Monday, December 28, 2020

Richard Scarry's Good Morning, Busytown!


Why not introduce your first readers to Richard Scarry's Busytown? You can now do that easily with the Good Morning, Busytown! board book, available January 6, 2021. All the familiar characters are running around town: Huckle Cat, Firefighter Smokey, Lowly Worm, and more.

Pages feature the residents depicted on the tabs. Join Huckle Cat and Lowly as they make their way across town to school, giving and receiving greetings along the way.

"Good morning, Postman Pig!"
says Huckle.

"Why, good morning, Huckle!"
says Postman Pig. "Have a
wonderful day!"

Take a visit to Richard Scarry's Busytown! There's so much to explore. 

Richard Scarry's Good Morning, Busytown!
by the Richard Scarry Corporation AG
Golden Books, 2021

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

More, more, more: Lilah Tov Good Night: Ben Gundersheimer


This precious book is not to be missed. The main character is saying good night to all around her after a "long and beautiful day." 

"Lilah Tov to the roosters and hens
Lilah Tov to the bears in their dens"

The depth of the work is in the secondary story, or actually the main story. The family is leaving their home in the night and traveling on foot to a new land. She says good night to the creatures she passes, the beach, and the waves. She speaks to the stars at sea, and the fish. Finally, reaching land, the journey continues until she is in a new home. There she snuggles down and wishes the reader, and all, a good night. The family menorah has traveled the distance from one window to another.

Brilliant beauty. The art was done in pencil and digitally rendered. Noar Lee Naggan's paintings are luminous. The best of the best from publisher Nancy Paulsen, as usual. 

by Ben Gundersheimer
illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan
Nancy Paulsen Books

Monday, December 21, 2020

'Twas the Night Before Christmas: Sandra Magsamen

Here's a tiny tale from the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Shortened for first readers, Sandra Magsamen's work, which is illustrated to look like stitched cloth pieces, illustrates phrases from the quiet mouse to the reindeer pulling Santa through the sky, the night before Christmas. 

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
everyone was quiet, including the mouse! 

Join this little community of animals ready to celebrate Christmas!

by Sandra Magsamen

Music: Jill McDonald

Here's another title in the Hello, World! series. Music by Jill McDonald is the best of nonfiction for your readertotz. You can introduce musical instruments with what resembles cut paper illustrations. Large sound words accompany main text entries and smaller printed facts. 

A harmonica is small enough to fit in your pocket.
You make a sound by breathing in or out through the holes. 

*A harmonica is sometimes called a mouth organ or a blues harp."

Familiarize your first reader with the instruments and consider which to try first!

Hello, World!
by Jill McDonald

Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas Cheer: Ingela P. Arrhenius

How about a Bookscape Board Book for the holidays? Christmas Cheer brings a little scene of the holiday to your readertotz. 

"Christmas cheer is everywhere.
Inside, gingerbread cookies are decorated.
Outside, snowmen are built."

The charm of the work is the soft palette of shaped pages. Big-eyed characters celebrate the season together. Happy holidays to all!

a Bookscape Board Book
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Chronicle Books, 2020

Friday, November 27, 2020

More, more, more: Sound, Shhh...Bang...POP...BOOM!

For the older siblings of your readertotz, look for the picture book, Sound, Shhh...Bang...Pop...Boom! With nearly dayglo colors, the sound vibrates straight out of this fascinating book. Graphic flat overlays of color create our auditory world. 

Within the main text, such as:

"In the sea of known and unknown sounds,
we look for order and harmony. This is how music is born."

there is small text which labels images: organ, accordion, French horn. Further info is delivered, as well:

"Even vegetables can serve as great musical instruments. A band called The Vegetable Orchestra plays music on vegetables and then makes soup out of them." 

This BolognaRagazzi Award winner, for best nonfiction in 2018, isn't confined to musical instruments. It explores city sounds, language, animals, people of sound, and people who speak in silence. The work is brilliant. Appreciate sound and then the lack of it. 

by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv 
translated by Vitaly Chernetsky
A Handprint Book

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tiptop Totz' Toys: Suzy Ultman and Taro Gomi

Chronicle Books has fun for you and your totz. Two items will encourage reading the authors' books, while readertotz play and learn. 

The first is Masha and Her Friends, a Wooden Nesting Doll Puzzle. I've adored Suzy Ultman's board book, Masha and Her Sisters. This puzzle is a natural follow up. Whether little hands reposition the double-sided, graduated pieces or display them in the notched slots, there's imagination to be inspired. Wood toy lovers will be delighted by this version of Masha. 

