Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Snow Dancer by Addie Boswell and Merce Lopez

Was there ever a more perfect book than The Snow Day to describe that feeling when you first hit that first-fallen snow?

The Snow Dancer, by Addie Boswell/Illustrated by Mercè López,
(Dec. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542093170
Ages 4-8

A girl named Sofia wakes up to discover a snow-white world. The snow has fallen while she slept, and it’s unblemished, perfect, on the ground, just waiting. She exclaims “SNOW DAY!” and runs out to enjoy the stillness, the beauty, the absolute wonder of the snow day. She races to the park, and finds it empty, untouched, pristine; she joyfully dances through the crunchy snow until other neighborhood kids show up. But once they do, the spell is broken as they charge into the playground, laughing, pushing, and making a giant mess out of the quiet. Sofia’s solitude is broken until she meets a new little friend with fairy wings and a snowsuit, asking if she is a fairy. The two new friends dance their own dance and join the other kids, creating a wonderful snow day for all. A story of solitude and resilience, Snow Dancer is a gorgeous book to welcome the winter.

Kids and adults alike will get lost in the prose, so evocative of childhood memories: “fuzzy hats on the fire hydrants”, and “her voice hung in the still air. / No buses squealed. / No cars honked. / No neighbors shouted” bring back those incredible memories of being the first one awake and discovering the snow day. Kids will also feel it when the neighborhood kids show up and wreck Sofia’s solitude, and admire her resilience in making the most of her day, especially when making a new friend. Mercè López’s artwork brings the quiet beauty of a snowy morning to life, the mayhem of the manic play as kids try to fit as much as possible into the day, and the quiet solitude at the end of the day as Sofia curls up in a chair, with a mug (of hot chocolate? of soup?) and her cat. A wonderful winter story that will work for storytime and anytime.

 

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“A spirited paean to the snow day that will appeal to children and their parents.” —Booklist

“Vivid imagery, onomatopoeia, and supple blue-gradient typography enliven Sofia’s journey as she learns to share her snow day. A dynamic tale of cooperation, adaptation, and friendship.” —Publishers Weekly

Addie Boswell is an artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in murals and picture books that focus on family, community, and the creative power of children. Her recent titles include Go, Bikes, Go! and Go, Boats, Go!, both illustrated by Alexander Mostov, and Five on the Bed, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her debut book, The Rain Stomper, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, was the winner of the Oregon Spirit Award. Learn more about the author at www.addieboswell.com.

Mercè López is an artist from Barcelona, Spain. She holds a degree in illustration from Llotja Art School in Barcelona. Her recent title Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas received multiple starred reviews and was named a Center for Children’s Books Gryphon Honor Book, an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a Kirkus Best Picture Book, and a Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Book, among other accolades. Learn more about the artist at www.mercelopez.com.
Instagram: mercelopez

 

 

 

Win a copy of The Snow Dancer for your collection! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Comet, The Unstoppable Reindeer!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and… ALL HECK WAS BREAKING LOOSE! The elves are stressed, and a fight breaks out in the toy factory. Comet, one of Santa’s reindeer, can’t stand fights, so he tries to break things up and ends up with a broken arm. The doctor grounds him for Christmas Eve; Santa puts a rookie named Freddie on sleigh detail, and Comet is distraught. Everyone’s gone home, Santa and the reindeer are off on their flight, and he’s just lonely. But wait! Santa forgot his sack of toys! And he’s not answering his phone! Comet’s got a chance to make Christmas right, and he’s taking it: but it ain’t going to be easy for this poor reindeer!

Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer, by Jim Benton, (Sept. 2020, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542043472
Ages 4-8

A laugh-out-loud tale of saving Christmas, Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer is by Jim Benton, who we all know and love from such books as the Franny K. Stein series, Catwad, Clyde, Dear Dumb Diary, Attack of the Stuff, and Happy Bunny. It’s a rhyming tale of heroism, unanswered cell phones, massive internal injury, and the spirit of endurance. Jim Benton’s cartoony artwork ties this story together with bulging eyes, a ginormous sack of toys, and a poor reindeer pratfalling all over the world. It’s hilarious, it’s adorable, and it’s pure Jim Benton. My Kiddo has gleefully read this to me twice, giggling madly as he turns the pages. Lighten up your Christmas holidays with Comet.

