Sunday, December 29, 2013

I Love You, Stinky Face: Lisa McCourt

I love that I Love You, Stinky Face is available in sturdy board book form, so totz can hang onto it, carry it around, and perhaps even chew on it a bit.

Mama said, "I love you, my wonderful child."
But I had a question.
Mama, what if I were a big scary ape? 
Would you still love me then?

What a wonderful beginning, sure to engage totz! The child in this book continues to pose similar questions to mom, who continues to reassure him. Expect totz coming up with their own ideas of hilariously horrible creatures they might become to test the strength of their parents' love.

Author: Lisa McCourt
Illustrator: Cyd Moore

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More, More, More: Carnivores

One of my favorite works from 2013 was this one: Carnivores, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat. The premise is that "even SAVAGE CARNIVORES get their feelings hurt." Whether it's the sensitive lion worried about the gazelles' whispers, or the wolf's really unearned reputation for eating little girls, the carnivores come together in a sort of group therapy.

When their vegetarian efforts fail, as well as their disguises, they learn to embrace who they really are. "Eating meat is just what they do." Explore and enjoy this fun message with your totz! Even though Joan and I are pescetarians. ;~)

by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Dan Santat
Chronicle Books, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Poetry Friday: Josephine

I opened this picture book and was completely amazed to read of Josephine Baker. What an homage to this esoteric, African American dancer with an enormous heart. So, I'm celebrating this work for Poetry Friday as author Patricia Hruby Powell's words dance across the pages along with the cadence of Christian Robinson's imagery. Enjoy and teach your totz the Charleston!

"I improvised, crazed with the music.
Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever.
I leapt to touch the sky.
When I regained earth
it was mine alone."

Josephine, The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker
by Patricia Hruby Powell
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle Books, 2014

Monday, December 23, 2013

Giggle! Caroline Jayne Church

What is more infectious than hearing a tot giggle? Scholastic knows it's irresistible and captured the sound in a push button for the corner of Giggle! by Caroline Jayne Church.

"Laugh out loud
or just giggle!
Feel a tickle in
your middle!"

Each spread featuring giggling children allows the reader to press the button and double the laughter. So, as the totz make silly faces, grin, and wiggle their noses, laugh along with them. You likely won't be able to help yourself!

by Caroline Jayne Church
Cartwheel Books, Scholastic, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Santa Goes Everywhere! Brian Biggs

Had to jump on and be sure you caught Santa Goes Everywhere! by Brian Biggs! Too cute for the holidays. How can you not love Santa and his one reindeer in a canoe, taking public transportation, and on a motorcycle. Happy celebrations, everyone!

Santa Goes Everywhere!
by Brian Biggs
Balzer + Bray, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Poetry Friday: Toys Galore

Happy Poetry Friday! Here's a fun book in poetry for the holidays. Enjoy!

"Small toy, tall toy,
bouncing-ball toy.
Hat toy, shoe toy.
Stretchy GOO toy!

And of course the best toy is your own imagination. ;~)

Toys Galore
by Peter Stein
illustrated by Bob Staake
Candlewick Press, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve: Lucy Cousins

Snow falls on Maisy's, Charley's, Cyril's, Tallulah's, and Eddie's houses on Christmas Eve. Join them on this simple story that tells of hanging stockings by the fireplace, making pies, and hanging colorful decorations. Oh, and also rescuing a friend caught in the snow. All ends well with the whole group singing carols around the Christmas tree.

A lovely, colorful Maisy book with sparkly snow on the cover. What could be better?

Author-illustrator: Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More, more, more: Walking with Dinosaurs

Following the BBC miniseries that ran in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel comes the movie Walking with Dinosaurs. Looks like Harper is releasing many versions for totz:

Walking with Dinosaurs Encyclopedia
Walking with Dinosaurs Handbook
Walking with Dinosaurs: Patchi's Big Adventure
Walking with Dinosaurs: The Great Migration
Walking with Dinosaurs: A Reusable Sticker Book
Walking with Dinosaurs: Friends Stick Together
Walking with Dinosaurs: The Winter Ground

Whether you reach for the sticker books, the handbook, the encyclopedia, or the I Can Read series, you will be surrounded by dinosaurs. I'm pretty terrified by t-rex, but maybe your totz will stomp around with excitement!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blue Bus, Red Balloon: Brian Biggs

Keeping with the Everything Goes Series, I recommend Brian Biggs Blue Bus, Red Balloon, a Book of Colors. Brian tells a story of a lost balloon found again in this small board book, of course featuring means of transportation.

When the little girl loses her balloon out the yellow taxi, the reader tracks the balloon's journey past a green van, a blue bus, a black sports car, and even a purple sailboat. With the rainbow train pulling into town for the circus, the girl hops a hot air balloon and retrieves her own balloon herself.

I love that Briggs told a story while demonstrating color and modes of transportation. Well done!

Blue Bus, Red Balloon, A Book of Colors
by Brian Biggs
Balzer + Bray, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

More, More, More: Once Upon a Memory, by Nina Laden

Ohhhhh. Sometimes, sometimes you pick up a picture book, and you hope. You hope, and you keep reading. And you hope, and you turn the pages. And then, you reach the end knowing you have just read the perfect picture book.

Once Upon a Memory is that book. When I heard Nina Laden read only a few pages at our local Inside Story to booksellers and librarians, my ear was caught, and I was left wanting more verses, more story. The stack sold out before I had a chance to buy a copy, and I had to wait, hoping that what I heard would sing to the last page.

"Does a feather remember
it once was...
...a bird?

Does a book remember
it once was...
...a word?"

Now I have read the entire text and can say: it does sing! Following a wordless spread which sets the stage, the clear beat begins and creates a cadence, until reaching a last spread of silence, before the final question. Nina delivers the pulse of our hearts.

Renata Liwska's illustrations are incredibly suited to the text. With original sketches colored in Adobe Photoshop, they almost wink on the page with softness. She captures a classic atmosphere while cleverly stepping us in and out of a child's imagination.

Find, borrow, buy Once Upon a Memory. It's perfect. Brava, ladies! Well done, Editor Connie Hsu!

Once Upon a Memory
by Nina Laden
illustrated by Renata Liwska
Little, Brown and Company, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Forever: Emma Dodd

Forever is a beautiful, sweet book, perfect for winter! The art is stunning and yet simple. And the story is as well.

If you're ever feeling scared,
I'll be right beside you.
If you're ever feeling lost,
know that I will find you.

This book can be used as a bedtime story. Or as a comfort to calm a wide range of tot's fears. Getting lost. A divorce or a temporary absence in the family, perhaps due to military service. And in view of the polar bear characters, it could even be used with a tot who has heard just enough to be confused about what global climate change means to her or him.

Forever is not a traditional board book. The pages are paper. However, it's board book size, approximately 8"x8". I love the silver foil snow on the cover. This book is just so beautiful!

Author-illustrator: Emma Dodd