Taro Gomi's Play Anything Cards are a handy source for card playing enjoyment. An original group of characters fill the cards; yet, wee ones will likely recognize Gomi's distinctive illustration. They might reach for his My Friends to read after the game. 

Happy playing and reading! 

Chronicle Books

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

build!: Xavier Deneux

Readertotz touch and learn as they read this board book of puzzles titled build! While a man and woman build a house together, each left side of the spread offers one or more removable puzzle pieces to be placed on the right side. Bricks, a roof, a door and more must be delivered correctly. Xavier Deneux's sparse, hard-edged shapes are a compliment to the concept of the book. 

"We'll need a solid foundation.

A bulldozer will make our work so much easier!"

build! is A Handprint Book to read and play with. Watch your totz build a house with two adorable characters. 

by Xavier Deneux
touch think learn
A Handprint Book

Friday, November 6, 2020

For the Older Sibs: Wonder Women, a Bingo Game

Looking for another activity to round out the homeschooling Covid day? Wonder Women, a Bingo Game is a fun, educational resource. Illustrated by Laura Bernard, released by Magma for Laurence King, Isabel Thomas provides text for each woman featured. 

The featured women include Annie Leibovitz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Yayoi Kusama. Here's a portion of the entry for Jacinda Ardern:

"Jacinda became involved in politics as a teenager and began campaigning for a kinder and fairer world. She became an MP in the New Zealand parliament at 28 and Prime Minister of New Zealand at 37-its youngest leader for 150 years."

And then you know how bingo rolls. Get your card and select your caller. It's time for B-I-N-G-O!

by Isabel Thomas
illustrated by Laura Bernard
Magma, for Laurence King

Thursday, November 5, 2020

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight: Penny Parker Klostermann

Rather than an Old Lady and a Fly, how about an Old Dragon and a Knight? Penny Parker Klostermann's work is a delight, full of surprise and fun solutions. Ben Mantle's illustrations add to the hilarity. 

"With all of that water, he started to bloat.
And that's when the dragon roared and I quote:

'Okay, enough! I have had enough--
More than enough of this swallowing stuff!

Maybe I've been a tad impolite.
Perchance I should only have swallowed the knight.'" 

Find this adorable twist and enjoy each and every page. 

by Penny Parker Klostermann
illustrated by Ben Mantle
Random House

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Piece It Together: Owl Aboard!

 As we sit at home together, how about a family puzzle? With large pieces for your totz and smaller pieces for older folks, you can create a story together. Piece It Together, Family Puzzle, Owl Aboard! is available from Chronicle on November 10th. The work is illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan and Petra Hollander. Here's one more way to bond in the midst of our times. One piece at a time. Stay safe, all! 

Monday, October 12, 2020

A Little Zodiac Book Series: Daria Harper

For those with a love of the stars, Chronicle has released A Little Zodiac Book series. Daria Harper's text walks first readers through the traits of the featured zodiac. Observations are tot specific and relatable. Each book begins with the corresponding refrain:

"Hello, baby Taurus,
Who will you be?
Let's look at the stars.
What do you see?"

The nightscape out the nursery window features the associated star pattern. Rhymes continue.

"Only life's finest
will do for you.
The softest of blankets,
the nicest shampoo."

Anna Hurley's simple, graphic shapes and consistent palette unify the collection, beautifully. If you appreciate astrology, these will shine on your readertotz' shelf. The full collection is available. Here are links to three. 

by Daria Harper
illustrated by Anna Hurley
Chronicle Books, 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Happy Hair: Mechal Renee Roe

Beautiful black hair is celebrated in Happy Hair, written and illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe. Cool curls, a fab fro, or bangin' bantu are some of the ways to show you love being you. 

"Pom-Pom puffs, pretty & stuff! I love being me!"

"Blowout! So much hair, everywhere! I love being me!"

How will your readertotz style their curls today? Cool Cuts is a companion work also available in board book form in 2021. Be inspired with your wee ones as you read this self-affirming delightful board book together. 

written and illustrated by Mechal Renee Roe
Doubleday, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Satirical Open Board Book: WHAT HURTS EVERYONE

 For those blue voters and the undecided, I've created an Open Board Book over at On Point. You can see and share the full text and imagery of WHAT HURTS EVERYONE as you prepare to #Vote! 

Take care in this season of difficulty and change! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Happy Book Birthday: I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime


And she's born today! As the author, I'm so happy to share this lullaby of peace with our first readers. I hope I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime calms spirits and comforts as each settles down to sleep. 

