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The Wrong Fairy Tale is a side-splitting new fractured fairy tales series!

Jack and the Three Bears (The Wrong Fairy Tale), by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-161-1

Ages 4-7

Once upon a time, in the Land of Fairy Tales, three bears go out for a walk while they wait for their porridge to cool down. But there’s a giant beanstalk outside, and Baby Bear scampers up to explore! He discovers a castle, and a little boy named Jack, making off with a hen that lays golden eggs and is on the run from a mean giant… but WAIT! The Bears are in THE WRONG FAIRY TALE! Can Jack and the Bears elude the giant, keep the hen, and save themselves, or are they all destined to be Giant Food? Kids will love this new twisted take on two favorite fairy tales – invite them to point out what’s wrong when you start reading! The artwork is loaded with fun little details: the giant’s kitchen has a full shelf of cookbooks, and he’s got some cookies and muffins in the oven, which makes you wonder, when you consider what he normally uses for flour. It turns out, Mama Bear is pretty good with a chainsaw, too. A hoot to read with your fairy tale fans – if you have fans of Josh Funk’s “It’s Not…” series, they’ll love this new series.

 

Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs (The Wrong Fairy Tale), by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-160-4

Ages 4-7

So we just read about the three bears, but where was Goldilocks? Glad you asked! In this adventure, Goldilocks – a cute little blonde girl with wild ponytails and a bear sweater dress and leggings – spots a brick house with a sign out front that says, “Notice to Wolves: GO AWAY”. Well, not being a wolf, she decides to pop in and say hello, and that’s how she meets the Three Pigs, who are hiding in a cupboard from who they think is a wolf. As she digs into the porridge they have out on the table, the three pigs put their heads together and realize that Goldilocks is IN THE WRONG FAIRY TALE – just as the Big Bad Wolf shows up! Well, he can’t blow the brick house down, but he’s going to try and come down that chimney, so Goldilocks grabs some straw left over from one of the other pig’s homes, and uses it to start a fire in the fireplace. Day saved! Cartoony, colorful artwork and frenetically paced storytelling make this too much fun to read, and more fun to listen to. Fractured fairy tales fans will love this.

Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs has a starred review from Kirkus.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, picture books, Tween Reads, Uncategorized

Great Rivers of the World teaches geography, history, and culture

Great Rivers of the World, by Volker Mehnert/Illustrated by Martin Haake, (March 2023, Prestel Junior), $19.95, ISBN: 9783791374703

Ages 8-12

A companion to Prestel Publishing’s Great Ports of the World (2018) and Great Streets of the World (2019), Great Rivers of the World is a picture book tour of 18 of the world’s greatest rivers, from the Danube in Germany, to China’s Yangtze River, to the Egyptian Nile. Beautiful full-color spreads combined with informative facts about the rivers, with special attention to conservation efforts: the rain forests of the Congo, for  instance, are threatened due to environmental encroachment, mining of natural resources, and hunters. A foldout section on the Nile River discusses the environmental impact the citizens of Egypt face by polluting their river. There are great historical facts that would flesh out geographical and historical reports. A great additional nonfiction resource!

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Hats, Hats, Hats!

Now That’s a Hat!, by Heath McKenzie, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684642212

Ages 3-6

A customer strolls into a hat store and would like a new hat. But that one’s too big, and that one’s too small… the proprietor is showing off everything he’s got, will they be able to find the just right hat? Hilariously manic, with a rhyme scheme that gets progressively more frantic with each outrageous hat. The story is almost Seuss-like, with a dog and a goat going back and forth on presenting and refusing the wild headgear: stripes, Roman helmets, potties, tacos, nothing is too wild for this hat store! The twist ending will make readers gleefully giggle as they imagine events happening all over again. Artwork and endpapers are bright, bold, and feature hats of all shapes and sizes. A fun readaloud that should definitely lead to silly hat making. Get your construction paper out!

