Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fa La La: Leslie Patricelli

Fa La La is adorable! And it's wonderful to see a Christmas book featuring Leslie Patricelli's exuberant baby character. This is the Christmas timeline from a tot'z perspective, with spot-on humor:

We put on the lights. 
(Mom and Dad setting up the tree with lights)

Look at me! I'm a Christmas tree!
(Baby nearby, self-adorned with a popcorn-string boa and a few ornaments)

Fa La La is a true board book with sturdy pages and a 7x7" format. I like that the last spread is full of small illustrations of Christmas items with labels (reindeer, stocking, present, etc.). As a tot, I remember poring over this kind of spread with relish. The art is beautiful and the style is perfectly suited for totz.

Fa La La
Author-Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli
Candlewick, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Goodnight Moon, Cloth Book: Margaret Wise Brown

So what do you think? The cloth version seems a perfect, soft touch for your totz. I was excited to see this new edition from HarperCollins. But, they've reduced the classic to three spreads, and I wonder if there's a retouch to Clement Hurd's illustration of the fishing rabbit picture above the bookcase. For clarity, if I'm right? With the reduction of pages, the cadence of the original is sacrificed, yet, the rhythm can be found in what is included:

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of-
The cow jumping over the moon

Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Goodnight light
And the red balloon
Goodnight bears
Goodnight chairs

Goodnight noises everywhere

It's almost what you might whisper to your tot as she clutches her blue plush pillow book to sleep. I believe it has grown on me. Look for it, and let us know your take.

Goodnight Moon, Cloth Book
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrations by Clement Hurd
HarperCollins Publishers

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Pick for the Older Silblilng: Dog Loves Drawing

From Louise Yates' previous book, we all know that Dog Loves Books! In this picture book follow-up, Dog receives the gift of a book from his Aunt Dora. It's pages are empty. A sketchbook!  Dog knows just what to do with it:

He pulled out his pens, laid out his brushes, 
sharpened his pencils, 
took a deep breath and drew a

Dog meets newly-drawn friends, goes on an adventure, and makes a narrow escape. This book has broad appeal, especially for totz and their siblings who love drawing. It can serve as a unique vehicle for parents and teachers to engage children in a discussion of art materials and styles as well. 

I really enjoyed this wonderful book! 

Starred Review, School Library Journal

Dog Loves Drawing
Author-illustratog: Louise Yates
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trucks: Debbie Powell

Construction for totz! This "shiny touch" book is a super-sturdy 7x7" board book with tactile embossing and shiny stuff covering some areas.

Crash, bang
goes the dump truck.

Whirr, whirr
goes the cement mixer.

What are they building? Turn to the last page to find out. Sure to be a favorite among totz!

Author-illustrator: Debbie Powell
Candlewick, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More, More, More: Show Me a Story!

Leonard S. Marcus says, "Our favorite picture books speak to us at the start of life and continue to speak to us for the rest of our lives." So true!

I encourage parents of totz to sit down with a cup of coffee and Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter, and listen in as Leonard interviews 21 of the world's greatest illustrators. From Sendak to Wells, McCloskey to Steig, you'll feel as if you are at the table listening in to an expert discuss his passion with the passionate illustrator, himself or herself.

Gems are uncovered with each page turn. Behind the scenes anecdotes flesh out your favorite picture books. It's amazing how many illustrators give a nod to Charles Schultz. How many admire and look to each other for inspiration. Surprises include Mo Willems:

"I'd rather be a craftsman than an artist. An artist waits for an audience to understand his or her work. But a craftsman tries to understand the audience."

While other notes confirm your thoughts, such as Vera B. Williams' clear aim:

"The thing I'm most interested in doing as an illustrator is to make emotion visible."

Thanks to Candlewick Press and Leonard S. Marcus for sharing this treasure with lovers of picture books. The content, moments in time, words exchanged, thoughts shared is invaluable.

Show Me a Story!
Why Picture Books Matter
Conversations with 21 of the World's Most Celebrated Illustrators
compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus
Candlewick Press, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin: Tad Hills

Duck and Goose, the irrepressible team, spot Thistle carrying a pumpkin. The search is on for their own great gourd.

The journey takes the two to a log, a leaf pile, and up an apple tree. They look under water and on a stump. The reader almost expects flaps to appear on the spreads of this traditional search.

It's Thistle who tips Duck and Goose off, finally, that they might look in the pumpkin patch. Your totz will have fun staying one step ahead of the inquisitive, naive duo. Celebrate the season with Duck and Goose and a pumpkin from your local patch!

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin
by Tad Hills
Schwartz & Wade