★“Along with being lit up by themes of caring for others and shouldering responsibility, this hilarious seasonal outing offers great read-aloud potential for its regular but natural-sounding metrics and rhyme.” —Booklist (starred review)

 

“You might want to gift this one a little earlier than Christmas so you can read it to your little ones every night leading up to December 25. It’s the adorable (and all-too relatable) tale of Comet, an unstoppable reindeer.” —Parade

Jim Benton is the award-winning creator of the New York Times bestselling series Dear Dumb Diary and Franny K. Stein as well as the popular It’s Happy Bunny brand. His books have sold more than fifteen million copies in twenty-five countries and have garnered numerous honors. Like Comet, Jim knows what it’s like to hobble around in a cast; however, he is still learning to fly. Find out more about him at JimBenton.com.

 

Instagram: @jimbentonshots

Twitter: @JimBenton

Facebook: Jim K Benton, Author

It’s the holidays, so I’ve got a giveaway! Win your very own copy of Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer: U.S. addresses only, please, and no P.O. Boxes. Visit the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books

Earth Hour Giveaway: The Stars Just Up the Street

What better to cheer up people than a giveaway? Read on for more about The Stars Just Up the Street, by Sue Soltis and beautifully illustrated by Christine Davenier!

The Stars Just Up the Street, by Sue Soltis/Illustrated by Christine Davenier,
(March 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763698348
Ages 4-8

This ode to the nighttime sky makes a smart and strong statement about pollution. Mabel is a young girl who loves the stars, but after hearing her father tell stories about growing up on the prairie, where the nighttime sky boasted thousands of stars, Mabel wants more. She plans ways to find more stars: climbing the tallest tree in her backyard, then going up to the hill in town; it doesn’t get much better. Mabel realizes that the lights from surrounding homes and the street lights block much of the sky’s view, so she and Grandpa begin asking neighbors, and, ultimately, the mayor, to turn off the lights, just for a little while. As the new moon arrives, the town gathers at the hill to watch the sky light up with thousands of stars, and a new tradition is born.

The Stars Just Up the Street is a story of advocacy, showing kids that they can affect change by asking; it also demonstrates the power of a little persistence. The story teaches kids (and adults) about pollution, and how it directly affects the night sky: and how we can begin restoring our planet just by turning off a light. Christine Davenier’s ink illustrations give us friendly faces and gorgeous night skies, where the stars come back to let us know they haven’t left us; we’ve just covered them up for a little while. What a great addition to an Earth Hour or Earth Day storytime, a nature storytime, or an anytime storytime.

Want to learn more about Earth Hour? Check out the website, and the World Wildlife Fund’s website, which has 7 fun activities to do in the dark (it’s a family-friendly site, folks!). Sustainablity.org also has 15 fun activities for Earth Hour, and Canadian website MomsTown has 60 kids’ activities. Earth Hour takes place on March 28th.

 

I’ve got two copies to give away, courtesy of publisher Candlewick Press. US addresses only, and no PO Boxes, please! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

Posted in picture books, Uncategorized

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Along the Tapajós

Along the Tapajós, by Fernando Vilela/Translated by Daniel Hahn, (Oct. 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542008686

Ages 5-8

Amazon Crossing Kids’ latest picture book in translation, Along the Tapajós, is the story of Cauā and Inaê, a brother and sister who live in Pará, a Brazilian state along the Tapajós River. The home in Pará are built on stilts, and there are no school buses: kids travel to school by boat! When the winter season arrives, everyone returns home to pack up their homes and relocate to higher ground to wait out the rains. But when the family arrives at their new location, the siblings realize that Titi, their pet tortoise, has been left behind! Tortoises can’t swim, so Titi faces either drowning in the flooding or starving to death, but Ma stands firm: they’re not going back until the summer season. Determined to rescue their pet, Cauā and Inaê slip away that evening and head back to their home to rescue Titi.

Inspired by one of author Fernando Vilela’s trips to the Amazon Rainforest Along the Tapajós introduces readers to a different culture and a different way of life: going to school by boat? Living in a house on stilts, and moving with the seasons? There is so much going on in Along the Tapajós! While introducing a different way of life to kids, the story links readers through the love of a pet, the fear of forgetting and losing something beloved, and the excitement of an adventure to rescue it.

The digital and woodcut artwork is stunning, with vibrant, bright colors to celebrate the biodiversity of the Amazon: the endpapers show multicolored birds sitting on webs of crossed branches, and opaque waters with a glimpse at the life underneath; yellows, blues, and black stripes all show through the obscured water view. The artwork throughout is stunning, with bold colors and black line work, and images of communities working together to move to a safe space.

