Thursday, January 30, 2014

More, More, More: Paul Meets Bernadette

Paul Meets Bernadette

Paul circled the fish bowl, round and round, until Bernadette joined him. She pointed out the whole wide world. She shows him a boat, a forest, a cactus, and a lady's dress. (a banana, a flower arrangement, a clock, and a newspaper) To Bernadette, the teapot is an elephant, eyeglasses are a butterfly, and a spoon is a fish. With her explanations, Paul no longer swims in circles. "Now Paul goes around Bernadette."

This book is so subtle and dear. While at the same time, the older siblings will laugh at Bernadette's ideas. There's much to discuss as you read and absorb Rosy Lamb's words and paintings. How refreshing to see paintings! These were created while her daughter slept beside her.

Publishers Weekly gave the picture book a starred review and said, "Her sly approach to the way that love and friendship can alter one’s very view of life welcomes repeat visits."

Paul Meets Bernadette
by Rosy Lamb
Candlewick Press, 2013

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Big Hug For Little Cub: Lorie Ann Grover
This adorable, new bedtime story stands out for its spot-on description of the excitement, surprise, and joy that totz experience as they explore a world full of small discoveries and big wonders each day. The text is lyrical and rhyming, and follows a curious lion cub on adventures, from the time he wakes, till bedtime. Mom is always nearby.

Morning dawn,
I stretch and yawn.
Momma's near,
purrs in my ear.

Come, let's play
this bright hot day. 
Something that A Big Hug For Little Cub does so well in both story and illustrations is to show that as this small, curious lion cub wanders, plays, and learns each day, his loving parents will always be there to guide him and keep him safe. A reassuring message for totz.

The cuddly illustrations, warm parent-and-child theme, and appealing text make A Big Hug For Little Cub a wonderful choice for Valentine's Day, Easter, totz birthdays, and bedtime.

Loved it!

This soft padded board book is slightly larger than the typical board book at 7.5x7.5 inches.
Lorie Ann Grover is  the co-founder readergirlz, a social media site awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize, as well as readertotz, which aims to raise the profile of board books. She is alaso the author of board books (Bedtime Kiss For Little Fish) and young adult novels. Her most recent novel, Firstborn, publishes January 2014 and has received a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.

Author: Lorie Ann Grover 
Illustrator: Rosalinda Kightley
Cartwheel Books (January 7, 2014)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Poetry Friday: Best Friends Pretend!

Best Friends Pretend

I love it! Best Friends Pretend! is fun, catchy, adorable and portrays girls having adventures through their imaginations. Girls can be princesses, but they can also be astronauts, superheroes, explorers, and moms.

Boom! I'm off!
Will you come, too?
I'm the captain
you're the crew.

We'll zoom through space
and gather stars,
then bring them home
to keep in jars.

I hope this work finds a wide audience. It deserves it! Happy Poetry Friday!

Best Friends Pretend!
by Linda Leopold Strauss
illustrated by Lynn Musinger
Cartwheel, Scholastic, 2013

Thursday, January 23, 2014

More, More, More: Psalm 23, Richard Jesse Watson

It's as awesome as I hoped! Match the 23rd Psalm with the paintings of Richard Jesse Watson, and you have a classic. I'm so thankful Zonderkidz and Watson brought this book to our shelves. What a work of truth, comfort, strength, and beauty. Truly. It's as if you fall into this great book as it quotes the King James Version of the most popular Psalm of David.

Watson's bold, brushstrokes are layered and create beautiful tones and textures. There's a nod to Byzantine imagery with golden halos while there's also a loose, free line throughout, allowing the spreads to breathe. Modern children and lambs are included in the illustrations; we are all lambs being led. Rich endpapers portray eight child shepherds from around the world.

photo from

You don't want to miss this masterpiece in children's literature. Share it with the older siblings of your readertotz! Let's hope there will be a board book edition...

Psalm 23
illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
Zonderkidz, 2013

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tot to Tot: Ellie and A Birthday for Bear

I love this book, so I wasn't surprised to hear Ellie, from our readertotz Street Team, liked it, too! Bonny Becker's work is always top notch and touches the heart. Listen in to Ellie...

Title: A Birthday for Bear
Author: Bonny Becker

“Bear, who doesn’t like birthdays at all, has a mouse friend who tries to fool
Bear into liking birthdays. Then at the end, mouse makes Bear like birthdays.”

