Tag: play

Hammer and Nails by Josh Bledsoe

Hammer and Nails by Josh Bledsoe

Hammer and Nails by Josh Bledsoe, illustrated by Jessica Warrick (InfoSoup)

Darcy’s day is ruined when her best friend gets sick and has to cancel their playdate. Her father suggests that they do a Darcy-Daddy Day instead, where they pick alternating things from their to-do lists until both lists are done. They start with coffee time, or chocolate milk time for Darcy. Then comes dress up where Daddy gets super fancy in a tutu and flannel shirt. Next the lawn gets mowed in a glamorous way. Hair Salon comes next until both Darcy and Daddy are fabulous. Laundry is a sock battle and then a quest to match each sock. The day ends with repairing the fence, something new for Darcy to try, and a manicure for the both.

An ideal father and daughter book that shows how open minds and playfulness can save a day from disaster. Parents will recognize their chores as the day goes on and then their aches and pains after playing too hard. Children will love seeing a dad get into imaginative play, wearing both a tutu and a headband with no care at all. There is a real sweetness to this book that captures the adoration between a father and daughter and one special day they shared together.

Warrick nicely captures the play as the two of them have their day together. Princess dresses and tutus get grass stained and hammers nicely fit into red purses too. The lawnmower takes on royal status with its umbrella and garlands too. Each little flourish is used to great effect and the interplay between the two characters is radiant.

A testament to the power of positive parenting, this picture book will be loved by fathers and daughters alike. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.


This Is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter

This Is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter

This Is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter (InfoSoup)

Released on May 10, 2016.

A little girl shows readers the dollhouse she has made from a cardboard box. It is filled with inventive furniture, food made from string and paper, and a set of dolls that don’t all match. The house has an elevator on the side and even a swimming pool on the roof. Then she sees her friend Sophie’s dollhouse where everything matches. The dolls all look the same, all of the rooms match with furniture that is all perfect. But when the girls play a little with the dollhouse, it doesn’t really work. When Sophie comes over, the girl is very nervous about showing her the handmade dollhouse, but soon the two girls are playing together in a way that they never did with Sophie’s perfect dollhouse.

I absolutely adored this book. It captures the wonder of creating your own toys and your own world of play. The cardboard dollhouse and all of the art supplies allows a little girl’s imagination to really soar. The book does include instructions for making your own dollhouse out of a box. And the story also shows how to make furniture from blocks and a TV from a small silver box. Children will be inspired to make their own.

The illustrations here are such an important part of the story. They clearly show that there is a warmth and homeyness to the handmade dollhouse. When the girls play with the perfect purchased one, readers will immediately feel the chill of that dollhouse and realize all that it is missing. This plays so beautifully against children’s own expectations too.

A grand picture book that will inspire creative play and the building of a place for adventures of your own. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Schwartz & Wade and Edelweiss.

Into the Snow by Yuki Kaneko

Into the Snow by Yuki Kaneko

Into the Snow by Yuki Kaneko, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito (InfoSoup)

Head into the snow with this picture book that shows the joy of winter and the wonder of a snowy day. A child heads out into the snow after bundling up inside. They have a sled along and also explore the way the snow falls softly, the cold of the day, and the icicles hanging nearby. There is a climb to the top of the hill, then the rush of going so quickly, a tumble and the joy of landing softly at the bottom. The snowy day ends with hot chocolate inside, a perfect treat after the cold snow.

This very simple book is told from the youngster’s point of view. Kaneko uses different senses to let the child explore their world. The snow is “soft” and “fluffy” while the icicle is “shiny and clear like glass.” It’s a book of exploration on one’s own, their parent only joining them to call them in at the end and offer the cocoa. The lack of gender for the child is also a great choice, allowing this to be any child’s adventure. This is an empowering read for small children who will want their own explorations on a joyous snowy day.

Saito’s illustrations are done in oil pastels, gouache, acrylic colors and color pencils. They have a delightful roughness that conveys the warmth of the child’s clothes and transformation created by the snow cover. The snow flakes are large and dense. They dance along with the colorful glitter on the child’s hat.

A great snowy day book for small children, this book evokes the feel of a snow day perfectly. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals

Bringing the Outside In by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Patrice Barton (InfoSoup)

This picture book invites children to head outside and play in every season. The book begins in spring with children outside carrying umbrellas and jumping in puddles. They play with worms and get good and muddy. Then they head inside to dry off, dump out their boots, and mop up. Summer comes next with sand, water and shells. They carry it back inside with them too as they wash up from all of the sunshine. Autumn is next with apples and leaves that need to be picked off and raked up. Finally, there is winter with snow and ice that can be carried in and the children thawed out before a fire.

This is truly a celebration of playing outdoors. Each season begins with the line “We’re bringing the outside in, oh, bringing the outside in…” When the children head inside the line is repeated and readers can see how parts of being outside are actually brought inside with the children. The book ends with a collection of items saved from their year outside and slightly older children wanting to look through all of their treasures together.

