Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Noodlehead Nightmares

Noodlehead Nightmares
By Tedd Arnold and Mitch Weiss
Illustrated by Tedd Arnold
Holiday House, 2016. Comic. unpag.
Mac and Mac are real noodleheads.  No, seriously, their heads are made out of noodles, macaroni noodles to be precise. Though they try to hide the fact by wearing hats, there really isn't anything up where their brains should be and it shows in the decisions they make.  Don't like making your bed? Sleep outside instead.  Lose your feather pillow? Try sleeping on a wooden chest full of feathers. Arnold understands the sense of humor of 1st or 2nd graders, and is careful to write the text to match his target audience's reading level. The color comic-book style illustrations just add to the fun.  Kids who like Arnold's Fly Guy will love this silly new graphic novel series

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Because of an Acorn

Because of an Acorn
By Lola M. Schaefer
Chronicle Books, 2016. Nonfiction. 36p.

Because of an acorn, a tree grows. That tree attracts birds who scatter seeds, which then grow flowers. Each page in this nonfiction picture book has a single phrase of text and rich, earth-toned images of forest plants and animals. This is a perfect introduction to ecosystems for very young children.

Monday, April 24, 2017


By Mac Barnett illustrated by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press, 2017.

Triangle lives in a triangle place. His house is the shape of a triangle. His door is the shape of a triangle. There are triangle shapes all around his house. One day Triangle decides to play a “sneaky trick” on Square. He travels past all the places where there are triangles, past the places where there are non-shapes, and into the place where there are square shapes to Square’s house. Triangle stands outside Square’s house and hisses like a snake (Square is afraid of snakes). When Square realizes that it was Triangle playing a trick on him, he chases Triangle all the way back to Triangle’s house. Where Square is finally able to get Triangle back. This is a story that seems simple—yet really is very clever. Kids and adults will both enjoy reading this one again and again. And with the great story by Barnett and wonderful illustrations by Klassen, I have a hunch that this will be a classic for many years to come. (And I am hoping that perhaps there will be other adventures with other shapes in this world…) Such fun!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Laundry Day

Laundry Day
By Jessixa Bagley
Roaring Brook Press, 2017. Picture Book.

Tic and Tac are bored, so when their Mama Badger suggests that they help with hanging up the laundry, they think that is a great idea--especially when she leaves to run errands and they decide to continue their adventure even when all the laundry is done. When Mama returns home she has a surprise waiting for her.

Any parent who has ever had a child “help” them will relate to this humorous picture book. A fun read to share with your child, just be forewarned what they might come up with the next time they eagerly want to help you with the laundry.

One Lonely Fish

One Lonely Fish
By Andy Mansfield & Thomas Flintham
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2017. Picture Book.

One lonely fish in the ocean is soon joined by others--but as each additional wants to eat its predecessor, there is soon only one lonely fish again. Humorous, colorful, cutout pages make this an entertaining counting book. Make sure to pay attention to the crabs at the bottom of the pages!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

From Story Time: Colors!

Read in Book Babies

By Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016.  Picture Book.

Pete the Badger likes everything "just so."  He tidies and tidies all over the forest until everything is clean as can be.  But then when autumn comes...a leaf falls.  Well in fall, lots of leaves fall!  Pete's tidying reaches outrageous proportions, with some unexpected consequences for himself and his forest friends.  Luckily Pete is a responsible forest dweller, and he and his friends work hard to set things right.  Gravett's classic illustrations and rhyming text create an engaging read aloud that encourages responsible environmental behavior.  And honestly, the layered cut-out cover is to die for!

Read in Toddler Time

By Tedd Arnold
Holiday House, 2015.  Picture Book.

Vincent (yes, that Vincent) is ready to paint his house.  But when he chooses a color and starts to paint, he's stopped by the spider who claims it's HIS house, and that he wants a different color.  This happens over and over with different creatures, producing an end result that makes everyone happy!  A fitting homage to the great Van Gogh, this book will introduce some fantastically fun color names via Vincent's painterly palette.

Read in Preschool Time

By Hervé Tullet
Handprint Books, 2014.  Picture Book.

If you loved PRESS HERE, chances are you're going to love Tullet's next interactive book.  Using little fingers to smudge paint splotches, as well as squishing pages together and shaking the book to mix colors, little ones just may think that this is the most magical book ever.  Be sure to check out LET'S PLAY as well!

