Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash! Suse MacDonald

This is a truly unique 1 to 10 counting-up and counting-down book. It's especially cool because it's a neverending, circular story that begins: 

Follow the leader 
and count with me
the fish that live
beneath the sea...

The text from then on is mostly simple a new fish is added on each page. The text reads: 1 fish, 2 fish, 3 fish, etc. The fish are all wildly different and intriguing. The colors are bright and beautiful. Each stencil of cut-out fish overlays the next group of fish, so that the next fish are used to pattern the previous page's fish. Each new group of fish is an exciting revelation.

As we come to the end of the book (or what would traditionally be the end), we:
Follow the leader and do it again!
Which means we turn the book upside down and count back down to ten. Page by page, the stencils all work in reverse now from back to front. Very innovative--I think totz will love this!

This is not a true board book, but the pages are fairly sturdy and should hold up to substantial wear, but not chewing.

Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash!
Author-illustrator: Suse MacDonald
Little Simon, 2007

Friday, January 27, 2012

Poetry Friday: Everyone Needs

Everyone Needs a HugEveryone Needs a Friend
Everyone Needs a KissEveryone Needs Love
How about an adorable collection called Everyone Needs for Poetry Friday? Included are: Everyone Needs Love, Everyone Needs a Kiss, Everyone Needs a Hug, and Everyone Needs a Friend. 

With quaint text by Sophie Piper and dear illustrations by Caroline Williams, the series from Lion Hudson is heart-shaped and will fit nicely in little hands. Three of the four works are rhyme, while Everyone Needs a Kiss is a list of various kisses and when they are needed. Here is a portion of Everyone Needs a Friend. Happy Poetry Friday to you and your totz!

Everyone Needs a Friend

A friend to help
A friend for play
A friend beside you all the way

Everyone Needs a Friend
Everyone Needs a Hug
Everyone Needs a Kiss
Everyone Needs Love
by Sophie Piper
illustrated by Caroline Williams
Lion Hudson, 2010

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More, More, More: The Sniffles for Bear

For everyone hit by a winter cold, Joan and I recommend Bonny Becker's The Sniffles for Bear. With Kady MacDonald Denton's illustrations, this book is quintessential Candlewick. (That is a huge compliment.) You will love the light watercolors!

Because Bear is sick, cheerful Mouse comes over to nurse him to health. Yet, how can one really be comforted when so, so sick? Certainly a will should be drafted before it's too late. Bonny's comedic timing is perfect, enhanced further by Kady's hilarious illustrations. A double spread is needed as Mouse pulls Bear up the stairs to bed.

Thankfully, with a friend's ministrations, one bounces back quickly, although maybe sharing the germs along the way. Reach for this fun work when the cold bug hits your house. You'll have a smile on your face before you know it!

The Sniffles for Bear
by Bonny Becker
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Candlewick Press, 2011

Monday, January 23, 2012

More, More, More: A New Year's Reunion

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with A New Year's Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong, illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang. Maomao's father works away from home the entire year, but he returns to celebrate the holiday with his wife and child. From the hesitant reunion to the eventual bittersweet goodbye, the honesty shared by Yu is beautiful.

Zhu's illustrations are vibrant and bold, capturing the joy of the holiday to precious, quiet family moments. Sticky rice balls, red envelopes, and the dragon dance through town are only elements of this story. The sacrificial love shared by a father, mother, and daughter are the pulse and heart.

To the 100 million migrant workers in China who labor for their loved ones, happy new year!

A New Year's Reunion
by Yu Li-Qiong
illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
Candlewick Press, 2011

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DK Toddler Fun

The master of nonfiction has to be DK, right? See if you can still find this boxed collection called Toddler Fun. Included are previously published lift-the-flap board books Words in My World, Colorful World, Shapes All Around, and Numbers are Everywhere.

Each page provides the featured item and then asks a question or prompts further discovery beneath the accompanying flap. "This ball is a circle. Let's find some more circles." Beneath the flap is a button, bubbles, a wheel, a flower, an orange, a clock, and marbles.