Most of my library kids are from countries in Central and South America. I can’t wait to read this to them and see what they think. Maybe I’ll hand out tortoise coloring sheets for an after-story craft! Ooh… and maybe have them contribute to an anaconda that will stretch across some of my display space… okay, I’m off to plan a rainforest storytime (I’ll be using Pragmatic Mom’s suggestions to start me off, along with one of my all-time favorite storytime books, The Perfect Siesta.)

Originally published in 2015 in Brazilian Portuguese, Along the Tapajós is available on October 1 and has a starred review from Kirkus. It also made School Library Journal‘s list, “The Marvelous Translated Picture Books of 2019 (So Far)“.

Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration. Learn more about him online at www.fernandovilela.com.br.

Daniel Hahn is an author, editor, and award-winning translator. His translation of The Book of Chameleons by José Eduardo Agualusa won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2007. His translation of A General Theory of Oblivion, also by José Eduardo Agualusa, won the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award. He recently served on the board of trustees of the Society of Authors. In 2017, Hahn helped establish the TA First Translation Prize, a new prize for debut literary translation. Learn more about him online at www.danielhahn.co.uk.

★“The vibrant colors in Vilela’s illustrations and the expressive faces of Cauã and Inaê bring lightheartedness to their dangerous journey and the cyclical living it prescribes. A riveting journey.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“This is one of those engaging titles that offers a glimpse of a location new to most American readers. More translations like this one, please!” —Fuse #8 Production

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Along the Tapajós, courtesy of Amazon Crossing (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour Kickoff (and a giveaway!): THE ITTY BITTY WITCH

I’m so excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Trisha Speed Shaskan and Xindi Yan’s adorable story about being small yet mighty, The Itty Bitty Witch! I reviewed this fun story about a little witch with a big spirit back in July, so today, I’ve got an interview with author Trisha Speed Shaskan. Enjoy!

The Itty Bitty Witch by Trisha Speed Shaskan/Illustrated by Xindi Yan,
(July 2019, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542041232
Ages 4-7

“Caregivers and teachers will be pleased with the multiple extensions the story offers, all wrapped up in a Halloween theme. Proving size does not matter, this itty-bitty witch casts a bewitching spell.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A familiar portrayal of [a] determined, lone underdog who discovers her sense of worth.” —Publishers Weekly

 

And now, the Trisha Speed Shaskan interview. Thank you so much to Trisha and to Barbara at Blue Slip Media!

MomReadIt: As someone who was always first or second on the size order line at school, I love and appreciate Betty’s story! What inspired you to write THE ITTY-BITTY WITCH?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed The Itty-Bitty Witch. When I was a child, Halloween was magical because the neighborhood kids took over the streets at night, in costumes. Because of my love for Halloween, the first book I chose at a RIF event was Tilly Witch by Don Freeman, a story about a witch who feels happy instead of wicked on Halloween! Drat! That story inspired me to write and read witch stories as a child and into adulthood.

As a child, I was also one of the smallest or shortest kids in my class. And I played many sports—too bad I couldn’t race atop a broom like Betty! I was often the one girl athlete on a team of boys. Kids called me “short” and “Tommy” since I was seen as a tomboy. I didn’t like being labeled because it set me apart from other kids. And although my height and ability to play on any team was often an asset, I didn’t always see it that way. In The Itty-Bitty Witch, Betty is similarly given a nickname she doesn’t like (“Itty-Bitty”) but learns that being small can be a strength.

MomReadIt: Betty starts out being bullied because she’s small, but her bullies change their tune when they see that Betty wins the Halloween Dash! As an educator, how did you teach younger kids about self-acceptance and resiliency?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: My husband/children’s book author and illustrator Stephen Shaskan and I teach kids how to create comics and graphic novels. Recently, we taught a class that had only two students in it, which allowed us to get to know them. Eleven-year-old Brian told everyone he wasn’t a good artist. He clearly felt insecure. But by the end of the class he said he created the best drawing he’d ever created. He built that confidence and in turn self- acceptance in a couple hours. How? First, Stephen and I built a relationship with the kids in the room by listening to them. We learned Brian’s favorite TV show (“Zig and Sharko”), and the names of the cows on his family’s farm. We joked around. Stephen and I modeled the drawing activity. The students made suggestions and Stephen drew a character out of simple shapes. Next, we set out tools for the students to use, such as geometric templates. The template helps kids who don’t feel they can draw the shapes consistently. I praised Brian for his focus and for using the template. I sat down next to him and drew. I’m not a trained artist so I had a hard time drawing the hand. I failed. Stephen gave me an example of a how-to-do it from a drawing book. Brian encouraged me. Brian had a difficult time drawing part of the snowman from a new angle. I encouraged Brian. By the end of the day, Brian invented a hexasnowman, drew it from different points of view, and told us he was going to draw it more at home. How do you get kids to accept and love themselves? First and foremost, build a positive relationship with them. Give them tools. Give them specific praise that focuses on the process, not result. Be honest. Take risks alongside them or share your mistakes or failures. Lift them up.