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Books about love for Valentine’s Day

Ah, love is in the air. Just keep it masked, socially distant, and send Valentines. And read these books.

 

See, Touch, Feel: Love, by Roger Priddy, (Nov. 2020, Priddy Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781684490820

Ages 0-3

This adorable Priddy book is a perfectly snuggle-able book for Valentine’s Day and beyond! Photos of snuggly babies, puppies and kittens pair with illustrations and artwork for a rhyming story of love. Textures bring the pages to life, and the handprint artwork is a great inspiration for little Kiddos: make your own flamingos and elephants, or fingerpaint your own shooting star! Read, snuggle, and repeat.

Visit the Priddy Books downloads webpage for printable pictures, puzzles, and early learning resources.

 

The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter/Illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring, (Jan. 2021, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536211238

Ages 3-6

Preschooler Dimitri has a lot of love to give. “I love you”, he tells his friends at preschool. “I love you”, he tells the trees, ants, class guinea pig, paintbrushes, cafeteria lady, and his teacher. He even tells the old man on the park bench that he loves him, but no one tells him they love him back, which hurts his feelings until his mother tells him that people have different ways of showing how they feel: the man on the park bench feeds stray cats, for instance. When he sees his friends the next day, his kindness is returned by his friends and his teacher, who tells the whole class that she loves them. A tender story that will resonate with sensitive and emotional children, The Boy Who Loved Everyone is a solid addition to socio-emotional learning books. Mixed media artwork shows a group of children with different shades of skin color; colors are vibrant and warm.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone has a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

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Another post about Bears…

(It’s a joke, based on one of the book’s titles. Keep reading.)

Who loves bears? We love bears! Teddy bears, polar bears, brown bears brown bears, bears are children’s book gold. I’ve got three books about bears to crow about today, so let’s start with the inspiration for this post’s title.

Another book about bears., by Laura & Philip Bunting, (Jan. 2020, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-084-3

Ages 3-7

I love a story that breaks the fourth wall! Have you ever thought about how many books there are about bears? Did you ever consider that every time a bear stars in a story, that bear may have been in the middle of something “really good – like sleeping, or snoozing, or napping”? Well, the bears have had it and are going on strike! This hilarious book is all about one bear’s fight for justice. The omniscient narrator tries their best to nudge the bear into compliance in a silly series of moments like dressing it up in a tutu or suggesting the bear kiss a frog, but Bear stands firm, even calling up other animals to serve as a proper stand in. Kids will laugh out loud at the deadpan humor, and the ultimate solution that works for everyone is priceless. Originally published in Australia in 2018, Another book about bears is storytime hilarity just waiting to be revealed.

Visit Philip Bunting’s webpage for free, fun downloadables for kids, too!

 

A Polar Bear in the Snow, by Mac Barnett/Illustrated by Shawn Harris, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536203967

Ages 3-6

Gorgeous cut paper and ink artwork presents a polar bear’s meandering through a brilliant white world and a deep blue sea. A polar bear wakes up in the snow and begins walking… but where is he going? What does he want? Award-winning author and illustrator Mac Barnett builds curiosity and excitement as readers follow the bear past seals, through a storm, and as he rebuffs a human in a very polar bearlike fashion, to end up at his destination. Shawn Harris’s illustrations give such texture and motion, layering shades of white upon white and blue upon blue, giving us a feeling of purpose and joy. Simple sentences and facts about polar bears (he clearly eats seals, but he’s not hungry right now; his coat protects him from the snowstorm; he likes to swim) are a wonderful introduction to young readers about the natural science of bears and the Arctic. A final question leaves much open to discussion. There’s so much presented in this book, so beautifully, and respects its youngest readers in its presentation. Teacher Tips are downloadable from Candlewick’s website.

A Polar Bear in the Snow has starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly.

