Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction

Raising Don: Meet your newest favorite animal

Raising Don: The True Story of a Spunky Baby Tapir, by Georgeanne Irvine with The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press, (Oct. 2022, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press), $14.99, ISBN: 9781943198146

Ages 6-10

The San Diego Zoo was thrilled when Don the tapir was born in 2018: he was the first baby tapir born at the Zoo in more than 30 years! But Luna, Don’s mother, wanted no part of her calf, so it was up to the Zoo staff to raise little Don. Don was bottle-fed and belly-rubbed by wildlife care specialists, bullied by some animals, and befriended by others, including a capybara named Bristle, who became Don’s best friend while at the San Diego Zoo. A true story, captured in full-color photographs and lively, upbeat, informative storytelling. Back matter includes a section on fun facts about tapirs, where tapirs live in the world, and threats to wild tapirs. Endpapers feature Don’s footprints! An adorable add to animal collections.

Raising Don is the newest nonfiction title from San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press; books published spotlight different animals from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Posted in Toddler Reads

It’s another Board Book Blitz!

Time for more board books!

Tummy Time! A high-contrast fold-out book with mirror for babies, by Mama Makes Books, (March 2022, Red Comet Press), $8.99, ISBN: 9781636550138

Ages 0-1

A two-sided, fold-out board book that’s perfect for infants whether they’re laying on their tummies or during a lapsit. On one side, there is rhyming verse and photos of baby faces; a mirror lets baby see themselves. On the other, high-contrast black and white images with pops of bright primary colors attract baby’s attention. Stiff cardboard allows the book to stand up without tipping over, and the foldout pages allow for caregivers to lay out multiple images for baby to look at. Great for lapsit storytime and baby social time. These are sturdy enough to put into circulation, too!

 

The Trainbow, by Nina Laden, (Aug. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9781452176413

Ages 0-3

Another foldout board book! This time, a colorful “trainbow” is rolling down the track, with rhyming text reminiscent of Donald Crews’s classic Freight Train. One side folds out into a color study of the cars on the freight train, all inhabited by colorful cartoon art animals and people. The other side features a cheerful rhyme as the train chugs past a group of well-wishers. Die cut pages fold into a rainbow readers will see from either side of the book. The pages are sturdy and will hold up to circulation and storytimes and will easily stand up for display or tummy time. A very cute collection choice from the author of the Peek-a…. series of die-cut board books, another board book collection staple.

 

Baby Hippo Finger Puppet Book, Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797212876

Ages 0-3

I can’t get enough of these adorable finger puppet books! I love putting them up and around my early reading area so my littlest learners can see and easily reach them. Baby Hippo has an exciting day, splashing in the water and playing with her fellow calves, having some grass to eat, and running back to Mama in time to go to sleep. There’s one sentence on each spread except for the last page; gentle blues and greens make up most of the scenery, making this a good naptime/bedtime lapsit choice. Let your kiddos take turns wiggling their fingers inside of the Baby Hippo puppet as you read, letting them act out the story. I won’t lie – the pages are blocky and study, but that puppet is going to go in little mouths, so give them a wipe down with some soap and water if you can. They are durable enough to hold up in circulation.

 

Baby Lion Finger Puppet Book, Illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Huang, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797212869

Ages 0-3

Set up your own jungle adventure storytime by pairing Baby Lion with Baby Hippo. Baby Lion spends his day playing with friends, nuzzling and getting a bath from Mama, taking a nap, exploring, rejoining his family as the sun starts setting. Oranges and yellows are the main colors here, with greens, blues, and browns joining the natural colors that dominate this story of life on the African Savanna. The Baby Lion finger puppet will easily accommodate a couple of tiny fingers to wiggle around and act out the story. These books are very sturdy and will hold up to multiple readings and in circulation; with all the finger puppet books, my suggestion is to wipe them down; I’ve seen my in-house copies are going in little mouths as toddlers and babies use all of their senses to explore.