I actually wrote the work in the middle of the night, and it was during our collective mourning following the passing of the great Aretha Franklin. I will always hear her sing the title of this work, set by my delightful editor, Celia Lee. 

Olivia Chin Mueller's soft illustrations of falling night create a perfect tone for the text. Her detailed strokes sweep across the imagery. 

"Little ones curl up and rest, bless each home and tiny nest." 

Whether you are curling up to sleep or "still zooming 'round," may this work find you and yours full of peace. 

(The bear in the photo I received from my father on the day I was born. She's about to turn 56!)

I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime
by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Scholastic, Little Shepherd, September 1, 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

More, more, more: Heart on Pluto

The heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio of Pluto is the focus of this picture book for the older siblings of your readertotz. Joining New Horizons, we travel across the solar system to reach our beloved dwarf planet. There, nitrogen ice warms and vaporizes day and night like a beating heart. 

Karl Jones' text is straight forward while Andrew J. Ross's illustrations soundly resonated with me. There is such tenderness given to the imagery and scratchy font.  

All of the symbols within the picture book work together to comfort. From our smallest planet, to a long journey to find love, to messages of love sent and received over long distances, young readers might find solace in our current isolation from Covid 19. Celebrate Pluto and our love for each other through this beautiful work. 

by Karl Jones
illustrated by Andrew J. Ross
Penguin Workshop 2020

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Little Muir's Night: John Muir

I'm happy to recommend Little Muir's Night, illustrated by Susie Ghahremani, for your readertotz. In John Muir's words, if the world is seen as a dewdrop, the universe can be perceived "as an infinite storm of beauty." 

As the sun sets, the owl draws in the night. First readers will enjoy spotting the creatures of Yosemite National Park from the bats to the bear. The work, along with the companion, Little Muir's Song, will support the park itself. 

As John said, "Let children walk with nature." In our isolation during Covid 19, may you and yours find time to do so. 

by John Muir
illustrated by Susie Ghahremani
Yosemite Conservancy, August 11, 2020

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pre-sale: I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime

I'm so happy to announce my next upcoming board book with Olivia Chin Mueller! Pre-sale orders are available for I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime. I hope this comforting lullaby offers peace to your wee ones in this difficult time. 

One note: you might see a former cover still appearing on bookseller sites. No worries. The interior is the same, and the bears will make their way to your home. Thanks so much for your support! 

I Say a Little Prayer for You at Bedtime
by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Scholastic, Little Shepherd, September 1, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020

More, more, more: Tiger Wild

"There's a time to be quiet and still and a time to be wild and free!" So concludes, Lily in Tiger Wild. Here is a dear homage to Where the Wild Things Are and a further exploration of feelings. Max, meet Lily.

After misbehaving, Tiger and Lily run away to the wild where they come to face emotions beyond anger and help each other forward. Penny, the caregiver, even ends up exploring the wild with the two of them at times.

Illustrations are open and fresh, with a captured quickness to further illustrate Lily's adventures. There's a crayon quality which is so relatable. (Look for Tiger mimicking a Wild Thing in his stance.)

Use this work to discuss emotions with your older siblings of readertotz. Hand in hand, go into the wild.

Tiger Wild
by Gwen Millward
Viking Books for Young Readers

Thursday, July 2, 2020

More, more, more: The Mermaid Atlas

Oh, such love of the merfolk around the world is captured in The Mermaid Atlas, Merfolk of the World. The attention to detail and inclusion of so many representations is beautiful. Crossing the continents, Anna Claybourne and Miren Asiain Lora (illustrator) introduce us to the tales we hold about the magical merfolk who swim the seas of our collective conscious.

From a general description:
"While a typical mermaid is female, with flowing hair and a fish’s tail, that’s far from the only type. There are plenty of male fishpeople, or mermen. There are also stories of twin-tailed merfolk, fish-humans with webbed hands and feet, and mermaids who are part-seal, part-octopus or part-dolphin. Some merpeople can even assume human form for a while, step on to the land and walk among us, undetected."

To a specific example:
In seas, rivers and lakes all around Africa, you could come across the water spirit Mami Wata. She takes the form of a glamorous woman with a fish’s tail, a snake’s tail, or in the east, where she is called Mamba Muntu, a crocodile’s tail. She also has a pet snake, which wraps itself around her. Mami Wata is not usually harmful, but she is sometimes blamed for strong water currents, and children are warned to stay away from deep water in case she catches them. She adores pampering herself, and you can keep her happy by leaving her luxurious gifts: jewellery, make-up, perfume and food.

Here is book for all lovers of merfolk. Add this lovingly crafted, artful compendium to your collection.

