Archive for ‘Books by Type’

February 27, 2014

Penguin Series by Salina Yoon

penguinseries

Welcome! It is my pleasure to review a wonderful series about a warm-hearted penguin from the super-talented picture book author/illustrator Salina Yoon. Also check-out my interview with Salina and Penguin!!

The Penguin picture book series involves a cute little penguin that embarks on adventures and experiences new places through the lens of a young child. All of the books have an underlying theme of love and friendship which will be appealing to readers of all ages. The digital illustrations are simple, colorful, child-like and perfect for storytime.

penguin-and-pinecone

In the first book Penguin and a Pinecone, Penguin finds a pinecone and they become best friends. Penguin knits it a scarf, takes it sledding, and then becomes worried when pinecone sneezes. Penguin then sets off on a journey to take Pinecone home to the forest, where it can go big and strong. Penguin gets Pinecone settled in his new home and while he returns his ice home. After waiting and wondering about his friend, Penguin returns to the forest and finds Pinecone has “grown” from Penguin’s love.

Penguin shows the same love and concern for pinecone that young children show for their favorite stuffed animal or doll. He also has the same worries as kids do about being apart from someone who they love. What is truly amazing is the number of emotions (curiosity, concern, worry, happiness) and themes (friendship, love, loyalty) conveyed with such little text, only 212 words.

penguin vacation

In Penguin on Vacation, Penguin decides he is tired of snow . “Snow again?” (I’m sure those of you on the East Coast can relate to that.) Skiing, sledding, and skating vacations just don’t cut it anymore. He sees a cruise ship in the distance and decides to go to the beach! Penguin packs a suitcase and a beach ball and sets off. Despite bigger and bigger waves he persists. Upon reaching the beach Penguin realizes he can’t do the same things here as he did on ice. But with the help of a friendly Crab, Penguin learns how to have fun in the sun. But when Penguin leaves to go home he finds a stowaway, his new friend Crab who says “I need a vacation too!” The two enjoy winter activities before Crab has to leave.

Penguin show curiosity and gumption in this tale of visiting a new place. I love how Penguin thought he could do his winter activities at the beach. The tale resonates a theme that I think kids already know and that adults sometimes forget, “you can have fun anywhere as long as you are with friends.”

penguin beach

penguin loveIn the newest title, Penguin in Love, Penguin is looking for love but he finds a purple mitten. Penguin tries to find the owner who loves knitting as much as he does, but no luck. He then makes a bill cozy for a puffin. The grateful puffin hatches a plan to bring the two knitting penguins together. Penguin and his friend Bootsy go on a journey to unravel the mystery of their missing yarn only to realize what they have been looking for all along was right under their beaks.

I love that the acts of kindness in this book, where Penguin gives the puffin a cozy for his cold beak and in turn puffin sets off to help Penguin find love.

February 13, 2014

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

Goldi Rocks and the Three BearsTitle: Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

Author: Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton
Illustrator: Nate Wragg
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’ Sons, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Fractured Fairy Tale, Music

Opening Lines:
“Once upon a rock-and roll time,
three bears in a band jammed with ease.
The Papa Bear drummed,
the Mama Bear strummed,
and Baby bear ticked the keys.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear know how to rock! But they need a new singer, so they audition everyone—the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. To their dismay, no one seems just right. Could the perfect lead singer be the mysterious girl sleeping on Baby Bear’s keyboard?

Activities:

Have kids make their own musical instruments, guitar, bells and drums, and more. Then have a jam session.
Lesson plan on writing fractured fairy tales for 3rd-5th grades.

Why I Like This Book:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears has to be the most popular story to do a fractured fairy tale. I’m not sure why but this rhyming version by Ms. Schwartz rockets to the top of the charts for sheer originality and fun. The rhythm and pop feel of this rendition will engage today’s kids and their American Idol watching parents. This book is a pure read-aloud joy that is enhanced by the colorful pencil and digital illustrations.

gold_tryouts

Picture Book Writers: Check-out this wonderful post by Ms. Schwartz at the Writerly Wisdom blog where she discusses Rhyme and Meter in Goldi rock style!

One lucky winner will receive their choice of a signed copy of this book OR a free picture book critique from Ms. Schwartz. In the comments answer “What favorite pop song do you like to sing or bee-bop too?” Deadline to enter is February 20th 9pm PST.

My favorite song to rock out on these days is “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received a F&G (fold and gather, not bound) copy of this story from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

November 18, 2013

Teeny Tiny Trucks

TTTrucksTitle: Teeny Tiny Trucks (book, app)

Author: Tim McCanna
Illustrator: Keith Frawley
Publisher: Little Bahalia, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Trucks, Insects

Opening Lines:
“Teeny tiny trucks. Smaller than a dime.
So much to deliver, in very little time.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Slugs in traffic jams, busy bees and caterpillar bridges you never know what you’ll encounter with Teeny Tiny Trucks! Teeny Tiny Trucks hits the road with a convoy of micro-sized rigs as they trek through a treacherous garden, down a grassy landscape, across a wide stretch of sidewalk and into the great beyond. Will they deliver their teeny tiny cargo on time?

Activities:

  • Downloadable coloring sheets of the Teeny Tiny Trucks.
  • Grab some building sets, some trucks/cars, and whatever else you have and make your own truck route.

Why I Like This Book:

Breaker .. Breaker. We have got a new truck that is sure to delight all kids and will have them speaking like veteran trucker in no time. This colorful, rhyming book from debut author Tim McCanna is wonderful. I enjoyed the microcosm aspect of the book, teaching kids to see ordinary things in a new way. For example, a water hose is like a tunnel and a garden is like a jungle to teeny tiny truck.

