Friday, November 7, 2014

October Round-Up


Image from PublishersWeekly.com
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino
NorthSouth Books, 2014
9780735841635

“Once upon a time, there was a little crocodile. And this little crocodile didn’t like water.” And that makes him so sad because his brothers and sisters love water so much. He tries really hard to like it, but each attempt is a failure. What’s a little crocodile to do? The soft colors and cartoonish lines of the illustrations compliment the concise, yet compelling text. Several sets of sequential panels allow for more detail and expression and the page turns are strategically placed for maximum effect. Read this book for a preschool storytime and enjoy the moment when the kids figure out the plot twist. 


Image from KidsCanPress.com
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki, Illustrated by Qin Ling
Kids Can Press, 2014
978189786331

Little Hana Hashimoto longs to play the violin like her Ojiichan (grandfather). Hana is just a beginner, but she practices and practices for the upcoming school talent show. Her brother’s worry she will be an embarrassment, but Hana surprises them. Instead of playing classical music, she plucks out the sound of rain on a paper umbrella, lowing cows, squeaking mice, and croaking frogs. Set in Japan, the soft pencil and digital illustrations quietly compliment the descriptive, humble text. Use this book with elementary aged students to start a discussion about the musical sounds we hear in our everyday world.


Image from BenClanton.com
Rex Wrecks It by Ben Clanton
Candlewick, 2014
978-0763665012

Gizmo, Sprinkles, and Wild love to build towers out of blocks, but their friend Rex just loves to wreck them! No matter how big, strong or awesomerific the towers, Rex wrecks them all. What are the friends to do? With colorful and dynamic illustrations done in ink, pencil, watercolor, and “digital magic”, this story is great for a preschool or toddler storytime. The concise text is just the right length for a read aloud and it’s fun to get the audience to “RAWR!” along with Rex.


Image from MacBarnett.com
Telephone by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jen Corace
Chronicle Books, 2014
9781452110233

Peter’s mom wants him to come home for dinner. So she passes the message down the bird covered telephone wire. Unfortunately, the birds get the message a little confused. Will Peter understand it when it finally gets to him? The playfully humorous all dialogue text is perfect for an elementary aged audience. Corace’s watercolor, ink, gouache, and pencil illustrations feature soft colors, precise edges, and visual humor galore. Follow up with your own game of telephone.


-Amy

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Round-Up


Image from ChronicleBooks.com
Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet
Chronicle Books, 2014
9781452137353

In the spirit of his wildly popular Press Here, Tullet tackles colors in a highly interactive and playful manner. The cheerful text provides instructions that encourages readers to explore color mixing and to make predictions. The painted illustrations are vivid and textured as the colors splash and spatter about the pages. This is a great book for an all ages storytime or for one-on-one sharing. It also supports the ECRR2 practice of play.  


Image from HMHCo.com
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Clarion Books, 2014
9780544104433

Nana lives in New York City. A place her small grandson finds busy, loud, and full of scary things. But then Nana makes him a cape to keep him brave and shows him all the things she loves about her city. Simple text paired with vibrant colors and bold black outlines give the illustrations a playful, cartoonish tone. Castillo has created wonderfully modern and vivacious grandmother. Share this with a child before visiting the city or visiting a grandparent.


Image from RandomHouse.com
Quest by Aaron Becker
Candlewick, 2014
9780763665951

The sequel to last year’s Journey, this wordless adventure turns a rainy day at the city park into a magical quest. The two friends from Journey, armed with their red and purple chalk sticks, use their imagination to follow the clues on a map and save the hidden kingdom. The detailed watercolor, pen and ink illustrations draw the reader into the story, searching for clues and anticipating the adventure on the next page. This book is fascinating and enjoyable as a standalone title, as well as a sequel. Try giving this book to a child on a rainy afternoon. Check out the tantalizing book trailer


Image from RandomHouse.com
Tiny Creatures: TheWorld of Microbes by Nicola Davies, Illustrated by Emily Sutton
Candlewick, 2014
9780763673154

This non-fiction title celebrates the microscopic, yet vitally important, world of microbes! Engaging and concise, the text compares and contrasts the size and number of microbes in an easily relatable fashion. The watercolor illustrations feature a red-headed pair of children and their cat who explore the world of microbes along with the reader. A vast variety of microbes are presented in visually stunning ways using the large trim size well. Although more indepth information on microbes would have been a nice addition to the back matter, this is still a wonderful title to recommend for an elementary classroom read aloud. It is a great introduction to microbes and it has a solid STEM connection.