 

Mr. Bear’s World of Food, by Virginie Aracil, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $19.99, ISBN: 9791036345173

Ages 2-5

This oversize book has so much to discover! Mr. Bear just loves food, and takes readers on a trip through their taste buds to learn about different types of flavors, including sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. Each spread introduces a new flavor, showcases foods with those flavors, and a little commentary from Mr. Bear on how each one makes him feel. Salty makes Mr. Bear thirsty; he thinks bitter, like coffee, tastes funny; fried makes him feel warm and toasty. Foods are labeled, expanding vocabularies, and introducing children to all sorts of different food, from endive and radicchio to miso and mushrooms; seasonings like vanilla bean and star anise to rich foods like salmon and whipped cream. A section of Favorite Foods features popular comfort foods – ask readers what they love most! – and Foods to Share encourages readers to share the love. There are lift-the-flaps and pop-ups to further delight readers, and a baguette bookmark assures readers can return to their favorite spreads again and again. Great for a yummy storytime! Originally published in France in 2021, this Mr. Bear book accompanies the three previous titles: Mr. Bear’s ABC, Mr. Bear’s Birthday, and Mr. Bear’s Colors.

 

So Many Kisses!, by Alexandra Garibal/Illustrated by Claudia Bielinksy, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9791036348822

Ages 0-3

An adorable board book that’s just perfect for a cuddly lapsit storytime. Adorable animals have a lovefest and show off all the fun ways of showing affection! Do you prefer a nose-to-nose kiss? Maybe a foot-to-foot kiss is more your style. An octopus loves to give tickly kisses, and a porcupine is there to give prickly kisses! Colorful animals and colorful backgrounds engage kids’ attention and different “kissy sounds” give readers a chance to really make this a fun readaloud. Originally published in France in 2021, So Many Kisses! gives readers the opportunity to show their caregivers how they like to be kissed and hugged.

 

Bookscape Board Books: We Love Books!, Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9781797215587

Ages 0-3

Bookscape Board Books pack a little world into each book! We Love Books is all about developing a love of books, showing readers that they can enjoy a book just about anywhere, and maybe even consider writing a book one day. Arrhenius’s bold artwork is eye-catching, and the die cuts work together to create a layered world that reveals more with each turn of a page. Sturdy and absolute fun for exploring hands and minds, the Bookscape series is great for young learners. We Love Books is the fifth in the series and is great for board book collections. See more of Ingela P. Arrhenius’s illustration work on her Instagram.

 

Little Wild Animal Hugs, by Hans Wilhelm/Illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781797207186

Ages 1-3

Pair this one up with So Many Kisses! for your cuddly lapsit! Little wild animals love hugging, and this die-cut board book allows readers to mix and match the hugs. When a monkey and a seal hug, they make a Chitter-Chatter, Splish-Splash Hug! A porcupine and a lion make a Prickly-Prickly, Roar-Roar Hug! You can read this in a different way each time, just mix and match your animals any way you please. Die cuts make the animals look like they really do hug, and colorful cartoon art shows affectionate, lovable animal friends sharing affectionate embraces. Perfect for readalouds.

 

TouchWords: Color Cards : Touch and Feel, Illustrated by Rilla Alexander, (Sept. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797214993

This oversized deck of ten cards is perfect for learning color. The die-cut cards let little hands feel and trace color names and a primary image on each card. Card backs show different shades of the featured color and other items of the same color. Purple is the color of a violet, with accompanying vocabulary words to help kids visualize and identify the world around them: flower / blossom / petals / leaf / stem / wild / delicate. On the back, shades of lilac, violet, and indigo give children additional shades of color, with examples including an iris, an eggplant, and grape jelly. The cards are study and will hold up to exploration; you may lose some in circulation, but keep a set or two handy for your storytime/playgroup collection.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

New nonfiction for Back to School

So the kids have been back to school for a minute. My Corona Kids are back in the library in full force – where were you all Summer, my friends? – and roaming the nonfiction stacks in search of stuff that interests them. I love this time of year, because this is the time where kids come in looking for nonfiction that relates to things they may be starting to learn about, or come across in school; whether other kids are talking about things they pick up on, they’ve seen something either in the halls or the library, or just noticed on TV. They’re in a learning frame of mind, and want nonfiction that sparks their brains. I’ve got some good picks here to share.

