Saturday, February 17, 2018

From Story Time: The Letter "S"

Read in Book Babies

That's Me Loving You
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Teagan White
Random House, 2016.  Picture Book.

When soft breezes give kisses and shimmering stars offer winks of encouragement, the world around you takes on a whole new light.  Open this book to find gentle rhymes that soothe the pangs of separation and remind those you love that you are never really far away.  --Publisher

Read in Toddler Time

The Perfect Siesta
By Pato Mena
NubeOcho, 2017.  Picture Book.

The perfect book to read before bed.  Kids will laugh with exotic animals trying to nap just before they do!  It is very hot in the jungle and suddenly a nice breeze arrives.  The jaguar wants to take a siesta.  Just then he saw a coati and said, “Could you do me a big favor?  Could you wake me up in exactly 10 minutes?”  The coati wanted a siesta too, and asked the cockatiel to wake him up in exactly 10 minutes.  Promising to wake someone up is a big responsibility...  --Publisher

Read in Preschool Time

By Andy Bergmann
Aladdin, 2017.  Picture Book.

Poor starry giraffe: every time he reaches for a yummy red apple from a tall tree, one of his hungry friends comes along and the generous giraffe shares the treat. Just when you think he has nothing left to eat for himself, a turn of the page shows otherwise: the starry giraffe is at an apple orchard and there are apples and trees galore!  A disarmingly delightful debut picture book from Andrew Bergmann, an accomplished New York based artist and storyteller, The Starry Giraffe puts a surprising twist on a classic story.  --Publisher

Read in Preschool Time

By Frank W. Dormer
Henry Holt and Company, 2010.  Picture Book.

Poor Socksquatch.  All he wants is two warm feet, but thins aren't going his way.  Even his friends can't help.  AAAAAAA!  What's a mother to do?  Frank Dormer's story will charm readers' socks off.  --Publisher

Read in Monday Cuentos

Yo voy a esperar, Sr. Panda
By Steve Antony
Translated by Eida de la Vega
Scholastic, 2017.  Spanish Picture Book.

El Sr. Panda prepara una sorpresa. ¿Qué será? Los animales deben esperar para ver. Pero esperar es aburrido. ¡El Sr. Panda demuestra que a los que esperan les pasan cosas buenas!

Read in Friday Cuentos

La escalera
Written by Beatriz Montero
Illustrated by Raúl Nieto Guridi
OQO Editora, 2012.  Spanish Picture Book.

El cartero subió, subió, subió por la escalera.
Llamó a la puerta:
¡Din-don! ¡Din-don!
No había nadie.
Dejó la carta en el suelo… …
y bajó, bajó, bajó por la escalera.

Esta acción la repiten, con el mismo resultado infructuoso, el zapatero, el jardinero y el panadero. De este modo, encima de la carta depositada ante la puerta del cuarto piso acaban acumulándose un par de zapatos, un ramo de flores y una barra de pan hasta que entra en escena una niña resuelta y pizpireta.

Al igual que el resto de personajes, la pequeña sube por la ya conocida –para el lector– escalera hasta el también consabido cuarto piso. Una vez allí, el relato da un giro inesperado, gracias a la espontaneidad y picardía de la pequeña que resuelve con gracia y de inmediato toda la trama.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Animals Hide and Sneak

Animals Hide and Sneak
by Bastien Contraire
Phaidon Press Limited, 2017.
Board Book.

This board book is a companion to the popular Vehicles Hide and Sneak also published this year. I quiet enjoy Contraire's basic tri-colored images. As you might imagine, a different illustration style would make the "finding" a snap, but this book wants to challenge you. My only complaint is that it may be a little too challenging for the young eyes that make up the board book readership.  However, I say check it out and have a good time helping your toddler find what's different. It may spark a nice little lesson on why rhinos and tractors just aren't the same thing.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sing, Don't Cry

Sing, Don't Cry
Angela Dominguez
Harry Holt and Company, 2017. Picture Book.

