Posts Tagged ‘board book’
“Mommy! Mommy! Where is my mommy?” a little bunny cries, as they ask all the animals they encounter if they are their mother.
SQUEE! A new Joyce Wan book!
No, this is not a new premise, but Wan’s take on it is excellent and fresh and adorable, as always. Wan turns the common trope into a guessing game, as each adult animal responds to the bunny by saying “No, I am a [chicken/pig/horse] and my baby is a…” with the answer on the next page, giving little ones a chance to guess and show off. Each answer is also revealed with the use of a clever cut out, creating visual and tactile interest. Plus, for such a small, short book, it does a wonderful job of introducing vocabulary – many board books use words like “chicken” but fewer use “foal.”
I’ve reviewed another in this series and everything I said about In My Forest is true of this book as well. The sense of place is not quite as well defined here, but that’s only because this book focuses more on sustenance (clover, strawberries, and cool water) than on surroundings. And since that’s a decision that makes sense for a series of board books, and creates a richer experience over the course of the series, I can’t fault it or the creators for doing so.
Yes, I know that your library probably has more books about colors than you know what to do with, but you’ll want to make room for this one, I promise. Zuckerman’s brilliant, bright, and detailed photographs really make this book stand out, even if it does sometimes feel like half the animals are birds of one type or another.
designed by Sara Gillingham
illustrated by Lorena Siminovich
The deer finger puppet in the center, and the over widening cut-outs around the deer, are what first catch little ones’ attention. (And mine, I must admit.) But Gillingham and Siminovich have managed to create a book that is much more than just that. The text is simple and straightforward, but never awkward, and the illustrations are full of texture and interest, yet soft and sweet. Most notable is the sense of place that Gillingham has managed to create simply by emphasizing the location of the deer as being in the forest, in winter, and combining that with the puppets and cut-outs.
A young girl and her family prepare to celebrate the New Year.
What makes this book remarkable is all the ways in which it isn’t – all the ways that it treats celebrating the Lunar New Year as important and special, but also just as normal or typical as any Western holiday. There’s no introductory explanation of who this family is or where they live or when the Lunar New year is in relation to the Western calendar. It’s simply a listing of all the things that make this holiday special. Just as one might find in a typical (US) book about Christmas or Thanksgiving. By centering the experience of the family in the book, rather than the experiences of others, Lin fosters connection and recognition rather than distance and detachment.
Lin’s brightly colored illustrations fit the celebratory tone of the story. They also help to explain and define terms and actions that might be unfamiliar to some readers – without requiring awkward pauses that would interrupt the flow of the story, or a scholarly tone that might depersonalize the festivities.
“It’s winter! What will Baby see?”
All kinds of wintry things, underneath large flaps. Good book, and large sized flaps are the best, but there’s nothing super memorable here, and I’m getting a little annoyed with the fact that, in this particular series by Katz, “Baby” is always white.
Recommended, with reservations.
When disaster strikes the asteroid colony of Phoecea, it’s up to Jane Novio, manager of the Resource Commission, to figure out the logistics of how the colony is going to survive. With Jane soon dealing with a rogue AI, probable sabotage, and the Martian mob – all on top of a colony threatening water crisis and the aftermath of a tragic accident – the question quickly becomes if Phoecea will remain intact and functioning, not how.
This wasn’t a book that I fell into quickly, but when I did fall, I fell hard. It’s not just that Jane is both competent and interesting, and old enough to have experience and history. I also desperately loved how much the story was aware of how vital many of the mundane things we take for granted are. Living in California, especially now, the importance of access to potable water is something that is increasingly hard to ignore, and so I found the underlying crisis both relevant and believable. The supporting cast is great as well, and I’m realizing that I’m a sucker for good AI stories.
In very few – but well chosen – words and with soft but expressive pictures, Quay and Walker show the ups and downs of playing with friends, and the joys of playing pretend.
I don’t know if I’m just looking in the wrong places, but I have a hard time finding books for children that focus on the dramatic play they engage in every day. With the exception of Antoinette Portis’ excellent picture books, the act of imaginative play almost feels like the preschool set’s version of Fight Club: first rule of playing pretend, don’t talk about playing pretend. Which is very odd, not only because I have memories of picture books and easy readers that talked about it when I was young (perhaps it’s just books for toddlers in which the topic is lacking?), but also because it’s extremely common for young children to preface their play with “but just for pretend.”
Which is a very long winded way of saying: when I saw this book, I had to grab it. Short and cute, it’s perfect for older toddlers and exactly the kind of book that I’ve been looking for to add to my “imagination” story time.
