Thursday, December 14, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE!


"When's my birthday? 
Where's my birthday? 
How many days until my birthday?"* 

So begins the jubilantly poetic picture-book salute to all things to all things birthday, When's My Birthday? written by Julie Fogliano (the poet behind the lovely When Green Becomes Tomatoes) and illustrated by Christian Robinson (the artist of the Newbery winner and Caldecott Honoree Last Stop on Market Street). The verse, related to us by an omniscient child narrator, espouses pure, unadulterated joy. All the whos, whats, whens, and hows are all covered here (no need for whys of course)--the prospective presents and party and cake are imagined and anticipated down to the last detail. The infectiously questioning refrain above is almost certain to be familiar to parents and caregivers everywhere, and this charming celebration of celebrations will inspire bliss and excitement when shared with toddlers through kindergartners looking forward to observing their own birthdays.  

*Just in case anyone is wondering, this reviewer's birthday is coming up at the end of this month. You know, for the record.   

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

HIPPO, WHERE ARE YOU?

Hippo and his friends are going to enjoy a wonderful meal under the beautiful sunshine. When each friend presents a special treat, Hippo realizes that he has nothing to share. Oh no! He decides to excuse himself from the group to search for somethings special to eat. That’s when the adventure begins. Hippo is gone so long that his friends set out to search for their pal. Will their adventures end soon so that they can continue their special feast?  

From veteran children’s book writer Jonathan London, the story shows that friendship is strong no matter where you’re at and that getting together just makes everything better. Check out Duck and Hippo Lost and Found, with illustrations by Andrew Joyner.  


For ages 4-8

Thursday, December 07, 2017

LOVE THAT MONSTER


Leo is terrified of the monster under his bed--and Under-The-Bed Fred really is under the bed. One night, when Leo can't hold it (you know what "it" is of course) in any longer and just has to go! He asks the monster to give him safe passage to the bathroom and when he's safely back in bed, seeing how easy it all was, he strikes up a friendly conversation with the monster, who now calls himself Fred.  

Desperate to bring something to class for show and tell, Leo decides to bring Fred to school. It all starts out well enough until his entire class runs out of the room terrified of Fred's many scary monster impressions. 

Pick up this fun beginning chapter book by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Colin Jack, to meet the not-so-scary Fred.   

For readers in 2nd- 3rd grades. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

PETE THE CAT, JUST HIT THE DANCE FLOOR!


Pete the Cat wants to have fun and dance. His moves are not always flawless, but who really gets it right the first time? With some encouragement from a wise friend, Pete the Cat decides to just get up and move.

From the creators of Pete the Cat, Kimberly & James Dean write another smash hit, Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie, that offers a celebration of your true self, talent, and abilities. For parents and teachers to share with children who can use a boost of Pete the Cat’s optimism and perseverance.

 For ages 2-8

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A TOAST TO T.O.A.S.T


Pranks are being set off throughout an elite school in Washington D.C. so Florian and Margaret are engaged as consultants by the FBI to investigate them and the perpetrator.  Everyone is brilliant and seemingly unfriendly so there's no lack of suspects among the the children of prominent Washingtonians. Every move is calculated and watched so they really have to put their T.O.A.S.T. skills to use. 

Is the president's daughter involved?
Is the school bully behind it? 
What about Victoria, the leader of the popular girls? 
Or, that gifted violinist who just appeared out of nowhere? 

The two friends have impressed the school director with their T.O.A.S.T. skills but a good first impression is not enough to solve the case.  

In this sequel Vanished!, James Ponti explores the complexity of friendships and social structure within the exclusive and intense lives of elite private middle school students.  

For readers in 5th-8th grades.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

GROOVY JOE

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Such a fun picture book to share with young children and the illustrations by Tom Lichentenfeld will make readers want to get up and move too- adding to the simple message of including others so that the fun can be enjoyed by all.

Eric Litwin has done it again!  He’s written another awesome story. First, it was Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and now it’s this rockin’ and rollin’ story called Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Groovy Joe, too, steps to the beat of his own ‘drum’ (actually to a guitar) and here he uses numbers and a catchy tune to entice the reader. Groovy Joe will show readers that when it comes to numbers and parties, there’s always room to add more.

