Posted in Fantasy, Preschool Reads

Funk’s Fine Fractured Fairy Tale: It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk!

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, by Josh Funk/Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, (Sept. 2017, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542045650

Recommended for readers 4-10

Happy Book Birthday to It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk! I love fractured fairy tales: they let me get as silly as I want to be (need to be?) in a storytime, which lets the kids know they can be as silly as they want or need to be, too. After all, storytime is supposed to be fun, isn’t it?

The story starts out as usual: the fancy fairy tale font, the “Once upon a time” opening line… but wait. Jack is sleeping! The narrator nudges him, and demands that he put on pants (this is the part where every kid in the room is on board with Jack) and get into the story. That’s when we get the idea that this narrator is a little pushy, and that maybe Jack has different ideas about how this fairy tale is going to go. Poor Jack is badgered into trading his pet cow for beans that make him toot, climb a giant beanstalk, and face off against a giant that he really has no quarrel with. Jack takes the story into his own hands, and brings things to a more satisfying conclusion.

Loaded with fairytale references – keep a sharp eye and ask your readers to point them out as they see them – and fun, cartoony digital art, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk! is an essential to fractured fairy tale collections. It’s not just for the little readers, either – you can get a heck of a reader’s theatre going on here, thanks to all the side conversations and the power struggle between the Narrator and Jack. Wanna see it in action? Check out Josh Funk’s website, where teachers and librarians stage their own reading. It’s also a nice way to talk to kids about believing everything they read: the Narrator likes to embellish a few areas, but Jack is quick to call out alternative facts where he finds them.

If you haven’t enjoyed Josh Funk’s books yet, you have got to start. I love Pirasaurs – because there are pirate dinosaurs – and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast make me laugh out loud. He’s got a load of great stuff available on his website, including downloadable coloring books and activity sheets, character cards, and book songs.

Want a shot at winning your own copy of It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk? You know you do. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

 

Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as books – such as the Nerdy Book Club Award-winning DEAR DRAGON and LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST along with IT’S NOT JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, and the upcoming ALBIE NEWTON, HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE (in partnership with Girls Who Code), and more.

Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA. was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences, and has written a free 12-Step Guide to Writing Picture Books. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes manuscripts.

Find out more about Josh at www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

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Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Oscar the Grouch gets messy! And a giveaway!

Oscar the Grouch is tired of ABC books full of nice, cute things! He wants a messy alphabet, and he wants your little readers to help him! Put Me in the Story’s newest Sesame Street book, The Messy Alphabet Book, is filled with messy rhyming fun from A to Z: “A is for applesauce, dripped down a wall/B is for birthday cake, wrecked by a ball/C is for cookies, all covered in goo/D is for doughnuts, all frosted with glue”. Cookie Monster, Elmo, Ernie, Abby Cadabby (who tries to sneak some nice stuff in), and even Slimy the Worm join in the fun, but the best part of the story is your little one; add his or her picture and name to the story to make your little reader join Oscar and friends. You’ll see drawings attributed to your child hanging on the walls in the story, and the Sesame Street gang will engage your reader with questions and an invitation to make a mess or his or her own!

The Put Me in the Story books are made so well, with sturdy pages and adorable artwork. I’ve been part of several Put Me in the Story book tours, and I’m always thrilled with the care and style put into their books. They make great gifts that last, and a good ABC book is always a welcome addition to toddler and preschooler bookshelves.

You’ve got a chance to win your own Sesame Street personalized book bundle, including personalized copies of The Messy Alphabet Book, Sesame Street: Just One You!, Sesame Street: I Love You Just Like This!, Sesame Street: Let’s Make a Friend, and an Elmo plush toy! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win:

Sesame Street: Messy Alphabet Book ($34.99 hardcover personalized book, $19.99 paperback personalized book)
Oscar the Grouch and his Sesame Street friends teach your child their ABCs by splashing and crashing their way through the alphabet together!

Sesame Street: Just One You! ($34.99 hardcover personalized book, $19.99 paperback personalized book)
All your favorite Sesame Street friends have gathered together to celebrate YOU!

Show your little star how special they truly are—with the help of Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and more!

There’s nobody else in the whole world just like you—someone who can do all the things that you do! Your friends over on Sesame Street are here to tell you just how unique you and your gifts are.

The perfect storybook to shine the spotlight on your one-of-a-kind cutie! Personalize this book with a special child’s name on the front cover and throughout the story. You can also include a photo and special message on a dedication page.

Sesame Street: I Love You Just Like This! ($34.99 hardcover personalized book, $19.99 paperback personalized book)
Show your little one the many ways you love them with the help of your friends over on Sesame Street!

