Posted in Toddler Reads

#HomesCool: Baby Senses Board Books!

I LOVE the Baby Loves series from Ruth Spiro and Irene Chan. They introduce the five senses to little learners in a way that we can demonstrate and they can understand, with an ittty bitty bit of science to introduce them to new words and ideas. There are three new books out right now that are wonderful for adding to your snuggle time reading time.

Baby Loves The Five Senses: Taste!, by Ruth Spiro/Illustrated by Irene Chan, (Aug. 2020, Charlesbridge), $8.99, ISBN: 9781623541545

Ages 0-4

Baby loves tasty food! Baby helps in the kitchen and loves to snack on strawberries. The easy-to-understand text works with Irene Chan’s adorable illustrations of a wide-eyed baby discovering why strawberries taste so good, and why food smells so yummy (it’s all connected!). Illustrations of the major flavor groups – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami – help readers map flavors to descriptive words. Surrounded by yummy foods, a happy baby indulges! The cover gives visual cues to the sense we’re exploring, with a bowl of yummy food next to the word “Taste”.  Do you have to read words like “receptor cells” and “flavor molecules” to babies? Why not? Stick your own tongue out and let babies stick theirs out, to get the main idea across. And have some yummy foods, like yogurts, Cheerios, and fruit, available (at home, please) to let your own little ones explore their senses of taste.

Pair this with Leslie Patricielli’s Yummy Yucky for a fun, tasty read-aloud!

 

Baby Loves The Five Senses: Touch!, by Ruth Spiro/Illustrated by Irene Chan, (Aug. 2020, Charlesbridge), $8.99, ISBN: 9781623541552

Ages 0-3

This one is all about the textiles and the tactile. With a feather on the cover, ready to tickle the title, we know this is all about the sense of touch before even cracking the cover. Sure enough ,there’s a happy baby, helping with the laundry. The baby notices that clothes go into the dryer feeling wet and cold, and come out feeling dry and warm. How does he know these feelings? He touches things! Two spreads explain the science behind touch, followed by the simpler breakdown: “Touch helps baby pick things up. / It also helps him know when to put things down. / TOO HOT!” New vocabulary words include receptor cells and epidermis: roll up a sleeve and let baby touch your arm, and give baby a soft tickle on the foot or neck!

Leslie Patricelli’s Blankie and Tickle are nice read-alongs with this book. Get all sorts of tactile surfaces for baby to touch and explore, like a soft blankie or lovey of their own, a cold bowl of cereal, or a warm sweater. And remember Pat the Bunny? That is a PERFECT accompanying read!

 

Baby Loves The Five Senses: Smell!, by Ruth Spiro/Illustrated by Irene Chan, (Aug. 2020, Charlesbridge, $8.99, ISBN: 9781623541538

Ages 0-3

The cover image of bread, the scent wafting from a freshly baked slice, gives us a clue about where Baby’s latest adventure will take us. Baby is shopping at the market and smells something tasty… bread! How does bread smell so good to Baby’s little nose? Illustrated spreads explain the science of molecules and how they release and mix with other molecules in the air, delivering them right to Baby’s nose. Baby smells yummy things like bread, and some not-so-yummy things, too! But Baby’s favorite smell is the smell of lunch!

Point to your nose and Baby’s nose to explain where smells enter, and have tasty-smelling things around for your own Baby to enjoy: some flowers, some tasty toast or fresh bread if you have some, and something sweet, like an orange or apple, for starters. You can point to toes and hold your nose, saying “Stinky!” for giggles. Read with Leslie Patricelli’s Yummy Yucky or Annie Kubler’s What Can I Smell? for extra sensory fun.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Arthur Yorinks’ Making Scents: A New Family Structure

Making Scents, by Arthur Yorinks/Illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline, (June 2017, :01 First Second), $15.99, ISBN: 9781596434523

Recommended for readers 8-12

Mickey is a boy who’s been raised a little differently. His parents raised bloodhounds before he was born, and raised Mickey just like his “brothers and sisters”. Mickey doesn’t see anything different with his upbringing, even if other kids treat him like he’s weird. He wants to make his parents proud of him, so he’s working on developing his sense of smell, constantly sniffing and honing his senses. A tragedy strikes, and Mickey’s sent to live with his elderly aunt and uncle, who don’t like kids or dogs – but maybe Mickey can show them that he and his sniffer are more helpful than they realize.

This one was a wacky read. Making Scents reads like realistic fiction – it deals with grief and loss, extended families, and nontraditional families – but it does work on your suspension of disbelief. The opening scene, with baby Mickey being left in the woods for the dogs to find as a test/publicity gimmick sets the tone for the story: two dog-crazy grownups find themselves with a baby that they have no idea how to raise, but they do the best with what they’ve got. They love their human son as much as they do their canine sons and daughters, but I have to wonder what kind of parent-child relationship you can have if you see your child as equal to a pet that you “master”.

Regardless, Making Scents progresses to become a touching story of intergenerational relationships and family. Mickey, his mother’s older sister, and her husband have to create their own new family structure when an accident leaves Mickey orphaned. Once again, Mickey is thrust into a family that doesn’t know what to do with him, but this time around, he doesn’t have anyone or anything to take a social cue from; his aunt and uncle, like his parents, do their best with what they have and stumble along until Mickey’s abilities help reveal a potential health crisis.

Unexpected and sensitive, Making Scents is good for graphic novel collections that provide different perspectives.