Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Duck and Hippo brave the rain together!

Duck and Hippo In the Rainstorm, by Jonathan London/Illustrated by Andrew Joyner, (March 2017, Two Lions/Amazon), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-5039-3723-9

Duck and Hippo are the best of friends, and want to go for a walk in the rain. But the umbrella isn’t big enough for them both! Luckily, the two friends find a solution and go off on a rainy day walk, filled with adventures, until a strong gust of wind sends one of them up in the air!

Jonathan London is best known for his Froggy series, most of which end up on my library kids’ summer reading lists every year. Booktalking Duck and Hippo will be a breeze – the author already has a tremendous fanbase. Then, we have Andrew Joyner’s brush and ink illustration, with wash and pencil, then digitally colored; which it makes me happy just looking at it. It’s classic illustration; hearkening to timeless books like Frog and Toad and Danny and the Dinosaur. colors are soothing with bright touches, like Duck’s red jacket and yellow umbrella, which matches Hippo’s yellow rain boots. The definitive outlines make each piece, each character, step off the page. Sound effects are in playful font sizes and colors, swirling along like the water in a creek or coming down with the rain.

This book is a fun read-aloud about friendship and sharing. Read and display with Frog and Toad, James Marshall’s George and Martha, or Sue Gallion’s Pug Meets Pig. Hand out a Duck and Hippo coloring sheet, courtesy of Andrew Joyner’s website – and give your bigger readers Joyner’s How to Draw Duck and Hippo instructions!

About the Author and Illustrator

Jonathan London is the author of more than one hundred children’s books, including the bestselling Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. 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 currently writing a middle-grade series, which started with Desolation Canyon, 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 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.

Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Little Blue Chair: the power of sharing, the power of home

Little Blue Chair, by Cary Fagan/Illustrated by Madeline Kloepper, (Jan. 2017, Tundra Books), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1-77049-755-9

Recommended for readers 3-7

A little boy outgrows his favorite blue chair, so his mother puts it on the curb with a sign reading, “Please take me”. From there, Little Blue Chair follows the chair as it’s passed from hand to hand: it’s used as a replacement seat on a plant stand; a ferris wheel; a bird feeder; a throne, and a chair for elephant rides. It travels to amusement parks, houseboats, and beaches, ultimately coming full-circle as it arrives back where it began. It’s a sweet story about a favorite belonging – it could easily be a toy, as in Kate DiCamillo’s The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane – and the power of home, but it’s also a story about the permanence of objects. The chair is never thrown in the trash; it’s used again and again, serving different purposes for different people, all of whom love the chair while they have it. It’s a journey home.

Madeline Kloepper’s ink and pencil illustrations, finished digitally, a soft and gentle, calming to the reader. The palette of opaque greens, reds, dark yellows, and gray-blues gives the story almost dreamlike feel; a child’s imagination realized, from one boy using the chair as a tent, to another using it as a throne, his stuffed toys as subjects. Everything in this world has a story; everything has a value. Read this with your little ones and talk about the stories their toys hold. If you’re in a school, talk about the desks: what stories could they tell?

courtesy of Madeline Kloepper’s website

I’d love to pair this with Mirielle Messier’s The Branch and compare the two stories. They’re both books about reusing and repurposing; one, a child’s chair; the other, a branch from a favorite tree.

Cary Fagan is an award-winning children’s author. See more of Madeline Kloepper’s illustration at her website.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Ladybug’s Garden Blog Tour!

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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

Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Join Porcupine’s Picnic!

porcupines-picnicPorcupine’s Picnic: Who Eats What?, by Betsy R. Rosenthal/Illustrated by Giusi Capizzi, (Feb. 2017, Millbrook Press), $19.99, ISBN: 9781467795197

Recommended for ages 4-6

Porcupine is going on a picnic! He packs a basket full of clover and settles into a perfect spot. Nearby animals ask to join him, and bring their own food: koala loves his eucalyptus, squireel enjoys his acorns, and giraffe nibbles on his leaves. When Tiger shows up, though, the picnic comes to a very quick end!

This is a cute introduction to different animals and what they eat. An explanation at the end of the book introduces readers to herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, and points out which animals from the story belong to which group. The digital art is very cute, and the reptitive pattern of the story – animal asks to join, Porcupine offers clover, animal declines and eats his or her own food – will appeal to younger readers, who can predict what will happen next. The story does tend to go on a bit long, at 40 pages, and could have used a few less animals; I worry about younger readers’ interest as the story proceeds. This would be a good flannel story candidate: create animals and foods, and invite storytime audiences to match the animal with the food on the flannel board, or even make up a worksheet and/or memory game to hand out after the story. An additional purchase for animal collections.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Pure Adorableness: Pug Meets Pig

pug-meets-pig_1Pug Meets Pig, by Sue Lowell Gallion/Illustrated by Joyce Wan, (Sept. 2016, Simon & Schuster), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481420662

Recommended for ages 3-7

Pug is a happy-go-lucky pup, living the good life. He’s got his own house, his yard work, his food bowl, and his doghouse. When Pig joins the family, though, Pug is not thrilled. His routine is completely thrown off, because Pig is in all of his business; Pig’s eating his food, hanging out with his friends, and sleeping in his doghouse! What’s a Pug to do? Can Pug and Pig work it out so they can live in the same space happily?

