Posted in Non-Fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

A Laura Gehl two-fer!

I love Laura Gehl’s books: from Peep and Egg to One Big Pair of Underwear and beyond, her stories have been hits at my storytimes and they’re just fun to read. Now, I’ve got some nonfiction by Laura Gehl to rave about that’s every bit as fun and unputdownable as her fiction is. Join me!

Odd Beasts: Meet Nature’s Weirdest Animals, by Laura Gehl/Illustrated by Gareth Lucas, (Nov. 2021, Abrams Appleseed), $8.99, ISBN: 9781419742224

Ages 2-4

A very happy book birthday to Odd Beasts! This rhyming board book introduces readers to some of nature’s wildest citizens: an armored pangolin, a frog with see-through skin, and a fish that weighs a ton are just a few of the animals waiting inside. This board book has back matter: two spreads include photos of each animal mentioned, with a brief factual paragraph. The artwork is incredible, offering colorful illustrations of each of the eight animals; they’re the perfect mixture of kid-friendly, expressive illustration and realism, making this a book readers will pick up and enjoy again and again. Sturdy pages hold up to multiple readings and definitely pass the “mom’s bag” test; I carried this one around with me for a couple of weeks. Great for an animal storytime.

Visit Laura Gehl’s author webpage for more info on her books, and great educator/caregiver resources, including coloring sheets for Odd Beasts!

 

Who Is a Scientist?, by Laura Gehl, (Oct. 2021, Millbrook Press), $9.99, ISBN: 9781728441085

Ages 4-9

Scientists are people, too! Who Is a Scientist? humanizes the science providers by providing profiles on 14 different scientists; who they are, what they study and do, and what they like to do when they’re not science-ing. Isha is a meteorologist who studies the weather, and also enjoys dancing, playing volleyball, and eating chocolate. She’s photographed dancing in a flowing red skirt on one page and operating a weather balloon on another. Names appear in bright colors to personalize each scientist, and fun photos like Isha’s show readers that scientists like karate, surfing, cooking, and painting: just like they do. Each descriptive paragraph explains what the scientists study, introducing them to fields like astronomy, neuroscience, and mechanical engineering. The group is diverse, and really encourages kids to see themselves in this book, offering a QR code to learn more about the scientists, and a flow chart to help guide readers to a field of study that may be right for them, based on their own interests. What a great way to inspire the next generation of scientists, right? Who Is a Scientist? makes science playful and fun, like it should be. A guide to phonetic pronunciations at the end of the book help readers learn to pronounce Laura Gehl’s name, and the names of each scientist.

Visit Laura Gehl’s author page for a Who Is a Scientist? educator’s guide.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Juniper Kai, Super Spy!

Juniper Kai is a little girl who loves being a spy: she can crack codes, spot clues, and she’s a master of disguise! When she notices her parents have been acting a little… different, Juniper is on the case to spot the clues and find out their secret. Join her for the fun!

Juniper Kai, Super Spy, by Laura Gehl/Illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis,
(Sept. 2019, Amazon/Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542043328
Ages 3-7

This fun read-aloud is huge fun and perfect for sharp-eyed readers who can spot the visual clues throughout the story that will lead readers to the mystery Juniper Kai is on the case to solve! Kids will love seeing Juniper using her spy gadgets and deductive skills to figure out her big case. This is a great book to use when illustrating problem solving; there are lots of opportunities to prompt readers to look at the clues on each spread and help them connect the dots to a solution. The digital artwork is adorable, giving readers a multicultural heroine and family and cartoony cute artwork with expressive faces and fun moments, including Juniper spying on her parents while rocking a mustache and funny hat; binoculars, even a drone. The colors are largely muted pinks and purples, with appropriately shadowy darker colors and warm glows to reflect different moods and times of day.

This is an all-around fun book that challenges readers to exercise their own detective skills. There’s a free, downloadable teacher’s guide available through Laura Gehl’s website, offering discussion prompts and spy activities – I think I’ll be using some of these at storytime soon.

Laura Gehl is the author of many popular picture books, including One Big Pair of Underwear, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld; the Peep and Egg series, illustrated by Joyce Wan; and My Pillow Keeps Moving, illustrated by Christopher Weyant. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with one husband, four children, and seventeen fake mustaches. Visit Laura online at www.lauragehl.com.

Twitter: @AuthorLauraGehl

 

Alexandria Neonakis grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her huge family. She now lives in California with her husband and their two cats. In addition to illustrating children’s books, she works as a character- concept artist for video games. Her recent children’s books include Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk and This Is MY Room by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Learn more about her online at www.alexneonakis.com.