What I liked about the book:
“When Mouse popped out of the birthday cake.”

What will my brother and sister like?
“They would like when Mouse pops out of the cake, too!”

A Birthday for Bear
by Bonny Becker
illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Sparks, Candlewick Press, 2013

Monday, January 13, 2014

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket: Tatyana Feeney

First published as a 32-page picture book, Small Bunny's Blue Blanket is now available in board book form!

This seemingly simple plot will strike a chord with totz and parents alike. Small Bunny's bff is his Blue Blanket. With this blanket, Small Bunny can paint the best pictures, swing high, and read difficult words.

When his mom washes Blue Blanket, Small Bunny watches the entire cycle anxiously. Will his bff make it? Will he be the same? Turns out, his blanket is good as new, just like his mom promised. But Bunny liked his friend how he used to be!

A traditionally small-size board book at 6x6, with cardboard pages that will stand up to multiple readings.

Take a look at more of Tatyana's adorable illustrations!

Author-illustrator: Tatyana Feeney 
Knopf Books for Young Readers; Boardbook edition (December 24, 2013)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Poetry Friday: And the Cars Go...

Here is a fun, cumulative work titled And the Cars Go..., by William Bee. Actually, all the vehicles are stopped for the moment. The repeated sounds are fun, the mystery builds, and the illustrations are quirky with thick and thin lines and pattern.

"Here is the school bus, stuck in the jam,
and the kids shout,
'We're late! We're late! It's great! It's great!'

And the school bus goes,
     Chug chug, chuggety chug,
     chug chug, chuggety chug."

Enjoy this work on Poetry Friday! And note the bolded letters on the copyright page spell out an appropriate phrase...

And the Cars Go...
by William Bee
Candlewick Press, 2013

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More, more, more: Josephine

I recommended this work on a Poetry Friday and now here's the trailer. Enjoy!

by Patricia Hruby Powell
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle Books, 2013

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Book Birthday, Little Cub!

I'm so happy to be celebrating A Big Hug for Little Cub. This was fun to write, and Rosilinda's illustrations are cute as ever.

I hope you make many happy memories reading it with your totz!

Here's the description:

Cuddle up for a sweet bedtime story!

Little Cub is a cute and curious lion cub on a big adventure. Follow along as he travels with his mother safely by his side, exploring a world full of small discoveries and large wonders.

With lyrical rhymes and cuddly illustrations in a soft padded board book format, BIG HUG FOR LITTLE CUB is a reassuring tale of toddler curiosity and a parent's joy at seeing their little one hard at play from morning till night.

Big Hug for Little Cub
by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Rosalinda Kightley
Scholastic, Cartwheel Books, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Baby Beginner's Bible: Zonderkidz

I'm so happy to find this series from Zonderkidz and recommend that you share it with your totz. The Baby Beginners Bible hits the tot target with simplicity and clarity. Each biblical event is illustrated with one word, usually a noun but sometimes an adjective or verb. The story is presented beginning to end in ten images, with a fuller telling on the final spread for older totz.

Pulley's computer illustrations are light-hearted and fun. Each image sits within a circle above the block type word. From the introduction of concrete items to piecing together biblical stories, these works hit the mark.

The Baby Beginner's Bible Series
Jonah and the Big Fish
Daniel and the Lions
Noah's Ark
edited by Barbara Herndon
illustrated by Kelly Pulley
Zonderkidz, 2013

Friday, January 3, 2014

Poetry Friday: Giving Thanks

Likely intended to be purchased and enjoyed over the Thanksgiving holiday, I instead recommend Katherine Paterson's Giving Thanks now, now at the close of one year and the beginning of the new. These beautiful prayers and poems are nestled in Pamela Dalton's exquisite scissor cuts. This is a treasure to call to mind all we can be thankful for and all there is to joy in.

"Gratitude is from the same root word as 'grace'...
Thanksgiving is from the same root word as 'think,'
   so that to think is to thank."

Willis P. King, "Pulpit Preaching"

Or how about this Vietnamese Farmer's Prayer?

Please make the rain fall,
So I have water to drink;
So I may plow my rice field;
So I may have my bowl of rice;
And my fish in great slices."

Happy Poetry Friday!

Giving Thanks, Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving
Edited and Reflected upon by Katherine Paterson
Illustrated by Pamela Dalton
Handprint Books, 2013