Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blast off on the Sadie Sprocket Blog Tour!

Let’s hear it for Science Kids! I’ve got a rhyming STEM/STEAM story that’s going to rock(et) storytimes!

Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket, by Sue Fleiss/Illustrated by Annabel Tempest,
(Feb. 2021, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542018036
Ages 4-6

Sadie Sprocket is a little girl with a big wish: she wants to go to Mars! She maps out the distance, puts together a crew of her most trustworthy stuffed toys, and gets to work building a rocket. They blast off from Earth and arrive at Mars, where they take pictures and gather samples, but when it’s time to head back to Earth, there’s a problem: can Sadie get herself and her friends back home? Lively rhyme and adorably bright and friendly, cartoony artwork make this an eye-catching readaloud. Sadie is a smart cookie who knows how to plan a mission and lay out the problem in order to solve it – just like our Kiddos learn at school. Facts about Mars and women in space make up the back matter, and make this a phenomenal choice for Women’s History Month in March, too. Pair with Andrea Beaty’s Questioneers series, Sol Regwan’s Geraldine series, and Ken Wilson Max’s Astro Girl. Consider adding some Mars picture books, like Brianna Caplan Sayres’s Night Night Curiosity,  or Buzz Aldrin’s Welcome to Mars for Kids. Remind kids that nothing is out of reach by inviting them to create coffee filter planets after reading.

“Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.” —Kirkus Reviews

Sue Fliess is the author of more than thirty children’s books, including Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins, illustrated by Mark Chambers; Shoes for Me!A Dress for Me!, and Books for Me!, all illustrated by Mike Laughead; and Let’s Build, illustrated by Miki Sakamoto. She lives with her family and their two dogs in northern Virginia, where they admire the moon, stars, and sometimes even planets from their backyard. Learn more about Sue at www.suefliess.com.

On Twitter: @SueFliess 

Facebook: Sue Fliess Author 

Pinterest: Sue Fliess

Annabel Tempest is the illustrator of a number of picture books and board books. She holds a degree in fashion and textiles and has worked as a freelance illustrator on everything from maps and packaging to greeting cards and children’s books. She lives in the beautiful Somerset countryside in the UK with her husband and a houseful of muddy boys and dogs. Learn more about Annabel at www.annabeltempest.com.

On Instagram: annabel.tempest

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Scooper and Dumper by Lindsay Ward

Scooper and Dumper are best friends, trucks who take care of their town in all sorts of weather. One day, a big snowstorm hits the city, and they’re called into action to save the day!

Scooper and Dumper, by Lindsay Ward, (Feb. 2021, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542092685
Ages 3-6

Lindsay Ward’s latest outing is a rhyming story of friendship, bravery, and trucks! Scooper and Dumper are friends taking care of their town, but have to head to the big city to help out when a big snowstorm hits, but Dumper finds himself in trouble when he hits an icy road that’s caused a pileup! When no other trucks can get through to help, it’s up to Scooper to save the day. The story is such a positive study of helping, friendship, and teamwork, that caregivers are going to love it as much as the kiddos will. The digital illustrations are just adorable – Scooper is bright, cheery yellow with a red and white polka dotted bow on her hood; Dumper is a baby blue with a sweet smile. Word balloons break up the story text and give it a graphic novel feel. Think of these two as cousins to Lindsay Ward’s WWII heroine, Rosie: getting the job done with a smile and some good, old-fashioned determination. Perfect for storytime reading, Scooper and Dumper will work with some toy trucks, flannels, and lots of car songs and fingerplays!

 

It’s been an… eventful start to the New Year, so let’s start things off with a giveaway. One lucky winner will win their own copy of Scooper and Dumper by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway here. U.S. addresses only, please!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Snow Dancer by Addie Boswell and Merce Lopez

Was there ever a more perfect book than The Snow Day to describe that feeling when you first hit that first-fallen snow?

