Posted in Toddler Reads

It’s Board Book time!

More board books, you say? I’ve got more board books! Let’s dive right in, there are some gems here!

A Little Snail Book: Hide-and-Seek, by Shasha Lv, (March 2021, Chronicle Books), $10.99, ISBN: 9781452183596

Ages 0-3

A companion to A Little Snail Book: Time to Go Home, Hide-and-Seek is a fun seek and find game for your little ones, starring Bear, who’s the seeker. As Bear wanders through each page, questions pop up that invite your little eagle-eyed Kiddos to see if they can find who’s hiding: “Where is everyone hiding?” “Could someone be here?” One by one, Bear discovers their friends, with a fun sound effect upon discovery: clunks, squeaks, and meows abound, letting you get into the act with your readers. But… where is Little Snail? Bear is stumped, but maybe your little ones can figure it out! Absolute fun, with sturdy pages and cheery two-color artwork.

 

Whose Baby is This?, by Stéphanie Babin/Illustrated by Camille Tisserand, (Feb. 2021, Twirl Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9782408023898

Ages 0-3

Match animal parents and babies! Sliding panels give little fingers something to explore as they slide the baby panel back and forth to reveal the parent panel. Seek and find the grownups on the left-hand panel. Organized into habitats – At the Pond, In the Forest, On the Farm, In the Meadow, On the Mountain, and In the Savanna – kids can find a wide variety of animals and learn the names for both children and adults! Colorful and kid-friendly illustrations, plus fun facts, make this a nice choice for learning about animals. Companion books in the series include Who Eats What?, Who Lives Where?, and Who Does What?

Miki Gets Dressed, by Stéphanie Babin/Illustrated by Julie Mercier, (Feb. 2021, Twirl Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9782408019723

Ages 0-3

It’s time to go outside, and kids can help Miki the Lion get dressed by pulling tabs! Help Miki pull up a pair of green pants; pull down a green sweater, slide on orange shoes, and don a red raincoat. A fun pop-up reveal at the end of the book will delight little ones, and the pull tabs are sturdy enough to hold up to multiple reads. This would be a great concept readaloud, with the emphasis on colors, and can also work for a fun rainy day readaloud, too. Add Hello, Rain! by Kyo Maclear, and Linda Ashman’s Rain! for a fun storytime on a cloudy day. A readloud on getting dressed would be great, too: add Caroline Jayne Church’s Let’s Get Dressed, and What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World by Maya Ajmera, Cynthia Pon, Elise Hofer Derstine, and the Global Fund For Children.

More to come! Enjoy these in the meantime!

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 Toddler Reads

More Board Books!

I’m sorry I’ve been quiet for a few days, but this year has been… a lot. But I’m back and ready to bring you some of the cutest board books in my TBR. I know I gush about board books a lot, but they are just adorable, and they’ve grown so much over the last few years. They look at concepts in new ways and have gone beyond the basic “ABCs/123s” to give real storytelling fun for our youngest learners. Let’s see the ones I’ve got here.

My Big Family, by Jeffrey Turner, (Aug. 2020, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764360053

Ages 0-3

Meet Doodle, the Science Poodle, as she introduces her big, blended family to readers! Family members include one aardvark, eight llamas, nine elephants, and a bunch more. Bright, colorful digital illustrations and giant numbers let readers count each of the animals in Doodle’s family. A note about the science of arithmetic connects the counting story to STEM learning. A fun way to start kids learning and counting; have goodies around for them to count, like toys, blocks, or toes (yours, theirs, the dog’s). Absolute fun for readalouds and counting songs.

 

Peep!, by Kevin Luthardt, (Aug. 2020, Peachtree Publishers), $6.99, ISBN: 9781682632000

Ages 0-3

A duckling hatches and bonds to a boy he sees. Excitedly “peeping”, the duckling follows its new friend home, and the two share time together playing and enjoying one another’s company. One day, though, the “peep!” turns to a “quack!” and the boy and his family know they have to bring the duckling to be with other ducks. But there’s always a new friend waiting just around the corner. This sweet story of friendship is sparsely worded, letting the pictures tell the story. The colorful artwork is cheery, and kids will love the little duckling – sound effects run throughout, so invite your listeners to crack, peep, and quack along with you! Make sure to sing 5 Little Ducks with this one.