Best of all kids can enjoy it in print form or as an interactive app. The two formats complement each other well. The print version has the bonus trucker glossary in the back. The app version has interactive elements at each spread, where kids can help the teeny tiny trucks by loading stuff onto the truck or moving obstacles out of the way. My 5yr-old daughter’s favorite part wasn’t the “helping” actions … nope, it was making the snails run into each other for the “fender bender” scene. So yes there is something for every child in this app.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

October 10, 2013

Miss Maple’s Seeds

Miss Maple's SeedsTitle: Miss Maple’s Seeds
Author & Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler (interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Nature, Seeds

Excerpt:

She learns each seed by heart, all similar yet none the same. “Take care, my little ones,” Miss Maple says, “for the world is big and you are small.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Fans of Miss Rumphius will adore this gorgeous picture book which introduces the kind, nature-loving Miss Maple, who celebrates the miracle in each seed.

Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become.

Eliza Wheeler’s luminous paintings feature gorgeous landscapes, lush foliage and charming details. Her tender story celebrates the potential found in each seed—since even the grandest tree and most brilliant flower had to grow from the smallest of seeds.

Celebrate every season with Miss Maple, from Earth Day to graduations to harvest festivals.

Activities:

  • Activity sheets which include coloring sheets, filling in the missing items for Miss Maple’s house and garden, and a seed fact sheet.
  • Booklist of additional “seed” related books, fiction & non-fiction.
  • Plant something with your kids.

Why I Like This Book:

A magical, timeless book that leaves the reader with a sense of calmness that everything  will be okay and the world is as it should be. There  really is a Mother Nature and she is Miss Maple.

Miss Maple searches for lost seeds and takes them to her home. Where she cleans them up, teaches them about being a seed, reads stories to them, and eventually one day near the end of spring she sends them on their way, so they can find their own roots. Kids will enjoy the whimsicality of the story and the illustrations, such as the seeds taking a bubble bath or being snug in bed. Older readers and adults will appreciate the metaphor of the story, of nurturing, teaching young kids and then having to let them go to discover their own path. The artwork is gorgeous with its pen, ink, and watercolor drawing. Checkout Ms. Wheeler’s portfolio and be amazed.

wheeler_bathtime_2My favorite parts from the book are:

  • Near the end “take care , my little ones, for the world is big and you are small. But never forget …” (I love the next part but I’m not going to spoil it.)
  • “In bustling gardens, seeds must take care to stay clear of weedy characters.” And there is a picture of some creepy weeds.
  • The picture of all the different seeds: pine, water lily, pea, pumpkin, and more.
  • Miss Maple giving the seeds a bath and reading bedtime stories by firefly light.
  • Miss Maple’s teaching the seeds of what they will be doing next summer, traveling by air or water and learning to grow big and strong.

This book is good for storytime. It can also be used in classroom to complement science units about seeds and plants.

wheeler_storiesatnight

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

September 26, 2013

Hank Finds an Egg

Hank Finds an Egg

Title: Hank Finds an Egg
Author & Illustrator: Rebecca Dudley

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Kindness, Nature

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

While walking through the woods, Hank finds an egg all alone on the forest floor. Spotting its home high up in a tree, Hank diligently tries to return the egg to its nest, but is met with failure each time. After keeping the egg warm overnight, he returns to the scene the next morning. To his surprise, he is met by another forest creature. Will they find a way together to see the egg safely home?

Artist Rebecca Dudley crafts each tiny leaf, flower, and creature that appears in Hank’s forest in breathtaking detail, bringing the sunlit woods to life. From delicate ferns to the glow of Hank’s little campfire, Hank Finds an Egg immerses you in its vivid miniature world.

In this charming tale, told without words, Hank’s endearing and genuine kindness will inspire readers young and old alike to believe in themselves and the goodness of others.

Activities:

- Have the child “tell” the story for the pictures.
- Discussion questions for students.
- Make a diorama. ocean diorama ideas. forest diorama ideas 

Why I Like This Book:

hankmomA simple tale of kindness brought to life in a wholly original fresh new way. Ms. Dudley’s talents as a diorama artist blended with her photographic skills are a winning combination. I was blown away the first-time, second-time, even the tenth-time I read this story. Her individual panels and full-page shots tell a complete story that need no words. She uses different angle shots and changes her focus on near and faraway objects to bring about the key elements and pacing in the story. One of my favorites is the top-down shot with the nest of eggs in focus and Hank fuzzed out below.

I liked that this was a simple story and easy to follow making it perfect for young tikes to ‘read’. (in case Peter Pauper Press or Ms. Dudley stop by – this story needs to be made into a board book!) Older kids will be amazed at the artistry and the “how did she make it” factor. Personally, I would love to know how she made those hummingbird wings.

This wordless, simple story of kindness with fairy tale like scenery makes me feel happy and hopeful. I love how the innocence of children is portrayed through Hank. I do hope there are more adventures for Hank in the near future. I for one will be anxiously waiting.

This book is good for story-time, lap-time and especially for a child to read on their own.

Interviews:

Learn about Ms. Dudley’s unique writing journey (making dioramas, learning photography, self-publishing) to landing a traditional publishing deal.

The Many Paths to Publication Part 3: An Interview With Rebecca Dudley
Rebecca Dudley Author Interview

Also checkout Ms. Dudley’s website Storywoods to see more stories of Hank and his friends.

A behind the scenes video at how Ms. Dudley creates these amazing dioramas and learn about her source of inspiration.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,319 other followers

%d bloggers like this: