Friday, December 14, 2018

Poetry Friday: Where Do Diggers Celebrate Christmas?

For your construction worker and transportation enthusiastic totz, there's Where Do Diggers Celebrate Christmas? for the season. Diggers, cherry pickers, tanker trucks and more get into their holiday spirit.

"Where do Zambonis spend Christmas
after all the ice is clear?
Do they skate across a frozen lake,
spreading Christmas cheer?"

A white mouse takes the reader through Brianna Caplan Sayres rocking rhyme and Christian Slade's cheerful illustrations. Happy Christmas Poetry Friday!

Where Do Diggers Celebrate Christmas?
by Brianna Caplan Sayres
illustrated by Christian Slade
Random House, 2018

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Meet the Latkes: Alan Silberberg

Happy Hanukkah! You might celebrate the holiday with this humorous picture book from Alan Silberberg, Meet the Latkes. A family of potato pancakes listens to Grandpa Latke's story, which does include Mega-Bees and alien potatoes. Applesauce, the dog, will set the telling straight for your readertotz.

Humor for your holiday, as the menorah is lit and dreidels are spun.

Meet the Latkes
by Alan Silberberg
Viking, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

My Very First 100 Words: English, French, Spanish

Sculpted, crafted, or painted, 100 things are included in My Very First 100 Words in English, French, and Spanish. Each page offers a collection of adorable subjects like "my special things," "at home," or "under the sea."

Whether found objects, crafted content, felted creatures, crocheted or knit gems, each page offers the corresponding English words for the collection pictured, the French term, and then the Spanish. Accompanying, thick flash cards give the specific language words for the objects individually shown. A younger child might match the fox in the book to the el zorro and le renard card. The older child might memorize all three names.

What a fun beginning to learning words in other languages. It is a boost to seeing beyond your child's own spoken word.

My Very First 100 Words in English, French, and Spanish
Cico Kidz, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Poetry Friday: Run Wild

Put down your devices and Run Wild with David Covell this Poetry Friday. The exuberant, free illustrations and his injunctions will scoot you right out the door. Even if there's rain and a fall. Get up and keep going.

"Hey, You.
Sky's blue!
(forget your shoes)
that door

Sprout, you're out!
Chase the wind...
Can you grab it?

Go ahead...
Race a rabbit!
Crunch. Crack. Twig. Snap!

Happy Poetry Friday to you and your totz! Come on and explore!

Run Wild
by David Covell
Viking, 2018

Monday, October 8, 2018

House: by Michael Slack

House, First Words Board Books is a collection of five books which slip into the house-shaped box with die-cut windows. Four little books illustrate objects from the rooms they represent, while the larger book covers the living room. The final double-spread in each book shows the assembled, featured room. A black cat creates continuity with it's appearance. The entire set reads retro and future, simultaneously. Design lovers will soak in the imagery.

Whether it's a locate-the-object book, imaginary play in the house, or simply identifying things in our home, this a beautiful collection.

House, First Word Board Books
by Michael Slack
Chronicle Books, 2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

Poetry Friday: Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?

Happy Poetry Friday to you and your totz! Enjoy this singsong board board of air transport quieting down for the night.

Where do skywriting planes sleep
after writing way up high?
Do moms read them bedtime stories
that are written in the sky?

Where do hot-air balloons sleep
after flames have made them rise?
Do they float off into dreamland
as the sunset fills the skies?

Beautiful, yes?

Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?
by Brianna Caplan Sayres
illustrated by Christian Slade
Random House, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dr. Seuss's You are Kind

Who better to affirm a child's personhood and one's kindness than Horton the Elephant? Random House has released a small book titled, Dr. Seuss's You are Kind. Horton exemplifies friendship through his previous illustrations in Dr. Seuss books. He listens, helps with problems, and stands up for what is right.


This is the perfect nugget of truth for your readertotz in today's atmosphere. Show them Horton who never gives up.

Dr. Seuss's You are Kind
Random House, 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Little Scientist: Emily Kleinman

Chunky truth is what you find in mudpuppy's Little Scientist series by Emily Kleinman. The four square books fit in the little square box, ready for little fingers. Each book features four scientists and one field of study, including: earth and life, chemists, physicists, and astronomers. Diverse, great women and men are showcased in this science introduction.

