graphic Novel. It's a sturdy lift-the-flap book about a little superhero by the super-prolific and talented Charise Mericle Harper. This superhero wears a hat with bear ears. When approached by a big, scary monster who questions his superpowers, the main character admits that he does not possess any of the powers he is asked about. But he eventually reveals his "power" aka the ability to make big monsters into cute little ones.

With a variety of flaps to lift, wheels to turn, and tabs to pull, I pronounce this book super-cute!

The Power of Cute
Author-illustrator: Charise Mericle Harper
Random House/Robin Corey Books, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poetry Friday: The Mice of Nibbling Village

"Do you know Mouse Nibbling?
Within your own home,
Quiet as the rain-drops
And light as sea-foam,
Under the floorboards
On delicate toes,
Mice run through the village
That no one else knows."

So begins The Mice of Nibbling Village by Margaret Greaves, illustrated by Jane Pinkney. Fourteen poems tell how the village mice are going about their day, including cooking, eating, and cleaning. Each traditional, watercolor illustration is joined with a black and white spot image and a poem on the facing page.

Here is a lovely way to celebrate Poetry Friday! With the pitter patter of mouse feet and your own readertotz!

The Mice of Nibbling Village
by Margaret Greaves
illustrated by Jane Pinkney
National Trust, 2011