-Amy

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Round-Up


Image from MiniGrey.com
Hermelin: The Detective Mouse as told to Mini Grey
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
9780385754330

There’s a lot of mysterious stuff happening on Offley Street. Good thing Hermelin’s around to use his mouse-y detective skills. He solves the mystery of the Lost Glasses of Dr. Parker and the Dramatic Rescue of Baby McMumbo. But how will the neighbors react when they realize their celebrated sleuth is a rodent?  This romp of a mystery is chockfull of humorous narration by Hermelin and delicious visuals clues hidden in the mixed media illustrations. Try leaving it lying around and let elementary school aged kids pour over the illustrations. Offley Street is populated by a whimsical set of neighbors and  Hermelin is a curious, goodhearted protagonist, much like Eve Titus’s Anatole. Although the ending is satisfying, Grey leaves the reader clues that could very well led to more adventures for Hermelin and his new friend Emily.


Image from SimonandSchuster.com
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
9781442459359

Look out! Here comes the Hug Machine! Ready to give everyone a hug – young or old, short or tall! He might look like a boy, but he’s actually a Hug Machine that runs on pizza! No matter what the Hug Machine is always open for business! This expressive read aloud is a fun book for a Valentine’s Day themed toddler storytime. Written from the boy’s point of view, the text is energetic and humorous. The watercolor illustrations feature exaggerated characters, especially the long-armed Hug Machine. Don’t miss the whimsical endpapers!


Image from RandomHouse.com
I Feel Five! By Bethanie Deeney Murguia
Candlewick Press, 2014
9780763662912

Fritz wakes up knowing that today he’ll feel different because today he’s five! Except he doesn’t feel different. He still can’t tie his shoelaces and none of his teeth are even the tiniest bit loose! Will he ever feel five? The easy to read font plus bright, cartoonish pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations make this a fun title for preschool storytime. Try using it for a birthday themed storytime along with A Letter for Amy by Ezra Jack Keats.


Image from TundraBooks.com
Nancy Knows by Cybèle Young
Tundra Books, 2014
9781770494824

They say an elephant never forgets…but Nancy might have forgotten something important. So she tries to remember things she knows – things that are the same and things that are different, things with wheels, and places to relax. She remembers them backwards and forwards, this way and that. What is it that Nancy can’t remember? The highlight of this delightful book is the loose, yet precise artwork created with graphite pencil and sculptures made with Japanese papers. Simple text and delicate illustrations pair perfectly to illustrate concepts (messy vs. clean, backwards vs. forwards). The short text and the happy ending make this a great book for storytime.


-Amy

Saturday, August 9, 2014

July Round-Up


Image from ChronicleBooks.com
At the Same Moment,Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
Chronicle Books, 2014
9781452122083

Flying from one time zone to the next the same moment around the world is examined. So many things are happening! Diego has just been born in Lima, Peru. In Anadyr, Russia Ivan is walking his dog. And Samantha is driving a train through the night in the dessert of Arizona. The pencil and digital illustrations are full of swirling movement that pushes the page turns. The cartoon style uses fine outlines to add detail. Originally published in France, the back matter includes information on the history of telling time and time zones. A map of the world, showing all the people featured, folds out from the last page of the book.

Balzer + Bray, 2014
9780062248176
(Galley reviewed)

Louise is an artist and she’s very excited to be creating her masterpiece. She can’t wait to display this pièce de résistance on the Gallery du Fridge! Her little brother Art is excited about his work, too. Unfortunately, his favorite material to use is Louise’s art! Using a palate of mostly red and black, Light looks at a close sibling relationship and the joy of creating art for those we love. The black pencil and Photoshop illustrations pair nicely with the concise narration by Louise. A great book for storytime or to use one-on-one to discuss the good intentions of a younger sibling to an older sibling.