For ages 3-8

Thursday, November 23, 2017

THE ONE AND ONLY TRULY


Truly knows herself very well. Just turn the pages and you’ll feel her sense of self and boundless energy.  

Kelly Greenawalt’s story, Princess Truly in I Am Truly, Amariah Rauscher’s lined drawings and whimsical shades of color bring Truly and other characters a powerful yet gentle touch; her girl-power, individuality, self-confidence, and diversity shine through in each scene.  A wonderful picture book story to share with young children.

For ages 3-6.

STILL SUNNY

In this graphic novel sequel to Sunny Side Up by siblings Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (reviewed by Cecile here), Sunny Lewin’s surprising summer vacation at Gramp’s retirement community in Florida is over, and she’s ready to start middle school back home. Well, sort of. Things haven’t been the same since her older brother, Dale, was sent away to boarding school for his troubled behavior.

As Sunny goes about her days, there’s a palpable emptiness in all the spaces Dale previously occupied. Memories of the gentle brother he used to be are a distressing specter, pursuing Sunny at home and school. Even when Dale returns home for the holidays, he’s different-- withdrawn and angry. Sunny loves her brother, but she doesn’t love the tense atmosphere and constant fights that his presence brings. How can love be so complicated? How do you love someone, even as you hate the things they do?

Swing it, Sunny is a poignant reflection of a family in crisis, presented in an age-appropriate and compelling format. Set in 1976, the semi-autobiographical story features plenty of contemporary pop-culture snippets within the series of vignettes. And despite its difficult premise, it features a cast of extremely supportive friends and family members. Like life itself, even amidst troubled times this middle grade tale is ultimately filled with joyful moments and always-Sunny optimism.

Grades 5-8

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A SWEET LULLABY FOR BEDTIME

Jane Cabrera has taken the classic lullaby, Rock-a-bye Baby, and incorporated different animals and how they put their little ones to sleep. With beautiful illustrations and a classic lullaby tone, this is a great bedtime read for newborns and toddlers.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I LOVE TO DANCE!

Kimberly and James Dean bring us another fun read aloud, Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie. This time Pete the Cat is learning a new dance. As he tries to get help from his different friends who try to teach him their dance, he does not seem to get it quite right. However, the great thing about Pete is that he does not give up. Throughout the story, he keeps trying and trying and when he is about to give up, Wise Old owl encourages him to try to be himself and not try to learn others' dance moves. This helps Pete find his own rhythm and enjoy grooving to his own beat.


This is a great story that teaches children not to give up no matter what their friends say.  

For ages 3-6.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NOW I'M LITTLE, BUT SOMEDAY I'LL BE BIG


When I Grow Up by Anita Bijterbosch, is a cute story that introduces animals to infants and toddlers.  With bright illustrations and a lift-the-flap element, children learn what the baby animal will become as it grows, which makes this book a sure hit with infants and toddlers. 

Thursday, November 09, 2017

GOOD MORNING AND GOOD NIGHT

Margaret Wise Brown, the author that brought us the very popular children’s book Good Night Moon now has another treasure to share with readers, Good Day, Good Night.  

As the sun rises, the bunny says hello to everyone and as the sun sets, he says goodnight.  This is a perfect addition to a bedtime collection.  Children ages newborn to toddler will definitely enjoy listening to this story.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

BADGER'S GUIDE TO FOREST UPKEEP

Badger’s love of cleaning the forest quickly gets out of hand in Tidy. This story is a cautionary tale of how ones interest, or in Badger’s case obsession, can quickly spiral out of control. 

Badger begins innocently enough by grooming the foxes, giving the birds baths and weeding the flowers.  When that doesn’t satisfy him he moves on to picking up sticks and scrubbing rocks.  Then summer gives way to autumn and the leaves begin to fall…

Badger tries desperately to stay on top of the falling leaves, picking them up one after another after another, until he’s removed every leaf and every tree and he is faced with the complete destruction of his beloved forest. 

