Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The Think-Ups: The Ultimate Rainy Day story!

The Think-Ups, by Claire Alexander, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $15.99, ISBN: 9781536220124

Ages 3-7

Anna and Kiki are two little girls stuck inside on a rainy day. What should they do? Looks like it’s time to play The Think-Ups! All you have to do is think up something, and it will appear! But as the two disagree over what to play, they think up bunnies, a moose, giggling octopuses, and hungry koalas! As things threaten to get out of hand, the girls start to bicker, but quickly resolve their disagreement to Think Up a way to get things back to being manageable. A fun story with bold, colorful characters and a menagerie of animals to make readers laugh and recognize themselves in Kiki and Anna. The story encourages imagination and teamwork; listening to, and respecting one another. Cartoon-like illustrations are light and fun, and cut pages let them revel different Think Ups as a surprise. A great readaloud choice.

The Think-Ups was originally released in the U.K. in 2021. You can visit Claire Alexander’s website for more about her books and illustration, and to learn more about her picture book courses.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

To let go… just a little bit: Somewhere

Somewhere, by Robie Harris/Illustrated by Armando Mariño, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536207354

Ages 4-6

A young girl and her father go for a walk in the park. She wants to go somewhere she’s never been before, so she kisses her father goodbye and wanders off to explore. She’s aware of every sight and sound, every color and texture, and collects souvenirs to bring back to Daddy, who’s waiting for her… so they can go somewhere else together. Watercolor and ink illustrations envelop the reader in a verdant, colorful setting that goes from park to adventurous landscape that provides a sense of wonder as the girl becomes smaller against the large bushes and trees she encounters, the flora and fauna she interacts with, and the perspective of the artwork. It’s a poetic story about a small moment in time that every parent and caregiver knows is coming: that moment where we have to let go, even just a little bit, to encourage a child’s independence. Here, the girl’s father is close, but never intrusive; he lets his child return to him after having a solo adventure. Once reunited, the two discover another new “somewhere” together. Keep this one in mind for Father’s Day, too; it’s always great to get a father-daughter book. Pair with Mi Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Hope Lim’s I Am a Bird. Get a teacher tip card from Candlewick’s website.

Robie Harris a New York Times best-selling author whose books include It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health and It’s NOT the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends. Visit her website for more about her books and for class visit information. Armando Mariño is an award-winning Cuban artist; you can find more of his artwork at his website.

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

Spotlight on Women’s History: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place

Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women, by Christine McDonnell/Illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov, (March 2022, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536211290

Ages 7-10

Inspired by her grandmother, who fed hungry men from her door during the Great Depression, Kip Tiernan went on to work with and feed the homeless as an adult. She noticed women dressing as men to get on the food lines, and began noticing more and more homeless women on the street; when she worked to bring public notice and aid, however, she was initially told that homelessness was not a “women’s problem”. Determined to make a safe place for women, she pushed until the city of Boston rented her an empty supermarket for $1 a year: Rosen’s Market because Rosie’s Place, opening in 1974; they served hot meals and provided free clothes, beds, and a safe place for women to come together. Sanctuary is Kip Tiernan’s story, told in straighforward prose and accompanied by evocative watercolor and digital illustration set against a white page, giving readers the feel of peeking into moments from Kip Tiernan’s life. The focus is on community, with multicultural women coming together to talk and support one another; there are embraces, hand-holding, and active listening, all there to emphasize the importance of connection and compassion. Display and booktalk with Dangerous Jane, the picture book biography of Jane Addams, founder of Chicago’s Hull House.

Sanctuary: Kip Tiernan and Rosie’s Place, the Nation’s First Shelter for Women, has starred reviews from The Horn Book and Book PageVisit the Rosie’s Place webpage to learn more about the sanctuary. The Harvard Radcliffe Institute houses Kip Tiernan’s papers.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Get the Ear Worm and shimmy!

Ear Worm!, by Jo Knowles/Illustrated by Galia Bernstein, (Jan. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536207835

Ages 2-6

A little worm has a song stuck in his head! Where did it come from? He asks an owl, a chipmunk, a rabbit, and a fox, but they’ve all got their own songs! As they dance and sing their way across the story, Little Worm hopes to find out who put that ear worm in his head!

