Monday, February 29, 2016

Big Kid Power: Maria van Lieshout

It's all about empowerment in the Big Kid Power series from Chronicle Books. Bye-Bye Binky and I Use the Potty help your totz on their journeys to independence.

Rehearsing the past, how diapers and a binky were helpful when they were babies, the protagonists show how they've abandoned both for better ways. Instead of a binky, one can ask for a hug. Instead of diapers, one can wear underwear.

Illustrations have a comic feel with limited color and small dots used for shadows. Both works have saturated color making the books pop from the shelf and in your hand. The above illustrations don't capture the neon color.

This a great series by Maria van Lieshout. We'll be watching for more!

Bye-Bye Binky
I Use the Potty
by Maria van Lieshout
Chronicle Books, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Poetry Friday: In the Land of Words

With the paperback edition of In the Land of Words, compiled in 2004, you can celebrate Poetry Friday with Coretta Scott King Award Winner Eloise Greenfield. The accompanying fabric illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist, another Coretta Scott King Award Winner, are layered and stitched with exuberance.

I particularly enjoyed the backstory Eloise included for her poems in Part One. Happy Poetry Friday to all!

I Go to the Land

I go to the land of words,
for I am at home there,
and never leave
for long. My thirst
pushes me through
the open door.
The more I drink
of the falling water,
the more I know.
I drink. I think.
I grow.

by Eloise Greenfield
illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Armistad, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

More, more, more: The Tree in the Courtyard

Stopping everything to tell you about The Tree in the Courtyard, Looking Through Anne Frank's Window. It's chilling. It's beautiful. I don't want you to miss it. Please don't.

Jeff Gottesfeld's text is delicate and poignant while Peter McCarty's brown ink on watercolor paper set the perfect tone. The work is based on this quote from Anne Frank:

"The two of us looked out at the blue sky,
the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew,
the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver
as they swooped through the air, and we were
so moved and entranced that we couldn't speak."

The text weaves the view of the tree with the life of Anne and her family. The conclusion is full of hope as seedpods are planted worldwide in her remembrance. This must win awards. Period.

The Tree in the Courtyard, Looking Through Anne Frank's Window
by Jeff Gottesfeld
illustrated by Peter McCarty
Knopf, 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mother Goose: Rosemary Wells

How delightful Iona Opies' compiled Mother Goose rhymes, illustrated by Rosemary Wells, are available in board book volumes. One, Two, Three, Mother Goose and Snuggle Up with Mother Goose are sweet collections for your totz. If your wee ones don't yet know Rosemary's rabbits, ducks and cats, here is the perfect opportunity to make the introductions.

Practice counting or snuggle up for a rest with these two gems from Candlewick Press.

Snuggle Up with Mother Goose
One, Two, Three, Mother Goose
edited by Iona Opie
illustratd by Rosemary Wells
Candlewick Press, 2015, 2106

Friday, February 19, 2016

Poetry Friday: Emma Dodd

Here are two illustrated poems in a small format to celebrate Poetry Friday. Emma Dodd's digital illustrations and heartfelt text are to be treasured. (Note the above pink sun is actually gold foil.)

When I Grow Up

When I grow up,
   I want to be...
clever and funny,
   wild and free.

When You Were Born

When you were born,
the rain stopped...
    the sun came out,
and the sky turned blue.

When you were born,
the snow melted...
    the birds sang,
and the flowers grew.

When I Grow Up
When You Were Born
by Emma Dodd
Templar Books, 2015

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Love: Kimberly and James Dean

I know Pete the Cat is everywhere and beloved. But Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Love, Tips from a Cool Cat on How to Spread the Love by Kimberly & James Dean shouldn't be missed. Pete translates the gist of famous quotes and illustrates the concepts.

"Love is space and time measured by the heart." Marcel Proust
Far out! Love is out of this world. Pete

"All you need is love." John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Morning, noon, and night-love is all right! Pete

"Friends show their love in times of trouble." Euripides
Always stop to help your turtle friends. Pete

Whether you need one more Valentine for your sweetheart, a gift for your philosopher friend, or want to share a little love with your totz, Pete is a great choice to sweeten their day.

Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide to Love
by Kimberly & James Dean
Harper, 2016

This Little President: Joan Holub

Happy Presidents Day! Right now, find This Little President, a Presidential Primer by Joan Holub. It's always fun to celebrate our own contributions to the board book format at readertotz. Congrats, Joan!

This little president
was super-duper smart.
He liked buildings, inventions,
books, fossils, and art.

Daniel Roode's simple illustrations capture our beloved presidents with zest and fun. The round eyes alone make you smile.

Joan has brought the celebration of our country's leaders into the board book format for your totz. Start building your little patriot's library with This Little President! Who knows? You may be reading to the next leader of the United States.

This Little President
by Joan Holub
illustrated by Daniel Roode
Little Simon, 2016

There, There and Bum, Bum: Taro Miura

Two new board books, for us, from Taro Miura are available in the U.S., first printed in Japan in 2008. There, There is a simple concept book introducing animals and their sounds. But, when the baby starts to cry, everyone joins in. Empowering the reader, it's the baby who comforts them in the end.

Bum Bum is my favorite though. "Duck's fluffy...bum bum. Pig's round...bum bum." Get the gist? You just have to smile at all those various behinds. The flat, graphic illustrations fit the simplicity of the text.

How fun to have these for our totz. Thanks, Candlewick!

There, There
Bum Bum
by Taro Miura
Candlewick Press, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

More, More, More: Baa Baa Smart Sheep

Sometimes, I have to stop everything and tell you about a book I just read. Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset is the pick this time. I burst out laughing at this deceptive sheep, and totz are going to absolutely howl. I can only imagine library story time.

"What's what?"
"That there."
"This here?"
"Yes, that there."
"Oh, it's just a pile of . . . smarty tablets." 

Gullibility isn't a mark of intellect, as Quirky Turkey learns from Smart Sheep. Aside from the amazingly paced fun, the book will open discussions on what one might believe, no matter who says it's the truth. Releasing February 23rd, I hope this mischief finds a wide audience!

Baa Baa Smart Sheep
by Mark and Rowan Sommerset
Candlewick Press, 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sing Along With Me: Yu-hsuan Huang

How adorable. Sing Along With Me! from Nosy Crow and illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang are cleverly designed and durable for your totz. The heavy, chunky pages and moveable parts will endure many readings.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm features a dog as the farmer himself. Pull tabs, turning wheels, and moveable parts can imitate the song's rhythm as the animals are described. In The Wheels on the Bus, the animals are scooting around town together thanks to the dog bus driver. Wheels turn, windshield wipers swish, and babies bounce--all through the town.

Scan the included QR code or download the song from the Nosy Crow podcast. How cool is that?

Sing Along With Me!
The Wheels on the Bus
Old MacDonald Had a Farm
illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang
Nosy Crow, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Big Chickie, Little Chickie: Janee Trasler

Janee Trasler's chickies never disappoint. Big Chickie, Little Chickie is so clever. The book of opposites has surprises which will elicit giggles from your totz. It's picture time, clickety-click. In and out, whisper and shout, are opposites which proceed unexpected rhymes from adorable supporting characters: pig, cow, and sheep.

How can you not love:

Chickies here.
Chickies there.
   in their

I mean, seriously. Thanks, Janee!

Big Chickie, Little Chickie, a Book of Opposites
by Janee Trasler
HarperFestival, 2016