Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tis the season to be reading!

You want seasonal books? I got seasonal books. I got Hanukkah books, I got Christmas books, I got winter books, I got all the books: I’m just posting a few at a time, to keep the thrill of the season alive. Join me and enjoy!

The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story, by Rabbis Kerry & Jesse Olitzky/Illustrated by Jen Kostman, (June 2020, Kalaniot Books), $17.99, ISBN: 978-0-9988527-5-1

Hanukkah is coming! The candles are so excited! Who will be the first candle on the menorah this year? The candles all discuss among themselves why each should be the first candle. All except Flicker, the smallest candle in the box, that is. Little Flicker is always the first candle to support his friends, whether it’s through cleaning up the hard to reach areas of the box, or making sure the others have enough to eat. Waxy, the wisest candle, recounts the story of Hanukkah and the importance of each candle in the menorah, and decides to make Little Flicker his helper candle: the shamash.

Soft, cheerful colors and gentle storytelling make this a wonderful Hanukkah story with a great message: “Hanukkah is a reminder that sometimes, even when you are small, you are still capable of miracles”. The cartoony artwork will appeal to all kids, and reminded me of The Day the Crayons Quit. Most of the artwork revolves around the crayons, but there are people in here, too; a family celebrates the season together with the brightly lit menorah burning in the background. Back matter has more to learn about Hanukkah, including the blessings to light the menorah by. Add this to your holiday reading every year, whether you celebrate Hanukkah or another seasonal holiday. It’s got a wonderful message that kids will love to hear.

I’m very excited because Kalaniot Books, The Littlest Candle‘s publisher, is a new imprint that will publish books for children on Jewish culture and history. So I’m hoping to bring more exciting titles to you in the future!

 

Elf, based on the film by David Berenbaum/Illustrated by Kim Smith, (Oct. 2020, Quirk Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781683692409

Ages 4-8

Quirk Books has the best in pop culture books for kids and I am here for it. The newest? This year’s Elf, adapted from the hilarious 2003 movie starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf. The story of Buddy the Elf, the human raised by Santa’s elves, who goes to find his dad in crazy New York City and ends up saving Christmas is adorably rendered here with cartoon artwork and a mix of narration and word balloons, usually capturing some of the best movie moments. Endpapers bookend the film, showing Buddy at the beginning and end of his journey, and the art is so cheery and colorful, you won’t help but want to read this again and again. Absolutely wonderful, and perfect for a Pop Culture storytime (psst… Quirk publishes picture books about Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2) along with classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and so many more.

My only question: when do we get a picture book adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story? Come ON!

 

Mouse’s Night Before Christmas, by Tracey Corderoy/Illustrated by Sarah Massini, (Oct. 2020 Nosy Crow), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536214406

Ages 3-7

This sweet take on the classic A Visit from St. Nicholas/’Twas the Night Before Christmas stars a mouse who desperately wants a friend. The lonely mouse lives in a grandfather clock and wishes for a friend to give presents to… when who should land on his roof but old Saint Nick and his reindeer, forced down during a storm! The Mouse happily offers to guide Santa on his way, and spends a happy Christmas Eve as Santa’s helper. When he drops Mouse off, he comforts a disappointed Mouse by reminding him that Christmas isn’t over yet… and Mouse has to discover his own gift. A touching story of friendship, the rhyme is set to the rhythm of the original Clement Moore poem; you’ll fall right into it as you read it out loud. The mixed media illustrations are comforting and warm. Kids will love curling up with this lovable story of finding friends.

 

Gigantosaurus: The Holiday Party, by Cyber Group Studios, (Sept. 2020, Candlewick Entertainment), $5.99, ISBN: 9781536213409

Ages 3-7

Gigantosaurus is an animated dinosaur show currently streaming on Netflix and available on Disney Junior and the books have started hitting shelves. Based on the episode The Shortest Day, The Holiday Party Tiny, a triceratops, decides to throw a big party in celebration of the shortest day of the year. She’s planning food, music, presents, and the biggest party ever! But everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and Tiny is devastated. And then Giganto shows up: the big scary guy! Will Tiny’s party be saved? A holiday story about celebrating, friendship, and wrong expectations, The Holiday Party is digitally illustrated and includes both narration and speech bubbles. It’s a fun read for kids who love dinosaurs, and the stickers on the last two pages will make this a super-fun holiday treat. If you’re including this for your library shelves, slice those stickers out and give them away to your kiddos!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Media, picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, TV Shows

Nick Jr’s Rainbow Rangers come to bookshelves

Since my kids have gotten bigger, I find myself woefully out of the loop on what’s popular on Nick Jr. these days. Apparently, Wallykazam is not a thing anymore? Thank goodness for Paw Patrol, or I’d really feel out of touch. Anyway. I was invited to check out the new line of books from Nick Jr’s newest show, Rainbow Rangers, so I did my research and consulted my 4-year-old niece, who assured me that this was a good show, because they girls are all rainbow colors and there is a unicorn. This, if you don’t realize it, is pretty big praise, so I dove in.