Ear Worm is storytime GOLD. It’s got rhyme, fun animals, dancing, and an adorable conclusion. Digital illustrations are bold, expressive, and let the animals take center stage as they pop off a bright white page, with fun, oversized fonts inviting readers to jump up and dance to their own ear worms. Think of Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance and Rebecca Emberley’s If You’re a Monster and You Know It when you’re putting your storytime together, and get up there and show the littles how it’s done! Publisher Candlewick has free teacher tips to get the maximum fun out of this story.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Sometimes Cake finds reasons to celebrate

Sometimes Cake, by Edwina Wyatt/Illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, (Jan. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217810

Ages 2-5

A little girl named Audrey happens upon a Lion holding a balloon and asks if it’s his birthday. It isn’t, but they discover a mutual love of celebrating, so they sing songs, have cake, and give a few cheers. When Audrey finds Lion again, he seems a bit down, and claims it isn’t a day for celebrating; it’s just “an ordinary day”. To cheer him up, Audrey throws a party to celebrate ordinary days, and the two friends play, dance, and enjoy one another’s company. Sometimes Cake is about celebrating something; anything, for the pure joy of it. Pencil and ink watercolors provide a gentle, colorful look into a sweet story about joy and about lifting up friends when they could use a hand. Read this with your storytime group and invite them to make their own party hats and dance.

Sometimes Cake was originally published in Australia in 2020. Author Edwina Wyatt’s webpage offers a free downloadable storytime kit for all of her books.

Posted in Uncategorized

Books for Pet Lovers

It’s another roundup! This time, I’ve got books for pet lovers: large, small, stinky, all here!

 

Not That Pet!, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls/Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217766

Ages 2-5

Mabel is so excited: her family is letting her choose the family pet! Her first choice is a bit unorthodox – it’s an elephant – but hey, the elephant keeps the plants watered and pulls weeds, right? When the elephant seems to be a bit too big, the family asks her to make another choice. And another. And another. Mabel’s penchant for choosing unusual pets is upending her family in the most hilarious of ways: ants crawl into her dad’s pants, a snake gets a little too huggy, and skunk… well, you can guess what the skunk does. Can Mabel find a pet that’s going to fit in with her whole family? The hijinks are hilarious and Rosalind Beardshaw’s colorful, cartoony illustrations bring this family to big, colorful life as they try to acclimate to each new pet. The multi-generational, biracial family – Mabel’s mom is South Asian, her dad is white, and mom’s parents live with the family, as shown in a house cross-section. The story bounces humorously along, words in caps for emphasis; this will make a spectacular read-aloud. Mabel and her little brother have a sweet relationship, as he follows her through the book, engaging with each new pet she brings home. A good add to storytime collections.

 

 

Hat Cat, by Troy Wilson/Illustrated by Eve Coy, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536213669

Ages 4-8

An elderly man visits the park to feed squirrels every day, and one day discovers that a kitten has taken up residence in his hat! He takes the kitten home, naming it Hat, and lavishes Hat with love and affection. He won’t let Hat outside to roam, though; he is afraid Hat won’t come back, and he’s afraid for the squirrels. But one day, the man doesn’t come home. A few days later, a woman and child arrive to take care of Hat, and an open door gives Hat the chance he’s waited for: he heads outside, but he doesn’t chase the squirrels and he doesn’t run away. He finds the Man’s hat, left on the bench, and he curls up to sleep in it. And when the Man finally comes back home, he, his caregivers, and Hat all sit together, outside, enjoying the day. Hat Cat is a moving story of friendship and companionship. Pencil and watercolor illustrations give a soft, gentle feel to the story, with the Man and Hat in their cozy book- and plant-filled home. When Hat realizes the Man is gone, the loneliness communicated is just heartbreaking: tiny Hat, standing against a door, the sun shining in, feels so big and empty, and the reunion between Hat and Man bring a warmth and coziness back to the story. The old man presents as white; the caregiver and her daughter are brown-skinned. Details like family photos on the wall give the old man a life beyond the confines of the book. A gorgeous book that evokes emotion.

