Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Fairy Tale time! The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog

The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog, by Alastair Chisholm/Illustrated by Jez Tuya, (Dec. 2020, Kane Miller Books), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-179-6

Ages 4-8

Alastair Chisholm and Jez Tuya are back with another fairy tale! Last year’s The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears was so much fun, the author-illustrator decided to come back for more. This time, Jamie – the boy from The Prince and the Witch… – is on a camping trip with his dad and younger sister, Abby, and it’s time to tell a story by the fire. The Prince, the Witch, the Thief, and the Bears return, along with Barry, a thumb-sized ninja frog that the Witch keeps safely tucked away. But Abby doesn’t think it’s fair to Barry to miss out on all the action, so she takes control of the storytelling and lets Barry the Ninja Frog have a grand adventure! The storytelling is such fun, and like The Prince and the Witch…, the kids steer the plot of the story with hilarious results. The story has an empowering message for kids and adults alike: don’t discount the little one. And the ending? Well, let’s just say I’ll be waiting to hear from these two again in about a year… Digital artwork is colorful and cartoony, and kids familiar with the characters will be delighted to see them in action again. Put together a great fractured fairy tales display with the two Chisholm/Tuya books and the Josh Funk It’s Not… series and let your kiddos go wild, telling you their own stories.


Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Interactive fun: This is Frog, This is Crab

I fell in love with This is Owl, by Libby Walden and Jacqui Lee, a year ago. It’s interactive fun for storytime and anytime, and it lets you be absolutely silly with your littles! Two more This is… books have hit shelves, thanks to Kane Miller; both authored by Harriet Evans, with Jacqui Lee staying on as illustrator, and they are every bit is adorable and fun as This is Owl. Pep up your storytime!

This is Frog, by Harriet Evans/Illustrated by Jacqui Lee, (July 2019, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-61067-997-8

Ages 2-6

More interactive animal fun! The narrator invites us to gently shake the book to help Frog jump, and then we assist frog in moving flies toward him for some food, avoid being a toucan’s snack, find shelter from the rain, and find his way back to the water. The text invites readers to help out on every page, with flaps to lift and pages to shake. Frog is wide-eyed and looks vaguely concerned, which will give readers gleeful giggles as they jiggle, hug, and lead him around the book. I read this during a Facebook Live storytime and received several messages from parents telling me their littles loved it! The book is largely rendered in lush greens with bright backgrounds to pop against. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers with exploring fingers.

This is Crab, by Harriet Evans/Illustrated by Jacqui Lee, (Jan. 2020, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-064-5

Ages 2-6

More die-cut, interactive silly fun! Crab opens up a wealth of possibilities for finger-clacking, shuffling shenanigans. We start off by gently tempting Crab out of his cave, then accompanying him in a walk across the ocean floor. Readers need to be mindful – Crab has a bad habit of pinching others, and tries to take things that don’t belong to him! Readers steer him away from Octopus and negotiate how to play nicely with a decorator crab, and play a game of underwater hide and seek. When cracks show up in Crab’s shell, readers also have a chance to help Crab shed his old shell. Too much fun, with a colorful underwater playground to wander in. Let your readers clack their crab pincers and shuffle sideways to add to the fun!

The This is series is essential for storytime collections. They’re just too much fun to read and explore.

Posted in Uncategorized

A cranky flea sets off a chain of events in Leap!

Leap!, by JonArno Lawson/Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon, (Sept. 2017, Kids Can Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781771386784

Recommended for readers 3-6

This fun circular, rhyming story starts with a flea, who leaps into a grasshopper’s path; the startled grasshopper leaps onto a bunny. The action continues, involving a dog, bullfrog, horse, and finally, back to the dog and the flea. It’s a fun story that would make for a good storytime read; get the kids up and jumping if you have more active storytimes, or bounce for lapsits. The cadence of the rhyme is fun and energetic, but I expected to see more spreads with the full animal leaping; there were a few where the right-side page showed the back end of a leap and it felt a little cut off, choppy, for me.

I’d add this to a storytime with Kalan ‘s Jump, Frog, Jump! and add some flannels for audience interaction.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Trudy the Tree Frog tries out a new bed

trudy the tree frogTrudy the Tree Frog, by Jennifer Keats Curtis/Illustrated by Laura Jacques (Nov. 20015, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764349973

Recommended for ages 4-8

A plucky little tree frog decides to broaden her horizons, but learns that the grass isn’t always greener – and the bed isn’t always more comfortable – on the other side in this rhyming bedtime tale.

Trudy the Tree Frog is just about to get comfy in her tree, among her leaves, and fall asleep for the night, when she has an idea. She leaps onto the window of the house next to her tree and gazes in at a little girl who has a bunk bed all to herself. That bed looks so comfortable and soft! Trudy begins croaking and trilling, begging to be let in; not wanting to wake her family, the little girl obliges. Once inside, Trudy discovers that the bed really isn’t comfortable for a frog: she’s sticking to everything! The bed’s too big! She starts to cry again – but this time, she wakes up Daddy! Can Dad and the little girl get Trudy back to her tree so she can sleep?

This is a good bedtime story: it rhymes and has a definite cadence to it when read out loud. Kids may recognize themselves in Trudy, who’s satisfied with what she has until she thinks someone else has it better – and then she finds out that what makes one person happy is subjective; it may not work for another. Trudy happily ends up back where she belongs, and makes a new friend in the process.

Both the author and award-winning illustrator have a wealth of wildlife/environmental storytelling experience. Readers will learn a little bit about tree frog habitats and behaviors, and the illustrations clearly show Trudy’s sticky foot pads and tongue, and how that presents a bit of a problem for sleeping in a bed, but how it would be a big help to sleeping in a tree. The color scheme is perfect for a bedtime story, with sedate, deep blues and purples, and low yellows for the lights. Bold, black, decorative font adds a whimsical touch to storytelling and reading.

I read this story to my toddler storytime class and they really enjoyed it! They loved seeing Trudy leap and the parents got a kick out of learning about her tussle with the bed, too.

A sweet addition to bedtime story collections and nature-centric collections.