The Snow Dancer, by Addie Boswell/Illustrated by Mercè López,
(Dec. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542093170
Ages 4-8

A girl named Sofia wakes up to discover a snow-white world. The snow has fallen while she slept, and it’s unblemished, perfect, on the ground, just waiting. She exclaims “SNOW DAY!” and runs out to enjoy the stillness, the beauty, the absolute wonder of the snow day. She races to the park, and finds it empty, untouched, pristine; she joyfully dances through the crunchy snow until other neighborhood kids show up. But once they do, the spell is broken as they charge into the playground, laughing, pushing, and making a giant mess out of the quiet. Sofia’s solitude is broken until she meets a new little friend with fairy wings and a snowsuit, asking if she is a fairy. The two new friends dance their own dance and join the other kids, creating a wonderful snow day for all. A story of solitude and resilience, Snow Dancer is a gorgeous book to welcome the winter.

Kids and adults alike will get lost in the prose, so evocative of childhood memories: “fuzzy hats on the fire hydrants”, and “her voice hung in the still air. / No buses squealed. / No cars honked. / No neighbors shouted” bring back those incredible memories of being the first one awake and discovering the snow day. Kids will also feel it when the neighborhood kids show up and wreck Sofia’s solitude, and admire her resilience in making the most of her day, especially when making a new friend. Mercè López’s artwork brings the quiet beauty of a snowy morning to life, the mayhem of the manic play as kids try to fit as much as possible into the day, and the quiet solitude at the end of the day as Sofia curls up in a chair, with a mug (of hot chocolate? of soup?) and her cat. A wonderful winter story that will work for storytime and anytime.

 

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“A spirited paean to the snow day that will appeal to children and their parents.” —Booklist

“Vivid imagery, onomatopoeia, and supple blue-gradient typography enliven Sofia’s journey as she learns to share her snow day. A dynamic tale of cooperation, adaptation, and friendship.” —Publishers Weekly

Addie Boswell is an artist and writer living in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in murals and picture books that focus on family, community, and the creative power of children. Her recent titles include Go, Bikes, Go! and Go, Boats, Go!, both illustrated by Alexander Mostov, and Five on the Bed, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her debut book, The Rain Stomper, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, was the winner of the Oregon Spirit Award. Learn more about the author at www.addieboswell.com.

Mercè López is an artist from Barcelona, Spain. She holds a degree in illustration from Llotja Art School in Barcelona. Her recent title Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas received multiple starred reviews and was named a Center for Children’s Books Gryphon Honor Book, an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a Kirkus Best Picture Book, and a Parents Magazine Best Kids’ Book, among other accolades. Learn more about the artist at www.mercelopez.com.
Instagram: mercelopez

 

 

 

Win a copy of The Snow Dancer for your collection! Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Comet, The Unstoppable Reindeer!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and… ALL HECK WAS BREAKING LOOSE! The elves are stressed, and a fight breaks out in the toy factory. Comet, one of Santa’s reindeer, can’t stand fights, so he tries to break things up and ends up with a broken arm. The doctor grounds him for Christmas Eve; Santa puts a rookie named Freddie on sleigh detail, and Comet is distraught. Everyone’s gone home, Santa and the reindeer are off on their flight, and he’s just lonely. But wait! Santa forgot his sack of toys! And he’s not answering his phone! Comet’s got a chance to make Christmas right, and he’s taking it: but it ain’t going to be easy for this poor reindeer!

Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer, by Jim Benton, (Sept. 2020, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542043472
Ages 4-8

A laugh-out-loud tale of saving Christmas, Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer is by Jim Benton, who we all know and love from such books as the Franny K. Stein series, Catwad, Clyde, Dear Dumb Diary, Attack of the Stuff, and Happy Bunny. It’s a rhyming tale of heroism, unanswered cell phones, massive internal injury, and the spirit of endurance. Jim Benton’s cartoony artwork ties this story together with bulging eyes, a ginormous sack of toys, and a poor reindeer pratfalling all over the world. It’s hilarious, it’s adorable, and it’s pure Jim Benton. My Kiddo has gleefully read this to me twice, giggling madly as he turns the pages. Lighten up your Christmas holidays with Comet.