 

Big Dog, Little Dog, by Sally Rippin/Illustrated by Lucinda Gifford, (March 2022, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684643837

Ages 3-6

A big dog learns about friendship in this adorable story, originally published in the UK in 2021. Big Dog has a good life with his male human, even if it feels a little lonely, from time to time. But things change when Big Dog’s human meets a lady, who has a Little Dog. The two humans move in together, and Big Dog is not thrilled about sharing his home with Little Dog, who interprets things like “Sit”, “Up”, and “Come” very differently. Big Dog has had the run of the house, and now Little Dog – who’s better behaved – seems to be stealing his thunder. Big Dog goes on a campaign of chaos to try framing Little Dog, but when he goes too far, he’s put out for the night; Little Dog refuses to go to sleep without Big Dog, and raises a ruckus indoors until the two are reunited, leading to a friendship between the former rivals. Little Dog calms some of Big Dog’s rebellious nature, and Big Dog teaches Little Dog that it’s okay to take a mud bath every now and then. Big Dog’s owner presents as white, Little Dog’s owner is brown-skinned. Endpapers show Big Dog running across a park in the opening spread, and being joined by Little Dog in the closing. The dogs are expressive from their faces to their active tails, and the illustrations show the amusing difference between Big Dog’s and Little Dog’s interpretations of commands like “UP!” (he lies on the couch; Little Dog jumps into his human’s arms) and “Walkies!” (he takes off, dragging his human being him; Little Dog walks alongside his human). Great for dog fans and kids with new siblings, Big Dog Little Dog shows kids that even the roughest of beginnings can lead to a sweet ending. Adorable for storytime reading.

 

 

We Love You, Magoo, by Briony Stewart, (March 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684643646

Ages 2-6

A lovable cartoon pup has his own ideas about what a dog should do in this giggle-worthy rhyming look at a dog’s life. Alternating spreads show Magoo contemplating what he thinks he should be doing – chowing down on bacon and eggs at the breakfast table, taking the car wheel, chewing a bunch of toys – and what he should be doing, like eating kibble from his bowl, sitting in his dog house, or playing with a tennis ball. Spreads fall into a question and answer format, making it easy for kids to chime in with the repetitive answer, “No, Magoo. This is for you”. Magoo’s facial expressions and body language are adorably played for laughs, and the sweet ending will melt hearts. The bold, bright artwork and big, black fonts make this an excellent readaloud choice that will get little ones gleefully taking part in your storytime. Originally published in Australia in 2020, We Love You, Magoo is new to U.S. shores and has a companion book, Where Are You, Magoo? that I hope makes its way here.

Author-illustrator Briony Stewart’s webpage has more information about her books, including the Magoo books.

 

 

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Welcoming Winter: Winter Lullaby

Winter Lullaby, by Dianne White/Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki, (Dec. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536209198

Ages 3-8

I’ve been on a bedtime story kick lately; I must be missing the days I put my own littles (not-so little now) to bed with a story or 3… or 4. This latest lullaby centers on Small Bear, who doesn’t understand – despite the snow falling to the ground! – why he has to get ready to sleep the winter away. After all, he’s seeing other friends running around, like Mouse, Skunk, and Hare; why can’t he stay up? Mama patiently explains each time that each of the animals is preparing for their own winter nap, whether they are gathering food or finding a warm, comfortable spot to bed down. She soothes Small Bear’s frustration by promising that they’ll wake up to a beautiful, green spring, and they’ll spend brighter, warmer days at play. But for now, it’s time to dream. Kids and caregivers alike will recognize Small Bear’s resistance to bedtime, and pointing out the injustice of having to go to sleep while other kids get to stay up. Rhyming couplets add a soothing cadence to a readaloud, and the digital artwork has gorgeous texture, using cool and warm winter colors to bring the story to life. Different sized fonts alert readers to the change between Mama Bear and Small Bear’s dialogue. Mama and Small Bear are playfully affectionate. Illustrations and verse teach readers about various animal homes as we see skunks bed down underground, hares sleeping in a hollowed out tree, and badgers snuggling in their dens. Pair with the humorous Hush Up and Hibernate! by Sandra Markle (2018) for a hibernation storytime or lesson. Author Dianne White has an activity kit for Winter Lullaby available on her website.

