Ring, ring

dawnay_london calls

Maybe because it’s vacation season, or because London is always calling me, but this inviting little book appealed to me as soon as I saw it. In London Calls! (TATE, March 2015), two characters — Granny Rose and Pearl — lead the reader through a whirlwind visit to London: “Big Ben is chiming; it’s quarter […]

Review of Wait

portis_wait

Wait by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool     Porter/Roaring Brook     32 pp. 7/15     978-1-59643-921-4     $16.99 A harried mother rushes her toddler son through the busy city streets, and he resists, stalling to look at everything they encounter. This fundamental tension plays out in a series of spreads illustrating the same refrain. She […]

Picture book problems

Mikemulligan

Just one more story about Miles–after deciphering the peculiar mysteries of the Thank-You Note, he wanted to hear a story, so for reasons of propinquity as much as anything else (Richard handed a copy to me lazing on the couch), I started in on Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Elizabeth Bluemle at ShelfTalker has […]

Using technology to mix up read-alouds

storylinewebsite

At a recent literacy conference, I was introduced to an online resource called Storyline Online. Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online provides animated videos of picture books that are read by actresses, actors, and other well-known individuals. In addition to the videos, there are also activity guides to accompany each book, which […]

Five questions for Antoinette Portis

AntoinettePortis

Antoinette Portis won a Geisel Honor in 2007 for her picture book Not a Box (Harper, 3–6 years), a celebration of child’s imaginative vision over the skepticism that tends to creep in later in life. Her latest picture book Wait (Roaring Brook/Porter, 3–6 years) likewise encourages children — and their parents — to stop and […]

Summertime…

idle_sea rex

…and the livin’ is easy. There’s no better time to dive into picture books, especially books about summer adventures. Grab a towel (and some sunscreen), pack a lunch, and soak up three new stories about memorable trips to the beach and one book about everyone’s favorite hot-weather treat. A companion to Tea Rex and Camp […]

Review of Little Bird’s Bad Word

grant_little bird's bad word

Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant; illus. by the author Preschool     Feiwel     32 pp. 7/15     978-1-250-05149-3     $16.99 “*@?#%!” chirps Little Bird from the cover, piquing curiosity about what the bad word might be. Inside, Papa and Little Bird are flying home with a wriggly worm for lunch in tow. Then Papa accidentally drops lunch…and […]

Review of Drum Dream Girl

engle_drum dream girl

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage 
Changed Music by Margarita Engle; 
illus. by Rafael López Primary    Houghton    40 pp. 3/15    978-0-544-10229-3    $16.99 A young girl dreams of becoming a drummer. Though she lives “on an island of music / in a city of drumbeats,” hers is an impossible dream: only boys play drums. An […]

The mouse that roared

roy_little mouse santi

The Little Mouse Santi, with a story by David Eugene Ray and illustrations by Santiago Germano, is a classic-feeling picture book for young readers. In it, the main character, a mouse named Santi, wants to be a cat. He studies the farm cats and copies their activities and attitudes until he has the whole cat […]

Review of Vegetables in Underwear

chapman_vegetables in underwear

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman; 
illus. by the author Preschool   Abrams Appleseed/Abrams   32 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1464-1   $14.95 Vegetables are usually not funny. Underpants often are. Vegetables in underwear? Guaranteed preschool hilarity. A head of broccoli gets things started on the copyright and dedication pages with a striptease down to his red skivvies. A similarly […]