Mermaid Atlas, Merfolk of the World
by Anna Claybourne
illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora
Laurence King Publsihing, 2020

Thursday, June 18, 2020

More, more, more: Intersection Allies

The reprint of  IntersectionAllies  ships to stores, individuals, Amazon, etc. in early July, 2020. Thank you for your patience!

Intersection Allies, We Make Room for All shares the stories of children of diverse experiences as they come together to be allies for each other. The text rhymes, but it carries a breadth of information. Front and back matter will aid further discussion and empower caregivers to confidently discuss our societal need for understanding and compassion for all.  

Flat, patterned, simple shape illustrations flow throughout. These raise the accessibility for topics such as protests and immigration. 

Here is a book to increase awareness of the beautiful and different life experiences of many. May we see our intersectionality and be allies with all. 

Intersection Allies, We Make Room for All
by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi
illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith
Dottir Press
Free download through June 19, 2020

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Antiracist Baby: Ibram X. Kendi

Here is your MUST HAVE as soon as it releases June 16th! In nine steps, National Book Award Winner, Ibram X. Kendi, gives our first readers language and actions for helping to establish equity in our world. Together we can uproot racism.

Ashley Lukashevsky's bold but playful art helps to make this call for a just society. Each flowing illustration carries one point which is accompanied by further rhymed, accessible information:

4 Shout "There's nothing wrong with the people!"
Even though all races are not treated the same.
"We are all human!" Antiracist Baby can proclaim.

Brilliant! #blacklivesmatter

Antiracist Baby
by Ibram X. Kendi
illustrations by Ashley Lukashevsky
Kokila, June 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Open Board Book: Covid 19, Color Sketches

I finished the open board for your readertotz! I hope it brings a little bit of comfort as you stay at home with your wee ones. Click here or the above illustration to zoom to my blog and read the work. Health to you! xox Lorie Ann

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Open Board Book Sketch: Covid 19

Sharing from my notebook, here are my quick, first sketches of What I Can Do, Covid 19. (The different colors are just the different qualities of light throughout the day as I was working.)

If I develop and refine the book, I plan to post updates. In the meantime, feel free to share in the hope it will give a little comfort to your wee ones. Good health to you and your beloveds!

With my love, 

Lorie Ann Grover

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Top Shelf: Unstoppable

I LOVE THIS BOOK! Hence, the Top Shelf designation.

Adam Rex, of Nothing Rhymes with Orange, brings a story of cooperation between individuals to the grand scale to include society and the environment. Together, we are unstoppable.

To begin, a bird joins a crab to gain protection from a cat. It's crabbird, birdrab! Desiring the attributes of other species and facing fears, a birdraburtlebear is created. Colloquial language brings even more humor to the text:

"Hey, Steve, I don't know what you're so angry about, but I think maybe it's because you wish you could be a part of this incredible thing we've got going on. I think maybe you're lonely. I could use some friends?"

The group is unstoppable as they fly through the air, until they discover their environment is threatened. I won't spoil the surprise, but they go and find help. And it's a beautiful thing. Laura Park's fresh illustrations are given a big format, and the white space is filled with hope for everyone. Bravo!

by Adam Rex
illustrated by Laura Park
Chronicle Books, 2020

Monday, March 16, 2020

A to Z Menagerie: Suzy Ultman

Quirky, clean illustrations bring the pull-the-tab board book, A to Z Menagerie. to life. Referred to as a gleeful gallery and a curated collection, the work will keep little eyes looking.

Among others, F includes a Ferris wheel, flour, a fez, a fern a flounder, fizz, and fireflies. The pullout tab illustrates the fox within the shape of the large cut letter. Printed in all caps, each drawn feature is identified.

Object identification, letter sounds, touch, and remembering are exercised alongside unique representations of things from our world. Here's a fresh A, B, C book for your first readers.

A to Z Menagerie
by Suzy Ultman
Chronicle Books, 2019

Friday, March 13, 2020

Poetry Friday: Moon Babies

Happy Poetry Friday to you and your first readers! Enjoy this verse from the beautiful Moon Babies:

In the starry dark of night,
a secret moon world dims its light.
Close your eyes and you just might
dream of baby moons tonight.

Moon Babies
by Karen Jameson
illustrated by Amy Hevron
Putnam, 2019

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Alpha Bit: Juan Carlos Solon

For the nostalgic for 8-bit, you can go on an alphabet quest with your first reader in Alpha Bit. As always, bring back the treasure after pressing Start!

