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 Toddler Reads

Phoebe Cakes leads a doggie A-B-C in An Alphabet Tail

Phoebe Cakes and Friends: An Alphabet Tail, by Michelle K. Dumont/Illustrated by Jennifer Zoe Taylor, (Sept. 2022, Susan Schadt Press), $14.95, ISBN: 979-8985071306

Ages 2-4

Last week, I posted a list of author Michelle K. Dumont’s favorite dog books for National Dog Week. This week, I’m happy to talk up the adorable lift-the-flap board book she wrote to celebrate her own special needs bulldog, Phoebe Cakes. Phoebe introduces herself in a note at the beginning of the book, guaranteeing that you’ll fall in love with her as quickly as I did. From there, it’s all about the doggos as Phoebe frolics across each spread with a different dog of the alphabet, from Affenpinschers to Irish Setters, Newfoundlands to Zapadno Sibirska Lajkas. Rhyming text and colorful artwork with adorable dogs running, roasting marshmallows, napping, and playing peek-a-book make this perfect dog lovers everywhere. Each letter of the alphabet is set off a large frame, with bold green and pink colors, with each breed running across the top of the page. Lift-the-flaps divulge fun facts about Phoebe. An Alphabet Tail is a very cute abcedary, and will hold up to multiple reads. Dog fans will enjoy learning about new dog breeds and want to hear more about Phoebe.

An Alphabet Tail is the second Phoebe Cakes book, joining A Mardi Gras Tail, which published earlier this year. There are more books planned, and you can follow Phoebe’s adventures on Instagram to keep up with her.

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 Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Going Outside board books introduce concepts in nature

Going Outside: Look, by Amy Huntington, (Sept. 2021, Kane Miller), $5.99, ISBN: 9781684642465

Ages 0-3

This new concept board book series invites readers to mindfully explore their world, concentrating on their senses.  In Look, a toddler and her parent help rehabilitate an urban space, creating a community garden where there was once litter and neglect: “Bags of paper, bottles, cans, / Bits of plastic, shards of glass. / Friends and neighbors, pitching in. / Look, what can you see?” Spreads show the community working together to clean up the area, boxing up garbage and tending to the land, planting and watering the earth, creating a welcoming garden. The artwork moves from a darker, almost gloomy cityscape to a warm, green space that local wildlife returns to, with gentle repetition to encourage readers to point out what they see on each spread. Ask your littles what they see and how it differs from the previous spread: are there more plants? Less junk and litter? Notice how the cityscape fades further into the background as the garden – the focus of the story – grows and flourishes. The toddler and her parent are brown-skinned; the community is diverse.

Download a coloring page for Look from publisher Kane Miller and have them ready to hand out.

 

 

Going Outside: Listen, by Amy Huntington, (Sept. 2021, Kane Miller), $5.99, ISBN: 9781684642472

Ages 0-3

The companion book to Look, Listen follows a toddler and his parent as they go on a nature walk on a rainy day. The focus here in on the sounds around the two: “Winds whisper. Winds whoosh. / Rain pitters, patters, pours, / Through the leaves. / Listen, what can you hear?” The fonts play with language, stretching and bending to elicit sounds from readers. The repetitive question, “What can you hear?” invites readers to think about what the characters must be hearing, based on the verse, or even what they themselves hear in their environments. This is a great book to read twice in a seating if you can manage it: ask your readers to close their eyes and listen to a reading first, asking them, to form a picture in their minds of walking through a woodsy area on a rainy day. Animals add to the soundscape on each spread, as deer sniff, moles scratch, birds tweet, and frogs croak. The parent and child are people of color. Watercolor illustrations create a peaceful landscape and foster a love for nature.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Amy Huntington has planned for our other touch, taste, and smell! Download a coloring page for Listen at Kane Miller’s webpage.

 

Posted in picture books

We Are One: How the World Adds Up – Unity Counts!

We Are One: How the World Adds Up, by Susan Hood/Illustrated by Linda Yan, (Nov. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536201147

Ages 3-7

Individually, we may be one – one person, one student, one kid – but together, we are so much more: a nation; a family; a society. That’s the underlying message delivered in rhyming concept story, We Are One: How the World Adds Up. The rhyming story here will attract younger readers, with easy-to-imagine concepts like “one sandwich requires two slices of bread / Two vows make one marriage when friends want to wed”, while informational panels run across the bottom of each page, with more meaty information for older kids: how the sandwich got its name, or Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 2015 statement that “In forming a marital union, two people become something stronger than they once were”. The book goes from 1 to 10 – a relatively simple concept – and illustrates how those base 10 numbers contribute to greater and greater moments that make up our world. The message at the heart of the book is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that each of those parts are connected to one another. It’s a great book to explain the beginnings of early math concepts, and can be a book you can turn to as readers progress in their education to explain exponents, part/whole relationships, fractions, or more. All of these concepts come back to cooperation, kindness, and unity, making this a positive, upbeat read all around. Colorful digital artwork shows a wealth of illustrations, with an ever-present cast of diverse children and animals bringing the concepts to life. Back matter includes sources and resources, additional reading, and more stats on how the world adds up.

