Tag: toddlers

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (InfoSoup)

So I admit that I waited for spring to actually come to Wisconsin before I reviewed this and that means that even now I am being optimistic that it has finally arrived even though it was in the 30s here overnight. But even if you are almost headed into summer, this is a great book to share in early, mid and late spring. Written at a level just right for toddlers, this book shares the transformation that spring bring us. Bare trees become covered in blossoms and leaves. Snowmen disappear. Puddles appear. Grass turns from brown to green (with flowers). Gardens grow and soon there is green everywhere, breezes, robins and worms.

Henkes’ writing is made to share aloud with small children. His verse doesn’t rhyme but it has a great natural rhythm to it that makes the book almost sing. The joy here is in the exploration of the changing season, one that brings a certain beauty with it, a freshness. Henkes captures the turning of the season, the aspects of early spring all the way through to almost-summer and he does it in a way that shows small children what they can see and experience themselves.

Dronzek’s illustrations are big and bright and simple. She moves from the lighter colors of early spring through to the bold robustness of near summer. The images change too, moving from small images surrounded by white to double-page spreads that run right to the edge of the pages and seem to spill over with the bounty of late spring.

A gorgeous book for the smallest of children, this is a triumphant toddler look at spring. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins Publishers.

 

Bunches of Board Books

Here are some of my favorite board books that I discovered this spring:

Hello World Solar System by Jill McDonald Hello World Weather by Jill McDonald

Hello, World! is a new series of board books that look at nonfiction topics in a way that is suitable for the youngest of children. I appreciate that the two books take very different approaches to their subjects. Solar System offers information about each of the planets in our solar system, naming them in order and giving a little fact about each one. Weather takes a more child-focused approach showing the types of clothes a child would wear for each kind of weather. Each book offers bright-colored illustrations that are playful and inviting.

Reviewed from copies received from Doubleday.

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett

This gorgeous board book looks at the various things in a little girl’s life that make her happy. From smelling bannock in the oven to singing and dancing. The book also includes lots of being outdoors, such as walking in the grass barefoot and feeling the sun on your face. Though the experiences are universal, the book focuses on a Native American little girl and her family. The illustrations are simply superb. They exude a gentleness and depict a loving family experiencing happy moments together.

Reviewed from library copy.

Shhh Im Sleeping by Dorothee de Monfried

Shhh! I’m Sleeping by Dorothee de Monfried

Eight dogs are asleep in bunk beds until Popov starts snoring. Two of the dogs wake up and turn on their lights. They agree that Misha will read a story. Steadily, one dog after another awakens and soon they all have things they need to do. One needs a toy, another a drink of water, another wants to switch beds. In the end, everyone but Popov makes their way up to Misha’s bed for a story and fall asleep together. Then it is Popov’s turn to wake up. Cleverly done, the thin and tall format works particularly well with the subject matter, offering a perspective just right for very tall bunk beds. The timing is also nicely done with each page turn showing a new dog waking up. The ending too is satisfying with just the right amount of gentle humor. A great bedtime (or morning) pick.

Reviewed from copy received from Gecko Press.

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! by Mike Twohy

Oops Pounce Quick Run by Mike Twohy

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! by Mike Twohy (InfoSoup)

This fast-paced picture book is built entirely around the alphabet with one word per page. The book starts with a mouse happily “Asleep” in his chair when in comes a “Ball.” Soon a “Dog” is poking his nose into the mouse hole and putting his “Eye” up to it to peek inside. Then the chase is on filled with jumping around the “Kitchen” and “Living room.” The mouse eventually returns the ball to the dog in a wrapped present and the two happily fall fast asleep side by side.

The appeal of this picture book is in its zany energy level that keeps the pace flying along. The chase is a merry one throughout filled with moments of slapstick comedy. It has a sort of Tom and Jerry feel to the entire book made all the more fun by the alphabetic structure of the tale. Simple and fast-paced, this book may have to be read again to slow down a bit and enjoy it.

