Posts Tagged ‘books for toddlers’

Looking for some great reads for those little shavers, say 15 months and up? Bold, jolly books, short in length but long in painstakingly-crafted ideas and artwork, coming right up!

Truck, Truck, Goose, written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Zoe Waring
published in 2017 by Harper

One oblivious duck goes on a picnic. How much trouble could that cause?

Plenty and more! Jazzy bright color, gobs of jolly trucks, great humor, and a sweet ending. Fabulous.

Goodnight World, written and illustrated by Debi Gliori
published in 2016 by Bloomsbury

Debi Gliori’s chalky, curving, comforting images spill across the pages in this lovely book…

… simply saying goodnight to all kinds of good things in the world. A creamy dreamy treat that’ll end your day with a warm glow.

Round — written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
published in 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

An impeccably gorgeous book with a deceptively simple premise — exploring the round bits in our world.

One of my favorite books of the year. Warm, full of wonder, and beautiful.

Which Way? written by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
published in 2010 by Tundra Books

Slaughter’s bold-as-brass graphic design and bright primary colors will arrest a child’s attention as you ponder together all the ways to get around and reach your destination.

Simple. Classy. Intelligent. This same team has several other cool titles for toddlers as well.

Stack the Cats, written and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani
published in 2017 by Abrams Appleseed

So stylish.

Beginning with one cat sleeping, we count up by cats. When enough of them arrive, we can stack ’em. But too many cats in a stack teeters and totters. Add a few more, and we can stack cats in a couple of equal, smaller stacks. Effortlessly mind-stretching number awareness on tap here with a side of wit.

I Know Numbers! written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
published in Japan in 1985; first U.S. edition 2017 by Chronicle Books

Taro Gomi’s genius explores the numerous places numbers show up in our world from thermometers to bus stops, team jerseys to dice…

… all delivered with aplomb and massive child-appeal.


Read Full Post »

It’s difficult for me to review board books — which I know many of you are looking for — as my library does not let me request them and they land higgledy-piggledy in branch libraries across the metro area. Sigh. Not a good system for folks looking for specific titles to share with their smallests.

However, I managed to nab a few recently, and thought I’d share with you what I liked best.

First category — books that say “I love you,” and “The world is a beautiful place!”

my heart fills with happiness cover image

My Heart Fills With Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith, illustrations by Julie Flett
published in 2016 by Orca Book Publishers

This book is one of my favorites on the list today. Featuring Julie Flett’s gorgeous artwork (if you see her name on a book, just grab it!) the text simply narrates the gems in a small child’s world that fill his or her heart with happiness.

my heart fills with happiness illustration by julie flett

The special joy of this is that it’s written and illustrated from a Native American/First Nation’s perspective. It’s a lovely combination of widely-human thoughts — seeing the face of someone I love, singing — and specifically Native elements — bannock in the oven, drumming. Exceptional! Highest recommendation!

little you cover image

Little You, by Richard Van Camp, illustrated by Julie Flett
published in 2013 by Orca Book Publishers

Again from Julie Flett, this time accompanying the tender, sweet words of love whispered to a baby by his/her parents. “You are life/and breath adored. You are us/ and so much more.”

little you illustration by julie flett

Sophisticated design, rich colors and patterns, make this a great choice for those who can’t handle cute animals in pastel pinks and blues in their baby books!

we belong together cover image

We Belong Together, written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
published in 2011 by Cartwheel Books

Joyce Wan’s bold designs with her distinct contemporary-Japanese influences, rocket this book to exuberance as we discover that we belong together “like smitten little mittens” and like “peanut butter and jelly.”

we belong together interior by joyce wan

There is so much cheer packed into this small book! I’d say it’s one to buy, fully prepared to wear it completely out with re-readings!

two long ears cover image

Two Long Ears, written and illustrated by Jacob A. Boehne
published in 2016 by Schiffer Publishing Inc.