 

Can Bears Ski?, by Raymond Antrobus/Illustrated by Polly Dunbar, (Nov. 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536212662

Ages 3-7

Little Bear can feel the world around him – all its rumbles and shakes, trembles and wobbles – but hearing his world is a little more difficult. He doesn’t hear things clearly, and thinks he hears everyone asking him, “Do bears ski?” Dad takes him to an audiologist one day, and is fitted for hearing aids that make his world way too LOUD. He resists them at first, hiding them around the house, but with his dad’s love and support, he understands that it’s just something new to get used to – and he also learns that everyone has been asking him not whether or not bears can ski, but “Can you hear me?” A touching story about self-discovery, Can Bears Ski? is essential for bookshelves and can start many conversations with children. Author Raymond Antrobus is a Ted Hughes award-winning deaf poet and teacher who wrote Can Bears Ski because “It’s the book I could see myself reaching for as a child, and I can’t wait to have it exist in the world.” Colorful ink and paint artwork made this a gentle, comforting story about a big topic. The CDC’s Kids Quest webpage has helpful facts for kids on hearing loss.

Posted in Uncategorized

A word about yesterday.

I’m not posting reviews today as we try to process what happened in our nation’s capital yesterday. I’m trying to think of how to explain this to my Kiddo, and I’m sure many of you are, too. The only thing I feel I can offer is information about how government should work, and maybe that’s where we begin.

This article on explaining protests and activism, from PopSugar, offers some helpful guidance.

The Encyclopedia Britannica explains the Constitution to kids here.

Going to work on a display of government/social justice books next. Stay safe, please.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Fairy Tale time! The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog

The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog, by Alastair Chisholm/Illustrated by Jez Tuya, (Dec. 2020, Kane Miller Books), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-179-6

Ages 4-8

Alastair Chisholm and Jez Tuya are back with another fairy tale! Last year’s The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears was so much fun, the author-illustrator decided to come back for more. This time, Jamie – the boy from The Prince and the Witch… – is on a camping trip with his dad and younger sister, Abby, and it’s time to tell a story by the fire. The Prince, the Witch, the Thief, and the Bears return, along with Barry, a thumb-sized ninja frog that the Witch keeps safely tucked away. But Abby doesn’t think it’s fair to Barry to miss out on all the action, so she takes control of the storytelling and lets Barry the Ninja Frog have a grand adventure! The storytelling is such fun, and like The Prince and the Witch…, the kids steer the plot of the story with hilarious results. The story has an empowering message for kids and adults alike: don’t discount the little one. And the ending? Well, let’s just say I’ll be waiting to hear from these two again in about a year… Digital artwork is colorful and cartoony, and kids familiar with the characters will be delighted to see them in action again. Put together a great fractured fairy tales display with the two Chisholm/Tuya books and the Josh Funk It’s Not… series and let your kiddos go wild, telling you their own stories.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

There’s no bigger fan than Nana!

Nana Says I Will Be Famous One Day, by Ann Stot/Illustrated by Andrew Joyner, (Aug. 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763695606

Ages 3-6

Who’s got a bigger fan than Nana? Not this little pup, whose Nana cheers him on at all his games, schedules her hair appointments around his swim meets, and buys up all his art at school auctions. Nana’s there to argue with the referees and dance in the aisles at recitals, but when she takes a spill and hurts her foot, Nana needs a fan to cheer her on, too: it’s not easy for someone to sit still when they’re used to being in constant motion! A cute little story about a grandmother who may be a little over-enthusiastic, judging by the expressions on folks when she’s pushing her way onto the swimming pool bench to nudge her grandson to the front of the line, or arguing a bad call with a referee during a softball game, Nana is relatable to a lot of us (some of my own loving, but not finest moments come to mind). What turns this around from being another “unconditional love from grandparent” story is how Nana is derailed by her injury – she’s super-competitive and an athlete, herself – and how her grandson has to use the motivation she always has ready for him to convince her that she can take it easy and take care of herself, with his help, just for a little while. Tender and funny, this is a good grandparent story for littles and the caregivers who love them.