The illustrations are just as simple as the story itself. Done in a style that will work well when shared with a group, they will project right to the back of a room. The illustrations add to the fast pace with plenty of images of running, dashing, jumping and lines that create more motion on the page.

A dynamic alphabet book that is filled with cheerful energy. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

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.

Review: I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (InfoSoup)

Explore things that are frightening in this picture book and then see that you can turn it all around and not be frightened any more. Spiders are creepy but also very cool. Shadows can be scary, but you can also create shadow puppets. The dark is frightening, but change your perspective and you can see the stars. One after another, this book takes a fear and then looks at it in a fresh way. From moving to a new home to being alone, each fear is shown and then re-examined. This is a good book to start a conversation about what a child is afraid of and then talking about how that too can be seen from a different perspective.

Seeger brings her clear understanding of the child’s perspective to this picture book. Die cuts and sturdy pages add to the toddler appeal here. The words are simple with only half a sentence on each double-page spread. Yet the concepts explored here are large and beg for deeper exploration on a personal level. The book will work with a group or one-on-one.

Seeger’s illustrations add to the appeal. Her use of acrylic paint and collage creates illustrations that are bold and bright. The die-cut aspect creates a delight with each turn of the page, physically moving something scary to a new view.

A fresh look at fears, this picture book will inspire conversations and that’s nothing to be afraid of! Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

Review: Wait by Antoinette Portis

Wait by Antoinette Portis

Wait by Antoinette Portis (InfoSoup)

As a boy and his mother move through an urban setting rushing to get on the train, the little boy just wants to slow down and look at things. There are ducks to feed, an ice cream truck to linger near, a butterfly to try to touch, and much more. Each little item has the boy saying “wait” while the mother says “hurry.” It’s a dance that parents will immediately recognize. A rain storm has them hurrying to put on a raincoat. Just as the pair are about to catch their train successfully though, the rain ends and there is a rainbow that stops them both and has them waiting together.

This very simple book has only two words throughout: wait and hurry. It’s one of those books that will allow very young children to try to read it to themselves once they can identify the two words. Children and parents alike will also see their own morning rush in the book. While they may not catch a train, they will have to wear coats, try to get ice cream, and see neat animals almost every morning themselves.

Portis’ illustrations are friendly and large. Done with thick black lines with lots of texture using charcoal, pencil and ink, the illustrations perfectly capture the tug of slowing down with the need to hurry. The urban setting is done in the friendliest of ways and the various distractions are too. These are the merry things that slow toddlers and young children to a crawl even as time ticks away.

Toddlers will love this book about how important it is to stop and see the rainbows, the ducks, the butterflies, and everything else! Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

Review: Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten

Chooky Doodle Doo by Jan Whiten

Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten, illustrated by Sinead Hanley (InfoSoup)

A fresh little counting book, this Australian import combines numbers with a jaunty rhyme. One little “chooky” chick is unable to pull a big worm out of the ground, so another chick tries to help. Three of them pull and pull then, and the worm just grows longer and longer. Eventually there are six chicks pulling and not able to get the worm out of the ground. Rooster joins them and helps to pull. They pull and pull, bracing themselves on the ground, until pop! The worm lets go and gives them all a big surprise.

Each page asks “What should chookies do?” and leads into the page turn where another chick has joined in helping. The next page then starts with the number of chicks pulling, making the counting element very clear for young readers. The text is simple and has a great rhythm to it. This picture book could easily be turned into a play for preschoolers to act out, since the actions are simple. The reveal at the end is very satisfying and make sure you look at the very final pages to see the smiling worm still happily in the dirt.

The illustrations are done in collage, both by hand and digital. The textures of the papers chosen for the collage offer a feeling of printmaking too, an organic style that works well with the subject matter. The chicks have huge eyes and are large on the page, making counting easy for the youngest listeners. The bright colors add to the appeal.

A great toddler read aloud for units on farms, this picture book will worm its way right into your heart. Appropriate for ages 2-3.

Reviewed from library copy.