The Rainbow Rangers are “Earth’s first responders”. Basically, they’re the Avengers meets Captain Planet, and wow, I’ve just aged myself in one sentence. They live in Kaleidoscopia, a magical land on the other side of the rainbow, and there are six of them, each representing a different color of the rainbow: Rosie Redd; Mandarin Orange; Anna Banana; Pepper Mintz; Bonnie Blueberry; Indy Allfruit, and Lavender LaViolette all have different superpowers that they use to work together and keep Earth’s natural resources safe. Their leader, Kalia, sends them out on missions, and their pet unicorn, Floof, is there to help out. ImprintReads, from publisher Macmillan, has a Rainbow Rangers book for every reader in their new line of releases.

Rainbow Rangers: Rockin’ Rainbow Colors, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $9.99, ISBN: 9781250190345
Ages 3-6

This tabbed, oversized board book introduces each Rainbow Ranger, their talent, and also works with color recognition. Each of the Rainbow Rangers is named for a color in the spectrum, after all. It’s chunky, will hold up to multiple reads and exploring little hands, and the artwork is full of bright colors and large-eyed, expressive superheroines. Way too cute, preschoolers and toddlers will love this book.

 

Rainbow Rangers: The Quest for the Confetti Crystal, by Summer Greene/Illustrated by Joshua Heinsz and Maxime Lebrun,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250190338
Ages 3-6

This picture book is great for preschoolers and early elementary school readers, and it’s an original Rainbow Rangers story. The Rainbow Rangers have plans to celebrate Bonnie Blueberry’s 100th mission with a party, and unicorn Floof is put in charge of protecting their Confetti Crystal for the celebration, while the Rangers head off on their mission. Floof tries to contribute to the party planning using the crystal, but the crystal rolls away, and Floof is off on his own mission to retrieve it. The artwork is adorable; the characters from the show are instantly recognizable, and for those of us who aren’t quite familiar with the Rainbow Rangers, it’s a fun fantasy adventure starring a unicorn, magic, and adventure.

 

Rainbow Rangers: Meet the Team, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $4.99, ISBN: 9781250190314
Ages 3-7

The team’s origin story comes together in Easy Reader format in Meet the Team, which introduces the characters and their powers, using a little more vocabulary than the Rockin’ Rainbow Colors board book. The story also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and respecting one another, even if you don’t always agree. Sentences are longer, with a little more meat to the information; emerging readers will love sitting down with this one and digging right in.

 

Rainbow Rangers: To the Rescue!, by Summer Greene,
(Sept. 2019, Imprint/Macmillan), $4.99, ISBN: 9781250190253
Ages 3-7

To the Rescue! is the 8×8 media tie-in, recreating the first Rainbow Rangers adventure: rescuing a polar bear cub when a melting ice floe separates him from his mother. The girls fly into action, discovering how to work together and addressing climate change on an age-appropriate level: “When temperatures get hotter, ice shelves break apart”. There’s a punch-out, wearable Kaleidocom that kids can wear just like the character Rosie Redd (librarians: keep this one in your desk until you can make copies or hold a giveaway). Fonts are bright and bold, with some words getting rainbow bubble font treatment for extra emphasis.

There’s a little something for everyone here, and kids will gobble this series up.┬áThe Rainbow Rangers website also has video clips, profiles on each character, and free, downloadable activity and coloring sheets. Have them on hand!

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade

She-Ra Chapter Books are here!

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Origin of a Hero (Book 1), by Tracey West/Illustrated by Amanda Schank, (April 2019, Scholastic), $$5.99, ISBN: 978-1-338-29842-0

Ages 7-10

Once upon a time, it was the 1980s, and I was a He-Man/She-Ra fan. I’d turn on the TV when I got home from high school, and keep it on in the background as I did my homework, talked on the phone, and got on with my day. Years later, She-Ra relaunched on Netflix, and despite an initial redesign uproar, it’s gotten pretty rave feedback. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet (my TBW – To Be Watched – list is almost as terrifying as my TBR), but I have to find a way to make that happen now that I’ve read the first chapter book in the new series, Origin of a Hero.

