Thursday, August 17, 2017

Board book: Sleepy Toes

Sleepy Toes. Kelli McNeil. Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. 2017. Scholastic. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Are your toes getting sleepy? So very, very sleepy? All day long they wiggle along--wiggly, wobbly toes. And now it's time to get some rest, so tomorrow we can be our best. Is your tummy getting sleepy? So very, very sleepy? All day long it gurgles along--giggly, gurgly tummy. And now it's time to turn off the light. Rest, little tummy, all is right.

Premise/plot: What you should know about this one: a) it is a board book; b) it has a padded cover; c) it is a bedtime book; d) it stars six different children; e) it is a rhyming book.

My thoughts: Do you ever judge a book by its cover? Be honest. I didn't expect to like this one much. It looked dinky to me. I was wrong; I admit it. I did like it. I haven't decided if I "really like it" or if I maybe "love" it. But I'd easily recommend it.

It features six children--a mix of girls and boys. Most are white, I'll be honest. But it looks like one at least has a darker complexion.

The book definitely follows a pattern: Are your/Is your [insert body part] getting sleepy? So very, very sleepy? All day long they/it [fill in the blank with rhyming words]. And now it's time to....[more rhyming words.] Even the illustrations seemed to follow a pattern. Each child either had an actual PET (cat, dog) OR a beloved stuffed animal that "helped" them get ready for bed.

The rhythm of the rhymes worked for me for the most part.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Board book: Where's the Ladybug?

Where's the Ladybug? Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Where's the caterpillar? Here it is! Where's the bee? Here it is! Where's the snail? Here it is!

Premise/plot: What you should know about this one: a) It is a board book; b) it is an interactive book featuring felt flaps so you can play peek-a-boo with the characters in the book; c) the final spread includes a mirror so that little ones can find themselves d) this appears to be one in a SERIES of books. This one focuses on BUGS.

 My thoughts: This one is simple yet fun. I love the pattern of the question and answer format. I love the repetitiveness of the response "Here it is." This is really only changed for the last spread where the answer is "There you are!"  I love the fact that it's a peek-a-boo game. The fact that the flaps are felt instead of cardboard is nice. The colors are bright and bold. Overall, I think this is a good choice for parents to choose with little ones.


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Board book: I'm Scared

I'm Scared (My First Comics #4) Jennifer L. Holm. Illustrated by Matthew Holm. 2017. Random House. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This is Chilly. How are you feeling, Chilly? AAAGH! SCARED! Chilly is scared of lots of things.

Premise/plot: What you should know about this one: a) It's a board book; b) it's the fourth in a new series by Jennifer L. Holm; c) it is intended to be an introduction to the comic strip format. Chilly, the hero, is scared of MANY things: ladybugs, his own shadow, the dark, etc. Chilly is worried about meeting new people at the playground, but, he really wants to swing. Can he make a new friend or two as well?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I never really thought about a snowflake having a personality, but, it works. The illustrations are simple but still expressive. I liked it when the snowflake shrugged for example. "And sometimes he's scared just because." The word balloon reads: "I don't know why." This sums up so much of my own experiences as a kid. I definitely would be interested in reading the other three books in the series if the library orders them. (Random House sends me review copies randomly, I think. I never know what I'm going to get--if anything.)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, August 14, 2017

Board book: Where's The Giraffe?

Where's The Giraffe. Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Where's the lion? Here it is! Where's the crocodile? Here it is!

Premise/plot: What you should know about this one: a) It is a board book; b) it is an interactive book featuring felt flaps so you can play peek-a-boo with the characters in the book; c) the final spread includes a mirror so that little ones can find themselves.

My thoughts: This one is simple yet fun. I love the pattern of the question and answer format. I love the repetitiveness of the response "Here it is." This is really only changed for the last spread where the answer is "There you are!"  I love the fact that it's a peek-a-boo game. The fact that the flaps are felt instead of cardboard is nice. The felt choices are...interesting. Nor realistic perhaps, but very bright and colorful!  Overall, I think this is a good choice for parents to choose with little ones.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Board book: First Words: Baby Signing

First Words Baby Signing. 2017. Scholastic. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Mommy. Can you sign mommy? Spread out your hand and tap your chin with your thumb. Daddy. Can you sign daddy? Spread out your hand and tap your forehead with your thumb. Hello. Can you sign hello? Hold your hand by your head, with the fingers straight and the thumb across the palm. Now move your hand out and away from your body, and smile!

Premise/plot: What you should know about this one...a) it's a board book; b) it has adorable photographs of babies; c) when you lift the flap of the photograph an illustrated baby is revealed; d) the book includes a description of the sign. 

Words included: Mommy, Daddy, hello, bye-bye, baby, come, yes, no, down, up, stop, go, diaper, potty, door, book, cuddle, teddy, eat, drink, all gone, more, banana, cookie, again, play, hurt, yucky, I love you, help, hot, cold.

