Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Hello, Rain! is all-weather reading

Hello, Rain!, by Kyo Maclear/Illustrated by Chris Turnham, (April 2021, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781452138190

Ages 3-6

A child delights in the before, during, and after of a rain shower in this cheery, colorful story. Kyo Maclear uses all sorts of literary devices to make this a joy to read to little ones, embracing rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia to weave a poetic love letter to a rainy day. Our main character and her canine companion dance, splash, and revel in the rain, Chris Turnham’s providing wonderful visual accompaniment as the raindrops glisten off leaves, splash out at us, and allow us to follow the girl and her cheery, colorful umbrella through the story. Once inside, the two companions shake off the droplets and discover the fun ways to spend time indoors; from board games to blanket forts.  When all is said and done, it’s time to greet the sun. Endpapers lead readers in with a a blue, spotty beginning and an emerging yellow. Delightful. Add to your rainy day collections with favorites like Who Likes Rain? by Wong Herbert Yee, Sam Usher’s Storm, and one of my all-time favorites, Mushroom in the Rain by Mira Ginsburg.

Visit author Kyo Maclear’s website for more information about her kids’ books, and illustrator Chris Turnham’s website for a glimpse at more of his artwork

Hello, Rain! has starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus

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 Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

#SummersCool: Art and Architecture, Music, and Science

The latest edition of #SummersCool is here! Get ready for a full day of fun!

 

Build a Castle, by Paul Farrell, (April 2020, Pavilion Children’s Books), $19.99, IBN: 9781843654469

Ages 7+

Way too much fun, this box of 64 slotted cards let kids build castles with all the details: heraldry, arches, arrow-slit windows, flags, and more. Brightly colored in reds, blues, and yellows, with bold black outlines, kids can read up on different architectural features and get an idea of the basics from the included foldout sheet, and let their creative energy take them wherever they want to go. I worked on these with the Kiddo, and he ended up incorporating his Lego bricks and minifigs to come up with a fantastic spread that covered our dining room table. The box is just the beginning – print out some paper knights, draw some dragons, and have a great time!

Turn it Up! A Pitch-Perfect History of Music That Rocked the World, by Joel Levy, (Dec. 2019, National Geographic Kids), $19.99, ISBN: 978-1426335419

Ages 8-12

From the earliest music to K-Pop, Turn It Up! is a comprehensive guide to the history of music and its influence on the world. Six sections organize music into time periods, beginning with the earliest instruments, including wind instruments played on crops, and string instruments handed down from the gods. Isn’t It Romantic? introduces readers to orchestras, operas, and Classical and Romantic music’s origins in the 18th ad 19th centuries. Thoroughly Modern Music explores the 20th century, and the changes to music brought by the emerging film and radio industries; All-American Sound is all about the American sound of Jazz and Blues, influenced by African culture. Play it Loud covers protest music, the British invasion that brought the Beatles to American shores, and the distinctive style of 1970s rock. Pop Goes the Music is about pop, punk, rap, and hip-hop. Spotlights on instruments, musical terms, superstars of the music world, and notes about essential pieces of music give readers a well-rounded backgrounder in music history. There’s a timeline, glossary, further resources list, and index to complete this volume. Let your kids create a Spotify playlist with music they like; create one for them.

 

Extreme Ocean: Amazing Animals, High-Tech Gear, Record-Breaking Depths, and Much More!, by Sylvia A. Earle and Glen Phelan, (March 2020, National Geographic Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 9781426336850

Ages 8-12

I love NatGeo’s animal compendiums, and Kiddo does too – he usually runs off with mine as soon as they arrive! After retrieving Extreme Ocean from his bookcase, I was able to sit down and see what deep sea explorer Sylvia A. Earle had to say about some of her ocean explorations. Filled with colorful, vibrant photos, Extreme Ocean is all about the oceans that cover over 71% of our world: and the dangers they face. The information is organized into five chapters: Blue Heart of the Planet is about the ocean itself; Life Beneath the Waves is about ocean life; Going Deeper, Staying Longer covers exploration, and An Ocean in Trouble and How to Save an Ocean is a call to action for readers to educate themselves about dangers like pollution and overfishing, and what scientists and conservationists are doing – and what readers can do – to turn the tide in our favor. Extreme sections in each section look at major happenings, from tsunamis to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a polluted area of the Pacific Ocean that may measure as large as the state of Alaska. There are experiments for kids to try at home, and Who’s Who callout boxes bring readers’ attention to different ocean dwellers to discover. There’s a glossary, list of resources, and an index. A great companion to NatGeo’s Ultimate Oceanpedia and Captain Aquatica’s Awesome Ocean, and a book kids will love.

 

Acadia Files: Book Four, Spring Science, by Katie Coppens/Illustrated by Holly Hatam, (March 2020, Tilbury House Publishers), $13.95, ISBN: 978-0-88448-604-6

Ages 7-11

The fourth book in Acadia’s Science Notebook series is all about Spring! This season, Acadia investigates dinosaurs, meteors, and mass extinctions. She also looks at parasites, ticks, and the diseases they can spread, including Lyme disease and malaria. She also looks through her previous seasons’ notebooks and puts together her inquiries from all four of them, to give herself – and readers – a rounded, holistic understanding of the natural world. This is such a great intermediate STEM/STEAM series for kids; it’s part science, part chapter book, with a handwritten, journal feel throughout that should inspire some of your kiddos to start their own journaling. I fall back on this one quite often because it’s so easy. Kiddo and I used this as a guideline to make our own journal and had a great time wandering our neighborhood to fill it up. Enjoy a chapter read and activity in the video below.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fill your basket with Easter Books!