A blue bear named Donut has a story he wants to share with you! But when the story is over, will Donut be ready for the book to end?
I could tell you how silly and hilarious this book is, but since it’s written and illustrated by Jim Benton – creator of Dear Dumb Diary, Frannie K. Stein, and the Happy Bunny – do you really need me to? More seriously though, Benton did a great job adapting his humor to a younger set of kids than his books usually target. It’s not quite There is a Bird on Your Head levels of funny, but it is definitely entertaining.
This is, indeed, yet another board book about opposites for young children. Coat’s book is worth highlighting, however, because of it’s uniqueness and memorable design.
This particular concept book doesn’t feature a popular character or only make use of the typical pairings for such titles. Instead, the pages inside use a (often) red hippopotamus to illustrate the difference between heavy and light, in front and behind, etc. By using the same basic shape for each page (the red hippopotamus has a very geometric design to it) Coat’s book is able to present concepts (like “transparent”) that would be much more difficult otherwise This is also one of those board books with the extra thick and glossy pages, and several of the shapes on the pages are raised or indented, making the pages easier and more interesting for little hands. Not every pair works as well as it could, but it’s well done overall. Highly recommended.
Rainbow Fish was beautiful, too beautiful to play with the other fish. Only, now Rainbow fish is lonely. What will he do?
That first sentence up there is almost exactly what the first page says. Which tells you all you need to know about this book. I suspect that there’s more text in the picture book version of this story, and perhaps the extra words are an improvement. But yikes! I think the moral of the story was supposed to be about sharing or being considerate, instead the lesson seems to be that you should give away parts of your body so that people will like you.
“I have always loved the snow.” Page by page, a young bunny talks about all the things she loves about snow and winter.
I always have such high hopes for Wallace’s books; she’s done so many on the kinds of topics that make for great preschool themes. And yet…the text is always matter of fact, there’s no rhythm or elegance to it, and the illustrations are readable but lack inspiration or harmony. They’re always just serviceable enough, but never really well done.
Despite the page layouts being slightly busier than they ought to be for a board book, this is an excellent concept book for little ones. National Geographic’s stunning photographs are put to good use (badly photoshopped cover notwithstanding), as they always are. It also goes beyond the typical set up for such books; after each type of opposite is introduced in the traditional way (an image illustrating that particular pair, and the accompanying text) it doesn’t immediately move onto the next pair. Instead, the following pages then present a similar, but more complicated picture, as well as questions that invite parents and toddlers to have deeper conversations about the concept. The layouts on these pages could use some cleaning up, but they do an excellent job modeling for parents how to engage their children in dialog about the books they are reading.
I adore Joyce Wan’s You are My Cupcake and We Belong Together, so I was very excited to stumble across My Lucky Little Dragon on display at the bookstore. Just like the other two board books, My Lucky Little Dragon features a different endearment on each spread, this time focusing on the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Wan’s illustrations are just as adorable as always and full of personality. They also feature a variety of colors that pop! off the page, yet remain soft and almost pastel, rather than being limited to high contrast primary colors.
Just as the title says, this board book is about farm related words, consisting of illustrations and the names of various nouns included in the pictures. The illustrations themselves will likely delight it’s target audience, but the choice of font and words are questionable. It’s not an awful book, but there are much better books out there available for the same price.
If you recall, Hale is also the author/illustrator of Baby Giggles, which was cute, adorable, and well put together – but extremely homogenous, in terms of the kinds of babies being photographed. Baby Colors still treats white as the default, but manages to have closer to a quarter or third of the children pictured be children of color. The rhyming text works, although the colors being discussed aren’t always as prominent as they could be. Overall, a good book to have in the collection, despite it’s flaws.
A young boy and his even younger sister attempt to play hide and seek, but the younger sister doesn’t quite understand how to play.
For some strange reason I remember liking this book as a kid. Which makes me wonder about the overall quality of easy readers available at the time. To be fair, there is humor here, and it’s the kind of humor that your average seven year old with a younger (or older) sibling can relate to. The illustrations in particular haven’t aged well though, and it’s a meaner type of humor than, say, what readers find in the Piggie and Elephant books.
I’ve been known to complain about the quality of books like Heather Has Two Mommies in the past. While the diversity they bring and respect they show are both much needed, their quality in terms of craft isn’t always up to par. Not so with this lovely book.
Newman’s text is full of catchy rhymes that keep the pages turning and the illustrations are expressive, clear, and skillful. While Thompson’s style doesn’t quite match my personal taste, there is no denying that her work is well done and engaging. Together they present scenes that are familiar to all families, and yet depict a type of family that is under represented in quality children’s books.
