Thursday, February 15, 2024

13-20. Board Book Parade

13. [Board book] Teeny Tiny Turkey. Rachel Matson. Illustrated by Joey Chou. 2023. 16 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: On a teeny tiny farm, while the moon shone bright, all the forest creatures prepared for party night.

Premise/plot: Teeny Tiny Turkey has nothing to provide for the party. All of her friends are cooking or baking something--or else contributing something else special for the day. But Teeny Tiny Turkey has nothing but herself to bring. Will her 'gift from the heart' make her friends happy?

My thoughts: This one could have gone a completely different direction if the author had a dark sense of humor. Was I actually worried that Teeny Tiny Turkey would be the star of the show and be consumed by her friends? Not really. This one didn't wow me. It was serviceable and just fine.

14. [Board book] If Mama Sings. Laura Wittner. Illustrated by Maricel R. Clark. 2023. 16 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: If Mama sings, I float.
If Mama sings, I sleep.
If Mama sings, I eat.
If Mama sings, I look.

Premise/plot: If Mama Sings is a simple, sweet board book. It takes readers from pregnancy through preschool years. The first spread shows an expectant mother singing to her unborn child. The last spread shows that child joining her in song.

My thoughts: A book doesn't have to be flashy to work. Simple text. Simple illustrations. ALL heart and substance. The tender emotions are strong with this one. I found it very delightful. 

15. [Board Book] The Bedtime Book. Katy Hedley. Illustrated by Paola Camma. 2023. [October 17, cybils eligible] 20 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: El asked Mouse if Mouse wanted to read. Mouse said, "If you read this, I would like that indeed." So El read the green book and that made Mouse smile. Mouse talked about the pictures so the book took a while. "El, please read it again?" Mouse asked with a squeeze. El gave a big smile and said, "Yes, Mouse, as you please."

Premise/plot: El reads Mouse a bedtime story. (El is an elephant. Mouse is a mouse.) It is written in rhyme.

My thoughts: I like it. I don't crazy love it. But I don't not-love it either. It is sweet enough in its way. It doesn't have a particularly unique title. Nor is the premise all that unique or special. It's cozy, familiar, predictable. Nothing wrong with going with the flow. Bedtime books usually come in two varieties: gentle, soothing books meant to lull to sleep OR the more rambunctious protests against bedtime. This one falls into the gentle and peaceful camp. [That's not to say the story is boring.]


16. [Board book] Lion, Lion Peekaboo. Grace Habib. 2023. 8 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Lion and Lion's friends are playing peekaboo! Let's play too. Stripy zebra, Stripy zebra....where are you? 

Premise/plot: Interactive board book for parents to share with little ones. This one features "grab and pull" interactive elements on each page. All the animals are hiding, little ones can "find" them and say peekaboo.

My thoughts: I liked this one well enough. I am not sure how well little ones will be able to manipulate the grab and pull bits. NOR am I sure how well the book will hold up to more vigorous readers. But I do think it has potential to be a favorite with little ones even if it doesn't remain a favorite forever. It does feature a mirror at the end. (Mirrors can be very appealing to young ones.)


17. [Board book] Baby On Board Train With Tabs to Push and Pull. Sebastien Braun. 2023. 8 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: All aboard the baby train. We're going on a ride today1 All aboard the baby train. The whistle sounds--we're on our way! All aboard the baby train. Up the hill--very slow. All aboard the baby train. Over the top and down we go!

Premise/plot: This one is an interactive board book with activities for little hands to manipulate on each spread. 

My thoughts: The text isn't much--to be honest. The interactive elements, however, are so much better than the text itself. I could see the interactive elements "saving" this one and making it a good choice for little ones that love trains. Again, the text isn't the high point of this one. Most of the interactive elements work for me. The one that I don't quite love--I'm an overthinker--is the train in the tunnel that moves SIDEWAYS. I get that they want a hide-and-seek element perhaps. But trains don't hop off and on tracks like that!

18. [Board book] You're the Apple of My Pie. Rose Rossner. Illustrated by Jill Howarth. 2023. 24 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: You're my favorite gobble gobble, the tur-key to my heart. I only have eyes for you, so mumderful and smart. I'm always on your cider, here to help in any way. Nuthin's better than being together. I love you more each day. You really autumn know that I've fallen for you, it's true.

Premise/plot: This board book is full of puns.

My thoughts: The illustrations are precious in both senses of the word. Yes, this one is cutesy precious and a bit over-the-top. But it's also sweet and fun. The illustrations are colorful and fun--adorable. Will the sentimental cheese work for every reader? Maybe not. 

19. [Board book] Winter with Hedgehog. Elena Ulyeva. Illustrated by Daria Parkhaeva. 2023. 20 pages. [Source: Library] 

First sentence: One chilly morning, Little Hedgehog work up extra early. 