This little set is packed full of imagery to keep your totz reading. Explore words, colors, shapes, and numbers with your little readers. Thanks, DK!

Toddler Fun
DK Publishing, 2008

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Dazzling Display of Dogs

Happy Poetry Friday! Today's feature is A Dazzling Display of Dogs. Ready yourself for a collection of concrete poems about dogs by poet Betsy Franco, illustrated by printmaker Michael Wertz. Each vivid celebration of a dog could stand alone as a graphic poster. The monoprints are as rich as the language.

Look for an ode, a cinquain, a haiku, and free verse. Be ready for mutts, dalmations, a golden retriever, a Jack Russell Terrier and many more busy, barking dogs. Here's an entry for my pug-loving mother.

A Dazzling Display of Dogs
by Betsy Franco
illustrations by Michael Wertz
Tricycle Press, 2011

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January for the Older Sibling: Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake


When I read the quote on the back of this picture book, I knew it was going to be a book I liked. It turned out to be a book I love.

"I am going to marry chocolate cake!" ~ Betty Bunny

I said things like this when I was a kid. In fact, I'd still like to marry chocolate chip cookies. The situations, characters, and dialogue are full of wry humor and realism, all of which rings true and entertains.

At its core, this story is about waiting and learning to be patient. Many kids (and grown-ups) struggle with this. It's hard to wait for something as wonderful as chocolate cake, right? But after a first delicious taste, Betty  must wait for another piece. She throws a temper tantrum and huffs to her room.

I laughed when Betty's mom tells her: I still love you.
And Betty replies: And I still love chocolate cake.

Kids everywhere will relate to Betty and her frustrations, and they'll laugh at her hijinks and at the book's ending.

Keep an eye out for Betty Bunny Wants Everything, coming February 2012.

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
Author: Michael B. Kaplan
Illustrator: Stephane Jorisch
Publisher: Dial Books, May 2011

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More, More, More: The Mellops

Three cheers for Phaidon Press for bringing Tomi Ungerer's classic series about the Mellops back to life for young readers. First printed in Germany in the late 1970's, the simple ink line drawings and limited color separation spreads are full of excitement. Whether the pig family is drilling for oil, caught in a forest fire, or deep sea diving with their dog, the older siblings of your totz will be riveted to the tales.

Next Christmas, definitely watch for Christmas Eve at the Mellops'. The work could have been written in 2012 with it's freshness and relevance. Tomi's heart rings loud and clear. Now if we could just get a sample of Mrs. Mellops beautiful cream cake.

The Mellops Strike Oil
The Mellops Go Diving for Treasure
Christmas Eve at the Mellops'
by Tomi Ungerer
Phaidon Press, 2011

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More, More, More: Nicholas and the Gang

How lovely that the Nicholas series is back in print and available to us! Originally published in the 60's in France, Nicholas remains hilarious. The older siblings of your readertotz will get such a kick out of the antics of this passel of boys. Like Junie B. Jones, the reader realizes more than the characters. The conclusion of every chapter lands on a funny bone, never appreciated by Nicholas or his gang. Settings are varied including the school room, the new bookstore, and the vacant lot. Oh, the fun to be had! There is certain to be a row, which is considered the great part of the day.

I particularly enjoyed the appearance of Mary Jane. Neighbor to Nicholas, she has the gang around her finger. While they are completely unaware, of course.

Look for more of author Rene Goscinny's works which are currently available: Nicholas, Nicholas Again, Nicholas on Vacation, and Nicholas in Trouble. Jean-Jacques Sempe's illustrations further add to the humor. Spot imagery or half-spread illustrations fill the works and propel the stories forward. They are masterful.

As The Guardian says about Nicholas, "Lovable, naive and very French. Nicholas is timeless."