Not a mere relaunch, but a continuation of the original He-Man and She-Ra universe, Origin of a Hero introduces us to Adora and Catra, two girls being raised by a group known as The Horde. The Horde is at odds with The Rebellion, a group of princesses who are fighting to keep their world, Etheria, safe from The Horde. But Adora and Catra don’t hear that story: to them, The Horde is fighting the good fight against the evil, awful princesses. Adora and Catra are like frenemies, because Adora is the golden girl and the apple of the Shadow Weaver’s eye – the mother figure to both Adora and Catra – where Catra is jealous, but too fond of breaking rules and taking the easy way out to excel. Adora stumbles on an artifact – a sword – that gives her a vision of a warrior in white, and calls to her about honor, and she’s confused, but drawn to the sword. Meanwhile, a princess named Glimmer and her best friend, Bow, go searching for ancient artifacts and guess who they bump into? When the group is set upon by a giant robot insect, they seek shelter in an old ruin with the word “Eternia” written in runes that only Adora can read. Once inside the ruin, Adora finds that there’s more to the sword than just visions: it gives her the power to transform into the legendary She-Ra!

What a great beginning for a new generation of She-Ra fans! Adora has her nemesis origin up and running, because we all know Catra is bad news. She’s learned that Fake News has formed her life thus far; being raised to believe that the princesses are evil and The Horde is good, and being faced with the destruction and devastation wrought by The Horde when she meets Glimmer and Bow in the Whispering Woods. More of the original universe’s story is yet to be revealed, but with a second book, Island of Magical Creatures, already available and a third book, Song of the She-Witch, coming on November 5, I’m hooked and ready to commit to this series – and get my library kids in on it. And I’ll be pulling up She-Ra on Netflix to see if it lives up to the hype. The books are illustrated in two-color pink and white, with swords, stars, and runes decorating the borders of each page. This is an intermediate series to get in on now; the books are coming out pretty regularly and the series is starting its fourth season on November 5. Check out the trailer.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

Hasbro’s Lost Kitties get Easy Readers

So this is a thing I’ve somehow missed out on previously, but Hasbro has these collectible toys, Lost Kitties, that my son – and the kids here at my library – tell me that they LOVE. (Sorry, I’m still recovering from Shopkins.) The Hasbro website has videos, downloadable pictures, and all sorts of unboxing videos, so if you haven’t had these little critters take over your home yet… give ’em time. But I’m here to talk about the books. Because there are books now!

Lost Kitties: #Adorbs, by Maggie Fischer, (May 2019, Studio Fun International), $4.99, ISBN: 9780794444181

Ages 4-7

There are 5 stories in this Easy Reader-format book about the #Adorbs squad, making this a nice independent read for a newly confident reader, or for several quick read-alouds to a little one. Nap-Kin is a kitty who wants to nap, but can’t find a quiet place. Bonbon is a baker, but her friend Tummy Tum keeps eating all her snacks – how can she fill her up? Pixie Purrs is also looking for a comfy spot to nap, but decides to help her stressed out friend, Francis, relax into some yoga instead. Tickles is playing outside and his friends trick him into thinking he’s a butterfly. Memez is practicing for a singing contest when his friends, J. Roly and Pepp, start teaching him some new dance moves. The stories are cute, fluffy, and illustrated in full color with bold, big, colorful fonts and word balloons, showing the kittens in all their #Adorbs-ness.

 

Lost Kitties: #Nomz, by Maggie Fischer, (May 2019, Studio Fun International), $4.99, ISBN: 978-0794444303

Ages 4-7

The #Nomz squad likes to get into trouble, whether it’s Chomp testing hot peppers to spice up her taco hot sauce, or Chunks training for a – gulp – Grand Hairball Hacking Competition. Loafy has a crisis when his toaster breaks, but they’ve all got their squad to help them out. These Early Reader format books are cute media tie-ins, and will give kids a little extra dimension of play – encourage them to draw their own Lost Kitties adventures, and give them some templates to let them create with. The artwork is bold, bright, and fun, and the characters have giant, expressive facial expressions that are worth loads of laughs.

 

 

Hasbro Lost Kitties Collector’s Guide, by Maggie Fischer, (May 2019, Studio Fun International), $8.99, ISBN: 978-0794443863

Ages 6-9

This skews a little older, because it’s a Collector’s Guide with denser information. The Guide includes profiles of over 100 kitties out there to collect; each profile has a brief, descriptive paragraph and stats, including likes, dislikes, favorite snack and toy, hobbies, a motto, and life’s dream. There are lolcat-like memes for each Lost Kitty, a hashtag to note which Squad they belong to, and whether they belong to Series 1 or Series 2 releases. For a mom and librarian who’s surrounded by Pokemon and Pokedexes everywhere I go, this is awfully familiar…┬áThis is very cute and will be popular with the kids: especially if there’s ever an animated cartoon to tie in. The books are adorable enough that the act of putting them on my shelves started a mob, so we’ll go from there.