Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Books about things that go

It’s time for a vehicle book roundup! I’ve got the new Sherri Duskey Rinker, a Pop-Up Guide, and a Do You Know? for the wee ones. Let’s roll out!

 

The Pop-Up Guide: Vehicles, by Maud Poulain/Illustrated by Charline Picard, (Sept. 2021, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9791027609994
Ages 2-5
These Pop-Up Guides from Twirl Books are too much fun. The newest one is all about vehicles: what vehicles roll around in different locations and what they do. Visit a bustling city with street cleaners, buses, trains and more going about their workday, then visit a more rural area, where farm vehicles like tractors and harvesters get to work. Emergency vehicles help save people, and roads and rails get you where you need to go. You can travel through the sea and sky with vehicles, you can race them, and you can use them to transport all sorts of things! Ten spreads fold out to 3-D landscapes with colorful, labeled vehicles and local color, and a few descriptive sentences place the reader in each of the settings. There are elastic bands to hold pages and allow for hands-free reading and play; get some minifigs and small action figures and let the littles really explore! Keep a reference copy on hand for storytimes; the pages are sturdy but will heavily circulate.

 

 

Do You Know? Vehicles and Transportation, by Camille Babeau, Illustrated by Benjamin Bécue, Julie Mercier, & Cristian Turdera, (Oct. 2021, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9782408029159

Ages 5-8

Another fun entry in Twirl’s Do You Know series hits shelves in just a couple of weeks! Vehicles and Transportation is full of facts and detailed illustrations of vehicles, from people (transportation had to start somewhere!) and animals, cruise ships, military vehicles, hot air balloons, and more. Chapters are organized into land, water, and air vehicles, with a final “More to Know” chapter that lays out the big points of all the content, including a travel timeline, a review of different machines, and future vehicles. Cross-section illustrations provide detailed information, and helpful Q&A sections run on each page. Learn answers how to recognize an emergency vehicle; how a steam engine works, and when you can try hang gliding! There is a wealth of information, laid out in a way that is easy and engaging to read. The book is fully indexed for easy reference, too. Make a display of Do You Know? books, or match this up with Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Mike Lowery’s The Way Downtown and Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio Garcia Sánchez’s Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure. Have coloring sheets on hand!
Construction Site: Road Crew, Coming Through!, by Sherri Duskey Rinker/Illustrated by AG Ford, (Oct. 2021, Chronicle Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781797204727
Ages 2-5
Sherri Duskey Rinker, ruling headmistress of the transportation story, is back with a new Construction Site story! In this latest rhyming tale, the construction team heads off to their biggest job yet as they build a superhighway. Kids meet a group of new machines with exciting, big jobs: Water Truck squirts water on the ground to keep dirt and grit from flying around; Paver lays down asphalt and Roller smashes the asphalt down to make the surface even and flat; Striper Truck rolls down the road, spray painting yellow and white lines to keep the traffic moving. With teamwork like this, happy cars will be driving down the new mega-road in no time! Kids love these books, and it’s so easy to see why: Sherri Duskey Rinker’s text is cheerful, with happy rhymes about friendship, teamwork, and enjoying one’s work. AG Ford’s wax and oil crayon illustrations depict happy vehicles working and driving together, helping one another out, and getting the job done. An author’s note at the end calls the reader’s attention to a coyote at the beginning of the book, who shows up later, and mentions that road builders are increasingly taking local wildlife “travelers” into account and making special allowances to accommodate them. Visit Sherri Rinker’s website for more of her Construction Crew books (including some upcoming books!), and visit artist AG Ford’s website to see more of his gorgeous artwork, including his Children’s Book Gallery. Download activity kits, teachers’ guides, and watch videos at the Good Night Construction Site.
Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Two animal adventures for you: The Walloos’ Big Adventure and Obi’s Mud Bath

I’ve got two adorable animal adventures with ecological messages for you today. Have a look!

Obi’s Mud Bath, by Annette Schottenfeld/Illustrated by Folasade Adeshida, (June 2021, Spork, $17.99, ISBN: 978-1950169535

Ages 4-8

Obi is an adorable little rhino who wants to enjoy  mud bath, but his home in Zimbabwe is experiencing a drought. As he searches for an ooey, gooey, mud bath, he meets other an ostrich, a giraffe, and an elephant, all of whom help out when he gets his snout stuck in one situation after the next. Will poor Obi ever find a way to cool off? As the animals join together in their search to cool off and find water, they may just be able to make some magic happen. Inspired by a true story, Obi’s Mud Bath introduces concepts like climate change and its effects on the animal population – the current drought in Zimbabwe is at crisis levels – and examines ideas of determination and teamwork. Adorable animal illustrations will delight animal fans.