Image from Randomhouse.com
Remy and Lulu by Kevin Hawkes (with miniatures by Hannah E. Harrison)
Alfred A. Knopf, 2014
9780449810873

Remy and Lulu met one day in the countryside. They shared lunch and then Lulu the dog happily wagged her tail and followed Remy to his next portrait painting job. Remy tells Lulu that his eyes are bad, so instead he paints the essence of a person. Unfortunately, essences don’t make customers happy. But the tiny portraits Lulu paints of portrait posers pets become a sensation! Using a sunny palate, this story celebrates the joy of creating art that speaks to the artist. Hawkes rich brush strokes balance the crisp, slick details of Harrison’s miniatures. The longer length of the text and complexity of the illustrations makes this an excellent title to share with elementary aged children.

Image from RandomHouse.com
Sparky by Jenny Offill, Illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2014
9780375870231

Like many children, the girl in this book wants a pet, but her mother insists the only kind of pet she can get is one that doesn’t need to be walked or fed or bathed. So the girl gets a sloth and she names him Sparky. She loves him completely and devotes lots of time to training him and feeding him, but no matter what she does he falls asleep! What’s a girl to do? Expressive pencil illustrations punctuated with soft watercolor washes bring this humorous story to life. The first person narration from the girl’s point of view is funny in a straight forward manner that will make kids, as well as adults, laugh. A wonderful book for preschool-lower elementary aged children who long for a pet of their own.

-Amy

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Round-Up

Image from SkyPonyPress.com
Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo
Sky Pony Press, 2014
9781628736106

Loosely based on the author’s childhood in China, this story features the son of a Chinese opera composer who longs to be an acrobat in the opera. Through his studies with the choreographer Gai Chui and his father’s encouraging words the young boy learns the value of hard work and dedication. The vibrant colors and swirling movement bring to life the drama of Chinese opera in this heartfelt story. The illustrations and text provide just enough background to set the stage, however the focus of the story stays on the characters. An author’s note provides information on the traditions of Chinese opera and the author’s father Lo Tok who really was an opera composer in China. Suggestions for further reading are included, however because there aren’t many children’s books on the subject the list provides mostly adult titles. Nonetheless, this is a great way to introduce elementary aged students to this beautiful and unique art form.


Image from hmhco.com
Hooray for Hat! By Brian Won
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
9780544159037

Elephant is having a grumpy day, but all that changes when he finds a present on his doorstep. “Hooray for hat!” He shows Zebra, but Zebra is grumpy, too. Good thing there are hats to share, “Hooray for hat!” Soon hat fever has spread to all the animals, “Hooray for friends!” This short, but entirely delightful romp has a straight forward narrative punctuated by the joyful title refrain. The moral – that doing something nice for someone else also makes you feel good – is delivered in a fun and friendly manner. The colorful digital illustrations are set against a white, uncluttered background making this a great book to share with toddlers at storytime. The font is large and easy to read and the movement of the animals naturally pushes the story forward from left to right. Check out the nice printables from the activity kit and the book trailer, both from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  


Image from Bloomsbury.com
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison, Illustrated by Frank Morrison
Bloomsbury, 2014
9781619631786

As she walks down the street and through the park with her mother, a little girl revels in the rhythms of her neighborhood. A simple walk becomes a feast for the senses as she hears the rhythm with her ears, looks at it with her eyes, catches it with her hands, and shakes it with her hips. The catchy beat of the rhyming text make this a great book for a toddler or preschool storytime. Using a sunny palate of colors the oil on canvas illustrations feature a cast of diverse children as they are drawn into the rhythm of the city. The movement and music in the text and illustrations are an enticing invitation for readers to get up to get the rhythm, too.


Image from DavidLaRochelle.com
Moo! by David LaRochelle, Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013
9780802734099

Using just one word, “Moo!”, LaRochelle tells the story of a mischievous cow’s joy-riding adventure on the day he steals the farmer's red convertible. The cartoonish and colorful gouache paint illustrations and large text of this hilarious book will delight toddlers and preschoolers. Winner of the 2014 CLEL Bell Award for Talking, this is a fun book to share one-on-one or with a group at storytime.

-Amy