★“Along with being lit up by themes of caring for others and shouldering responsibility, this hilarious seasonal outing offers great read-aloud potential for its regular but natural-sounding metrics and rhyme.” —Booklist (starred review)

 

“You might want to gift this one a little earlier than Christmas so you can read it to your little ones every night leading up to December 25. It’s the adorable (and all-too relatable) tale of Comet, an unstoppable reindeer.” —Parade

Jim Benton is the award-winning creator of the New York Times bestselling series Dear Dumb Diary and Franny K. Stein as well as the popular It’s Happy Bunny brand. His books have sold more than fifteen million copies in twenty-five countries and have garnered numerous honors. Like Comet, Jim knows what it’s like to hobble around in a cast; however, he is still learning to fly. Find out more about him at JimBenton.com.

 

Instagram: @jimbentonshots

Twitter: @JimBenton

Facebook: Jim K Benton, Author

It’s the holidays, so I’ve got a giveaway! Win your very own copy of Comet the Unstoppable Reindeer: U.S. addresses only, please, and no P.O. Boxes. Visit the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Rescue Rabbits!

The Rescue Rabbits, by Eric Seltzer/Illustrated by Roland Garrigue, (Nov. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-5420-4263-5

Ages 3-6

Kids who love Paw Patrol are going to go nuts for this group of Rescue Rabbits! Ace, Dot, Chip, and Spot rescue all kinds of animals from trouble; crowding into their helicopter and flying off wherever they’re needed, they’ve got all sorts of wild gadgets on hand to get the job done. When they come up against the Rex the Rhino Prince, though, they’ve got their work cut out for them. Rex is a little high-maintenance, and the Rabbits realize that they have to call for a little more help: Rhino’s MOM.

Cartoony, with storytelling narration and word bubbles from the characters to add more humor and context, The Rescue Rabbits is perfect reading for fans of shows like Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines. Parents and caregivers will get a chuckle out of the specially branded gadgets the Rabbits use: it’s like a Target toy aisle in here! Rex Rhino is hilariously exhausting as the cossetted prince; kids will get a big laugh out of his desire to be rescued on his own terms and bigger laughs when they see Mom on the way (we all know what that means!) The colorful art and constant action, plus the cool gadgets, make this a fun readaloud for the kiddos. Let’s see if The Rescue Rabbits find themselves on another adventure soon!

 

Eric Seltzer received his BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. He worked as a TV graphics designer and an advertising art director before writing and illustrating children’s books. His book Four Pups and a Worm was an IRA/CBC Children’s Book Choice, and The Long Dog was named a Gryphon Award Honor Book. He recently published the board book Arf! Buzz! Cluck! illustrated by David Creighton-Pester. Eric lives with his family in Michigan.

Roland Garrigue is a prolific children’s book illustrator from Paris who attended art school in Strasbourg, France. His recent books include Cavekid Birthday, written by Cathy Breisacher, and Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters, written by Rachel Kolar. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @rolandgarrigue.

“Readers will see in these pages a gentle spoof of cartoons and blockbusters that include endless product tie-ins, but the story also offers an amusing tribute to competency-themed pretend play.” —Publishers Weekly

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Rescue Rabbits, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, by Josh Funk

Josh Funk returns with the latest in his It’s Not A Fairy Tale series with a sassy little girl who’s one step ahead of the narrator. Get ready, friends, because…

It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, by Josh Funk/Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor,
(10/2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542006668
Ages 4-7

Little Red is a little girl who lives with her family in a little cottage in the woods, so when the Narrator shows up and starts telling her to put on a red cape and go visit her sick grandmother in the woods, she’s got questions. Lots and lots of questions: why is the Narrator sending a little girl with a giant basket into the woods all alone? Why does she have to wear red? And why does she have to walk, when she usually takes a carriage? Regardless, she listens to the narrator and heads off to Grandma’s, in spite of being concerned about the Narrator’s willingness to keep putting her in danger, and meeting an amusing, if unexpected, cast of characters. The story of Red Riding Hood is turned on its head as the Narrator becomes flustered and Red keeps pointing out big problems in the story.

With different fonts to denote different speakers (Narrator in conversation mode versus Narrator in story narration mode, plus word balloons for character dialogue), expressive sounds and snappy back and forth banter between characters, the laughs come fast and frequent for readers here. Edwardian Taylor’s artwork is hilarious fun, loaded with little extras, exaggerated expressions, and fairy tale cameos aplenty.

