Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm

Red Fox at McCloskey’s Farm by Brian J. Heinz and Chris Sheban.

Now this is one that I should save for Poetry Friday, but I just can’t!  I read this to my sons last night and had both of them listening intently all the way to the end, even though the older one had not started out listening at all. 

Red Fox is sneaking onto Farmer McCloskey’s farm to steal chickens, but as he heads in, he runs into the hound dog and then the farmer suspects there is trouble.  With so much unwanted attention, what’s a fox to do? 

The joy of reading this book aloud is twofold.  First is the poetry of the book itself.  Unlike a lot of poetic picture books for children, this one does not shy away from using beautiful words that will stretch listening children’s vocabularies.  This is something I look for in children’s poetry.  Poetry is language and to simplify it too much is to lose some of its power.  This poetry retains its imagery and power, allowing the listener to ride along carried forward by the flow of the language.  But the success of the book is also in the illustrations which are classic in one sense but almost riotously funny in the other.  The dreamy fox pictures where he is thinking of the juicy chicken capture the beauty of nature and the fox himself.  They are luciously and deeply colored.  But the illustrations of the pop-eyed hens and also the one of the farmer on his back in the pig sty are laugh-out-loud funny and zany. 

What a book!  Poetic phrasing and language combined with modern yet classic illustrations.  Share this one with children today!  You will love the language and kids will adore the fold-out pictures that will let them see even more.

You and Me, Baby

You and Me, Baby by Lynn Reiser and Penny Gentieu.

Goodness, just look at that cover!  The bright eyes, button nose, and lack of teeth are enough to get anyone smiling.  And the photographs both on the cover and throughout the book will have you literally sniffing for that amazing baby smell.   The photographs include children and adults with different skin colors, so readers can see themselves right there.  The words in the book are very baby friendly, with looping words like smiling, feeding, waving that will carry you and your baby on a quick tour of their day.   This one is fresh, fun and filled with babies.  Share it with mommies and daddies near you. 

Children's Best Sellers

Barnes & Noble has a handy guide to the daily top sellers in a variety of categories, including children’s literature.  Even better, the children’s section is broken down into further categories like alphabet books, animals, bedtime, and fairy tales.  

Of course, my quibble with bestsellers is that they are simply that, the top sellers, not the top quality a lot of the time.  And in the children’s lists, there are always a lot of classic titles mixed in due to popularity.  While I love the classics, I think there are enough great books coming out each year that really should be being purchased and read! 

Link via Neat New Stuff.