National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $24.99, ISBN: 9781426372797

Ages 7-10

This is a no-fail, no-brainer purchase: it’s NatGeo Kids and it’s dinosaurs. Both are easily the rock stars of my nonfiction collection. The Dinosaur Atlas is everything my kids (my own and my Corona Kids) love: full-color artists’ renderings of dinosaurs (now with feathers!), vibrant color photos of fossils and fossil sites, and readable maps to highlight where featured dinosaurs lived. Organized into periods of time: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, the “Preshistoric Planet” section is further organized into habitats, dinosaurs, and life in each era. “Finding Fossils” organizes dinosaur-centric areas of the world and further breaks down into spotlights on locations and the dinosaurs who roamed them. Fast facts, paleontologist profiles, and dino timelines run throughout the book; phonetic spelling helps reader pronounce each name. Back matter includes a Dino Dictionary, glossary, and further reading resources. This oversized reference is magic for dinosaur collections and is an essential purchase.

 

Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff: Fun Facts, Awesome Info, Cool Games, Silly Jokes, and More!, by National Geographic Kids, (Aug. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9781426372803

Ages 7-10

Nat Geo Kids’s Can’t Get Enough series has a new home run: Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff is loaded with photos, facts, games, and jokes about space. Great for trivia and STEM/STEAM groups: quiz your kids on astronaut facts or print out pictures of clocks to illustrate how long a day is on other planets; Try It Out! spreads help guide you and your readers through outer space crafts like a scale model of the solar system. Keep one in reference for yourself and put one in circulation. The Can’t Get Enough books are fun, loaded with facts, and just great purchases.

 

5,000 Awesome Facts About Animals, by National Geographic, (Sept. 2022, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 9781426372612

Ages 8-12

These facts books are a staple in my collection. My readers love fast, fun facts, accompanied by the gorgeous photos of adorable animals. This is an animal fan’s dream; a trivia fan’s delight, and a program backbone: Animal Jeopardy! Animal Question of the Day! Help, I need some extra facts for a report I’m writing on [insert animal here]! One of my Corona Kids was in last week and asked for “books with fun facts about animals”; books like this are tailor-made for those kids. Each section has a fun title to bring related facts together: “24 Burly Facts About Animal Tough Guys”; “100 Pup-ular Facts About Dogs”; “15 Facts About Animal Mascots to Cheer For”. Facts are fun and informative: Socks, the Clinton’s Presidential cat, was the first presidential pet to have a website, and the Obama’s dog, Bo, had  his own trading card. Ostriches flutter their wings to create a breeze to cool themselves down. A group of mountain gorillas is called a troop. You can have endless fun with this book, and your readers will love it.

 

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World, by Annette Roeder/Illustrated by Pamela Baron (Sept. 2022, Prestel Junior), $19.95, ISBN: 9783791375144

Ages 8-12

I love finding a good architecture book for middle grade. Recent picture book biographies like Maya Lin’s picture book biography, Maya Lin: Architect of Light and Lines, and Andrea Beaty’s Questioneers picture and chapter books have led to an interest in how buildings look. Plus, you know… LEGOs. The Power of Architecture showcases 25 modern buildings from all over the world: buildings like the TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK Airport (I can confirm, it’s a beautiful building) and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg Germany; the scrap metal lily pads of Dandaji Regional Market in Niger, Africa, and the sustainable, environmentally beneficial Tree House in Singapore. Beautiful illustrations give each building center stage and factual, interesting text describes the buildings and what inspired their architects. Thought-provoking questions and suggestions to inspire young architects and designers run throughout the book. The beginning spread shows each building’s location on a world map and a timeline lays out each building’s construction and a biography on each architect. Prestel Junior’s books bring together art and nonfiction in the best of ways and have quickly become stars in my collection. A good purchase if you have budding builders. Put this out during your LEGO challenges and see who it inspires.

The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World was originally published earlier this year in Germany.