My thoughts: Can you learn sign language through a book? Maybe, maybe not. Are there better ways for parents to learn these thirty signs? Dare I say probably. I wish that Scholastic had included a DVD in this one. Other board books they've released throughout the years (pets, animals, fire station, etc.) have included DVDs. Why not this one where it makes the most sense? I do realize that there are different types of learners. But the illustrated picture does nothing to actually show you how the sign goes. In fact, in some cases it may lead you in the wrong direction. And reading a description may not be enough for some readers--parents. SEEING a sign demonstrated several times I think is a much better way to go. Before a baby--a toddler--learns the sign, first the parents have to know. It will be the parents showing the baby, working with the baby that will actually "teach" the baby sign language. A baby is not going to pick it up by hearing a description, of course!

I am sure there are many videos available to help parents. I have watched and enjoyed Baby Einstein My First Signs. (You can see bits of it on YouTube).

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Board book: Are You My Cuddle Bunny?

Are You My Cuddle Bunny? Sandra Magsamen. 2017. Scholastic. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Do you like to snuggle in the rain? Do you like to nuzzle on a train?

Premise/plot: Are You My Cuddle Bunny? is a heart-felt book. The cover of the book features several elements cut from felt. The arms and ears of the bunnies. What you see is what you get. Sandra Magsamen has a brand and that brand is CUTE and PRECIOUS taken to the extreme.

My thoughts: For parents who can't get enough cute and sweet and precious and adorable, I'd recommend Magsamen's novelty board books. This is what my sister and I would call a "When Will It Be Spring?" book, a type of book that is perhaps a bit too precious for its own good, a book with more sweetness than substance. But every family is different. And I will say this in the book's favor: It is short and simple. There are only a few words per page. The book flows well from page to page. The shortness of the text make it ideal for sharing with little ones with almost nonexistent attention spans. Also something to keep in mind: reading any book with your little one is a positive experience to be celebrated.  

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, August 11, 2017

Board book: Good Night, Sweetie

Good Night, Sweetie. Joyce Wan. 2017. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: You are my wish upon a star. My bright, shining moon from afar.

Premise/plot: Good Night, Sweetie is a sweet, glittery bedtime board book.

My thoughts: Joyce Wan has written a handful of board books. My favorite by far is You Are My Cupcake. What I loved about You Are My Cupcake was that you could easily, effortlessly sing it to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine." (True you might have to add a syllable or two. But still easy for anyone who loves to sing.) None of Wan's other books have matched it as far as that is concerned. But my love for You Are My Cupcake is so strong and I have so many deep, strong, happy-happy emotions embedded in my memory that every time I see Wan's illustrations I get excited and hopeful.

Good Night, Sweetie is a good enough book, I suppose. The illustrations are super-sweet. But the book definitely is lacking in the rhythm and rhyme department. There's one spread that just feels like it's lacking a word. "My kissable, squeezable, cuddly" is how I read. And I want to say cuddly WHAT? You? Boo? Bear? Bunny? Lamb?

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Board book: I Dare You Not To Yawn

I Dare You Not to Yawn. Helene Boudreau. Illustrated by Serge Bloch. 2017. Candlewick Press. 28 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Yawns are sneaky. They can creep up on you when you least expect them. There you are, minding your own business, building the tallest block tower in the history of the universe or dressing up the cat when suddenly...

Premise/plot: A boy warns little ones of the dangers of yawning. Yawns lead to being sent to put on pajamas, pajamas lead to being read to, being read to leads to being sung to, being sung to leads to being hugged and kissed, and...
Before you know it, you're tucked into bed, snug as a bug, and wondering..."How did I get here?"
My thoughts: Our little hero tries his best NOT to yawn as he warns others of the dangers of yawning. How did I like this one? I definitely liked it. It made me yawn--in the middle of the day. I think it's a funny story that isn't your typical bedtime story. In fact, the boy almost stereotypes all of the traditional stories. 


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Board book: Maisy's Sailboat

Maisy's Sailboat. Lucy Cousins. 2017. Candlewick. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Today Maisy is sailing in her boat. "Ahoy, Charley! Welcome aboard."

Premise/plot: Maisy and Charley are spending the day together. They will have lots of fun. Not only will they sail, but Maisy will go scuba-diving and Charley will go fishing.

My thoughts: The book is simple and enjoyable enough for what it is. If your little one loves Maisy, this one is a good addition to your library. It is not my favorite Maisy book, but it's far from my least favorite. 

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Board book: Maisy's Bus

Maisy's Bus. Lucy Cousins. 2017. Candlewick. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Today Maisy is driving her bus to the beach.

Premise/plot: Where will Maisy and her friends end up?

