It's Toddler Time | 35 New Titles To Recharge Lapsit and Storytime Programs

Refresh your lapsit collections and storytime repertoire with these warm and whimsical titles for babies and toddlers.

Refesh your lapsit collections and storytime repertoire with these recently published books. Parents, caregivers, and youngsters will delight in these warm and whimsical tales.

ARNOLD, Marsha DianeMine. Yours. illus. by Qin Leng. 40p. Kids Can. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781771389198.
PreS-K–Three simple words shape the narrative of this quiet picture book with a loud message about community. A lone little panda clad in blue and red with a small pack stumbles upon another panda’s cave. When the little panda asks, “Ours?” the big panda declares, “Mine” and places the cub on a rock outside stating, “Yours.” The big panda gives the little one a kite so that the young panda will leave. The kite takes the little panda all through the forest, where a pangolin, a raccoon dog, a red panda, and other animals are disrupted and frustrated by the kite’s tail tangling and catching all of the animals’ things. All the while, the little panda is teaching the forest a new word, “OURS!” Rendered in watercolor and pen-and-ink, Leng’s detailed, expressive, soft-hued illustrations drive the story. VERDICT A delicate, whimsical tale of community, friendship, and belonging. Recommended for one-on-one or small group sharing.–Brianne Colombo, Fairfield Free Public Library, NJ

ATINUKE. B Is for Baby. illus. by Angela Brooksbank. 40p. Candlewick. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536201666.
Toddler-PreS–“B is for Baby” is the first and last line of this entertaining story of a baby girl, her brother, a bicycle, some bananas, and a big surprise. Highlighting words that begin with the letter “B,” and with only four words per page—except for one spread—a simple story emerges that will engage small children and be accessible, with a little help, to early readers. In an unspecified African village, a mother gets her very young daughter dressed and ready for the day. She sends her son off with a basket filled with bananas to share with his grandfather. Unbeknownst to the boy, his little sister has fallen into the basket and is along for the ride to Baba’s bungalow. The tale takes readers forward and then reverses the steps as the boy returns to his mother with his sister in tow. Illustrations in mixed media are large and bright with a white background. Animals, trees, flowers, and the inhabitants’ dress reveal a bit of village life. VERDICT This tale offers eye-catching colors and a clever and fun way to introduce the “B” sound while telling a story.–Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI

BARRON, Ashley. Love You Head to Toe. illus. by Ashley Barron. 32p. Owlkids. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781771473040.
Toddler-PreS–Rhyming couplets create a rhythmic beat while comparing babies to a different animal species on each page. “Baby, you’re a sea star,/Basking in the sun./Wake up and stretch from head to toe./Your day has just begun.” Illustrations depict a diverse cast of babies, who are likened to ducklings, bear cubs, chipmunks, and other adorable animal youngsters. Barron identifies the similarities between these babies and their animal counterparts; a joey is depicted in his mother’s pouch on the same page that a woman is carrying her baby in a snuggly. Cut-paper collage illustrations complement the text and create realistic visuals. As she did in Up!, Barron again fills the pages with the beautiful images. VERDICT Recommended for general purchase. A wonderful read-aloud for parents and children to share.–Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY

BARRETT, Hayley. Babymoon. illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. 32p. Candlewick. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763688523.
Baby-Toddler–Arresting yet cozy illustrations and a spare, poetic text work together in this lovely book that will work well as a baby read-aloud, even if its content may speak more to the parent than the child. A loving couple bring home their new baby and spend their first day(s) together reveling in their love and their new life as they get to know each other. The lyrical text works perfectly in rhyme and meter to create a soothing image of the newness of a first-time family experience. The gentle cadence invites reading aloud at bedtime or in a storytime, but the real draw here are Martinez-Neal’s illustrations. They are done in acrylic, colored pencil, and graphite and have a glowing softness to them. The mom is all rounded edges, with medium brown skin and lushly flowing dark hair. Dad and baby have a slightly lighter complexion and are equally appealing. The backgrounds are spare, keeping the focus on the family and their facial expressions, which glow with love. Each parent gets a page to themselves with baby, the mom’s spread depicting her gazing lovingly down at her nursing infant. The book draws the viewer into this cozy world of newness and love. While the text is likely to speak more to the parents than the children, the flowing language will work well to soothe both baby and parent. VERDICT A great gift for new parents, this would make a lovely addition to any library’s baby storytime shelves.–Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Library, CT

