Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Fun concept books: ABC French, Alphabet Boats and This is London!

This is such a great Spring for toddler and preschooler books! I’m super excited about new concept books for my collection; I never feel like I have quite enough. It’s always great to find a fun new take on the ABCs, too – take a look for yourself!

ABC French (Little Concepts), Illustrated by Daniel Roode,
(Feb. 2018, Quarto Group), $12.95, ISBN: 9781633224124
Perfect for readers 2-6

Fantastique! A picture book that introduces kids to a different language is always fun! ABC French illustrates the names of animals (and a few objects) , all dressed for a circus parade. The alphabet goes according to the French word – C is for chien (dog), D is for dauphin (dolphin) – and offers the English translation underneath. Each letter is highlighted in a brightly colored circle at the top of the page. The digital illustrations are bright and fun, with a strong sense of play that will appeal to kids and their caregivers – you may pick up a word or two, yourself! I really enjoy this Little Concepts series from Walter Foster Jr./Quarto Group; their ABC Baby Signs book, released back in October 2017, teaches kids and parents alike how to use sign language to communicate simple words and ideas.  You may recognize artist Daniel Roode’s illustrations from his Broadway Baby book, My Favorite Things.


Alphabet Boats, by Samantha R. Vamos/Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke,
(Apr. 2018, Charlesbridge), $14.99, ISBN: 9781580897310
Perfect for readers 3-7

I’m most familiar with Samantha R. Vamos thanks to her book, The Cazuela That the Maiden Stirred (2011, illustrated by Rafael López), and was happy to discover that she and artist Ryan O’Rourke have several other alphabet vehicle books available: 2013’s Alphabet Trucks, and 2015’s Alphabet Trains! Alphabet Boats introduces readers to all sorts of new boats, from airboats (watch out for gators!) and barges to water taxis and zebecs. The text is in rhyme, giving read-alouds a nice cadence to flow with. There is a brief description at the end of the book for each type of boat named – who knew that Very Slender Vessel was really a type of boat? Ryan O’Rourke’s Adobe Photoshop illustrations have lively movement to them and include each letter smartly worked into the art: alligators munch on letter As; catamarans sport the letter C on their sails; a tugboat tugs a boat loaded with Ts. Kids who love vehicle and transportation books will enjoy this series, for sure. Find fun printables on Samantha R. Vamos’ author page.


L is for London, by Paul Thurlby, (Apr. 2018, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky),
$19.99, ISBN: 9781492660934
Perfect for ages 3-8

L is for London speaks to me as an Anglophile (although, why no Doctor Who references… no T is for TARDIS?). I love Paul Thurlby’s vintage-looking art – any of these illustrations could be tourism posters for London – and the book provides a little history on each spread, with an explanation of the illustration. From the iconic Abbey Road to the London Zoo (he needed something for Z), every spread provides something to love. There’s a sneaky little fox hiding in each spread, so challenge readers to find them all. The endpapers feature some well-known British figures: the marching Royal Guards, black taxis, red phone boxes, and red mailboxes. It’s a great way to introduce younger readers to other countries, and pairs so well with some of my favorite books by Miroslav Sasek: This is London, This is Paris, This is New York. Thurlby is an award-winning illustrator with a nice collection of concept books, including NY is for New York and Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Broadway Baby board books will have you singing in no time!

If you’re ready to add some new songs to your storytime and snuggle time routine, may I suggest this new series of board books from Walter Foster Jr? In what I hope is the first of a long line of board books, the Broadway Baby series introduces classic songs from beloved musicals to little ones. And what better way to start than with two songs from The Sound of Music?

Broadway Baby: The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things
Based on the song by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Illustrated by Daniel Roode,
(Sept. 2017, Walter Foster Jr), $16.95, ISBN: 9781633223356
Perfect for all ages!

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens… everything we love about the song, My Favorite Things, is illustrated here, perfect for sing-a-longs with the little ones. Illustrations are vibrant and move across each spread, enchanting readers as the song flows. Don’t worry about those dog bites or those bee stings – the dog and the boy seem to have made up just fine; ditto for the bees and the picnickers in their territory. Perfect for sing-a-long storytime!


Broadway Baby: The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things
Based on the song by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Illustrated by Miriam Bos,
(Sept. 2017, Walter Foster Jr), $16.95, ISBN: 9781633223349
Perfect for all ages!

Kids gather around a singer, just like the Von Trapp family kids gathered around Maria to learn this classic about musical notes. Each note gets its own spread, beautifully illustrated: Doe, a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun… they’re all here, and the characters love learning each note!

Each book ends with a note about the Von Trapp Family, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the legendary musical team, and their timeless creation, The Sound of Music. Yes, I’m raving, and with good reason. These books, these songs, make me smile just thinking about them. It’s going to come out in my storytimes, and hopefully, another generation will love them as much as I do. Side note: I showed my manager these books the other day, and after she finished joining me in a rousing rendition of My Favorite Things, proceeded to order a set for her new grandson.

Display these with some of your sing along board books, like Jane Cabrera’s series (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, Baa Baa Black Sheep, so many more), and get some of your baby classics out there! I love the BabyLit series of board books and think they’d go really well with Broadway Baby. Now, let’s think of some other songs we’d like to see. How about Shall We Dance, featuring babies dancing with members of their families?