Mom Read It

If the kids are reading it, chances are I have, too.

See the animal mommies, count the baby animals! March 13, 2017

Count the Baby Animals, by Guido van Genechten, (March 2017, Clavis Publishing), $17.95, ISBN: 978-1605-37324-9

Recommended for readers 2-5

This fun die-cut book shows a pregnant animal mommy; with a flip of the page, she’s surrounded by her babies! Sweet rhyming text throughout invites readers to count each group of animals while offering descriptive details.

This is an adorable book to introduce to toddlers, who can point to and name animals as you read along. Encourage them to make animals sounds for each one to extend the fun. There are oodles of fun animal coloring sheets and activities available online; matching games with moms and babies would be a great choice for older toddlers and early preschoolers. You can pair this with books like P.D. Eastman’s classic, Are You My Mother?, or Nancy Tafuri’s All Kinds of Kisses (one of my personal faves).

Originally published in 2016, this is the English translation of Guido van Genechten’s original Dutch. His artwork is child-friendly, with gentle, cartoony faces and smiles. Endpapers with frolicking baby animals bring the reader right into the fun, and the sturdy paper stock will hold up to exploring little hands, who will love turning the half pages back and forth to see each mommy animal with a round belly, and later, surrounded by her babies.

How Many Baby Animals is a fun addition to toddler bookshelves and would make a fun sibling-to-be gift, too.

 

Before & After – sequential fun! March 12, 2017

Before & After, by Jean Julien, (March 2017, Phaidon), $12.95, ISBN: 978-0-7148-7408-1

Recommended for readers 2-4

A haggard cat grooms itself into a stylish feline. Raw spaghetti becomes a tasty dinner. The eternal question of what comes first, chicken or egg, is answered. This is just a sampling of what awaits little hands in graphic designer Jean Julien’s second large format board book, Before & After.

Each spread depicts alternating “before” and “after” artwork; a page dedicated to the drawing and a page boldly declaring “before” or “after”. There are picture books standards – pasta becomes dinner, water pours into a glass – are more amusing, unexpected scenes, like the outcome of wearing sunglasses on a sunny day. A gatefold centerfold is a fun surprise for little lapsitters.

The brush and ink art is fun and boldly outlined, set against bright, digitally painted page backgrounds, and the pages themselves are sturdy, able to hold up to lots of use, which this book will surely experience. Kids can flip pages back and forth, fold and unfold, to their hearts’ content. It’s a great way to teach sequence. Before & After will join Jean Julien’s first board book, This is Not a Book (2016), in my storytime rotation.

See more of Jean Julien’s artwork at his website.

 

Adorable animal books for toddlers and preschoolers! March 5, 2017

Anita Bijsterbosch has two adorable animal books out this month and next, perfect for toddlers who love to explore their books.

do-you-see-my-tailDo You See My Tail? (March 2017, Clavis Books, $12.95, ISBN: 978-1605373201) introduces readers to seven animals – well, seven animal tails; the rest of the animals are hidden behind local flora. The text drops a hint, and a gatefold reveals the full answer: an animal family! The repetitive question/answer format, and greeting to the animals and their babies, creates a fun discovery experience for little hands. An extra challenge: find the little ladybug hiding on every spread.

Preschoolers will like being able to control finding out more about the animals and learning about animal habitats: beavers play in a nest of tree trunks and branches, rabbits in a hole under the ground. Toddlers will love the excitement of discovery and the very cute artwork.

Whewhen-i-grow-upn I Grow Up (April 2017, Clavis Books, $14.95, ISBN: 978-1605373348) features six young animals who dream about what they’ll be able to do once they grow up: a little lion who can only growl softly now will be a big lion whose roar will be heard by all the animals; a little giraffe whose nose barely touches the leaves in a tree will one day be able to reach everything with his long neck. Die cut pages let readers flip the page to reveal the adult animal in the young animal’s place within the same setting.

As with Do You See My Tail?, When I Grow Up offers toddlers the excitement of discovery, with something new on every page. The pages are sturdy and will hold up to multiple page flips (always a concern in my library). Preschoolers can focus on habitats, food, and other animals sharing the living spaces.

Originally published in 2016 in Belgium and Holland, these are fun new choices to bookshelves and collections.

 

Stanley’s Store Blog Tour! March 3, 2017

The hardest working hamster in town is back in his sixth book, Stanley’s Store (by William Bee, March 2017, Peachtree Publishers, $14.95, ISBN: 978-1-56145-868-4) . It’s a busy day at Stanley’s Store: Stanley’s got to unload fresh fruits and vegetables; Mattie helps customers pick out cheese, and there’s some excitement when Charlie doesn’t know how to control his shopping cart! Stanley’s always there to help, though, and at the end of a busy day, it’s time for him to go home.