 

Guess Who is Behind the Door: A Counting Book in 4 Languages, by Susan S. Novich, (Oct. 2020, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764360046

Ages 0-3

This rhyming story about a painting porcupine introduces counting, colors, and language concepts. Pinky Porcupine paints the doors in the town, and finds a different animal friend behind each one. Kids can count from one to 10 in English, Spanish, Chinese, and French, with pronunciations noted on each page. The animals gather together to say goodnight in their different languages at the end and fun animal facts close out this fun, fact-filled board book.  Pictures are colorful and eye-catching and fun, perfect for counting storytimes and introducing readers to new languages.

 

Faster, Please!, by Catherine Leblanc/Illustrated by Laurent Richard, (Sept. 2020, Schiffer Publishing), $12.99, ISBN: 9780764360329

Ages 0-5

A board book that opens into a play mat! A dog can go faster on a scooter, but even faster on a bike! The pup picks different vehicles to take the speed up a notch as the sections unfold into a 4 foot-long play mat, just right for zooming little cars on. Illustrations are colorful and bright, and vehicle books are so popular, that kids will gobble this right up. Invite kids to tell you which vehicles are outlined on the cover, and point them out inside the book. A felt board with vehicle cutouts would be a fun accompaniment during storytime, too. Have a couple on hand, this one will circulate hard.

 

Paper Peek: Animals, by Chihiro Takeuchi, (Sept. 2020, Candlewick Studio), $14.99, ISBN: 9781536211498

Ages 0-3

A board book, seek and find, and geography lesson all in one, Paper Peek: Animals is a wonder of board book making.  Visit the continents and oceans and discover animals native to each region through the artwork. Die cuts and colorful cut paper artwork make endless fun for exploring fingers and eyes. Discover African lions, giraffes, and zebras; North American brown bears and eagles; koalas, platypuses, and cockatoos from Oceania; seahorses, whales, and sharks from the oceans, and so much more. A map of the world at the end of the book shows the animals on their homelands. I love this book for its gorgeous artwork and for its versatility: you can use it during storytime or one-on-one time.

 

Love Can Come in Many Ways, by Terry Pierce, (Oct. 2020, Chronicle Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781452172606

Ages 0-3

A perfect cuddle up and snuggle book, this rhyming story of all the ways animals (and people!) show love comes with 10 felt flaps to lift and explore. Giraffes nuzzlilng noses, elephant trunk hugs and embracing swan wings are just a few of the ways animals reveal their affection for one another. This is an adorable lapsit choice – invite parents to snuggle, rub noses, lightly squeeze, and play peekaboo with their littles. A soft color palette makes this a perfectly soothing read for babies and toddlers, maybe a good choice for a final story choice in storytime, to start calming things down. Make sure you keep a copy in your storytime collection; this one will get beaten up in circulation as family after family loves it.

Posted in Intermediate, Middle Grade

Halloween seek and find with Waldo

Where’s Waldo? Spooky Spotlight Search, by Martin Handford, (July 2020, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536211580

Ages 5-9

Waldo’s getting into the Halloween spirit with his newest Spotlight Search book! Similar to the Spectacular Spotlight Search (2018), this book contains six seek and find challenges, all under cover of darkness – but fear not! You have a glow-in-the-dark spotlight searcher to help you shed some light on the details! Look for Waldo, Woof, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, and Odlaw in every scene, in addition to changing, challenging checklists on each spread. And don’t forget to find all the carved pumpkins! Inspect ghostly galleons and shipwrecks, stage a great escape from a hidden cave and watch dragons fly, and seek shelter at a gloomy castle, where you can join a creaky dance party! Sharpen your eyeballs and wield your spotlight wisely, and have fun!

My third grader thoroughly enjoys the Waldo books, and has been swooping his spotlight around since this book arrived at our house, courtesy of Candlewick. Need more temptation? Fine. Remember, the first Where’s Waldo was a banned book. Scandal!
These books are classic fun and belong with your I Spy books and your puzzle books. They keep readers sharpening their attention skills and they’re just fun to do. Enjoy.
Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Next stop: Happy County!

This morning, we met the residents of Bustletown, courtesy of Rotraut Susanne Berner and Prestel Publishing. I figured I’d turn today’s posts into a road trip; now, we’re entering Happy County, courtesy of Ethan Long and Henry Holt and Company.

Hello, World!, by Ethan Long, (March 2020, Henry Holt & Company), $18.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-19175-5

Ages 3-5

“Welcome to Happy County, where every day ends on a happy note.” With that, we’ve got another new series of interactive picture books in the spirit of Richard Scarry. In Happy County, readers get some concept work in while enjoying the antics of the townspeople, many of whom we meet on the endpapers: Farmer Del and L’il Beaky, a pig and chick that run throughout the book; naturalists Mr. Grzzles and Ms. Green; Dottie, the Dog Walker, Monkey  Mantle, the ballplayer, and more. Stories bring in concept activities: helping bird watchers identify and spot birds; letter lessons; shapes and colors; and counting dogs with a dog walker are only a few of the fun challenges that come up in Hello, World!’s storytelling. All of the citizens are pencil and digitally illustrated animals, making this an eye-catching book for younger readers.

 

Sun and Moon Together, by Ethan Long, (Aug. 2020, Henry Holt & Company), $18.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-19174-8

Ages 3-5

Welcome back to Happy Town! The endpapers introduce readers to some more residents, and some we’ve already met (Farmer Del is still trying to get L’il Beaky. This time, we’re learning about the Sun and the Moon, with fun lessons about the water cycle, photosynthesis, phases of the moon and the moon’s effect on tides, and solar power. In between there’s a funny rhyming story about Grammy Tammy, a lamb visiting from Miami; a paneled story about Sssonny the snake, who wants to grow some sunflowers; and loads of seek and find challenges.

Ethan Long books are so much fun to read! He’s a Theodor Seuss Geisel award winner and a creator of children’s programming, including the short film, Farm Force; Tasty Time with Zefronk for Disney Jr.; and an online interactive series for PBS Kids, Scribbles & Ink. He also hosts a bunch of activities and coloring sheets on his webpage. Check out the activity kit here, too! The Happy County series is shaping up to be big, learning fun for littles.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, Uncategorized

Welcome to Bustletown!

All Around Bustletown is a series of oversize board books, originally published in Germany that introduces readers to a bustling little town where there’s so much to see! Let’s enjoy the four seasons as experienced by the citizens of Bustletown, several of whom we meet on the back cover of the book: Sadie, whose car won’t start in the cold; a motorcyclist who comes from far away; Petra, a bookworm who loves to read, and more.

All Around Bustletown: Winter, by Rotraut Susanne Berner, (Oct. 2019, Prestel Publishing), $12.95, ISBN: 978-3-7913-7414-4

Ages 1-5

It’s winter in Bustletown! The trees are bare, the townsfolk are bundled up, and the day begins on a clear, cold morning. There are seven spreads we visit in our trek through the town: a cross section of a house with a busy street in front, where we can board a bus that will take us through the book; a country scene with a house in the background, a farmer’s market and garage/gas station in the foreground; a cross section of a shopping and transportation center; a busy town, where we notice ground being broken on a new kindergarten to come and a cultural center with a library, museum, and performance area; the center of town has shops and shoppers; a shopping mall with parking garage has a bunch of holiday shoppers making their purchases; and a petting zoo overlooks an iced over pond and cafe, where skaters practice and kids slide down a snowy hill.

It’s a series of fun winter scenes with so much to see. Readers can look for townsfolk introduced on the back cover, and there are so many details to spot! Follow the bus as it rides through each spread; count Christmas trees on each spread; follow a person wandering the town with a goose under their arm; will that lady in the yellow jacket catch up to the bus? Seek and find readers will enjoy this wordless book where they can create their own adventures.

 

All Around Bustletown: Spring, by Rotraut Susanne Berner, (Feb. 2020, Prestel Publishing), $12.95, ISBN: 978-3-7913-7409-3

Ages 1-5

Spring comes to Bustletown with green landscapes and budding trees! A garbage truck trundles through the book and a fox shows up to stir up some excitement. The farmer’s market is open and the animals are out, enjoying the springtime. A class trip enjoys a trip to the museum and that new kindergarten is still under construction. There are some new residents to follow, like Officer Tony, who’s very busy; and Tom the Cat, who joins Bonnie on walks through town. Other characters return, like Anne, who gave up on trying to catch the bus and is going on a long hike. There’s always something to see in Bustletown. Work with your littles to identify colors (bright primary colors prominently feature in the artwork), everyday items like trees, trucks, or cats. Ask bigger littles what they notice in Bustletown that reminds them from home: shopping with Mom? Visiting a petting zoo or farm? Ask questions: what is that person doing, walking around with a goose? Where do you think the fox is going next?

