I love Jan Thomas’ silly, charming books with her bold, colorful comic-style illustrations, from Rhyming Dust Bunnies to Is Everyone Ready for Fun?Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy is her latest to date, and in my opinion, another hit. The cowboy of the title is actually not so brave; in his attempts to settle his cows down for the night, he interrupts his own lullaby with startled exclamations about what he imagines is lurking in the dark. The cows calm and reassure him--until, that is, something really IS in the shadows!
April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate it, the Fox Cities Book Festival, nature, too, with a sweet and simple poem by versatile author Marion Dane Bauer. Its lines provide the text for this beautiful picture book, with intimate portraits of various wild baby animals and animal families by renowned nature photographer Stan Tekiela (one of the featured authors at this year’s Fox Cities Book Festival). Tekiela captures on camera many young critters, from slow turtle hatchlings to a frisky cougar kitten; from a soft rabbit kit to prickly porcupettes; from little possums hit
“Line up every kind of plant and animal on Earth…and one of every four will be a beetle.” So begins the Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins, a treasure trove of fascinating facts about beetles the world over, including information about body structure, life cycles, communication, defenses, and other beetle behaviors.
Meet Wendell, Wilmer, Willy Woody and Walter—5 bird-like juggler brothers who perform together in a hilarious stage show, while demonstrating basic math concepts such as counting, addition, subtraction and comparison. The reader audience will learn as they laugh at the Wing Wing Brothers’ antics and comic appearance. Parents and teachers will appreciate that the book meets the Common Core Standards for kindergarten mathematics; kids will appreciate the goofiness and fun.
“Why do it?” I asked myself. “Just months ago, you reviewed a book about a dog with a second chance at a happy life (Saving Audie by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent), so why do another so soon?” “I can’t help it!” was my reply. “I’ve fallen in love, and people in love can do foolish things. So there!”
On August 28, 1963, almost 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful and iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. The “Dream” portion of the stirring speech provides the narrative for this picture book, illustrated with inspired and inspiring paintings by Caldecott Honor Award-winning artist Kadir Nelson. Nelson includes portraits of Dr.
Booklover Morris Lessmore methodically records his life one page at a time until a terrible storm carries him away and destroys his words and his surroundings. A young woman, who is being pulled skyward by an array of colorful books, gives him her favorite, which leads him to an extraordinary library. The stories entice Morris who devotes his life to repairing the books and reading the stories to keep them alive.
We’re in the midst of a white winter wonderland in Wisconsin. But for those who long for something green, you’ll find it, in all its many shades, in this lovely picture book. Author/artist Seeger combines simple rhyming text, lush paint-on-canvas illustrations and with cleverly positioned cut out accents, inviting readers to explore and enjoy the presence (and sometimes absence) of green in nature and in everyday objects.
Attention-grabbing large colorful pictures of dragons and a spirited plotline that parallels a child’s morning routine will win over young children in Jane Yolen’s latest picture book. A small knight awakens huge sleeping dragons, feeds them pancakes with a catapult, brushes their fangs and hurries them out so they can fly him to Knight School.
A little brown bunny and a little blue bird become friends one spring and play with one another until it is time for the bird to fly south. The friends miss each other through the long winter months until they are reunited again the following spring. This book showcases the theme of friendship with a beautiful message that distance can’t hinder friendship. Berger’s illustrations are the showpiece of this picture book, containing backdrops of loose-leaf and graph paper, newspaper clippings embedded in objects, and illustrations that look textured.
The Village Garage is a story about the hard work that the Village Garage crew does each year. In spring, the crew must clean up the streets from the fall and winter. In summer, the crew patches holes in the streets and cleans up from storms. In autumn, the crew cleans up leaves then waits patiently for the first big snow storm to take out their snow plows in winter. Children, especially young boys, will love the illustrations filled with tools, machines and construction equipment.
Fear is a natural part of growing up. Parr recognizes that sometimes children are scared because they don’t understand something. In his story, he recommends that children tell someone why they are scared and maybe after, they won’t be so scared anymore. The book touches on many prevalent childhood fears like being afraid of the dark and monsters or scary first-time experiences like riding on an airplane or being separated from a parent for the first time. Each fearful experience Parr writes about includes a positive result or answer to the fear.
The cover photo of the chocolate brown pit bull puppy with soulful amber eyes drew me to this book. Saving Audie is a straighforward but heartwarming true account of this dog, one of many rescued from almost certain death in an illegal dogfighting organization co-owned by NFL player Michael Vick. Kept for many months in shelters as evidence against the wrongdoers, with only numbers instead of names, the dogs faced an uncertain future. While many people thought the dogs were dangerous and damaged
Jasmine & Tai-Tai’s grandfather Agong comes to live with their family from a faraway land. One day he tells Jasmine that she is ready for magic. Agong asks Jasmine to make a wish and then he puts his hand over hers and they dip the brush and touch it to the paper. The two tell the story of Jasmine’s wishes through Chinese characters, which can be found in each dreamlike illustration. Jasmine & Agong practice their calligraphy all spring until Agong becomes ill in the fall and passes away.
