Saturday, August 19, 2017

Board book: Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey Diddle Diddle (Sing Along With Me) Yu-Hsuan Huang. 2017. Candlewick Press. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.

Premise/plot: What you should know about this book: a) It's a board book; b) it's an interactive board book; c) there is at least one interactive element per spread (and the cover is even interactive); d) it features the words of the traditional song; e) includes a downloadable song.


My thoughts: I have always been fond of "Hey Diddle Diddle." It is one of my favorite songs to sing with little ones. So I was excited to see this interactive board book. The pages are super-sturdy. Most of the interactive elements work easily. On the cover, little ones can "help" the cow jump over the moon. On the first spread, little ones can "help" the cat play the fiddle. That one is my personal favorite.

There was one page where the interactive element was very, very stiff and almost impossible to maneuver. But that could just be my own copy. It was the page where "the little dog laughed to see such fun." Speaking of which, I will stand by the fact that it should be "the little dog laughed to see such a sight." So maybe this book isn't perfectly-perfect.



© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, August 18, 2017

Board Book: Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Sing Along with Me) Yu-Husan Huang. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Happy birthday to you!

Premise/plot: What you should know about this book: a) It's a board book; b) it's an interactive board book; c) there is at least one interactive element per spread (and the cover is even interactive); d) it features the words of the traditional song; e) includes a downloadable song.

My thoughts: This is a sturdy board book. I like the interactive elements. I really like that the interactive elements look durable and work easily. I have reviewed interactive books in the past that were not durable at all, or that were difficult to maneuver. If it's tricky for adults to work, then little ones surely will have trouble as well. The animals in this one are cute.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Board Book: Peppa's First Pet

Peppa's First Pet (Peppa Pig) 2015. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Splish! Splash! Splosh! This is Goldie the fish. Goldie is very special. She is Peppa's first pet. Mummy and Daddy Pig helped Peppa choose her from the pet shop a few weeks ago.

Premise/plot: Goldie the fish is not eating her fish food! Mummy Pig, Peppa, and George decide to take Goldie to the vet. They travel by BUS. On the way to the vet, they meet some of their friends. Mr. Bull, for example, plays his tuba for Goldie, and, other friends decide to sing "The Wheels on the Bus." At the vet, Goldie is judged very healthy and HAPPY. Peppa Pig decides that the bus trip made all the difference.

My thoughts: This isn't my favorite episode of the television show. But the board book is nice enough. If your little one can't get enough Peppa Pig, then you should read the books as well.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Maisy Goes Swimming

Maisy Goes Swimming. Lucy Cousins. 2017. Candlewick. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Maisy is getting ready to go swimming at the pool. Take off her blue hat and scarf. Take off Maisy's brown boots. Open Maisy's red coat. Open Maisy's gray sweater. Pull down her green pants.

Premise/plot: Maisy wants to go swimming. (I hope it's an indoor pool! Since Maisy seems to be dressed for WINTER.) She needs YOUR help to get undressed and into the pool.

My thoughts: I don't personally know why Maisy appeals to young readers. But. I know that she does. Maisy interactive books can see a lot of use! There's just something fun about "helping" Maisy do things. Whether it's helping her brush her teeth or flush the toilet OR in the case of Maisy Goes Swimming, getting her completely undressed and then putting her swimming suit on her. Still, I can't help but think it's a little weird that an author is actively encouraging me to pull someone's pants and underwear down!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Board book: Pug in a Truck

Pug in a Truck. Nancy Coffelt. 2006/2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This is our truck. It's flat in the front. This is me. My nose is as flat as the front of our truck. This is my friend. He calls me Pug. I'm Pug in a truck!

Premise/plot: This board book is narrated by a pug dog. His owner is a trucker. They travel the roads together hauling/delivering loads. The book is full of trucker lingo: double nickel, dragon wagon, keeping the shiny side up and the greasy side down, etc.

My thoughts: If you or your little one likes dogs, OR, trucks this is a fun little read to share together.  I am thankful the author included a glossary of the trucker lingo. I had heard a few of the words before, but not nearly all of them!


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Board book: Hush, Little Horsie

Hush, Little Horsie. Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. 2010. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: Hush, little horsie, asleep on the farm. Your mama is near and will keep you from harm. She'll watch when you run, and she'll watch when you leap. And when you are tired, she'll watch as you sleep.

Premise/plot: Hush, Little Horsie is a bedtime board book. Readers meet several pairs of horses and foals in this one. On the farm. On the plain. By the sea. On the moor. In the stall. In the bed. In the bed?! Yes, the last few pages shift the story entirely. Readers see a mom reading a bedtime story to a little girl as she snuggles a stuffed horse tightly. The theme of this one from start to finish is that mothers are always dependable and loving.

My thoughts: Yolen has written about five or six very short horse-themed poems. I have nothing to say against their rhythm or rhyme. (I can be picky at times). But the poems are also very repetitive. There really isn't much unique about each poem or each pair. For horse lovers, it may still work. And perhaps even the repetitiveness can be seen as being purposefully lulling. I wasn't particularly impressed. Then again, horses have never been my thing.


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 17, 2017

Board Book: Good Night, Peppa

Good Night, Peppa. (Peppa Pig) 2015. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Board book]

First sentence: One night, Granny and Grandpa Pig came over for dinner. Later that night, Mummy and Daddy Pig were going out. Granny and Grandpa Pig would stay and babysit Peppa and George.

Premise/plot: Granny and Grandpa Pig are babysitting Peppa and George. There is a problem: Peppa and George aren't tired. Jumping in puddles and splashing in the tub perhaps might have made other little piggies tired, but, not Peppa and George. After being tucked in bed, these two sneak down to watch TV with Granny and Grandpa Pig. What will Mummy and Daddy Pig find when they come home from their date?

My thoughts: Granny and Grandpa Pig are very lenient and relax most of the rules and routines of Mummy and Daddy Pig. But Mummy and Daddy Pig don't seem to mind a bit. Peppa and George love spending time with their grandparents!

I do love the television show. If you and your little ones enjoy the show, you will most likely enjoy the books as well. 


© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Board book: The Goodnight Train

The Goodnight Train. June Sobel. Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. 2006/2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The Goodnight Train gets set to roll. It's being shined and filled with coal. Wash the cars off with a hose. Scrub the engine's dirty nose. Scrub-a-dub! Scrub-a-dub! Toot! Toot!

Premise/plot: The Goodnight Train is a bedtime book for little train lovers. It's written in rhyme. The text is silly, but the illustrations are even sillier perhaps.

My thoughts: Trains are ever popular with little ones. Not just with boys but with girls as well. This board book is perfect for little ones that can't get enough of tracks and engines. What better way to fit in some cozy time with your little one than to read about trains.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Board Book: Time for Bed

Time for Bed. Petr Horacek. 2014. Candlewick Press. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Time to play. Time to put away my toys. Time for supper. Time for a bath.

Premise/plot: Time for Bed is ALL about bedtime routines from start to finish. What makes this board book a bit different from other bedtime books is the format. Each page is shaped. A surprise picture is revealed at the end of the story.

My thoughts: The story is simple and predictable. There isn't much text per page. Which is either a really, really good thing or a bad thing depending on YOUR little one's attention span. The illustrations are very bright and colorful. I think the shaped pages may be easier for young children to turn themselves.  

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, July 14, 2017

Board Book: Welcome

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals. Mo Willems. 2017. 30 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Our research indicates this is YOU. Take a good look. How remarkable it is that you are you. You are a unique combination of LOVE + Time + Luck. I am lucky, too. I am lucky that you are here with me...while we read this book together.

Premise/plot: Mo Willems has a new picture book. It is for "new arrivals." It is written in the second person, presumably to your new baby. It celebrates reading books together among other things.

My thoughts: I asked for a second opinion on this one. My mom said, "what a disappointment! I expect more from a Mo Willems' book!" I concurred--which is why I went to her in the first place. I was very disappointed. Still, I want to talk about what this book is and isn't.

There is a mirror at the front and back of the book. Many books for babies feature mirrors. Babies do like to look at themselves...usually. So this could be a plus.

Also the cover is thicker and sturdier which may invite a certain amount of sucking and chewing. The pages themselves are not as sturdy or as thick as a traditional board book.

The text of the book is wordy. Or should I say verbose?! It is the sound of your voice reading anything, that babies enjoy, or so I've been told. So the fact that the book is text-heavy wouldn't have to be a deal breaker. Comprehension isn't the goal, right? Not at the 'new arrival' stage.

There is some repetition. Nine times we see the refrain, "while we read this book together." Repetition goes hand in hand with being a book for babies, toddlers, or preschoolers.

The book is all about being honest.
Please enjoy your stay. Many activities are available for you to enjoy, including, but not limited to: SLEEPING and WAKING, EATING and BURPING, POOPING and MORE POOPING. Other options are available upon request and will be updated on a regular basis. Of our current offerings, I can personally recommend your being right here with me...while we read this book together.
If you have further questions do not hesitate to CALL or FLAIL ABOUT or SCREAM LIKE A BANSHEE. Someone is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will be with you as soon as possible. Right now I am here with you...while we read this book together.
Honesty is good.

Is the book truly for newborns? for very young babies? Or is the book written for new parents? Is the message really written for--directed to--new arrivals to this thing called parenting. If the "new arrivals" in question are actually the parents, then, I think it would make more sense!

Parents can establish the habit, the routine, of reading books aloud to their newborns. It is never too early to start reading aloud. One shouldn't worry if the baby can understand, comprehend, the text. As a bond-builder this one can more than suffice.

I guess what I found so disappointing were the illustrations. I just was not amused or impressed by the illustrations. I did not find them appealing. I found them dull, boring, uninspired.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 1 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Board book: So Many Feet

So Many Feet. Nichole Mara. Illustrated by Alexander Vidal. 2017. Abrams. 34 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: High Feet/ A mountain goat's toes/ help it climb and hold on to/ the smallest bit of rock. Slow Feet/ Giant tortoises move slowly,/ carrying their very heavy bodies/ on their small feet. Fast Feet/ An ostrich has two strong/ toes on each foot that help/ it run fast.

Premise plot: In all, readers are introduced to "High Feet" (mountain goat), "Slow Feet" (Giant tortoise), "Fast Feet" (ostrich), "Snow Feet" (polar bear), "Dancing Feet" (shovel-snouted lizard), "Jumping Feet" (kangaroo), "Hanging Feet" (sloth), "Thumping Feet" (elephant), "Wet Feet" (duck), "Glue Feet" (gecko), "Soft Feet" (tiger), "Blue Feet" (blue-footed booby), "Dirty Feet" (mole), "Scratchy Feet" (chicken), "Picky Feet" (butterfly) and "Snatchy Feet" (bat). Each two-page spread has an illustration of the animal and an animal fact. All facts are feet-related, of course. The book ends with asking readers, "What can your feet do?"

My thoughts: For anyone who loves animals and animal facts, this is a cute and informational board book for families. Some children--even young children--are super-super curious about the world around them. Some days it seems like they have way more questions than you have answers. This book is fact-filled. I honestly haven't been that curious about feet. But this one kept my interest.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Board book: Charlie Rides

Board book: Charlie Rides. Bob Bianchini. 2017. Abrams. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This is Charlie and he loves to ride.......bikes with Dad when it's sunny outside, soapbox cars in a downhill race, a rocket ship to outer space,

Premise/plot: Charlie Rides: Planes, Trains, Bikes, & More is a board book about a father and son who enjoy spending time together riding. (The rocket ship to outerspace is an amusement park ride.) By the end of this one, readers learn what Charlie's favorite, favorite thing to ride is.

My thoughts: I really like this one. I'm not sure if there truly is an imbalance of representation between mothers in literature and fathers in literature, but, this one is certainly a good example of a father being there and being an important part of his family. It is also one of the funner transportation-themed books.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Board book: Tinyville Town: I'm A Librarian

Board book: Tinyville Town: I'm A Librarian. Brian Biggs. 2017. Abrams. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'm very good at answering questions. People ask me all kinds of things. I like to help people get the information they need.

Premise/plot: This board book is essentially a day in the life of a librarian.

Quotes:
There's Owen. What's he looking for today? Books about elephants! The search is on! The elephant books are missing! Where could they be?
My thoughts: I really loved this one. It's simple but true. I love that the last image is of him reading in bed--he loves a good mystery. The last words are good too: "I'm a librarian."

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 10, 2017

Board book: Nighty-Night

Nighty-Night. Leslie Patricelli. 2017. Candlewick. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy; board book]

First sentence: Dinner is done. Bye-bye, sun. See you soon. Hello, moon!

Premise/plot: It is BABY's bedtime. Almost. Is this your typical bedtime routine book? Yes and no. It stars Leslie Patricelli's BABY. So it doesn't feel typical. It is DELIGHTFUL AND FUNNY. For anyone--of any age--who has spent time with this character, it's a must.

My thoughts: Board books CAN be great fun. Leslie Patricelli is GREAT at making board books fun for the entire family. The text itself is simple, and, the illustrations are bold and colorful. But the story is easy to relate to and genuinely amusing. (Loved the "bye-bye, pants" and the "naked dance" on the way to the tub.)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Board book: Hair

Hair. Leslie Patricelli. 2017. Candlewick. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy; board book]

First sentence: I have a hair. I take care of my hair.

Premise/plot: If you're not familiar with Leslie Patricelli's board books--especially if you're a parent with littles--you need to be. The star of this one will be a familiar face to those who have loved--or LOVED, LOVED, LOVED her delightful series. In this one, the baby will be getting a hair cut. Literally one hair cut.

My thoughts: I adore Leslie Patricelli's books. I do. This BABY has long been beloved. So it is great fun for me to see the release of two new books this year. (The Other is Nighty-Night.)

Definitely recommended for families with toddlers.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Young Readers