Here’s one that some of you will roll your eyes at and some will immediately fall for!

two long ears interior by jacob boehne

Count from 1 to 10 while you introduce your baby to the spectrum of folks they’ll meet in any Western urban center — folks with plugs and studs and tattoos and green hair. Embrace the differences! Apparently if you purchase this book it comes with a wall poster and color-it-yourself poster.

Moving on to concept books. This is what I think board books are mainly for — a way to interact with your child over a book. Flip the pages any which way. Read the same page 10 times. It does not matter. There is no particular story line to follow. Just ideas to talk about together.

colors and counting cover images

Counting,created by Aino-Maija Metsola, published in 2015
Colors, published in 2016
both from Wide Eyed Editions

Let’s hear it for this Finnish illustrator/designer and her Marimekko-style designwork in these two brilliant books.

counting interior by aino maija metsola

Besides the riveting illustrations, these books feature flaps to lift revealing tiny puzzles for little ones to solve. One blackbird. Lift the flap to read, “The blackbird flies away to find its dinner. Can you spot 3 acorns?” Now we’ve got to glance around the page to locate those three acorns. In the Colors volume, we have to spot the odd one out.

colors interior by aino maija metsola

Great art, clever brainwork, loads of potential here.

pattern-tastic treasure hunt cover image

Pattern-tastic Treasure Hunt: Spot the Odd One Out with Nature, by Hvass and Hannibal
published in 2016 by Wide Eyed Editions

Another spot the odd one out book, this time with patterns to distinguish — spots, spirals, stripes.

pattern-tastic treasure hunt interior by hvass and hannaibal

Lots of great vocabulary to acquire and clever puzzlers to pore over.

brown bear color book cover image

Jane Foster’s Brown Bear Color Book
coming soon: October 2016, published by little bee books

Line up for textile-designer Jane Foster’s Color Book, coming out this fall. It’s a darling choice for people too young for the ideas required by the previous few titles.

brown bear color book interior by jane foster

Yet there’s great space for interaction and learning as we try to name all the red, orange, yellow objects on the page and also spy that beautiful fellow, Brown Bear. Charming.

rhymoceros cover imagehippopposites cover image

Rhymoceros and Hippopposites, by Janik Coat
published in 2015 and 2012 respectively, by Harry N. Abrams

Concepts of rhyming and opposites are playfully introduced in these two runaway favorites.

rhymoceros interior by janik coat

Check out the “stinky” and “inky” rhinos or the “clear” and “blurry” hippos, and discover a whole new world of word-fun. Extremely clever images stand strikingly alone on white pages, leaving us to fully engage with these good sports!

Moving On. I am of the mind that if a child is old enough to be working on her alphabet, she is probably ready to not be reading board books! Yet there are so, so many ABC board books! Here are a couple which I find so beautiful artistically, that it really does not matter whether elephant starts with an E or not!

A B See Cover image

A B See, by Elizabeth Doyle
published in 2015 by Little Simon

Intricate, lovely artwork here, with each letter made up of objects that begin with it. There are hundreds of beautiful particulars to name in this book.

A B See interior by Elizabeth Doyle

Lists in the back will help you search for or identify even more items than you originally spotted. Did you find that anchovy in the A? How about the Kimono in the K? As you can see, the level of sophistication makes this a book that will suit a wide age range. Bring it along on a car ride to while away the hours.

Charley Harper's Animal Alphabet cover image

Charley Harper’s Animal Alphabet, text by Zoe Burke, illustrations by Charley Harper
published in 2015 by Pomegranate

Charley Harper needs no introduction. If you want your kids to interact with sizzling design, you might let them meet more than 45 animals, introduced alphabetically, in this handsome book.

charley harper's animal alphabet interior by harper and burke

Zoe Burke provides brief rhyming text if you want something to read. Otherwise, you can just ooh and ah and name and wonder and chat together about these magnificent creatures.

