Review: I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi

i'll love you till the cows come home by kathryn cristaldi

I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi, illustrated by Kristyna Litten (9780062574206)

Take a jaunty trip with this picture book that looks at all sorts of animals and vehicles going on grand journeys. The book begins with cows heading to the moon in a rocket ship with the promise that “I will love you till the cows come home.” Then the verse moves on to yaks who eat grass and then take off in a fire truck. The refrain changes to match the yaks and work with the rhyme. The book progresses to sheep setting sail, wolves returning, frogs riding past, deer dancing, geese flapping down, and ants marching in. Until finally, all of the animals end up fast asleep on the final pages, exhausted from their adventures.

What could have been a saccharine rhyming tale turns out to be an active picture book filled with plenty of giggles, lots of animals and all sorts of vehicles. The rhymes are jaunty and fun without being sing-songy. The message of love is present in each of the stories but doesn’t overwhelm the dynamic fun happening on the page.

The illustrations are friendly with animals that smile and often look directly out at the reader. They are also filled with action and activity, with leaping frogs, flying geese, zooming rockets, racing trucks and much more.

A fast-moving and funny picture book. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

 

Bunches of Board Books

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (9781681198958)

Sung to the tune of “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” this board book will quickly become a favorite for any little one who loves vehicles. The book is filled with all sorts of cars, trucks, boats, and planes. Each one carries a rhyme with it and creates all sorts of motion on the page. The illustrations are bright and friendly, inviting the littlest readers to explore their thick lines and bold shapes. This is one beeping good board book.

Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin

A Pile of Leaves by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin (9780714877204)

Just right for fall reading either one-on-one or with a small group, this board book offers a unique experience. With only a preface containing words, the book opens to reveal see-through pages that form a leaf pile. Readers turn the pages, removing one layer of leaves at a time and discovering interesting things hiding in the leaves. There is a worm, ants, a mitten, a key, a grasshopper and more. Beautifully, the leaves continue to pile on the pages to the left, creating a new pile to explore. Clever and a delight to explore, this board book is like breathing crisp fall air in book form.

Reviewed from library copy.

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

You and Me by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Susan Reagan (9781568463216)

This exceptional board book tells the story of an older sibling with a very adorable new baby in the house. Sharing time with Grandma isn’t easy,  but the older sibling is patient. The baby has lots of cute things that they can do, but so does the older sibling. In the end, the baby finally goes down for a nap and it’s time for the older child to be paid a lot of attention. The poem in this board book is gentle with rhymes that sway. The illustrations are truly amazing, filled with eyes alight with joy and both siblings wonderfully androgynous as well. These are images of a loving African-American family that celebrate being an older sibling.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

Bundles of Board Books

Animal Colors by Christopher Silas Neal

Animal Colors by Christopher Silas Neal (9781499805352)

This bright board book offers a mix of animals, colors and wordplay that is immensely engaging. The book takes one colored animal, mixes it with another animal and then ends up with an odd hybrid. For example, a blue whale and a yellow lion mix together to make a “Green Whion.” This continues through the book moving from primary colors mixing into secondary ones and then on to more complicated color combinations. The wordplay adds a delightful silliness to the book, making it impossible to quite guess what is on the next page. A colorful whimsical board book worth sharing. Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Birds of a Color by Elo

Birds of a Color by Elo (9781536200638)

In this board book, each bird shows not just one color but two. It takes little hands to help turn over the flaps to see the surprise color hiding behind wings, heads, beaks and more. The text of this book only shares the names of the colors, often hiding any words behind the flaps. There is a great sense of fun about this book, because the turn of the flap reveals a new side of that bird that is entirely unexpected. Playful and enjoyable, this is a great introduction to colors. Appropriate for ages 2-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Ciao, Baby! In the Park by Carole Lexa Schaefer Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer

Ciao, Baby! In the Park by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (9780763683986)

Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Lauren Tobia (9780763683979)

In these two board books, Baby gets to explore their urban home. In the first book, Nonna takes Baby to the park where they see a squirrel, a grasshopper, and a pigeon before having to head home. Baby scooches and crawls toward each animal until they scamper, jump or fly away. In the second book, Mamma and Baby head across the city to visit Nonna. They have to take many types of transportation to get there, including a stroller, the bus, a boat and the train. When they head home after the visit, they take the vehicles back in reverse order. A loving and warm look at life in an urban setting with a Hispanic family at its heart. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copies.)

