Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

’80s storytime: Good Times Roll

Good Times Roll, by Ric Ocasek/Illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr., (Oct. 2021, Akashic Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9781617758485

I’m a 70s and 80s kid, and Akashic’s LyricPop books give me such joy. This latest one is based on The Cars’s 1978 hit, “(Let the) Good Times Roll”. Rob Sayegh Jr. brings a playful spin to this song with two cats, a ball of yarn, and a lot of imagination. The two cats play together as they create waves, rainbows, and zooming planets and stars with the yarn, frolicking through lyrics like, “Let them leave you up in the air. / Let them brush your rock and roll hair. / Let the good times roll”. It’s playful, it’s bright, it’s just fun: just what your ’80s storytime needs.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Toddler Reads

Vocabulary the Dickens Way – Cozy Classics’ Great Expectations

great_coverCozy Classics: Great Expectations, by Holman Wang and Jack Wang (March 2016, Chronicle Books), $9.95, ISBN: 9781452152431

Recommended for infant-3 years

The brothers behind one of my favorite board book series, Star Wars Yarns, is back with their Cozy Classics series, this time, tackling Charles Dickens. But seriously, don’t sweat it – they’re teaching our wee ones vocabulary, using their adorable felted yarn figures and words related to the Dickens’ tale. Words like “boy”, “help”, “manners”, and “old”, set against the backdrop of the Victorian epic, give extra feel to the words. I particularly love Pip – the “boy” – standing on the first page of the story. Parents will love it, kids will think it’s something cool (because it is). “greatexpec_1





greatexpec_2Miss Havisham illustrates the word “old”. With her tattered dress and her worn expression, young readers will see that old takes on many meanings – the dress is old, Miss Havisham is old, and are those cobwebs surrounding her in that picture? Explain that cobwebs form when something hasn’t been moved or dusted in a while.






Naturally, Estella is “pretty”. See Pip staring at her from behind the wall? That speaks volumes – she’s pretty, and Pip has a crush on her. greatexpec_3


There are about 12 illustrations and words in Cozy Classics: Great Expectations, with great words that aren’t sight words – it’s a real chance to expand kids’ vocabulary. The Wang brothers’ art is amazing – my Star Wars Yarns books are never on the shelf here at the library – and I think it’s time to bring some Cozy Classics to my home and work libraries.

I love this classics to teach concepts trend. BabyLit does it, Cozy Classics does it, and Mini Myths teaches kids Greek myths on a level that makes complete sense in today’s world. The books make for great storytimes, and you can get moms, dads, and caregivers to pick up a grown-up book, too – pair up your board books with their companion grown-up titles for a heck of a list!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, geek culture, Science Fiction, Toddler

Star Wars Epic Yarns: Train your youngest readers in the ways of The Force.

Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope (ISBN: 978-1-4521-3393-5), The Empire Strikes Back (ISBN: 978-1-4521-3499-4), Return of the Jedi (ISBN: 978-1-4521-3500-7), by Jack & Holman Wang (2015, Chronicle Books), $9.95

9781452133935_350Recommended for all ages

I love Star Wars, and am crazy about all the concept books coming out so I can get my toddler on board early. He’s already got Star Wars 123 and Star Wars ABC, and next on the list will be these three adorable board books that teach exciting new words and introduce all readers to the greatest trilogy in the galaxy.

Each book covers a movie in the original Star Wars trilogy, using words kids will be familiar with (“princess”, “boy”, “heroes”) with new words that can only enhance a youngling’s vocabulary (“Force”, “droids”, “lightsaber”). The books are sturdy and can are ready to be held by little hands over and over again.9781452135007_350

Let’s just talk about the amazing work that the Wangs have put into these books. Created with figures made of needle-felted yarn and set against movie-esque backdrops, these pictures are gorgeous. This is a tremendous level of artistry that leaves me shaking my head in wonder. Kids are going to love these child-friendly faces and words, and there are many, many cuddly storytimes ahead with these books in hand.


Look at the work that went into this series, courtesy of, and check out this behind-the-scenes video. And then, go get your copies!