This is the sweetest story about change, learning to share, and welcoming a new friend (or family member). Kids will recognize Pug’s feelings, especially kids that may be starting school and meeting new kids (and having to share supplies and toys) for the first time, or even closer to home, welcoming a new sibling or family member to their home. Pug’s reaction to sharing his toys, yard, and bed is spot-on for toddlers and preschoolers learning to share. Ultimately, the good-hearted Pug and eager to please Pig come together to share, and kids will, too.

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The fun begins with the book’s endpapers, where readers follow along on Pug’s very busy day (and later, Pug’s and Pig’s day). I am in love with Joyce Wan’s adorable art. Her board books, You Are My Cupcake and We Belong Together are in heavy rotation at my storytimes (and in my home). Her Kawaii-inspired art never, EVER ceases to make me squeal, and Pug Meets Pig brings on the cute attack thousandfold. I almost passed out from cute overload. True story.

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Bonus goodies: Joyce Wan’s website offers a discussion and activity guide, plus an activity kit that will see quite a bit of action at my library. There are also coloring sheets galore! Author Sue Gallion’s webpage also links to the activity kit and coloring sheets, and to Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review. The book has also been selected for the Society Of Illustrators 2016 Original Art Show, an annual exhibit which showcases the year’s best children’s picture books.

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Adorable art plus a fun, sweet story that kids will love? Pug Meets Pig has it all. Add this one to your storytime collections, and put it in cuddle time storytime rotation. My little guy can’t get enough of this book, and neither can I. We’re getting a Pug & Pig Trick or Treat book in 2017, so watch this space for more of my incoherent squealing over this series.

 

Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Lucy and Company tells three sweet stories of friendship

lucyLucy and Company, by Marianne Dubuc, (Sept. 2016, Kids Can Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781771386623

Recommended for ages 2-5

A young girl spends time in a forest with her animal friends, where they share food, celebrate a birthday, and help a bunch of baby chicks in three separate stories by author and illustrator Marianne Dubuc.

Marianne Dubuc’s books are loaded with special little elements for readers with a sharp eye. Here, it’s more an attention to detail rather than little winks here and there. The animals’ tiny playing cards are clear; the map in the beginning of the book matches up with a map detail in The Treasure Hunt. The animal companions are adorable and fun to spend time with, as is their human friend, Lucy. The stories are sweet and beginning readers and parents will love cuddling up together at storytime. Display this one with Little Bear and Winnie the Pooh to attract readers who love animal and human adventures. The shorter stories make this easy to split up for shorter storytimes and mix-and-match themes.

Posted in Early Reader, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Am I Big Enough? Empowers kids!

big enough_coverAm I Big Enough?: A Fun Little Book on Manners, by Julia Pinckney/Illustrated by Timothy Young (Jan. 2016, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350535

Recommended for ages 3-6

A little boy named Finn watches his family as they go about their daily activities and wonders if he is big enough to do the same things. Finn knows his hands are smaller than his daddy’s, but they are big enough to do lots of things on their own – and he invites other kids to see how big they are, too!

Each spread poses one of Finn’s questions: Am I big enough to say please? Am I big enough to be quiet in the library? On the right hand side of the page is a handprint where children can place their hands to see if, like Finn, they are big enough to handle the task at hand. Bold fonts and colors exclaim, “I AM BIG ENOUGH!” With every spread, both Finn and the readers gain confidence because they’re big enough to do a lot more than they may think.

For toddlers and preschoolers that may be hearing about all the things they aren’t allowed to do because they’re too little, a book like Am I Big Enough? shows them all the things they are big enough to do; they’re big enough to share, big enough to shake hands, and big enough to show everyone around them how fantastic they are. It’s an empowering book for little ones that could work in a smaller story time, where each child gets a chance to find out if he or she is big enough. I read this with my 3 year-old and he LOVED it. It’s gone into our daily storytime rotation, and now he’s got no problem letting our family know that he’s big enough to do “LOTS OF THINGS”.

A good addition to collections for a toddler and preschool population, and a good recommendation for anyone who needs empowering books for their little ones.

Have a look at more pages from Am I Big Enough?

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