Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Interrupting Chicken wants Cookies for Breakfast!

Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast, by David Ezra Stein, (Nov. 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536207781

Ages 4-8

The third adorable and laugh-out-loud installment of the Interrupting Chicken series is here and ready for cookies. Little Chicken wakes his Papa up, because it’s time for breakfast and he has the perfect idea: cookies! Papa decides that reading nursery rhymes would be a better way to pass the time, and he and Chicken snuggle together as he begins to read. As the rhymes unfold, Chicken finds a way to get his point across, as he shows up in just about every rhyme, figuring out a way to mention cookies while interacting with such nursery rhyme characters as the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Jack Be Nimble. Will Papa finally give in and have cookies for breakfast?

This series perfectly captures the spirit of a preschooler: excited, lovable, and single-minded in focus. Chicken has amusing outlooks on life to share with readers: cookies have Vitamin C – for cookie!; the early bird gets the cookie, and nobody likes a cold breakfast (so you sit on the cookies to warm them up). Kids will see themselves in Chicken, and grownups will get a chuckle as they recognize their little ones. Warm colors invite readers into the comfortable space Chicken and Papa share.

Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast has a starred review from School Library Journal. Download a free activity kit for the Interrupting Chicken series, courtesy of publisher Candlewick Press.

Posted in picture books

A tall tale about Mother Goose from Chris Raschka

Mother Goose of Pudding Lane (A Small Tall Tale), by Chris Raschka/Illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky, (Sept. 2019, Candlewick), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763675233

Ages 4-8

We’ve all grown up with Mother Goose: usually the British vision of a goose wearing a tall black hat, glasses down on her beak, and a shawl; sometimes, it’s a kindly old woman. But was there a real Mother Goose? Caldeott Medalist Chris Raschka and illustrator Vladimar Radunsky introduce the “real” Mother Goose: Elizabeth Foster, who, in 1692, married Isaac Goose – a widower with 10 children – in Boston and became Mother Goose. She sang songs and made up rhymes for her children (she and Isaac Goose went on to have four more children), which were published at a print shop on Pudding Lane in Boston. Although no copies of the original Mother Goose compilation exist today, we’ve all grown up with adaptations and additions to the legend. Here, Chris Raschka and Vladimir Radunksy recreate some of Mother Goose’s best-known, most beloved pieces while creating new poems and illustrations that recreate the life of Elizabeth Foster Goose, the Mother Goose of Pudding Lane.

Vladimir Radunsky’s playful, colorful gouache and pencil illustrations infuse the story with a sense of fun and joy: animals and people in colonial dress act out some of Mother Goose’s best-known rhymes, like “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe”, “Old King Cole”, and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. The story of Elizabeth and Isaac Goose is told in rhyme throughout, from their courtship to their old age. Endpapers include sketch art of a young Mother Goose in front, and an alphabet rhyme reprint in back.

A sweetly done fictional biography of a beloved figure in children’s literature.

Mother Goose of Pudding Lane has starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Book Review: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, by Iza Trapani (Whispering Coyote, 1997)

twinkle-twinkle-little-star-illustrated-by-iza-trapaniRecommended for ages 0-5

“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is one of the first nursery rhymes many children learn, either from their parents, daycare providers, or preschool teachers. Ms. Trapani’s extended version of the song allows children to sing along as they view the story of a little gold star who takes a little girl on a trip through the night sky. After taking her to see the planets and sun, the star shows the girl how it guides ships at sea and shines light on loving families and sleeping animals and children. The star promises to shine on the little girl every night when it returns her back to her bed. The watercolor illustrations give a soft, dreamlike feel to the story, and the star itself appears to be rendered in a foil of some sort, so it stands out. The colors are muted, nighttime colors but for the light by the sun and the moon. There is a companion CD that lets readers sing along and can also help beginning readers sharpen their skills. There is also a Spanish translation available for a Spanish storytime.

This is a great candidate for a nursery rhyme-centered storytime, either with or without the CD accompaniment. There are many fingerplays available for Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and a felt board may be fun to incorporate into the story, with the many sights the star takes the little girl to see through the course of the tale. The sheet music and lyrics are available in the back of the book and, with permission, may be handed out at the beginning of the storytime for parents, guardians, and children to sing along. The book’s publisher, Charlesbridge, has a free printable of the cover art that would make for a fun coloring project. The Perry Public Library has a wonderful “Star Light Star Bright” storytime that includes songs, rhymes and a star chart, an updated one of which can easily be found online.

The author’s webpage also offers downloadable activities and guides for her books.