Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: Heart Strings, Hedgehogs, and the Moon

Heart String, by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, (Dec. 2022, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452181653

Ages 3-6

A string connects us all together: parents and children; neighbors and friends, we are all connected to one another and our world through this Heart String. Written as an ode to connection, Boynton-Hughes loving, gentle voice could be a teacher reading to their classroom, a parent to a child, or a friend to another. The repetitive phrase, “My heart is tied to yours” brings home the lovely sentiment that we are all together: “Across the garden, across the street, over the city and through the trees”; sharing emotions like joy and sorrow, no matter how near or far; our hearts are tied to each other as we work, play, learn and live. It’s a comforting thought that dispels anxiety and fear; we are part of a family, a neighborhood, a community, a world. Endpapers show a variety of people from all walks of life interacting and engaging with one another. Pencil and watercolor illustrations are soft, gently colorful, conveying a message of warmth and hope, with a warm, glowing string that goes from one person to the next as they work together in neighborhoods; console one another in times of grief; enjoy tea parties, and celebrate being together. A delightful readaloud for storytime collections.

For a fun post-storytime activity, print out some person templates and get some yarn. Ask families to decorate them and use the yarn to connect them. Who are they connecting to?

 

 

Hedgehog and the Art Show, by Özge Bahar Sunar/Illustrated by Ceyhun Sen, (Oct. 2022, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764364617

Ages 4-7

Little Hedgehog is all set to start school, but has an accident the day before. His little fingers need to be bandaged up, but the teacher has announced that there will be a class art show! Little Hedgehog cannot write… with his fingers! He refuses to miss out on his first big art show, and finds ways to create his art using his quills and some leaves! In fact, his creativity inspires his friends to create their own original artwork, making the art show even more exciting. A sweet story of ingenuity and determination that inspires readers to think outside the box, Hedgehog and the Art Show lends itself to a great readaloud, especially for Kindergarten and first graders. Sentences are brief but expand on the basics, adding more details. Sen’s illustrations are textured, with swirling backgrounds and shades of greens, browns, and oranges.

Add this one to your art storytimes, and have plenty of mixed materials to create with for an after-story activity.

 

 

Mending the Moon, by Emma Pearl/Illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, (Nov. 2022, Page Street Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781645675600

Ages 4-8

One night, the moon shines so big and so brightly that it becomes to heavy to hold itself up and tumbles down, shattering as it crashes into our world. A girl named Luna witnesses the fall, and, horrified, wakes her grandfather. Grandfather gravely worries about the Earth without a moon, and the two set about collecting the pieces to mend the moon, aided by a group of forest animals. A gorgeously illustrated story with the fantastic feel of a legend, Mending the Moon will delight readers and get a workout as a storytime favorite. Breathtaking illustration shows a cadre of animals working side-by-side with Luna and Poppy; a purple and blue-tinged white backgrounds bring the moon’s cool beauty to the pages, and vibrantly colored animals and people alike are cartoony and kid-friendly. There is magic in every turn of the page as readers will wait breathlessly to find out whether or not the moon will make it back to the sky. Endpapers show a cool, crisp night with moths fluttering around the moon’s light, and Poppy and Luna’s cabin atop a mountain. Mending the Moon is a lovely starting point to talk about legend, STEM (moon concepts!), and the larger idea of working with nature to keep our world safe.

 

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

An animal board book two-fer from Katerina Gorelik

What Do Animals Eat? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365140

Ages 1-3

Schiffer has been publishing some great board books, and this duo of larger-format board books by Katerina Gorelik, originally published in France (2018), is the latest. What Do Animals Eat? uses high-contrast colorful images to introduce readers to different animals and what they eat: bats and birds, owls and foxes, tigers and wolves, hedgehogs and gorillas, crocodiles and elephants, pelicans, and polar bears. Brief text on how each animal eats and feeds their family is informative and just right for young learners, who will be captivated by the bold illustrations, which have a playful sense of humor. Readers will chuckle at a fox and duck eyeing one another through a hole in an otherwise secure door, and delight in the bustling activity taking place in a tree as different birds feed their young. Exclamations on each page give lend some interactivity to readalouds, letting readers munch on leaves along with a baby elephant, or gulp down a beakful of birds with a pelican. The pages are sturdy and will hold up well in circulation. Great for an animal storytime.

Print some activity sheets from Schiffer’s Resources Hub and have them ready for a post-storytime activity.