"Jane Goodall learned that chimpanzees can feel love--just like we do.
Jacques Cousteau revealed the mysteries of the great ocean blue." Earth & Life Scientists

Enjoy this colorful little series with your readertotz. Share sixteen heroes who have walked before us and loved our beautiful world and beyond.

Little Scientist, Boxed Set
by Emily Kleinman
illustrated by Lydia Ortiz and Patrick Rafanan
mudpuppy, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Now You See Me, Now You Don't: Silvia Borando

Such a clever concept! Fourteen animals, each wearing a bit of a shocked expression, remain in the same position throughout this small scale picture book. The only thing that changes is the background color. As it does, the animal of the same color disappears, apart from the eyes. On the white background, they can all be seen, and one disappears on every page but the first. Hm...

This engaging wordless book will delight and amuse. Just the googly eyes alone make a reader smile.

Now You See Me, Now You Don't
A Minibombo Book
by Silvia Borando
Candlewick Press

Monday, September 3, 2018

Bathtime Mathtime: Danica McKellar

Get ready for bath time with a little counting. Add one and one more and one more in this enjoyable math book from Danica McKellar. Alicia Padron's soft-edged illustrations are full of joy and increase the fun. Puppies, bubbles, and ducks add up in the tub as extended tabs show the equations and counted objects.

There's much to learn and explore before your totz' own bath and counting. 1, 2, 3: splish splash!

Bathtime Mathtime
by Danica McKellar
illustrated by Alicia Padron

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Top Shelf: What Can a Citizen Do?

What Can a Citizen Do? is fantastic! Top shelf material you'll want to own.

"A citizen's not what you are--a citizen is what you do.
A citizen cannot forget the world is more than you."

Perfectly timed. Altruistic. Thank you for this book! Take a look:


What Can a Citizen Do?
by Dave Eggers
illustrated by Shawn Harris
Chronicle Books

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Wiggles: Claire Zucchelli-Romer

TouchThinkLearn books released Wiggles from Claire Zucchelli-Romer. Your first reader with be introduced to following directions, left and right, colors, and shapes. Neon pink, green, and yellow recessed areas guide dancing fingers over the blue pages.

Sound prompts reinforce the action and heighten the fun. Whoosh! Swoosh! Clap! Together the reader and listener shout, "The end!" And the call will likely come to begin again. Enjoy this clever, interactive sturdy board book with your readertotz.

by Claire Zucchelli-Romer
A Handprint Book, 2018

Friday, June 29, 2018

More, more, more: What's the Difference?

It's those similar things which confuse us often. What is the difference between shorts and Bermuda shorts? A terrace and a balcony? How about noodles and pasta, or a camel and dromedary? Emma Strack offers comparisons of the similar and explains the differences in What's the Difference? 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar. 

Larger text introduces the questions for the reader, followed by smaller font with facts and roundup lists which include class and order, diet and size. Illustrator Guillaume Plantevin's work keeps the material from being overbearing. The palette, font, and layout remain open and inviting as one reads about veins versus arteries and basilicas as opposed to cathedrals.

This is a beautiful compendium which will answer many questions for you and your readers.

What's the Difference? 40+ Pairs of the Seemingly Similar
by Emma Strack
illustrated by Guillaume Plantevin
Chronicle Books, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Just a Duck? by Carin Bramsen

Now a rhyming board book Just a Duck? tackles acceptance of who we are with our own strengths and limits. Duck wants to be a cat, yet he isn't able to climb and keep up with his friend Cat. When the latter finds himself in deep water, Duck is able to help with duck abilities.

Illustrations include double and single spreads, along with comic frames on two pages to show passing time and movement. Both creatures emote through facial expressions and big gestures.

There is much to discuss with first readers from this cheerful, accepting work.

Just a Duck? Duck and Cat! Series
Carin Bramsen
Random House, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Beep! Beep! by Sam Hearn

After a short break, we are back with a board book revving up for summer vacation. Beep! Beep! has graduating pages which bring vehicles of color out for a race. The work nests in a shallow box for added durability.