Nicholas and the Gang
by Rene Goscinny
illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempe
Phaidon Press

Sunday, January 15, 2012

To Pee or Not to Pee: Linda Johns

Will has something important to decide. Whether or not to use his new, small potty in the way it was intended. As he considers the matter, he finds the potty useful as a stool, a tiny tub, and a tv-watching chair. The story encourages the use of a potty chart to encourage the correct use of the potty, and stickers for the chart are enclosed in an envelope adhered to the inside back cover.

Just the right size for small hands, this book is very cute and appealing!

Linda Johns is also the author of the popular Hannah West chapter book series set in the Pacific NW. Dana Regan is the prolific illustrator of easy readers and books for totz.

To Pee or Not to Pee
Author: Linda Johns
Illustrator: Dana Regan
Infinity Plus One, 1998

Friday, January 13, 2012

Poetry Friday: Thirteen O'Clock

Thirteen O'Clock

How about the unexpected for a winter Poetry Friday? Take a look at James Stimson's Thirteen O'Clock. Rendered in haunting, mysterious pencil, James shares what happens in a small girl's fairly normal home when her clock strikes thirteen. A Fright, and a Thing, four ghosts and an elf are among those who crawl out of the clock and creep toward the girl's room. Delightfully, they end up frightened of her until they realize she is a friend.

Here's an excerpt for fun. Happy Poetry Friday, the thirteenth!

Open the door with a squeeeeky hinge,
it's time for mischievous things!
Sneaky, sneaky,
spooky and freaky,
on the count of (none other than) thirteen
the monsterous mischief begins!

Thirteen O'Clock
by James Stimson
Chronicle Books, 2005

Monday, January 9, 2012

Star Trek Book of Opposites: David Borgenicht

So much fun! A blast! I have to recommend this work by David Borgenicht from Quirk. Parental geeks must share Star Trek Book of Opposites with their totz. The images are captured straight from the original episodes. Here, take a look:

And how funny is this?

Make your totz little trekkies. Teach them about tribbles! How can you not?

Star Trek Book of Opposites
by David Borgenicht
Quirk, 2011

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who Was Babe Ruth? co-blogger Joan Holub's new release

Just in time for baseball season, I'm celebrating the release of my new chapter book biography! I'm a huge biography fan, so I thoroughly enjoy writing for Grosset & Dunlap's "Who Was" series. Also known as the "big head" biography series because of the striking cover illustrations. You can see a nice assortment of the titles in a face-out display at Barnes & Noble in the children's section.

Babe Ruth came from a poor Baltimore family and, as a kid, he was a handful. It was at a reform school that he discovered his talent for baseball, and by the age of nineteen, he was on his way to becoming a sports legend. Babe was often out of shape and even more often out on the town, but he had a big heart and an even bigger swing! Kids will learn all about the Home Run King in this rags-to-riches sports biography. With black-and-white illustrations throughout.
This is my 4th title in the series for ages 7-11:
Who Was Johnny Appleseed?
Who Was Marco Polo?
Who Was Jim Henson?
Who Was Babe Ruth?

Drop a comment at joanholub.blogspot.com for a chance to win an autographed copy! Winner will be announced on my blog in the comments on or about January 19th. Please either leave a contact email or be sure to check back to see if you're the winner.

~ Joan

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday: I Am Going!

For all the parents of totz, enjoy the day, hour, moment. I just dropped my youngest off at Washington State University. In the bookstore, she found and read aloud Mo Willems for me. Nothing better for a smile. Thanks, Ellen, and thanks, Mo!

Happy Photo Friday!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bath or Bed? Anthony Lewis

This board book caught my eye because of its unique novelty feature. The happy/sad face pivots on a strong vertical thread on each page. So totz can choose a yes/happy or no /mad face option in answer to questions posed such as:

Does Cassie like washing her face?
Would Kamilla like a kiss?

I can easily imagine totz giggling as they jokingly choose the 'no' option on occasion. This book is a good learning tool about making choices, it's colorful, and is surprisingly sturdy. A very enjoyable find.
Bath or Bed?
Illustrator: Anthony Lewis
Child's Play, 2008

January: Around the Block with Sesame Street

Happy New Year, totz! TWELVE! 2012!