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My colleague LOVES Stanley. When we opened this library, she made darned sure we had the full line of Stanley books ready for the kids, so when I told her there was a new book coming out, she was thrilled! I sat down and read the first five books, and they’re adorable. They introduce kids to different careers (builders, business owners – stores and diners, farmers, mechanics, and mailmen) that shape their world, and provide a little look into the events of each job’s day. Stanley’s Store is a good book to read with your child and talk about your experiences at the grocery store; it’s also a good opportunity to point out safety and paying attention, illustrated by Charlie’s mishap. I love Shamus and Little Woo, a father and son duo, whose cart mysteriously fills up with cookies and sweets when Shamus’ back is turned. The story also slips in shape and color awareness, making this a great book for toddler and pre-k audiences.

Play store! Save some packaging and let your kiddos “shop” and create displays! Plastic food is huge with the kids in my library (and with my own kiddos, when they were younger) and is available everywhere. Talk about shapes and colors and talk about what foods are good for you. This could be paired with a fun flannel board activity and there are many food-related songs available to put together a fun storytime and playtime.

 

Baby Storytime: Imagination, Love, Fun February 22, 2017

We have honest to goodness baby storytimes here at the new library, so it’s challenged me to work with books and songs that will work for lapsits. It’s been fun, reading board book after board book and learning what will work with my littlest audiences versus my toddlers and preschoolers. I’m also keeping the Social Justice theme in my head as I put these together; making sure my books reflect the diversity in my neighborhood and introducing the kids and parents to other cultures. Since this community has a strong Asian, Southeast Asian, and Latinx community, I’ve introduced both Spanish and Chinese songs (so far), and they’ve gone over really well!

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I chose one book that reflected diversity, a fun fold-out book that challenges the way we see things, and finally, one of my favorites, that gets parents tickling and little ones giggling.

Hello song: “If You’re Ready for a Story”
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Make your hands all nice and neat
If you’re ready for a story, take a seat
Source: https://storytimekatie.com/songs-rhymes/openingclosing-songs/

Hello song: “We’re So Glad to See You”
Where is [insert kids name]?
Where is [insert kids name]?
There s/he is.
There s/he is.
We’re so glad to see you
We’re so glad to see you
Peek-a-boo, Peek-a-boo.
Source: Storytime Katie

I was afraid when I first used this song, to be honest; I didn’t know whether the large group would get tired before I got through every child’s name, but it worked very nicely, and the parents all welcomed the little ones happily and with loads of clapping and hugging.

Action Rhyme: “Acka Backa”
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo! (Rock or bounce your baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you! (Hug your baby!)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo! (Rock or bounce your baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, up goes you! (Raise your baby up, or put their hands in the air)
Source: Storytime Katie

Story

Action Rhyme: “Choo Choo Train”
This is a choo choo train, going down the track (Bend your arms and move them)
Now it’s going forward, now it’s going back (Lean forward, lean back)
Now the bell is ringing, (Ring your bells!)
Now the whistle blows (Blow on your baby’s head!)
What a lot of noise it makes, (Cover your ears)
Everywhere it goes! (Spread out your arms!)
Source: The Essential Lapsit Guide

Song: Two Little Tigers (Mandarin)
Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ, Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ,
Pǎo de kuài, Pǎo de kuài,
Yī zhī méiyǒu ěrduo, Yī zhī méiyǒu wěibā,
Zhēn qí guài, Zhēn qí guài.

Two little tigers, Two little tigers,
(They) run very fast, (They) run very fast,
One has no ears, One has no tail,
Very strange, Very strange.
Source: http://www.fluentu.com/chinese/blog/2015/03/18/chinese-songs-for-kids/

This was my first attempt at singing a song in Chinese. I watched a lot of YouTube videos to get the rhythm and pronunciation right, and the families were very generous with me. 🙂 This one will stay in the rotation.

Story

Action Rhyme: “Dos Manitas/Diez Deditos”
Dos manitas, diez deditos,
dos manitas, diez deditos,
dos manitas, diez deditos,
cuéntalos conmigo.

Uno, dos, tres deditos,
cuatro, cinco, seis deditos,
siete, ocho, nueve deditos,
y uno más son diez.

It was nice to get back to a song I knew! This one always goes over well, no matter who the audience is. Waving hands and wiggling fingers makes lapsitters happy!

Song: “Yo te amo”
Yo te amo, yo te amo, all day long, I sing this song to you,
Yo te amo, yo te amo, darling, I love you.