There are lots of ways to say “I love you,” but it’s how you share and show it that matter most! The sweetest book to share every day of the year, I Love You Just Like This! brings parent and child close and cozy together in a special storytime experience to spread some love. Often, always, and time and time again, this personalized book will show your little one how much you love them… just like this! Personalize the story with your child’s name, photo, and a special message with lots of love on the dedication page!

Sesame Street: Let’s Make a Friend ($34.99 hardcover personalized book, $19.99 paperback personalized book)
Welcome to “Let’s Make a Friend!,” hosted by everyone’s favorite game show host, Guy Smiley. Today’s contestant on the show is Elmo! Elmo answers questions about friendship from a team of panelists, and involves your child in his thoughts on different friendship scenarios. When the third judge, Cookie Monster, rushes off stage in search of cookies, your child steps in as the surrprise guest judge! This book will get your little one thinking about what it takes to be a good friend. Watch your kiddo’s face light up when they realize that Elmo’s winning prize is a hug from them!

Here’s your chance! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway today! Ends September 22!

Terms & Conditions:

No purchase necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Open to legal residents of USA who are 18 years or older. Giveaway begins September 11, 2017 at 12:01am and ends September 22, 2017 at 11:59pm (“Promotion Period”). Enter the Giveaway during the Promotion Period online by submitting the entry form. The entry form can be found on the following website at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/54ca7af7566/ . Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. ONE (1) winner will receive ONE (1) Sesame Street Personalized Book Bundle and Plush (approximate retail value or “ARV”: $155). By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Put Me In The Story. Put Me In The Story does not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of this giveaway. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway.

GOOD LUCK!

Posted in Preschool Reads

The Tiny Tale of Little Pea

The Tiny Tale of Little Pea, by Davide Cali/Illustrated by Sébastien Mourrain, (Sept. 2017, Kids Can Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781771388436

Recommended for readers 4-7

So begins the tale of Little Pea, who could sleep in a matchbox, ride a grasshopper, and wore his doll’s shoes, while his clothes were lovingly hand-sewn by his mom. When it’s time for Little Pea to go to school, he realizes just how small he is. He’s too small for his desk. Too small to play the flute. Definitely too small for gym class. But is Little Pea’s confidence shaken? No way! He finds his own place in the world, painting postage stamps and living in a home that fits him just right.
Little Pea is a cute story with a main character who has a lot to say about resilience. He doesn’t let his perceived weakness stop him from living life on his terms; it’s a strong message for kids who hear, “You’re too little for that” once too often. Self-acceptance, creativity, and individuality drive the story, and every reader can take something away from it. Sébastien Mourrain comes up with wonderful scenes to demonstrate Little Pea’s size, bringing to mind some of my favorite parts of E.B. White’s Stuart Little. It’s a sweet story that will add to a storytime or individual reading.
Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Max and Bird: A new friendship is born!

Max and Bird, by Ed Vere, (Sept. 2017, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), $17.99, ISBN: 9781492635581

Recommended for readers 3-6

My favorite brave kitten is back! In Max’s third adventure, he learns that the rules of nature can conflict with being a good friend. You see, he befriends a bird, but, according to the rules of nature, birds get chased by kittens. But friends don’t eat each other up! The dynamic duo decide to work on their flying skills and head to the library, because “libraries know everything”, and he and Max learn that friendship means helping each other out.

The Max series is such a sweet, kind-hearted series loaded with humor. Max and Bird are a radiant black that stands boldly out against the full-color backgrounds, and they each have giant, trusting eyes that ups their cute factor. Exaggerated fonts and exertion lines show emotion and action. Kids will love learning – and contributing to a discussion – about what goes into being a good friend. Mention Max’s “pros and cons” worksheet and ask them for their ideas on the pros and cons of being a good friend.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Duck & Hippo get lost and found!

Duck and Hippo: Lost and Found, by Jonathan London/Illustrated by Andrew Joyner, (Aug. 2017, Two Lions/Amazon), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542045629

Recommended for readers 3-7

Duck and Hippo: Lost and Found, the second book in Froggy author Jonathan London’s new buddy series is every bit as sweet as the first one, Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm. In this latest tale, the friends go on a picnic with their friends Turtle, Elephant, and Pig. Everyone’s brought something to share… except for Hippo, who forgot! Determined to make things right, he sets off into the forest in search of wild berries. As night falls, Duck and friends worry that Hippo’s gotten lost, but what should they do?