Language acquisition is at its peak right now. Capitalize on that with these books introducing foreign languages. I’ve mentioned this series of books before. Now there are a couple more titles:

how monkey says my name is cover image

How Monkey Says “My Name Is!” and How Iguana Says “I Love You!” by Abigail Samoun, illustrated by Sarah Watts
both published in 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books

Find out how monkey says “My name is Monkey” in eight different languages or how Iguana says “I love you!” as they travel around the world.

how monkey says my name is interior samoun and watts

The same languages are used in each book: French, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, and English. Pronunciation guides are included. We will still mangle the sounds of these beautiful languages, but hey, it’s fun to hear the 2-year-old tell Grandma “I love you” in Japanese, right?

If vehicles are your toddler’s bread-and-butter, these should do the trick:

whose truck cover image

Whose Truck? by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Jim Datz
published in 2015 by Harry N. Abrams

Six trucks. Six riddle-icious questions. Which truck is needed for which job? What do they use it for? What are the special parts on it?

whose truck interior buzzeo and datz

Gatefolds open to reveal the answers. Great, bold design with just the right amount of detail for curious kids. Included is a firetruck, snowplow, ambulance, broadcasting truck, utility truck and crane. Exciting stuff!

trucks cover image

Trucks, by Roger Priddy
published in 2013 by Priddy Books

Roger Priddy’s trademark black-line and riveting, bold illustrations open up the world of trucks to small fry. Lift the flaps and learn about diggers and dump trucks and fire engines and more.

trucks interior by roger priddy

This is just one in the line of Priddy’s lift-the-flap books that will transfix your kids over and over and over again.

yellow copter cover image

Yellow Copter, by Kersten Hamilton, illustrated by Valeria Petrone
published in 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

This is the book with the most storyline today. But trust me — there’s just a few jazzy lines to help you dive into this breathtaking adventure! The yellow rescue copter is on a mission! He’s got to rescue the teacher who is stuck on the ferris wheel! Watch him get the call and zoop into action!

yellow copter interior by hamilton and petrone

This is the third in a series of suspenseful, vehicle superhero tales! If you like, track down Blue Boat and Red Truck as well. Much imaginative play will result from these storylines I’m guessing!

cityblock cover image

Cityblock, by Christopher Franceschelli, illustrated by Peskimo
coming soon, in September 2016, from Abrams Appleseed

This is the fourth book in this dynamite series which began with Alphablock. These tremendously-hefty books are illustrated with pizzazz, their pages flooded with booming color, and are conceptually brilliant, with enticing die-cuts revealing just a little something, a hint for us as we guess what we’ll find when we…

cityblock interior by franceschelli and peskimo

…flip it and discover the entire picture.

cityblock interior2 by franceschelli and peskimo

Explore the city from the heights of a skyscraper to the depths of the subway in this volume. Great little item to have in mind for Christmas, perhaps.

Finally, I’m sure you’re all aware of the Scanimation book series but on the off-chance that you aren’t, these are a blast to share with small children. The one I have at home is:

waddle cover image

Waddle, by Rufus Butler Seder
published in 2009 by Workman Publishing Co.

Unless you see these, they are terrifically difficult to explain. Using a method of overlaying images and striped acetate, Seder has created mesmerizing MOVING pictures in his books. So yes, you can watch a penguin waddle and a frog hop by turning the pages. And then you can try it, too — can you waddle like a penguin? Can you hop like a frog?

waddle interior by Rufus Butler Seder

Other books in the series include Gallop!, Swing!, and ABC Animals. Great fun for a wide age range.

Hope you find something you love to “read” with your wee ones!

