Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Let’s Get Sleepy! plays seek and find up ’till bedtime

Let’s Get Sleepy!, by Tony Cliff, (Aug. 2020, Imprint), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250307842

Ages 3-6

A group of kittens are trying to track down a mouse they call wee Sleepy, the Prince of the Night. Where can he be? This adorable seek-and-find adventure does double duty as a rhyming bedtime story that will have your Kiddos joining the kittens in their search for Sleepy. Searching their neighborhood block, a weekend parade, the beach, Mount Snow, even a swamp, slug caves, and the moon, Sleepy always manages to stay ahead of the kittens – will Sleepy stay ahead of your Kiddos? Tony Cliff, the author-illustrator of the Delilah Dirk graphic novel series, is an Eisner, Shuster, and Harvey award nominee and brings his talent for creating fun, fast-paced cartooning to this children’s adventure. The crowd scenes have movement and a sense of delightful play, and the rhyming text has repetitive phrases like, “Is this where he’ll be? We’ll search and we’ll seek and we’ll ask friends that we meet”, and – naturally – “Let’s Get Sleepy!”, that encourage readers to chime in along with you as you’re reading. You ask them to guess if the cats will find him on the next spread, or where he could be hiding – and then seek him out. An amusing brainteaser for bedtime, Let’s Get Sleepy is a nice addition to smaller storytime groups (or virtual storytimes) and bedtime reading.

Publisher Macmillan has a free, downloadable activity kit with instructions on making a felt bed for Sleepy, a Make Your Bedtime checklist, and more!

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

#SockontheLoose!

We’ve all been there. We open the dryer, we start sorting the socks… and there’s one missing. Where could it have gone? You know you put all the socks in at the same time, right? Well, friends, Conor McGlauflin has the answer for you…

Sock on the Loose, by Conor McGlauflin, (Feb. 2021, Roaring Brook Press),
$18.99, ISBN: 9781250304575
Ages 3-6

Sock on the Loose is about all the adventures our socks are having while they take a break from being stuck in our drawers or on our feet. They’re learning to tie bow ties and hiding out in watermelon caves! Riding moose and dancing the  polka! Watercolor and gouache artwork show colorful socks in a variety of pastimes, and his rhyme is infectiously cheery. Get some socks of your own – you know you have a pile of mismatched ones at home – and wash ’em again, either handing some out for sock storytime or decorating for your own virtual storytime use. TwistyNoodle has printable sock coloring sheets for you to hand out – let your kiddos decorate them, cut them out, and send them on their own adventures! Publisher Roaring Brook Press also has a free, downloadable Sock On The Loose Activity Kit that includes a maze, matching game, and draw your favorite sock activities.

If you wander over to Twitter (@roesolo) or Instagram (@roesolo), you’ll find out what my own sock has been up to – Roaring Brook Press and Conor McGlauflin have been kind enough to send me a sock of my very own to chronicle adventures.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hats, Hats, Hats!

Now That’s a Hat!, by Heath McKenzie, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684642212

Ages 3-6

A customer strolls into a hat store and would like a new hat. But that one’s too big, and that one’s too small… the proprietor is showing off everything he’s got, will they be able to find the just right hat? Hilariously manic, with a rhyme scheme that gets progressively more frantic with each outrageous hat. The story is almost Seuss-like, with a dog and a goat going back and forth on presenting and refusing the wild headgear: stripes, Roman helmets, potties, tacos, nothing is too wild for this hat store! The twist ending will make readers gleefully giggle as they imagine events happening all over again. Artwork and endpapers are bright, bold, and feature hats of all shapes and sizes. A fun readaloud that should definitely lead to silly hat making. Get your construction paper out!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Indie Spotlight: Pickerton’s Jiggle

Pickerton’s Jiggle, by Riya Aarini/Illustrated by Mariana Hnatenko, (Feb. 2021, Independently Published), $17.99, ISBN:  978-1735347332

Ages 3-7

Pickerton is a fastidious little pig who greets each day with a smile. He scrubs up and gets ready for school, only to step in a mud puddle! Poor Pickerton is very upset, but realizes that a little dirt doesn’t change who he is. He’s still the same, lovable Pickerton, and sometimes, things happen. He shakes off the mud, and with it, the bad feelings, and goes about his day, ending on an upbeat note about loving and accepting himself for who he is. The rhyme scheme is fun and upbeat, and the illustrations are colorful and cheery, with an animated cartoony pig that kids will enjoy. Author Riya Aarini’s website has more information about her books, including her Ollie series.

Posted in Toddler Reads

Blog Tour and Author Interview: The Lovely Haze of Baby Days!

