Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Love is Everything: Father Goose does it again!

Love is Everything, by Charles Ghigna, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764362231

Ages 3-7

Charles Ghigna’s ode to love is just what cuddle time, lapsit, and Valentine’s Day storytimes need. The poem reaffirms beliefs in everyday magic, like mornings and nights; mountains and trees, music, the seasons, and, most importantly, love. Artwork shows a little bear and bigger bear sharing time together, enjoying each other’s company, and sharing warmth and joy in the every day. Charles Ghigna begins each new line in his poetic tale with the affirmation, “I believe…” creating a sense of optimism and positivity that readers really need these days; comforting images and reassuring words come together to give young children a soothing storytime. Softly colored images of cute bears frolicking throughout nature, with uplifting verse, make this a lovely bedtime, laptime, or anytime read.

Visit Charles Ghigna’s author webpage for resources. The Poetry Foundation’s Charles Ghigna page has a biography and links to some more of his poetry.

 

Posted in Intermediate, Non-Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

New books for your animal fans

Animals, animals, animals, kids love books with animals. Here’s a roundup that will brighten and delight…en.

P is for Puffin: The ABCs of Uncommon Animals, by Timothy Young, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9780764362477

Ages 0-6

Timothy Young hits shelves with an abcedary board book that puts “uncommon animals” – E is not for Elephant here! – front and center. Each letter features an animal or two, with a sentence or two of informational text and a phonetic pronounciation guide for each animal’s name. Some letters feature two animals: P is for both Puffin and Pangolin; Q is for Quokka and Quoll. There are loads of fun facts to be discovered, like the mara, who is not a deer, but rather a large rodent that looks like a cross between a deer and a rabbit, or the shekru, which looks like a multicolored squirrel and is about twice the size of the squirrels we’re more familiar with. Acorn illustrations on each page give readers an idea of each animal’s size. The author is donating 100% of his royalties to the Wildlife Conservation Network to protect the endangered species that inspired this book! Wildlife Conservation Network protects endangered wildlife by supporting conservationists around the world to help animals and people coexist and thrive.

I’ve been a Timothy Young fan since my youngest first read and loved The Angry Little Puffin back in 2014, and I’m happy he’s still writing books and introducing readers to new animals. P is for Puffin is great to introduce new animals to the earliest learners – it’s a sturdy board book with attractive illustrations – and the book will grow with readers as they discover more detailed text.

Visit Timothy Young’s author page where you can find drawing lessons, downloadable coloring pages, and information about virtual author visits.

 

Yay for Big Brothers!, by Janet Halfmann/Illustrated by Shennen Bersani, (Nov. 2021, Arbordale Publishing), $10.95, ISBN: 9781643518220

Ages 4-8

Big brothers are the best, aren’t they? In the animal world, big brothers are pretty great, too: Yay for Big Brothers is all about animal big brothers, and how they help their families by doing all sorts of things, like helping feed them at meal time; helping carry little siblings around; playing, and helping keep them safe and out of trouble. Thought-provoking questions invite readers to chime in with how they help out with their families and their littlest members, be it a younger sibling, cousin, or family friend. Photorealistic artwork  shows a variety of animal families and Janet Halfmann puts the narration in each animal’s paws, letting each big brother contribute how he helps care for his little siblings. A fun way to talk about animal jobs and animal families that younger learners will enjoy. View a preview PDF at Arbordale’s website; find the back matter Creative Minds supplement here, and visit Janet Halfmann’s author website to find a free printable activity.

 

 

The Pangolin Revelation, by Lori Schildwachter/Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, (Nov. 2021, Arbordale Publishing), $10.95, ISBN: 9781643519791

Ages 4-9

I love all the pangolin love in books lately! The Pangolin Revelation is a fun story about school projects and how the pangolin is the ultimate animal mashup. Loran is a student with an assignment: write a report about your favorite animal, or create an imaginary animal. Loran sets out to create an imaginary animal with scales like a dragon or a fish, to protect it from predators; a long, sticky tongue, like an anteater, to help him eat; the ability to climb trees, like a squirrel, but with a prehensile tail, like a monkey. After listing all the parts to his imaginary creature, Loran realizes that this mega-mashup is a real animal: it’s a pangolin! Framed within a school project plotline, The Pangolin Revelation unfolds as a research project with a surprise ending, keeping readers entertained as they imagine their own mashup animals. (Psst… all you need is construction paper and crayons, pencils, or markers to recreate this as a program). Earth-colored illustration and photorealistic animal artwork. A fun meeting of nonfiction and fiction.