Posted in Uncategorized

Welcoming Winter: Where Snow Angels Go

Where Snow Angels Go, by Maggie O’Farrell/Illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, (Nov. 2021, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536219371

Ages 7-10

A little girl named Sylvie discovers that she has a wintry protector when she catches a snow angel in her room one night. The angel reveals that snow angels are created when people make them in the snow; though the snow may melt and evaporate, the snow angels are ours forever, always watching over us. The angel has come to wake Sylvie’s mother up, because Sylvie is ill, but Sylvie won’t remember this interaction when she awakens. That doesn’t happen, though; Sylvie remembers and when she recovers, tries to make her angel reappear, putting herself in dangerous situations in order to force him into saving her. But it’s only when she really needs him that he returns to save her – and then Sylvie tasks herself with getting all of her friends and family to make their own snow angels, so they have someone looking out for them. It’s a warm, contemporary tale perfect for Christmas and for seasonal readings, with a touch of winter magic. Watercolor spreads give an otherworldly touch to the angel and the season. It’s a lengthy picture book but can easily be read over the course of two or three sittings. An activity kit invites readers to decorate their own snow angel’s wings, and color in decorative snowflakes.

Posted in picture books

The Girl Who Could Fix Anything – Great STEM Bio!

The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer, by Mara Rockliff/Illustrated by Daniel Duncan, (Sept. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536212525

Ages 5-9

Beatrice Shilling, a British World War II engineer, gets her time in the spotlight in this picture book biography. As a child, she “wasn’t quite like other children”, preferring tools and tinkering to usual childhood pursuits. After working for another female engineer as an apprentice, she went to school for engineering and eventually landed a position at the Royal Aircraft Establishment… to write handbooks about plane engines, not to work on them. Eventually, she did get to work on engines, and when World War II broke out, Beatrice was put in charge of a team that traveled to airfields and demonstrated winterizing planes to fighter pilots. She went on, with her team, to figure out an engine problem that fighter planes encountered during a dive, saving countless lives. Another great story about a female figure in STEM, The Girl Who Could Fix Anything tells Beatrice Shilling’s story; Daniel Duncan adds humorous reactions to Beatrice’s being “othered” as a woman in a traditionally “man’s field” and brings thrilling air fight moments to life to add some excitement. Beatrice is drawn as a determined, thoughtful woman, while men around her don’t always quite seem to know what to make of her. Endpapers show a variety of airplane parts, blueprint style. An author’s note and additional resources make up the back matter.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Moose’s Book Bus brings book love to you!

Moose’s Book Bus, by Inga Moore, (Nov. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217674

Ages 3-7

A wonderful love letter to libraries and book lovers everywhere, Moose’s Book Bus starts with Moose, who has run out of stories to tell his family. He heads to the library after none of his neighbors have stories available, and he discovers a wealth of books to bring to his family! The news about Moose’s storytimes spreads, and before Moose can say “Cinderella”, his house is simply stuffed with friends and neighbors, all waiting for his stories! Moose asks the librarian at the library for some advice, and the two work together to create a bookmobile! Moose fixes up an old bus, the Duck Librarian fills it with books, and Moose drives the bus to his neighborhood, where he also teaches his friends to read – and they teach other friends, until everyone is able to read and love books together. This is heartwarming book illustrates the power that stories have to bring us together. Inga Moore’s pencil, pastel, and wash illustrations are soft, and her animal cast of characters are a delight. Perfect for library storytimes, you may want to pair it with Inga Moore’s A House in the Woods (2011), the companion book to Moose’s Book Bus. Sepia endpapers have a wonderfully antique feel to them, showing the book bus parked in the woods, with excited animal friends racing toward it. Download a free activity kit to have ready to hand out at storytime.