Read Full Post »

This week — ten gracefully-aging books celebrating summer at the beach.

a beloved Frank Asch favorite

sand cake cover image

Sand Cake, written and illustrated by Frank Asch
originally published in 1978; this edition 2015 by Aladdin

One of my favorites from when my kids were small, this story shines with imagination and warmth.

sand cake interior by frank asch

Baby Bear and Papa Bear concoct one clever, make-believe Sand Cake, while Mama Bear provides a scrumptious alternative. Soooo imaginative and affectionate. A bunch of Frank Asch’s old titles are being republished. My advice: Scoop them up! Ages 2 and up.

a pleasant Swedish beach story

will goes to the beach cover image

Will Goes to the Beach, by Olof and Lena Landström
originally published in Sweden in 1992; English edition 1995 by R&S Books

Will and Mama are heading to the beach in this carefree, comfortable tale from the team giving us the Pim stories.

will goes to the beach interior by olof and lena landstrom

After a long bike ride, they finally arrive just in time for the rain to start. But does that stop Will and Mama? Not a bit! A briefly told, calm & happy story of seashores and swimming and picnics. Ages 2 and up.

heading down under for an Aussie holiday

greetings from sandy beach cover image

Greetings from Sandy Beach, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in Australia in 1990; first U.S. edition 1992 by Kane/Miller Book Publishers

Quintessential Bob Graham goodness here, with this  marvelously-average family jaunting off to the beach for a couple of days.

greetings from sandy beach illustration bob graham

Carsickness. A motorcycle gang. A busload of schoolkids. Difficulties with tent set-up. Graham excels at making the mundane feel as endearing as it truly is. Enjoy this sweet, funny glimpse of real family life, with ages 4 and up.

off to the Oregon coast with Grandma

grandma summer cover image

Grandma Summer, written and illustrated by Harley Jessup
published in 1999 by Viking

Young Ben is being whisked off to spend time with his grandma at her old cottage on the shore. Ben is not a fan of this plan.

grandma summer illustration harley jessup

It doesn’t take long, though, for the simplicity and beauty of this place, and the moxie and joy of his most excellent grandma, to capture Ben’s heart. A delightful, warm, and refreshing read for ages 4 and up.

British beach superheroes, up next

traction man and the beach odyssey cover image

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey, written and illustrated by Mini Grey
published in the UK in 2011; first U.S. edition 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf

If you haven’t met Traction Man yet, you’ll want to make his acquaintance. He’s a small action figure whose best pal is his pet Scrubbing Brush. Together, these two have some mighty adventures.

traction man and the beach odyssey interior by mini grey

This time it’s off for a holiday at the beach where they encounter underwater creatures, accidentally wash out to sea, and meet some dollies named Beach-Time Brenda! Funny and action-packed, with a bit of a Toy Story feel, for ages 5 and up.

a tender toddler tale from Helen Oxenbury

tom and pippo on the beach cover image

Tom and Pippo on the Beach, written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
published in the UK in 1992; first U.S. edition 1993 by Candlewick Press

Tom and Pippo are some of Helen Oxenbury’s most enduring and endearing characters. If you have toddlers, you should seek out some of these little books; they’ll be loved to death.

tom and pippo on the beach illustration helen oxenbury

In this episode, Tom and Pippo (his snuggly monkey) spend a day with Dad at the beach and have some interesting encounters with hats. Extremely simple and simply perfect, for ages 1 and up.

sheer craziness, along the coast of Maine

down to the sea with mr. magee cover image

Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
published in 2000 by Chronicle Books

Chris Van Dusen’s electric-bright illustrations, bursting with vigor, sunshine, and pandemonium will draw anyone into this wild tale.

down to the sea with mr. magee interior by chris van dusen

Magee and his faithful dog Dee are heading out to sea for a pleasure ride when they run amok with a pod of whales and Whoa Nellie! — does the day ever turn out unexpectedly! A blast of crazy adventure and humor, for ages 4 and up.

one helpful chicken at the beach

lottie's new beach towel cover image

Lottie’s New Beach Towel, written and illustrated by Petra Mathers
first published 1998; this edition 2001 by Aladdin Paperbacks

