Wild Baby by Cori Doerrfeld (9780062698940)
Just as an orangutan mother and baby wake up and stretch in the treetops, the wild baby rushes off to explore. Sliding and swinging through the jungle, the baby wants to touch and dance and hop, no matter who gets bothered along the way. As they chase through the jungle, the baby ends up being hunted by not just mother but a jaguar while chasing butterflies. Just as the baby is in the utmost danger, everything works out. Now he has to contend with a rather irate mother who carries him back to their nest. Happily, he has a lovely surprise for her when they get there.
For anyone who has cared for a toddler who loves to dash away, this will be a familiar feeling. Doerrfeld creates a madcap race through the jungle done with very simple language sprinkled liberally with the word “wild.” The pacing is exciting and fast and the book is filled with just enough danger and plenty of love. The illustrations are filled with orange fur, playfulness and glee.
A terrific toddler pick. Appropriate for ages 1-3.
Reviewed from library copy.
Oh No! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
A virtuoso picture book by two masters, this is bound to be a new favorite for toddler and preschool story times. The story begins with Frog falling into a deep hole. Oh no! Mouse came along and tried reaching down but she fell in too. Oh no! Loris slowly came down from her tree to help, but an allergy made her sneeze and you guessed it, she fell in too. Oh no! Sun Bear tried to help, Monkey swung by and fell in, and then Tiger reveals himself fully above. Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed him lurking from the very end papers right on through. He’s ready to pounce on this hole full of juicy animals. But wait! There’s one more animal headed for the hole! Oh yes!
Fleming has written such a simple and yet jaunty text here. It reads aloud so well, so vividly that there is no other way to read this book. The text doesn’t rhyme, instead it is filled with so much repetition and rhythm. There is the chorus of “Oh no!” that meets each animal as they tumble into the hole. But there are also words that repeat as each animal is introduced.
Rohmann did the illustrations as relief prints. They have bold lines, lithe animals, and lots of action. They also have that wonderful texture of prints that make them such a great choice for children’s books. The illustrations lift this book even higher.
Get your hands on this for your programs. I guarantee it will be part of your regular story rotation. It’s also a great pick for children’s reader theater. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Little Little Girl with the Big Big Voice by Kristen Balouch
A little, little girl has a very loud voice. She heads out looking for a friend to play with. She searches the jungle, but her big voice scares the animals away. First, an elephant run, then a snake, then a crocodile! It’s not until she meets a very loud and very large lion and isn’t scared by his roar, that she makes a friend.
Balouch has created a book that is bright, funny and loud. Her text is simple and easily read aloud, loudly. It has a rhythm that is natural and easy as well as a strong structure of repetition. As the little girl meets each animal, there is the happy greeting and then the little girl opens her mouth. Words in each encounter are bright colored and larger, so readers will know where the punch of sound belongs.
The illustrations are just as loud as the little girl. Just like the cover, they are filled with hot pinks, oranges, zingy greens, and bright blues. The noise waves, whenever the little girl talks, are depicted in circles of color emanating from her. This adds to the color, motion and zip of the book.
A winning book about being different and finding acceptance without changing, this book is a readaloud win for any child who is loud themselves. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.
Monkey Truck by Michael Slack
Whenever there is trouble in the jungle, Monkey Truck races to the rescue! He saves small lizards from crushing elephant feet. He rescues big hippos from a shrinking and muddy water hole. He grinds gears to get the job done with his truck bed filled to bursting. He is Monkey Truck! Fueled by bananas and always ready to go, he is the hero of the jungle.
This book grew on me once I got into the story. It has a frenetic pace that toddler will enjoy immensely. It also obviously has its own screwball humor from the premise alone! That humor is really what makes this book work so well. From fart jokes to bouncing stacks of muddy hippos, there is plenty of laughter to be found here.
The book has been printed on thicker pages, making it an ideal transition book for toddlers from board books to picture books. This is clearly a book that is meant for very young children who just might demand why they can’t have a monkey truck of their very own!
If you do a toddler story time at your library or work with a toddler group, this is a book that will really work when shared out loud. Be prepared to mash your animal sounds with engine noises and your young listeners will be sure to enjoy it! Appropriate for ages 1-3.
Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt.
You can check out the wordless trailer for the book below:
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