Lovable and misguided Badger finally realizes the error of his ways and sets about restoring the forest to its original beauty.  This light-hearted and fun story has a clear ecological message that, with the help of author-illustrator Emily Gravett’s vibrant art, even young readers will be able to see.


This book is perfect for sharing with preschool through third grade.  

Monday, November 06, 2017

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY


In the far north there is an island, a beautiful and special place that people come to visit from all over the world. One day, the fog rolls in and doesn't roll out. It covers the island and turns everything gloomy and makes it hard for our protagonist--an observant and determined bird named Warble--to see much of anything at all through his binoculars. Warble tries everything he can think of to get rid of it to no avail, and he can't understand why his bird neighbors barely seem to notice or care. But then Warble spies a little girl through his binoculars who might be just as just as observant and determined as him. Not only can she see the fog, she cares enough to take action to put an end to it as well. But how can they fight the problem alone when no one else around them seems to notice it? 

The Fog, skillfully written by Kyo Maclear and gorgeously illustrated by Kenard Pak, deftly explores standing up for what you think is right and doing what it takes to make a difference in the world. This quirky and poignant book might inspire a range of social activism, particularly in altruistic readers in kindergarten through third grades. 

Thursday, November 02, 2017

DO NOT TAKE MY CHERRIES!

“I am bat.  I do not like mornings.  I like cherries.  They are my favorite of all things.” So begins this adorably fun story about a possessive, grumpy and mock ferocious bat.  Author and illustrator Morag Hood’s vibrant pictures will have readers laughing out loud as bat hilariously searches for his missing cherries. 

Simply told, I Am Bat imparts readers with a clear message about sharing and altruism.  This heartfelt book, perfect for preschool through grade 2, will make children, and adults alike, smile and warm your heart at bats adaptability. 

Now, "I will just leave my cherries here.  DO NOT touch them.  I will know if you take one…"

Monday, October 30, 2017

'TIS THE SEASON FOR A CREEPY GOTHIC TALE


After her mother's sudden departure from the family, Elizabeth Murmur and her dour father Henry move back to his childhood home, or rather, the eerie and enormous Victorian manor where he grew up long ago, Witheringe House. The place is positively creepy, and possibly even haunted. Definitely haunted if you ask Zenobia, Elizabeth's imaginary (or is she?) friend, who is determined to make contact with the spirit presence she is sure is inhabiting the forbidden East wing of the manor. But Elizabeth isn't as brave or daring as Zenobia, and is petrified at the thought of seeing or communicating with a ghost. 

That is until she stumbles across a tombstone on the sprawling grounds, which reads Tourmaline, aged seven years. Beloved daughter of Edward and Lydia. Adored sister of Henry. Does this mean Elizabeth had an aunt she never knew about? What could have happened to her? If her father won't give her any answers, she'll have to discover them for herself, even if spirits and spooks are involved. But what she uncovers will lead her to places--both tangible and other-worldly--she never imagined, and require more than a modicum of bravery, mettle, and heart. 

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller is at turns droll and suspenseful, but always shrouded in the moodiest of mystery. Readers in fifth grade and up will be dying to find out what happens. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

OH, NO! IT GLOWS!

Quick, close the drawer. Don’t let the creepy underwear out! Jasper Rabbit is all grown up and decides he is ready for some “cool” underwear. When Jasper Rabbit gets home, he realizes his cool underwear glow in the dark….oh so creepy. Although Jasper Rabbit isn’t afraid of the dark, he decides he has had enough of this eerie, glow-in-the-dark underwear, so he decides to get rid of it. However, his underwear keeps coming back. What's a rabbit to do?

Read Creepy Pair of Underwear, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, to find out if Jasper Rabbit is able to put an end to his creeeeepy underwear. And see if you can find enough pairs of creepy underwear to earn a spooky prize at our library hunts, now through November 4th at Downtown Central Library and October 30th through November 3rd at Grandview Library.  