The Big Book of Colors. illus. by Margarita Kuhtina. 32p. Clever. Mar. 2019. Board $10.99. ISBN 9781948418546.
Toddler-PreS–Unlike other color books, this book is not just pictures of items in varying colors with the matching words underneath them. Toddlers, preschoolers, and caregivers will spend quality time together interacting and conversing about each vividly illustrated spread. The book introduces common colors such as red, orange, yellow, blue, green, pink, purple, black and white on large spreads filled with various items in the specified hue. However, questions, statements, and directions appear around the pages such as; “Count up all the yummy berries” and “Not everything here is blue. What other colors do you see?” The book then shifts to a spread devoted to the “many colors of the world” and the rainbow. The book ends with two games of “I Spy Colors” that are set in beautifully vibrant mixed media nature scenes along with vocabulary words like sandbox and flowerpot. VERDICT An excellent choice for families with toddlers and preschoolers. It encourages conversation between the adult and child, which librarians know is the true cornerstone to language development.–Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY

BRAUN, Sebastien. I Love My Baby. illus. by Sebastien Braun. 32p. Boxer. Feb. 2019. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781910716304.
Toddler-PreS–A soothing, intimate portrayal of parent/child bonding. Layered, saturated colors depict forest creatures (and the one odd polar bear) going about their everyday ways as they care for their young. Parents attend to their little ones by giving them food to eat and bringing them surprises. The swan takes her little one “sailing,” nestled under her wing. The squirrel keeps his baby “cozy and warm” by cuddling together under the falling snow. These nonverbal displays of affection are rendered in full-page gouache-like digital illustrations. The foreground takes up most of the page, making the animals appear larger than life. Spare text describes the action with very little sentimentality. “When it rains I like taking long naps with my baby.” “I love it when my baby runs to me.” Very like Emma Dodd’s series of parent/child animal books such as Love and Together, this book has larger pictures and uses a greater variety of colors and animal subjects. VERDICT Recommended for a nightly ritual of parent/child bonding, better known as bedtime.–Richelle Rose, Kenton County Public Library, KY

redstarCOTTERILL, Samantha. This Beach Is Loud! illus. by Samantha Cotterill. 32p. (Little Senses). Dial. Jun. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525553458.
PreS-Gr 1–In this much-needed new series, author/illustrator Cotterill shows the excitement and challenges of going to the beach for the first time. Wearing his snorkel mask, a young boy is packed and ready for a day at the shore with his father. At the beach they seek a spot to set up their day camp. On their way, the itchiness of the sand and the surrounding noises becomes overwhelming for the young boy, but soon, after being able to soothe himself with a couple of techniques, he is able to play. Many children will be able to identify with the stresses of a new experience, and Cotterill, on the spectrum herself, has deliberately left this open-ended so any child with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and/or autism can identify with the experiences represented in the book. Ink, charcoal, and block print offer composition and texture capturing the beauty of the day. Overlapping text helps distill the feeling of certain senses being overwhelmed. Throughout the book, she subtly shows tools the family uses to prep for new experiences and for when things become overstimulating, paving the way for dialogic reading and conversations for readers whether they’re neurodiverse or neurotypical. VERDICT This charismatic and essential read-aloud will fill a hole that has been too long ignored in library and storytime collections.–Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR

DENNIS, Kathryn. Snakes on a Train. illus. by Kathryn Dennis. 32p. Feiwel & Friends. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250304407.
PreS-K–Debut author Dennis parodies the suspense film Snakes on a Plane in title only. The adorable snakes on this train are anything but stealthy and terrifying. Flat, wormlike snakes with googly eyes embody bold colors on a white background. Geometric shapes abound in every object and lend an overall impression of sturdiness. Anxious eyes comically peer through a black window as the train passes through a tunnel. Rhyming couplets incorporate a broad but appropriate vocabulary: conductor, switcher, flagger, brakesnake. Kids will enjoy echoing the refrain: “Hissssssssssssssss goes the sound of the train.” The minimalist layout makes this a good choice for very young readers. Deceptively simple, this book covers a lot of ground. A light and breezy read-aloud introduces shapes, onomatopoeia, rhyming, repetition, sequencing, movement, and direction. VERDICT A cute, concise, and versatile choice for all toddler and early preschool collections.–Richelle Rose, Kenton County Public Library, KY

DUNREA, Olivier. Ruby & Rufus. illus. by Olivier Dunrea. 32p. (Gossie & Friends). HMH. Mar. 2019. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780547867601.
Toddler-PreS–Dunrea is back with another splendid addition to series. Here, readers meet Ruby and Rufus, two goslings who love to play in the water. With their bright red swim caps, the pair happily swim and dive in the pond come rain or shine. One day, they are surprised to find the pond is frozen. “Ruby taps the ice with her bill. Rufus taps the ice with his foot.” Ruby exuberantly exclaims that it is ice, and the goslings proceed to slide, streak, and glide. The illustrations focus on the protagonists and set them against a background of plentiful white space. A horizontal line marking the water line cleanly divides the illustrations from the spare text running along the bottom of the page, and the small trim size makes the book perfect for little hands to hold while an adult reads aloud. VERDICT A swimmingly good ­title to share in all kinds of weather.–­Ramarie ­Beaver, Plano Public Library System, TX