Operating like a hidden picture puzzle, readers follow their hero and find objects in the 8-bit illustrations featuring particular letters:

D: ducks, donkey, dig, dragon, diamond


S: snake, spider, skull, sweat, sword, shield.

Midway, there's a choice to continue or Quest on. Enjoy this retro visit with your readertotz!

Alpha Bit, an ABC Quest in 8-bit
by Juan Carlos Solon
Chronicle Books, 2019

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Hello World: Rainforest Animals, Construction Site

The Hello World! series continues with Rainforest Animals and Construction Site, both by Jill McDonald. With the appearance of painted cut paper, large text introduces basic content to first readers. Smaller labels accompany features, and little text gives more detailed information for older readers. Here's an example from Rainforest Animals:

This big cat with spots is a jaguar. It can roam the forest floor or climb into the trees to look from above.
*Unlike most cats, jaguars like water and are good swimmers.

Rainforest Animals moves from the ground up through the canopy. A final illustration turns the book on its side to convey the immensity of the natural world. As expected, Construction Site introduces all the noisy, hardworking, building vehicles. A food truck for lunchtime and a delivery truck of materials are also included. This publication regularly features sounds and movements.

Bravo for this nonfiction for our readertotz! May the rainforest not become the construction site!

Rainforest Animals
Construction Site
by Jill McDonald
Doubleday, 2020

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Dr. Seuss's Spring Things: Tom Brannon

Random House is releasing three works featuring Dr. Seuss's Thing One and Thing Two:

1. Spring Things
2. Spooky Things
3. Lovey Things

Appropriately, the text is tight and suitable for the board book format.

"Things with ducklings.
Things with chicks.
Things with bunnies doing tricks."

Simplified settings before broad washes of color make the Things and what they are showcasing pop for the first reader. Showers, flowers, mud, and butterflies all are faithfully rendered in Seuss' style by Tom Brannon.

Here's an excellent way to introduce your readertotz to Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss's Spring Things
illustrated by Tom Brannon
Random House, 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

Poetry Friday: Like the Moon Loves the Sky

With lines based on verses from the Quran, Like the Moon Loves the Sky is an endearing affirmation of a child loved. Here's beauty for Poetry Friday:

"Inshallah you are all
that is gentle and good. 
Inshallah you feel safe,
like all children should." 

Watch for this in March for your first readers. "Inshalla you are loved, like the moon loves the sky."

by Hena Khan
Illustrated by Saffa Khan
Chronicle Books, 2020

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Future Astronaut: Lori Alexander

How like an astronaut is a baby? Both are physically fit, enjoy small spaces, and eat snacks from plastic packs. Future Astronaut Baby emboldens first readers to see themselves as astronauts. Maybe with a little more the future.

" Astronauts say goodbye to their families
and travel to far-off places.

It's okay, Baby. There is plenty of
time to complete your training."

Fun facts close out the book while flat renderings in bold colors fill all the pages of inner and outer space. Find this work for your little space adventurer!

Future Astronaut
by Lori Alexander
illustrated by Allison Black
Cartwheel, Scholastic

Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Forest's Seasons: Ingela P. Arrhenius

A Forest's Seasons, a Bookscape Board Book, is a varied shaped, small format for first readers. With the passing of time, the forest changes throughout the year.

"Summer summons
countless shades
of green.

Autumn is
both bright and brown."

A poetic text is accompanied by five spreads of delightful pattern which center around a pear tree. Flora and fauna celebrate change. Uniquely shaped pages engage as this little book is explored and loved.

A Forest's Seasons
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Chronicle Books

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Happy Book Birthday: I Believe in Me

He's here! He's born! The second book of the Wonderful Me series launches today.

Image result for I believe in me Lorie Ann Grover

Do you believe in yourself? Find out in this sweet padded storybook full of wonder, self-esteem, and love!

I can stand, clap my hands.
I can zoom 'round the room.
I can dance. Underpants!

When you believe in yourself, you open up a world of possibility! That's because you cherish and value the wild, wonderful ways that make you, you! With charming illustrations and a sweet, bouncy text that begs to be read aloud, this padded board book is a joyous reminder to little ones that no matter who they are, they can become the awesome, loving, and helpful people who can change the world -- one step at a time. A glorious celebration of self-esteem and self-reliance filled with an inclusive range of kid characters that's full of humor, love, and heart.

"This rhyming text is a joyous celebration of all the things that very young children can do as they grow from babies into toddlers....Joy abounds." 
Kirkus Reviews

by Lorie Ann Grover
illustrated by Carolina BĂșzio
Scholastic, Cartwheel, January 7, 2020