Ages 4-8

Monday, October 23, 2017

MAKE A GHOST YOUR BFF


Have you ever wanted to make friends with a ghost? If so, look no further than this delightfully gothic picture book meets spirit-befriending instruction manual. It covers dos and don'ts ("Never ever put your hand through a ghost. It can cause a serious tummy ache"), feeding (fix your ghost a favorite snack--maybe some moldy toast?), activities ("Throw a dance party*! Ghosts like to groove to creepy music"), and hazards ("Do not let your ghost be used as a tissue!"), and so much more. 

How to Make Friends with a Ghost, written and illustrated by Rebecca Green, is a whimsical and lightly spooky delight, ideal for sharing with preschoolers through second graders who prefer treats over tricks. 

*Come join the children's room staff at the Downtown Central Library for Monster Mash, a fun dance party with creepy music, this Wednesday, October 25th at 3:00 pm. Who knows, you might meet an amiable supernatural friend!  

Friday, October 20, 2017

GOOD FRIENDS MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS


Won't you be my neighbor friend? At first Bunny and Dog keep to themselves on opposite sides of the same fence, observing but never interacting with each other. But over the course of this sweet picture book, these neighbors who see one another every day but never speak eventually grow to be good friends. Bunny lives in a blue house with a cozy reading nook (and lots and lots of cocoa), but a sign on the mailbox says BUNNY HOUSE PRIVATE. Meanwhile, Dog lives in a red house with a comfy spot for eating biscuits and reading, but a sign on the mailbox says DOG HERE DO NOT DISTURB. They study each other through their mutual white picket fence, but neither one says hello, or hi, or nice to see you today. But one night--the night they both look up to see a wondrous shooting star--something changes, and the two come together to share their snacks and some good company.   

On the Night of the Shooting Star, written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jenni Desmond, is a delightfully heartfelt tale of looking beyond our literal and metaphorical fences to find friendship and community in a sometimes lonely world--and is a wonderful match for preschool through second graders. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

LOOK BEHIND YOU


Determined to prove there is life on the red planet a young astronaut lands on Mars.  He carries with him a gift, wrapped with a red ribbon, to give to the aliens he is certain he will meet.

Alone, the young astronaut wanders the barren landscape.  The cold, silent darkness seems to stretch on forever in all directions as the astronaut climbs up and down the rocky terrain. 

Author-illustrator Jon Agee makes great use of color, using primarily black, gray, brown and red to help us feel a sense of emptiness in the landscape and to allow us to see what our young astronaut misses, a large friendly red-pink alien following behind him seemingly confused by the astronaut's presence. 

As the young astronaut’s excitement and certainty fade, making way for sadness and despair, he leaves his gift behind and continues his trek, soon discovering that he is lost. 

As he walks on in search of his space craft he is amazed to discover a flower growing among the rocks and decides that his trip was not a total waste.  As he crests another hill he finds his spacecraft along with the gift he discarded earlier. 

Aboard his ship, making the long journey home to Earth, he decides he deserves a treat for his hard work and discovery.  He opens the gift he had brought with him and discovers that the chocolate cupcake had been eaten.…

Get swept away with your little one in Life on Mars, perfect for children in preschool through third grade.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

WHAT MAKES A SPIDER A SPIDER?


As the title Frank the Seven-Legged Spider implies, our lovable protagonist faces a bit of an existential crisis in this spirited and rollicking picture book from author-illustrator Michaele Razi. Frank begins the story as an eight-legged spider (which immediately gave this reviewer some anxiety, of course, as we know by the title that things will inevitably go terribly awry!) who spins the most magnificent webs, but wakes up one morning to find one of his precious legs has mysteriously disappeared. Where could it be? If Frank can't find his lost limb, will he still be able to do all the things he loves? And, most importantly, is Frank still a spider if he only has seven legs? 

Young readers will follow Frank's search for his missing appendage--and ultimately his identity apart from physical attributes like the number of legs he has--with fascination, empathy, and more than a few laughs along the way. This silly yet sincere story of self discovery and finding your inner strength is perfect for sharing with preschoolers through second graders. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

WHERE HAVE ALL THE SHADOWS GONE?