 

All Around Bustletown: Summer, by Rotraut Susanne Berner, (Apr. 2020, Prestel Publishing), $12.95, ISBN: 978-3-7913-7420-8

Ages 1-5

Summer comes to Bustletown! The greenery is thick and lush, and a new driver cruises along the spreads. It’s time to pick strawberries at the farm, and crows are eating the ripe cherries from the trees. The fish store has started selling sushi, there’s a new armor exhibit at the museum, there’s a sidewalk sale at the bookstore, and the kindergarten will open in October! For readers who go through the whole series, it’s fun to see how life moves forward as the books progress through the year. There’s a birthday in the park, a penguin balloon on the loose, and Tom the cat has a new mission: find a mouse. By introducing new characters and continuing to build on others, readers will enjoy visiting Bustletown and their friends, knowing there’s something new to find every time.

 

All Around Bustletown: Fall, by Rotraut Susanne Berner, (July 2020, Prestel Publishing), $12.95, ISBN: 978-3-7913-7422-2

Ages 1-5

The last book in the All Around Bustletown series hits the U.S. this summer, with its townspeople getting ready for winter. A street sweeper trundles through the town, getting leaves under control, and George and Anne load a giant pumpkin into a wagon and head for the big pumpkin carving contest at the cultural center. The leaves are turning color and falling; there’s pumpkins everywhere, and fall colors dominate the scene: lighter greens, bright oranges, and reds decorate the pages. Geese fly south for the winter, and the new Kindergarten opens for a brand new school year! A lantern parade makes its way through the town square, heading for the park, and Halloween costumes show up in a store window. It’s a sweet conclusion to a year full of stories.

The Bustletown books are a very nice add to board book collections. Their large size makes it easy to fit loads of details in for readers to seek out, and the thick pages will stand up to repeated reads.

Posted in picture books

Seek and Find Bucketloads of Friends

Bucketloads of Friends: A Look and Find Book, by Mia Cassany/Illustrated by Miguel Bustos, Translated by Paul Kelly, (Oct. 2018, Prestel), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791373577

Ages 4-8

The seek and find panels in this book is connected by the story of Lucas, a young man who wakes up one morning and decides he needs a best friend to fill a void in his life. He heads to several different locations, including a beach, a rock concert, an amusement park, an airport, and a birthday party, all in search of a new friend. He encounters all sorts of different people, but will he find a new best friend?

Originally published in Spanish, this seek and find is loaded with some fun images, including some recurring characters that sharp-eyed readers will catch. A panel at the end gives readers a little information about these folks, too, which adds a bit of fun. You’ll find a bald man with a handlebar mustache who wanders through the spreads sporting a Speedo, an alligator in business attire, and a seemingly hapless Lucas, searching for a new friend in the middle of each crowd. A brief, descriptive paragraph sets the stage for each spread, and a couple of question prompts give readers some places to start their search, but really, this book contains countless details to be discovered by imaginative readers. There are tips for further seek and find games in back, and changing 2-color spreads give readers a chance to point out subtle changes like new colors, clothing designs (strips versus solids or polka dots), and shapes.

A little wacky, a lot of fun, Bucketloads of Friends is good for your I Spy and Where’s Waldo fans.

Posted in Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads

Last minute gift shopping? Books are easy to wrap!

Okay, the big days are coming, and you still need a gift or two – maybe your kid’s got a last-minute gift to get, or you don’t want to show up to a party empty-handed for any kids in the house. Check out some more of these gifts books for some guaranteed entertainment!

Where’s the Architect? From Pyramids to Skyscrapers: An Architecture Look and Find Book, by Susanne Rebscher/Illustrations by Annabelle von Sperber, (Oct. 2018, Prestel Publishing), $19.95, ISBN: 978-3-7913-7301-0

Ages 4-10

This one is like I Spy, but with architecture. Readers can join two kids – Ben and Mia – and two little monkey escorts on an adventure around the world! View 12 beautiful works of architecture, learn a little bit about each, and find some cool objects and people along the way. Count ravens at London’s The Tower of London; see an exhibition at the Moscow Metro, and take in a concert at Sydney’s Opera House. Artwork is full-color and there’s always something to see. Back matter offers more information on each of the structures, a timeline of construction, and a glossary of terms. Endpapers add to the fun with a world map sporting numbers for each structure’s location, and beautiful artwork featuring Ben and Mia riding a Chinese dragon. This one’s a fun gift for your seek and find fans and can pair with some Legos – let kids build their own structures!

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon Book and Mega Model, (Oct. 2018, Fun Studio International), $17.99, ISBN: 978-0794442071

Ages 8-12

Okay, this is just too much fun. Build your own Millennium Falcon model with this book-model combo! Punch out the laminated stock pieces, and assemble using the attached book, which includes instructions and some Falcon history: stats on previous Falcon pilots, ports of call, and key movie moments where the ship played a big part. Activities abound here: starship Sudoku, Hoth escape maze, and draw your own spaceship. The model assembly is a little fiddly, so younger fingers will need some help from older readers. The accompanying volume is slim, but loaded with facts and fun, making this a gift Star Wars fans will love.

 

I Am a Wonder Woman: Inspiring Activities to Try, Incredible Women to Discover, by Ellen Bailey, (Sept. 2018, Portable Press), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1684125487

Ages 8-12

Activity books are a great go-to gift, and I Am a Wonder Woman is right up there, mixing a bit of nonfiction with thought-provoking, fun activities. There are profiles of 60 women who’ve made their mark on history, all with accompanying activities. Make a diary entry like Anne Frank; work on your suffragist buttons and newspaper articles with Emmaline Pankhurst and Kate Sheppard; plant a tree like Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. There are familiar names here: Anne Frank, Jane Goodall, and Helen Keller; and new names, including artist Artemisia Gentileschi, whose story was recently told in the award-winning YA novel, Blood Water Paint. Two-color illustrations throughout make this a fun, smart bet for a gift book.

 

Another Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure, by Jon Stone, (Sept. 2018, Fun Studio International), $14.99, ISBN: 978-0794441746

Ages 3-5

My favorite book of all time has been, and always will be, The Monster at the End of This Book, Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover. I have the best memories of my mom reading this to my 4- and 5-year old self, and of the two of us giggling together as Grover’s nervous breakdown increased with each turn of the (barricaded) page, bringing us closer to the Monster at the End of the Book – which was, as you may have guessed, Grover himself. I’ve read this book to my own  kids, and added another monster to the mix, when Elmo joined Grover in 1999 for Another Monster at the End of This Book. Now, we’ve got an interactive update to Another Monster, complete with magnetic book locks, flaps to explore, and pop-ups to surprise. It’s an adorable update to a classic kids’ book, and a perfect gift for the holidays.

 

Happy Shopping, and Happy Holidays!

Posted in Fiction, Preschool Reads

Toshi’s Little Treasures: An adorable Search and Find story

9781771385732_fe9f5Toshi’s Little Treasures, by Nadine Robert/Illustrated by Aki, (Apr. 2016, Kids Can Press), $17.95, ISBN: 9781771385732

Recommended for ages 3-7

Growing up, I loved Highlights magazine; one of my favorite features in the magazine was the hidden pictures page. When my own children were big enough to start getting Highlights, I’d pitch in and help them find some of the more challenging hidden pictures. When I came across Toshi’s Little Treasures, I was thrilled – it’s a seek and find storybook!

Toshi is a little boy who loves to take walks with his grandmother. During their walks, they discover new little treasures that Toshi can store in his brand new backpack. Toshi and his grandmother explore six places in this book: the riverbank, the town, the forest, the country, the park, and the beach. An introductory page to each location shows kids the treasures they can expect to discover, and a full spread of each spot promises fellow treasure seekers a good hunt. There are activities that help identify the treasures from each place by matching them to related items. An answer key at the back of the book provides interesting facts about Toshi’s treasures and the animals he and his grandmother encounter, really rounding out the experience and giving kids and parents a chance to learn more, together.

The art is very calming, relaxing readers and encouraging them to take their time searching for hidden objects. You’re a guest on a walk with Toshi and his grandmother, there’s no rush! There’s also a quiet nod to diversity with the renderings of Toshi and his grandmother, which I loved.

By offering facts about the animals in each location Toshi and his grandmother visit, the book also offers educators (and parents!) the opportunity to start discussing habitats and the environment with little readers and listeners. It could also inspire a fun field trip to discover treasures of your own.

Toshi’s Little Treasures will be in stores in April. Keep an eye on their website, too: Kids Can Press offers some great learning resources to accompany their books; I’m looking forward to seeing what they develop for this title.