Lottie the chicken receives a cheerful new beach towel — cherry red with white polka-dots — just in time for her beach picnic with her pal, Herbie.

lottie's new beach towel interior by petra mathers

And what a handy towel it turns out to be! Find out all its fortuitous uses  including saving the day for a beach wedding, in this perky little story, for ages 2 and up.

town mouse and the country mouse — the beach sequel

charlie and tyler at the seashore cover iamge

Charlie and Tyler at the Seashore, written and illustrated by Helen Craig
published in 1995 by Candlewick Press

From the illustrator of the darling Angelina Ballerina books comes this second episode in the lives of Charlie, the country mouse and his cousin, Tyler, the town mouse.

charlie and tyler at the seashore interior helen craig

This time they’re off to the beach and what a lot of adventures await them! Far too many for Charlie’s tastes. Boat rides, toy theaters, and a peckish spell in a seagull nest! Home sweet home never felt so good. Ages 4 and up.

an epic adventure for some kittens, courtesy of John Goodall

the surprise picnic cover image

The Surprise Picnic, a wordless book by John Goodall
published in 1977 by Atheneum

No one does wordless quite like John Goodall.  With his half-page turns that change the scene and advance the story, and his adorable small creatures in their charming English environs. Fantastic.

the surprise picnic interior by john goodall

It’s a beautiful day and Mama Cat is taking her kittens on a picnic. Off they row across the bay to a secluded beach where they spread out the tea and tarts. That’s when the surprises begin however, as the most extraordinary sequence of adventures unfolds! Will this trio ever return to their comfy home? A treat for ages 2 and up.

More beach and summer titles are listed in the Subject Index under Seasons — Summer.
Why not beat the heat with some lemonade and a good book!

Read Full Post »

to-baby-with-love-cover-image1Jan Ormerod’s baby books are right up on top of my list of favorites for the youngest book readers. And their moms, dads, big sisters and brothers, grandparents, babysitters…

Her ability to draw believable, wonderfully-natural human figures in almost a sketchbook style, yet in such an appealing, child-friendly way, is the first thing you might notice. This woman has been observing real life.

jan ormerod sunshine

This could be your family. Mom isn’t a fashionista. Dad isn’t a professional hipster. The kids aren’t dressed in Baby Gap.

jan ormerod illustration2

jan ormerod mama's day illustration

The other magical quality to her work is how she elevates the mundane, the truly simple world of egg cartons and tupperware lids and saucepans. She focuses her lens on the wonder and quiet happiness of investigating the world at a baby’s level.

jan ormerod illustration1

No bells and whistles. No razzamatazz. Just electric discovery. Peace. Understanding. Figuring it out on the fly. This is the way we nurture real children.

101 things to do with a baby cover image

Her 100 Things to do with a Baby is a well-known classic.

101 things to do with a baby jan ormerod interior

But her series of books featuring one little baby with his Dad (Dad’s Back, Messy Baby, Reading, Sleeping) and his Mom (Mom’s Home, Making Friends, Bend and Stretch, This Little Nose) are some of my most-loved books. Our copies are utterly worn to the nubbins.

Here are a few peeks:



jan ormerod reading cover image

…features Dad and his attempts to read while minding the baby.

jan ormerod illustration reading

Bend and Stretch…

bend and stretch cover image 001

…is a glimpse of the baby joining Mom’s yoga workout.

bend and stretch jan ormerod interior 001

This Little Nose…

this little nose cover image 001

… showcases a pitiful little guy with a cold and Mom’s tenderness.

this little nose jan ormerod interior 001

The Saucepan Game focuses on all the jolly things one can do with a saucepan.