 

 

Where Do Animals Live? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365157

Ages 1-3

Where Do Animals Live shows readers where animals live and how they stay safe: moles and mice; bats and cats; dogs, owls, and squirrels; bees and hedgehogs; bears and penguins; foxes, and wolves all appear in high-contrast, bright illustrations. Readers learn about animal families and how adults protect their young while they search for food. Playful illustrations are appealing: a mole lovingly holds a carrot in her underground burrow, under root vegetables and alongside various bugs in their homes; a hungry cat eyes mice through a crack in the floor, but the mice aren’t worried: they’ve got food stored up, and their little ones are asleep, safe in the knowledge that the cat can’t reach them. Bees buzz alongside friendly spiders and butterflies, landing on flowers and near their hives; a brown bear hibernates, cuddling her cub; they’re warm inside their den while the snow falls outside. Interesting and brief informative text makes this a good readaloud choice that will keep readers engaged. Like What Do Animals Eat?, Where Do Animals Live? was originally published in French in 2018. See more of Katerina Gorelik’s work at her webpage.

Pair these with Creature Features from Big Picture Press for more fun animal facts.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: The Llove Llama books

The Love Llama Travels the 7 Continents, by Monica Talbot-Kerkes & Sharla Charpentier/Illustrated by Aljon Inertia, (Dec. 2022, Book Endeavors), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1736282908

Ages 4-7

The kickoff to a children’s series that teaches geography and the natural world, The Llove Llama Travels the 7 Continents is a cute story about finding friendship. Born in South America, a sweet llama named Llove decides that she needs to search the world for a friend. As she explores the continents, she meets all sorts of new friends: a sloth named Bob, living in the Amazon Rainforest; a penguin named Peppermint living in Antarctica; a narwhal named Ned, living in Africa, and more, all of whom direct Llove to other continents in her search for a special friend: a child! Compass roses throughout help place readers as Llove explores the world in search of her friend. Comprehensive back matter includes fast facts on the animals mentioned in the story and discussion questions. Colorful maps place Llove and her animal acquaintances in their respective continents. Colorful cartoon art and expressive, friendly animals make this a fun go-to for preschoolers and early grade schoolers.

 

Ned the Narwhal Voyages the 5 Oceans (The Llove Llama and Friends), by Monica Talbot-Kerkes & Sharla Charpentier/Illustrated by Aljon Inertia, (July 2021, Book Endeavors), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1736282960

Ages 4-7

Now that readers have met Llove the Llama, it’s time to meet the friends she made on her journey! Ned the Narwhal is born with a rainbow horn and flipper wings, setting him apart from the other narwhals. When Ned is bored with life in the Arctic, he decides to be like his friend, Llove the Llama, and travel the world. Being a narwhal, he sticks to the world’s oceans, meeting all sorts of new friends, including sharks, crabs, and seals. He learns some valuable lessons, the most important being that everyone is special. Upbeat rhyme, colorful maps, and illustrations throughout place the reader and invest them in the story. Back matter offers fast facts on all the animals and the oceans appearing in the story; discussion questions offer opportunities to reinforce and deepen learning.

The Llove series is a cute way to introduce young learners to world geography and link it to the natural world. The third book in the series stars Bob the Sloth – the first animal Llove meets on her journey – and published in September 2022. Visit the Llove Llama and Friends website for more information about the series and free resources, including coloring pages to keep handy for a post-storytime activity.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board and Concept Books to keep an eye out for!

I’ve been busily scaling Mount TBR, and wanted to share some up-and-coming books, too! Here are some concept and early childhood books to into your ordering carts now – let’s spend down our book budgets!

One More Try, by Naomi Jones/Illustrated by James Jones, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644568

Ages 3-7

While playing one day, Circle sees the squares and hexagons building a tower and really wants to build one, too. Triangle and Rhombus want to play, too, but the group can’t seem to balance as easily as the other shapes do. They work out, they study, but they keep falling down, until Circle gets some inspiration from above and changes his perspective. Naomi Jones creates a sweet story about teamwork and perspective; James Jones creates colorful shapes with cheerful expressions and spindly black arms and legs. The shapes cheer each other on and support one another, delivering a positive message about playing together and helping one another. A cute addition to concept collections and a fun storytime choice.

One More Try lends itself to a fun flannel storytime – cut shapes out of flannel and let your circle time add to the story as you read. There are oodles of shape coloring pages available for free for a post-storytime activity: visit GetColoringPages and MomJunction for some fun choices.