Male and female animals race out of the city in colorful cars, vans, and trucks. The surprise on the final page shows everyone was driving to a foot race.

Teaching on several topics, totz will enjoy choosing their own winners. Beep! Beep!

Beep! Beep!
by Sam Hearn
Cartwheel, 2016

Monday, April 30, 2018

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words: Jan Gerardi

How does this book not exist already? Well, it does, but it is spread out through Dr. Seuss' collection of works. Here now are 100 words illustrated by Jan Gerardi in Dr. Seuss' style. Grouped in categories and introduced by cats in hats, A, B, and C, first readers may learn and be entertained, simultaneously.

There are Wild Animals and Farm Animals, Outside and Home, Clothes and Pets included. The board book is large, so the entries do not feel compressed. I find it particularly fun to recognize familiar characters: Red Fish, Blue Fish, Yertle, and more.

Blocks of color frame the featured illustrated words. White portions hold the iconic font. Enjoy this introduction to the Dr.!

Dr. Seuss's 100 First Words
illustrated by Jan Gerardi
Random House, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tiny Town and Tiny Farm: Suzy Ultman

I really enjoy Suzy Ultman's work for first readers. Tiny Farm and Tiny Town are thick-paged, shaped board books with die cuts. There's a patterned depiction reminiscent of Scandinavian art. Or maybe needlework. The small layout is filled with illustrations and capitalized words which identify objects and animals.

It is easy to image propping these books open for further play. They would create inspiring settings for the imaginative. Muted colors offer contrast to the sparse use of neon. What delightful work!

Tiny Farm
Tiny Town
by Suzy Ultman
Chronicle Books

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More, more, more: A Round of Robins

A Round of Robins is such a joyful, lyrical presentation of nonfiction. Following a pair of robins, the rocking rhythm and rhyme brings tenderness to creation. And reviews agree:

«  “A charmer of an animal family story, with rhymes that are a pleasure to read aloud.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

«  “An utterly charming choice for most collections, perfect for one-on-one and small group ­sharing.” – School Library Journal, starred review

«  “Follow a pair of robin parents as they raise not one but two sets of baby robins in this factual and funny volume.” – The Horn Book, starred review
Here is my favorite spread:

A heater hides on Mama's chest
To warm each egg inside her nest
With sensors set at incubake,
In just a dozen days she'll make
Four little ones all set to hatch-
An up-and-coming birdie batch.

Sergio Ruzzier's art in muted colors with expressive characters adds to the charm. Happy National Poetry month, everyone. Enjoy this delight with your readertotz! 

A Round of Robins
by Katie Hesterman 
illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier 
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

More, more, more: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

The reviews are coming in for John Oliver's children's book, written by staff at Last Week Tonight. Congrats to all in this effort! 

"Sincerely delightful-full of the attentive details and poetic grace notes that distinguish good children’s books.”  –The New Yorker

“Above all, this is a sweet and funny book about of tolerance, friendship, and the one message even our youngest kids can grasp perhaps more easily than perhaps any other: Love is love. I know my own kids would love getting this for Easter.” –Cool Mom Picks

"A joy... Ignore the grumbling about Oliver turning the bunny America deserves into a metaphor for partisan politics, because the book is a 40-page triumph." –Esquire

"This cute, funny, and inclusive picture book has a positive message about celebrating who you are and loving whom you want." –Common Sense Media

by Jill Twiss
illustrated by EG Keller
Chronicle Books, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Top Shelf: Main Street Magic, Ingela P. Arrhenius

How delightful! Take a stroll down a main street in France. With thirty flaps, many holding a surprise or pun, there's a sophistication in this thick-paged book for readertotz. Follow along with the main character as he sets out to explore.

There's the patisserie with brioche and macarons, the fish market where cats secretly linger, the fashionable ladies at the salon, and a thief at the museum. However, with the guard nearby, all is safe. The day concludes with the circus and the question, "What's next?"

Endearing illustrations are made with simple shapes. Flaps are fun to find. This is Top Shelf quality for your readertotz.