More like this, please!
For as long as she can remember, Rapunzel has lived in comfort in Mother Gothel’s villa, never knowing what lay beyond. Until the day she scales the walls and finally begins to understand what the woman she was taught to call mother is really capable of. Now her curiosity has become a question for the truth, and Rapunzel won’t stop until she, and everyone else, is safe from Mother Gothel.
I so very much wanted to love this book, and there was, indeed, much that I liked about the characters and plot. Unfortunately, the illustration style never grew on me and so ended up being distracting rather than adding to my enjoyment of the story.
Sonny Kroll dreams of being a baker, a world famous chef with her own television show. Right now though, she’s sitting in the car with her mom, all their belongings tossed hastily into the trunk and backseat, on their way to a new town, a new place to live, and a new school. Complete with a new principal that Sonny needs to keep from finding out that she can’t read.
I’ve heard good things about Bauer’s work, but this was another book that wasn’t awful, yet didn’t really impress me either. It’s the type of book I’d try including in a large library collection, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend.
Born in Mexico, Diego Rivera traveled to far off places, like Madrid and Paris, to learn to paint. But it was back home in Mexico where he made his most celebrated paintings – murals that depicted the lives of the citizens of Mexico. Ordinary people as well as rulers, workers and warriors, all from both the world around him and from his country’s past. If Rivera were alive today, what parts of your life do you think would be in his murals?
Diego Rivera does a wonderful job of explaining this artist’s work to children. While it does include some biographical information in order to give context to his work, that isn’t the focus. Instead, the book talks about Rivera’s artistic choices and the history and culture that his work brought attention to. Tonatiuh’s own art is one of the highlight’s of the book; while clearly different from Rivera’s in style, the same influences of history and culture are evident, making it perfect for this topic. The strong outlines, rich colors, consistent posing, and symmetry make the illustrations easy for children to read, while the depth of textures, the range of expressions, and variety of settings, actions, and clothing styles invite them to look deeper. Tonatiuh also ends the book by asking children to think about what kinds of murals Rivera might paint today, comparing and contrasting luchadores with Aztec warriors, students with factory workers, and malls with street vendors.* In doing so he emphasizes the impact that Rivera’s work had on ordinary, everyday people, and encourages children to see their own lives through new eyes.
* Also science fiction movies with Aztec gods? I don’t know what that was about, and it came across as rather disrespectful to me, alas.
Aneel love having his grandparents around. Especially when Dada-ji tells him stories about the village he used to live in when he was a boy, and the hot, hot roti he would eat to build up his strength. How else could he wrestle water buffalo or make the earth rumble beneath him? Soon, both Aneel and Dada-ji are both hungry for some hot, hot roti. But no one will help Aneel make any! So he decides to make some himself.
There’s a lot to love in this book. The writing is solid – it works well as a read-aloud and incorporates Hindu words and phrases without breaking the flow of the story or making it seem like we are getting a language lesson. The plot is complicated for such a short book (with flashbacks and tales within tales and going back and forth between the real and the fantastic) but it’s never confusing or distracting. The pictures match the story perfectly as well, and Min does a wonderful job of illustrating in such a way as to help younger readers distinguish between the here and now and the tall tales Aneel’s grandfather tells him.
Overall, it’s a sweet story about family, home, and spending time with loved ones.
Winter has arrived, and Christmas is on it’s way. Virginia longs for a new coat to keep her warm, one that fits just right. Especially when she has to walk through wind and rain to get to school. As her community prepares for holidays, Virginia does her best to think of others, but that doesn’t stop her from longing for a coat that’s just right for her.
I’m going to take the fact that this book won an American Indian Youth Literature Award as further proof of just how few books include native american children in them, and how even fewer of those do so respectfully. This is not a bad book, and would make a good addition to any Christmas display, but it’s not really an example of great children’s literature either. What it does do, however, is show native american children in true and realistic settings, and that’s depressingly rare. (Debbie Reese has a review of the book at American Indians in Children’s Literature, and I strongly recommend reading that for a better understanding of what the book does well.)
Hide and Seek by Taro Gomi
A cute and different type of “can you spot the difference?” book. Can you spot the candles on the giraffe? Very small children may need help finding the objects listed in the rhymes, but the visual repetition and adorable animals will delight children of all ages.
Wiggle! by Taro Gomi
With a little imagination, and Gomi’s delightful illustrations, your finger can help make a cat’s tail wiggle, a chameleon’s tongue stick out, or an elephant’s trunk swing. Not all of the actions quite work (the crocodile flashes his fang?) but all are sure to amuse.