Tag Archive: toddlers


run dog

Run, Dog! by Cecile Boyer

One red ball and one yellow dog create lots of merry chaos in this picture book.  The dog chases the red ball from one scenario to the next, interacting with the people in the scene until finally one of them grabs the ball and throws it off the page.  The pages are filled with action thanks to a tiered page system where you turn on section of the page at a time and the scene changes along with it.  As the sections are turned, the ball bounces in different ways and the dog reacts making the people in the scene react too!

Near wordless, this book just has single words as the ball is thrown to the next page.  The illustrations are bright and pop off the page.  They are as simple as the words but are also very cleverly done.  The structure of the book creates a very dynamic feel and invites small hands to turn the pages to see what happens next.  There is a sense as one reads the book that the reader is the one setting the pace and creating the changes that unfold.

Very engaging, dynamic and great fun, this book is ideal for toddlers who are willing to be careful with the pages.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

i hatched

I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jen Corace

An exuberant chick hatches from an egg and merrily dashes through his first day in this spring picture book.  The chick quickly discovers that it has long legs and can really run.  While running, he discovers a frog, water, worms and many other things in his environment.  He learns to sing as well as poop as his day continues.  In the evening after returning to the nest, he gets a surprise when another egg cracks open.  Now he can be the expert and show his new sister everything!  Maybe.

This book is pure bottled joy.  The little chick is wildly positive and vivacious.  He captures the delight of babies in their world and invites readers to see things with fresh eyes as well.  Esbaum makes it clear that he is a killdeer with his long legs, his song and the way he acts.  It’s a pleasure to see a book about a bird in a nest on the ground, running fast that is not about learning to fly but more about being an individual and safely learning new things.

Corace’s illustrations reflect the same cheery delight.  They celebrate the little bird’s markings, the challenge of hatching from an egg, and happily show all that he explores in his first day.  They have a lightness and humor about them too.

Toddlers will enjoy this book that mirrors their own enthusiasm.  Perfect for spring story times with little ones.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial.

little poems for tiny ears

Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Celebrate the wonder of babyhood and toddlerhood with this collection of poems ideal for the youngest listeners.  These poems document the small moments of a child’s early years, seeing these little things as exactly what they are: the foundation of the future.  So each moment is given a gravity by the poems but they are also entirely playful and fun.  There are poems about body parts like noses and tongues, poems about peekaboo and high chairs, poems about naps, others about baths.  Each is short, clever and just right for sharing aloud.

DePaola has illustrated the poems with his signature style, depicting children of all colors and nationalities.  His illustrations embrace the gentleness of the entire book with their soft and bright colors and clear demonstrations of love.

Get this on the shelves right next to Mother Goose, because what you have here is a new classic set of poetry for the little ones.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Here are my top picks for recent board books, perfect for toddlers:

bedtime for chickies pottytime for chickies

Bedtime for Chickies by Janee Trasler

Pottytime for Chickies by Janee Trasler

This pair of board books introduces three small chicks who have problems falling asleep and using the potty correctly.   Trasler uses humor and other animals to make these books great fun to read.  Her artwork is particularly child-friendly and the Chickies themselves are naughty and silly, in the just the way small children would appreciate.  These are sure to be favorites at bedtime.

creature colors creature numbers

Creature Colors by Andrew Zuckerman

Creature Numbers by Andrew Zuckerman

Filled with crisp and clear photographs of animals against a white background, these books stand out visually in a crowded board book market.  The Colors book is the more successful of the two with the colors popping on each page.  The Numbers book is still well done and extends from counting individual animals to counting legs and fins as well.  Both books are strong additions to library and family collections. 

were going to the farmers market

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market by Stefan Page

A bright and friendly visit to the Farmers’ Market, this is sure to start daydreams of warm summer days for those of us in northern climes.  The illustrations are colorful and evoke the delight of the market perfectly.  Wonderful for children who have a local farmers’ market and know the pleasure of visiting the different stalls, selecting veggies and heading home to cook and eat. 

you are my baby garden you are my baby ocean

You Are My Baby: Garden by Lorena Siminovich

You Are My Baby: Ocean by Lorena Siminovich

Both released March 25, 2014.

These are the third and fourth books in this board book series which pairs a larger board book with an inset small book.  The larger book has the images of the adults with the story, and the small book has the images and noises of the babies.  The pages turn independently and work best when you have small hands helping you.  Sturdy and with the fun aspect of mixing and matching, these books are beautifully designed with very accessible illustrations. 

leo loves baby time

Leo Loves Baby Time by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Ruth Hearson

A follow-up to the wonderful Lola series, this new book aims for a slightly younger audience.  It focuses on Lola’s little brother, Leo.  Leo loves going to Baby Time at the public library.  He gets to play games, sing lots of songs, play with animals and make friends.  The book also focuses on Leo getting ready to go.  He has breakfast, sits in his stroller and heads to the library.  Families who go to similar programs at their public library will enjoy seeing the familiar games and songs here.  Those who haven’t tried it yet, may be inspired to climb into their strollers and head on over.

As someone who works in a library, McQuinn clearly understands how programs for babies work.  She highlights all of the positive things that the programs do.  She also limits the words on the page to make this book ideal for very young children who are just heading to their first library programs.  Hearson’s illustrations have a cheery warmth to them that really capture children interacting in a program and connecting with one another too. 

