This morning, we met the residents of Bustletown, courtesy of Rotraut Susanne Berner and Prestel Publishing. I figured I’d turn today’s posts into a road trip; now, we’re entering Happy County, courtesy of Ethan Long and Henry Holt and Company.
Hello, World!, by Ethan Long, (March 2020, Henry Holt & Company), $18.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-19175-5
“Welcome to Happy County, where every day ends on a happy note.” With that, we’ve got another new series of interactive picture books in the spirit of Richard Scarry. In Happy County, readers get some concept work in while enjoying the antics of the townspeople, many of whom we meet on the endpapers: Farmer Del and L’il Beaky, a pig and chick that run throughout the book; naturalists Mr. Grzzles and Ms. Green; Dottie, the Dog Walker, Monkey Mantle, the ballplayer, and more. Stories bring in concept activities: helping bird watchers identify and spot birds; letter lessons; shapes and colors; and counting dogs with a dog walker are only a few of the fun challenges that come up in Hello, World!’s storytelling. All of the citizens are pencil and digitally illustrated animals, making this an eye-catching book for younger readers.
Sun and Moon Together, by Ethan Long, (Aug. 2020, Henry Holt & Company), $18.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-19174-8
Welcome back to Happy Town! The endpapers introduce readers to some more residents, and some we’ve already met (Farmer Del is still trying to get L’il Beaky. This time, we’re learning about the Sun and the Moon, with fun lessons about the water cycle, photosynthesis, phases of the moon and the moon’s effect on tides, and solar power. In between there’s a funny rhyming story about Grammy Tammy, a lamb visiting from Miami; a paneled story about Sssonny the snake, who wants to grow some sunflowers; and loads of seek and find challenges.
Ethan Long books are so much fun to read! He’s a Theodor Seuss Geisel award winner and a creator of children’s programming, including the short film, Farm Force; Tasty Time with Zefronk for Disney Jr.; and an online interactive series for PBS Kids, Scribbles & Ink. He also hosts a bunch of activities and coloring sheets on his webpage. Check out the activity kit here, too! The Happy County series is shaping up to be big, learning fun for littles.