 

 

Sleuth & Solve: Science: 20+ Mind-Twisting Mysteries, by Ana Gallo/Illustrated by Victor Escandell, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781797214559

Ages 8-12

The latest Sleuth & Solve book from Ana Gallo and Victor Escandell is all about the “why”: what are the scientific causes to these 21 mysteries? Mysteries are classified by subject, with a key to the symbols used in the book. Each mystery has a difficulty grade from Easy to Difficult, and if you were interested in making this a STEM challenge (ahem!), each mystery has a point value. Mysteries are presented across every spread, with a flap disguising the solution: NO CHEATING! Mysteries include a little girl who swears she’s too sick to go to school – but what will her doctor say? Another mystery ponders whether a group of researchers will be able to set out on their journey to the polar ice caps; what does a flock of cranes have to do with this decision? The principles behind each experiment are revealed in the back matter. If you have a strong science experiment/science fair collection, this is a good one to consider.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Author Michelle Dumont’s doggone great reading list for National Dog Week

National Dog Week is this week, and author Michelle Dumont – whose book, Phoebe Cakes and Friends: An Alphabet Tail, publishes next week – has been lovely enough to provide a list of some of her favorite doggo books! This is a great list, fun to share with your kiddos and your pups alike. Watch this space for a post about Phoebe Cakes in the near future, too!

 

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Don’t Worry, Murray, by David Ezra Stein

We all have worries but dear adorable Murray has many worries. For children, like Murray, life’s little stressors can seem overwhelming. Learning with Murray makes everything less of a worry.

Recommended age: 4 to 8 years

 

Pig the Pug: Blabey, Aaron, Blabey, Aaron: 9781338112450: Amazon.com: Books

Pig The Pug, by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug does not like to share. I think we’ve all been there….

Stubborn Pig learns the lesson of sharing with his dear friend Trevor.  I’m especially fond of the illustrations. It’s difficult not to love a rotund stubborn bug-eyed pug.

Recommended age: 3 to 5 years

 

The Rainbow Bridge : A Visit to Pet Paradise (Paperback) - Walmart.com

The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit To Pet Paradise, by Adrian Raeside

Cross the Rainbow Bridge and enter a magical pet paradise where the sun always shines, and playtime never ends. This is a wonderful story for anyone who has experienced the loss of a beloved pet.

 

Amazon.com: MUTTS: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds: 9781733634175:  Pritchard, Olivia Grey: Books

Recommended age: 4 to 9 MUTTS: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds, by Olivia Grey Pritchard

“Excuse me, what breed is your dog?”

This book is for anyone who loves dogs. With each camera click, photographer Olivia Pritchard, captures the spirit of the “MUTT”.

MUTT in my opinion, should stand for Mysterious, Unique, Talented, Tail wager.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to animal rescues.

Recommended age: All ages

 

Phoebe Cakes and Friends, An Alphabet Tail, by Michelle Dumont

A is for Affenpinscher. Follow Phoebe on an A-to-Z tail wagging adventure.

Learning the alphabet with a tiny bulldog named Phoebe and all her furry friends has never been more entertaining.

This is the second book in the Phoebe Tails series. The first book, “Phoebe Cakes, A Mardi Gras Tail” follows Phoebe through the streets of New Orleans as she searches for a parade just for dogs. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the New Orleans Bulldog Rescue.

Recommended age: Baby to 6 years

More about Michelle Dumont:
Michelle Dumont lives in New Orleans with her family and four furry friends. A licensed Respiratory Therapist and Asthma Educator, she began writing following the advice of a friend. Like Phoebe, she loves long car rides, peanut butter and everything New Orleans.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Blog Tour: HOW TO SPEAK ANIMAL

Welcome to the How to Speak Animal Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of National Geographic Kids’ How to Speak Animal on August 16th and World Animal Day on October 4th, this week blogs across the web will feature special excerpts from the book, sharing fascinating insight into the secret language of animals of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve ever wondered why ants touch antennae when they meet, what it means when a cichlid fish pees, or why turkeys gobble, this is the blog tour (and book!) for you!

How to Speak… DOLPHIN

In the 1970s, researcher Dr. Louis Herman proved that dolphins could understand hundreds of commands. He did this by creating a sign language and teaching two bottlenose dolphins, Phoenix and Akeakamai, how to respond to those gestures. But this is just one way communication, meaning the human talking to the dolphin. A command is made, the dolphin understands, and it performs an action in response. It’s similar to how a dolphin trainer might teach a dolphin to do tricks.

