Archive for the ‘Good for the Very Young’ Category

Review of Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Oh No, George!

by Chris Haughton

Candlewick Press, 2012. 32 pages.
Starred Review

This book is along the lines of No, David!, by David Shannon, but this time the naughty “child” is a dog. In many ways, I think that will help children take lessons from the book all the more, and get practice putting themselves in the perspective of someone very different from themselves on the outside, but not so different on the inside.

The pictures are simple shapes, rather like a child would draw them, with bright orange backgrounds on alternate page spreads, mostly where the words say, “Oh no, George!”

The opening pages have these words:

Harry is going out.
“Will you be good, George?”
asks Harry.
“Yes,” says George.
“I’ll be very good.”

I hope I’ll be good,
George thinks.

George sees something in the kitchen.
It’s cake!
I said I’d be good,
George thinks,
but I LOVE cake.

What will George do?

That’s the cue for a page turn, a bright orange background, a picture of George taking an enormous mouthful of cake, and the words, “Oh no, George!”

And so it goes. George is tempted to play with Cat and dig in dirt, things he LOVES to do. Before each succumbing, the audience is asked “What will George do?”

Then Harry comes back. He confronts George with his terrible mess.

I said I’d be good,
George thinks.
I hoped I’d be good,
but I wasn’t.

A tear is coming out of George’s eye, and the text reads, “What will George do?”

It turns out that George apologizes and gives Harry his favorite toy. Harry and George go for a nice walk.

On the walk, George is once again tempted by a cake, lovely dirt, and a cat. But hooray! George goes right past!

The book ends like this:

Something smells very interesting.
What can it be?

It’s a trash can. There’s nothing George likes more than digging in trash.

What will George do?

George?

You can see there are so many interesting things that can be discussed about this book! And it tells a fun story at the same time. This is sure to be a hit in storytime or on a parent’s lap.

candlewick.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/oh_no_george.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I write the posts for my website and blogs entirely on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

by Mo Willems

Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2012. 36 pages.
Starred Review

Oh, Mo Willems is a genius! I never get tired of his books. This, in case you were wondering, is another book featuring the Pigeon. It’s got a lot of the same elements that worked in previous books, including a throwing-a-fit page. Toddlers, kids, and their parents will easily relate to this book and understand the problem right from the title page.

In fact, as you open the book, when you look at the title, you see the pigeon saying, “I do not like the look of that.”

Then, on the beginning pages of the story, the duckling asks, very politely, for a cookie. And gets one! With nuts!

Then the pigeon discovers that the duckling got a cookie just by asking (politely). This is obviously not fair, since the pigeon asks for things all the time. I especially like the part where he recites some things he’s asked for, like a walrus. (He definitely does not mention the Puppy.) He begins to get worked up. He rails at the unfairness. He throws a fit. He cries. He rages. He pouts.

And the ending? You may be able to guess, but it is absolutely perfect.

While being written on the level a toddler can relate to, this book has so much to offer older readers, too. And toddlers themselves will find so much to talk about in these pages. Those who are already familiar with the Pigeon will have fun finding the references to each of the earlier books.

I have a strong feeling that if I am ever a grandmother, I am going to feel the need to own a copy of every single Pigeon book to keep in my house for reading to the grandchildren. Of course, in the meantime, I get to read to library members. Even if you don’t run out and buy this book for your own toddlers and preschoolers (and, come on, you really should!), be sure to at least do them the favor of checking it out from the library and enjoying these new antics with them.

pigeonpresents.com
hyperionbooksforchildren.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/duckling_gets_a_cookie.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

A Ball for Daisy

by Chris Raschka

Schwartz and Wade Books, New York, 2011. 32 pages.
Starred Review
2012 Caldecott Medal Winner
2011 Sonderbooks Stand-out: Picture Books #7

Here’s a truly wonderful wordless picture book. Chris Raschka portrays the heights and depths of emotion with simple painted lines and colors.

A Ball for Daisy features a little dog named Daisy. You can clearly see that Daisy loves her red ball. She plays with it, wags her tail when she catches it, and cuddles up next to it for a nap.