 

Wild Animal ABC, by PJ Rankin Hults, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764361197

Ages 5-8

A rhyming ABCecdary that’s got a whimsical spirit and plenty of fun, Wild Animal ABC, like P is for Puffin, is all about teaching kids the alphabet using letters, but each of these animals has a very distinctive personality and hat to go with it: “Chester the Chipmunk / Is a curious guy. / He loves to explore / And always asks, ‘Why?'” “Vinny the Vulture / Likes his dictionary. / He won his class spelling bee / With his vast vocabulary”. Watercolor paintings of each animal, in decorative frames, add a quirky, playful feel to the story. The glossary at the end includes facts about each animal mentioned, and a thought-provoking question to get kids talking. A Who Am I? game lets kids think about different hats and the purposes they serve, from a wizard’s hat to a birthday hat. The endpapers show all different accessories that kids can go back and look for throughout the book, and you can ask littles to spot animals or habitats on the cover.

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Intermediate

Maps of My Emotions takes readers on a social-emotional adventure

Maps of My Emotions, by Bimba Landmann, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9780764362217

Ages 5-8

A boy embarks on a journey where he encounters emotions like hope, fear, anger, joy, and love as he travels through landscapes both exciting and perilous. An oversized hardcover in graphic novel format, Maps of My Emotions lay out emotions and landscapes, with destinations like the Island of Desires and Hills of Future; the Sea of Doubt and Great Lake Horror; the Labyrinth of Anxiety, and Awkwardness Seatown. The format follows a layout where panels lead the boy to his next destination, and a spread with the lay of the land for each spot on the journey. Each map looks like a part of the body – The Land of Hope is laid out like an eye; the District of Anger stretches out over a hand; the Shadowlands of Sadness mirror a pulmonary system – and each area has a dominant color that shades the area. Good for discussions on our emotions, where we feel and process them, and what colors kids see as their “fear color” or “joy color”.

There are some good emotions resources on Education.com to use in conjunction with this book; I chose “third grade” as a filter to cover the age group I think would get the most use of Maps of My Emotions at my library. You should look over the offerings and see what would work best with yours.

An additional purchase for collections where you have learners who learn and communicate more visually, Maps of My Emotions would work with a program where you invite your learners to create their own emotion maps.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, picture books

Fen’s Drop of Gray colors her whole world

Fen’s Drop of Gray, by Brian Wray/Illustrated Shiloh Penfield, (Nov. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764362194

Ages 5-8

A hedgehog named Fen loves to paint with bright colors, but one day, a drop of gray gets into her paints and colors her entire world: her paintings and everything around her lose their color, slowly turning gray and adding to her sadness. It’s not like Fen doesn’t want color in her world: she looks through her mother’s art books and tries to find rainbows in the rain, but the gray persists until her mother gives her new, colorful paints. With the color back in her life, Fen takes back her happiness and knows that when the gray tries to take her colors away again, she’ll be ready. A gentle story about how depression can sneak up on us, Fen’s Drop of Gray is Brian Wray and Shiloh Penfield’s latest intuitive story about managing emotions. Using the metaphor of a drop of gray finding its way into our colorful worlds is a great way of explaining those unexplainable “sads” that can show up unexpected, stripping the color in our lives. Try as she might, Fen can’t find her colors and she doesn’t know how to ask for help. Sometimes, all we need is someone – in Fen’s case, her mom – to reach through the gray. It’s not a cure-all, but knowing that someone is there to listen and help is the important message. It’s also important that Fen knows the gray may try to come back, and creates her own coping mechanisms for when that happens.

An important acknowledgement of childhood depression, Fen’s Drop of Gray is another must-have to put into your social-emotional collections and a good starting point for discussion.

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, programs, Tween Reads, Uncategorized

Summer Fun: Escape Room Books

Now that I’m back in the library, I’m trying to think of ways to keep the kids engaged while we have no in-person programming. Enter Escape Room books! My Kiddo and I discovered some fun ones online, like this Dog Man one, but I want to be able to give the kids something to think over while they’re here. Luckily for me, Schiffer Books sent over some escape room books, and I’m thinking these may be my next project.

