Saturday, June 02, 2012

Picture Book Love

It's been way too long since I've written a picture book roundup.  I'm super excited to tell you about these picture books (and a nonfiction title). I'm confident that they will be very popular!

Beach Feet

Oh, this is gorgeous!  And PERFECT for reading to young children; I'm planning a beach theme story time for summer, so I'm looking forward to sharing this with my toddlers.  The artwork is very Impressionist.  Told from the perspective of a young boy (I'm guessing three or four), Beach Feet explores the sensations felt while running, jumping, and swimming at the beach on a hot summer's day.


The object of Henry's affection in the charming Henry in Love stars in her own picture book. Chloe lives with her parents and her 20 brothers and sisters.  When their new television changes their family time fun, Chloe is not pleased. Bubble wrap proves to be a welcome distraction for all. As you can guess, this does have somewhat of an anti-TV bias, but it's not heavy handed.

Dinosaur Thunder

Marion Dane Bauer is, of course, a legend in children's literature, so any new book by her is a treat.  Dinosaur Thunder is bound to be a hit.  Now, dinosaur themed books are a dime a dozen, but trust Bauer to create something that's fresh, remarkable, and appealing to both parents and children.  Young Brannon is not a happy camper when a fierce storm erupts; attempting to ease his young son's fears, dad tells Brannon, "That thunder is only a big cat purring," which inspire other family members to imagine what is "really" causing the thunder.  Unfortunately, such suggestions don't help the situation, until wise big brother Chad whispers, "That thunder is only dinosaurs stomping around." Whoa! Brannon is a dinosaur-obsessed little guy, and imagining that dinosaurs are fiercely stomping around is great fun.  You'll adore this book as well.

Poor Puppy and Bad Kitty

Nick Bruel's Bad Kitty series is genius. GENIUS!  In fact, I just put this post aside to give a Bad Kitty book to a seven year old looking for "dog chapter books" (Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray).  Poor Puppy and Bad Kitty is a new title in the picture book spin off series, but this time it's starring Poor Puppy.  Poor Puppy, as Bad Kitty fans know, always wants to play with Bad Kitty, but Bad Kitty will have none of it.  In Poor Puppy and Bad Kitty, Poor Puppy is once again thwarted by Bad Kitty, so he must content himself with a variety of toys left around the house. This is a multi-faceted picture book: it's a counting book, alphabet book, and a geography book.  Good stuff.

Surfer Chick

Based on the reviews I read before ordering Surfer Chick, I had a feeling that I would enjoy the book.  I wasn't expecting to LOVE it, but I do!  I'm in charge of the toddler story times, so I'm always looking for new awesome stories to read to my group.  Surfer Chick might be a teensy bit too long for the group, but I'm betting that the irresistible illustrations and endearing father-daughter story line will win them over.  Surfer Chick wants to learn how to surf; luckily, her dad is a real champ.  Surfing is tricky to learn, but Surfer Chick eventually rules the surf with her hot pink board.  This is super cute, fun, and original--how many picture books can you think of that are about surfing? (I can't think of any off hand!)

Tallulah's Solo

Tallulah's Solo is already on my list of dance-themed picture books (a common request). Not only is it another terrific book by Singer (with lovely illustrations by Alexandra Boiger), but it also features a boy dancer, Tallulah's mischievous brother, Beckett.  Very cool. This will pair nicely with Miss Lina's Ballerinas and the Prince.  Tallulah is upset when her brother gets the part of the Frog Prince in their ballet school's production of The Frog Prince Ballet, even though he tends to misbehave in class.  Unbelievable!  Beckett is taking ballet classes because he wants to be like Tallulah; when Tallulah helps him with his ballet steps, they are both rewarded. Awwww. Love, love this.  Also love the multicultural ballet class, and glasses on Mom and another boy dancer.  Sweet without being saccharine. 

Zoom, Rocket, Zoom!

I'm adding this to my outer space story time. It works very well as a read aloud, has bright, big, and bold illustrations ideal for sharing with a large group (with a multicultural astronaut crew), and it's educational.  Astronauts blast off, land the lunar module, walk on the moon, navigate the moon buggy, supervise robot spacecrafts, experience no-gravity, repair satellites, and enjoy other space-related activities. Toddlers and preschoolers will clamor for encore readings.

Finally, I want to show you a nonfiction title for elementary and middle-grade children dealing with autism spectrum disorders.  With one out of 88 children afflicted with an autism spectrum disorder, having current and kid-friendly books on this subject is quite important.  I'm very pleased with The Survival Guide for Kids With Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents). It's published by Free Spirit Publishing, which is a name I trust when I'm looking for children's and young adult books dealing with psychological/emotional and learning issues (we also have their Survival Guide for Kids With ADD or ADHD and The Survival Guide for Kids With LD: Learning Differences).  The autism spectrum guide is packed with information and guidelines for children with ASD; not only do authors Elizabeth Verdick, mother of a child with ASD and Dr. Elizabeth Reeve, child psychiatrist and mother of a child with autism, delve into the facts about ASD and tips on communication, but they also discuss how to handle "stims" (stimulation that sets off repetitive behavior), personal hygiene and respecting other people's personal space, real life stories from children affected by ASD, and concrete tips and examples of various situations that children with ASD may find daunting.  "Notes for Adults" are scattered throughout the book. Verdick and Reeve write in a straightforward and appealing manner that never talks down to kids.  Not only is this an excellent guide for children and adults personally affected by ASD, it's also worthwhile for anyone who knows children or works with children on the spectrum (which is many of us). I'm definitely putting this on my to-be-read list.

I just sent off a new order of children's/YA books, so I will tell you about those titles in an upcoming posts.  Just in time to get your summer reading started!  Don't forget that registration for our summer reading program starts tomorrow!

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