Cradle Me

CradleMe

Image Credit: Star Bright Books, Inc., Debby Slier

Parents and caregivers know that babies like to look at all kinds of diverse faces. Faces that express different ranges of emotion are best. The vibrant baby photographs in this board book are great for developing little brains and sparking curiosity.

Cradle Me celebrates Native American babies from eleven different tribes tucked sweetly in their cradle boards. What a GORGEOUS book! Babies are “peeking,” “crying” and “yawning” all while looking very cute. I love that Slier includes a blank spot on every page for readers to fill in matching words from languages other than English; that’s so important for literacy & language survival.

CradleMe2

Image Credit: Star Bright Books, Inc., Debby Slier

At the end of the book, there’s a short note about the history and continued use of cradle boards by Native mothers. Here, readers will also learn the names of the eleven tribes the babies are from. This is a sweet book to give to the babies in your life. Not only is it a “mirror” book for Native babies, it’s a simple and effective way to introduce Native cultures to non-Native children…and introduce them SUPER early. Every beautiful cradle board has the same basic shape but each one is a little different; there are various blanket patterns, frame designs and beadwork patterns.

Enjoy!

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Baby Faces, New Baby, Native American, Family, Emotions, Vocabulary, Diversity, OwnVoices, Early Childhood Development
Book Info: Cradle Me by Debby Slier, 2012 Star Bright Books, Inc., ISBN: 9781595722744

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Music Is…

musicis

Image Credit: Simon Kids (Simon & Schuster), Brandon Stosuy/Amy Martin

I’m not a big fan of music. I know that sounds weird. I mean, I enjoy listening to music. Of course there are songs that take me back; the memories connected to those songs are so vivid. I always dance and move to a good song or beat. I’m just not INTO music. Some people live and breathe it; they always have headphones on and bump it loud in their car. They talk music, they anticipate music, they live music.

That’s not me but I appreciate music and I love how happily this book celebrates it.

Music Is…has flowing text that begins simply, becomes more lyrical and ends reflectively. Contrasting words like quiet & loud, slow & fast, lo-fi & hi-fi lead to lines like “cymbals that splash and ba-da-ba bass and rat-a-tat-tat drums on a rumbling stage.” Stosuy’s words are great for reading aloud and invite discussion. “How is music happy?” “What is lo-fi?” “What does ‘Music is for everyone’ mean?” are just a few questions that children might ask when reading this book and for that reason, it’s a book for all ages! Music-loving parents will want this book to share with their children.

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Image Credit: Simon Kids (Simon & Schuster), Brandon Stosuy/Amy Martin

 

Amy Martin’s illustrations are bold, eye-catching and so diverse. I love how she uses colors that contrast and highlight. Her art shows children that indeed, music is for everyone. Her illustrations match the rhythm of Stosuy’s words and the cover of the book is so bright and inviting!

I hope you’ll check this one out. It’s a pretty cool board book to share and enjoy. 🙂

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Music, Music History, Diversity, Family, Emotions, Friendship, Relationships, Vocabulary, Humor
Book Info: Music Is… by Brandon Stosuy/Illustrated by Amy Martin, 2016 Little Simon (Simon & Schuster), ISBN: 9781481477024

Guess Who, Haiku

GuessWhoHaiku

Image Credit: Abrams Appleseed (Abrams), Deanna Caswell/Bob Shea

I’m always up for a fun animal book and this one combines haiku with an animal guessing game. How clever is that?

It’s never too early to share the beauty of poetry with children and this book is a great introduction to the awesome that is haiku. The format of Guess Who, Haiku is very simple; it begins with a haiku and a picture-clue and readers are encouraged to guess the animal. Can you guess who leaves a fresh pail of milk in the morning…moo moo! Children turn the page to see the answer and then onto the next haiku! The final haiku is clever and readers will enjoy. Caswell includes, at the end of the book, a clear and playful explanation of haiku and syllables. Her haikus are very creative and pretty.

Bob Shea’s art is always great and really POPS. Like his many adoring kid fans, I’m drawn to his work. He’s a master of “simple but complex” and little ones will enjoy the bright colors and cute animals in this book.

Snuggle up in a chair and explore Guess Who, Haiku. It’s great for multiple reads because though the surprise aspect might be gone, haiku are very visual and can spark great discussions about nature. Make haiku together and get creative!

  bright, cute animals

read the haiku to find them

a delightful read

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Poetry, Haiku, Animals, Discussion, Imagination, Vocabulary
Book Info: Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell/Illustrated by Bob Shea, 2016 Abrams Appleseed (Abrams), ISBN: 9781419718892

Play * Learn * Do: Let’s Bake a Cake!

LetsBakeaCake

Image Credit: Twirl Books (Chronicle Books), Anne-Sophie Baumann, Hélène Convert, Audrey Simon Maillot

Drumroll please…this is the first interactive board book I’m reviewing on my blog and I’m QUITE excited about it!

Twirl is a French publisher and their books are distributed through Chronicle Books here in the US. Their board books are very nicely illustrated and well designed. Similar to this one, there’s a My First Tool Box lift-the-flap activity book that’s also very engaging and cute.

Play * Learn * Do: Let’s Bake a Cake is perfect for little ones who love to help out in the kitchen or pretend to cook. There are handles on top for taking it on the go and the book takes children through preparation, baking and decoration of a cake. Older children can read the recipe to properly “measure” the flour and sugar and younger ones will enjoy the colors and moving the parts around; Let’s Bake a Cake! has some amazing paper engineering.

Baking is hard work so there are cute little mice to help you out! The illustrations in this book are very sweet, just like the raspberry sauce you’ll “pour” over the finished cake! Important baking and safety tips like carefully measuring, finding a grownup to set the oven and being careful of a hot pan are included for children to learn. I’m very happy with this interactive board book and I think little ones will enjoy pretending to make a cake! Check it out and get baking! Yum! 🙂

 

Recommended for: Toddlers, Early Readers
Great for: Cooking, Pretend Play, Vocabulary, Interactive, Imagination, Animals
Book Info: Learn * Play * Do: Let’s Bake a Cake!  Text & Interactive Conception by Anne-Sophie Baumann/Illustrated by Hélène Convert/Paper Engineering by Audrey Simon Maillot, 2016 Twirl Books (Chronicle Books), ISBN: 9791027601400

My Heart Fills With Happiness

MyHeartFillsWithHappiness

Image Credit: Orca Book Publishers, Monique Gray Smith/Julie Flett

I’m so glad to finally read this little book! Board book format is perfect for this story because it’s meant to be handled, loved and explored. My Heart Fills With Happiness is a much needed depiction of modern Native families; children’s publishing doesn’t have enough and I’m excited to welcome this story!

The families in this book are so happy and loving. Simple sentences accompany an illustration; children can study the art and work towards reading on their own. This story will evoke memories and inspire new memory-making in your family. Sometimes the simplest things put a smile on your face and make your heart full.

Julie Flett! I’ve already reviewed Wild Berries; I’ve expressed my love for her illustrations and once again, she’s created beautiful images to cherish. Her art paired with Monique Gray Smith’s lovely words (the font is also perfect!) is beautiful. This is a great new book to add to your collection and I hope it’ll be well loved alongside all your chewed up and cherished board books. 🙂

 

Recommended for: Babies, Toddlers, Early Readers
Great for: Family, Relationships, Siblings, Love, Everyday Life, Read-Aloud, Native Families, Nature, Happiness, Diversity, Cultural Diversity, Discussion, Vocabulary
Book Info: My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith/Illustrated by Julie Flett, 2016 Orca Book Publishers, ISBN: 9781554987290

Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora!

BePatientPandora

Image Credit: Abrams Appleseed, Joan Holub/Leslie Patricelli

Oh I love clever books. Greek Mythology for babies and toddlers? Okay! Be Patient, Pandora! is my favorite in the Mini Myth Series though Don’t Get Lost, Odysseus just came out…

This series is inspired by classic Greek myths and each book teaches a simple but important lesson. In this one, Pandora just…can’t…stop herself from touching her mom’s big green box. Will her curiosity get the better of her? One little touch can’t hurt right? The words and sentences are very simple and to the point; perfect for toddlers and early readers. Holub uses several great verbs like leaning, sitting and bouncing and skillfully crafts a story with just a few key sentences.

Patricelli’s art work is, as usual, dynamic. She lays the bright acrylics down heavily and really knows how to use color. Little ones will love the illustrations. Pandora is so cute and naughty; she has the best expressions. [Spoiler Alert] I’m so glad that in this version Pandora’s box doesn’t open to reveal all the troubles of the world! What a relief. >_<

 

Recommended for: Babies, Toddlers, Early Readers
Great for: Humor, Lessons, Patience, Love, Family, Mythology, Vocabulary, Read Aloud, Clever
Book Info: Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora! by Joan Holub/Illustrated by Leslie Patricelli, 2014 Abrams Appleseed, ISBN: 9781419709517

Orange Pear Apple Bear

OrangePearAppleBear

Image Credit: Little Simon (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), Emily Gravett

This chunky board book is smart and the illustrations are beautiful. On the surface it’s a simple word-picture association book for early vocabulary learning but then…things get funky as Gravett starts to MIX IT UP! Bear has the best expressions. Have you ever seen an Apple Bear? I sure haven’t! But he doesn’t seem to mind too much and keeps on juggling the fruit until…he gets a little hungry!

The watercolor illustrations in Orange Pear Apple Bear are vibrant and sure to attract your baby’s attention. The use of white space draws the eye to the images, making them pop. Blotchy colors and sketchy strokes bring bear and the fruits to life. Bear is a cute and curious guy, and your family will enjoy his antics!

P.S. Once again, clever use of the front and end endpapers! Shouldn’t leave tasty fruit uneaten, right?

OrangePearAppleBear2

Image Credit: Little Simon (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), Emily Gravett

 

Recommended for: Babies and Toddlers
Great for: Early Learning, Animals, Vocabulary, Word Association, Colors, Shapes, Humor, Foods, Fruit, Rhyme, Read-Aloud
Book Info: Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett, 2011 Little Simon (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), ISBN: 9781442420038

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

 

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

GoldenDomesSilverLanterns

Image Credit: Chronicle Books LLC, Hena Khan/Mehrdokht Amini

 

Islam. Let’s celebrate it through a picture book, shall we?  🙂

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a gorgeously vibrant rhyming picture book. Henna Khan shares her culture and religion with readers in a beautiful way; through teaching colors and showing daily life. The book begins with an intricate red rug that the young girl’s father uses to kneel on and pray to Mecca five times each day. Her mother’s hijab or head scarf is blue. The dates her family eats during Ramadan look so plump and delicious. Each page is a new color and a new aspect of Muslim culture.

DatesRamadanGoldenDomes

Image Credit: Chronicle Books LLC, Hena Khan/Mehrdokht Amini

 

Sometimes we judge others and their beliefs before taking the time to learn; Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns introduces children to a culture and religion that might be different from their own and aims (and succeeds) to teach. Cultural relativism, understanding and education are important and essential to being a respectful global citizen and this book is a great one for your family’s diverse collection.

Amini’s illustrations are bold. She is inspired by islamic art and her style incorporates collage; real life photographs seamlessly blend into her scenes. I love the large almond shaped brown eyes, the strong noses and lips of the family members. The colorful images in the book will stay with you and after reading, perhaps your family or class will be more interested in learning more about the very old religion that is Islam.

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Colors, Family, Rhyme, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Relativism, Religion, Islam, Community, Vocabulary
Book Info: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan/Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, 2012 Chronicle Book LLC, ISBN: 9780811879057