The Escape Game series by Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur, and illustrated by El Gunto, consists of four books right now. They don’t need to be read or played in order; each book has instructions and the story: you’re a member of a time traveling agency called Spatial-Temporal Agency Y. As a high-risk mission specialist, you and your robot companion, Dooz, are sent into different time periods to head off horrible disasters. Together with Dooz, you have to figure out the clues to advance through the adventure and save the day. You can get hints in a different section of the book, and check your answers against Dooz’s “validation grid” – and yes, you can look at the answers, if you really, really need to. Let’s take a look at the adventures!

Escape Game Adventure: The Last Dragon, by Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur/Illustrated by El Gunto, (Jan. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764358951

Ages 7-12

We’re going further back in time in this adventure: heading to the 12th century, our mission is to save the last dragon egg, currently in the clutches of an evil king, who wants to make it into a dragon egg omelet! Recover the egg and get it to safety while escaping the castle before the king finds out you’re even there, all while learning about the Middle Ages, magic, and dragons. Perfect for fantasy fans that want to have their own fun adventure; kids will be able to save a wizard, put pieces together to create a coat of arms, and choose the right invisibility potion so you won’t be seen. Use Dooz’s clues – they’re your best way of figuring out what you need to advance! Have pictures of eggs for participants to decorate and take home – or wizard hat crafts available; all you need is a piece of construction paper to roll into a cone, and some stickers or gems and glue!

Have fun with these books, extend the activities into programs if you can, and handouts if you aren’t able to yet. There are so many fun ideas to have with this book as a jumping-off point: make your own coat of arms, have a magic wand workshop (I’m pulling from my old Harry Potter party ideas); decorate with Time Machine clip art.

 

Escape Game Adventure: Trapped in Space, by Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur/Illustrated by El Gunto, (Oct. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764360312

Ages 7-12

You and Dooz are being sent to the year 3144 to rescue a crew of astronauts from the planet Vacumy, who have not responded to messages for 24 hours. They’re some of the most intelligent scientists in the universe, and in danger from the evil inhabitants of the star, Hyena, so you need to intervene and find out if the crew is safe, fast! Solving puzzles and logic riddles, you and Dooz will complete your mission and learn about space thanks to helpful callout boxes. The Validation Grid is a fun way of checking your answers without spoilers: follow the page number and your suggested puzzle answer; if you see a thumbs up, you’re good: proceed! If there’s a thumbs down, go back to the drawing board. The artwork is kid-friendly, with big-eyed, friendly robots and aliens, and fun, challenging puzzles that will get your readers thinking and playing with solutions to advance.

Jumping-off activities: we just had an entire Summer Reading program about space two years ago! You know there are oodles of space-related fun activities to be found! Let readers color in their own aliens, or have some craft supplies around so they can make their own.

 

Escape Game Adventure: The Mad Hacker, by Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur/Illustrated by El Gunto, (Feb. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764358968

Ages 7-12

All right, in this adventure, you and Dooz are going to the year 2394 to stop a mad hacker named Snarf from releasing a computer virus that will paralyze all the world’s computers! You need to localize and destroy the virus by hacking Snarf’s computers, and then escape from his compound before he finds out what you’re doing there. Solve problems, save the world, and learn about computers thanks to callout boxes. The story is not linear: solving problems will help you jump easily around the book, taking you further into Snarf’s compound and closer to destroying the virus! The answer key is illustrated and step-by-step, but you don’t want to do that, do you? You want to solve these along with your kiddos! Choose from a number of keys to break down the languages of different drones you encounter, take apart a riddle to find the right door to Snarf’s lair, and cut the right cable to unlock the doors and escape. Time yourself and see if you’ve improved your escape time!

Offer to let readers take the books and have – if you have the budget – small pads for them to work out the riddles, or just have extra paper on hand for them. Explain what a hackathon is – a collaborative event where computer programmers get together to work on a project – and tell them that The Mad Hacker Adventure is a kind of hackathon for them, collaborating to destroy the virus and save the world! You can always make cool certificates to hand out when they’ve completed the adventure.

