April 26, 2016

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Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray | SLJ Review

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

Murray, Alison. Hare and Tortoise. illus. by Alison Murray. 32p. Candlewick. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763687212. 

PreS-Gr 1 –A delightful and witty retelling of the traditional Aesop fable. The story remains true to the original, while adding in wonderfully quirky descriptions of the main characters. In doing so, Murray makes the well-known animals that much more lovable. It is impossible not to smile at Tortoise’s catchphrase, “I may be slow, but watch me go,” as […]

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes | SLJ Review

PB_Henkes_ When Spring Comes

Henkes, Kevin. When Spring Comes. illus. by Laura Dronzek. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062331397. 

PreS-Gr 1 –There’s something almost magical about the changing of the seasons, and Henkes and Dronzek once again perfectly capture the quiet wonder of the natural world, as they did in Birds and Oh! Through second-person narration that features the refrain “but if you wait…,” they detail the subtle and less subtle changes that occur as spring replaces winter—snow melts, […]

Hiding in Plain Sight | SLJ Spotlight

BARROUX. Where’s the Elephant

Whether it’s a story about a game of counting and scouting for hidden friends or looking for cleverly concealed visual clues, these books sharpen children’s observation skills and allow them to succeed vicariously by paying attention, honing sharp-eyed reflexes, and having fun along the way.

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith | SLJ Review

Smith, Monique Gray. My Heart Fills with Happiness

Smith, Monique Gray. My Heart Fills with Happiness. illus. by Julie Flett. 24p. Orca. 2016. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781459809574. 

Toddler-PreS –Joyful and tender, this board book celebrates the activities that bring gladness through family and cultural connections. On one spread, three children wait in front of the oven in a modern kitchen (“My heart fills with happiness when…I smell bannock baking in the oven.”). The patterns on their clothing are echoed in the kitchen textiles, creating […]

Looking for Bongo by Eric Velasquez | SLJ Review

VELASQUEZ, Eric. Looking for Bongo

Velasquez, Eric. Looking for Bongo. illus. by Eric Velasquez. 32p. Holiday House. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823435654; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823436026. 

PreS –An Afro Latino boy searches for his missing stuffed toy in this tender tribute to family, music, and childhood. The adorable narrator, depicted charmingly with a puffy Afro, protruding tummy, inquisitive eyes, and pj’s, inquires after the whereabouts of his beloved Bongo. With Spanish-peppered text, the toddler asks his parents, the family pets, […]

I Hear a Pickle: (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora | SLJ Review

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ISADORA, Rachel. I Hear a Pickle: (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!). illus. by Rachel Isadora. 32p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399160493.

PreS-Gr 1 –Isadora provides a sensory tour of early childhood, exploring common sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Each “chapter” consists of a number of simple declarative sentences matched with colorful ink and watercolor vignettes to capture what the children are experiencing or have learned not to try. […]

Cricket Song by Anne Hunter | SLJ Review

Cricket Song by Anne Hunter

Hunter, Anne. Cricket Song. illus. by Anne Hunter. 32p. HMH. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544582590.

PreS-Gr 1 –In a yellow house, in a blue bedroom decorated with planets and stars, a boy sleeps. He cuddles a sea otter toy, and on the wall behind a windblown curtain is the painting of a South Pacific island, volcanic, the ocean parted by a whale’s tail. The tranquil spread is underlined with a long, narrow panel depicting his […]

My House by Byron Barton | SLJ Review

My House by Byron Barton

Barton, Byron. My House. illus. by Byron Barton. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062337030.

PreS-K –Jim the cat provides a tour of his cozy home. This orange tabby explores both his outdoor and indoor spaces with an active prowl; he perches comfortably in a tree, jumps to the rooftop, and springs to the ground as he explores his surroundings. Jim takes full ownership of his home with a mixture of catlike and human characteristics; […]

Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang | SLJ Review

Is Mommyby Victoria Chang

Chang, Victoria. Is Mommy? illus. by Marla Frazee. 40p. ebook available. S. & S./Beach Lane. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781481402927.

Toddler-PreS –A troupe of toddlers cheekily field questions about their mothers. An unseen narrator asks, “Is mommy tall…/or short?” A red-headed imp ponders the query and imagines a tall mommy reaching down for a loving embrace, and then fantasizes about towering over a suddenly diminutive, doll-like mommy. A huge speech bubble, spread across the next two […]

The House that Zack Built by Alison Murray | SLJ Review

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Murray, Alison. The House that Zack Built. illus. by Alison Murray. 32p. Candlewick. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763678449.

