Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Hello, Rain! is all-weather reading

Hello, Rain!, by Kyo Maclear/Illustrated by Chris Turnham, (April 2021, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781452138190

Ages 3-6

A child delights in the before, during, and after of a rain shower in this cheery, colorful story. Kyo Maclear uses all sorts of literary devices to make this a joy to read to little ones, embracing rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia to weave a poetic love letter to a rainy day. Our main character and her canine companion dance, splash, and revel in the rain, Chris Turnham’s providing wonderful visual accompaniment as the raindrops glisten off leaves, splash out at us, and allow us to follow the girl and her cheery, colorful umbrella through the story. Once inside, the two companions shake off the droplets and discover the fun ways to spend time indoors; from board games to blanket forts.  When all is said and done, it’s time to greet the sun. Endpapers lead readers in with a a blue, spotty beginning and an emerging yellow. Delightful. Add to your rainy day collections with favorites like Who Likes Rain? by Wong Herbert Yee, Sam Usher’s Storm, and one of my all-time favorites, Mushroom in the Rain by Mira Ginsburg.

Visit author Kyo Maclear’s website for more information about her kids’ books, and illustrator Chris Turnham’s website for a glimpse at more of his artwork

Hello, Rain! has starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Celebrating Happy Papas!

Happy Papas, by Kathleen T. Pelley/Illustrated by Mariya Prytula, (July 2018, CWLA Press), $14.95, ISBN: 978-1587601682

Ages 3-6

A companion to Happy Mamas (2016), Happy Papas celebrates dads in both the animal and human world, taking readers through a Happy Papas kind of day: as the sun pops up; as the sun sails high; as the clouds and sun play peek-a-boo; as the shadows gather, and finally, as the moon blooms. Otter dads, meerkat dads, tiger dads, and all sorts of human dads celebrate the day-to-day joys of fatherhood as they play, protect, cook for, and cuddle their little ones.

Written in verse, the storytelling moves along at a soothing cadence, with sound effect words like “screech and squawk”, “giggly wiggly”, “wade and wallow”, and “slide and pop”, using both alliteration and rhyme to play with language. There are all kinds of Happy Papas, and all kinds of Happy Babies and Kids. Perfect for storytime, the soft colors and realistic illustrations will attract readers’ attention, and the simple black font lets the artwork take center stage.

This is a sweet tribute to dads, and a lovely read-along with Happy Mamas for a Mom and Dad tandem bedtime reading, or a Family Storytime.

Author Kathleen Pelley has a podcast and literacy resources on her website. You can find more of Mariya Prytula’s watercolor artwork at her website.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Humor, Preschool Reads

Can you really have Too Many Moose?

too many mooseToo Many Moose!, by Lisa Bakos/Illustrated by Mark Chambers, (Jul. 2016, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $16.99, ISBN: 9781492609353

Recommended for ages 4-8

Martha decides to get a pet, and does a lot of thinking about what pet she should get. When she decides on a moose, she’s delighted – and decides that if one moose is marvelous, more must be magnificent! But what happens when Margaret finds herself with too many moose?

Too Many Moose is an adorable story of a a little girl who finds herself in way over her head when she accumulates too many moose. It’s a counting book that wonderfully uses rhyme and alliteration, drawing readers and listeners in and inviting them to laugh along at all the hijinks the moose get themselves into. The cartoony illustrations and bold, black text are eye-catching and adorable. I’ve read this with at my family storytime, and it went over huge (and I realized that wow, there are a lot of moose storybooks for kids). We counted the moose, and we imagined what other sorts of trouble the moose could get into when Margaret wasn’t looking.

Add this one to your read-aloud collection, and your picture book collections for sure. This is going to be a storytime standard for a long time.

You can visit Sourcebooks’ Virtual Moose Mart and choose your own moose – show him (or her) off on social media and hashtag it #toomanymoose to share in the fun! Here’s mine.


An activity kit and educator resources are forthcoming at the Virtual Moose Mart – keep checking in!