FURST, Joshua. The Little Red Stroller. illus. by Katy Wu. 40p. Dial. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735228801.
PreS-K–Many families share a stroller in this inspiring picture book about kindness and community. When Luna is just two weeks old, her mother gives her a little red stroller. She uses it to go to many places in town, including school and the playground. When she outgrows the stroller, she passes it on to a neighboring family with a little boy. Over the years, the stroller is passed from one family to the next until it is too “tattered and tired” to go any farther. A new yellow stroller takes its place and ends up being given to Luna, who is now grown and has a baby of her own. The digital illustrations are joyful and warm, with lots of textures and shadows. Each spread has a well-designed layout and a cohesive, cheerful palette. Colorful dots depict the stroller’s path all over town and draw readers’ eyes across each spread. The pages portray a variety of diverse families who take the stroller to a farm, a farmers’ market, a campground, a beach, and a Japanese garden, as well as on different modes of transportation. The detailed illustrations allow much to be discovered on every page and reinforce the background knowledge gleaned from the text. The children demonstrate a selfless attitude when giving away the stroller with the refrain, “I’m too big for it now. Why don’t you take it?” VERDICT A celebration of fellowship and sharing. An encouraging story to read aloud to a group or one-on-one.–Lauren White, Wake County Public Libraries, NC

GEE, Kimberly. Up, Up, Up, Down! illus. by Kimberly Gee. 32p. Putnam. May 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525517337.
Toddler-PreS–A toddler spends a day with his father in this simple and charming picture book. After getting ready in the morning, father and child head to the pool and park, where they have a fun time learning to swim, making sand castles, and having ice cream. At the park, the toddler gets a balloon, which he loses soon after, and begins to cry, but his dad is there to comfort him and he feels better soon. Once they arrive home, they play together until mom arrives home from work. Sweet and unassuming, this picture book will have wide appeal. Gee uses repetition and simple text in bold font that pops off the page, making the book suitable for both group and one-on-one sharing. The illustrations, which were drawn in pencil and then painted digitally, feature soft, cheerful colors that reflect the warm tone of the story. Similarly, the character designs are appropriately sweet and adorable. This picture book features a black family and lovingly depicts a father as the primary caregiver to his son. VERDICT With cute characters, charming illustrations, and a portrayal of a loving family, this is a delightful choice for young readers. Recommended.–Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY

redstarGEHL, Laura. Except When They Don’t. illus. by Joshua Heinsz. 32p. little bee books. May 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781499808049.
PreS-Gr 2–Gehl narrates methods of play that are typically associated with a gender, such as girls dressing up like princesses and boys building spaceships out of blocks. She addresses these notions of preconceived gender roles with the simple but powerful phrase, “Except when they don’t.” The activities are illustrated with images of merry children while they amuse themselves with various toys and costumes. The pictures in this book include a variety of children whom all appear abundantly gleeful. This book is packed with color and patterns that seem to swirl and blast from the page. The abundance of color and movement adds elements of excitement and fantasy to scenes. This book has a rhyming style which adds a lively flow to the narrative. The text appears to hover over the images it is describing and pairs well with this book’s often busy and bustling artwork. VERDICT This book encourages kids to practice self-acceptance and embrace all kinds of play in a lighthearted and cheerful way.–Deanna Smith, Pender County Public Library, NC

GODWIN, Jane. Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse. illus. by Blanca Gómez. 40p. Dial. Aug. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525553816.
Toddler-PreS–On the title page, a little mouse packs her suitcase and then she’s off! She travels around the world through busy, colorful spreads until she arrives—back home! The text offers multiple opportunities for reader interaction: counting, identifying colors, answering questions, and of course, finding the mouse on every page. The majority of the rhyming lines scan well. If a few feel a bit short, young readers will most likely not notice—they will be too busy scanning the illustrations, naming objects, and looking for the little mouse. Once the book has been read a few times and the mouse found, flip to the end pages for a new game. Match the patches on the endpapers with the related story images throughout the book. VERDICT A fun concept book for the very young with a seek-and-find element for slightly older, more savvy readers.–Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

redstarGODWIN, Jane & Davina Bell. Baby Day. illus. by Freya Blackwood. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481470346.
Baby-Toddler–A baby’s first birthday party sets the stage for introducing the many emotions children express through their faces and body language as they gather to celebrate. Rendered in watercolor, the soft lines are an excellent pairing with the deceptively simple and repetitive text. None of the tykes are named, but are simply all referred to as “baby.” For example, one spread shows a “fussy baby” tilting her head away from proffered food from another child with the comment “Come on, baby, just try it” while a dog swipes potato chips off the table. Later on, when a line of children are eating ice cream cones and one scoop falls, this same dog gobbles it up, leading to a spread of “poor baby!” as the youngster cries. Although the text is spare, it beautifully carries the story of a baby’s first birthday while also expressing the varied feelings and reactions children are likely to experience. VERDICT A clear winner for toddlers and their parents, this is also a lovely addition for read-alouds. Highly recommended.–Rachel Zuffa, Case High School, Racine, WI

redstarGONZALEZ III, Raúl. ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market. illus. by Raúl Gonzalez III. 40p. HMH/Versify. Apr. 2019. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781328557261.
K-Gr 2–It is an exciting day for Little Lobo. Today, he is going to the market with his dog, Bernabé. The desert town is vibrant with commerce, street vendors, and an array of animal inhabitants. For Little Lobo there is no stopping; he absolutely enjoys greeting acquaintances, delighting in street performances, and fulfilling his job of delivering supplies at the market. Gonzalez has created a simple narrative that includes Spanish vocabulary, which is playfully positioned surrounding the many streets, food stores, and buildings, encouraging readers to say the Spanish words as they turn the pages. The cartoon images set a festive tone, inspired by El Mercado Cuauhtémoc in Juárez, Mexico, with a soft- toned autumnal palette. The book contains a glossary with the vocabulary words and their respective pronouns. VERDICT This picture book entertains and informs readers through fresh and engaging art, advancing Spanish vocabulary and cultural references. A winner.–Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA

GORBACHEV, Valeri. Lost and Found Ducklings. illus. by Valeri Gorbachev. 32p. Holiday House. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823441075. PreS-Gr 1 –When Brother Duck and Sister Duck receive a package containing nets, they take off into the woods to “catch things.” Despite Mama Duck’s advice to stay close to home and Papa Duck’s warnings about getting lost, the siblings wander too far and are unable to find their way. Ms. Owl hears their distressed “Peep! Peep! Peep!” and summons the forest animals for help. But neither Mr. Moose’s “earthshaking bellow,” Ms. Wolf’’s “piercing howl,” Ms. Fox’s “shrill scream,” nor Mr. Bear’s “fierce growl” brings Mama and Papa. Finally, all the animals cry out together, the forest becomes “a very noisy place,” and the parents come running. Stating it wasn’t the individual animals’ summonses nor the combination of their deafening cries but rather the “sweet peep-peep-peep of [their] dear little ducklings” that alerted them, Mama and Papa take their little ones home. Gorbachev’s cartoon illustrations created with watercolors, gouache, and his signature inked crosshatchings, depict clothed forest animals who surround the ducklings as they cry on a tree stump. Large letters splash the animals’ collective sounds across the page above the ducklings’ tiny peeps. VERDICT This tender story of parental love is an excellent choice for one-on-one sharing, but groups will also relish making the animal sounds and chiming in on the repetitive phrases.–Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

redstarGUY, Ginger Foglesong. Dias y Dias/Days and Days. illus. by René King Moreno. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Aug. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780061731822.
Toddler-PreS–It is wintertime and children are playing in the snow. Then, the landscape changes to rain, flowers fill the ground, a rainbow appears on the sky, and soon enough summer has arrived. Guy offers a bilingual English and Spanish picture book about the seasons where the bold text teaches vocabulary words. This is an ideal book to share with a preschool class to talk about the months of the year and the seasons while the children tell the story guided by the images. The pastels of the full-color art bring a sense of serenity and pictorial delight as the illustrations change from one season to another, cavorting with layers of green, yellow, blue, pink, and brown. Each transition spread opens with the word “Entonces…” at the top of the verso and the English phrase, “And then…” at the bottom. VERDICT A dreamy and whimsical picture book that will capture preschoolers’ attention and that may be used in a participatory storytime with a topic about the seasons and the months of the year. Perfect for public libraries and preschool classrooms.–Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA

HART, Caryl. One Shoe Two Shoes. illus. by Edward Underwood. 32p. Bloomsbury. Jul. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547600946.
PreS-Gr 1–A rhyming celebration of footwear meshes with views of a curious hound and 10 wily white mice who hide in everything from rain boots to clogs, even a shoe box, until executing their grand escape on a pair of roller skates. Hart’s text reinforces colors and counting, and Underwood’s humor twinkles with his comic dog’s expressions. VERDICT Great for storytimes due to the large format and charming folk-art drawings in pencil and ink with computer assisted collage. Also an excellent choice for newly independent readers.–Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

KERBEL, Deborah. Before You Were Born. illus. by Suzanne Del Rizzo. 32p. Pajama Pr. May 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781772780826.
Baby-Toddler–It is amazing how much the world changes when a baby is born: such a small creature can somehow make everything seem different. From the time before conception through pregnancy and birth, Kerbel’s simple, lyrical text brings the anticipation and joy of a growing family to life. Though the language is lovely, it is the striking artwork that truly shines. Del Rizzo’s elaborate figurines and scenery crafted from polymer clay and acrylic paint are used to depict the story; the words almost disappear within these noteworthy visuals. The pages vary from somber tones to brighter hues, including images of humans and animals coexisting with their children in a multifaceted world rich in texture and beauty. A gorgeous, captivating, and moving story, this book will touch the hearts and mesmerize the eyes of readers both young and old. VERDICT New parents will love reading this book as they prepare for and welcome new additions to their home. Additionally, art students will relish the complexity and unique nature of the presentation.–Mary Lanni, Denver Public Library

KNISLEY, Lucy. You Are New. illus. by Lucy Knisley. 52p. Chronicle. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452161563.
Baby-Toddler–Sweet illustrations using digital collage show babies with various skin and hair colors learning and growing. The text begins with a question: “Hello, You! You are new. When you’re new… What can you do?” Seeing, tasting, hearing, being carried, taking naps, riding in a wagon, and experiencing an array of emotions are some of the activities pictured in large, clear ­illustrations. The rhyming text, which appears in bold black block print with some words highlighted in other colors has a fine meter but stumbles a bit with a couple of rhymes. Girl babies, boy babies, brown babies, pink babies, yellow babies, tan babies with hair in blue, brown, purple, and teal demonstrate all there is to learn when one is new. VERDICT A perfect lapsit read-aloud or a good pick for older children who have recently welcomed a new sibling into their home.–Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI

redstarKVASNOSKY, Laura McGee. Squeak! illus. by Kate Harvey McGee. 32p. Philomel. Aug. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525518150.
PreS-Gr 1–Early one morning, under the periwinkle sky of dawn, a soft breeze causes a young mouse to awaken with a squeak.The squeak stirs the chipmunks, who then surprise the trout. The splashing of the trout wakes an elk who bumps the tree of an eagle. The flap of eagle wings awakens the bear cubs whose chatter alerts a pack of wolves. Their howls echo to the cliffs of the bighorn sheep, whose movement causes rocks to tumble to the fields of the enormous bison. All of this commotion awakens the rest of the animals in the valley and a cacophony of sounds ensues. Little mouse is confused by all of the noise and sleepily wonders why everyone is up so early before happily drifting back off to sleep. This adorable circular story for young readers is a great way to start or end the day with a little humor. The pattern of cause and effect will intrigue young listeners and they will eagerly wonder what will happen next. The diversity of animals is robust and the onomatopoeia of their animal sounds is enjoyable and fun to say aloud. The many shades of blue and green expertly depict the early morning landscape of the beautiful mountainous region. The vocabulary used in the text is rich and will expose early readers to new words. VERDICT A lively read-aloud story about a tiny mouse that causes a big stir.–Amy Shepherd, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, Middleton, DE

LALLEMAND, Orianne. A Surprise for Little Mole. tr. from French by MaryChris Bradley. illus. by Claire Frossard. 30p. Auzou. Jun. 2019. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9782733867327.
PreS-Gr 1–Little Mole is sitting quietly at home when she hears a knock at the door. What awaits her is an unknown black and white fluff ball, whom she names Who-zit. Being a kind creature, Mole sets out to find its mother by asking her forest neighbors, “Do you know who this baby’s mama is?” No one does. As she searches, Little Mole encounters a predator, thus acknowledging the need to be cautious when looking for someone who has lost something. By the end, thanks to the suggestions of her friends, she does find the panda’s mother. Frossard’s softly lined, round designs fit the pleasant tone set by Lallemand’s text. VERDICT A sweet story about helping the helpless, with a character who teaches by example. A tender read-aloud to share one-on-one or with a small group.–Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ont.