Dominguez tells the true story of her grandfather coming each year to visit during her childhood and sharing his love for music and remaining positive, despite hard times. He also believes in the importance of passing stories down to his family. The simple message throughout comes from the ever popular Mexican song "Cielito lindo"

Ay, ay, ay, ay (Ay, ay, ay, ay)
canta y no llores, (sing and don't cry)
porque cantando se alegran, (because singing gladdens)
cielito lindo, los corazones. (the heart, sweet lovely one.) 

Sing, don't cry. Although hard times will come, choose to sing. This sweet, simple story can be shared with young and old as a perfect motto to for life.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

In the Shadow of the Sun

In the Shadow of the Sun
by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Scholastic, 2017. Fiction. 303 p.
Mia and her brother Simon travel with their father to North Korea. Mia's father has been an aid worker in North Korea for several years, but this trip is supposed to be purely recreational. That all changes when Mia's father is arrested by North Korean police and Mia and Simon flee into the countryside with pictures that the government does not want leaving the country. As Mia and Simon start a long and dangerous trek toward the boarder, they get a taste of what daily life is like for the oppressed people of North Korea and come to understand each other --and themselves--better.

This book gives the reader a peak into what life is like for foreigners and citizens in what has been called the most oppressive dictatorship in the world. O'Brien grew up in South Korea and meticulously researched the details of the landscape and people Mia and Simon encounter. She also does a great job portraying Mia and Simon's strained sibling relationship and gradual reconciliation. This is a great choice for readers who like stories of adventure in exotic lands.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Quilts of Gee's Bend

The Quilts of Gee's Bend
By Susan Goldman Rubin
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. Informational.

In Gee's Bend, Alabama a group of African American women have been making quilts for generations. The women in this small community have been taught how to make quilts by their mothers and grandmothers from any scraps of fabric they have on hand - quilts made to keep people warm and comfortable. No one ever imagined that these handmade quilts would someday hang in art museums in Houston, New York City, and Washington D.C.

This book does a compelling job of intertwining art history, folk art, and the struggle for civil rights into one book that is both interesting and inspiring. This book may not have immediate kid appeal, but is a great choice for families with older children who are looking for a different approach to American History. The color photographs of these quilts are satisfyingly abstract, making this a unique way to celebrate Black History Month. 

Monday, February 12, 2018



Matt de la Peña

Illustrated by Loren Long

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018. Picture Book.

This is a book about love. It tells how love comes in different forms, different actions, and different feelings. There are different types of love—but it is all love. Once again Matt de la Peña has written words that need to be read aloud (really, that is the best way to feel the rhythm and experience the feelings), especially to someone who you love. These words touch upon the great feeling that is so hard to describe and quantify. The powerful words along with illustrations that show just how diverse love can be create a beautiful book that grownups should read to little ones—and perhaps to themselves. So that everyone can remember the importance of love. This is a great book to read as friends, family, or to those who represent love to you—especially at this Valentine’s time of year.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

From Story Time: The Letter "R"

Read in Book Babies

Written by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013.  Picture Book.

When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer's car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country. Moooo! But a bump in the road brings this joy ride to a troublesome end. Moo-moo. . . Has Cow learned her lesson about living life in the fast lane? Moo?

Pairing two talented creators who managed to tell a complete story with just one word―MOO―this imaginative story will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next, as it captures the highs and lows of a mischievous cow's very exciting day.  --Publisher

Read in Toddler Time

Rhyming Dust Bunnies
By Jan Thomas
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009.  Picture Book.

Bug! Rug! Mug! Hug! These dust bunnies love to rhyme. Well, except for Bob. Much to the other bunnies’ frustration, Bob can never get the rhythm right. Then he saves everyone from a big, scary monster wielding—gasp!—a broom, and they all breathe a sigh of relief. But can Bob save them from the big, scary monster’s next attack? Vrrrrrroooommm . . .  --Publisher

Read in Preschool Time

Squish Rabbit
By Katherine Battersby
Viking, 2011.  Picture Book.