These books are harder to come by, but truly worth seeking out. Look her up in your local library or used book store and see what you can find. I think you will love her, too 🙂

Read Full Post »

Two stories today awash in good luck!

queen victoria's bathing machine cover imageQueen Victoria’s Bathing Machine, words by Gloria Whelan, pictures by Nancy Carpenter
published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The dog days of summer! You know, when the sweat trickles down your back, and the kids’ bangs are plastered to their flushed foreheads; the dog sprawls on the tile floor and the jungle hum of cicadas wierdly pierces the air.

Well! Try coping with layers of  itchy petticoats and a breath-defying corset to boot! And forget about air queen victoria's bathing machine illustration nancy carpenterconditioning or that tall glass of iced tea.

That’s what poor Victoria faces as she looks longingly towards the sea and dreams of a nice, cool, swim.

The problem is, it’s beyond scandalous to even think of exposing so much as a dimpled knee to the populace. What to do?

Leave it to her doting and inventive husband, Prince Albert, to construct the bathing machine — a discreet little cabin on wheels. Roll it down to the water’s edge. Enter properly dressed. Exit into the waves, quite out of sight of all commoners. Voila! Or at least, that’s the theory.

queen victoria's bathing machine gloria whelan and nancy carpenter

This delightful little slice of history is brought to life with Gloria Whelan’s lively, humorous, rhyming text, and Nancy Carpenter’s fetching, lighthearted illustrations.  A short Author’s Note fills in some historical detail and there’s a color photo of the real bathing machine plus suggestions for further reading about dear Victoria.

A perfect dip for a summer’s day, for ages 4 and up.

pom and pim cover imagePom and Pim, written by Lena Landström, illustrated by Olof Landström
translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall
American edition published in 2014 by Gecko Press

The cute little bean-o in the razzleberry knit zootsuit is Pom. Pim is the oddsy stuffed companion.

Lucky for them, it’s a sunny day, and they are headed out for some fun, when…blam! Pom trips on a rock and does a faceplant onto the ground. Bad luck!

Good luck soon rebounds, however, with a trip to the ice cream store. But the follow-up tummy ache? Bad luck, indeed.

Follow Pom and Pim through a dayful of ups and downs, with a charming, happy ending. The Landströms’ collaboration skims along with few words, generous white space, and Scandinavian-style, minimalist compositions. The story is utterly engaging with its caprice, rapport, surprises galore, and ultimate satisfaction.  

pom and pim illustration olof landstrom

A superb new offering coming to us from Sweden for the itty-bitty set, ages 18 months and up.

Read Full Post »


What is part BUZZ and part STING?

what is part this part that illustration tom slaughter 001

A bee.

And what is part STOP and part GO?

what is part this part that illus2 tom slaughter 001

Riding in traffic. To be sure!

This book, bright as a new pack of crayons, is loaded with intriguing little riddles like these, and illustrated in striking designs by Tom Slaughter, Printwhose prints hang in MOMA.  Some pages have flaps to lift or pages to unfold to reveal the answers — added zip to an outstanding book for the youngest of readers.

At the end, there’s a page of additional riddles for you to puzzle over together — no answers provided. And actually, some of them require quite a bit of creative thinking!

Wouldn’t this make a jolly birthday present for someone turning One or Two?

What is Part This, Part That?, by Harriet Ziefert, illustrations by Tom Slaughter
published 2013 by Blue Apple Books

Read Full Post »

vintage_valentine-1Valentine’s Day is coming! Time to break out the chocolates and candy hearts, construction paper and doilies, and tell folks we love ’em!

One way to celebrate is by joining in International Book Giving Day on February 14, which you can read about here. It’s quite simple — give some book love away; and quite powerful — stories shape us.

Looking for some sweet treats in the way of books? Try…

little treasures cover imageLittle Treasures: Endearments from Around the World, words by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, pictures by Chris Raschka
published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Dumpling? Snickerdoodle? Little pumpkin? What terms of endearment do you use with your children?