The boy that Smoot, our titular fun-loving shadow, is attached to sadly leads a pretty humdrum existence--always sitting still, coloring within the lines, and never daring to do anything fun or extraordinary. Sigh. One day, when he just can't take the boredom anymore, the intrepid shadow decides to strike off on his own to have some real adventures--jumping rope in the park, climbing trees, riding the merry-go-round, and just going wild to his heart's content.  And unlike in Peter Pan, Smoot is not about to be captured and sewed back together with his person. But when the other shadows see what Smoot has done and all the fun he's having, they stage a rebellion of their own. From dandelions to dragonflies, other shadows start to run amok, creating confusion aplenty. But once all the shadows have their fun will they ever want to come back?

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow, imaginatively written by Michelle Cuevas and brilliantly illustrated by Sydney Smith, is an inventive and jubilant picture book about a shadow gone AWOL and living life to its fullest, perfect for sharing with kindergartners through second graders. 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

CATS AND DOGS DO GET ALONG

Fuddles does not like the new visitor, a dog who drools and makes too much of a commotion.  He tells Puddles to go away--it's his house--but when Fuddles accidentally lands on top of the doghouse next door, unable to escape the ferocious dog, Puddles comes to Fuddle's rescue. Fuddles finally realizes what a true friend Puddles is and they happily share their home together.  

Fuddles and Puddles by local author Frans Vischer is another fun story for readers in preschool through 2nd grade.   



Tuesday, October 03, 2017

DIFFERENT, NOT LESS


As a child, Temple Grandin felt different than everyone else, and didn't seem to fit in with the children around her--she hated loud sounds, crowded places, frilly dresses, and being hugged. It was hard for her to communicate in words instead of tantrums in school. But the thing that made her stand out the most was the way her brain worked--as the title reveals, Temple thought in pictures. And when she was later kicked out of school and sent to live on her aunt's farm, that's when she found her true calling--inventing and building machines to solve problems for the farmers and help the animals be more comfortable. 

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures, thoughtfully written by Julia Finley Mosca and lovingly illustrated by Daniel Rieley, is an inspiring picture book biography that tells the story of Temple Grandin's struggles and triumphs in simple verse and charming art. This book also works as wonderful read aloud about celebrating differences, overcoming adversity, and believing in yourself. Additional backmatter, including a timeline, biography, and fun facts from the author's interview with Dr. Grandin, help provide a more complete picture of her life and work. 

A good fit for students in kindergarten through second grade--or anyone who loves stories about the power of determination and perseverance.

Monday, October 02, 2017

ALL ABOARD!


Toddler whisperer/children's book creator Emma Garcia is back with another sure-fire hit in her new picture book, Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Perfect for storytime as well as sharing individually, this bright and boldly illustrated book covers lots of concept territory--it's obviously a train book, first and foremost, but also includes numbers and animals. Though the text is appropriately brief for the toddler crowd, a story line takes shape between the multiple concepts being explored. As the train makes it's way from the seashore, through the forest, through the city, and past the farmyard, before it finally pulls into the station, picking up different numbers and types of birds along the way. 

A can't-miss book for young train enthusiasts and fan's of Garcia's other vehicle-laden titles, this book is also just the ticket for building multiple early literacy skills, including narrative skills, print awareness, and phonological awareness. Full steam ahead!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SCIENTIST CHARLOTTE


In Charlotte the Scientist is Squished, Charlotte uses the scientific method to solve her problem ... not enough space in her large rabbit family.  Tired of not having enough space in the bathroom, or anywhere for that matter, Charlotte designs and builds a rocket to fly to the moon where there will be no crowding.  With plenty of room on the moon, she performs all the experiments she could want and take long leisurely baths.  Unfortunately Charlotte experiences an unexpected problem in space by herself and so she decides to tackle one final experiment.  