Twitter: @Beavs

Instagram:@alexneonakis

“Harriet the Spy would approve of this sharp-eyed investigator. This will be a read-aloud favorite for little supersleuths, particularly those with junior agents on the way.” —Kirkus Reviews

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Juniper Kai: Super Spy, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Delivery Bear has a message about being yourself

Delivery Bear, by Laura Gehl/Illustrated by Paco Sordo, (Sept. 2018, Albert Whitman & Company), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-8075-1532-7

Ages 4-7

Zogby is a big, brown bear who’s wanted to be a Fluffy Tail Cookies delivery animal ever since he was a cub. When he finally gets his chance, he’s up against a few obstacles: management is a little concerned that he doesn’t have “the Fluffy Tail Cookies look”, and his trial run is less fluffy, more… terrifying. He tries to change his appearance to be less scary to his little woodland customers, but no one wants to give the big guy a chance! It’s time for Zogby to put the lyrics to the Fluffy Tail jingle to work: You are special! You are YOU! Zogby comes up with his own original song to put the animals at ease, and before he knows it, he’s being invited in for tea and giving out bear hugs.

Delivery Bear is an adorable story about judging other based on appearances, and about appreciating yourself for who you are.The book is loaded with comic moments of a friendly cartoon bear trying to be friendly, and wide-eyed little animals screaming in terror, but there are plenty of teachable moments to talk over with readers; most notably, why Zogby had to change his approach to be accepted. Is it right or wrong to change for someone else? There is a lot to talk about here. (There’s also the question of whether or not the hiring manager was facing a lawsuit for not hiring Zogby, based on appearances, but I digress.)

With cartoony, kid-friendly artwork and a sweet story about self-acceptance, Delivery Bear is a cute add to storytime collections. Author Laura Gehl has a bunch of free downloads on her author website, including curriculum guides and coloring sheets for her Peep & Egg series, and One Big Pair of Underwear (which is a storytime standard for me).

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Peep and Egg debate the pros and cons of bathing: I’m NOT Taking a Bath!

Peep and Egg: I’m Not Taking a Bath, by Laura Gehl/Illustrated by Joyce Wan, (Oct. 2017, Farrar Straus Giroux), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-374-30327-3

Recommended for readers 3-7

I adore Peep and Egg. Yes, they’re illustrated by Joyce Wan; I should have heart-eyed emojis setting off her name every time I talk about one of her books, because I adore her art. In addition to the squeal-worthy art, though, they’re just fun. They’re Elephant and Piggie for the toddler set; one surly little bird and one level-headed friend who manages to steer the other in the right direction.

This time, it’s about bathing. The front endpapers show us a bunch of pigs, happily playing in the mud; the verso shows us a pair of muddy footprints tracking across the page, leading us to the title page, where we see a very dirty Egg, already stating, “I’m Not Taking a Bath”. We know what we’re getting into from the second we open the book, and I don’t know about you, but I’m already giggling. (Maybe it’s because I have three boys and am having deja vu.) Sure enough, there’s Peep, suggesting Egg take a bath. “Too wet!” Egg fires back. Peep suggests different enticing bath ideas: special shampoo, the hose, the dog’s water bowl; all met with reasons why Egg refuses to consider them, ending with the repeated phrase, “I’m NOT taking a bath!” Egg even refuses a bath in the river, to which Peep responds – like most parents I know – with the time-tested, “Okay… well, see ya!” As Egg notices all their friends run by – including the muddy pigs! – ready for a day of playing at the river, Egg changes tune pretty fast and heads to the river!

When Peep offers Egg a towel, Egg politely declines… “because I’m not getting out!” Sound familiar, folks? Peep and Egg works so well because – like Mo Willems’ Pigeon books – we have seen the characters, and they are US. Egg is the fussy toddler and preschooler, starting to make their own decisions; we’re the caregivers, trying to get them to make the decision WE want them to make. We cajole, we entice, we finally say, “Okay, well, I guess I’ll have to play with all of these cool bath toys all by myself“, and our kiddos change their tune. Only to assert themselves again when it’s time to come out of the tub, their fingers wrinkled, lips blue from sitting in the now-cold bathwater. Laura Gehl gets us: children and caregivers alike.

Laura Gehl has loads of great stuff, including curriculum guides and activity sheets, at her website. Joyce Wan has downloads and printables aplenty at her website, too!

Want a chance to win your own copy of Peep and Egg: I’m Not Taking a Bath? Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!