Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings

FuzzyYellowDucklings

Image Credit: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House), Matthew Van Fleet

 

Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings was one of my go-to baby book recommendations as a bookseller because it combines so many important topics for early childhood development into one book! It teaches vocabulary (great adjectives), shapes, colors, counting, animals AND is a “touch and feel book.”

Each page introduces a new animal, shape and color. Children see the shape, can touch the shape and open the fold…to meet an animal! They can even practice counting them. The layout of this book is very smart and Matthew Van Fleet also includes a game at the back of the book. His illustrations are always very cute, bright and inviting. I enjoy the Bumpy Brown Toads the most! They have great expressions. Van Fleet is one of the best author/illustrators for novelty children’s board books. If you haven’t heard of him, be sure to check out this one and his other books like Tails, Dog, Cat, Munch! and Alphabet.

P.S. Though this book is sturdy, it’s not quite a “board book.” You’ll have to supervise little people who love to rip rip rip!

 

Recommended for: Babies and Toddlers
Great for: Vocabulary, Adjectives, Touch and Feel, Multi-Sensory, Counting, Colors, Animals, Shapes
Book Info: Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet, 1995 Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House), ISBN: 9780803717596

Two Mice

TwoMice

Image Credit: Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Sergio Ruzzier

 

Two Mice.
One (awesome) Friendship.

Two Friends.
One (big) Adventure.

Two Mice is a nice little mouse-sized adventure book. I imagine in the mouse world, if Roger Cheesebert rated books, he’d give it four cheddars and I suspect this book is already legend. I’m imagining little mice children sitting around the fire while Grandma Mouse reads this tale.

This little book has a big heart. The simple text focuses on numbers and counting; younger readers can read this book and feel confident that they know all the words in front of them! It also shows that sometimes you don’t need many words to tell a great story. In this story, two mice live together in one house and after a meal of three cookies (one mouse looks a little annoyed!) they set out for the day. Three boats with two oars…what adventures await?

I’m a big fan of Sergio Ruzzier’s storytelling and art. I recently reviewed his book A Letter for Leo which is one of my favorites! I love how he creates complete little worlds on each spread. His attention to detail is wonderful and the watercolor paintings are lovely (I always love his skies!). You’ll love all the funny expressions of his characters. Teachers, this book would be perfect for lessons about travel, adventure, storytelling (beginning/middle/end) and “best travel stories.” Hope you will enjoy Two Mice!

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Animals, Friendship, Action/Adventure, Counting, Determination, Vocabulary, Humor, Read-Aloud, Discussion
Book Info: Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier, 2015 Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), ISBN: 9780544302099

 

Just a Minute

JustaMinute

Image Credit: Chronicle Books LLC, Yuyi Morales

Aye! I love a good trickster tale. Just A Minute is so clever and memorable and features the bony Señor Calavera. If you want to learn more about calaveras, check out the book Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Just a Minute begins with Señor Calavera’s visit to Grandma Beetle’s doorstep. Her time for death has come BUT…she has other ideas! 😉  She tells him “Just a minute…” because she has one house to sweep and so, Señor Calavera, being the agreeable reaper that he is, waits patiently. And so the story continues. This book is also a counting book in English and Spanish and with each number, Grandma cleverly secures a little more time on this earth and Señor Calavera gets more impatient. She is preparing her house and cooking food for her birthday party with her grandchildren…Death can certainly wait! The format of the story is repetitive but this isn’t a bad thing; repetition can help children become comfortable with a story, and with reading as well.

Yuyi Morales is one of my favorite author/illustrators because her stories have so much life! You can taste the food she draws and you can feel the energy. The family she creates in this story, with their warm brown skin, expressive faces and smiling eyes, is beautiful. The big body of Grandma Beetle reminds me of my Grandma Eva who also loved to cook and spend time with her grandchildren. Morales uses acrylic and mixed media to create her illustrations and her color palate is warm and vivid; the colors on the pages remind me of rows of papel picado. If you’re charmed by Grandma Beetle and Señor Calavera, check out the sequel to this book, Just in Case!

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Trickster Tales, Cultural Diversity, Mexican Culture, Spanish Language, Mexican Food, Food Culture, Calaveras, Counting, Family, We Need Diverse Books, Grandmothers
Book Info: Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales, 2003 Chronicle Books LLC, ISBN: 9780811837583

Ten, Nine, Eight

Image Credit: Tupelo Books (HarperCollins), Molly Bang

Image Credit: Tupelo Books (HarperCollins), Molly Bang

While browsing the web, I saw the cover of this book and immediately had flashbacks. I’m a very visual person and the last time I’d seen this cover was when I very little. I’d completely forgotten about this book, and so, I set out to find it.

Molly Bang covers a lot of important basics here; love, family, counting and warm illustrations. Her oil illustrations really shine and you can’t help but smile while looking at them. The cover illustration is very reminiscent of Goodnight Moon in composition. I especially recommend this book in board book form because it is the perfect size for toddlers to hold. Formulaic, descriptive lines like “Ten small toes all washed and warm” create a comfortable feeling and little ones will enjoy going to bed with this book.

We see a black father loving his child. This is important because it isn’t depicted often, in all types of media. This little book celebrates their love for each other. Regardless of ethnicity, the father-daughter relationship is underrepresented in picture books (but luckily that is changing). Ten, Nine, Eight is a great book for counting, vocabulary and bedtime and it just happens to feature a beautiful, black family.  🙂

Recommended for: Toddlers
Great for: Counting, Vocabulary, Bedtime, Family, Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Father-Daughter, African-American
Book Info: Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang, 1983 Tupelo Books (HarperCollins), ISBN: 9780688149017

Hooray for Fish!

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Lucy Cousins

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Lucy Cousins

Lucy Cousins is great. She really understands what kids like. Hooray for Fish! has a little bit of everything and her illustrations are so vibrant and fun! If her name isn’t ringing a bell, she is most famous for her Maisy book series (the little white mouse). I discovered this book in one of my elementary school classrooms in Korea. My Kindergarteners loved it very much; they especially loved the page where you have to count the fish. The students in front always got up and touched the page to count them out loud.

Though this is mostly a concept book, little fish swims through the ocean to find the fish he loves the most and along the way, he meets all types of fish. He even meets an Ele-fish (yes…an elephant-fish)!! After meeting many new friends, he finally finds his mama fish and they share a fishy-kiss. I recommend the large, hardcover edition of this book but it’s also nice as a board book. Teachers, this book has great lesson potential. Your students can create their own fantasy fish or you can assign opposite words to pairs and they work together to make two fish. Your classroom will be full of colorful fish. Hooray!

Recommended for: Toddlers and Kindergarteners
Great for: Colors, Counting, Vocabulary, Opposites, Rhyme
Book Info: Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins, 2005 Candlewick Press, ISBN: 9780763627416