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 Humor, picture books, Preschool Reads

Whatever you do, DON’T give the puffin a muffin!

If You Give the Puffin a Muffin, by Timothy Young, (Sept. 2018, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764355523

Ages 4-7

If you enjoyed Timothy Young’s The Angry Little Puffin (2014), you’re going to laugh out loud at this sequel, which takes aim at some of our favorite kids’ books. With text that starts like another popular series out there – “If you give the puffin a muffin…”, the book is a vehicle for the Puffin’s dilemma. He doesn’t want a muffin; he doesn’t eat muffins; and he certainly hasn’t agreed to be the star of another book! He turns to another familiar character in the Timothy Young universe for some advice: the boy who starred in I Hate Picture Books, and Do Not Open This Box!, who suggests a magic crayon. We get laugh-out-loud visual jokes, including some suspiciously familiar children’s book icons, including penguins dressed as mice, pigs, and moose; crayons that run away; a magic door opening into a forest, where a surprised little girl drops her red crayon, and a mysterious little boy peeking out of a purple-shaded door that seems to have come from… well, nowhere. Timothy Young turns the joke on himself as the Puffin meets his author, and gives him a piece of his mind. And a muffin.

If You Give the Puffin a Muffin is funny, witty, and just plain smart.  The visual jokes make the book, and the curmudgeonly Puffin is too much fun to read and follow. The endpapers – naturally, all different types of muffins – let readers in on the joke early on. This one’s a good storytime book, and offers a fun chance to have readers spot characters and moments they recognize from other books. A fun add!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Do Not Open the Box: A Picture Book Guessing Game!

box_coverDo Not Open the Box, by Timothy Young (Dec. 2015, Schiffer Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350436

Recommended for ages 3-6

A little boy named Benny sees a box with a sign taped to it that says, “DO NOT OPEN”. Well, that just sends Benny’s imagination into overdrive: what could be in the box? Could it be something cool, like the robot he’s wanted? Or could it be something scary, like a monster? Maybe his sister put something in there to scare him!

The cartoony artwork is printed against a background made to look like corrugated cardboard, making the story look like it’s been written and drawn on a cardboard box. Sentences are simple and short, written in a rounded font and in blue to stand out against the brown cardboard background. Each spread has Benny wondering what could be in the box, and a rendering of his imagination. Kids will have loads of fun with this book: especially with the end reveal.

Bring out your own box for storytime, and have kids guess what could be in it! They can draw what they think, or they can call it out, but it’ll get their minds working and they’ll learn more about how guessing can lead us to the answers, if you provide hints and information as you go along. I could hide a teddy bear in a box and tell the kids that something furry is in the box; using trial and error, they can figure it out.

I read this book with my 3 year-old, and he loved it. He had a fun time guessing what was really going to be in the box, because nothing was too outlandish for us! “Could there be an OCTOPUS in the box? How about a REAL DINOSAUR?” Have fun with a read-aloud!

 

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Timothy Young also wrote The Angry Little Puffin, which is an adorable book that G-man (my little guy) LOVES. Now that I’m remembering that, I need to order that for my library, too; that’s a great storytime book, and so is Do Not Open the Box. Give your readers’ imaginations a workout and add this one to your collection.

Posted in Early Reader, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Am I Big Enough? Empowers kids!

big enough_coverAm I Big Enough?: A Fun Little Book on Manners, by Julia Pinckney/Illustrated by Timothy Young (Jan. 2016, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350535

Recommended for ages 3-6

A little boy named Finn watches his family as they go about their daily activities and wonders if he is big enough to do the same things. Finn knows his hands are smaller than his daddy’s, but they are big enough to do lots of things on their own – and he invites other kids to see how big they are, too!

Each spread poses one of Finn’s questions: Am I big enough to say please? Am I big enough to be quiet in the library? On the right hand side of the page is a handprint where children can place their hands to see if, like Finn, they are big enough to handle the task at hand. Bold fonts and colors exclaim, “I AM BIG ENOUGH!” With every spread, both Finn and the readers gain confidence because they’re big enough to do a lot more than they may think.

For toddlers and preschoolers that may be hearing about all the things they aren’t allowed to do because they’re too little, a book like Am I Big Enough? shows them all the things they are big enough to do; they’re big enough to share, big enough to shake hands, and big enough to show everyone around them how fantastic they are. It’s an empowering book for little ones that could work in a smaller story time, where each child gets a chance to find out if he or she is big enough. I read this with my 3 year-old and he LOVED it. It’s gone into our daily storytime rotation, and now he’s got no problem letting our family know that he’s big enough to do “LOTS OF THINGS”.

A good addition to collections for a toddler and preschool population, and a good recommendation for anyone who needs empowering books for their little ones.

Have a look at more pages from Am I Big Enough?

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Posted in Early Reader, Preschool Reads

The Angry Little Puffin clears up some confusion

puffinThe Angry Little Puffin, by Timothy Young (Sept. 2014, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-7643-4387

Recommended for ages 5-8

“Oh, look at that cute little penguin!” This little puffin has had it up to HERE with being mistaken for a penguin, and he’s going to let everyone know the differences between puffins and penguins – RIGHT NOW.

What follows is an adorably illustrated lesson on puffins: where they live, what they eat, different types of puffins, and their ability to fly (versus flightless penguins). The puffin’s rant isn’t fruitless; he discovers that there’s at least one little girl out there who understands the difference between penguins and puffins, something that hopefully tides him over for the next round of onlookers ready to see the “happy little penguin”.

What a great way to conduct a nature lesson! I’d love to use this book in an animal storytime, and I’d love to see teachers using this book in their Kindergarten and first grade classes. The illustrations are adorable, eye-catching, and use bright colors (especially on the puffin’s beak!). Fonts are large, in word balloons to denote dialogue, and bolded for easy reading. The puffin has character, with facial expressions and body gestures that teachers can use for emphasis during a read-aloud, and that kids will immediately recognize, whether it’s frustration or happiness.

The Angry Little Puffin just published on September 28, so ask your bookstore to order a copy, or buy it on Amazon.com.