Opposites by Jacques Duquennoy Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy

Opposites by Jacques Duquennoy (9782747087001)

Shapes by Jacques Duquennoy (9782747086998)

These two board books are the first in the Zoe and Zack series. They feature die-cut pages that are sturdy enough to hold up to public library use. The opposites book offers clever uses of die cuts that turn stairs from up to down, rebuild castles with a single page turn, and bring back ice cream cones. Even more successful though is the shapes book where the two characters draw shapes together. The shapes are drawn partially on see-through pages that when turned form a complete shape. This clever mechanism makes for a dynamic book that will have children wanting to make their own shapes too. Two great board books with unique designs. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copies.)

 

Review: My Bike by Byron Barton

My Bike by Byron Barton

My Bike by Byron Barton (InfoSoup)

Tom rides his bicycle to work each day. On the way, he passes all sorts of other vehicles like cars, buses, and trucks. As he gets closer to work, he passes lots of people. Then he passes monkeys, acrobats, tigers, lions and elephants! Once he reaches the tent where he works, he changes into his costume and puts on his makeup. He heads into the circus ring as a clown, ready to do his act. Once he’s up on the tightrope, he hops aboard another mode of transportation, a unicycle.

This jolly picture book will appeal to fans of transportation books and circuses alike. Barton has written other classic titles in this series like My Car and My Bus. The book reviews the various parts of a bicycle and then through very simple sentences and words eventually reveals Tom’s job to the readers. The book is straight forward but cleverly done so that readers will wonder what his job is all along his route to work. The final panel of him riding off in his regular clothes and a clown nose is a great farewell.

Just as with the text, the illustrations are simple too. Done in Photoshop, the art is clean and bold, the colors bright and cheery. The transformation into a clown in handled well and Tom never turns creepy on the reader, instead keeping his friendly demeanor and appearance throughout. The final panel of him riding off in his regular clothes and a clown nose is a great farewell.

The simplicity of both the text and the illustrations make this a great pick for smaller children. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Greenwillow Books.

Review: Poem-Mobiles by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian

poem mobiles

 

Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes

This collaboration between two masters of children’s poetry will transport you to new and different places.  Filled with cars that are amazing and wild, the humor-filled poems will delight.  Visit the times of the dinosaurs, underwater driving, cars made of paper or shoes.  Even cars made from bathtubs and bugs.  The poetry flows fast and furious, a perfect pace for young car enthusiasts who may be surprised at how much they enjoy poems.

Lewis and Florian write with a single hand here, the poems flowing naturally from one to the other, the styles of each forming one cohesive whole.  They use humor to great effect both in the titles of the poems and throughout, delighting with puns and word play.  The poems are also very brief, perfect for young readers to enjoy or even memorize.

The art by Holmes plays up the humor in the poems.  His busy active style has lots of motion and zany combinations.  The dinosaur car looks like it could reach right off the page and grab you, the ocean page will have you floating along merrily, and the blueprint style of the contents page sets the tone early.

Perfect poems to share aloud with a class, this one may get lost in poetry collections but marketed correctly should zoom off of library shelves.  Beep beep!

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

Review: Bang by Leo Timmers

bang

Bang by Leo Timmers

Using only the word “bang” throughout, this nearly-wordless picture book is a humor-filled delight.  In a series of car crashes, one after another, the story is told.  It all starts with a deer who isn’t paying any attention, since he’s reading this book while driving.  Then comes the truck full of chickens driven by a pig.  Then a fashionable giraffe in an orange sportster.  A hungry alligator with a truck full of tires follows.  And more and more.  After each car enters the page, there is an enormous bang, and then each new car impacts all of the others in new ways.  Colors change, items move from one vehicle to another, and merry chaos reigns. 

Timmers fills his wordless book with wonderful details that make lingering on the pages a must.  You even start guessing from the introduction of the new elements about what will happen to the other vehicles in line.  The final fold-out page with all of the vehicles in a row is great fun to look at and makes for a grand finale.

