The new school year is just around the corner, and there are lots of wonderful nonfiction picture books perfect for a wide range of students from preschool through middle school. Picture books are a great tool for teachers (and parents) to use to start a discussion about anything from history to kindness to math. Yes, even math. Continue reading
Three great books for young readers who speak Spanish are “Lola quiere un gato,” “Chancho el campeón”, and the little book that’s a big mouthful, “Al bebé le encanta la ingeniería aeroespacial!” These adorable books are also available in English for those who prefer picture books in English. Continue reading
“The Kids’ Picture Show” is an educational channel on YouTube for toddlers, preschoolers and even kindergarteners. It shows retro pixelated images of a variety of things sorted by type and with accompanying labels. Now, there are board books with the same pixel-heavy and labeled images: “Vehicles” and “Animals.”
Claus Bruce” by the talented Ryan T. Higgins is a picture book that is certainly as much fun (or more) for adults to read as it is for the kids listening to the story. Higgins’ wry humor coupled with the extremely expressive illustrations make for a wonderfully satisfying picture book experience.
It’s winter and Bruce wants to stay in bed, but the mice and geese have other ideas. They want holiday spirit, and they want lots of it. They deck the halls, make eggnog, and put up the Christmas tree. Needless to say, Bruce is not in the holiday mood.
“Pet this Book” and “Play this Book,” two books by Jessica Young and Daniel Wiseman, are sure to quickly become favorites for younger readers (or nonreaders). The subject matters, pets and instruments, are things children instinctively love.
With summer around the corner, it’s the perfect time to pick up a few picture books to keep young children practicing their Spanish or just continuing to use their Spanish. All are guaranteed to quickly become favorite read aloud books.
Acclaimed author Jennifer L. Holm and her brother Matthew Holm have created a board book series titled “My First Comics” with the goal of introducing very young children to the language of feelings. The format is that of a comic book, and the text is simple, with lots of onomatopoeia. The colors are bright, and the characters repeat in the different books in the series.
Three bilingual board books by Dr. Cynthia Weill and published by Cinco Puntos Press will delight young readers and adults, too. “Opuestos” (Opposites), “Animal Talk” and “Count Me In” all feature the artwork of artists from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. This is an area filled with many types of artists. The work of different artists grace each board book. And each board book is bilingual, teaching the reader about concepts in English and Spanish.
Two of the books are filled with small wooden animal figures called alebrijes. They are carved and carefully painted. Some have parts that can be removed like ears and tails. There are many artists in this area of Mexico who create alebrijes. Continue reading
Even babies a few month old often love to handle board books. They run their chubby hands along the sturdy pages and turn the books over and over. Those book-ready babies will be enthralled by three board books just published by Silver Dolphin Books. The series is called “Bright Books,” and they are written by Megan Roth and illustrated by Emiri Hayashi.
Mo Willems knows how to connect with kids. Kids love him. Librarians worship him. Really. And with the publication of “Welcome, A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals,” he proves that he can also appeal to an even younger group — babies.
This book is a really sturdy board book. The first page and the last page are mirrors, and as mirrors in picture books go, these are pretty good ones. Most young children will be able to recognize themselves in these mirrors.
The text is simple and direct. It begins:
OUR RESEARCH INDICATES This is YOU. Take a good look How remarkable it is that you are you.” It goes on to say that “You are a unique combination of LOVE + TIME + LUCK”
Many pages end with the text “…while we read this book together,” and an image of a parent and child happily reading a book. Parents (or guardians) reading with their children are, indeed, a happy sight to behold.
Other pages begin with “Thank you for joining us,” “Please enjoy your stay,” and “Your contributions are greatly appreciated.” Willems also includes “A few upcoming highlights” in which music, cats and stories are shown. Cats!
The book includes warnings for the baby, too. “Conditions may vary…” Willems warns that there may be turbulence and unexpected events. But the bottom line? Baby is loved. Now and always.
This book would be a perfect gift on its own or tucked into a baby blanket for a newborn. It will be enjoyed by baby and parent alike. In fact, it’s a perfect way to introduce a newborn to the joy of Mo Willems, and it’s just in time for his super compilation of all his Elephant and Piggie stories, which are in a book appropriately titled “An Elephant & Piggie Biggie!”
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover board book provided by the publisher, Hyperion-Disney, for review purposes.
Fairy tales are all the rage, and even the youngest of fans should be able to get in on the action. With First Stories’ new books, “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” young readers will be able to hear the stories and actually move the characters (or other items) in the books with easy movements.
For example, on the cover of “Rapunzel,” her long golden hair moves up and down via a hole in the board that slides her braid up and down the side of the tower. Because these books are for very young readers, the stories are condensed.
The first double page of the story says, “A baby named Rapunzel, with hair so fair and bright, was taken by a wicked witch, one dark and stormy night.” The illustration shows the parents grieving while the witch bends over the cradle where Rapunzel lays sleeping. With one gentle tug of the tab, the witch and baby disappear and reappear at the open door to the cottage.
The illustrations are fairly cartoonish, but the toddlers who will be enjoying the stories and the moving panels won’t be examining them critically. What they will do is give youngsters a way to access the stories while having some fun moving the parts.
In “Beauty and the Beast,” there is a revolving panel with different food that appears as part of the feast that Beast gives Beauty. Delicious!
Please note: This review is based on the final, board books provided by the publisher, Silver Dolphin, for review purposes.
Adorable bilingual board books for young children can be found from several publishers. “La Llorona” by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein (Lil’ Libros, 2015) is a board book based on the scary legend of La Llorona, “one of the oldest folktales ever told.” It’s a counting book that counts backwards from ten to one. Perfect for Halloween or anytime, it’s perfectly appropriate for even the youngest child. It’s not really scary; even the ghosts looks benign.
“A Color of His Own” by Leo Lionni (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) is the wonderful children’s tale of a chameleon who wanted a color of his own. Each page tells the story in English with the Spanish translation below it. The illustrations are Lionni’s wonderful watery watercolors, and the moral is one that children love: things are better when they are shared.