Monday, December 31, 2012

Big Kid Pick: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems

I know it's hard to believe, really hard, but I picked this picture book up and read it without realizing who the author was. Seriously. I knew Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs was my Big Kid's Pick by the last page and then continued laughing when I turned back to the cover and discovered the brilliance, again, was Mo. (How did I not recognize the illustrations? I don't know.)

You have to love three dinosaurs visiting from Norway, who go Someplace Else and don't wait for an unsuspecting kid to come by, a "poorly supervised" Goldilocks. She eats three bowls of chocolate pudding, finds three chairs which are too tall, and finally discovers she's in a dinosaur home.

There are echoes of James Marshall throughout this gem. I absolutely loved this work. Don't miss it! It's one of my favorites of 2012. Thanks, Mo!

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
by Mo Willems
Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins

Everything Goes, Stop! Go!: Brian Biggs

I'm a new fan of Brian Biggs! These sturdy board books feature cars and fun people demonstrating opposites and counting. Everything Goes, Stop! Go! and 1 2 3 Beep Beep Beep! both have an underlying humor just waiting for the giggle.

My favorite illustration in Stop! Go! is "Loud Quiet." How perfect to use the ice cream man's truck to illustrate loud while a mother pushes a stroller for quiet? 123 Beep Beep Beep! features a similar ice cream truck on the "6 Food trucks" spread.

Biggs is current, fun, and bright. You and your totz will love his work!

Everything Goes, Stop! Go! A Book of Opposites
Everything Goes, 1 2 3 Beep Beep Beep! A Counting Book
by Brian Biggs
Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Goose Needs A Hug by Tad Hills

 Goose Needs A Hug opens with Tad Hills’ familiar Goose character announcing to his friends:

I’m feeling sad.
I think I need –

Without waiting for Goose to explain what he needs, his friends jump in with suggestions that they hope will cheer him up. Normally, a game of hide and seek or splashing in puddles might be just the ticket to make Goose feel better. But in the end, Goose becomes a little frustrated, insisting:


Finally his friends listen. And once they understand, they give him just what he needs--a hug. And that's something we can all use now and then. The idea that totz should be comfortable asking for a hug when they need one is a lovely one to reinforce, and I hope totz will grow up knowing that they can always ask dear friends for a hug even when they're grown up!

With pages of 6x6.5 inch sturdy-cardboard and simple, colorful pages with a population of sympathetic childlike characters who fill much of each page, this board book will stand up to many re-readings and occasional unsanctioned tastings by totz.

Goose Needs A Hug
Author-illustrator: Tad Hills
Schwartz & Wade, 2013

Friday, December 21, 2012

Poetry Friday: Polar Bear Night

Joan and I don't usually post a second time in support of a work, but this one I love so much. I'm sharing a phrase from Polar Bear Night for Poetry Friday. Enjoy it with your totz!

The little cub leaves her warm,
soft mother, so deep asleep.
She sets out for the snow and sky and
sea and ice, and the moon follows.

Beautiful! May your day and night be filled with poetry.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Polar Bear Night: Lauren Thompson

Polar Bear Night

Don't you love when the perfect picture book is released in a board book format, and it reads so well? The awarded Polar Bear Night is that book!

Lauren Thompson's text is elegant and poetic while Stephen Savage's lino cuts are brilliantly refined. The textures brought to the story enrich the tale.

When "the night is keen and cold," a baby polar bear is called out of the den, away from the sleeping mother. While the walrus, seals, and whales sleep, as well, the baby and moon watch the stars begin to fall, lighting up the world.

This could be my favorite board book of the year. Text and imagery will light up your heart. Thank you, Cartwheel. Bravo!

Polar Bear Night
by Lauren Thompson
illustrated by Stephen Savage
Scholastic, Cartwheel Books, 1/1/13

Sunday, December 9, 2012

BOB and 6 more Christmas Stories: Sandra Boynton

This is a true board book with small, sturdy pages. What makes its form different from a typical board book is that the seven stories (BOB plus 6 more) are made easy to find by tabs on the right.

I’m a Sandra Boynton fan, and this book does not disappoint. It begins with:


I have a tiny reindeer.
He says his name is Bob.
He likes to enterain me.
He says it is his job.

(To the very end of this two-page tale, the narrator still believes Bob is real, despite his sister’s nay-saying.)

The seventh story is actually a song. Christmas Lullaby comes with accompanying 1-page sheet music, in case you want to play it with your tot. This one is soft and sweet. The third and final stanza:

Good night, my little present,
and always peace to you.
I’ve nothing more to ask for—
You are my wish come true,
Oh, you are my wish come true.

A fun and lovely book sure to please parents and totz!

Author-illustrator: Sandra Boynton

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

readertotz co-founder celebrates new Goddess Girls book!

Goddess Girls #9: Pandora the Curious releases today!
This is the first in the series to release in both paperback and hardcover in the US. 
My awesome co-author Suzanne Williams and I put a modern spin on the Greek myth of Pandora's Box in this story, which is set at Mount Olympus Academy, where gods and goddesses hone their mythical skills.

by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
ages 8-12

Is Pandora about to open up a box of trouble?
One of the few mortals at Mount Olympus Academy, Pandora is famous for her mega quizzical nature--not that she thinks there's anything wrong with curiosity of course!

Her curiosity kicks into high gear when a godboy named Epimetheus brings a mysterious box to school. Pandora can't help but take a peek inside this new box when it unexpectedly lands in her lap. What could be the harm in that, right? Little does she know that opening the box will open up far more trouble than she ever expected!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Countasaurus: Megan E. Bryant

Don't you love a passion for a subject, combined with spot on text, and perfectly appropriate cheerful illustration? This describes the Chronicle dinosaur series by Megan E. Bryant, illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell. The works include: Countasaurus, Shapeasaurus, Colorasaurus, and Alphasaurus.

I have to say my favorite is Countasaurus. There's a simplicity as the reader counts to ten, ending in the surprise of 50 Tyrannosaurus Rex's teeth. Colorasaurus is evocative with open wide spreads to showcase color: "The cool, blue water ripples as Triceratops takes a drink." Shapeasaurus is sophisticated with its introduction of crescents, cones, and diamonds. The most complicated is, of course, Alphasaurus with each letter presenting a dinosaur in the midst of a sentence full of alliteration. This particular text will keep your totz' attention to an older age.

Powell's illustrations are a delight. She manages to portray the dinosaurs with cheerful smiles. There's no room for fear in the collection. Joan and I let out a dinosaur roar for this grouping!

by Megan E. Bryant
illustrations by Luciana Navarro Powell
Chronicle Books