There are great themes at work here: friendship, the main plot point that drives the Duck and Hippo adventures; sharing and caring for one another emerge as the story progresses. Kids will appreciate Duck’s decision to search for her friend, and the decision to stay in a group and loudly call for Hippo will provide relief to parents, who likely give the same advice to kids in the event of a separation (I know I do). Repeated phrases provide kids with the chance to jump in and be part of the Hippo search party. I love Andrew Joyner’s cheerful art, and the colorful, emphasized fonts that add to a reading. Andrew Joyner offers free, downloadable activity pages on his website, too – the kids at my library love the coloring sheets, which have been a staple of my summer coloring club.

Jonathan London has written more than one hundred children’s books, including the bestselling Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. He is the author of the popular Duck and Hippo series, illustrated by Andrew Joyner. Many of his books explore nature, among them Flamingo Sunset, illustrated by Kristina Rodanas, and Little Penguin: The Emperor of Antarctica, illustrated by Julie Olson. He is also author of the Aaron’s Wilderness middle-grade series, illustrated by his son Sean London. Jonathan lives in Graton, California. Learn more online at www.jonathan-london.net.

Andrew Joyner is an illustrator, author, and cartoonist based in South Australia. He has illustrated a number of picture books, and he wrote and illustrated a chapter book series about a warthog named Boris. He is the illustrator of the popular Duck and Hippo series, written by Jonathan London. He has also illustrated for newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, and Rolling Stone magazine, among others. Learn more online at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.

Giveaway!

Two Lions is offering a set of the Duck and Hippo books–DUCK AND HIPPO IN THE RAINSTORM and DUCK AND HIPPO LOST AND FOUND–to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only, please). Just enter this https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsecopter.com/rafl/display/bbc165de19/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="bbc165de19" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_scf2jfhw">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js“>Rafflecopter giveaway!

Posted in Preschool Reads

Kisses for Kindergarten starts them off right

Kisses for Kindergarten, by Livingstone Crouse/Illustrated by  Macky Pamintuan, (June 2017, Silver Dolphin Books), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-62686-703-1

Recommended for readers 4-6

Stella Isabella Harden declares that she doesn’t have to go to kindergarten: her puppy told her so! A girl and her pup spend the days together, reimagining kindergarten by chasing squirrels, having fun on the swings, having tea parties, making pillow forts, and having pillow fights. Things change at storytime, though, when Stella realizes that she can’t read a storybook to her dog. Looks like it’s time for kindergarten after all!

With protagonists inspired by the artist’s daughter and golden retriever, Kisses for Kindergarten is a fun way to ease kids into a new school year. Kids will love Stella Isabella Harden’s assertion that she can learn far more from her puppy than she can from school, and the dynamic duo’s exciting day at the park. Caregivers can explain that she can learn so much from her dog, sure, but when it comes to reading, even her wise pup understands that she’s got to go to school. It’s a gentle easing of fears, and having her dog begin and end the day with her gives her something to look forward to. Ask kids what they want to come home to: a favorite toy? Storytime with family? Stella’s day ends with a family storytime and kisses: it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. Endpapers illustrate Stella and pup’s day together.

Posted in Preschool Reads

Pepper’s perfect pattern

A Pattern for Pepper, by Julie Kraulis, (Aug. 2017, Tundra Books), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1101917565

Recommended for ages 4-8

A young girl needs a dress for a very special occasion; her mom takes her to a dressmaker to have one specially made, and together, Pepper and the dressmaker search through patterns until they find the perfect one for Pepper’s dress.

This fun story about the search for a perfect fabric pattern also provides some background on patterns both popular and exotic; from Houndstooth to Ikat, Seersucker to Argyle, Pepper relates each pattern’s history to her own life: Seersucker, for instances, comes from the Persian words for milk and sugar, to describe the bumpy textures; Pepper prefers her tea strong, without milk or sugar, so she passes. When she finally finds her perfect pattern, the dressmaker allows her to help out, and we get a glimpse at the pattern-making process; pieces pinned onto fabric to be cut out and sewn together. Pepper’s dress is done, and we learn the special occasion: tea with her grandmother, who is wearing a dress made from her own perfect pattern.

The oil and graphite art, rendered on board, gives a textured feel to the story. Subdued colors make this a relaxing read, and visuals related to each pattern’s history – a bagpiper for Tartan, a hound and his Houndstooth-wearing master, a photograph of Pepper’s grandmother in her Dotted Swiss wedding dress – are superimposed over each fabric, provide further meaning and connection to each pattern’s history.

This is a sweet, beautifully rendered book about fashion and history, and a loving multigenerational tale, woven through the main story.  Extend a storytime by adding a textile component; bring in different fabrics to have kids look at, touch, and identify, like cotton t-shirts, fake fur, wool, and denim; if you have any patterned fabric, bring them in to let the kids get an up-close look at them, too, and ask them what patterns are familiar to them.