Friday, August 18, 2017

HOW WELL DO YOU REALLY KNOW YOUR ANIMAL SOUNDS?


Sure, we know that dogs go woof, cats go meow, and birds go tweet . . . but what does the aardvark say? In the nonfiction picture book Can an Aardvark BARK? author Melissa Sweet and artist Steve Jenkins (who have both received Caldecott Honors for their illustration work) team up to answer that question, exploring many of the lesser-known animal sounds out there. Who barks, who grunts, who squeals, and who bellows? What kind of animals whine and laugh, just like you and I? 

Sweet's primary text is written in rhyme simple enough to work as a lively nonfiction read-aloud for toddlers and preschoolers (a great choice for building background knowledge!), while the captions corresponding with each illustration offer fascinating information about the other animals who grunt, bellow, or laugh, for older readers who want to know more. Meanwhile Jenkins' signature expressive cut-paper artwork really brings each animal to life--the African crested porcupine (who whines, by the way) looks as it could poke you right through the page, while the gorilla baby looks tempting enough to tickle so you can hear its giggle.

Whether in a group setting or individually, this is a perfect informational picture book to share with animal lovers from toddlers to second graders.  


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

THE MOON LOOKS LIKE WHAT?!


Many Moons by Remi Courgeon illustrates what we've always known - finger nail clippings do look like tiny crescent shaped moons.   Each night a different person sees the moon and it reminds them of a variety of things from a banana to a smile. 

This is a lovely and unexpected book on the daily changing shapes of the moon and what it images and thoughts it evokes.  It's basically the night version of looking at the clouds  as they pass overhead.  

For preschool to second grade. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

WHERE COULD ELEPHANT BE HIDING?

Have you ever played hide-and-seek with an elephant before? A boy is doing just that, but it seems the large animal is nowhere to be found. Can you see the elephant blending into the pages as the beautiful colors and illustrations try to fool your eyes? Will the boy find elephant in the end? 

Have You Seen Elephant? written and illustrated by David Barrow has beautiful and colorful illustrations, and is perfect for readers who enjoy silly stories and fun games.  

A great read aloud for children ages 2 and up.  

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

WAY UP HIGH IN THE APPLE TREE



The Starry Giraffe is very very tall.  He's so tall that all the shorter animals ask him to reach for an apple from the way too tall apple tree for them.  Mouse would like one, then the raccoons, and even the tiny inch worm.  Will there be any apples left on the apple tree for the hungry giraffe?  Illustrated with bold yet simple graphic images and text, this is an adorable read-aloud with a gentle message about sharing and reward by Andy Bergmann

For toddlers through 2nd grade. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A HIGH SPEED CHASE OF ROYAL PROPORTIONS


The Queen's Handbag, whimsically written and illustrated by Steve Antony, follows Her Royal Highness--in hot pursuit of a sneaky swan who has stolen her handbag--on a trip all over Great Britain. Whether by car, by plane, by horse, or by parachute, the queen is determined to chase down the thief and reclaim her purse in grand style. From England to Wales to Ireland to Scotland and back again, this high-speed chase visits landmark after landmark, giving readers a veritable first-class if quite madcap tour of the best of the United Kingdom. 

Meticulously illustrated in a stylistically limited palette of blacks, blues, and reds, the artwork in this picture book certainly lends itself to readers poring over all the clever details from Windsor Castle to the White Cliffs of Dover and everywhere in between. Will the exceptionally intrepid queen finally apprehend the aviary bandit by journey's end? Armchair adventurers will have to follow her on travels to find out. 

This royally entertaining picture book should be a smashing success with preschoolers through second graders. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

WHAT'S ON THE POND?


The pond is a beautiful place as the young boy and his dog in this story come to find out. Be still and you can observe the sounds and chatter of many different animals surrounding the pond. There's a commotion that connects all of the animals together. Though in the end all is forgotten, and peace and tranquility come back to the pond as the day ends. 

On Duck Pond written by Jane Yolen, with art by Bob Marshall, beautifully illustrates the habitat of animals that live around the duck pond. Descriptive words are used to spark your imagination as you flip through the pages.  
What animals do you see at the duck pond? How does the duck pond make you feel? 

This book is a perfect read-aloud for children ages 4 and up. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MARCH LIKE A DINOSAUR!


Well, it seems that Laurie Berkner has gone and done it again: she has taken another of her beloved songs, We Are the Dinosaurs, from sheet music to illustrated picture book. If you've ever been to this reviewer's storytime, you are probably aware of the song from Berkner's Whaddaya Think of That? album--and what a crowd pleaser it is. This new picture book is much more than just lyrics on a page--illustrator Ben Clanton's bright and cheery illustrations combine with the catchy song to create a rollicking volume sure to be a hit with toddlers, whether it be in storytime or at bedtime. Used with the song or standing on its own, this title is perfect for dinosaur enthusiasts from babies to preschoolers. 

This is just one of many fun and infectious songs by the popular children's musician, so be sure to check out some of Laurie Berkner's many albums. And, to find out more about any of our early literacy storytime programs, contact the Children's Room at (818) 548-2036, or stop by any of our branches to pick up a copy of our latest Family Events!   