Scientists continued to study dolphin communication. They learned that dolphins were naturally able to associate a sound with an object and were also able to mimic sounds. For example, each dolphin has a signature whistle that acts like a name. When a dolphin wants to get another dolphin’s attention, it can mimic its signature whistle. This discovery gave scientists further hope that one day we could “talk” to these marine mammals.

Today, Dr. Denise Herzing is a leader in dolphin communication. For more than 30 years, she’s been studying wild dolphins in the Bahamas. Her first goal was to bond with the wild dolphins. Then she developed an underwater keyboard that dolphins could touch with their snouts. Each of the four keys represented a different toy, such as a ball, and soon the dolphins learned how to use it. Finally, dolphins were “talking” to humans. But now it was the humans who couldn’t talk back.

Today, Herzing and her team of researchers use an underwater device called CHAT (Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry). It can send out artificial whistle sounds that Herzog hopes the wild dolphins will learn and mimic. She will associate the whistles with an object, such as seaweed. It’s kind of like the people and the dolphins are creating a new language together. Eventually, this language would allow humans and dolphins to communicate back and forth with each other. So far, the dolphins have mimicked the whistles and then added on their own whistle afterward. Dr. Herzing is still researching what this could mean. While it is incredible progress, translating any animal’s communication will take a very long time.


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

  • Five (5) winners will receive a copy of How to Speak Animal
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 10/2 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

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Blog Tour Schedule:

September 19th Susie’s Reviews and Giveaways
September 20th Pragmatic Mom
September 21st Mom Read It
September 22nd Randomly Reading
September 23rd YA Book Nerd

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Otters vs Badgers: Yummy food is the great equalizer

Otters vs. Badgers, by Anya Glazer, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644117

Ages 4-7

Otters and badgers live on either side of a shared river, but they do NOT get along until Francie, a shy otter who loves to bake delicious treats, accidentally ends up in badger territory on a quest to find new ingredients. The resulting kerfuffle can only be resolved with Francie’s delicious baked goods! Glazer spins an amusing tale of sharing and finding common ground that readers will appreciate. Cartoon animals communicate outside of the omniscient narrator through speech bubbles, making for a fun readaloud. Anthropomorphic characters sport scarves and bowties, carry babies in slings, and wear hats. Francie has a wooden spoon tucked behind one ear and rocks a striped apron. Endpapers are striped to match Francie’s apron. The fun resolution shows readers that you don’t have to agree on every single thing to get along. A good book to read as kids head back to the classroom, or enter classrooms for the first time.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Small/Indie Spotlight!

It’s been a while since we had a Small Press/Indie author spotlight, so let’s dig in.

Just Like Magic, by Victor D.O. Santos/Illustrated by Iryana Kazakova, (Jan. 2022, Linguacious LLC), $13.99, ISBN: 9781649621184

Ages 4-7

Nico is a young platypus who gets bullied by the other animals in Animalandia, until he meets a Genie who offers to help him be brave, but as Nico finds his voice and learns to stand up for himself, we wonder: what is the genie’s real gift?

A gentle story about tapping into one’s inner strength for kids, with colorful cartoon art illustration.

 

Treasure Hunt (Grandma’s Closet #4), by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (March 2021, Look Under Rocks), $12.99, ISBN: 9781954519022

Ages 4-7

Carrie is back and she’s still discovering things in Grandma’s closet in the fourth installment of Lois Wickstrom’s Grandma’s Closet series. This time, Carrie finds a box of dowsing rods, which she uses to find something valuable. The rods tell her where to go, with the promise of finding helpful things, including a sewer line leak that could pose a big problem if it were discovered later on! The dowsing rods lead Carrie to the best find of all – but you’ll have to read it to find out for yourself. A fun story in a cute series, The Treasure is an additional purchase suggestion. Visit Lois Wickstrom’s website for more about her series.