Back matter includes the story of Mark, the rhino who inspired Obi’s Mud Bath, and a glossary of words in Shona, one of the most widely spoken of 16 languages in Zimbabwe, and English. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Obi’s Mud Bath will be donated to Water.org, an organization which providing families around the world with access to safe water and sanitation. Illustrator Folasade Adeshida hails from Laos, Nigeria; you can see more of her illustration work at her website. Author Annette Shottenfeld also used the services of a sensitivity reader, Fubright Scholar and lecturer in African Studies, Esau Jabulani Mavindidze, as she wrote Obi’s Mud Bath.

The Walloos’ Big Adventure, by Anuska Allepuz, (July 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536215311

Ages 3-7

The Walloos are kangaroo-like animals that live on a small, rocky island where Little Walloo dreams of having an adventure. The family travels to a tropical island, where they begin using the island’s plants for food and building, but something doesn’t feel right. The island is making funny sounds and… moving! When the Walloos realize that their island is actually a big hippo, they’re delighted, until they realize that they’ve made life rough on the hippo, by stripping away all the plants that used to keep Hippo cool and shaded. If Hippo can’t get relief from the hot sun, he’s going to have to go underwater, and that will be disastrous for the Walloos! The family quickly gets to work on making positive changes to help undo some of the damage they’ve done. A sweet story about adventure, with a great message about being sensitive to the environment, The Walloos’ Big Adventure is adorable storytelling. Mixed media illustrations are colorful; kids will love the cute Walloo family and the lush settings. Hippo has a kind face and is huge in scale to the Walloos, giving kids a nice side lesson in scale.

Adorable, and gives real meaning to the phrase, “Take only photos, leave only footprints”.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

The Book of Hugs: Tim Harris tells you everything you need to know about hugging

The Book of Hugs, by Tim Harris/Illustrated by Charlie Astrella, (Sept. 2021, Flowerpot Press), $12.99, ISBN: 9781486721047

Ages 4-7

Hug-master Tim Harris – seriously, he is a world record holder for giving hugs – has written the book that’s just what we need right about now. It’s all about different types of hugs: happy hugs, sad hugs, fast hugs, bear hugs, they’re all in here, and Tim tells you how to give them. He even gives you the important steps to follow to give the best hugs: make sure the recipient wants to receive a hug; open those arms up really wide, and hug them nice and tight, but cozy and comfortable. You can make people feel better with a hug, and you can give someone a quick hug or a nice, 10-second hug. Are you friends with a monkey? There’s monkey hugging tips in here, too! Adorable illustrations of Teddy Bear Tim – our guide to hugging – and his monkey friends are like hugs themselves: warm colors, softly illustrated, and with all the wonderful emotions that a good hug evokes: closed eyes, tucked in heads, and joyful smiles. The word on consent makes this a particularly great read-aloud for preschool through the lower grades. Cheerful endpapers show cascades of yellow bananas – you have to have them for the monkeys, you see!

Tim Harris is a disability advocate, Special Olympics athlete, and restaurateur who had hugs on the menu of his New Mexico restaurant, Tim’s Place. He closed his restaurant, but is now a motivational speaker and heads up Tim’s Big Heart Enterprises. Visit his Instagram page here.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Luna Loves Dance… You should, too!

Luna Loves Dance, by Joseph Coelho/Illustrated by Fiona Lumbers, (Sept. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-273-1

Ages 4-7

Luna is a little girl who loves to dance, but loses faith in herself when she stumbles at a dance tryout. Convinced she’s not “really” a dancer, Luna’s family works to show her that it’s the love of dancing that makes you a dancer at heart, not perfection. Facing fears, embracing joy, and knowing that you are good enough are beautifully conveyed. Luna is an adorable little girl of color with a white mom and a dad of color; we meet her grandparents, also people of color, who love to dance the Charleston, Crazy Legs, and Heels and play old jazz records when they dance with Lulu. There is colorful, joyful artwork throughout, including a vibrant Carnival street scene that opens into a gatefold spread. Endpapers show Lulu and a variety of diverse children putting on their dancing shoes and dancing in different styles: a girl in hijab spots roller skates; a white boy in ’70s bell bottoms and a patterned shirt strikes a Travolta-esque disco pose; a boy of color goes on pointe in ballet shoes. Embrace joy and read this one to your little ones.