My thoughts: Books starring Maisy abound both in board book and picture book format. In this one, a Maisy shape book, Maisy is driving her bus and picking up all her friends for an adventure. My first thought, as an adult reader, is WHY does Maisy own a bus? Is Maisy old enough to drive a bus? Why is Maisy just learning to swim and having her first sleepover yet still somehow able to drive a bus?! Wouldn't it make more sense if Maisy was a passenger on a bus like all of her friends?! But I admit I might be thinking a little too much about it.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, August 7, 2017

Board book: Making Faces

Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions. 2017. Abrams. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Look at the happy baby. Can you make a happy face? Find the happy baby! Look at the sad baby. Can you make a sad face? Find the sad baby!

Premise/plot: Making Faces is a concept board book. The concept being taught is emotions. The emotions explored are 'happy,' 'sad,' 'angry,' 'surprised,' and 'silly.' The book follows a definite pattern. The last spread reviews the five emotions and features a mirror so your little one can make faces of his/her own!

My thoughts: Babies like books with mirrors. The book features photographs--well of faces--of babies. The text is super-simple and follows a pattern. One could definitely enjoy reading this one with a little one in the lap!!! Reading aloud is SO essential to a baby's development.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Board book: Peppa's First Colors

Peppa's First Colors. 2017. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Zoe Zebra has made a yellow sand castle at the beach. What else can you see that's yellow?

Premise/plot: This concept board book stars characters from the popular show Peppa Pig. Each spread features a cut-out shape giving little ones a sneak peek at what color will be next in the book. For example, "What can you see in the square?" The answer: a GREEN dinosaur, George's green dinosaur to be precise!

My thoughts: If your little one loves, loves, loves Peppa Pig I would definitely recommend this one. If you're just looking for a fun and entertaining concept book about colors, then this one isn't an absolute must. I will say this in its favor: the pages are SUPER thick.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Board book: Peppa and the Big Train

Peppa and the Big Train. 2017. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:  Today, Peppa and her friends are going on a train ride together. "Hooray!" they all cheer excitedly. Mr. Rabbit is the stationmaster. He checks all the tickets. "Tickets, please!"

Premise/plot: Peppa and her classmates are going on a train ride as a field trip. Madame Gazelle has given them a list of things to spot. But there are many more things to see than just a sailboat, a red light, and a tunnel!

My thoughts: I do like Peppa Pig quite a bit. Not enough that I'd want to watch a nonstop stream of her show on YouTube, but enough that I get excited when I get one of her books in the mail. This was a great episode of the show. The board book does a good job in capturing the fun of it.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, August 4, 2017

Board book: Train

Train. Chris Demarest. 1996/2017. HMH. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Train chugs, clickety-clack. Engine up front, caboose in back. Pass farms, cows moo. Over hills. Choo! Choo!

Premise/plot: A little girl takes a train ride. What does she see? What does she hear?

My thoughts: The text of this one is simple. How simple? Two to three words per page. (Mostly two words per page.) I will say this--briefly--that this board book doesn't use complete sentences to tell a story. I am not sure how many actual complete sentences the book has. But I do know that "Over hills" is not a complete sentence by any stretch of the imagination. Still, for little ones this one may work just fine. It's definitely focused on rhythm and rhyme. If your little one loves, loves, loves all things train, I'd recommend this one to supplement your daily exposure to FREIGHT TRAIN.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Board book: Bus

Bus. Chris Demarest. 1996/2017. HMH. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Bus rolls. Busy street. First stop, people meet. Trucks honk, taxis swerve. City park, road curves.

Premise/plot: A boy goes on a bus ride in the city. What does he see? What does he hear?

My thoughts: This book is simple. How simple is simple? Two words per page. You might think it's impossible for any story to emerge from just two words per page, yet, the simple text becomes a poem of sorts. I also like the bold colors of the illustrations. This one is definitely much better than the "Wheels on the Bus."


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Board book: Tinyville Town: I'm a Firefighter

Tinyville Town: I'm a Firefighter. Brian Biggs. 2016. Abrams. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: When I'm on duty, I sleep at the fire station.

Premise/plot: Brian Biggs has a board book series set in Tinyville Town. Each board book introduces young listeners (readers) to someone who lives in the town. Each board book focuses on a profession. In this board book, little ones meet a firefighter and get a behind the scenes look into a day in his life.

My thoughts: I enjoy this series. So far I've read three books: I'm a Firefighter, I'm a Librarian, and I'm a Veterinarian. My favorite of the three is I'm A Librarian. But all three books are solidly good. I like that the text is simple and straightforward. There are just a few words per page, but a story is still being told. The books are informative, but, not boring. 


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Board book: Tinyville Town: I'm a Veterinarian

Tinyville Town: I'm a Veterinarian. Brian Biggs. 2016. Abrams. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I spend my day with animals. It starts before I leave for work. There's my clinic. I wonder who I'll see today...

Premise/plot: This board book is part of a new series by Brian Biggs, Tinyville Town. Each board book introduces a new person who lives in the town. Each one highlights a specific profession. In this board book, we're meeting Tinyville's veterinarian.

My thoughts: I like this one. I don't know that I love it as much as the Tinyville Town: I'm a Librarian. But it's simple, cute, and a solid story as well. I would definitely recommend the series. 

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers