Heads – Pull the Tab, Watch It Move, Laugh Along

Heads by Matthew Van Fleet

I am a huge fan of Van Fleet and his mix of clever tabs with very humorous touches.  Perfect for small hands, his books withstand a lot of play from the smallest children.  This book follows his Tails book.  Here the rollicking rhyme takes readers from one type of head to another.  It features heads to touch, like the woolly and hairy heads.  It also takes a funny look at necks, ears, mouths, tongues, noses and eyes.  A great introduction to the various body parts, what sets this book apart are the pull tabs that bring the illustrations to life.  The terrific part is that even the most jaded adults will be surprised at the artistry and humor here.

Van Fleet excels at writing words that flow and dance in a jaunty jig.  His text can be read aloud effortlessly.  His art is cartoony, silly and even the parts that don’t move have small humorous touches to watch for. 

Ideal for a birthday or holiday present for any toddler, this book is a treat.  The only problem is figuring out which child gets to pull the next pull tab!  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

Up We Grow! – Glorious Farm Life

Up We Grow! A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm by Deborah Hodge, photographs by Brian Harris

This book shows the beauty and work of running a small farm.  The book moves from season to season, highlighting the work being done at that time.  In spring, seeds are sown, plants are transplanted, compost is spread.  In summer the animals and plants are growing bigger.  The flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, crops are being harvested, and they have a farm celebration.  In fall, it’s harvest time for crops and for honey.  The farmers markets are active and the farmers are saving seeds to use next year.  In winter, it is slower.  The farmers repair their equipment, feed their animals, and grow plants in the greenhouse.  This book offers lots of information in friendly green boxes that specifically talk about sustainable practices.  It is a gentle way to introduce organic farming to young readers.

Hodge’s text is refreshingly light in tone, often asking readers to talk about their own experiences.  Her use of text in boxes for the more dense, factual portions works very well, making the book flexible for different ages and audiences.  Harris’ photographs really capture the fresh air and sunshine of a farm.  From friendly animals to deep rich soil, his photos are interesting and vibrant.

A book that will have everyone wanting to munch some farm-fresh veggies and visit a friendly goat or two, it is a warm invitation to investigate small farms in your area or at least spend some time at a farmer’s market this fall.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.