Posted in Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

The Alphabet of Bugs is perfect for young nature buffs!

alphabet of bugsThe Alphabet of Bugs: An ABC Book, by Valerie Gates/Photography by Ann Cutting (June 2015, Sky Pony Press), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-63220-407-3

Recommended for ages 3+

Ready to go beyond ladybugs and butterflies? Then this is the book for you. Award-winning photographer Ann Cutting presents 26 different bugs in beautiful detail, with alphabetical alliteration by Emmy Award-winning art director Valerie Gates. From the Ailanthus Webworm Moth to the Zebra Longwing Butterfly, there are beautiful, detailed pictures with fun sentences that will kids will love to look at and giggle over again and again.

I’ve already ordered copies of this book for my libraries. The photos are amazing – so crisp and clear, with unbelievable detail. Each page has something exciting to see – a colorful page with a huge letter of the alphabet and a fun, alliterative sentence on the left side, and a full-page photo of an insect, against a colorful background to set off the picture, on the right. And what kids aren’t interested in bugs? The sentences make learning fun, and the book introduces kids to a world of insects they likely haven’t heard of before, expanding their world. There’s also a “Did You Know?” glossary with additional facts at the end of the book.

The Alphabet of Bugs hits stores on June 2. Visit Valerie Gates’ website to purchase a companion poster!


Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Clumsy Crab, by Ruth Galloway (Tiger Tales, 2007)

clumsy-crabRecommended for ages 3-6

Nipper the Crab’s claws always seem to get in his way, until one day, when he discovers how helpful they can be. Clumsy Crab is a very good story about accepting yourself that should resonate with preschoolers. Nipper the Crab hates his claws because they always seem to get in his way; one day, though, playing hide and seek with his friends, he discovers that having claws to snip, snap and clip, clap can come in handy when he is the only one that can rescue a friend. All of the sea creatures are friendly and helpful to Nipper; there is no bullying, only encouraging. The cartoon artwork is bright and the sea creatures have expressive, happy faces. The endpapers offer an underwater welcome, with Nipper and some sea life friends greeting readers. The text is rounded, almost cartoonish to match the illustrations, with larger, bolded words for emphasis.

The book’s use of alliteration and onomatopoeia makes this a good storytime selection that will keep readers interested. Storytime Katie’s blog offers songs and fingerplays for a Sea Creatures read-aloud; if possible, stock the storytime area with plastic and plush sea life toys to allow for playtime after the read-aloud. Enchanted Learning offers ocean life printables for a coloring craft. The Raffi CD, Baby Beluga, is a fun music choice to for children to listen to while playing and coloring.

Posted in Preschool Reads

My Beastly Brother, by Laura Leuck/illus. Scott Nash (HarperCollins, 2003)

beastly brotherRecommended for ages 3-6

A young monster reflects on life with his older brother, who can be  truly beastly or very kind. Ms. Leuck uses two monster brothers to illustrate the ups and downs of sibling relationships. The younger brother makes a laundry list of his older brother’s “beastly” – a double entendre here – behavior toward him: he will not allow him to play with his stuff, feed his pets, and outdoes his younger brother at everything he does, from burping to spewing spider spit. He throws his toys away, bothers him, and never lets him win.  But when he has scary dreams of humans coming after him, the younger monster learns that sometimes, his beastly brother is not so beastly after all.

Scott Nash’s cartoon illustrations bring humor to the monster family; they are not scary at all.  He turns the idea of the traditional family on its head by creating a monster nuclear family, complete with details like eyeball wallpaper and skull upholstery. The humans are the monsters in this tale; to that end, Mr. Nash illustrates the young monster’s nightmare with scary humans with frozen smiles and outstretched arms. The text is black, bold font on a stark white background, with a single image beneath the text, allowing the illustrations to take center stage. The monsters, other than being hairy, are fairly normal.  Their faces are pleasant and expressive, with large eyes and big smiles fully of pointy teeth. The boys wear jeans and t-shirts; Mom wears a pink dress with a spider print pattern, and Dad mows the lawn in shorts, a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

Laura Leuck and Scott Nash’s monsters show up again in My Creature Teacher.

This would be a fun book to incorporate into a family read-aloud. There are many family printables available for coloring on DLTK, along with family puppets, and poems.

HarperCollins offers an author webpage that allows interested readers to sign up for author updates.