 

You are You, by Cassidy Burke/Illustrated by David Gnass, (Aug. 2021, Mascot Books), $14.95, ISBN: 978-1-64543-231-9

Ages 4-7

Tackling a complex and scary issue, You Are You tackles childhood mental health and bullying. Pennelope the giraffe loves going to school and playing with her friends at recess until the morning where her “friends” make fun of her laugh. Their unkind words and actions hurt Pennelope, who goes home and stays in bed, turning their words over and over in her head. Her friend Phoenix reaches out, sending her an encouraging note that lets her know she isn’t alone. Pennelope returns to school, learning to tune out the mean kids and celebrate her support system. Back matter includes “Challenge Letters” to parents, friends, teachers, and the world at large, raising suicide awareness and encouraging readers to know that they are not alone. Colorful cartoon animals add a light to a potentially dark subject, and the story gets its point across in a way that younger readers will understand and appreciate.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Listen Up, Louella is all about being a good friend

Listen Up, Louella, by Ashley Belote, (June 2022, Feiwel & Friends), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250812797

Ages 4-7

Louella is so excited about camp, but she doesn’t always listen very well. She charges into the cabin and barges her way through camp activities, never listening to her friends or noticing that they may not have the great time she’s having. But when Louella thinks she’s been left out of a group party, she learns that it’s important to take time and listen to others, and to play together so that everyone has a great time. Playful digital illustrations are loaded with fun little details that will clue sharp-eyed readers in to the very important message Louella’s missing. Animal characters are cartoony, with exaggerated expressions and body language that help deliver the point of the story; Louella, an elephant, uses her size to overpower the smaller campers and take over the show, from painting, to toilet paper forts, canoeing, and a talent show. Word bubbles add character reactions to the overall narration, and Belote uses fun animal turns-of-phrase like “tug-of-roar” and “slam trunk”. Endpapers lead into and out of the story, with Louella dragging her loaded red wagon into camp, and pulling her friends on a ride after shenanigans are done. A fun summertime story for sure, and a good reminder to remember how to be a good friend, as kids are getting ready to head back to school. A good purchase for picture book collections.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take an Evening Stroll is a familiar bedtime story

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take an Evening Stroll, by Britta Teckentrup, (May 2022, Prestel Junior), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791375199

Ages 3-7

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog are on their way home after an evening stroll, but Little Hedgehog continues to stop along the way to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and scents that evening has to offer. Big Hedgehog pauses their return each time, but it’s getting late: what to do? Every parent and caregiver knows this routine, whether at bedtime – when a little one wants one more drink of water, one more hug, or one other moment to stave off bedtime – or whether it’s “just one more minute” while doing something fun, be it at the playground or at a friend’s home. Britta Teckentrup sweetly captures those “but wait!” moments and creates a story where Big Hedgehog discovers the magic waiting when one lets themselves be led by a child, even if just for a moment. Britta Teckentrup’s artwork imagines warm sunsets and silver moonrises, with dense brown and green forests teeming with colorful flora and fauna. A wonderful story about pausing to enjoy the moment, and great for storytimes.

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take and Evening Stroll was originally published in Germany in 2022. There will be another Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog story coming in May 2023.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade

Are you ready for the National Menagerie of Art?

The National Menagerie of Art: Masterpieces by Vincent Van Goat and Lionhardo Da Stinki, by Thaïs Vanderheyden, (May 2022, Prestel Junior), $12.95, ISBN: 9783791375090

Ages 5-10

Art fans, animal fans, and folx who just love a good giggle will love this book of animal portraits based on 30 of the most famous and recognizable paintings in the world. Each painting and artist has an animal take, from Lionhardo Da Stinki’s Mona Piglet (La Gioinkonda) to Bunny Hopper’s Nighthares. Many adults will recognize the paintings that inspired these new works of art right off the bat; back matter includes the original works, artists, and a brief blurb. It’s a delightful introduction to art history, and just plain fun. Illustrator Thaïs Vanderheyden captures the spirit of each classic painting in her artwork, including similar colors and textures to the original, while working expressive animals into the reimagined piece. Birds hop along Mondrian’s bold lines and explore the bright primary colors of the work in “Four Birds, with Black, Red, Blue, and Yellow” by Pete Monkeyman; a panda takes on existential dread in Aardvark Mink’s “Pandamonium”, inspired by Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Absolute fun for art time storytimes. Pair these with Schiffer Publishing’s First Steps in Art board books.