Thursday, July 20, 2017

WRITING TAKES PRACTICE, LITTLE PLANE

Little Plane is ready to learn how to write, but first he must go to school to practice. Little Plane learns writing by flying in arcs, dives, and loopity-loops.  He's excited to practice every day, but has trouble completing the loopity-loops, which make him too dizzy. How will Little Plane become the perfect writer that he so desperately wants to be? 

Little Plane Learns to Write, written and illustrated by Stephen Savage, is a beautiful picture book about learning to write the ABC's. A perfect book for airplane lovers, it also teaches children that writing takes practice... and with enough practice, you can accomplish anything.

This is a great read-aloud for children ages 3 and up.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS, SHOOT!


You might have played the game Rock Paper Scissors before (maybe with a friend to decide who will get the last piece of pizza?) but you've probably never considered it's origin story. Where did they come from and how did their first battle come about? Wonder no more with the publication of The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex. This hilariously clever picture book tells all, from Rock's first challenge in the Kingdom of Backyard to Paper's battles with Printer in the Empire of Mom's Home Office to Scissors's many trials in the Kitchen Realm to their eventual final confrontation. Each one was a victor in his or her own stomping grounds, but who will emerge triumphant when they finally meet one another and wage the ultimate war? 

Daywalt (author of the beloved Day the Crayons Quit and Day the Crayons Came Home) keeps readers guessing who the champion will be while Rex gives them many entertaining details to pore over, making this a fun picture book to read aloud in a group setting or to share one-on-one with preschoolers to second graders. 

The battle lines have been (cleverly) drawn, but no matter which character comes out victorious, this book is sure win over anyone who reads it.  

Thursday, July 06, 2017

SECRETS


Secrets always start off with a whisper, but that whisper can be heard by many beautiful things in this world. Where does a secret travel to after a little girl shares it with her puppy? 

Secrets I Know written by Kallie George and art by Paola Zakimi, is beautifully illustrated. This book needs to be read more than once as it may start off slow at first. In the end, the whisper that the girl is seen sharing with her puppy carries itself to the stars in the night sky. The illustrations and words in this story are descriptive and colorful.

A perfect read for children ages 4 and up. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

REAL FRIENDS

For every child that has experienced the aching uncertainty of loneliness and belonging, here is a story drawn from celebrated children’s book author Shannon Hale’s memory of finding, losing, and reimagining friendships.

Growing up as a middle child of five, young Shannon constantly finds herself the odd one out as her older and younger siblings pair off to play. Desperately lonely, Shannon is ecstatic to make one good friend on her first day of kindergarten. She and her new friend, Adrienne, are inseparable as they embark on imaginative adventures at school and home, and Shannon is confident that she has found all she needs in Adrienne.

But when Adrienne joins the popular girls’ group in third grade, things get complicated for Shannon. Where does she stand? Is she in the Group? Are these girls her friends? Why does one girl in the Group keep telling lies about her to the others? Does she still have a best friend?

Spanning the author’s elementary school years, Real Friends by Shannon Hale presents a story that is authentic, compelling, and relatable, with artwork by LeUyen Pham that is appealing and complementary. It’s a perfect fit for Raina Telgemeier fans.

For other great middle grade graphic novels about friendship check out Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl (reviewed by Meghan here), Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward (previously reviewed here), and Cece Bell’s El Deafo (reviewed by Anush here).

Grades 3-7

Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE TOUGHEST JOB OF ALL


As Bulldozer watches all his fellow construction vehicles working away--stirring, lifting, scooping--he wonders how he can help too. Bulldozer is eager to find his calling and help the others accordingly, but the other trucks tell him building skyscrapers is only a job for rough, tough trucks. So when they do find a suitable job for Bulldozer, they are perplexed to find him sitting still, not flattening the pile they asked him to clear. Why won't Bulldozer just help out and do his job? 

Bulldozer Helps Out by Candace Flemming, illustrated by Caldecott-winning artist Eric Rohmann, is definitely not your average construction vehicle book (though it will certainly please that crowd too!). It also offers a heartwarming and adorable twist that shows how toughness takes many forms, not just might and muscle, and that everyone has their own purpose to serve--they just have to find it.

With delightfully bright and bold art and a message that's both inspiring and cleverly told, this captivating picture book will appeal to toddlers through kindergartners, and anyone who's looking for their place to belong.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

FOLLOW THAT CAT


The cat arrives in to town walking slightly askew.  The townspeople begin to notice the tilted cat and that things are no longer their usual selves like the hair cuts are different and yet everyone loves them.  Catawampus' tilt begin to change people's attitudes, how they look at things and even they build, too.  

Was this Catawampus' intent?  Did he mean to change everything? Check out the endpages with a drawn map showing Catawampus' route through town.  The Catawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton and illustrated by Gus Gordon is a silly and enjoyable read for readers 4 years old and up.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"HE LOVED THINGS THAT GO"

Old MacDonald had a farm and on his farm he had a collection of vehicles.  From a plane to a fire truck, he had it all. This retelling of the traditional song "Old MacDonald" introduces a variety of vehicles and the noises they make. 

Old MacDonald’s Things That Go by Jane Clarke, with illustrations by Migy Blanco, is a great read on the subject of transportation.   With colorful and large illustrations, this is definitely a great read a-loud for children ages 2 and up.