The Lovely Haze of Baby Days, by Lindsay Kellar-Madsen/Illustrated by Mie Frey Damgaard, (Jan. 2021, Little Otter Press), $14.99, ISBN: 978-87-972507-0-9

Ages Birth-3

This lovely board book is a tribute to those heady, often hazy days that moms and caregivers often experience when babies enter their lives. Rhyming verse embraces both the wonderful and the challenging moments of parenthood, from the sheer awe (“I’ll forfeit sleep to watch you breathing”) to the wonderful forgetfulness our babies’ incredible cuteness instills in us (“Drooling, spit-up, purèed fruit, but oh my goodness, aren’t you cute?”). Lindsay Kellar-Madsen speaks from her heart to parents everywhere when she writes about the isolation; the time simultaneously crawling and flying by; unwanted advice from seemingly everyone one encounters, and the life-saving power of mom friends. Mie Frey Damgaard’s gentle artwork communicates the intensity of Ms. Kellar-Madsen’s emotions through gentle, loving illustrations of mothers and babies. A touching story of motherhood that lets moms know we’re not alone. The Lovely Haze of Baby Days was a successful Kickstarter and is available on the author’s website, along with free downloadable resources for new parents, including a nap scheduler.

Lindsay Keller-Madsen was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions about her new book: read on!

MomReadIt: Were you inspired by your own motherhood journey to write The Lovely Haze of Baby Days?

Lindsay Kellar-Madsen: I wrote the first draft of this book about 5 months postpartum after the birth of my twin girls. I was overwhelmed, and hearing stories of my friends who had struggled too. I found myself searching for a way to be honest about what life with babies really looks like, and to support the women I cared about.

As I spent time sitting on the floor reading with my little ones, I started wondering if there was a way through children’s literature to playfully depict our everyday life for little ones, while also sending an important message to mothers.Rhyme is such a fun and dynamic way to communicate, it’s also a great way to teach the rhythm of words and sentences to little ones. I had a lot of fun showcasing everyday moments of mothers with babies in a way that would support early language development!

As the words came together, I could feel that I wanted to savor what my life looked like right then – The mess, the intimate love, the exhaustion, all of it. It also felt so important to remind mothers reading The Lovely Haze of Baby Days that we aren’t alone in all of that.

MRI: There are such relatable moments throughout the book, but I really appreciate your honesty about the rough times and yet, finding a kernel of joy in most of them, as with your phrase, “The longest days, the shortest years’ ‘. Were you able to see those moments at the time, or did you need some distance and reflection to realize them?

LKM: As a first time mom, I don’t think I realized how fast the moments disappear, and how quickly babies grow. There are certainly sleep-deprived times remind myself to cherish these days, but overall I find myself clinging desperately to these sweet little humans who charge around my house!

All of that said, I do think it’s important to preserve some space for yourself. At least for me, I am a more enthusiastic and dedicated parent if I schedule in time for my own interests or just a bit of time to be ALONE each week, and don’t spend every minute in mom-mode.

MRI: Thanks for including mom friendships in your book! I loved that you “thanked goodness” for other mamas, too. Did you find friendships with other moms helped you through some of the rough times of those early baby days/weeks/months?

LKM: My friendships with other moms have been a saving grace. Life with a baby can feel so lonely and isolated, and having women you can connect with any morning (or night!)  is an enormous sense of support.

I am eternally grateful for the women in my life who have supported me in my transition to motherhood, and every day since. While this book has focused on the women who are in the trenches wandering through early motherhood alongside us, my gratitude also runs deeply for my own mom, and the women who have wandered through motherhood before.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Hooray! It’s Garbage Day!

Hooray, it’s Garbage Day!, by Eric Ode/Illustrated by Gareth Llewhellin, (Jan. 2020, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684641147

Ages 3-6

More truck and vehicle books! More community helpers! This rhyming concept book is all about the excitement of hearing the big garbage truck rumble down the street, lights flashing, hissing and sighing, as it grabs cans and dumps them into its maw to crunch and crash up the trash. Fun sounds in the story make for fun read alouds: let your kiddos stomp and smash, rumble and crash as you read along. Kids can count from 1 to 5 along with garbage truck workers, garbage cans, neighborhood kids waving, and more. When the kids in the book make up their own garbage crew using art supplies, encourage your kiddos (if you’re virtual) to make their own signs and trucks, or (if you’re in person) hand some out! If you’re grab and go, like I am, you can make some make and take craft bags with some pieces of cardboard, this cool recycling printable, and some truck coloring sheets, along with a few crayons. Digital artwork is colorful, bright, and cartoony.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

V is for Voting… important ALL YEAR LONG

V is for Voting, by Kate Farrell/Illustrated by Caitlin Kuhwald, (July 2020, Henry Holt & Co), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250231253