redstarLAM, Thao. My Cat Looks Like My Dad. illus. by Thao Lam. 32p. Owlkids. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781771473514.
PreS-Gr 2–This endearing picture book explores the remarkable similarities between a plump, furry yellow cat and a portly, blond, mustachioed man. According to the narrator, their cat and their dad both love milk, engage in a daily stretching routine, and enjoy singing. Initially a simple catalogue of the ways a pet can resemble its owner, the story also becomes a heartwarming affirmation about the validity of all kinds of families when the narrator’s identity is revealed in a clever twist ending. Lam’s illustrations, a combination of pencil drawings, watercolor, and collage artwork, perfectly complement the text. Rendered in a soft palette and embellished with lively patterns, the artwork is suffused with retro charm. A delightful first foray into the concepts of foreshadowing and subverting reader expectations, this book is likely to prompt discussion about how one might pick up clues over multiple readings. Its lighthearted humor will play well with storytime crowds, while its detailed illustrations make it an equally good choice for one-on-one read-aloud sessions. VERDICT Clever and sweet, with broad appeal for all ages, this is a title young readers and their adults will reach for again and again. A first purchase for picture book collections.–Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA

LIGHT, Steve. Mama Tiger, Tiger Cub. illus. by Steve Light. 16p. Candlewick. May 2019. Board $7.99. ISBN 9781536206777.
Toddler-PreS –Mama and her cub are outside exploring on a beautiful day. They catch fish, climb trees, watch birds, smell flowers, and enjoy the day. Readers will enjoy finding the cub as the little one hides from Mama, an ear here, a tail there. As with Black Bird Yellow Sun, Light uses ink and cardboard printing and collage to make vivid and attractive illustrations that will be appreciated by a broad audience. Parents and educators may be inspired to pair peekaboo, hide-and-seek, or stomping and roaring as enrichment activities with this book. VERDICT A simple and appealing board book, a recommended purchase.–Shana Shea, Windsor Public Library, CT

MACDONALD, Maryann. Playdate. illus. by Rahele Jomepour Bell. 24p. Albert Whitman. Apr. 2019. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780807565520.
Toddler-PreS–A cheery, colorful story about a playdate for a tutu-wearing Dachshund and four preschoolers. The day begins with drop-off and then a walk to the playground. Then it’s back inside for drawing, playing instruments, stories, and imagination games. The day ends with a hug and a wave goodbye. Pictures carry the story. Each page features just two words, rhyming with the subsequent word pair. Sometimes words are paired as opposites—high/low, happy/sad—while other pairs identify objects in the pictures—table/chairs, red/blue. Preschoolers will need more explanation than the scant text provides; the pictures will need to be studied and discussed for sufficient comprehension. For example, a lesson in sharing occurs as one girl offers another watermelon. On the same page, however, the dog steals a cookie. The accompanying text simply reads, “Good.” and “Bad.” Colorful, whimsical digital artwork uses soft-edged lines and translucent colors to convey a cozy, pleasant atmosphere. Minimal backgrounds focus attention on the subjects, causing the characters to pop out from the white page. Kids will easily see themselves in these characters’ emotions and activities. VERDICT A fun, nonessential purchase.–Richelle Rose, Kenton County Public Library, KY

redstarMCMULLAN, Kate. As Warm as the Sun. illus. by Jim McMullan. 32p. Holiday House/Neal Porter Bks. Aug. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823443277.
PreS-Gr 1–Toby the bulldog enjoys spending time at home snuggled in his owner’s lap, lounging in a sun puddle, and resting by the fireplace. However, every time the warmth from those spots fades, Toby longs for a more permanent substitute. When new addition Pinky arrives, Toby has even less time to bask in the warmth of his favorite spots. Has Toby been pushed out or will he find the lasting warmth and comfort that he is seeking? Radiating with themes of love and acceptance, this book tells the story of a dog’s home life and his adjustment to a new family member. Any child that has experienced the addition of a sibling will appreciate Toby’s feelings and will be happy for Toby as he discovers that his place in the home is always secure. The watercolor illustrations create a warm and cozy familial feel and Toby’s body language and facial expressions allow readers to empathize with him as he moves through a range of emotions. VERDICT A heartwarming picture book of familial love and security. A great selection for dog lovers and new ­siblings everywhere.–Amy Shepherd, St. Anne’s Episcopal School, Middleton, DE