But when Daisy and her owner take it to the park, another dog begins to play, and he pops Daisy’s ball. Daisy’s sadness when this happens is unmistakeable.

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending as the other dog and its owner make things right the next day.

The pictures in this book are exuberant and varied, making the simple story great fun to read. The pages where Daisy’s trying to figure out what happened to her ball include shaking the limp casing, howling, and just being sad. The pages where Daisy is playing or sleeping reflect Daisy’s joyful and unworried existence. There’s a nice circular feeling as the end echoes the beginning, with Daisy cozying up to her new ball. All’s right in the world.

What child doesn’t know what it feels like to lose something? The story is universal, and can be “read” by the very young, yet will still fascinate older people with the beauty of the artwork.

I’m pleased with the Caldecott committee’s decision this year, as I have a feeling children will be enjoying this book for years to come.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/ball_for_daisy.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of The Little Rabbit Who Liked to Say MOO, by Jonathan Allen

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The Little Rabbit Who Liked to Say MOO

by Jonathan Allen

Boxer Books, 2008. 28 pages.
Starred Review

I was very surprised to realize I hadn’t reviewed this book yet. It’s been a favorite Storytime choice of mine ever since I found it in the New Books section in 2008. It’s absolutely perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers. They are generally quite good at animal sounds, and this throws in a nice twist.

Here’s how it begins:

“Little Rabbit sat in the farmer’s field.

“‘Moo,’ said Little Rabbit. ‘Moo.’

“‘Why are you saying moo?’ asked Calf. ‘You’re not a cow.’

“‘I like moo,’ said Little Rabbit, ‘and rabbits don’t have a big noise.’

“‘Can you make other noises?’ asked Calf.

“‘I like baa,’ said Little Rabbit.

“‘So do I,’ said Calf.”

You can guess how the book goes from there. The two cute little animals Baa together and a lamb comes to investigate… and so on. At the end, all the animals declare their favorite sounds, and Little Rabbit makes a surprising choice that will provide a laugh.

This is a happy book, with cute baby animals doing silly things and making the “wrong” sounds. Like I said, it’s a fantastic choice for Storytime, and would also be great for sharing with a little one who has mastered animal sounds and knows how the world works. They will especially enjoy the twist!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/little_rabbit_who_liked_to_say_moo.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise, by Tomie dePaola

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise

by Tomie dePaola

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2011. 30 pages.

In June, I got to see Tomie dePaola receive the Laura Ingall Wilders Medal for his substantial and lasting contribution to children’s literature. I was struck by the fact that he’s a man who radiates love and joy. In this lovely little book, you can share some of that joy with your young children.

The text in this book is very simple and overtly religious, with pages that say things like this:

“Dogs, cats, all animals and creeping things on earth, praise God.”

The colorful pictures show the parts of creation named as they praise and bless God. I love that an outstanding children’s illustrator created this book for a big commercial publisher. This is a lovely little book for parents of any religion that worships God to share with their young children.

It’s simple. It’s joyful. It’s lovely.

Praise God!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/sing_praise.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of Mitchell’s License, by Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Mitchell’s License

by Hallie Durand
illustrated by Tony Fucile

Candlewick Press, 2011. 40 pages.
Starred Review

Here is an absolutely perfect choice for Father’s Day for fathers of small children. How I wish the creators had written it about 15 years earlier when my son was small and nuts about anything related to cars. Now I will have to settle for reading it in storytime, but what this book really needs is a father ready to act it out. Big thanks to Twenty By Jenny for bringing this book to my attention.

The book begins telling us about a typical three-year-old, but then a twist is added that creates all the fun:

“Mitchell never ever EVER wanted to go to bed. Until his dad finally said he could drive there.

“Mitchell was three years, nine months, and five days old when he got his license.”

The picture there shows Mitchell proudly holding his “Remote-Control Dad Driver’s License.”

Mitchell drives Dad as so many children do — sitting on his shoulders and steering with the ears. They have a whole lot of fun with it, with Mitchell inspecting the tires, checking the engine, and cleaning the windshield first. There’s a delightful surprise when Mitchell starts out by driving his car right into a wall!