The This is Not a Fairy Tale series is just too much fun, and a welcome addition to fractured fairy tale collections. The kids in my library love them – especially when I give Narrators and characters different, increasingly manic voices. You can’t read these with a serious voice, and that is a good, good thing. Let yourself be as silly as you want to be – your littles will appreciate it.

 

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let’s do it. I’ve got a great giveaway thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing.

Two Lions is offering all three books in the It’s Not a Fairytale series–It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, and It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood  to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only, please). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

 

Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of many popular picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. He lives in New England with his family. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com.

 

Twitter @joshfunkbooks

Instagram: @joshfunkbooks

 

Edwardian Taylor is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Race!, written by Sue Fliess; the Toy Academy chapter books, written by Brian Lynch; and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, written by Josh Funk. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com.

Twitter: @edwardiantaylor

Instagram: edwardiantaylor

Tumblr: Edwardian Taylor

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour: Super Rooster Saves the Day!

Get your cape on, put on the Chicken Dance, and turn up the volume, because here comes SUPER ROOSTER!

Super Rooster Saves the Day, by Maureen Wright/Illustrated by Rob McClurkan,
(Oct. 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542007788
Ages 4-7

Ralph the Rooster wants to be a superhero. He borrows the farmer’s kerchief to use as a cape. He reads superhero books. He crows flies, makes himself invisible… within reason, of course. The other farm animals are a bit dubious as to Super Rooster’s status as a superhero, but his best friend, Rosie the Pig, is always in his corner! Life on the farm really isn’t terribly exciting, but one day, when the farmer leaves the radio on in the barn, Ralph hears a song that changes his life… the Chicken Dance. With a cheep-cheep-cheep, a flap-flap-flap, a wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, and a clap-clap-clap, he is off and running! The only problem? Where Ralph sees opportunities to be a superhero, the other animals see the ordinary: until the chance to save the day appears. Will Ralph rise to the occasion and save the day?

Super Rooster Saves the Day is such fun! The digital artwork is expressive and cartoony, with picture book and comic book-type panels throughout; there are sound effects and repetition, making this a super read-aloud choice and a great book to give to your superhero fans. The colors are bright and the text is bold and black, popping right off the page. The sound effects and Chicken Dance movements just beg listeners to jump up and dance along.

Absolute fun for a farm or a superhero readaloud – heck, add some of John Himmelman’s “To the Rescue” books (Chickens, Cows, Pigs, Ducks) and have the best of both worlds. And whatever you do, play The Chicken Dance LOUD.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour: IT IS (NOT) PERFECT

It’s a good day when Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant put out another book, especially when that book is one of the (NOT) books, starring two of my favorite fuzzy friends. Tomorrow is that day, my friends.

It Is (Not) Perfect, by Anna Kang/Illustrated by Christopher Weyant,
(May 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542016629
Ages 3-7

Purple and Brown are enjoying a day at the beach, gleefully constructing a sand castle. After an initial round of consideration, each decides it’s not yet perfect, adding little finishing  touches. But it seems like all their friends around them (you’ll catch very familiar faces and legs) have an opinion, too. As Purple and Brown try to appease everyone, driving themselves to include every change, the sweet little sandcastle becomes and overwrought palace… and Mother Nature hasn’t yet contributed her opinion.

What makes something “perfect”, and at what point do we appreciate something (or someone) simply for what it is? These are the questions posed here, and Kang and Weyant do so in a way that takes a potentially overwhelming or upsetting subject and makes it fun for kids to digest and laugh at. Most of us are people pleasers at heart, and kids more than most are easily stressed out trying to make everyone around them happy at their own expense. It Is (Not) Perfect shows them the sillier side of what happens when you try to please everyone, while showing readers that there’s always something waiting around the corner, that doesn’t care about anyone’s idea of perfect. Be happy and embrace what you’ve got! If you think its perfect, it is. And so are you.

Psst…publisher Two Lions has a Teachers Pay Teachers page, with loads of downloadables available for free, including educator guides and activity kits for You Are (Not) Small.

 

Christopher Weyant’s artwork is familiar and adorable, with lots of familiar friends from past (Not) books, a bright beach setting, and enthusiastic dialogue balloons that make this so much fun to read with a partner (like my 7 year old). He brings such life to Anna Kang’s fun storytelling; a sense of play runs throughout all of the artwork.