Squish is just a little rabbit.  But being little can lead to big problems.  Sometimes Squish is hard to hear...or see.  And it isn't easy making friends.  But no matter how little Squish is, one thing is certain...he has a very large heart.  --Publisher

Read in Preschool Time

Falling for Rapunzel
Written by Leah Wilcox
Illustrated by Lydia Monks
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2008.  Picture Book.

When the prince spies Rapunzel high in her tower, he's convinced she is the girl of his dreams.  Of course he thinks he can save her the traditional way, but this is no traditional Rapunzel.  She throws down everything but what the prince asks for -- including a surprise that makes all his dreams come true.  A hilarious tale of how misunderstandings can lead to "happily ever after."  --Publisher

Read in Monday Cuentos

Doña Eremita, reina de la carretera
Written by Quentin Blake
Translated by Carmen Diana Dearden
Ediciones Ekaré, 2013.  Spanish Picture Book.

Doña Eremita recibe un regalo de su tío "Un coche y llaves del mismo." Tras múltiples golpes y accidentes, el coche termina en el chasis. Historia divertida y disparatada.  --Publisher

Read in Friday Cuentos

El ratoncito, la fresa roja y madura, y el gran oso hambriento
Written by Don Wood
Illustrated by Audrey Wood
Translated by Teresa Mlawler
Child’s Play International, 2005.  Spanish Picture Book.

El ratoncito hara cualquier cosa para evitar que el gran oso hambriento le quite su fresa.  El oso tiene todas las de ganar, aunque…¿quién ha sido más astuto que un zorro en esta historia? --Publisher

Friday, February 9, 2018

Roald Dahl Dictionary

Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary
Text by Roald Dahl
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Compiled by Susan Rennie
Oxford University Press, 2016.

Who doesn't love Roald Dahl?? This is a great reference for Dahl fans as well as a sweet postmortem tribute to an amazing author. Many of the words included are normal dictionary words, while plenty are the kinds of words that can only be attributed to Dahl's imagination such as "Jabble." However, ALL the words are defined by Dahl with examples to show just how one would use "sniff" if you were a giant. If you're child is starting to venture into the world of BFGs and magical chocolate factories, this should be on your reading list.

If you aren't sure how to teach your child to use a dictionary, consider checking out and reading "How Do I Use a Dictionary."

Thursday, February 8, 2018

This Is Not a Valentine

This Is Not a Valentine
By Carter Higgins
Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Chronicle Books, 2017. Picture Book.

It can’t be a valentine when a young boy gives his friend a ring from the toy vending machine because it’s not sparkly or pink--but it does match her favorite shoelaces. It can’t be a valentine since the flowers came from his garden and not a store. It can’t be a valentine because the card is not pink and glittery, and everyone knows valentines have to be pink and glittery. A cute story about true friendship of a young friend giving his best friend the perfect gifts, ones that aren’t exactly typical valentines but show how he does love her and cares about what she likes.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Song from Somewhere Else

The Song from Somewhere Else
by A. F. Harrold
Bloomsbury Children's Books, (2016 uk) 2017. Fiction. 217 p.
Frank, (short for Francesca) has been mercilessly bullied by Neil and his goons for over a year.  She lives in fear and sees no way out.  Then one day, Nick, a over-sized boy with body odor problems comes to her rescue.  At first Frank is afraid that now he will want to be her friend, which would cause her more social problems. Yet something keeps bringing her back to his home, and slowly she comes to realize that he is more -much more- than he seems.

This is a great book about the emotional damage done by bullying and the healing possible through true friendship. Fern learns that she shouldn't judge by appearances, and that help can come from the most unexpected places. This book is as heartwarming as recent popular realistic fiction, but an added fantasy element gives it a broader appeal.