Ages 3-6

You may be looking at this title and thinking I’m really late on this one, and I am. But I also see this as a book we need to talk about NOW, because it isn’t just about voting. This ABC-edary is an introduction (or a reminder, for some… giving the eyeglasses librarian look now) to civics and what it takes to be a good citizen. V is just one letter in the alphabet, just like voting is just one part of being a good citizen. Farrell has points to make that everyone should understand and take to heart: “A is for active participation. / B is for building a more equal nation.”; “E for engagement. We all need to care. / F for a free press to find facts and share”. Digital illustrations bring vibrant, diverse communities to the pages of the book, showing communities uniting to march for justice, contributing to local communities, and yes, voting. Back matter includes a voting rights timeline and more information about people featured in the book’s illustrations, like Shirley Chisholm, Malcolm X, Takemoto Mink, and Cesar Chavez.

Essential reading. Go to your library and get a copy now, because we all need to read and discuss this book, whether it’s with our kids or among ourselves.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Scooper and Dumper by Lindsay Ward

Scooper and Dumper are best friends, trucks who take care of their town in all sorts of weather. One day, a big snowstorm hits the city, and they’re called into action to save the day!

Scooper and Dumper, by Lindsay Ward, (Feb. 2021, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542092685
Ages 3-6

Lindsay Ward’s latest outing is a rhyming story of friendship, bravery, and trucks! Scooper and Dumper are friends taking care of their town, but have to head to the big city to help out when a big snowstorm hits, but Dumper finds himself in trouble when he hits an icy road that’s caused a pileup! When no other trucks can get through to help, it’s up to Scooper to save the day. The story is such a positive study of helping, friendship, and teamwork, that caregivers are going to love it as much as the kiddos will. The digital illustrations are just adorable – Scooper is bright, cheery yellow with a red and white polka dotted bow on her hood; Dumper is a baby blue with a sweet smile. Word balloons break up the story text and give it a graphic novel feel. Think of these two as cousins to Lindsay Ward’s WWII heroine, Rosie: getting the job done with a smile and some good, old-fashioned determination. Perfect for storytime reading, Scooper and Dumper will work with some toy trucks, flannels, and lots of car songs and fingerplays!

 

It’s been an… eventful start to the New Year, so let’s start things off with a giveaway. One lucky winner will win their own copy of Scooper and Dumper by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway here. U.S. addresses only, please!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Soar lets readers spread their wings and face fear

Soar, by Hillary Daecher/Illustrated by Angie Hohenadel, (Aug. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-7643-5987-3

Ages 4-7

Ramone is a ruby-throated hummingbird who’s about to leave his nest for the first time. But he’s shy and he’s scared: what if something goes wrong? What if his wings don’t work? Luckily, Mom is there with comforting hugs and words. As he watches the other hummingbirds take to the sky, he screws up his courage and manages to get airborne! A rhyming story of facing one’s fears, Soar is beautifully illustrated with bright, vivid color. The rhyming meter makes for a good read-aloud, and you know what I’m going to say about flannels, right? Colorful birds are PERFECT flannel storytime accompaniment if you’ve got them! Back matter includes hummingbird facts, discussion questions, and a bibliography.

 

Ramone, a shy, ruby-throated hummingbird, is about to leave the nest for the first time. But his anxiety and fear keep him from taking off as he contemplates all that could go wrong. Full of kind words and encouragement, Ramone’s mother gives him room to work through his emotions, building his confidence and letting him set his own pace. Ramone watches as his friends soar through the sky, realizing all he might miss out on if he doesn’t conquer his fear. Ramone’s adventure showcases the emotions, both positive and negative, children experience as they approach new challenges. Accompanied by strikingly beautiful illustrations, this tale guides readers through Ramone’s emotional journey, showing kids that fear must be overcome in order to grow.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

In the Half Room is playfully surreal

In the Half Room, by Carson Ellis, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536214567

Ages 3-6

Caldecott Honor Award winner Carson Ellis (Du Iz Tak, 2017) is back with more delightfully surreal storytelling. In the Half Room is a playful rhyming study on halves, with a half room full of half things: a half chair, half shoes, half a rug and half a door. Half a woman sits on a half a chair, reading half a book, when a half-knock sends her on an adventure. Gouache illustrations create a warm atmosphere, with colorful images contrasting with the ivory page background. It’s surreal, it’s fun, it’s great for introducing concepts like halves. You can hand out circles and ask kiddos and caregivers to fold the circle in half, or invite them to decorate the circle and half it, making a yummy cake or cookie to “eat” half of by folding it! Pair with Good Night Moon for storytime; In the Half Room reads like an homage to the classic bedtime story.

In the Half Room has a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Candlewick offers a free, downloadable page of teacher tips for introducing the book to readers.