Originally published in Great Britain earlier this year, this is the third Lulu adventure, all available in the U.S. from Kane Miller. They are also available in Spanish, which means I’ll be loading up another cart for my library kids!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Essential school year knowledge: How to Be Cooler Than Cool

How to Be Cooler Than Cool, by Sean Taylor/Illustrated by Jean Jullien, (July 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536215298

Ages 3-7

A cat finds a pair of sunglasses, dons them, and immediately pronounces herself “cooler than cool”. She really is… until she decides that she’s so cool, she can go down the slide backwards, to look “cooler than cool… WITH EXTRA COOL ON TOP”! When she falls and her glasses get knocked off, Cockatoo and Pig each find the glasses, adapting the same “cooler than cool” stance, until they, too, try stunts that end much like Cat’s. The glasses were supposed to make them cooler than cool; what happened? Chick stops by to teach them the best lesson: having fun and not being worried about looking cooler than cool? That’s the coolest thing of all. A smart, laugh-out-loud funny story about being concerned with appearances, kids will love and see themselves in How to Be Cooler Than Cool. I say this as a mom who’s seen my own kids hold punching contests, sliding sandwich contests (using the slide to slam into the kid before you, piling on and on until someone eventually goes flying), and, for some reason, deciding against wearing a sweatshirt or jacket when it’s chilly out, all in the quest of looking eternally cool. Jean Jullien’s bold ink illustrations capture the spirit of the story, with hilarious posing and the aftermath of “being cool”.

An excellent readaloud choice, make sure to don your own supercool glasses (or not, it may be too dark to read, and that will certainly NOT be cool).

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

I think, therefore I am: a chick ponders her world in Ergo

Ergo, by Alexis Deacon/Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, (July 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217803

Ages 3-6

There’s something for everyone in this philosophical primer for little ones. Ergo is a chick who wakes up, deciding to explore her world. She wiggles her toes, flaps her wings, gives a tentative peck with her beak, and decides that “I am the world and the world is me”… until she realizes that the world, her world, is far more complex than that.

I had to mention this to my 18-year-old, whose mind was blown by the fact that the author created a kid-friendly story of Plato’s Cave. And that’s exactly what Ergo is! Kids will love the story of a chick discovering its egg, and the existential freakout when she realizes that she isn’t as in control as she previously thought. Viviane Schwarz’s simple ink and watercolor illustrations translate the message, giving life and meaning to Alexis Deacon’s story, with an adorable wide-eyed chick who wants desperately to figure it all out.

Me? I’d give this one as a baby shower gift, too. Adorable, hilarious, perfect. Engage your littles with a post-storytime craft by letting them create thumbprint Ergos of their own.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Armchair Traveling? Take Australian Baby Animals with you!

Australian Baby Animals, by Frané Lessac, (Aug. 2021, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536215274

Ages 2-5

Animal lovers are going to flip for this adorable book full of Australian baby animals and their parents. Fun facts run throughout the book, grouping animals together by their baby names (kangaroo, wombat, possum, koala, and Tasmanian devil babies are all called “joeys”‘) and how they interact with their parents. A sea dragon dad carries fry eggs (baby sea dragons!) on their tails until they hatch and drift away; echidna puggles (one of the cutest baby animal names ever) don’t have any spines, and flying fox pups get all the cuddles when  mom wraps her wings around them like a blanket. Bold fonts, fluid text that moves around the artwork, and colorful gouache artwork will delight readers. Spare text is informational and fits in well for an animal storytime.

Pair this with Frané Lessac’s 2018 abcedary, A is for Australian Mammals, for a unit on Australia, and check out this virtual field trip to the Australia Zoo, courtesy of Teach or Travel on TeachersPayTeachers.com.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Let’s get the school year off to a great start!

You want books for back to school? I got books for back to school!

 

My First Ready for School, by Roger Priddy, (May 2021, Priddy Books US), $9.99, ISBN: 9781684491384

Ages 3-5

Priddy Books does it again; I’ve loved their board books and early learning books for babies since my own now-fourth grader (fourth grade!) was born. This preschool activity book is the perfect Welcome to School gift for preschoolers, and a great add to preschool shelves and collections in your classrooms and libraries. It’s all about concepts, early learning, and fun: there are pull tabs and flaps on every single page, all getting the little ones ready to experience a school day. Learn what to put in your school bag, with pull-down flaps that reveal what goes in your pencil case, lunch box, gym bag, and backpack; use the pull tab to discover all the great activities taking place at school, like playtime and storytime; learn about mixing colors, school shapes, patterns, and more! The book is tough, strong enough to stand up to repeated use, with bulky board pages, strong tabs, and secure flaps. Colorful and friendly animal characters will greet little readers and help them sharpen their pattern and shape recognition, counting skills, and sight words. Get a few of these in your collections if possible; they’re a great investment.