Wo ai ni, wo ai ni, all day long, I sing this song to you,
Wo ai ni, wo ai ni, darling, I love you.

Āmi tōmāẏa bhālōbāsi, all day long I sing this song to you,
Āmi tōmāẏa bhālōbāsi, darling, I love you.
I love you, I love you, all day long, I sing this song to you,
I love you, I love you, darling, I love you.
Source: Jbrary

I’ve added Bengali in here, but haven’t had the chance to sing it yet – hoping my upcoming storytime will be the charm. In the meantime, more chance to practice!

Fingerplay/Song: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
If you want to take a trip
climb aboard my rocket ship.
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Blast off!
Source: Jbrary

Nursery Rhyme/Song: “Baa Baa Black Sheep”
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the master,
One for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full…

Gotta have an original classic in there! This one is a favorite, everywhere I go.

Story

Closing Rhyme: “With My Little Hands”
With my little hands I go clap, clap, clap
With my little feet I go tap, tap, tap
With my little arms I wave bye, bye, bye
With my little legs I kick high, high, high
With my little eyes I play peek-a-boo
With my little mouth I say “I love you”
Source: Storytime Katie

Closing Rhyme: “Tickle the Clouds”
Tickle the clouds
Tickle your toes
Turn around
And tickle your nose
Reach down low
Reach up high
Storytime’s over
So wave goodbye!
Source: Storytime Katie

I think I’m off to a good start. I’ll swap in three new books every storytime, and keep most of the songs and rhymes, introducing a new one and swapping it back and forth with a previous one, to give the families familiarity with them, so they can do them at home.

 

Ladybug’s Garden Blog Tour! February 8, 2017

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(Ladybug’s Garden, by Anabella and Sofia Schofield, Jan. 2017, Pink Umbrella Books, $9.99, ISBN: 9780998516202)

Sixteen year-old sisters Anabella and Sofia Schofield have written a sweet story about a ladybug who takes time out to help friends in need, even as she’s on her way to a picnic. With hand-created illustrations and sweet rhyming text, little ones will enjoy the story about friendship, sharing, and helping others.

This is a project the Schofield sisters began when they were 13. The text shows a gift for rhyme and flow that makes for fun storytime reading and listening. The art is very sweet, and will inspire little ones to make their own ladybugs – help them along with a fun ladybug storytime craft like this paper plate craft, from My Mommy Style. For preschoolers and kindergarteners, pair this with Eric Carle’s The Very Grouchy Ladybug and ask your listeners to point out the differences and similarities between the two ladybugs.

Support this budding author and illustrator and take a look at Ladybug’s Garden!

Ladybug’s Garden Blog Tour:

February 8: Mom Read It

February 9: Beach Bound Books

February 10: Book Review Mama

February 11: I Heart Reading Pre-launch Party

February 12: The Reader’s Salon

Books Direct Review and Giveaway

Pop’s Blog Author Interview

February 13: Little Fox Reads Author Interview

February 14: Life with A

SolaFide Publishing Blog

February 15: Katie’s Clean Book Collection

February 16: Cranial Hiccups, Two Heartbeats

February 17: Sarah Boucher

February 18: The Resistance

 

Boo! Who’s biggest? Who’s bravest? January 27, 2017

boo_1Boo!, by Ben Newman, (Apr. 2017, Nobrow), $12.99, ISBN: 9781911171058

Recommended for ages 3-6

A cute little mouse claims to be the bravest animal around, but he has no idea what’s coming up behind him… BOO! Each animal in Boo! is ready to brag about being the bravest, but there’s always a shadow lurking, waiting to pounce in the next spread in this fun cumulative story. This is a fun story about size and how being the biggest may not always mean being the bravest. It’s a fun, interactive read, giving kids the opportunity to call out when there’s a rising shadow that the current bravest animal doesn’t know about, and to yell, “BOO!” in each reveal. You can make animal noises, ask kids to predict what animal is in shadow, and what animal could be scarier as you progress.

There’s a nice rhythm to the story: animal states that he or she is the bravest; the opposite page shows a shadowy antagonist rising up behind the current star of the story, and the following spread features the jump scare reveal. Kids will love the suspense and the chance to be part of the story. Ben Newman’s retro art is fun and bright, with exaggerated scale and reactions for his characters. This is an especially great read-aloud, yell-along book for toddler and pre-k audiences! Fun endpapers show the progression of the scare chain.

 

 

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Ben Newman is an award-winning illustrator who also works on the Professor Astro Cat children’s books with Dr. Dominic Walliman; also published by Nowbrow/Flying Eye Books. His website has a podcast, some great artwork and a trailer for Boo!, which is currently released in the UK.

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