Timmers’ art is quirky and bright.  The vehicles are all completely unique, formatted to fit the bulk of a pig, or the height of a giraffe.  The pages are filled with bright colors and lots of action.  As each new vehicle comes onto the page, there is wonderful moment before you know what happens.  This pacing is perfection and all thanks to the art.

Jolly and very funny, this is a picture book that children who enjoy vehicles or large crashes will adore.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Gecko Press.

Review: Night Light by Nicholas Blechman

night light

Night Light by Nicholas Blechman

Count from one to ten in this picture book all about lights at night.  The book begins with a black page and just one light shining through from a die cut to the page beyond.  Turn the page and you see that one light is a train.  Keep turning and you start counting more and more lights, each attached to a different vehicle.  Some of the pages have clues so that you can guess what sort of vehicle it is.  This is a book perfect for small children to start to count and ideal for children who love trucks, planes and trains.

Blechman keeps his writing very simple.  The real draw of the book is the clever use of die cuts to show just the lights before you turn the page.  The blackness of the page also adds to the drama and suspense very nicely.  The book is printed on heavier pages, making it very friendly for toddler hands.

A simple and engaging book for young truck lovers that is a mix of counting and guessing game.  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Review: Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall

red car red bus

Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall

Turn to the first page of this picture book and you will see people waiting at a bus stop.  Another page turn has them aboard the bus and only two words: “Red bus.” The next page has a red car join the red bus and readers will see two people dashing for the bus stop.  By the time the bus reaches its next stop, the page is filled not only with a yellow van, yellow car, the red car and the red bus, but the people running for the bus have dropped their teddy bear.  As the pages turn, the road gets more crowded with vehicles and it becomes all the more fun to figure out what the story is on the side of the road.  The only words in the book describe the colors of the vehicles and name the vehicles themselves, otherwise it is more of a wordless book as the complicated action takes place in pictures only. 

Steggall has created a picture book that really plays with the reader.  At first, I thought it was going to be a very simple color and vehicle book for toddlers, but it is something much more.  The intricate cut paper illustrations tell the story along the roadside, as each page turn moves the reader further down the road.  There is a wonderful sense of motion to the entire book.  The vehicles appear in patterns with colors and sorts of vehicles. 

This is a delight of a read, surprising in its depth and yet fully appropriate for the youngest reader who enjoys cars and trucks.  This is one to linger over and discuss, talking about the story that is told wordlessly, perfect for curling up with your special little one.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Everything Goes by Brian Biggs

everything goes in the air

Everything Goes in the Air by Brian Biggs

Brian Biggs has several new books out which is great news for youngsters who love cars, trucks and airplanes.  Everything Goes in the Air takes Henry and his family on an airplane ride.  Readers get to  visit a bustling airport, where they can search for lost babies.  From vintage airplanes to modern ones, we learn about the different parts of a place and the various types they come in.  Modern airport security is explained, then the book turns to helicopters and hot air balloons.  Just before takeoff, children get to see inside the cockpit and marvel at the crowded airspace.  Then it’s up, up and away!

Biggs’ crowded pages show the hustle and hurry of an airport.  His friendly art and seek-and-find activities will keep children busy exploring the pages.  Information is given in small bits, mostly through conversations that are shown in cartoon bubbles.  This is a marvelously fun and exciting way to explore airplanes and airports.

A great pick for a plane ride, or to help prepare children for an upcoming flight, this book has such detailed illustrations that it is best shared with just one child at a time.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

everything goes 123 everything goes stop go

Everything Goes: 123 Beep Beep Beep!: A Counting Book by Brian Biggs

Everything Goes: Stop! Go!: A Book of Opposites by Brian Biggs

These two board books simplify the busy style of Biggs into books that are more appropriate for toddlers.  Here the bright colors and cartoon-style illustrations pop.  The counting book goes up to ten, each page offering a different sort of vehicle to count.  They range from RVs to busses.  The opposites book again uses vehicles to show things like dirty and clean, old and new, ending with stop and go. 

Very young children who enjoy cars, trucks and other vehicles will love these board books.  Expect the basic text to be accompanied with lots of motor sounds from the audience!  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

All items reviewed from copies received from Balzer + Bray.