 

Escape Game Adventure: Operation Pizza, by Mélanie Vives and Rémi Prieur/Illustrated by El Gunto, (Feb. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764360305

Ages 7-12

Heading back to Naples, Italy in 1889, your mission this time is to preserve pizza history. A chef is due to present his new creation – a margherita pizza – to the royal family, but he’s about to be murdered by his cold-blooded rival, unless you and Dooz can save the day. Enter the bad guy’s restaurant, find the poisoned food, and replace it with an identical dish you prepare, and escape before they can find out you’ve been there. Is there a more important mission than to preserve the sanctity of pizza? Learn all about pizza thanks to fact boxes throughout. Use menus to help you navigate the ingredients you need to make an identical dessert that won’t kill our pizza inventor; locate the poisoned dessert so you can dispose of it, and figure out how to get out of a locked bathroom before you can get caught!

I’ve done a bunch of pizza programs in the past, and they’re always popular. Make your own pizza crafts couldn’t be easier, and you can make them grab and go: put a small paper plate, and cut-up construction paper shapes for toppings, like sausage, peppers, cheese, sauce, and mushrooms, into a plastic or paper bag, and you’ve got a craft kids will love.

If you’re going to invest in these for your library, be forewarned: they’re going to get marked up. Consider for your games reference collection if you don’t have the budget to replace them. I’m thinking of introducing the adventure to my library kids, a few puzzles at a time, by leaving the book at reference and collecting answers each day (I have a LOT of prizes in my prize drawer, for incentive). Give the Escape Game series a shot!

 

Pirates Escape Game : A High Seas Mystery, by Eric Nieudan/Illustrated by Margot Briquet, (Aug. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764360084
Ages 8-12

Okay, last one up, and it’s a good one: a pirate escape game! You’re a sailor who wakes up and discovers you’re the only one left on a ship that’s been adrift in the high seas. No captain. No crew. No memory of anything that’s happened. You have to explore the ship and find clues to discover what happened, solving logic puzzles, breaking codes, and figuring out word puzzles and riddles. Unlock a padlocked pantry; find a mysterious note in the surgeon’s cabin; decipher recipes, with the help of a separate clue book and your own wits. The book is not linear – you’ll be jumping back and forth as solving different puzzles takes you to different pages – and includes brain busters for every type of skill. Pirate fans are going to love it, and you know you can enhance a pirate day! Make eyepatches, mustaches, and pirate hats as either grab-and-go or in-house crafts!

Escape Room Games don’t have to be relegated to online or in a room – see how these work out for you with your kids and teens. We’ve all had to get more creative in the last year and a half; let’s keep adapting.

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Craft time? Any time!

During this last year, lots of us have started some new things: yes, I made my own sourdough starter in the beginning of the shutdown. I finally picked up my knitting needles again, and even managed to finish projects, rather than leave them in various tote bags stuffed into my closet. But one thing I haven’t been able to get back to is sewing. The wonderful folx at Schiffer sent me these two adorable sewing books, though, and I’m thinking that this may be where I pick up some felt, some thread, and a needle, because these are just too cute.

Sewing Simple Softies with 17 Amazing Designers, by Trixi Symonds & Deborah Fisher, (March 2021, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764361272

Ages 8-12

This book is ADORABLE. They have a softie sandwich! And a tiger with a tooth pouch for the Tooth Fairy! Seventeen projects, loaded with color photos, and with bright, easy-to-follow instructions make this a book I need in my home collection and my 745 section. The book is big on being accessible: no expensive threads, fancy machines, or pricey fabrics needed. This is all about learning to love creating with fabric and thread. Inspired by Trixi Symonds’s Sew a Softie initiative to teach kids how to sew, the book offers all you need to get you up and running on a sewing habit, from choosing tools and materials to deciphering the different kinds of stitches. A section for parents on teaching kids to sew is a reminder that this is supposed to be a fun learning experience where the kids get to have a say. Just offer a guiding hand, try not to take over the project. Designs are offered by popular creative bloggers around the world and include such fun projects as a koala softie, circus pincushion, and mermaid snuggle friend. The book includes templates for each softie, making this a fun book to pick up a new hobby. I love it!