The illustrations show such joy from the children as they spend time together outside. Grins spread ear-to-ear on their faces as they fly kites, stomp in puddles, jump in leaves and sled in snow. This book is pure warmth too, as children dry off, warm up and come back inside happily as well.

A book that shows the pleasure of being out of doors, this picture book should lead to a great ramble outside. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Penguin Random House and Edelweiss.

Review: Float by Daniel Miyares

Float by Daniel Miyares

Float by Daniel Miyares (InfoSoup)

This wordless picture book has a boy creating a boat from newspapers that he then takes outside. The sky is dark with rain clouds and the boy protects the paper boat from the sudden downpour with his rain slicker. Then he floats the boat in a quiet puddle. When he lets it into the fast flowing water in the gutter, it scoots away from him, across the road, and down into the sewer. The boy goes to a bridge and sees the limp newspaper page come out of the drainpipe into the pond. It is all droopy and limp, just like the disappointed boy. He heads home, gets dried off, has some cocoa, and then it is back to the  newspapers, this time to make something for the sunny day outside.

Beautifully paced with luminous illustrations, this wordless picture book is filled with simple pleasures. From experiencing the joy of a good rainstorm to having a paper boat that floats so gracefully, the joy is tangible in the early part of the book. Then with the boat racing away from the boy, the pace quickens and the pages turn faster. Readers will know what is going to happen, but hope and hope that it won’t. But it does. The ending of being warm and dry again, with an adult helping and caring for him, makes for a book that celebrates the freedom of playing alone outside but also the importance of having a loving home to return to.

The illustrations are particularly fine. Gray and misty, they embrace the rain and the weather. The boy is a dart of bright yellow on each page, the boat a mix of pastel blues and pinks that sets it apart as well. There is a strong sense of movement on the page from the falling rain to the rushing water. The endpages of the book have folding instructions for both a boat and a paper plane.

A book about playing outside and the joy of nature, this wordless picture book is perfect for rainy days. Just make sure you have plenty of newspaper around. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Review: Lucy and Henry Are Twins by Elizabeth Winthrop

Lucy and Henry Are Twins by Elizabeth Winthrop

Lucy and Henry Are Twins by Elizabeth Winthrop, illustrated by Jane Massey (InfoSoup)

Lucy and Henry are toddler twins who spend a merry day together. From waking up where Lucy is wide awake and Henry is slower to move to the way they come downstairs, the personalities of the two children are completely individual. Riding in strollers, the two go to the park where they both explore the different slides, swings and other equipment. Then the two play with a ball. Finally, they head back home again. Their busy day is filled with activity, play and the two of them exploring the world together.

Winthrop keeps this book at just the right level for busy toddlers. The book moves at a brisk pace, showing the different things the children are doing and moving quickly on to the next thing. The text rhymes, which adds to the jaunty feel of the book. The two children are shown equally, sometimes having fun and other times not. Nicely, Winthrop makes sure that each child is brave at times and more skittish at others and happy at times and grumpy at others. Both children are well rounded and believable.

Massey’s illustrations are bright and bold. The children are featured very closely with only the legs and arms of the parents ever in view. This keeps the children at the heart of the story. Interestingly, because the parents are never named or fully seen, this book will work well for gay and lesbian parents and grandparents to share aloud with their little ones.

A particularly strong book for toddlers, this one is not overly sweet and feels like a real outing with toddlers to the park. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson

My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson

My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Paul Schmid (InfoSoup)

A little boy adores his dog, despite the fact that the boy is full of energy and his dog…well, he’s not. When the boy offers the dog a ball, the dog dozes off. The boy then demonstrates the tricks his dog can do, like playing dead. His dog can also roll over, while sleeping. And even turn into a ball, still asleep. The plays tug of war, by lying on the boy’s blanket and not moving. And even chase, well, not really. The dog can do so many things, like listen to stories, provide a base for playing with toys and even blow bubbles when the bubble wand is put in front of his dozing face. In the end, the little boy gets sleepy and after a big hug falls asleep next to the dog. The dog wakes up and is ready to play now.

I loved this book with the patient sleeping dog who allows himself to be clambered over, played with, and piled on while he is sleeping. There is no sense ever that the dog is anything other than a very happy and willing partner to all of this. The boy is eager but also gentle, his imagination creating worlds where the dog is an active participant in his merry games. The ending is completely adorable with the boy asleep and the dog awake.

Schmid’s illustrations are just right for this book. Done in simple lines on pastel backgrounds, the illustrations show the lovely interplay between little boy and dog. The round dog makes a perfect foil for the active little boy, one a whirl of motion and the other almost motionless.

A book that celebrates having a pet as a small child and the incredible connection one develops. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.