Premise/plot: Little Hedgehog stars in this book celebrating a woodsy winter.

My thoughts: Essentially this one is "when will it be winter?" Little Hedgehog serves as a way to teach a few basic facts to little ones about how forest animals spend their winters. It didn't wow me. It was definitely more a meh for me. (Personally). That being said, the illustrations were cute.

20. [Board book] Bundle up, Little Pup. Dori Elys. Illustrated by Elena Comte. 2023. 20 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It's quiet outside. Snow swirls softly today. Bundle up, little pup! Let's go out and play!

Premise/plot: What you see is what you get. Young children and their dogs playing in the snow. This isn't the story of one child and one dog--it's a community at play.

My thoughts: I liked this one well enough. It was good to see all the variety--both in humans and pups.

© 2024 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

12. My Dog and I

My Dog and I. Luca Tortolini. Illustrated by Felicita Sala. 2023. [November] 48 pages. [Source: Library] [Picture book, Humor, Pets, Animals]

First sentence: I've always wanted a dog. And then, as I was walking in the park one day, I found one.

Premise/plot: A girl's dream comes true when she finds a lost "dog" in the woods. When no one responds to her "lost dog" posters (which she has posted all over town), the dog becomes HER dog. Or does it??? Does the "lost dog" want to be a found dog? And what will happen the next time the girl ventures into the neighboring woods? 

My thoughts: This is a VERY silly book. I loved it. Is the narrator being unreliable out of sweet naivety? I'd say yes. Probably. She's the lovable fool and not a trickster. Is it fun as a young reader to be "smarter" than the narrator? I'd say YES. It invites a lot of giggles. If this is a read aloud, the adults can ask questions like "Is that a dog she found?" or "What did she find?" (the possibilities are endless). Young ones can speculate (aka "grow an idea") on what kind of pet she might find NEXT.  


© 2024 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

11. I Am Stuck

I Am Stuck. Julia Mills. 2023. [Source: Library] [Picture book]

First sentence: I am stuck. I can't seem to get unstuck. Stuck? Try wiggling your feet.

Premise/plot: Turtle, our protagonist, is stuck. In this picture book, many, many animals come by and see Turtle in his stuck-ness. Each offers advice on how to get unstuck. Advice that tends to be specific to their species, and not particularly generally useful advice to help him. But one animal is different. And that difference makes all the difference in the world...

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I love Turtle and Possum. I really love the direction this one took. The illustrations were SO cute and adorable. The story isn't necessarily cute and adorable. Though it could be seen that way, I suppose. I think this one could "hit" readers differently.  For some it might be cute. For others it might be funny. For others it may be all too relatable.


© 2024 Becky Laney of Young Readers

10. Mine!

Mine! A Story of Not Sharing. Klara Persson. Translated by Nichola Smalley. Illustrated by Charlotte Ramel. 2023. 32 pages. [Source: Library] [Picture book]

First sentence: "Nico's coming to play today," says Mom. "He can't play with the squirrel," Sally says. "It's mine." "Let's put the squirrel in the wardrobe," says Mom. "You can play with it later, when Nico's gone home." 

Premise/plot: And so it begins....Sally begins tossing anything and everything into the wardrobe so that her play date, Nico, cannot play with it. The situation really gets out of hand...she even puts in HER toilet. Will Sally ever learn to share?

My thoughts: This picture book was originally published in Sweden. I want to say two things. First, I enjoy the humorous story line. I do. I think it's silly and over-the-top. I think it's relatable, to a certain degree. I think there's lessons to be learned, if you so desire. Second, I really do not like at all in any way the illustrations. They are just not for me. So I am conflicted on if I like this one...or not. I know I don't love it. 


© 2024 Becky Laney of Young Readers

9. Kitty Feral and the Case of the Marshmellow Monkey

Kitty Feral and the Case of the Marshmallow Monkey. Eddie Muller and Jessica Schmidt. Illustrated by Forrest Burdett. 2023. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It's not easy being the only cat detective in this town. Ever since I bungled my biggest case, trouble hounds me. 

Premise/plot: Kitty Feral is missing--literally and figuratively--her friend and companion Mitch the Mutt with whom she solves cases. But she's solo on this one. She will be trying to track down what happened to Cora's marshmallow monkey. Can she follow the clues and solve the case? 

My thoughts: I LOVED the atmosphere of this one. The narrative is fun, fun, super-fun. The illustrations are AWESOME. I think adults will probably pick up on things young readers don't. But that isn't all bad, in my opinion. It just means the narrative is layered. I do think it holds up to multiple readings. I caught things the second time around that I didn't the first time. It is very noir. Chances are most young readers will have little to no familiarity with this genre. 


© 2024 Becky Laney of Young Readers