Printed on sturdy pages, this book is safe to hand to very small children who are progressing past board books.  It would also be a great one to use with families just starting to use libraries in your community.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.

little monkey calms down

Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl, illustrated by Oriol Vidal

This is the latest in the Hello Genius series and is a nice addition.  Little Monkey is having a very bad day.  He has an ice cream cone, but it drops on the floor.  Little Monkey throws a tantrum but then uses some coping techniques to calm back down.  First, he lets himself cry a bit, then snuggles with a blanket.  He takes deep breaths, sings quietly and is still and relaxed.  Once he feels calmer, his parents give him lots of loving attention and they are set to have a good day.

This book handles toddler tantrums in a very positive and child-centered way.  It offers ideas for even the youngest children to model.  The narrator voice sounds like a parental voice, so its advice is offered lovingly.  I particularly appreciate a book that tells a child it is fine to cry after a disappointment.  The entire book exudes warmth and love for this little monkey.

Vidal’s illustrations are invitingly cartoon-styled.  Little Monkey’s tantrum is really something to behold but so is his final quiet time where the page shines with bliss. 

A great pick for toddlers, this book will be appreciated by parents using gentler parenting techniques with their children as well as schools and parents looking for mindful books for young children.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Hello Genius and NetGalley.

book of babies

A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na

A duck takes readers on a tour of different sorts of animal babies.  The duck heads around the world, visiting baby lions, baby lizards, baby polar bears, and baby kangaroos among many others.   A trait of each baby is mentioned to distinguish them.  Baby zebras walk right away.  Fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters.  Seahorse fathers carry their babies in a pouch.  These small details add up to a kaleidoscope of different animals and offer lots of opportunities for parents to talk more about each animals as they share the book.

This author of The Book of Sleep always fills her books with rich illustrations.  Here her gentle poem carries the duck from one place to the next, but it is the illustrations that make this such a special gem.  Done in mixed media, they feature a variety of textured papers that become ice bergs, tree trunks and even the sky.  He manages to make colors that seem to emit light, glowing on the page. 

Perfect for toddler bedtimes, this book is radiant with baby animals.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

come back moon

Come Back, Moon by David Kherdian, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian

In this quiet book, Bear blames the moon for not being able to fall asleep.  So he pulls it out of the sky.  Fox notices that the moon is gone and so do Skunk, Opossum and Raccoon.  Crow asks Fox why he doesn’t know where the moon is, since he’s so clever.  So Fox takes them all to talk to Owl who is wise.  Owl knows where the moon is, since he saw Bear take it.  So they head off to retrieve the moon from Bear.  But how will they get it away from him?

This book has a wonderfully clear and simple story line that makes it ideal to use with toddlers.  It also has a deep quiet to it that will work for good bedtime or naptime reading.  Kherdian uses repetition throughout the story, having the different animals share ideas and echo back decisions. 

Hogrogian’s art also has that simple style.  She has wonderful images like the one on the cover that speak to the darkness and loss of the moon.  Her animals are realistically depicted and appear against white or tan backgrounds with few details. 

There is a place for quiet books for small children and this one has just enough activity to keep it moving too.  It would make a great board book.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

Review: Bang by Leo Timmers

bang

Bang by Leo Timmers

Using only the word “bang” throughout, this nearly-wordless picture book is a humor-filled delight.  In a series of car crashes, one after another, the story is told.  It all starts with a deer who isn’t paying any attention, since he’s reading this book while driving.  Then comes the truck full of chickens driven by a pig.  Then a fashionable giraffe in an orange sportster.  A hungry alligator with a truck full of tires follows.  And more and more.  After each car enters the page, there is an enormous bang, and then each new car impacts all of the others in new ways.  Colors change, items move from one vehicle to another, and merry chaos reigns. 

Timmers fills his wordless book with wonderful details that make lingering on the pages a must.  You even start guessing from the introduction of the new elements about what will happen to the other vehicles in line.  The final fold-out page with all of the vehicles in a row is great fun to look at and makes for a grand finale.

Timmers’ art is quirky and bright.  The vehicles are all completely unique, formatted to fit the bulk of a pig, or the height of a giraffe.  The pages are filled with bright colors and lots of action.  As each new vehicle comes onto the page, there is wonderful moment before you know what happens.  This pacing is perfection and all thanks to the art.

Jolly and very funny, this is a picture book that children who enjoy vehicles or large crashes will adore.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Gecko Press.

tiny king

The Tiny King by Taro Miura

There once was a very tiny king who lived all alone in a big castle, guarded by an army of big soldiers.  He ate at a huge table with an enormous feast that he could never finish.  He rode a big horse that threw him off every time.  He had a big bathtub with a fountain.  But all of these things did not make him happy.  He slept alone in a big bed and could not sleep very well.  Then the tiny king married a big princess and they were very happy.  They had ten children and everyone was happy.  The soldiers were given a vacation, the castle was bright and busy, they finished the entire large feast, they all rode together on the big horse, everyone bathed together in the big fountain, and best of all, the king could now sleep soundly with all of them fitting perfectly in the big bed.

Miura is a graphic designer from Japan and he has created a book that is gorgeously designed.  His illustrations are big and bold, strong shapes popping with color against the solid backgrounds.  The backgrounds change as the tone of the book changes.  When the king is lonely, the backgrounds are solid black.  The page where he meets the big princess is white.  Then the pages where he has a family are bright colored.  Throughout, Miura incorporates pieces of paper with letters, writing, or stylized vintage objects making it even richer.

The story is a simple one, but also one that speaks volumes about how riches and power do not mean that you are living a fulfilling life.  It was not until love and people entered this tiny king’s life that he was happy.  Don’t expect a subtle storyline here.  It is too basic a book for that, one appropriate for very small children to enjoy.

The story of a tiny king with a big heart and huge amount of love to share is one that toddlers and young preschoolers will enjoy.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

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