We Are One: How the World Adds Up has a starred review from Kirkus.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board Books for Babies: Great gift ideas, super easy to wrap

What’s easier to wrap than a board book, I ask you? They’re basically the perfect little gift: sturdy, easy to wrap, easily slipped into a stocking or into a diaper bag. Enjoy some of these adorable gift ideas!

Circle Under Berry, by Carter Higgins, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $15.99, ISBN: 9781797205083

Ages 2-4

There’s something new to read and discover every time you open this concept book that’s a little bit Eric Carle, a little bit Orange Triangle Fox. Colorful collage shapes, animals, and objects greet readers on each page, concept words illustrating the ideas of over and under; side by side, and in between. A circle is under a berry, but that berry is also over a square; it’s all about the way you look at things, arrange things, see things. The words have a great rhythm and make for a fun readaloud. Ask readers what they see: what’s over? What’s under? What’s in between? Call out colors and shapes; do you see an animal? A house? Can you discover a pattern? The book celebrates discovery, with vibrant collage artwork on each page, coming alive off of a bright white page.

Visit Carter Higgins’s author webpage for free resources, including Circle Under Berry flashcards.

Circle Under Berry has starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

 

 

Mr. Lion’s New Hair!, by Britta Teckentrup, (Aug. 2021, Twirl Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9791036328619

Ages 2-5

Mr. Lion is having a bad hair day! His friend, Mr. Monkey, is ready to lend a hand in this hilariously adorable die-cut board book. Readers can follow the pages to see Mr. Lion try on different hairstyles: from curlers to pigtails, going from blond to a redhead; maybe a tiara will do? The companion to Mr. Lion Dresses Up (2020), little learners will love turning the pages as Mr. Lion sports different styles, trying to find his best look. Keep an eye on Mr. Lion’s tail: some styles go from head to toe for extra giggles. Mr. Monkey is having as much fun with the story as the readers will; Mr. Lion looks a little unsure, but ready to give it his best. Monkey, ever the good friend, lets Mr. Lion know that ultimately, style has nothing to do with what’s on the outside: Mr. Lion, like each reader, is best the way he is.

I love Britta Teckentrup’s artwork and storytelling. This will be seeing a lot of action in my board book area. Whether you’re reading this at a storytime or giving as a gift, consider a fun activity to include: Toddler At Play has a very cute hair cutting activity; Laughing Kids Learn puts a colorful spin on the haircutting exercise, and My Bored Toddler has the quickest, easiest hair cutting activity that requires only a paper plate, a crayon or marker, and a pair of safety scissors.

 

 

Active ABC: Beginning Baby, by Chronicle Books, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781797203683

Ages 0-3

The Beginning Baby animal friends demonstrate verbs in this interactive abcedary with die-cut letters to help little fingers trace uppercase and lowercase letters. Filled with action words, the book’s characters also model good behavior: “A” for “ask” shows Narwhal asking Llama to play with blocks; “B” for “begin” shows the two building something together. The die cut letters have colorful patterns, setting them off from the bright white page while complementing the animal artwork. A green striped “L” pairs nicely with Narwhal’s striped t-shirt; blue triangles for “M” look like the shapes Llama makes, cutting out paper dolls. The ever-troublesome X isn’t all about the usual X-rays or Xylophones; rather, Fox, meditates on a carpet and eXhales. Toddlers will love the sheer discoveries waiting in the book; threeschoolers will enjoy pointing out what each of the animals are doing; maybe even crafting a story using the new vocabulary words here. Point out colors and shapes with your readers, let them trace letters over and over again: this is an abcedary that works overtime.

 

 

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Let’s get ready for Hanukkah!

You laugh, sure, but you know, Hanukkah isn’t that far off: it starts on November 28 this year. I’ve got some adorable Hanukkah stories for you here!

