Posted in Intermediate, picture books, Preschool Reads

Monsters and Mermaids bring fantasy fun!

Two fun picture books are coming up in August and September! If you’re looking for books for your late Summer/early Fall shopping carts, give these a spin.

Alfred’s Book of Monsters, by Sam Streed, (Aug. 2019, Charlesbridge), $15.99, ISBN: 9781580898331

Ages 5-8

Alfred is a little boy who loves monsters, not boring old tea times. Aunty thinks monsters are dreadful, and constantly interrupts Alfred’s precious reading time by calling him to tea. Alfred decides to invite the monsters he reads about: the Nixie, the Black Shuck, and the Lantern Man, to tea time; when they take him up on the invitation, they have a fabulously terrible time! Poor Aunty never knew what hit her.

This is the picture book for the kids who enjoy a good, morbidly amusing story. Have Neil Gaiman or Lemony Snicket fans? Do you have storytime kids who giggle time and again at I Want My Hat Back? Do you just want a fun Halloween read in your back pocket? This is the book for you and your readers. Baby goths and kids who love monsters will get a kick out of this story, which has a lovely Victorian vibe going for it, with bold, black lines and brown and black artwork, occasionally punched up with washed out greens, pinks, yellows, and blues for effect. The story alternates between Alfred’s monster stories and tea time, letting you switch voices back and forth to get your readers squealing with monstrous delight. The artwork was created by scanning and combining old paper, ink splotches, and spooky sketches, and was influenced by antique books and Victoriana; the endpapers sport a dark brownish-red rose wallpaper with framed photos of Aunty, Alfred, and an assortment of pets, people, and tea sets.

Less spooky than humorous, this is a fun book for storytime. Make some puppets and bring your own monsters to tea!

 

Five Little Mermaids, by Sunny Scribens/Illustrated by Barbara Vagnozzi, (Sept. 2019, Barefoot Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781782858317

Ages 3-7

This adorably rhyming story is an underwater take on the popular counting tale. A multicultural group of five little mermaids decide to go swimming to “see what they could see”, each of them leaving the group when they meet with various turtles, penguins, giant squid, and jellyfish. Together, the group travels through the world’s oceans, then comes together back home to talk about what they’ve seen. It’s a soothing, familiar rhyme scheme with cheery, bright art that uses vivid colors and brings readers through a lovely underwater world. Back matter includes spreads on the world’s oceans and their properties; notes about mermaid legends from different cultures (Greece, Japan, Central America, New Zealand, and West, Central and Southern Africa); marine life that appears in the book, and finally, sheet music for the song. There will be a CD and downloadable copy available, read by jazz vocalist Audra Mariel.

Barefoot Books always puts a great message out there in such a fun way. The mermaids play alongside their ocean friends and come from all around the world. The back matter provides interesting mermaid and ocean information using a one world, many cultures approach, taking myth examples from cultures including African, Asian, and Central American.

If you want to explore some videos from Barefoot Books, their YouTube channel is a good place to start. I find some of their mindful and diverse kidlit videos good professional development, and I’m sure Five Little Mermaids will have a book trailer up as the release date gets closer.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Squishy McFluff is off to tea with the Queen

Squishy McFluff: Tea with the Queen, by Pip Jones/Illustrated by Ella Okstad, (May 2019, Faber & Faber), $16.95, ISBN: 9780571337279

Ages 3-7

Squishy McFluff, the Invisible Cat, meets the Queen for tea in his first picture book! He and his favorite human, Ava, are off to London with Ava’s family for some sightseeing, but Squishy – and therefore, Ava – have other plans. Slipping into Buckingham Palace, they happen upon the Queen herself, who’s looking over a grocery list for her corgi. Ava boldly introduces herself and Squishy (still invisible) to HRH, who insists they both stay for tea, and sends her home with invisible crowns for herself and Squishy.

Squishy McFluff is the star of a British chapter book series that looks absolutely adorable (can we get these in the States?); Tea with the Queen is the first Squishy picture book in the series. Told in rhyme from Ava’s point of view, the story is charming and perfect for tea party storytime. The story will appeal to kids’ imaginations – ask them if they’ve ever had imaginary friends or pets! – and get the creative juices flowing. Endpapers are dotted with crowns and cat paws, and Ella Okstad’s artwork is sweet and colorful, with Squishy being a dominant character, albeit a transparent one.

I love a good tea party book, and this will join my shelf. Pick this one up for yours if you have readers who love animal stories, tea parties, and stretching their imaginations. Enhance a storytime activity with some of the suggestions and downloadables on the Squishy McFluff website, including coloring pages and a dot-to-dot activity.

 

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Spotlight: Fancy Nancy Tea Parties, Put Me in the Story, and a Giveaway!

Okay, we’ve had Pete the Cat, now we’ve got Fancy Nancy. Put Me in the Story is giving the kids what they want, and putting them in the middle of the story! Read on, and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance at the Fancy Nancy Tea Party Kit!

FancyNancyTeaParties_CMYK_SampleFancy Nancy Tea Parties, $29.99 Hardcover Personalized Book

Fancy Nancy, hostess extraordinaire, can’t wait to share her party-planning expertise with your little one! From recipes and crafts to etiquette tips and French lessons, this precious personalized book contains everything your child needs to throw the perfect tea party. A personalized letter from Nancy herself to your fancy kiddo? Oui! Plus, your child’s name is worked into the text and adorable illustrations throughout the book. Wrap up with a set of recipe cards from the Kitchen of Fancy Nancy, and best of all, cut out and frame the certificate declaring your child a graduate of Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party Course! Que magnifique!

Giveaway Info:

Tour-Wide Rafflecopter Giveaway to win a Fancy Nancy Tea Party Kit!

Fancy Nancy Tea Party Kit Includes:

  • Personalized copy of Fancy Nancy Tea Parties
  • Personlized TuTu Basket
  • Feather Boa
  • Children’s Tea Set

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance at a Fancy Nancy Tea Party Kit! Good Luck!