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Quality time

playtime rhymes

The holidays are approaching, and you know what that means: school vacations, trips to visit the grandparents, long plane/car/bus rides…all opportunities to spend lots of quality time with the kids. Three new books offer holiday cheer and activity ideas; the fourth reminds us to be mindful of what’s most important. All four are gift-giving gold. […]

Review of Flight 1-2-3

flight 1-2-3

Flight 1-2-3 by Maria van Lieshout; 
illus. by the author Preschool    Chronicle    40 pp. 4/13    978-1-4521-1662-4    $14.99 A counting book, an airport primer, an introduction to international signage, and a simple travel story — van Lieshout’s book packs a lot into its cleanly designed pages. Each spread features a numeral (from one to ten, then […]

Five questions for Maria van Lieshout

Maria van Lieshout

Maria van Lieshout’s Flight 1-2-3 (Chronicle, 2–5 years) is a lively counting book and introduction to air travel, but with its uncluttered pages and eminently readable typeface, the book also highlights the important role graphic design plays in daily life. The crisp illustrations mimic airport signage — down to characters who look like they stepped […]

Kitty Flynn’s favorite BGHB winner(s)

big momma

When we asked our staff and reviewers to name their favorite Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners, many of them struggled to choose just one. Kitty Flynn, executive editor of The Horn Book Guide, sent us her six favorites: In Big Momma Makes the World (Candlewick, 2003 Picture Book Award winner), Phyllis Root’s earthy text is […]

Just imagine

Nino Wrestles the World

Pretend play can be a quiet and contemplative activity for one or a boisterous group effort. Four new picture books successfully capture the fluid boundary between real and imaginary in the minds of young children. Pint-sized Niño, fearless luchador, Popsicle enthusiast, and reluctantly attentive big brother, dons his red mask and blue-banded tighty-whities, ready to […]


Doll Bones by Holly Black

It was the little black velvet drawstring purse that caught my eye. The strip of antique-y eyelet cloth on which it sat was a quaint touch, to be sure, but the purse was what beckoned me. The purse, its mysterious contents, and cloth were secured with a black grosgrain ribbon around Holly Black’s newest book, […]

Get outside

Peep and Ducky

Three new picture books for young children feature the great outdoors as the setting for small, familiar dramas. On the nonfiction side, a new photo-essay celebrates a school garden as an outdoor classroom and gathering place for the school community. In David Martin’s Peep and Ducky, two bird pals meet in the park for an […]

Dragon Brush app review

dragon brush menu

“Quite a long time ago, in a small village in ancient China, there lived a boy named Bing-Wen.” So begins Dragon Brush (Small Planet Digital, 2012), an interactive picture book app created by John Solimine and Andy Hullinger. Based on a Chinese folktale (no sources are given), the story follows a young rabbit artist, Bing-Wen, […]

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 app title screen

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 […]