Read in Preschool Time

By Sarah Aspinall
The Blue Sky Press, 2016.  Picture Book.

These bright-eyed penguins love their colors, so they decide to paint a colorful picture for Mama Penguin in the snow.  Before you know it, the penguins are covered in their paint colors too!  Simple text and full page spreads for each color make this a great read aloud for toddlers learning their colors or for anyone who loves penguins.

Read in Preschool Time

Written by Eric Litwin
Illustrated by James Dean
Harper, 2008.  Picture Book.

Pete the Cat loves his white shoes!  But they don't stay white for long when he steps in colorful things like fruit and mud as he's singing and walking down the street.  But Pete's a cool cat and doesn't let anything ruin his day.  He just keeps "walking along and singing his song."  This is a fun little book that reinforces colors and adds a great reminder to not sweat the small stuff.

Read in Monday Cuentos

By Chris Wormell
Editorial Juventud, 2004.  Spanish Picture Book.

This tale focuses on two frog friends sitting on a lily pad. One of the frogs has a stick to protect himself from the dog. When his friend laughs at him for his fears and falls into the pond, the friend soon realizes how useful a little planning ahead can be.  (Publisher)

Read in Friday Cuentos

Written by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.  Spanish Board Book.

La cuidad sí que es un lugar rápido y ruidoso para un pequeño camión de campo como Azulito. Todos empujando para ser el primero, ¡pronto se arma un gigantesco atasco! Afortunadamente, el camioncito azul viene a solucionarlo todo, en puro estilo Azul. Esta nueva aventura hace que colaborar y tomar turnos sea más divertido que nunca.  (Publisher)

Love Is

Love Is
By Diane Adams
Illustrated by Claire Keane
Chronicle Kids, 2017. Picture Book.

Springtime brings a sense of newness and excitement. Adams has created a sentimental and touching experience with this picture book. The illustrations are beautiful soft colors. The story follows a little girl who finds a baby chick which she adopts for her own. The emotions shown by this cartoon character are so vivid I found myself feeling concern and compassion for the chick and empathizing with the little girl. As the story progresses I realized each reader can interpret a deeper meaning. Adams perfectly portrays sacrifice and knowing when to let go. I related it to specific experiences and relationships in my own life and found it to be a perfect companion for the start of spring.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ellington was not a street

by Ntozake Shange
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004.

"it hasn't always been this way
ellington was not a street"

The opening line to this illustrated poem by noted poet Ntozake Shange takes us into a world before civil rights. Shange tries to explain what it was like as a young African American when some of the world's biggest names used to come to her house and talk politics with her father.

I think this is a simple, powerful tool to introduce children to some of the important African American names that have shaped our country.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(A Junior Novel)
by Michael Kogge
Disney/Lucas Press. 2016. Fiction. 182 p.
This is just what the title suggests.  It is a retelling of the movie, The Force Awakens, written for a grade school age audience and it is surprisingly well done. The story is true to the movie, but adds a few tantalizing details that were left of the final cut. For instance, how does Poe Dameron get back to the rebel base?  How did Rey learn to fly a star fighter?  What happened to Finn before his fateful first battle at Jakku?  You can find the answers in this book.  Kogge keeps the degree of detail for the combat scenes and the relationships appropriate for the target age group. This is a great choice for a reluctant reader or avid Star Wars fan. This is also available as an audio download.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring

Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring
By Rebecca Bond
Charlesbridge, 2017. Easy reader. 48p.

On the first day of spring, Pig makes a nice picnic for herself by the pond and meets Goose. Pig admires Goose’s flying and swimming abilities and is disappointed when her efforts to imitate him fail. But when Pig invites Goose to a spring party, we learn that Pig has some very amazing talents of her own.

This beginning reader book is a lovely start to a new animal friendship duo in the tradition of Frog and Toad. It has a very nostalgic feel, with a safe and friendly world, gentle humor, warm companionship, lots of time spent in nature, and small setbacks being overcome by a sincere and joyful outlook on life. The pastoral watercolor illustrations are soft and dreamy, and the text is simple but by no means simplistic. A great choice as a very early chapter book or as a read-aloud.