 

The Zenki Way: A Guide to Designing & Enjoying Your Own Creative Softies, by Trixi Symonds, (March 2021, Schiffer Publishing), $22.99, ISBN: 9780764361494

Ages 8-12

What’s a Zenki, you ask? The simplest way to use your imagination and create a softie that speaks to you! Trixi Symonds of Sew a Softie also came up with this great idea to get kids sewing: two squares of felt, four straight lines to sew, and wide seam allowances to let all sorts of limbs, hair, and features be added in with no pinning. Just stick ’em in and sew! These little folx are loaded with character and will inspire kids to make their own Zenkis. All you need is materials and imagination (and a grownup to help out)! Fourteen Zenki patterns include the basics: square, circle, triangle, and mixed-up Zenkis; other patterns let readers add features and character to their Zenkis once they feel ready. Templates are in the back, and the book is filled with color photos and tips and ideas to help you along. A section on the Zenki pattern testers from ages 7-17 with their creations. SO kid friendly, with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions make this a definite must-buy.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Read a book, hug the Earth, it’s Earth Day!

Some more books to love our Big Blue Dot by…

The House of Grass and Sky, Mary Lyn Ray/Illustrated by E. B. Goodale (April 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536200973

Ages 4-8

The touching story of a house that wants to be a home will appeal to little ones and their grownups alike. Once, the house “smelled of sunshine and new lumber”, and a family filled its days and nights with love and laughter. Families came and families went, but the house always waited, knowing a new family was on the way. Until there wasn’t. The house quietly waited, and bit by bit, nature claimed the area. Lonely, the house keeps its vigil… and is rewarded when a new family moves in, reclaiming the home, filling it with love, laughter, and family once again. It’s a gentle, moving story of memory, nature, and embracing renewal. The mixed media illustrations make the home as much a character of the story as the people in it. One spread shows the house standing alone, among shadows of memories: someone playing ball, a child with a wagon; someone on a tree swing. Mary Lyn Ray’s prose makes the house become real with sentences like, “The house learned about babies being born and babies growing up. It learned about bedtime stories and birthday parties.” Endpapers display an older wallpaper, giving a nice feel to the story. Just a beautiful, touching book that makes you want to find an old house and fill it with the love you have to give. Think about all the ways you can show your home love: plant some new plants, even if you live in an apartment. Repurpose old t-shirts and make them into throw pillows or quilts. There are so many things you can do!

Peppa Pig and the Earth Day Adventure, by Candlewick Press, (March 2021, Candlewick Press), $12.99, ISBN’: 9781536218985
Ages 2-5
It’s a new Peppa PigI! Today is Earth Day, and Peppa and her family are off to the Botanical Gardens once they finish sorting the recycling and composting. They get into Roger, the electric car, and head off for a fun day of learning how bees and flowers work together, see a Venus flytrap eat a fly, and play in the children’s garden! The kids in my library system love Peppa Pig, and this book will circulate like wildfire. Visit Peppa Pig’s website for Peppa news and activities.
The Forest : A Poster Book to Understand Everything about the World, by Emmanuelle Grundmann/Illustrated by Gal Weizman (March 2021, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764360992
Ages 5-8
It’s a poster book! It’s a giant fold-out book! It’s both! Unfold each page to read a new piece of information about the forest, and enjoy a seek and find that continues on each section. The book opens up into a giant poster that spans more than 2 feet! Great for a science club/Discovery Club program, kids will love watching you unfold page by page as you read about ants, frogs, badgers, and more forest friends.
The Sea: A Poster Book to Understand Everything about the World, by Véronique Sarano/Illustrated by Anine Bösenberg & Loris F. Alessandria (March 2021, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764361005
Ages 5-8
The companion to The Forest, The Sea is another panoramic poster book. Seek and find fish and urchins and learn about underwater cliffs, and underwater life like plankton, krill, dolphins, and sperm whales. The poster unfolds into a giant underwater scene, seek and finds leading the way with a turn of the page. Great for science programs, and keep at least one copy in your Reference section while you put one in circ – it may get beaten up, despite the sturdy pages. The Panoramic series is a fun way to explore the world!
Posted in Fiction, Intermediate

What is a poem? Oh, so many things…

A Poem is a Firefly, by Charles Ghigna/Illustrated by Michelle Hazelwood Hyde, (April 2021, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764361081