Main Street Magic
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Chronicle Books, 2017

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hello World! Jill McDonald

Jill McDonald, author/illustrator, offers up a nonfiction series, Hello World! Whether your readertot is ready for dinosaurs, weather information, birds, the body, or the solar system, Jill delivers age-appropriate content. Her appealing, youthful illustrations appear to be cut and torn paper. Large text for the youngest reader and smaller text for the older, the books will sustain as your tot grows.

Introduce your readertotz to their world. There's so much to see and learn. Hello World! is a first step in discovery.

Hello, World!
My Body
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Snuggly Puppy: Jannie Ho

Text developed in house, Nosy Crow has Snuggly Puppy on the lookout for a perfect hug. Not one that is too prickly, busy, jumpy, or splashy. She finds the perfect hug with her mother and father.

Tabs pull to reveal further information as Snuggly Puppy visits her community. Jannie Ho's patterned, flat illustrations are non-threatening, with a soft palette, creating a safe space for readertotz.

Explore with your first readers what makes a good hug. Potential life lessons in this board book.

Snuggly Puppy Looks for the Perfect Hug
illustrated by Jannie Ho
Nosy Crow, 2016

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Shelf: This is Not a Valentine, Carter Higgins

This is Not a Valentine, by author Carter Higgins, is a beautiful celebration of love and how different that may look to others celebrating Valentine's Day. A Valentine may be a spent dandelion, a plastic ring, or a rock shared. It may be a second best hiding place. It is knowing the person you appreciate and sharing life, including the scraps and drippy glue.

Illustrations by Lucy Ruth Cummins are fresh and endearing with a lot of white space as she illustrates love. This is a treasure for the holiday and a testament that the way we love is perfectly enough. Whether or not we call it a Valentine.

This is Not a Valentine
by Carter Higgins
illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Chronicle, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Where Did My Friend Go? Family Changes: Azmaira H. Maker

Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., has brought forward two works for totz facing great change. Where Did My Friend Go? Helping Children Cope with a Traumatic Death aims to reassure the youngest that all are working to keep the child safe. With the loss of a friend, it is normal to be scared, worried, sad, and mad. Community stands around the survivor in love.

Family Changes, Explaining Divorce to Children shares salient points: the child is not to blame, they may experience physical discomfort such as a stomachache, they will be loved in two homes. The fictional story of rabbits brings the situation to life.

The illustrations of Where Did My Friend Go? are unattributed photographs, design by Monkey C. Media. The language is sparse with process questions concluding the work. Polona Lovsin illustrated Family Changes with warm, comforting images. The text is heavy in the midst of the fantasy. Process questions complete the work, as well.

Confronting trauma and change, it is difficult to find appropriate works for first readers. Azmaira H. Maker's works are a place to begin.

Where Did My Friend Go? 2017
Family Changes, 2015
by Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D.
illustrated by Polona Lovsin (Family Changes)
Aspiring Families Press

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best for First Readers

Photo from the Washington Post article
Photo from Washington Post article

Photo from the Washington Post article

Content and quality matter. This is why at readertotz we aim to raise the profile of board books, and we call for the best for our first readers. 

"Recent research has found that both the quality and quantity of shared book-reading in infancy predicted later childhood vocabulary, reading skills and name-writing ability."

Check out the full Washington Post article by Lisa S. Scott, here. Wouldn't an ALA award help this aim? Say, the Dorothy Kunhardt Award

~Lorie Ann Grover

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Top Shelf: The Pink Hat, Andrew Joyner

Once there was a pink hat... I didn't think a book commemorating the 2017 Women's March could be done for the picture book audience. However, Andrew Joyner with Schwartz & Wade Books has honored the worldwide shout.

In The Pink Hat, an older woman knits a pink hat, as my own mother knit three: one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my friend. In the book, the hat is lost and found and lost, finally to be enjoyed by a young girl. Eventually, she wears her pink hat the day so many others wore theirs, as well. She joins the march, surrounded by diverse people marching for women's rights.

Dedicated to: "all the women who march us forward." Carry on. #Resist

The Pink Hat
by Andrew Joyner
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017