The Three Latkes, by Eric A. Kimmel/Illustrated by Feronia Parker-Thomas, (Oct. 2021, Kar-Ben Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9781541588912

Ages 3-8

The classic Gingerbread Man story (also an Eric A. Kimmel book!) gets an adorable Hanukkah retelling here as three latkes argue about who is the best latke. Gold Latke is made with golden potatoes and fried in peanut oil; Red Latke is made from red potatoes and fried in vegetable oil, and Yellow Latke is made from yellow potatoes and fried in schmaltz, so he’s got to be the best! No one is budging, so the three latkes ask the cat, Kitty, for her opinion. You can guess what happens, right? Adorable latkes sport little hats (or a headband, in Gold Latke’s case) and accessories, like Yellow Latke’s bow tie and Gold Latke’s gold medal, and have stick figure arms and legs attached to colorful latkes with cheery expressions. The dialogue takes place atop a table set for Hanukkah, with holiday details like a banner running across a fireplace, a menorah, and blue and white table settings. Kitty sports a navy blue bandana with white stars of David on it and is hilariously expressive, with sly smiles, a raised eyebrow, and a hungry tongue licking her chops communicating her intentions to the reader from the very beginning. A recipe for The Very Best Latkes at the end gives readers their choices of potatoes, oils, and toppings – just like the story! – to choose from. An adorable holiday story. Hand out latke coloring pages for readers to bring home and decorate, like this cute one from clker.com and this adorable set of pictures from Hug O’the Day.

Visit Eric Kimmel’s website for more about his books, and to watch recorded videos of him reading some of his books.

 

A Rugrats Chanukah: The Classic Illustrated Storybook, Illustrated by Kim Smith, (Sept. 2021, Quirk Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781683692867

Ages 4-8

Can you believe the Rugrats Chanukah episode aired 25 years ago? In celebration of that first Chanukah episode of a children’s television series, Quirk’s Pop Classics released the book inspired by the special, A Rugrats Chanukah. We start out on the eighth night o Chanukah, and Grandma Minka is reading a story about the holiday to Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil, and Angelica while Grandpa Boris naps. As Grandma reads the story of Chanukah, the babies imagine themselves as characters in the story, but she doesn’t get to finish – they have to head to the synagogue, where Grandpa is acting in a Chanukah play. The babies misunderstand the “meaning of Chanukah” and think that the actor opposite their grandfather is the “meany of Chanukah”, and take to the stage to help save their Grandpa; meanwhile, all Angelica wants to do is watch her holiday specials!

Whether or not readers have seen the Rugrats Chanukah special, they’ll love the story. The story wraps the Chanukah origin around a classic Rugrats episode, with all the imagination, comedic mishaps, and loving family moments. Those of us who already loved Rugrats (thanks especially to my older kids) will love seeing Tommy dressed as a brave Maccabee, and uttering a take on Tommy’s famous “baby’s gotta do” statement, “A Maccababy’s gotta do what a Maccababy’s gotta do!”; endpapers mimic the opening and closing scenes of the story, just like an episode of the show. Add this to your holiday readaloud list.

 

Hello Hanukkah!, by Susan S. Novich, (Oct. 2021 Kar-Ben Publishing), $7.99, ISBN: 9781728403441

Ages 0-3

An adorable board book that illustrates counting and colors, Hello Hanukkah! shows how young Badger celebrates the holiday every day by doing one activity as he lights the candles. He opens a box of Hanukkah candles and lights one red candle; plays with a dreidel and lights two orange candles; all the way up through the eighth night. It’s Badger has a bird friend present to help him out on every spread, and the two celebrate with a banner and full menorah at the end. A very sweet way to introduce holiday vocabulary and concepts to the littlest learners.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The Great TBR Catchup continues: STEM concepts for Kids

I’m still working my way through the Great TBR Catchup, so I appreciate everyone’s patience, if you’ve sent me a book and have been waiting for me to post about it! I’m a one-woman operation, and I read everything I receive, so sometimes, my eyes are bigger than my sense of reality: everything just sounds amazing, I wish I could read them all at once.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some fun STEM concept books for kids!

The Book of Wrong Answers, by Penny Noyce/Illustrated by Diego Chaves, (Dec. 2020, Tumblehome, Inc.), $17.95, ISBN: 9781943431618

Ages 5-7

This very sweet book about STEM concepts stars an Gigi, inquisitive young girl and her humorous brother, Diego. As they go about their day, she asks her brother questions about the world around them; he responds with funny, exaggerated responses: “Where do tadpoles come from?” “They fall inside raindrops. Then they grow into frogs”; “Why does Felicity [the cat] purr?” “She’s restarting the motor in her chest”. The warm artwork shows a close pair of siblings enjoying each other’s company; the answers are teasing and funny, and quite inventive. Diego’s explanations are illustrated in amusing style, with children floating away from their parents, colorful pixels floating off a TV screen, and people wearing magnetic shoes as they stick to the bottom of the Earth. Colorful fonts let readers move easily between the dialogue between brother and sister; Gigi’s sentences are in red, Diego’s are blue. Back matter includes explanations about the real science behind Gigi’s questions. Great for a Kindergarten or first grade classroom.

