Sunday, November 13, 2011

New: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

If Pinkney’s Lion and the Mouse was a study in the warm tones of the savannah, this beautiful title is a study in the cool greens and blues of a pond at twilight. While reading the traditional lullaby the reader is also treated to a wordless story of adventure as a chipmunk is lured from his nest by a passing dandelion seed. The chipmunk finds himself sailing through the sky in a fanciful boat as day turns to night in a swirl of blues of every tone and hue. Children will linger over the illustrations as they tell the story of the chipmunk’s journey from his nest, to the sky, across the pond and home again. The illustrations are perfectly paced, alternating between dramatic, full-bleed spreads and intimate, smaller paintings set in a field of white. A classic to return to again and again and again.

Target Age: 2-6

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New: The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara

The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot
By Margaret McNamara and Mark Fearing

I predict that this variant on the Three Little Pigs will be in constant circulation in our library. The connections to the original tale are cleverly executed and the rhymes are terrific. The illustrator studied NASA photographs of the planets to bring an element of realism to this wonderfully fantastical tale. A sure fire hit and new favorite!

Target Age: 3-8

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New: Mouse and Lion, by Rand Burkert and Nancy Ekholm Burkert

Mouse & Lion
By Rand Burkert and Nancy Ekholm Burkert

Even if you thought Jerry Pinkney’s Caldecott Award-winning telling of this Aesop’s fable was the definitive version, you need to make room on your shelf for this title as well. Unlike Pinkney’s wordless version, this story is told through colorful language. Like Pinkney’s version, the illustrations are stunning. In this case, the power is in the softness and the detail. Two breathtaking double-page spreads bring the splendor of the African savannah landscape to life. The book closes with the Lion and the reader reflecting on the wonders small things. A gem.

Target Age: 3-8

Monday, September 26, 2011

New: Zoozical by Judy Sierra

By Judy Sierra; illustrated by Marc Brown

When the “midwinter doldrums arrive at the zoo,” the animals cheer themselves up by putting on a musical extravaganza. Written by the winning team that brought us “Wild about Books,” this selection is perfect for reading aloud. The rhyme and rhythm move the action along in a rollicking fashion. The cheerful illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the text. While the book is well suited to reading to a group, it is especially fun read one-on-one in a situation in which you can take the time to fully appreciate all the animals antics portrayed in the pictures.

Target Age: 3-8

Friday, September 23, 2011

999 Tadpoles, by Ken Kimura

999 Tadpoles
Ken Kimura, illustrated by Yasunari Murakami

999 tadpoles are born to mother and father frog and all is well until the tadpoles grow into frogs and their pond becomes too small for them. The giant family of frogs experiences a series of adventures as they search for a new home. The charm of this book lies in the perky illustrations and the absurd idea of 101 frogs trying to scramble out of the pond and cross the meadow single-file. Children will be thrilled with the ending in which disaster is dramatically averted. A sure-fire pick for repeated readings.

Target Age: 3-8

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toddler Read Aloud: Spots Feathers and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri

Spots Feathers and Curly Tails, written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri

Nancy Tafuri's books are wonderful read alouds for toddlers. The illustrations are easy to interpret and somehow manage to be bold and soft all at once. In this selection, children are encouraged to guess farm animals based on a close-up view of an identifying feature: a pig's curly tail; a duck's bill. Children love making predictions and having their guesses confirmed on the following page. Soon enough your child will be ready to "read" this one to you.

Target age: 1 - 4

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lower Elementary: Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst; illustrated by Lane Smith

Pure fun from start to finish, this slim chapter book features a spoiled little girl, an unflappable brontosaurus and a narrator who is as salty as you please. Top that with retro illustrations, a peppy little rhyme that begs to be chanted repeatedly, trademark Lane Smith exploding typeface and three different endings, each more satisfying than the last. Set aside a half hour and grab a glass of water: once you start reading this one aloud, your kids will not let you stop.

Target Age: Grades 1-4

This review originally published in The Kutztown Book Review.