MCPHAIL, David. I Am Just Right. illus. by David McPhail. 32p. Holiday House. Mar. 2019. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823441068.
Toddler-PreS–A young rabbit finds himself growing and changing in many ways and is slightly unsure about it all. “I am too big for my crib... I am too big for my shirt.” He Has outgrown his shoes and his tricycle. He is sad when he realizes that he is too big for Grandpa to pick him up: however the journey to self-acceptance begins when he notices that although Grandpa can’t pick him up, he most certainly can hug him. As he acquires some “big boy” items like a new bed and a new bike, he begins to realize that he is “just right” the way he is. Intricately drawn pastel illustrations capture a range of emotions as the protagonist deals with confusion, frustration, and then the joy of acceptance. ­VERDICT With simple text and soothing pastel drawings, this book will clearly resonate with toddlers and preschoolers who are growing and changing. An excellent read-aloud or lapsit selection.–Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY

PRASADAM-HALLS, Smriti. You Make Me Happy. illus. by Alison Brown. 32p. Bloomsbury. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781681198491.
PreS-K–An adorable testament to the importance of close relationships from the author and illustrator of I Love You Night and Day and I’ll Never Let You Go. Fox and Porcupine frolic through the forest, across seasons, and offer one another love and support. Their relationship is left undefined and could easily be applied to parent and child, siblings, or friends as they play, laugh, and build a tree house together. Written in rhyming similes and lyrical vignettes, the text also acknowledges that sometimes close relationships are hard, as one can make the other grumpy, but overall being together is the most important thing. The illustrations rendered in acrylic and color pencil depict the pair having a picnic, splashing in a lake, and rowing an umbrella in the rain, reflecting the changing of the seasons and their continued connection through thick and thin. Soft colors and beautiful details, such as flower petals floating through the air, a snow porcupine with stick spikes, and a waterfall with a vibrant rainbow, fill the pages offering readers a delightful visual to match the endearing text. VERDICT A warming addition to any collection and for fans of the author and illustrator’s previous joint efforts.–Kaitlin Malixi, Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Philadelphia

RAYNER, Jacqueline K. Hats Are Not for Cats! illus. by Jacqueline K. Rayner. 32p. Clarion. Aug. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328967190.
PreS-Gr 2–The canine of the house sees the cat wearing a hat. Hats, he declares, are not for cats! Only dogs may wear hats. The feline keeps trying on all kinds of hats, and every time the dog says the same thing: hats are not for cats. After the cat and his friends try on every kind of hat imaginable, and even knock the dog’s hat off his head, the dog finally agrees that hats are indeed for everyone. The illustrations are colorful, whimsical, and expressive. The text is fanciful and rhyming, in the fashion of a Dr. Seuss book. VERDICT This is a humorous, colorful book with delightful rhyme schemes that will make it a fine read-aloud.–Nicole Detter-Smith, Homestead High School, IN
 

ROTNER, Shelley & Anne Woodhull. Colors. photos by Shelley Rotner.­Holiday House. Jul. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823440634.
Toddler-PreS–Eight colors are each given two spreads in this bright, cheerful concept book. Green, blue, yellow, red, orange, purple, white, and black are featured separately with an introductory spread and then another two pages of large, clear photographs showing items in the selected color. The objects are not in any particular order, so the book takes on a seek-and-find style for the youngest of listeners. For example, the first two pages for purple state “PURPLE blooms,” have squares in various shades of the color and a photo of purple blossoms. The next two pages read “PURPLE iris, pansies, grapes, and plums. A balloon, backpack, sneakers. A hat.” Many of the photos contain images that will elicit discussion. A “tiger” on the orange pages is not the animal, but rather, a small child in face paint. Blue highlights robin eggs in a nest and a child dressed all in blue on a swing-set in front of a clear blue sky. VERDICT A beautiful book that will be a welcome addition to concept book collections and colorful storytimes.- Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI

SCHWARTZ, Amy. Busy Babies. illus. by Amy Schwartz. 32p. S. & S./Beach Lane. May 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481445108.
Baby-Toddler–In rhyming text, Schwartz presents a plethora of babies and the activities that keep them busy all day. From “Visiting ducks/Playing trucks” and “Clapping chubby hands/Banging pots and pans” to “Blowing bubbles/Making trouble,” the cartoon-style babies are depicted in many shades of skin colors and hair variations. Whether accompanied by an adult or alone, busy babies have much to do. In fact, there are so many everyday activities portrayed that readers are bound to identify with at least a few. The deceptively simple pictures rendered in pen and ink and colored in gouache, range from multiple small vignettes on a page to full-page illustrations, all against a white background. Some babies are “With their mamas/In pajamas;” others are “Into something/Wearing nothing.” Yet others are “Saying ‘Hi!’/Waving ‘Bye!’” They are even “Riding busses/Making fusses.” But always the illustrations are upbeat and the palette cheery, making these very mundane activities feel unique indeed. VERDICT Best appreciated one-on-one, this title offers many moments that toddlers and their adults will enjoy and want to pore over.–Lucia Acosta, Children’s Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ

SEEGER, Laura Vaccaro. Why? illus. by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. 32p. Holiday House/Neal Porter Bks. Aug. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823441730.
PreS-Gr 1–“‘Why?’ asked the rabbit,” as a honey colored bear placidly waters the flowers, “‘Because flowers need water to grow.’” And so the story progresses; Bear acts, Rabbit wonders, and Bear provides straightforward explanations. The text and illustrations must be interpreted together for readers to understand the context of the question—sometimes to humorous effect, such as the spread that shows Rabbit poking out of a hole while Bear explains, “Because I am way too big to fit.” The larger font used for Rabbit’s “Why?” conveys the inescapable intensity of the little creature’s persistent questioning. Seasons change, and the questions come faster and faster, outpacing Bear’s answers until a dead bird in the snow prompts the gentle giant to answer, “I don’t know why. Sometimes I just don’t know why!” Bear turns to leave,Rabbit chases after. ‘“Don’t go,’ said the rabbit.’” And the tables are turned as Bear is the one asking why while Rabbit explains, “Because then I would miss my friend.” Readers see through the illustrations that it’s time for Bear to hibernate, but are reassured that the friendship will last as Rabbit watches over Bear’s wintery cave. Seeger’s slightly anthropomorphized characters eloquently convey their feelings through body language. VERDICT Illustrations and text meld to provide a rich one-on-one reading experience that will be particularly resonate for any adult who has cared for a child in the ‘why’ phase.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

SHIEFMAN, Vicky. Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes? illus. by Francesca Chessa. 40p. Holiday House. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823438648.
PreS-K–Are you ready to “flap your out-there elbows?” In this engaging call-and-response picture book, a diverse group of illustrated children is shown responding to each action prompt. “Well, can you twiddle your wiggle-waggle toes?/ Yes I can twiddle my wiggle-waggle toes.” The unique and silly language to describe various body parts from “knockabout knees” to “big bold bottoms” will have preschoolers in giggles while they move their whole bodies. The mixed media illustrations depict everything with bright colors and is as engaging as the text. While there is no real story, the children will be too busy moving to notice. This book is a natural fit for any movement of body-based storytime theme and will get people of all ages moving. VERDICT A purchase for libraries and storytime collections everywhere.–Brooke Newberry, Winding Rivers Library System, West Salem, WI

STANSBIE, Stephanie. I Love You All Year Through. illus. by Suzie Mason. 32p. Random. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984851499.
Toddler-PreS–As the seasons grow and the colors change, a parent’s love always stays the same. This wonderful story has a dreamlike feel as it highlights the changing cycle of nature in contrast to the ever-present love of a parent represented through beautifully illustrated animals. The images are a bold combination of digitally crafted pictures with soft watercolor elements that set a calm and comforting tone throughout. The palette cleverly corresponds with the seasonal change. The illustrations use light and shadows to provide depth and life to the two-dimensional characters and setting. Each page is dominated by a pairing of a grown and young animal in their natural habitat; the text is to the side in a large, easy-to-read font, allowing the visuals to be the focus. The text uses simple rhymes and vocabulary in short sentences to captivate readers. It actively encourages word recognition through a stylish font that draws attention to certain words by the use of varying text sizes. The soft tones, both textual and visual, make this story perfect for bedtime and cuddle sessions. VERDICT Children will feel warm and safe while reading this charming story with an adult who adores them.–Haley Amendt, Hinton Municipal Library, Alta.

TSVETAEVA, Elena. Where Birdie Lives. illus. by Elena Tsvetaeva. 14p. Clever. Jan. 2019. Board $10.99. ISBN 9781948418003.
PreS– A dog follows a bird, trying to learn where it lives, in this straightforward board book. On the dog’s search for Birdie’s home, the pup discovers other animals, such as a snail under a leaf, a fish under a lily pad, and a mole in a burrow, until finally discovering Birdie in a nest in a tree. The book concludes with the dog wishing Birdie goodnight as both go to sleep—Birdie in its nest and the dog in a house nearby. Although simple and not particularly inventive in concept, this book is still lively, fun, and entertaining and will appeal to young children. Featuring sturdy board book pages and flaps, the story encourages curious readers to interact and explore while reading. The text is peppy and concise, making for an engaging read-aloud. The illustrations are likewise bold and bright, appropriately matching the energy of the text. VERDICT Sprightly and interactive, this book will engage young readers, who will enjoy flipping the flaps and looking for Birdie’s home. Recommended.–Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY

For recently published board book titles, see School Library Journal’s article "On the Boardwalk .”

 

 

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