 

Sometimes We Do, by Omo Moses/Illustrated by Diego Chaves, (Sept. 2019, Tumblehome, Inc.), $16.95, ISBN: 9781943431472

Ages 3-6

Math educator Omo Moses creates an affectionate family story with some math thrown in for extra fun. A young boy named Johari gets his dad out of bed early to make pancakes for breakfast and play with trains. As Dad cooks, he models great behavior for parents, asking Johari math-related questions about the meal: “How many blueberries you got?”; “Do you want THICK [pancakes] or THIN ones?”; “More milk or more flour?”, all reinforcing for Johari – and our readers – ideas about size, number, amount, and recipes. Johari imagines his responses to his father, giving us a forest of pancakes and blueberries, a tiny Johari lifting the lid off a jar of Grandma’s secret ingredient, and riding life-sized trains in the house. Mom and younger sister Kamara wake up and join the breakfast discussion, and Johari and Dad head out to play, where we get more discussion about Grandma’s special ingredient: love. Warmly illustrated by Diego Chaves, Sometimes We Do shows a family of color enjoying some together time, with easy-to-read dialogue; each family’s speech is rendered in a different color to help kids determine who is speaking: Johari’s sentences are green; Dad’s are blue, Mom’s are black, and Kamara’s are pink. What a great way to bring early math concepts to everyday interactions – it makes math so accessible to our little learners! Back matter includes Grandma’s recipe, a helpful math tip, and illustrated “math words” that come up in the story.

See a video with Omo Moses, where he talks about math and Sometimes We Do, on Tumblehome’s website. And check out this great Tweet from Cambridge Dads, spotlighting a StoryWalk that featured Sometimes We Do! You can also visit Mr. Moses’s organization, MathTalk, here.

Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum, by Natasha Yim/Illustrated by Violet Kim, (Dec. 2020, Charlesbridge), $6.99, ISBN: 9781623541996

Ages 3-6

I went a little berserk on Charlesbridge’s Storytelling Math debut at the end of last year, you may remember – they’re great books for a variety of ages, teaching concepts and diversity as they go. What’s not to love? Think of Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum as a new generation’s The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. Luna’s the birthday girl, so her parent take Luna and her two brothers to a dim sum restaurant for her birthday dinner. One of Luna’s pork buns falls on the floor, and now she and her brothers have to figure out how to split the remaining ones equally. How do three people divide five buns so no one feels left out? The dialogue is great here, as the kids come up with defense on why he or she should get the greater part of the share. It’s playful and fun, with a glimpse into Chinese culture, using Chinese vocabulary and the zodiac, and starring a biracial Chinese American family. A section on Exploring the Math offers tips for engaging kids and refining their math skills.

Publisher Charlesbridge offers a Luna activity kit in both English and Chinese.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The Day Time Stopped: What were we doing?

The Day Time Stopped: 1 Minute, 26 Countries, by Flavia Ruotolo, (Oct. 2021, Prestel), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791374895

Ages 5-9

A little girl living in Genoa, Italy, takes a bite of her popsicle when time stops, all over the world. What was everyone doing? In Germany, two girls screech to a halt on their scooters; in the U.K., a child takes a picture, while in Cape Verde, Africa, a boy’s soccer ball gets stuck in a tree. A grandma in La Paz, Bolivia, was knitting a sweater, and a scientist at Concordia Station in Antarctica gets a call from his mother, who lives in Paris, France. Dolphins cuddle their babies, and snails get to enjoy their strawberries. One moment links the world in this sweet, moving story about the things that unite us. Bright illustrations show a variety of humans and animals. The story opens with an explanation of the world and how it’s split into different time and weather areas that helps kids understand how it can be morning in one area of the world and night time in another; summer in one country, and winter in another.

 

Posted in Intermediate, picture books

The weight of a moment: Once Upon a Time There Was and Will Be So Much More

Once Upon a Time There Was and Will Be So Much More, by Johanna Schaible, (Sept. 2021, Candlewick Studio), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536222135

Ages 5-9

Collage artist Johanna Schaible’s debut picture book weighs time in terms of the universe and our place in it. Beginning with the formation of our world, the first half of the book catalogs time, inviting readers to consider all that has happened; the second half invites readers to consider their place in time, asking them thought-provoking questions about their future. As readers move through time, the pages decrease in size, then increase as they move through the present into the future. The collage artwork is breathtaking, spanning eons of time: volcanoes erupting in the earth’s formation; Pteranodons soaring across a prehistoric sky; a steamship traversing an ocean.  It’s a wonderful book that plays with perspective and thought on large and small moments, with the big stuff: the formation of the planet, the construction of the pyramids, hopes for the future, laid out on larger pages; progressively smaller moments fit into smaller pages. It’s a wonderful visual explanation for small moment writing, and encouraging introspection.

Once Upon a Time There Was and Will Be So Much More has a starred review from School Library Journal.