PreS-K –Murray brings back Zack, an easygoing mop-haired boy, and his super-cute dog, Rufus, from Hickory Dickory Dog (Candlewick, 2014). This version of the cumulative rhyme preserves—even possibly enhances—the bounce and sway of the original Mother Goose favorite. The trouble starts with a farmyard fly, and an engaging tale ensues: “This is the cat/that stalked the fly/that […]

Henry Wants More by Linda Ashman | SLJ Review

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ASHMAN, Linda. Henry Wants More. illus. by Brooke Boynton Hughes. 32p. Random. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385385121.

PreS –Henry never wants the fun to end. When Papa throws him up in the air, he begs for more. He can’t get enough of his sister tickling his toes and playing pat-a-cake with him, either, or of his brother pulling him on rides in his little cart, or of Grandma singing. He demands “more!” again and again—his poor family is […]

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard & Tanya Simon | SLJ Review

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SIMON, Richard & Tanya Simon. Oskar and the Eight Blessings. illus. by Mark Siegel. 40p. Roaring Brook. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596439498.
PreS-Gr 2–On the seventh day of Hanukkah in 1938, which also happens to be Christmas Eve, a young refugee boy named Oskar arrives in New York City from the horrors of Nazi Europe with only a photograph and an address to find an aunt he has never meet. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to […]

A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen | SLJ Review

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ROSEN, Michael. A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young. illus. by Chris Riddell. 80p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763681166.
Toddler-PreS–This collection of silly rhymes and poems is sure to please the prereading crowd. Most of the entries are a page or less, and although they are often nonsense, they are notable for their joyful rhymes and bouncy rhythm. The text often echoes the style of traditional nursery rhymes, working with nonsense words and made-up characters to bring fun […]

Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach by Alison Lester | SLJ Review

Noni

LESTER, Alison. Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach. illus. by Alison Lester. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Beach Lane. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481446259.

PreS–Another lovely rhyming book for preschoolers about Noni and her friends, Dave the Dog, Coco the Cat, and the “ladies next door” (cows), who go to the beach for a day of frolicking and splashing. Simple, happy illustrations depict the friends’ day, against a backdrop of pale turquoise sea, sandy beige beaches, and the rosy pink […]

Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell | SLJ Review

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MCDONNELL, Patrick. Thank You and Good Night. illus. by Patrick McDonnell. 40p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780316338011.
PreS-Gr 1–Clement, a rabbit, is having his first sleepover. Jean (an elephant) and Alan Alexander (a bear) arrive appropriately dressed in pajamas, ready to take part in the fun. The friends spend their evening in innocent pursuits, such as happily performing the chicken dance, playing hide-and-seek, and jumping on the bed. Maggie, the young girl who shares Clement’s home, serves each […]

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle | SLJ Review

CArle

CARLE, Eric. The Nonsense Show. illus. by Eric Carle. 40p. Philomel. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399176876.
PreS-Gr 1–Nonsense indeed! A rabbit pulls a boy out of a hat, a mouse chases a cat, and a girl plays tennis with an apple instead of a ball. These are just a few of the goofy images readers will find in Carle’s latest picture book. In rhyming text and surrealist illustrations, the book is full of Carle’s distinct art featuring bright and colorfully […]

Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown | SLJ Review

Monkey

Brown, Marc. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten. illus. by Marc Brown. 32p. ebook available. Knopf. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780553496581. LC 2014002818.

PreS–Monkey draws on his supportive family to combat first-day-of-school jitters in this new picture book. His parents and big brother are very excited about kindergarten, but Monkey isn’t so sure. Along with the usual list of worrisome “what ifs,” Monkey doubts he even needs kindergarten. After all, he can count to 12, and he’s pretty good with the alphabet. […]

T Is for Toddlers | Early Childhood Picture Books

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An array of titles to tickle and delight young listeners when shared one-on-one or in a small groups.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Primer for Big Siblings, A Tale of Two Twins, and the Latest from Nikki McClure | Early Childhood Picture Books

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These picture books for the younger set cover all manner of family situations (separation anxiety, twins, and how to handle a new baby). And readers won’t want to miss Nikki McClure’s gorgeous concept book In.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

SLJ Reviews Reorganized into Librarian-Friendly Sections

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After conducting surveys and focus groups with subscribers and reviewers, SLJ’s reviews editors have instituted some subtle but key changes, all with the goal of making collection development decisions easier and more efficient for our readers.