Young children will delight in this charming story of the famous American cook Julia Child living in Paris with her husband Paul and her mischievous tortoiseshell cat, Minette. Julia Child learns to cook with passion and endless energy. Minette inhales the delicious aromas and dines on the most scrumptious meals, yet being a cat, still prefers a good fresh mouse.
A clever fairy tale told in rhyme about a very short king who boasts constantly and forces his subjects to bow down to him. He meets his match in a common girl who turns out to be a sorceress. She casts a spell on him so that his head expands every time he proclaims his grandness. Young children will love to listen to this funny tale and to experience the bright colorful illustrations.
Tony Sarg (1880 – 1942) was the master puppeteer who invented the first huge animal puppets that floated in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. This is the story of a creative little boy who wondered at how things moved and worked, and who grew up to become the puppeteer of Macy’s parade.
Everyone will find something to giggle about with this great CD, one of many produced in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the“Music for Little People” Company. From great action songs like Raffi’s “Shake Your Sillies Out,” and “Everyone Loves to Dance” by Aaron Nigel Smith; funny story songs like “I’m My Own Grandpa,” sung by the late great Chet Atkins, and “My Name is Cheech, the School Bus Driver” by comedian Cheech Marin; new treatments of old favorites such as Tom Glazer’s “On Top of Spaghetti,” sung by the Persuasions; and other great tracks by Buckwheat Zydeco,
Uh-oh! Little Owl has fallen from the nest and cannot find Mommy! With the help of a dizzy but well-meaning squirrel, Little Owl sees many animals with some of the same traits as Mommy Owl, but that are definitely not her. Whooo--I mean, who-- knows where she is? Originally published in Europe with the title A Bit Lost, this book features gentle humor, charming animal characters and simple landscapes in bright colors with contrasting earth tones. It's great for reading aloud, with enough of a pattern to make it good for beginning readers as well.
With rhyming text and whimsical but natural landscapes featuring two cheery, bright red birds, this beautiful picture book by the author/artist is a celebration of both the winter season and the idea of individuality: while there are distinct similarities among various things in nature--snowflakes, leaves, animals and plants of the same species, even people—no two are exactly alike. Observant children will be able to point out the subtle differences in the birds as they flit through the pages with their antics.
Heart-warming story of eight year old Johnny’s love for his grandparents’ Connecticut tree farm and a very special antique toy horse. He dreams of giving the toy horse to his little brother, Liam, but the horse is lost. Wishing for a Christmas miracle, Johnny realizes that no gift will equal that little white horse, but he searches for another just in case. A loving, family story to share during the Christmas season.
In a red stocking cap, Baby Owl is playing with his sled in the snowy woods. Baby Hare comes along, sees him, and mistakes him for Santa Claus. Baby Owl tries to convince Baby Hare that he isn’t Santa, but Baby Hare doesn’t believe it and starts crying. Baby Owl does his best to calm Baby Hare down, but things go from bad to worse. Who can save the day?
One of the “My First” holiday series by popular author/artist Karen Katz, this picture book is told in the first person by a perky, round-faced little girl as she describes the many ways her family, friends and neighbors celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa. The book is divided in seven sections, with a Swahili word or phrase for each of the principles that give meaning to the celebration, along with a pronunciation guide, and clear, simple descriptions of the activities. Brilliantly-colored folk art illustrations and borders add to the liveliness of the family’s festivities.
Oother is a big, gruff, widowed mountain man who lives with his small, gentle, pigtailed daughter, Pyn. While he loves Pyn, Oother is not the kind to soften for anyone; when Pyn calls him “Papa,” he responds with a grunt, “My name is Oother.” Patient, uncomplaining Pyn cooks and keeps house while Oother works all day in the woods. As Christmas draws near, Pyn longs for a tree to decorate, to help bring cheer into their humble cottage.
Young Liz is excited to be on her first hunting adventure with her dad who has just returned home from war; but she is also uneasy: her father has been gone so long that he and she are practically strangers. There are other things to get used to also: her new, too-large plaid flannel shirt from the dry goods store, the unfamiliarity of the breakfast fare on the menu at the diner, and the chilling changes that November brings to the woods Liz walks with her father, who, with gun in hand, is intent on killing the crows who have been eating the farm crops.
Fudge and Einstein, two charming, raisin-loving pet ferrets, are in trouble! Their owner, Andrea, is cat-sitting for a friend, and Marvel, the visiting cat, mistakes the ferrets for tasty rats! Fudge and Einstein must come up with a plan to save themselves from being Marvel's "ferret fritters fur-ever."
When little Betty Bunny has chocolate cake for the first time, it’s love at first taste. “I want to marry chocolate cake!” she says to her family. Betty Bunny longs for more. But, being "a handful," as her mother puts it, she has trouble behaving and being patient enough to earn her next serving.
Baby Bat never wants to leave his cozy cave where thousands of little bats and their mothers sleep together like a huge furry coat and where Mother Bat provides warmth and milk. But Baby Bat grows bigger and must soon practice wing-flapping to learn to fly and hunt in the outside world. One night when he practices wing-flapping, he takes to the air, but falls down into the nest of Pluribus Packrat. P.