Ages 5-8

A lovely answer to the oft-asked question, “What is a poem?”, A Poem is a Firefly is also a love letter to the art of poetry. I’ve been asked many times about poetry, when my own kids and my library kids have worked on a unit at school. “Does it have to rhyme?” “What’s the difference between a poem and a story, if it doesn’t rhyme?” “How do I read this, anyway?” The answer? I don’t really have them, because poetry tends to confound me, too. I love Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, and their silly verse, but the true meaning of poetry has escaped me while I have friends who simply adore it (and have earned my envy). A Poem is a Firefly is a lovely guide to unlocking the poetry kids have inside them. A group of animal friends wonder and wax thoughtfully on what a poem is: it can be a whisper or a shout; it can be a “thought… turned inside out”; it can be an “echo… slowly passing by”, or a “moment… a memory caught in time”. There are beautiful things that a poem can be, including a firefly, on the summer wind. Beautifully phrased, the rhyming verse encourages readers to observe the poetry in nature, around them, and inside them. It’s a great storytime book and a great way to introduce a poetry unit in school. Cartoon animals invite readers in, and they hang around on the endpapers, welcoming readers and seeing them out. A lovely way to introduce poetry this National Poetry Month.

Fun thing to watch for: the title and the firefly on the cover are glow-in-the-dark!

Charles Ghigna is also known as “Father Goose”. His author webpage has links to plenty of resources, including help on writing a poem.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board Books to celebrate Spring, Dinosaurs, and Art!

How much do I love board books? SO MUCH. And they just keep coming and coming! I’ve got a stack of adorable board books that celebrate Spring, and a few that were originally published as picture books but that have made a great transition to board books.

Hello Garden!, by Katherine Pryor/Illustrated by Rose Soini, (May 2021, Schiffer Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764361098

Ages 0-3

Two kids wake up and enjoy a day in their garden! They crunch on green beans and snap peas, help tend to the garden, and enjoy the local wildlife. Rhyming verse tells a story that celebrates each of the senses, and accompanied by colorful artwork. Kids will want to get their hands and toes in the dirt and revel in being in nature after reading this cheery, upbeat story. A great addition to a Spring or Garden storytime – pair with the National Geographic board book, In My Garden, from the Look & Learn series, and Kadir Nelson’s gorgeous book, If You Plant a Seed. If you’re looking for a Spring activity with your Kiddos, Nat Geo Kids has you covered with an article on planting a garden; Kids Gardening has Garden Lesson Plans for kids and a free newsletter. Short on space? Try a garden sensory bin! There are great ideas at Mess for Less and Fireflies and Mud Pies.

 

Little Bug on the Move, Stéphanie Babin/Illustrated by Olivia Cosneau, (March 2021, Twirl Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9782408024642

Ages 0-3

A little bug goes exploring in this interactive book that kids can slide, spin, and play with. The bug crawls uphill, inches along the trees, spins on a flower, and hides on a mushroom, all heading toward a pop-up surprise at the end. The question-and-answer format format of the text encourages kids to think as they manipulate the activities on the pages, and provides an opportunity for an older sibling, parent, or caregiver to read along. Bright and colorful artwork and sturdy activities and pages make this another book kids will reach many, many times. Invite readers to identify different bugs, shapes, and colors as you go! Pair with the board book of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for an adorably buggy storytime.

 

Mamasaurus, by Stephan Lomp, (April 2021, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797205328

Ages 3-5

I’ve written about my love for Mamasaurus before. It’s the sweetest little story of a baby dinosaur who finds himself separated from his Mama and has to ask other dinosaurs if they’ve seen her; all of whom describe their own Mamas when trying to get an idea of what Mamasaurus looks like. The book makes a great transition from picture book to board book, making it even easier to read during a lapsit and cuddle storytime.

 

Papasaurus, by Stephan Lomp, (May 2021, Chronicle Kids), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797205335

Ages 3-5

The companion book to Mamasaurus, Papasaurus makes the seamless transition from picture book to board book in time for Father’s Day, with a May release date. Here, Babysaurus and his dad are playing a game of hide and seek. As he searches for his Papa, he encounters other Kid-osaurs and asks for their help. As with Mamasaurus, the little dinos all frame their questions using their own parents as reference. Papasaurus and Babysaurus are sweetly reunited, reassuring readers that “misplaced” parents will always be found. The artwork is charming, with bright colors and sweetly expressive dinosaurs with large eyes and smiley faces. Perfect for cuddle time and Dino storytime.