 

My Big Book of Nature Sounds, by Lucie Brunelliere, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $21.99, ISBN: 9782408042165

Ages 0-3

An adorable way to introduce interactivity into your storytimes, My Big Book of Nature Sounds includes over 100 sounds organized into areas like backyards, gardens, forests, beaches and oceans, the mountains, the desert, and the rainforest. Each button maps to an area of the book, noted by a colorful icon at the top left hand of each page. At the press of a button, little ones will delight to hear 6 types of birds; backyard activities, like digging holes or watering plants; a grownup inflating a child’s water wings, and a calming rainforest waterfall. Colorful illustrations show animals and humans enjoying and respecting nature, and illustrations are clearly labeled. Perfect for lapsit exploration or to enhance a nature storytime.

 

Who’s the Most…? A Guess Who Book, by Claudia Bielinsky, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $10.99, ISBN: 9791036353093

Ages 0-3

This adorable seek-and-find book challenges readers to pick animals out of a group based on characteristics: who’s the strongest? The cleanest? The most loving? Readers will look for the featured animal based on clues provided in the text: “Which mouse is all ready, with a shirt, pants, and shoes on? It’s Mikey-he’s the most ready!” The guessing game leads up to a delightful reveal, making this a wonderful readaloud for small lapsits and one-on-one reading and cuddle time. Colorful, kid-friendly cartoon animals are attention-grabbers, and naming the animals assures readers will return to this one as they look forwarding to naming their new friends again and again. A good addition to board book collections.

 

Little Chicks, by Taro Gomi, (Feb. 2023, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797218748

Ages 0-3

Three little chicks head off for an adventure in this sweet story by Taro Gomi. After running through a field, escaping a bigger, grumpier bird, and taking a bus ride, the chicks are ready to head back home; the story speaks directly to a toddler’s growing sense of independence, cloaked in the desire to explore within the bounds of safety. Gomi’s colorful artwork is always a delight for the eyes, and some readers may notice that the bus in the story looks similar to another board book favorite character: Elmer the Elephant! Short sentences make for a great move into independent reading for preschoolers. An essential pick for board book collections.

Posted in Uncategorized

An Atlas of Dogs: Worldwide Walkies!

An Atlas of Dogs, by Frances Evans/Illustrated by Kelsey Heaton, (Oct. 2022, Lonely Planet Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781838694463

Ages 6-8

Lonely Planet Kids puts out quality nonfiction! I liked the Lonely Planet travel guides when I’d plan family trips, and I love how they’ve expanded to include kids’ learning into their worldview; they publish everything from first words language guides to guides on dinosaurs, atlases, and… Dogs! Atlas of Dogs takes readers on a walk around the world to meet all sorts of dog breeds. Colorful artwork shows people and dogs living and playing together, and full-spread maps show where dogs live across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Additional spreads group dogs and fast facts under headings like “Terrific Terriers”, “Super-Hounds”, and “Wild Dogs”. “Pooch Profiles” give readers information about a breed’s country of origin, size, coast, and personality; breed illustrations are labeled to point out details. Endpapers show a bevy of dogs in silhouette. With a glossary and an index, this is an excellent choice for collections and for dog lovers.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Picture Book Historical Nonfiction: A Bear Far from Home

A Bear Far From Home, by Susan Fletcher/Illustrated by Rebecca Green, (Sept. 2022, Anne Schwartz Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9780593181898

Ages 4-8

Inspired by the bear in King Henry III’s royal menagerie, A Bear Far from Home is a heart-aching story that imagines the life of the white bear given to Henry by King Haakon IV of Norway in the thirteenth century. Using letters and official documents, Fletcher creates the story of a young bear born in Norway, her capture by trappers and voyage to England, and her life as the only one of her kind in a new world. Told in verse, the story is sensitive to the young bear’s plight; beginning with the bear’s origin in Norway and how it was a “place that fit her perfectly”, the story shifts to her capture and voyage to England, asking readers to think about how the bear would feel enduring these scary experiences alone. When the King orders his men to let her fish in the river, the story takes on a bittersweet tone as the bear revels in the magic of the familiar as she dives into the water. Illustrator Rebecca Green creates medieval-inspired artwork to tell her story. Gouache and colored pencil illustrations recall tapestries and illuminated manuscripts, with the pages edged in gold frames; deep colors and bold outlines recall stained glass artwork. Notes from the author and illustrator provide deeper context to the story and setting, and a bibliography provides information for more reading. An excellent addition to storytime collections and a great choice for school-age storytime and prompting discussions on empathy.

A Bear Far from Home has a starred review from Booklist.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction

Book Blitz & Giveaway: How to Speak Animal!

BuyGoodreads

Learn about the secret language of wild animals in this exciting and informative guide from the experts who brought you How to Speak Cat and How to Speak Dog.

We know animals can’t speak and express themselves in the same way as humans … but even the smallest and quietest animals have incredible ways of communicating with each other. With wildlife veterinarian expert Dr. Gabby Wild as a guide, How to Speak Animal helps kids understand how animals communicate through sound, body language, and behavior. It’s full of expert insights and real-life stories of humans exploring ways to “talk” to animals, from teaching great apes sign language to speaking “dolphin.” Packed with super-engaging animal photography that helps illustrate key concepts, this fascinating bookprofiles more than 60 different creatures―from birds to mammals to reptiles and more―and their amazing ways of communicating with each other.

If you’ve ever wondered why gorillas beat their chests and make hooting noises, what it means when chameleons change color, or why some elephants twist their trunks together, this is the book for you!

 

About the Authors

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

DR. GABBY WILD earned her bachelor of science and doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at Cornell University. She completed her veterinary internship training at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in Akron, Ohio, and received her master’s of public health (MPH) from the University of Minnesota. She is a published genetics researcher and uses her research background to screen zoonotic disease transmission among wildlife, domestic animals, and people. To help maintain a healthy planet, she monitors herd and individual health for rising epidemics. Dr. Wild balances her Western medicine practices with traditional Chinese medicine in an effort to blend both methodologies. Acclaimed for her role as “the veterinarian” on Animal Jam, the world’s largest online “playground,” with 54 million players, she creates educational videos and teaches children internationally about wildlife conservation and medicine. When not in the wild, Gabby works as a Wildlife Health Program veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and is a training veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island. She lives in New York City.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

AUBRE ANDRUS is an award-winning children's book author with dozens of books published by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, American Girl, Disney, Scholastic, and more. She has also ghostwritten books for young YouTube stars. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her family. 


GIVEAWAY

  • Three (5) winners will receive a copy of How to Speak Animal
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  • Ends 12/18 at 11:59pm ET
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Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Cozy Storytelling: Books Aren’t for Eating

Books Aren’t for Eating, by Carlie Sorosiak/Illustrated by Manu Montoya, (Sept. 2022, Walker Books US), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536214963

Ages 4-7

Bookstore owner Leonard the goat loves losing himself in books and delights in choosing the just-right books for his customers, but the day another goat walks in and starts eating his books, he is beside himself! His wife lovingly reminds Leonard that he used to eat books, too, prompting Leonard to find a read that will show the other goat that Books Aren’t For Eating. This cozy story is all about the love of books and finding that one story that :excited me, challenged me, and made me feel less alone”. Sorosiak combines humor and the transformative power of books; Montoya brings the words to life with soft gouache illustration, showing readers how we can be carried away on the wings of a story; she creates warm, cozy settings with delightful details, like Leonard’s green Fair Isle sweater with goat detail, the cozy bookshop exterior and warm interior, and the cute white mice that show up throughout the story. I love reading this to my class visits to show them not only how to love books, but how to respect them. A definite add to collections.

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board Books and Pop-Ups Bonanza!

It’s time for the latest board book bonanza! These books are great for collections and for stocking stuffers: let’s take a look.

The Pop-Up Guide: Animals, by Maud Poulain/Illustrated by Peggy Nille, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9791036345166

Ages 3-5

Twirl’s Pop-Up Guides are so much fun for toddlers and preschoolers. The fourth in this series is all about animals and their environments, with spotlights on nine areas: the African Savanna, the forest, the Far North, the rain forest, the backyard, the ocean, the desert, the river and the mountains. A brief factual paragraph gives kids introductory information to each area, and each spread folds out into a 3-D landscape. Animals are clearly labeled, as are environmental objects like pine cones, ice floes, and water lilies. The Pop-Up Guide are great ways to introduce new vocabulary and new ideas, with colorful illustration and sturdy pages that hold up to multiple reads. If you’re putting these into circulation, keep a reference copy on hand for storytimes. Great for a STEM storytime!

