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

Sunday, June 8, 2014

May Round-Up


Image from PenguinGroup.com
The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014
9780399257186

It seems like a normal morning for this young black haired boy, but then his parents tell him there’s a baby coming. He tries to figure out exactly where babies come from, but he gets conflicting information from his teenage sister, teacher, Grandpa, and Roberto the mailman. Luckily, his parents are able to answer all of his questions. Written in first person from the boy’s point of view, this humorous story will be helpful for caregivers looking to answer their child’s questions about babies. The parents in this book have a short, but informative explanation of how a baby is made accompanied by preschool appropriate illustrations (a sperm and egg meeting in a red circle, a baby inside the womb, and a newborn baby). The back matter includes suggestions for answering the question – where do babies come from? – for children who are curious about the details. Blackall's answers are scientifically correct without being graphic. The illustrations are whimsical and fun, especially the images that the boy conjures up as he hears different explanations of the origin of babies.


Image from Ruzzier.com
Have You Seen My NewBlue Socks? by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Clarion Books, 2013
9780547752679

Can you help the poor duck find his new blue socks? He’s very sure he put them somewhere nearby. Better ask all his friends, maybe they can help. Using short, rhyming sentences and lots of questions, this animal-filled romp is fun to share at a toddler storytime. Ruzzier’s illustrations are pen and ink on watercolor paper. The setting is an amusing surrealistic twist on a storybook landscape of ponds, towers, and clinging vines set against craggy cliffs and sparse trees. Try this story for a clothing/getting dressed or color themed storytime.


Image from HouseofAnansi.com
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant
Groundwood Books, 2014
9781554983476

Morris Micklewhite lives with his mother and a cat named Moo. He’s a happy kid. He loves pancakes on Sundays. And school on Mondays. In fact, school is pretty wonderful. He gets to do puzzles, paint, and have apple juice at snack time. But the best part about school is the tangerine dress. It’s the color of “tigers, the sun, and his mother’s hair.” Morris loves the swish, crinkle, and click of wearing it. But the other kids at school don’t understand. How can Morris make the other children tease him? Will he have to give up his beloved tangerine dress?
Using a combination of straightforward realistic text and wonderful imagery Baldacchino creates the incredibly endearing story of a boy who just wants to be happy. The mixed media illustrations employ charcoal, watercolor, pastels, and Photoshop to create an atmosphere that compliments the realistic/fantastical style of writing. Most notably, the tangerine dress, soft and swirly, stands out against the black lines and definite shapes of the rest of Morris’ world.  This book celebrates being true to yourself, especially because you can think outside the lines. Share this story with preschoolers to start an age appropriate discussion on gender roles and appearance.


Image from JoreyHurley.com
Nest by Jorey Hurley
Simon and Schuster, 2014
9781442489714

This charming non-fiction book follows a year in the lives of a family of American Robins as they build a nest, have a baby, search for food, greet the morning with a song, and finally watch their offspring build a nest of its own. The illustrations, rendered in Photoshop, use clean lines and solid, soft colors. With just one word for each two page spread, this is a great book for a baby storytime. Encourage parents to talk about what’s going on in each illustration, as well as continuing the discussion beyond the book when they see birds outside.

-Amy