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In the doghouse

mcanulty_excellent ed

Barking. Digging. Breaking things. True, the pooch protagonists of these recent picture books may have some bad habits. But as it turns out, even not-so-great qualities can have upsides, and the pups are excellent at what really matters: being a kid’s best friend. (And cleaning the floor, of course.) In Excellent Ed, each of the […]

Beware the Jabberbook!

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Or don’t beware. Be excited. Picture books with made-up words that make complete sense are my new favorite trend.   There’s Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette “Kleebo” Portis (Roaring Brook, July 2016; received a starred review in the May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine), about two residents of Boborp who have been best […]

Review of The Snurtch

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The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell; 
illus. by Charles Santoso Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-5656-2    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5657-9    $10.99 In this author-illustrator team’s (I Don’t Like Koala, rev. 3/15) second book, Ruthie, a wide-eyed, snub-nosed child with pigtail tufts that stick straight up, “has a problem at school.” And it’s a big […]

Review of Grumpy Pants

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Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer; illus. by the author Preschool    Whitman    32 pp. 5/16    978-0-8075-3075-7    $16.99    g Penguin, dressed in yellow rain slicker and matching hat and standing under an ominous gray cloud, is in “a bad mood. A very bad mood.” He stomps inside and begins shedding layers. Off come the “grumpy boots,” “grumpy […]

Review of Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

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Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson; illus. by Meilo So Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 4/16    978-1-4521-1241-1    $16.99 When Viv moves with her family to one of the South Carolina barrier islands — beautifully evoked in So’s luscious watercolors of […]

Harrumph.

Grumpy_Cat

Protagonists are having terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in these new and upcoming picture books: (What’s with the pissy penguins? I thought they were supposed to have happy feet.) Fortunately, these grumpy characters find ways to turn their frowns upside-down. The protagonist of Jory John and Lane Smith’s Penguin Problems gets a reality […]

Tribal trials

smith_there is a tribe of kids

The latest book to cause noisy debate among our crowd is Lane Smith’s Tribe of Kids; it began with a post by Sam Bloom at Reading While White but was picked up by Roxanne Feldman, Debbie Reese, and Rosanne Parry. I feel like all concerned have had some good points to make, and I have […]

Review of There Is a Tribe of Kids

smith_there is a tribe of kids

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 5/16    978-1-62672-056-5    $18.99 This is a book straight from the thoughts of a young child, with the feel of a daydream. On the face of it, it’s a simple book about collective nouns (“a colony of […]

Review of Mr. Hulot at the Beach

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Mr. Hulot at the Beach by David Merveille; 
illus. by the author Primary    NorthSouth    56 pp. 5/16    978-0-7358-4254-0    $18.95 At the end of Hello, Mr. Hulot (rev. 1/14), the hero is seen planning a holiday. In this sequel we discover what particular challenges a seaside vacation offers the lanky, well-meaning, and diffident Frenchman. Having borrowed […]

Preschool milestones

van lieshout_i use the potty

Learning to share is hard. So is learning to use the potty and how to ditch the pacifier. The following books will help encourage preschoolers to take the next steps (though IRL they won’t get there until they’re ready). In the Leslie Patricelli preschool-book mold, the Big Kid Power series by Maria van Lieshout discusses […]