MomReadit: Will Betty return in another adventure?

Trisha Speed Shaskan: Betty’s return is yet to be determined, but I do have more stories about her brewing!

MomReadIt: How would you encourage younger kids to start their own storytelling?

Trisha Speed Shakan: I write from my own experiences and imagination. But I also write to learn about myself and the world. If kids want to write stories, I encourage them to explore the world through activities and books! Take a walk outside. Develop a hobby. Learn about a subject you enjoy. Learn about an animal you love. While exploring and learning, you’re sure to collect story ideas! Pay attention to the stories you love and why you love those stories, whether it’s a book, a TV show, or a movie. When you set out to write a story, think about those elements and how to incorporate them in your story.

Thank you so much!

When Trisha Speed Shaskan was a child, Halloween meant bobbing for apples, daring to touch brains (which may have been noodles), and—best of all—wearing costumes. She still loves dressing up for Halloween. Trisha is the author of more than forty children’s books, including Punk Skunks and the Q & Ray series, both illustrated by her husband, Stephen Shaskan. Trisha lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with Stephen; their cat, Eartha; and their dog, Beatrix. Learn more at www.trishaspeedshaskan.com.

Find her on Twitter and Facebook

 

Xindi Yan grew up in a small city called Wuhu in China, and like Betty, she was always the smallest in her class. Standing a little shy of five feet, she still can’t reach the high shelves in grocery stores and sometimes finds that shoes made for kids fit her best. But her size didn’t stop her from chasing her big dreams of being a published artist in New York City. Xindi is the illustrator of Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt and the Craftily Ever After series by Martha Maker. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and hopes to have a puppy one day. Learn more at www.xindiyanart.com

Twitter: @xindiyan

Instagram: @xindiyanart

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Itty-Bitty Witch, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Tiger Like Me!

A little boy and his tiger alter-ego bound through the day, doing all sorts of tiger things: waking up in his tiger den, eating breakfast ast his feeding spot, springing up at those lazy humans… it’s all in a tiger’s day, after all! At night, the restless tiger can’t find sleep in his sleeping place, so he heads to his parents’ den for cuddles, and thinks about how great it is to be a tiger as he drifts off to sleep.

A Tiger Like Me, by Michael Englel/Illustrated by Joëlle Tourlonias, Translated by Laura Watkinson,
(Sept. 2019, Amazon Crossing), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542044561
Ages 4-7

This is another title from Amazon Crossing, the translation imprint from Amazon’s publishing group. Originally published in Germany, A Tiger Like Me is a book every kid (and grownup) can enjoy, because it’s a celebration of childhood imagination. The book flap genders the child as male, but the artwork and text don’t make any gender definitive. Narrated by the kid-Tiger, it’s a spot-on glimpse into a child’s imagination as they navigate the world in Tiger Mode. There’s repetition of the phrase, “Because I am a tiger, a tiger!” on each spread, as they go about their day; waking up, they are a “tiger, a wide-awake tiger!”; eating breakfast, “a greedy, gutsy tiger!”; getting caught in a laundry basket full of clothes, “a clumsy, klutzy tiger!”. Mom and Dad are there to provide some comic fun, particularly when the Tiger jumps at Dad, making him spill his coffee and grab for the Tiger, hunter-style. The day ends with a loving family cuddle, making this a great bedtime story for your own little tigers.

The digital artwork is playful, fun, and bright, with an almost hand-sketched look to some details. There are great little nuances throughout the story: look for the Tiger’s toy animal friends laying around the pages, and Dad drinks from a mug with a tiger’s face on it. Tiger eats Tiger Crunch cereal and envisions itself eating at a stone table with cave paintings on it. There’s so much to enjoy here; you won’t want to read it just once. Pages are full-bleed, with atmosphere switching from a family home to a jungle. The endpapers offer a lead-in and drift-out to the story, too: opening endpapers show us the Tiger waking up and ready to begin his day as a poetic introduction about a tiger stirring in his den introduces readers to the story. The closing endpapers show our Tiger, back in his den, as a poetic epilogue to the story takes readers out of the story. This one is an adorable add to bedtime story collections.