 

 

Let’s Be Safe, by Alice Le Henand/Illustrated by Thierry Bedouet (Oct. 2021, Twirl Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9782408028497

Ages 0-3

I am a big fan of Twirl Books’s Pull and Play series. This outing, Let’s Be Safe, teaches readers about safety while doing everyday tasks. Familiar animal friends from previous books in the series are back, like Little Kangaroo, Little Cat, and Little Monkey, and their parents gently guide them through scenarios that could end up with tears – but don’t, thanks to some smart thinking and safe action. Little Crocodile wants to come down the stairs by himself – great! – and Dad lets him, as long as he holds onto the railing. Little Kangaroo wants to stand up to play in the tub, but Mom cautions against it, because slipping and falling really hurts. Isn’t it better to sit and play? Pull tabs illustrate the before-and-after, with the Little Gang modeling safe behaviors as parents lovingly explain and stand by to help. Parents will appreciate the modeling on what to say to newly independent toddlers and preschoolers, and kids will love pulling the tabs and seeing their animal friends be safe. Win-win for all.

 

The New Kid Has Fleas, by Ame Dyckman/Illustrated by Eda Kaban, (June 2021, Roaring Brook Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250245243

Ages 3-6

Award-winning author Ame Dyckman’s story about welcoming the new kid is a study in kindness and discovery. There’s a new kid at school, and she’s a little… different. Naturally, the rumors fly when the mean girl tries to spread rumors, but our narrator, who ends up paired with the New Kid for a science project, discovers that she and her family are pretty cool, after all! The New Kid – who we discover is named Kiki – is different, with a different family and a different home. She doesn’t wear shoes, she howls, she chases squirrels, and her family seem to be wolves! After spending a day working on a school project, though, our narrator – a young boy – embraces Kiki’s family, tussles with her brothers and sisters, and, in a laugh-out-loud moment, “goes with the flow” when it comes to using the restroom. Turns out, welcoming the new kid is a far more fun way to go than being mean! Digital illustrations capture the fun spirit of the story and show the growing friendship between Kiki and her new friend, and I loved the use of a wolf’s shadow to illustrate the Kiki is more than meets the eye. What a great way to teach kids to extend a friendly hand to new students. Another win from Ame Dyckman!

Visit Ame Dyckman’s author page for more information about her books.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Flaps, folds, snaps, and pulls: Board Books to Explore!

Over the last couple of days, I’ve gotten a LOT of book mail (thank you!). The Fall is going to be AMAZING for kids’ books, and the board books? *Chef’s kiss* There are so many fun tabs, snaps, and flaps to be found in these new books – just perfect for toddlers and rising preschoolers to engage those little minds and hands. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?

Snap! Chomp Your Jaws!, by Bob Barner, (Aug. 2021, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781452179421

Ages 0-3

This adorable board book is all about animals who snap their jaws: lions, gorillas, crocodiles, hippos and sharks all chomp with powerful jaws, and this sturdy board book lets kids pull on those jaws and watch them snap back! Each animal includes a fun fact or two (female lions do the hunting; crocodiles carry their babies in those powerful jaws), and the jaw pull reveals sharp teeth to marvel over. Cut paper illustrations add texture and depth to the illustrations, and bold black font makes for easy reading during a lapsit reading. A companion to Bob Barner’s Snap! Stick Out Your Tongue! (2020), this is a book to have on your low shelves so the littles can find it on their own.

Bob Barner is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Visit his author website for coloring pages, songs and videos!

 

Where is Everyone?, by Tom Schamp, (Sept. 2021, Prestel Junior), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791374505

Ages 2-5

Originally published in Dutch in 2020, this board book is full of fun lift-the-flaps. Guided by two ducks, each page challenges readers to use their imaginations to see beyond the everyday, whether it’s discovering that a raccoon is behind a washer, or that a pelican is behind a sink. Questions prompt the imagination by asking the reader who they think will be revealed: perfect for lapsits and small readalouds! A final flap is the most fun reveal of all, bringing everyone together. The artwork is colorful and the flaps are sturdy, holding up to repeated use. The animals have friendly expressions, and the everyday housewares are easy to recognize. Ask your readers what else they see on each spread, whether it’s a color, shape, or additional details, from a tea bag to a couch pillow. Then ask them what could be behind items in your home, class, or library: maybe there’s a giraffe behind a floor lamp, or an – ouch! – porcupine by that footstool.

