Animals out and about

sturges_construction kitties_300x300

Four new titles for preschoolers star animal characters, every young child’s favorite picture book stand-in. In Construction Kitties by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, four indisputably cute overall-clad kitties don hard hats and hop into colorful earthmovers to dig into a kid-friendly building project revealed on the back endpapers. Shari Halpern’s gouache illustrations channel Byron Barton’s […]

Goodnight Moon app review

goodnight moon menu

Devotees of Margaret Wise Brown’s sleepytime classic — preschoolers and their grownups alike — will welcome Loud Crow’s Goodnight Moon app (November 2012). There are just enough interactive opportunities but not too many to overwhelm young children. The app’s opening page greets users with an image of the book, as well as images of Goodnight […]

Cars and trucks and preschoolers who go

Little Tug

Toot, toot! Beep, beep! Vrrrooommm! Move out of the way for these four transportation-themed picture books. With the perfect blend of information and silliness, preschoolers will want to take them out for a spin again and again. The hero of Stephen Savage’s Little Tug isn’t the tallest or the fastest or the biggest boat in […]

Review of Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat by Leo Landry; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary     Houghton     32 pp. 8/12     978-0-547-24969-8     $12.99 Landry’s cheery watercolor and pencil illustrations and calm palette signal that this Halloween story is more treat than trick; together, the straightforward text and simple compositions build suspense and inject humor […]

Diseased bodies, blood, and bones

The Book of Blood

Sounds like the makings for a horror movie or witch’s brew. However, the topics covered in four new nonfiction books are less gory than they are invitations to broaden readers’ understanding of the history of humankind. HP Newquist’s The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins provides an intriguing, encyclopedic profile […]

Squiggles! app review

Squiggles menu

At first glance, the premise of the Lazoo Squiggles! (August 2012) app sounded as if it might be interesting for about ten minutes, tops: draw squiggles to make cars go fast, rockets zoom into space, clouds rain, and flowers grow. After a thirty-minute first glance, however, I realized the creators are more imaginative than I […]

Monkeying around with preschoolers

Two Little Monkeys

Preschoolers + animal tales = story-time success. Here are four new books that add up to silly fun for both group sharing and bedtime reading. In Mem Fox’s Two Little Monkeys, Cheeky and Chee are happily playing on the savanna until—“something’s prowling— / what could it be?” Off they dash up a “big old tree.” […]

Review editing punchiness

cordially uninvited

We are down to the wire at the Horn Book Guide, madly trying to finish editing reviews for the fall 2012 issue (due out in October) for an early August deadline. In other words, we are punchy. When we noticed the name of the eleven-year-old main character of Cordially Uninvited, Jennifer Roy’s ripped-from-People-magazine-headlines novel about […]

Review of A Bus Called Heaven

A Bus Called Heaven

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/12    978-0-7636-5893-9    $16.99 “The bus brought change to Stella’s street…Stella changed, too.” It’s quiet, pale Stella who takes her thumb out of her mouth and steps onto the bus that has been abandoned outside her house, claiming it for […]

“In the air…” and “On the water…”

Planes by Byron Barton

It’s Byron Barton’s Planes (March) and Boats (April) in app format from Oceanhouse Media and HarperCollins. Matching the books’ engaging simplicity and directness, both apps enhance the print versions without distracting users with over-the-top interactive elements. The text is read by an enthusiastic narrator, whether the sound is on or off. If you choose to […]