Monday, November 30, 2015

Splat the Cat, Christmas Countdown: Rob Scotton

Splat the Cat Christmas Countdown is a fun touch-and-feel holiday book. Splat prepares for Santa's visit with a tree and gifts. Snuggled into bed, his hope arrives, and the next morning is full of celebration.

This familiar character brings innovative textures to the holiday with a prickly tree, a shiny package ribbon, and ultimately, Splat's own belly fur. What a fun board book for the holiday countdown!

Splat the Cat, Christmas Countdown
By Rob Scotton
HarperFestival, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lionel and Molly, Opposites: Joanna Lake

Lionel and Molly are the best of friends, even though they are quite opposite. Comparing the mouse and lion, along with textured inserts, makes a fun read for your smallest readertotz.

Lionel and Molly, Opposites shows how two friends can be different: loud and quiet, big and small, with varied interests. However, they both enjoy tea parties.

Jess Racklyeft's textured but simple shapes read easily with Joanna Lake's words. The added bonus of texture is an enjoyable surprise.

Lionel and Molly, Opposites
By Joanna Lake
Illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
Little Bee Books, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

More, more, more: Caps for Sale and More Caps for Sale

Celebrating 75 years from its first publication, Caps for Sale, A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, a Reading Rainbow Book, by Esphyr Slobodkina is now accompanied by a formerly unpublished sequel, More Caps for Sale, Another Tale of Mischievous Monkeys.

Rereading Caps for Sale, I'm struck by the beauty of the rhythm and repetition within the work.

So the peddler
picked up his caps and
put them back on his head--

first his own checked cap,

then the gray caps,

then the brown caps,

then the blue caps,

then the red caps
on the very top.

Doesn't it just resonate calmness? The sequel begins with the same opening as Caps for Sale. But the peddler considers the monkeys and how he sold no caps that day. This time as he sets an example for the monkeys, they also set an example for the peddler. He follows their lead by eating and sleeping. Journeying back to town the following morning, the peddler sells all his caps as the monkeys entertain the townspeople by imitating the peddler. They learn proper conduct from him.

Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer wrote this sequel with story ideas from Slobodkina. The two were longtime friends, business partners, and supporters of each other. The sequel art was extracted and manipulated by Sayer from Slobodkina's paintings and illustration. The reader might initially feel the difference, if a lover of Caps for Sale, but the work pulls together with a sense of unity.

Both women believed society should instill morality and ethics in young children, and books were the perfect format to do so. Enjoy these picture books with your totz. And let us know your thoughts! (A board book release of Caps for Sale by HarperFestival is also available!)

Caps for Sale, A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
By Esphyr Slobodkina
More Caps for Sale, Another Tale of Mischievous Monkeys
By Esphyr Slobodkina, with Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer
Harper, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

There, There: Sam McBratney

Little Hansie Bear loves to pretend. Walking like a duck sends him down into a ditch, but his dad comes to his aid. Again his father helps when Hansie gets sand in his eyes and later bumps his head. At the end of the day when his father is overwhelmed, the little bear is able to comfort him.

Originally a picture book in 2013, There, There, by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Ivan Bates, transfers well into the board book format. For the older readertotz, the text will not be too heavy, and the message will be appreciated.

There, There
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Ivan Bates
Templar Books, 2015

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia's Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups: Delia Ephron

In perfect time for the holidays we have a reissue of a book from 1989 with updates for the modern reader and older sibs of your totz. Delia Ephron's Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia's Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups is available for giggling and learning simultaneously.

The work begins with Aunt Delia's letter and book arriving at the kids' home. It is an invite to take a quiz of manners. How do the children reply?

"Go jump in the lake."
"I hate tests."
"Okay, but I'm bringing forty friends. You'd better have food.
"I'd love to, Aunt Delia. Thank you so much for asking me."

If you accepted the invitation, what do you do now?
Turn the page.
Close the book and throw it out the window.

Edward Koren's squiggly, loose, ink drawings illustrate topics from Restaurant Manners to Video Game Manners and Holiday Manners. Delia's humor is punctuated with Edward's hilarious imagery of children acting out at times with inappropriate responses.

The modern inclusions are gems.

Now you're playing Minecraft. Aunt Delia is watching. She says, "Do you have to kill the sheep, too? Why don't you just cut the wool?"
What do you say?
"Wait until I kill this pig and then I'll explain."
"Stop talking. You just made me die."

And how perfect to end with the holidays we are approaching.

It's time to go home. What's the best way to show everyone how much you love them?
Give them each a big hug and a kiss and thank Aunt Delia for the delicious dinner.
Say, "Some Thanksgiving. The only thing I liked was the white meat turkey."
Say, "So long, Aunt Delia, Uncle Jerry, Grandma, Grandpa, Matt, Michelle, and baldie. See you at Christmas. Bring big presents."

So much to love.

Do I Have to Say Hello? Aunt Delia's Manners Quiz for Kids and Their Grownups
By Delia Ephron
Illustrated by Edward Koren
Blue Rider Press, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Poetry Friday: A Great BIG Cuddle, Poems for the Very Young

Here's a gorgeous selection for Poetry Friday. Find it and enjoy the poems over and over with your totz! The large size drops you right into Chris Riddell's line drawings as you rock into Michael Rosen's poems.


Mo's in a muddle
She slipped in a puddle
Mommy gives Mo
A great big cuddle.

And one more. So wonderful!!!

A Great BIG Cuddle, Poems for the Very Young
By Michael Rosen
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Candlewick Press, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

The White Book: Minibombo

Book, art expression, game, or toy? The White Book fits each of these categories with smiles and enjoyment along the way.

As a young boy roller paints a wall, white-lined imagery appears, dissolves from the space, and flies, swims, and walks away. Pacing is sustained with excitement building from a sudden dinosaur's appearance to an anteater who attempts to eat the boy's paint roller. The conclusion is perfect.

This minibombo book lives up to its claim: a little book buzzing with a big idea. The interactive app can be purchased for .99, and your child can create and experience color on your ipad or iPhone. Click here to purchase. The fun and learning will continue with additional exposure to animals, colors, and painting. Take a peek at the trailer.

Here is this generation's Harold and the Purple Crayon.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

The minibombo website offers even more art activities for little hands. Happy reading and painting with your totz! Looking forward to more fun from minibombo.

The White Book
by Silvia Borando, Elisabetta Pica, and  Lorenzo Clerici 
Candlewick Press, 2015