A fun book for preschoolers through second graders, written by Camille Andros and illustrated by Brianne Farley, about getting what you wish for.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

BADDEST OF THE BAD


This is a story about a bad seed. I mean really bad. The baddest of all the seeds, the absolute worst. All the other seeds know it, too--just ask them. They whisper when then see him coming, "there goes a baaaad seed." But how bad can he really be? Well, he never puts things back where they belong, cuts in line, never listens to anyone, and tells long jokes with no punch lines, and that's just for starters. Like I said, bad.

The seed in question wasn't always this way, so how did he get to be so bad in the first place? Read this clever, hilarious, and surprisingly heartfelt picture book to hear the origin tale of the bad seed--and find out if there's any chance of redemption for our self-proclaimed antihero. 

The Bad Seed, artfully written by Jory John and charmingly illustrated by Pete Oswald, is a natural born read-aloud, sure to entertain and delight preschoolers through second graders. Not half bad--on the contrary, all good! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

OUT OF THE WAY!


Sam comes to the construction site everyday to watch the workers at the construction site but on this particular day some older boys dare him to go inside the site itself.  To their horror, Sam begins to  behave unexpectedly.  He takes their dare and drives off in the cement mixer and then pour wet concrete all over the road.  He behaves in more seemingly crazy ways for a little boy.  Scared that they have egged Sam on and are in a heap of trouble, the boys run after him, but the chaos just continues.  

But Sam is observant and clever and his actions are very logical and reasonable.  Find out what Sam is up to as he drives different types of construction vehicles in this madcap romp through the city.
There's humor, tension and action for everyone who enjoy cars, construction and a good story in Sam and the Construction Site by Tjibbe Veldkamp and Alice Hoogstad.  

For preschool through second grade.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

CREEPY UNDERWEAR: SO CREEPY! SO COMFY!

It’s been a superb year for picture book sequels, and I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t highlight Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown’s latest collaboration: a long-awaited follow up to the amazing Creepy Carrots! For those unfamiliar with the original (please rectify this situation ASAP), the spooky story centers around young Jasper Rabbit, who, after enjoying one too many tasty carrots from a nearby field, suddenly finds himself relentlessly and creepily pursued by the vegetables in question. Noir-styled black and white illustrations enhance the spook factor, while the premise (creepy... carrots, um really?) and text lend an air of ridiculousness to the whole affair. This book makes a fantastic read-aloud for grades 2-5, and was such a hit with Children’s Room staff, that we even dressed up as the titular characters one Halloween.

The sequel, Creepy Pair of Underwear!, shares the same combination of spooky + ridiculousness, as Jasper Rabbit, now a “big rabbit,” goes underwear shopping with his mother. Yielding to Jasper’s cajoling, mom agrees to purchase one pair of Creepy Underwear for him in addition to his standard Plain White. Unbeknownst to the no-longer-a-little-bunny, however, properties of the the new Creepy Underwear include: glowing a ghoulish green, alarmingly replacing other underpants on his body despite deliberate removal, and eerily reappearing everywhere after being thrown out and snipped into pieces. Will Jasper Rabbit ever succeed in ridding himself of unwanted Creepy Underwear?

Share Creepy Pair of Underwear! with one and all--you can be sure this children’s librarian will!

Grades 2+

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

ANOTHER SWEET LAKE MONSTER


Drawn by the sweet sound of Hattie's singing, Hudson the lake "monster" pokes his head up to the surface to check it out, but then goes back into hiding when the other lake goers are frightened by him.  Determined to find the animal in the lake and confirm that it is just a curious thing, Hattie hatches a plan to get everyone to see Hudson as a friendly creature of the lake instead something to fear.

Hattie & Hudson, written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, is a sweet story of friendship with vibrant illustrations.  It is perfect read-aloud for all ages.



Thursday, September 07, 2017

TOUCAN STEW?!

The fun-loving fowl of Cockatoo, Too (reviewed here) are back with more lively language play, and this time they’re stirring things up with a new recipe. Yes, it’s a delicious toucan stew!

No, wait! Come back, toucans! I meant a “delicious two-can stew for toucans, too” not “toucan stew”! Oh, dear. (Or, perhaps, “old deer”?)