Pop-Up Topics: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, by Arnaud Roi, (Oct. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9782408037512

Ages 3-5

Twirl has another pop-up series for young learners now! Pop-Up Topics has slightly more informational text and a more refined topic range for growing minds, while keeping the same exciting and eye-catching 3-D pop-ups that exploring fingers enjoy. Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric features includes 10 pop-up spreads on dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures with a short, informational paragraph on each, and at-a-glance statistics like region, size and weight, and time period. Fan favorites like Tyrannosaurus Rex Stegosaurus are here alongside the lesser-known Sarcosuchus, a prehistoric relative to the modern-day crocodile, and flying reptile Quetzalcoatlus. If your budget permits, pick up a back-up copy or two, or keep this in storytime reference; while sturdy, the flaps may not hold up to the beating that dino books take (at least, in my library!).

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Puppy, Illustrated by Michael Slack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205267

Ages 1-4

Happy Little Pets is an adorable new board book series from Chronicle! Combining pet care with learning, the books are a sweet introduction to having a pet. I Take Care of My Puppy has 15 interactive elements that let kids fill the puppy’s bowl, brush their fur, and trace their finger through a walk around the block. Moving parts, bold fonts, and a cheery, expressive puppy will appeal to readers. The final spread invites readers to take care of their own puppy for a week, with sliding panels to check off every day after they feed, walk, play, and take their puppy out for a potty run. It’s a great way to introduce responsibility into a conversation, and for preschoolers who may not have a pet, a chance to try a puppy on for size – accompany with a stuffed animal for a test run! Sliding panels can be a little fiddly with new books, but the pages are sturdy and will hold up.

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Kitten, Illustrated by Michael Stack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205274

Ages 1-4

I Take Care of My Kitten is the companion to I Take Care of My Puppy, with an adorable black and white kitten that readers can name, feed, brush, and pet. There are 15 interactive elements for toddlers and preschoolers to explore, and they can spend a week caring for their own kitten (Can be a toy! Get creative!) and marking off their progress at the end of the book. Kids can learn about the responsibility involved in having a kitten, including cleaning the litter box and helping them find a scratching post to sharpen their claws. Kid-friendly artwork and sturdy panels engage readers from the get-go.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Reading for the Season: Bright Winter Night

Bright Winter Night, by Alli Brydon/Illustrated by Ashling Lindsay, (Dec. 2022, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542022248

Ages 4-7

Folks, I’m finally back. The flu tore through our home, but we hung in there and are all finally on the mend. I’ll be playing catch-up for quite a bit, so I think everyone for their patience. I fell behind on two blog tours while I was sick, so let me start with these first.

Bright Winter Night is a story in verse, perfect for bedtime reading. A group of woodland creatures come together on a winter evening, using materials around them to create something… wonderful. A quietly joyful celebration of nature, friendship, and creativity, the story builds expectation as this seemingly unlikely group of animals – mice and wolves working together? Rabbits, bears, and birds? Stags and squirrels? – come together with one goal in mind: to enjoy one of nature’s most breathtaking sights. There’s a quiet urgency as the animals work – “They sense there is a task to do / as night descends, replacing blue” – and a spirit of teamwork and conviviality, as everyone contributes to the project and enjoys the moments they spend together. Mixed media artwork in deep blues give a cozy feeling to the chilly winter landscape. Sure to be a readaloud kids will want to hear again and again; keep this one handy for storytimes and winter craft times.

 

 

“Destined to be a favorite bedtime read-aloud.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Awash in shades of purple, blue, and pink, [Ashling] Lindsay’s watercolor and digital artwork project the magic evoked by Brydon’s smooth rhymes, illuminating a magnetic portrait of woodland camaraderie.” ―Publishers Weekly

 

Author Alli Brydon is inspired by natural wonders and what they can teach us, and she strives to bring that magic to the books she writes for children. Recent picture books include Lobstah Gahden, illustrated by EG Keller, and Love Around the World, illustrated by Wazza Pink. She also writes nonfiction about creatures, from insects to lemurs to humans. Alli holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and lives in England with her family. Learn more at www.allibrydon.com.

Instagram: allibrydon

Twitter: Alli Brydon

 

Ashling Lindsay is an artist and writer from Belfast, Ireland. Her picture books are published in more than ten languages and have received various awards and accolades, including a nomination for the Kate Greenaway Medal; being shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Klaus Flugge Prize, and the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year; and being longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards. In 2020 she was awarded the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Honour Award for Illustration with her book The Tide, written by Clare Helen Welsh. Learn more at www.ashlinglindsay.co.uk.

Instagram: ashling.lindsay