Be My Neighbor?, by Suzy Ultman, (Feb. 2022, Chronicle Kids), $15.99, ISBN: 9781452177120
Hello hello hello! A family of cats has moved into the neighborhood, but they’re still settling in, and want to bake a batch of cookies to greet their neighbors. They need a few things in order to get things underway, though: maybe you can help? Seek and find meets lift the flap in this entertaining book with a playful and chic sense of style. The cats head to each house on their block – each spread in our book – to ask for a different ingredient, letting readers play and explore the different flaps to find the ingredients. Ingredients all collected, the family heads home to bake and deliver the yummy cookies! The repetitive, introductory phrase, “Hello, hello, we are new. May we borrow *INGREDIENT* from you?” eases readers into a comfortable routine, and each animal’s home is filled with delightful little details. The cats have hanging balls of yarn as an art piece, while a panda soaks in a tub, a “nap time” tea bag submerged in the water. The horse family has a coffee table book of Horse Tales and a pony puppet theatre, and the koalas are a STEM-loving family with a lab and a Jane Goodall fan club banner (that reveals a Katherine Johnson fan club banner on the flip side). They’re so much fun, so personal with little details, that kids will turn to this one again and again. Flaps are sturdy but small, so the littlest toddlers may need someone to ease those flaps open at first. Absolute fun.
Moonlight Prance, by Serena Gingole Allen/Illustrated by Teagan White, (Apr. 2022, Chronicle Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781452174068
An enticing rhyming, interactive board book inspired by the author’s late night with her infant son, Moonlight Prance is a celebration of nocturnal animals that is an adorable bedtime story. Sturdy sliding panels and pull tabs let readers play with foxes and fireflies, hedgehogs and porcupines, and other adorable animals illustrated by artist and naturalist Teagan White. Pair with its companion book, Sunrise Dance, also by Serena Gingole Allen and Teagan White, publishing in April 2022, for an animal storytime that takes readers through a whole day with cheerful, playful animal friends.
Bundle and display with books like Sleepyheads, by Sandra J. Howatt and Joyce Wan; Sandra Boynton’s The Going to Bed Book, and Isabelle Simler’s Sweet Dreamers. Want to stick with the nocturnal animals theme? Mrs. Jones Creation Station has a nice list of books for you.
Sunrise Dance, by Serena Gingole Allen/Illustrated by Teagan White, (Apr. 2022, Chronicle Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781452174051
When the Moonlight Prance is over, the daytime animals wake up for a Sunrise Dance! The companion book to Moonlight Prance is every bit as interactive and playful, with daytime dwellers like shimmying salmon, dancing dragonflies, and marmots who mambo. Sliding panels, pull tabs, and movable discs let playful little explorers in on the fun as they move a group of dancing ducklings back and forth on the book’s cover, help dragonflies dance across the pond, and more. The rhyme is playful, introducing groups of animals at play, and the illustrations show the sunlight growing in strength across the spreads; starting with a pinkish sky as the sun first awakens through to a warm light that brings out the gentle color in all the animals and their surroundings. A young boy appears at the end, inviting readers to talk about what they plan to do on this bright day. Great to partner with Moonlight Prance or read alone, Sunrise Dance is a fun way to engage little learners and teach them about diurnal animals, versus the nocturnal friends they meet in books like Moonlight Dance.