Yet another must-add to my storytime collection – and yours! – and a great inspiration for sand castles everywhere. Don’t let quarantine woes get you down: make moon sand with your kids at home. It will be PERFECT.

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.

Twitter: @annakang27 @chrisweyant05

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant 

Facebook: Anna Kang – Author; Christopher Weyant

“Colorful cartoon illustrations add a lightheartedness to what could be a stressful real-life situation for kids. Another life lesson neatly packaged in child centric humor.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This award-winning duo have created a lovely tribute to the old adage that perfect is the enemy of good. Recommended for purchase for all collections.” —School Library Journal

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Blog Tour: World So Wide

Have you ever connected with a child and just wanted to celebrate every moment, every experience, every second of them? That’s the story at the heart of this gorgeous rhyming ode to life, Alison McGhee’s World So Wide.

World So Wide, by Alison McGhee/Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh,
(March 2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 781542006330
Ages 2-6

A couple imagine their newborn’s first moments: first sights; first sounds; first smells; first touches. It’s an exploration of the senses, of nature, and the captivating, all-consuming love that parents and babies have for one another. Phrased with questions and answers: “What will be the first sights they see? / Sun and moon and sky… / the love in someone’s eye?”, the story moves in verse throughout the family’s life together; through toddlerhood, adulthood, and, to show the cyclical nature of life, parenthood again, with a new father, holding his baby as he was once held, overjoyed and completely in love.

 

Kate Alizadeh’s digital illustrations paint pastel landscapes of flowery fields and family rooms; parents gently holding a baby and staring lovingly at one another. Paired with Alison McGhee’s ode to parental adoration, World So Wide comes together as a beautiful exploration of parenthood through the senses, through nature, and the future. The family appears multicultural, with a brown-skinned mom and a white, fair-haired dad. I adored Alison McGhee’s Someday; she has a gift for speaking to what’s in my heart as a mom, and she does it again with World So Wide. She takes those small moments that we wish could last forever, and gives them a voice, so we know we’re not alone. World So Wide is a lovely storytime choice, and I’d consider this a good baby shower gift, too.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour Stop: Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

Bernard isn’t like other birds, but he doesn’t let that stop him from trying to fly! It takes a sad orangutan to help Bernard realize his true purpose, though…

Bird Hugs, by Ged Adamson, (Feb. 2020, Two Lions),
$17.99, ISBN: 978-1542092715
Ages 3-7

Bird Hugs is such a sweet story! Bernard is a little purple bird with very big wings. They just can’t keep him in the air, no matter what he does. He sadly watches his friends soar into the skies as (adorably silly) attempts fall flat. When he’s at his most dejected, though, he sees a crying orangutan… and gives him a BIG HUG. Who doesn’t love a hug, right? Well, it turns out that this is Bernard’s purpose in life: those big wings let him wrap everyone up in a warm, loving hug, and boy, do the animals need it! Day after day, Bernard hugs his way through a line of animals who need a hug, a sympathetic ear, and a kind soul to be present. What a wonderful message.

Bernard is adorable, and kids are going to love spending time with him. He’s sympathetic and empathetic all at once; he’ll give readers a giggle as his attempts to fly bring him all to close to the ground, and readers will feel for the little guy as he struggles with seeing other friends do things he can’t do, and he feels left behind. The book changes perspectives, moving from horizontal to vertical spreads, adding interest to a readaloud. Ged Adamson’s pencil and watercolor artwork creates sweetly pastel animals and landscapes for readers to wander in, and the endpapers – representations of Bernard’s very, very long wings – are just fun.

Bird Hugs is a sweet story about sharing friendship, empathy, and the importance of just being available.

 

Ged Adamson is a children’s book author and illustrator. His picture books include A Fox Found a Box; Douglas, You Need Glasses!; Shark Dog!; and Ava and the Rainbow (Who Stayed). He has also worked as a cartoonist, storyboard artist, and composer for film and TV. He lives in London with his partner, Helen, and son, Rex. To learn more, visit his website: https://gedadamson.myportfolio.com/home-page 

Twitter: @ged_adamson 

Instagram: @gedadamson