 

Mix It Up!, by Hervé Tullet, (May 2021, Chronicle Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9781797207605

Ages 2-5

Another great transition from picture book to board book, Hervé Tullet’s Mix It Up! brings creativity and interactivity to this wonderful board book that keeps kids pressing, touching, and shaking their books as they work with color. The narration walks readers through the book, directing readers through cause-and-effect spreads that will invoke delight as readers discover that the page they’ve touched leads to a riot of color on the next spread, or mixing colors by tilting the book leads to an entirely new color emerging! Hervé Tullet writes like he’s in a one-on-one with each reader, gently leading them with sentences like, “take a little bit of the read… and rub it on the blue”; “Do you want to go on? OK!” I’ve read all of Tullet’s books in my storytimes, and they never fail to elicit joyful participation as I weave through the seated kids, everyone waiting their turn to take part. Art storytime, Color storytime, everything works with an Hervé Tullet story. Having this in board book format invites little learners to sit and play on their own or with another reader. They’re just wonderful books. The original release of Mix It Up! was a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year, a PBS Parents Best Picture Book, an ACL Distinguished Book, and selected as a Best Book of the Year by Chicago Public Library. Get out the fingerpaints and let your Littles create their own masterpieces!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Art Storytimes to Inspire your Little Artists

When you start off a day with a post about Frida Kahlo, you’re going to have art on your mind for the rest of the day. At least that’s how I’m wired. So I dove into my TBR and came up with a handful of art books to inspire your little ones.

Hide-and-Seek with Little Hippo, by Géraldine Elschner/Illustrated by Anja Klauss,
(Feb. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9780764361111
Ages 0-6

This is a board book in one of Schiffer Kids’s new series, First Steps in Art. Inspired by a different work of art, each of these books weaves a little adventure, with concepts and an explanation of the piece that inspired the book. It’s such a great idea! Hide-and-Seek with Little Hippo is inspired by an ancient Egyptian figurine (pictured on the back cover); the story is a counting, color concept story about Little Hippo, who loves playing hide-amd-seek with his friend, Butterfly.  The story is colorful, bright, and so cheery and a brief explanation of Little Hippo’s origins at the end provides a nice little art history lesson for emerging readers. Pair the First Steps in Art books with Schiffer’s Lily series for an art storytime your little will love.

 

 

Antoinette the Tree Frog, by Géraldine Elschner, Illustrated by Xavière Devos,
(Feb. 2021, Schiffer Kids), $8.99, ISBN: 9780764361104
Ages 0-6

The next First Steps in Art book is all about impressionism: Antoinette the Tree Frog is inspired by Claude Monet’s beautiful water lilies. Little Antoinette is a tree frog, happily napping on a water lily as Mr. Claude paints nearby. A gust of winds blows his straw hat away, and a magpie tries to grab it, until Antoinette makes a fuss! When the magpie drops the hat, Antoinette discovers a comfortable new place to nap. A word about Claude Monet’s garden concludes the story. The artwork is soft, gentle, with Monet’s Impressionist influences apparent in the light color work and pastoral setting. Monet makes a cameo in this story, a painter sitting on a stool by the water, his watercolor canvas featuring his beloved water lilies. A very sweet story for young and emerging readers. I’m looking forward to seeing what other stories we’ll get from this series! Can you imagine a Halloween story from Edvard Munch? A story featuring Andy Warhol, or Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art?

 

A Purr-Fect Painting: Matisse’s Other Great Cat, by Joan Waites,
(May 2021, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764361128
Ages 5-8

Inspired by artist Henri Matisse’s cats and the illness that spurred his paper-cut art, A Purr-Fect Painting: Matisse’s Other Cat is an adorable story of La Puce, one of Mattise’s three cats. La Puce seems to be the most artistically-minded of Matisse’s cats; he’s the feline that sits with Matisse, watching him create art, while Minouche and Coussi sleep in the sunlight or get in trouble. When Matisse falls ill and is confined to his bed, La Puce thinks of ways to inspire his master to create art again. Henri may not be able to pick up his paintbrushes, but when La Puce makes a mess, Matisse sees potential in the brightly colored splashes of paint that go flying: and calls to his assistants to bring him painted sheets of paper and scissors! A colorful, kind-hearted story about love and art, A Purr-Fect Painting is an adorable readaloud for budding artists and cat lovers alike.

 

Need more inspiration? Here are more books inspired by art!