Monday, April 23, 2018
I really enjoy Suzy Ultman's work for first readers. Tiny Farm and Tiny Town are thick-paged, shaped board books with die cuts. There's a patterned depiction reminiscent of Scandinavian art. Or maybe needlework. The small layout is filled with illustrations and capitalized words which identify objects and animals.
It is easy to image propping these books open for further play. They would create inspiring settings for the imaginative. Muted colors offer contrast to the sparse use of neon. What delightful work!
by Suzy Ultman
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
A Round of Robins is such a joyful, lyrical presentation of nonfiction. Following a pair of robins, the rocking rhythm and rhyme brings tenderness to creation. And reviews agree:
« “A charmer of an animal family story, with rhymes that are a pleasure to read aloud.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
« “An utterly charming choice for most collections, perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.” – School Library Journal, starred review
« “Follow a pair of robin parents as they raise not one but two sets of baby robins in this factual and funny volume.” – The Horn Book, starred reviewHere is my favorite spread:
A heater hides on Mama's chest
To warm each egg inside her nest
With sensors set at incubake,
In just a dozen days she'll make
Four little ones all set to hatch-
An up-and-coming birdie batch.
Sergio Ruzzier's art in muted colors with expressive characters adds to the charm. Happy National Poetry month, everyone. Enjoy this delight with your readertotz!
A Round of Robins
by Katie Hesterman
illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018
The reviews are coming in for John Oliver's children's book, written by staff at Last Week Tonight. Congrats to all in this effort!
"Sincerely delightful-full of the attentive details and poetic grace notes that distinguish good children’s books.” –The New Yorker
“Above all, this is a sweet and funny book about of tolerance, friendship, and the one message even our youngest kids can grasp perhaps more easily than perhaps any other: Love is love. I know my own kids would love getting this for Easter.” –Cool Mom Picks
"A joy... Ignore the grumbling about Oliver turning the bunny America deserves into a metaphor for partisan politics, because the book is a 40-page triumph." –Esquire
"This cute, funny, and inclusive picture book has a positive message about celebrating who you are and loving whom you want." –Common Sense Media
by Jill Twiss
illustrated by EG Keller
Chronicle Books, 2018
Thursday, March 8, 2018
How delightful! Take a stroll down a main street in France. With thirty flaps, many holding a surprise or pun, there's a sophistication in this thick-paged book for readertotz. Follow along with the main character as he sets out to explore.
There's the patisserie with brioche and macarons, the fish market where cats secretly linger, the fashionable ladies at the salon, and a thief at the museum. However, with the guard nearby, all is safe. The day concludes with the circus and the question, "What's next?"
Endearing illustrations are made with simple shapes. Flaps are fun to find. This is Top Shelf quality for your readertotz.
Main Street Magic
by Ingela P. Arrhenius
Chronicle Books, 2017
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Jill McDonald, author/illustrator, offers up a nonfiction series, Hello World! Whether your readertot is ready for dinosaurs, weather information, birds, the body, or the solar system, Jill delivers age-appropriate content. Her appealing, youthful illustrations appear to be cut and torn paper. Large text for the youngest reader and smaller text for the older, the books will sustain as your tot grows.
Introduce your readertotz to their world. There's so much to see and learn. Hello World! is a first step in discovery.
by Jill McDonald
Friday, February 23, 2018
Text developed in house, Nosy Crow has Snuggly Puppy on the lookout for a perfect hug. Not one that is too prickly, busy, jumpy, or splashy. She finds the perfect hug with her mother and father.
Tabs pull to reveal further information as Snuggly Puppy visits her community. Jannie Ho's patterned, flat illustrations are non-threatening, with a soft palette, creating a safe space for readertotz.
Explore with your first readers what makes a good hug. Potential life lessons in this board book.
Snuggly Puppy Looks for the Perfect Hug
illustrated by Jannie Ho
Nosy Crow, 2016
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
This is Not a Valentine, by author Carter Higgins, is a beautiful celebration of love and how different that may look to others celebrating Valentine's Day. A Valentine may be a spent dandelion, a plastic ring, or a rock shared. It may be a second best hiding place. It is knowing the person you appreciate and sharing life, including the scraps and drippy glue.
Illustrations by Lucy Ruth Cummins are fresh and endearing with a lot of white space as she illustrates love. This is a treasure for the holiday and a testament that the way we love is perfectly enough. Whether or not we call it a Valentine.
This is Not a Valentine
by Carter Higgins
illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., has brought forward two works for totz facing great change. Where Did My Friend Go? Helping Children Cope with a Traumatic Death aims to reassure the youngest that all are working to keep the child safe. With the loss of a friend, it is normal to be scared, worried, sad, and mad. Community stands around the survivor in love.
Family Changes, Explaining Divorce to Children shares salient points: the child is not to blame, they may experience physical discomfort such as a stomachache, they will be loved in two homes. The fictional story of rabbits brings the situation to life.
The illustrations of Where Did My Friend Go? are unattributed photographs, design by Monkey C. Media. The language is sparse with process questions concluding the work. Polona Lovsin illustrated Family Changes with warm, comforting images. The text is heavy in the midst of the fantasy. Process questions complete the work, as well.
Confronting trauma and change, it is difficult to find appropriate works for first readers. Azmaira H. Maker's works are a place to begin.
Where Did My Friend Go? 2017
Family Changes, 2015
by Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D.
illustrated by Polona Lovsin (Family Changes)
Aspiring Families Press
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Photo from the Washington Post article
Content and quality matter. This is why at readertotz we aim to raise the profile of board books, and we call for the best for our first readers.
"Recent research has found that both the quality and quantity of shared book-reading in infancy predicted later childhood vocabulary, reading skills and name-writing ability."
Check out the full Washington Post article by Lisa S. Scott, here. Wouldn't an ALA award help this aim? Say, the Dorothy Kunhardt Award?
~Lorie Ann Grover
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Once there was a pink hat... I didn't think a book commemorating the 2017 Women's March could be done for the picture book audience. However, Andrew Joyner with Schwartz & Wade Books has honored the worldwide shout.
In The Pink Hat, an older woman knits a pink hat, as my own mother knit three: one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my friend. In the book, the hat is lost and found and lost, finally to be enjoyed by a young girl. Eventually, she wears her pink hat the day so many others wore theirs, as well. She joins the march, surrounded by diverse people marching for women's rights.
Dedicated to: "all the women who march us forward." Carry on. #Resist
The Pink Hat
by Andrew Joyner
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2017