 

Hide and Seek Peekabook (Beginning Baby), by Nicola Slater, (Sept. 2021, Twirl Books), $10.99, ISBN: 9781797203690

Ages 0-3

Twirl Books has more Beginning Baby books this Fall! Hide-and-Seek Peekaboo is a fun lift-the-flap version of the game, where you and a group of animal friends play together as you look for them under tables, behind chairs and curtains, and under blankets. If you have other Beginning Baby books, you and your little ones may recognize the familiar faces; animal friends like Riley the Narwhal, Mia the Monkey, and Gabriel the Giraffe are the same group we saw in earlier books. Questions on each spread get readers wondering who’s hiding, and guide them to the flap location: “Who is behind the curtain?” Who is behind the pillow?” Pair with Shasha Lv’s board book, A Little Snail Book: Hide and Seek, for more concept fun.

 

This Book Can Do Anything, by Tristan Mory, (Sept. 2021, Twirl Books), $13.99, ISBN: 9782408028527

Ages 0-3

This book is perfect for readalouds! Shaped like a fun little rectangular being with round, blue glasses, it’s a book that can do anything – and just begs for you and your readers to join the fun. Every spread asks a question: Can the book wink? Can it blink? Put a finger in its nose? The book rises to the occasion, and now it’s up to you to see if your readers can do all the fun things Book can do. The book is expressive, friendly, and just goofy fun, with a fun pull-tab surprise at the end. High contrast black and white expressions join with colorful bright blue glasses and bright red-orange pants and freckles to grab readers’ attention. Add this to your interactive storytimes (anything by Herve Tullet will do) and add a Simon Says game to the fun!

Donuts!, by Lea Redmond/Illustrated by Flora Waycott, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $9.99, ISBN: 9781797210827

Ages 0-3

Die-cut into the shape of a yummy donut, this sweet book is all about the ingredients! Each spread is a guessing game about a tasty ingredient, revealed on the next spread, just in time for the next mouth-watering question. Flora Waycott’s delicious illustrations will likely have little ones reaching for this book: and I’ve got board books with teeth marks to begin with, so I’ll probably be buying a couple of copies of this one. What goes into every donut, though? A die-cut heart reveals the not-so secret ingredient at the end. Absolutely adorable.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Book Bundle: Books about living in a city

I’ve got two lovely new books taking place in a city, both with different points of view. Let’s wander in.

Mr. Walker Steps Out, by Lisa Graff/Illustrated by Christophe Jacques, (Aug. 2021, Clarion Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781328851031
Ages 4 to 7
Mr. Walker, the hard-working figure that lets pedestrians know when it’s safe to walk, has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) as he watches the people go by, day after day. He decides to put up the red hand to keep everyone safe while he jumps out and experiences life for himself – just for a little while! He enjoys himself, having his own little adventure, until he realizes that what he does is really important, and heads back home where he’s needed.
Lisa Graff gives us a sweet story both about street safety and about embracing a little adventure – but remembering that we all have important things to go back to, whether it’s work or school! Christophe Jacques’ adorable digital illustrations give life to the story; we see Mr. Walker in his little light case… but as we get closer, we see his longing expression as people pass him by. He steps out and starts his adventure, growing larger with each new experience, showing readers how taking time to enjoy oneself is fulfilling… but when he realizes that he’s needed back at work, he returns, refreshed from his break. A sweet story about taking pride in what we do, and a great way to introduce street and road safety to kiddos.
My City Speaks, by Darren Lebeuf/Illustrated by Ashley Barron, (Sept. 2021, Kids Can Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781525304149
Ages 3 to 7
A visually impaired young girl explores the city alongside her father. Readers experience the city as she does: its feels, its sights, its scents; the city comes alive in the spare text, letting readers open up their senses to observe all that the city has to offer. The city is a supporting character here; the girl serves as our narrator, but the setting itself comes alive as it rushes through its day, with its “dings and dongs”, its “smelly and sweet” fragrances, its “echoes and trills”. Ashley Barron’s cut-paper illustrations give depth and texture to the story and add interest, possibly encouraging younger readers to create their own landscapes (have pieces of colorful paper handy). This is a great book to use when asking children to describe colors, shapes, and textures of their own homes and surroundings. The story and illustrations in My City were reviewed by a blind sensitivity reader.