Michael Engler studied visual communication in Düsseldorf, Germany, and first worked as a scriptwriter and illustrator. He then spent several years as an art director at advertising agencies. He is currently a freelance author in Düsseldorf, writing children’s books and plays for the theater and radio. He has written more than fifteen children’s books. Learn more about him online at www.michaelengler.com.

 

Joëlle Tourlonias was born in Hanau, Germany, and studied visual communication with an emphasis on illustration and painting at the Bauhaus University Weimar. She is the illustrator of more than thirty children’s books. She continues to draw, paint, and live in Düsseldorf. Learn more about her online at www.joelletourlonias.blogspot.com.

 

Laura Watkinson is an award-winning translator of books for young readers and adults. She is a three-time winner of the Batchelder Award and also won the Vondel Prize for Dutch-English translation. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in Amsterdam. Learn more online at www.laurawatkinson.com.

 

 

 

“Child readers (and certainly adult caregivers) will identify with the book’s central message: Children can experience a wide swath of feelings, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has complicated ways of interacting with the world. The final quiet pages offer a peaceful conclusion…Wildness is part and parcel of everyday childhood, embraced here with a roar.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

Want a shot at winning your own copy of A Tiger Like Me, courtesy of Amazon Crossing Kids? Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway (U.S. addresses only, please!)

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

The Malamander welcomes you to Eerie-on-Sea with a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Malamander, by Thomas Taylor/Illustrated by Tom Booth, (Sept. 2019, Walker Books US), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536207224

Ages 9-13

Winter comes to the sleepy town of Eerie-on-Sea, and Herbert Lemon – the 12-year-old Lost and Founder for the Grand Nautilus Hotel – discovers a girl about his age hiding, in his Lost and Found room, from a very angry man with a hook for a hand. Violet Parma was found abandoned as an infant in the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and she’s come back, determined to learn what would have taken her parents away from her. Is the Eerie legend of the Malamander – a part-fish, part-human creature – tied into the mystery? Everyone in town seems to know more about Herbert and Violet – and the Malamander – than they’re letting on.

I could not get enough of this first Legends of Eerie-on-the-Sea adventure! It’s got a very period feel – very British (the book was originally published in the UK), almost steampunk, but takes place in the modern day. There’s delightfully creepy, creaky worldbuilding; the Malamander itself shows up, wreathed in fog, but is far from mild-mannered, attacking if it feels threatened. There’s a fantastically oddball Book Dispensary, where selections are chosen by a mechanical mermonkey, and a cast of quirky, instantly memorable characters like the mysterious hotel proprietress, Lady Kraken; Mrs. Fossil, the eccentric beachcomber, and Jenny Hanniver, who works in the Book Dispensary. Everyone’s got a backstory, and the world-building is weird and wonderful. Kirkus calls it “H.P. Lovecraft crossed with John Bellairs”, and really, that’s the most spot-on quick take I’ve read. My advanced reader copy only had some of the illustrations in place, but from what I’ve seen, Tom Booth’s black and white artwork lends great shadow and mist to a shadowy, misty, seaside mystery; the characters have exaggerated, bold facial expressions and angular shapes, and every chapter is heralded with a load of tentacles to draw readers in. In other words, it all comes together perfectly.

I loved visiting Eerie-on-Sea, and can’t wait to take my kids (both library and the ones in my family) there for a stay. Malamander is the first in a planned trilogy, so pardon me, while I sit and wait.

Malamander is out in September, but you can read an interview with author Thomas Taylor here. You can read an excerpt and check out some postcards Herbie’s received at the Lost and Found, at the Eerie on Sea website. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that GeekDad gives five reasons to read Malamander, and they’re all very good reasons.

Malamander has a starred review from Booklist.

 

Candlewick has offered a great giveaway for MomReadIt and Malamander. THREE readers will win a Malamander gift set, containing an advanced reader copy of the book and a Malamander tote bag! U.S. addresses only, please, and no P.O. boxes. Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway and enter!

Posted in picture books

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Spiky, by Ilaria Guarducci

Spiky, by Ilaria Guarducci/Translated by Laura Watkinson,
(June 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542040433
Ages 4-8

If you haven’t checked out Ilaria Guarducci’s book, Spiky, now is the time. Originally published in Italian as Thorny, Spiky is one of the first titles published through Amazon’s imprint for kids’ books in translation, Amazon Crossing Kids. It’s the story of a bully who learns to become a little less… prickly, and open himself up to friendship, and it’s got some good entry points for a discussion.

Librarians! If anyone’s heading to ALA this year, Amazon is giving away copies of Spiky and the other Amazon Crossing Kids titles! Stop by Booth #1362 for a look at the giveaways and book signings!

Want a chance at winning your own copy of Spiky? Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Ilaria Guarducci studied at Accademia Nemo, in Florence. She illustrated her first book, A Ride with Aliens, for Camelozampa in 2012. After that, she published with Fatatrac (Giunti Group) and several other Italian and foreign publishers. She has also written and illustrated Mr Moustache’s Amazing Machines, and Whatabore!, and her books are translated in eight languages.

 

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Get ready for summer with Rosie the Dragon, her friend, Charlie, and a giveaway!

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves, by Lauren H. Kerstein/Illustrated by Nate Wragg, (June 2019, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542042925

Ages 4-8

A boy and his dragon have fun and practice pool safety at a local pool. Charlie is a boy of color who has a pet dragon named Rosie. They’ve stayed up all night, preparing for this (Rosie’s last pool outing didn’t turn out so well), and they’re ready. They arrive at the pool, read the rules, and get in the pool, but it’s still tough for Rosie! Dragons aren’t great at sharing, and fingers tend to look really tasty to a hungry dragon. Finally, the two start having fun, blowing bubbles, giving rides around the pool to the other kids, and swimming across the pool. Rosie even manages a cannonball before Charlie realizes that she’s eaten the very snack that gives her wicked dragon breath: Oh No! Clear the pool!

How cute is this story about pool safety? Rosie is remarkably similar to toddlers and preschoolers that I know, between her fear of the water and reluctance to share. Kids will see themselves in this story, either as Rosie or Charlie, and there are great, teachable moments about being safe around the water. Reading the rules is a great way to help kids gain awareness of being safe at the pool, for starters, and reminding kids that running at the pool is a great way to get hurt or hurt someone else. Silly moments like the bubble blowing, flutter kicks that cause a tidal wave, and – reminiscent of Dragons Love Tacos – the skunk candy that brings on wicked dragon’s breath just make this an absolutely hilarious, light summer read-aloud. Nate Wragg’s digital artwork is bright, colorful, and adorable, with a big, friendly-faced, red dragon and her human friend and foil. The bold font makes this an easy read-aloud, and the kids I read it to at my Saturday storytime fell in love with Rosie and her antics. Have a dragon puppet? Put it on let Rosie come to life for the kids. A fun book for a summer circle time!

Want a chance to win your own copy of Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves? Try your luck with this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Happy National Hug Your Cat Day! Celebrate with Max Attacks and a Giveaway!

Max Attacks, by Kathi Appelt/Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan, (June 2019, Atheneum), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481451468

Ages 3-8

Max is a cat. A cat who attacks. No, he’s not a mean cat, he’s just a cat cat. If you’re a cat person, you know that look: the ears go flat, the backside wiggles, and the cat is off, attacking its prey, usually a random piece of plastic, small plush toy, or – in my case – a rogue Lego. In Max Attacks, Max is an adorable blue striped cat who attempts to trounce and pounce on the fishbowl, but is sidetracked by foes like window screens, catnip toys, laundry, and a shoelace (still attached to the person’s shoe). But when Max finally turns his undivided attention to the fishbowl, is he in for a wet surprise?

Max Attacks is absolutely adorable. The rhyming text gives a playful feel to the story and makes for a fun, boisterous readaloud. I read this to my Saturday storytime group and they loved it! Penelope Dullaghan’s acrylic, charcoal, and digital illustrations are bright and add a hand-drawn touch to each spread. She’s got the cat’s reactions down perfectly, from the loping run to the I-meant-to-do-that reaction when a leap goes horribly awry. The white background lets the brightly-colored characters take charge of the story, and the bold, black text has different colored words for emphasis, letting a reader change voice to create asides or pitch.

This is an adorable must-read for your storytimes and for your cat fans. Max Attacks is out on June 11th, but feel free to hug your cat and read to them today.

 

Want a shot at your own copy of Max Attacks? (U.S. addresses only, please!) One lucky reader will receive a copy of Max Attacks, courtesy of Atheneum; just visit this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book. It also received the PEN USA Award. Her other novels include Angel Thieves, for young adults, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, a National Book Award finalist, and Maybe a Fox, one of the Bank Street Books Best Children’s Books of the Year. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, and to find curriculum materials and activity pages, visit her website at kathiappelt.com!