The Easter Storybook: 40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus Is, by Laura Richie/Illustrated by Ian Dale, (Jan. 2020, David C Cook), $18.99, 978-0-8307-7860-7

Ages 4-8

Beginning with Jesus’ time as a boy in the temple and ending with His resurrection and promise, “I am with you always”, The Easter Storybook contains 40 illustrated Bible stories about the life of Jesus. Each story begins with a Bible passage and includes a discussion question for families to explore together. Each story presents a different facet of Jesus – Teacher, Good Shepherd, Savior – and will help children relate their own insights and stories to events in the Bible. The illustrations are colorful and softly realistic with famous Biblical scenes, like Palm Sunday and the Sermon on the Mount. There’s one story for every day of Lent, making this a good choice for families who celebrate together and for kids in parochial or Sunday school.

 

Hoppy Floppy’s Carrot Hunt, by Educational Insights/Illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti, (March 2020, Candlewick Entertainment), $9.99, ISBN: 9781536212310

Ages 0-3

You have to have a fun board book for the Littlest Easter Bunny fans! This lift-the-flap, egg-shaped board book is a slam dunk for little ones. Hoppy Floppy the Rabbit is on the search for colorful carrots to fill her Easter basket. Some animal friends pitch in along the way, but she needs some extra help from your littles! Sturdy flaps on each spread let kids search for colorful carrots. Inspired by the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel board game from Educational Insights (and with an appearance from Squirrel), this is a book that babies and toddlers will love. Illustrations are colorful and cartoony; perfectly kid-friendly. Great for learning colors, animals, and nature (point out trees, flowers, bushes).

 

Hazel and Twig: The Lost Egg, by Brenna Burns Yu, (March 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536204926

Ages 3-7

In this second Hazel and Twig installment, Korean-American bunny sisters Hazel and Twig are playing in a meadow when they discover a pale blue egg. First, they decide to hatch it themselves, but when it begins raining, they head home to keep it warm; but after considering how worried the egg’s family may be, they call on their Umma and Appa (mother and father) to help them seek out the egg’s family. Adorably narrated and with delicate, lovely pastel ink and watercolor illustrations, this sweet story about sisterhood, exploration, and family is a sweet way to greet Easter egg hunters.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Do Fairies Bring the Spring? Let’s find out!

Do Fairies Bring the Spring?, by Liza Gardner Walsh/Illustrated by Hazel Mitchell, (Feb. 2017, Down East Books), $16.95, ISBN: 978-1-60893-633-5

Recommended for readers 3-7

Do fairies bring the spring? This adorable picture book poses the question while infusing nature with a little bit of magic, as Liza Gardner Walsh’s rhyming text suggests that fairies are behind the scenes, working to bring spring to the world. Suggestions for attracting fairies to your own gardens in the spring, at the end of the book, encourage you to dig into nature with your little ones and take care of your little corner of the world.

Hazel Mitchell’s illustrations of diverse, adorable little fairies and their woodland friends infuse this Spring story with all the charm and wonder that makes a preschool/Kindergartner story a success.

Invite some magic into your life this spring with this sweet springtime story! Little ones will love the soothing rhyme and the adorable pictures. Encourage parents to get outside with their little ones and enjoy nature while respecting it –  no littering, please! This is a great story to read and follow up with a planting activity, whether it’s going out in the yard with your little one, or planting some seeds in recyclable egg cartons and bringing them home to start a container garden. Hand out fairy coloring sheets, or print small fairy pictures out on card stock, let the kids color them in, and mount them on popsicle sticks to give your new  plants extra fairy protection!

Liza Gardner Walsh is a former librarian (whoo hoo!) and has a companion book, Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows? (2015). Her website, Moss & Grove, encourages parents and kids to get outside and embrace nature. See more of illustrator Hazel Mitchell’s work at her website.

Posted in Early Reader, Non-Fiction

Celebrate Spring with Mary Lindeen’s latest!

springSpring, by Mary Lindeen (July 2015, Norwood House Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781599536798

Recommended for ages 3-6

Seasonal books are great for young readers. Preschool teachers always request them, they’re great nonfiction picks for storytime, they pair really well with a related fiction choice, and you can tie super-fun crafts in with them.

Prolific children’s author Mary Lindeen’s newest seasonal book, Spring, is a great choice for school and public libraries alike. There are beautiful, bright pictures of springtime images and multicultural children enjoying the season, easy to read text, loaded with sight words for new readers, and parent/teacher resources in the back, including a list of the 85 words included in the book, plus discussion questions. This book is already on my to-order list for my libraries, because I can’t keep seasonal books on the shelf long enough – like I said, everyone loves them.

You can find more books on Spring from Norwood House at their website, and a partial list of Mary Lindeen’s work on Goodreads.