“The next night, Mitchell remembered to stop and look both ways.
He also learned how to beep the horn.
He liked the way it sounded . . . a lot!”

You can probably guess what the picture to go with beeping the horn looks like, but wait until you see the vigor with which Mitchell pounds on his Dad’s nose!

We get to see a few different bedtimes, with Mitchell becoming a skilled driver and adding fun riffs on the theme, like braking to avoid a collision with Mom and adding oil.

But when Mitchell comes up with a scheme to drive the car to the Gas Station (Cookie Jar), his car malfunctions, and drives him to bed.

Part of what makes this book so absolutely brilliant are the illustrations. Tony Fucile is an animator, with credits such as The Lion King and Finding Nemo, and it shows. You almost feel like you’re watching a movie as you flip through the pages, with plenty of emotion showing on the characters’ faces and plenty of motion in the characters’ actions. When I saw the picture of Mitchell’s Dad’s face after he bonked into the wall, I could almost hear a theater full of kids burst out laughing.

This book is perfect in so many ways. The artwork is not gorgeous, elaborate paintings, but it is absolutely perfect for this story. I hope it will get some Caldecott attention. I notice clever details as I read it again — like Mitchell’s pajamas each night having a car theme, and his room decorated with cars. Mom’s walking by with a laptop, and there’s a cordless phone in a docking station. This is a modern home but fully in the wonderful tradition of books-as-games along with the classic Pete’s a Pizza. Makes me wish I had a toddler to share it with, but meanwhile it brings back wonderful memories of my husband playing with our boys.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/mitchells_license.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of Balancing Act, by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Balancing Act

by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), New York, 2010. 32 pages.

Ellen Stoll Walsh is brilliant at explaining basic concepts to the very youngest readers. Her earlier book Mouse Paint is justifiably called “a modern classic,” demonstrating mice mixing colors in a simple, easily understandable way.

Balancing Act shows how balancing works in a way that even toddlers will be able to absorb. First, two mice balance on opposite ends of a stick. Then a lizard joins them, throwing off the balance — but when the lizard’s friend comes, balance is restored. Then comes a frog, and a friend.

When a big, heavy bird comes, it looks like their game is done — until all the other creatures get on the other side. That works great — until the stick breaks.

There are only a few words on each page, used in a way to captivate readers (“Uh-oh! A frog.”), so this book will work with the very youngest children, just beginning to understand that books tell a story.

Balance is a Math concept and a Science concept, but learning this concept is disguised in a lovely story with fun use of language that preschoolers will simply enjoy. A definite win!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/balancing_act.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of Quack and Count, by Keith Baker

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Quack and Count

by Keith Baker

Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999. 28 pages.

Here’s a simple picture book that’s fun and easy to read, and lays a nice foundation for counting and addition.

The story is simple. Lovely cut-paper artwork shows us seven ducklings. There are two rhyming lines on each set of pages, but the innovative part is that on each set of pages, we have different groupings.

On the page after we are initially introduced to the seven ducklings, it says,

“Slipping, sliding, having fun
7 ducklings, 6 plus 1.”

Six ducklings are grouped on the left-hand page, and one duckling has already slid down onto the right-hand page.

The next page is:

“7 ducklings, 5 plus 2
Playing games of peekaboo.”

Now you have five ducklings on the left and two on the right, all hiding in the long grass.

And so it continues.

This book is a beautiful way to give the idea of addition in a fun way, without overt teaching. They will see, without you even having to point it out, that 3 + 4 and 4 + 3 both equal seven. On each page, you can count the left, count the right, and count them all together, and your child will enjoy the experience even before he knows how to count himself.

This book gives an example of a beautiful and fun way to build a number sense into your little one. The short text means it would work well with very young children, and as they get older, you can let them count the ducklings themselves. The lovely artwork adds a level of enjoyment.

As a former math teacher, and a Mom who looked for excuses to teach my kids about numbers, and who has successfully reared two book-lovers and math-lovers, I simply had to highlight this delightful little book.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/quack_and_count.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.