Full of wit and humor, author-illustrator Bethanie Deeney Murguia’s new picture book, Toucans, Too, follows a series of quite understandable misunderstandings involving cockatoos, toucans, two-can stews, canoes, gnus, and cuckoos, too. It’s a worthy sequel. (“See quail”? Maybe next time!)

Ages 2+

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

BUILDING A COMMUNITY

When enthusiastic Little E joins his fellow construction vehicles on a new neighborhood project, he tips and tumbles as he attempts to find a task fit for his diminutive size. Full of fun onomatopoeia and familiar big rigs that your budding construction expert will love, Little Excavator is a story about patience, acceptance, and honoring contributions big and small. This rhyming picture book for toddlers and preschoolers was written and illustrated by the late Anna Dewdney (1965-2016), who was best known for her Llama Llama series.

I read Little Excavator with a fluttering enjoyment and a sorrowful pang, knowing that this is Dewdney’s final fully completed work. More stories born of her ideas and sketches will be published in coming years, but she will never see them to completion. Little Excavator is small, but eager to contribute. In the end, what they’ve built together is a park: a community space for children and families to play in, to grow in, and to love. It’s a fitting metaphor for Anna Dewdney’s work as a whole: that which nurtured, guided, and grew a community of readers.

Ages 2+

Thursday, August 31, 2017

SCHOOL'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Everyone always talks about how they feel about going to school, but does anyone know how the school feels? No one really knows the difficulties the school faces with waking up to noisy children.  

School's First Day of School by Adam Rex is a hilarious book describing the first day of school...from the school's point of view. The school building is the main character who shares his feelings and purpose. This is a wonderful picture book to share with young readers ages 4 through 7.  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ONE SPECIAL DAY

Spencer is everything you expect a young boy to be. He is strong and fast, tall and loud, funny and wild, messy and free.  Then, one special day, Spencer becomes something more.  He is quiet and gentle as, for the first time ever, Spencer is a big brother.  Told through simple words and expressive art One Special Day, written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Jessica Meserve, is an ideal story for families expecting a second sibling.

This book is perfect for children 2 – 5 years old. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

EVERYONE LOVES TACOS

It’s a crisis! A catastrophe! A calamity of epic proportions! Quick, do something RIGHT NOW, because tacos have just gone completely extinct!

And, as you may recall from author-illustrator duo Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri’s first book: Dragons Love Tacos. (If you haven’t read the original book, you might also glean this tidbit from the informative titles of both books. You should really read the original, though, because a little more context could certainly help. Plus, it’s hilarious.) Dragons love all kinds of tacos: big tacos, little tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos-- just not the spicy tacos (that’s kind of an important detail). Yes, the dragons are deeply enamored with tacos, and the current state of emergency has rendered them completely hysterical; they’re sobbing, pacing, rolling on the ground in fits.

There’s only one solution to this problem, and I’m sure you already know what it is.

Yes, you guessed it: fire up the ol’ time machine in the garage, return to a period in which tacos were plentiful, avoid spicy salsa, quickly rescue a few dozen specimen before the dragons gobble them all up, and bring them back to the present to replenish the taco reserve. Easy peasy, right? I mean, it will be once you’ve figured out how to operate the time machine.

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel is an enjoyable and wacky picture book ready to be shared aloud with kids in kindergarten through third grade. Just make sure you read the original too!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

In the latest book from the popular series, Andy and Sandy enter a talent show at their school. Sandy encourages Andy to dance with her, but Andy is shy because he doesn't know how. Sandy is a good friend and helps Andy by teaching him. With lots of practice, Andy is feeling more confident than ever. How well will they do in their big debut? 

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show, by beloved author-illustrator Tomie DePaola, ​is the perfect series for beginning readers all around. Andy and Sandy will delight the hearts of young children through the beautiful illustrations and story of true friendship. Tomie DePaola expertly captures the essence of friends overcoming fear together. 

This book, and the other titles in the Andy & Sandy series, are great early readers for children in kindergarten through second grade. 

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.