We were partial to “little potato” from a brilliant piece we heard on Minnesota Public Radio years ago. I wish I could imbed it, but you can give it a listen here. Truly awesome lullaby!


around the world, folks invent all kinds of sweet talk, from  “poppet” to little treasures illustration chris raschka 001“lambchop” to “little mischievous pea!” Visit 17 different countries with fourteen languages to learn some of these charming, affectionate nicknames. Chris Raschka’s illustrations wobble and radiate cheer across all the jolly pages. 

An interesting Author’s Note tells us a bit more about the use of endearments in other cultures and the challenge of compiling this list.  Love this book!

all kinds of kisses cover image tafuriAll Kinds of Kisses, written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri
published in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company

Nancy Tafuri has been producing some of the best toddler books for decades now, so if you see her name on it, you know it’s gold.

This pleasingly-large book is quintessential all kinds of kisses illustration detail from nancytafuri dot comTafuri, with just a few words narrating the glorious, full-page,  illustrations. Burst-of-summer greens and tomato reds, sunny yellows and robin’s egg blues wash through her close-up, gentle compositions. Masterful. 

Meander around the barnyard to see all the wee ones enjoying their mamas’ kisses — little chick, calf, dove, lamb, pup and more, happily soaking up the love. The best kiss of all is saved for last. Can you guess who’s getting it?

Sheer bliss for the very youngest bookworms.

i like you cover imageI Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast
originally published in 1965; 
currently published by Houghton Mifflin Company

Vintage sweetness here, with the same fetching i like you illustration jacqueline chwastfeel as the Ruth Krauss-Maurice Sendak collaboration A Hole is to Dig.

There are such a lot of good reasons for liking a dear friend:
They remember important things we tell them.
Laugh at our jokes.
Give us time to be sad and quiet when that’s just what we need.
Like us back.

You’ll enjoy this collection of small, insightful, childish thoughts about what makes a person settle in our hearts, and you’ll adore the sketchy ink drawings by Chwast. Sized for small hands, share it with preschoolers and up, or tuck it into an i-love-you package for any size of sweetheart. 

violet and winston cover imageViolet and Winston, by Sonya Sones and Bennett Tramer, pictures by Chris Raschka
published in 2009 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Valentine’s is a good day to celebrate friendships.  Here are three episodes of two enthusiastic, through-thick-and-thin pals, Violet the swan and Winston the duck.violet and winston illustration chris raschka 001

On a picnic, the oblivious Winston drives Violet a bit batty; at the café, Winston’s glasses go missing; and at a garage sale, sentimental Violet confounds Winston’s money-making scheme. These exuberant stories have clever plots, a big scoop of silliness, endearing moments, and a sweet finale. 

Who better to illustrate them than Chris Raschka with his joyful, swishy, playful lines and colors bringing the personalities and predicaments to life. Great fun for ages 4 and up.

herman and rosie cover image gus gordonHerman and Rosie, written and illustrated by Gus Gordon
published in 2013 by Roaring Book Press

This last title has the heartbeat of An Affair to Remember. You know the film where Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr  just miss one another at a critical moment?

Herman Schubert (a crocodile) and Rosie Bloom (a deer) live in their own worlds, all alone, in New York City.

They are such interesting folk. Herman likes potted plants and films about the ocean. Rosie likes pancakes and jazz. They both love the city, and they both love music. In fact, playing the oboe and singing are two of the ways Herman and Rosie keep themselves happy in their somewhat-lonely lives.

When the kibosh gets put to their music-making, they are despondent. It herman and rosie illustration gus gordon from slj dot comtakes time and patience, a sunny walk in the park, a few near misses, and a rebirth of music, before fate happily brings the two together. Oh how nice.

It’s a quirky, charming tale with an unabashedly happy ending. Gordon’s mixed media collages exude personality, New York-ness, the ethos of an old black-and-white film, and lovability. Give this a whirl for ages 5 and up.

You can find more Valentine’s Day titles by searching in the Subject Index. I hope you find time to make someone happy this week!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: