Saturday, May 23, 2020

Where's Baby? - a review

Where's Baby?

By Anne Hunter
Tundra Books, 2020

Toddlers are one of the most difficult audiences to reach when writing or reading books. Anne Hunter makes it look easy in the charming book, Where's Baby?

Papa Fox looks high and low for Baby, calling out in a large word bubble each time, "Ba-by!"  He asks if Baby is up in the tree, inside the log, under the water, etc.  Each time, someone is there, but it's not Baby. Skunk replies, "I am inside the log, but I am not your baby. Go away!" 

Gentle illustrations in ballpoint pen and colored pencils make it easy to spot Baby hiding in each spread. Blues and grays dominate the color palette, but Baby's brown coloring will help even the youngest of listeners spot his hiding places. Readers will suspect that Papa knows all along where Baby is hiding, and they will be right.  Baby can't wait to play again!

Elements of grammar (location prepositions), fun (seek and find), and comfort (love of family) are all in Where's Baby? When this pandemic has passed us by and I can visit with toddlers again, this will be the first book that I read.


Look inside Where's Baby?



My copy of Where's Baby? was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Now You Know What You Eat - a review


Now You Know What You Eat

by Valorie Fisher
Scholastic, 2019

Below is my review as it appeared in the November, 2019 issue of School Library Journal.

FISHER, Valorie. Now You Know What You Eat. illus. by Valerie Fisher. 40p. glossary, photos. Scholastic/Orchard. Oct. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338215465. K-Gr 3--This vibrant book explains the provenance of many beloved foods (though meats are conspicuously absent). In addition to noting where ingredients such as maple syrup or chocolate can be found, the book delves into the science behind their extraction and creation into edible items. Fisher breaks down familiar foods like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, and oatmeal raisin cookies into their most basic elements using photos, simple diagrams, and recipe-like instructions ("yogurt = milk + bacteria"). She also details the sources of milk and methods for procuring and processing it. VERDICT Browsers and those who enjoy almanacs and other nonfiction compendiums of miscellany will appreciate this work.

Reprinted with permission. COPYRIGHT 2019 Library Journals, LLC. A wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/

Thursday, May 7, 2020


It's already Week #2 of AudioFile Magazine's SYNC free summer audio book program—two free audio books each week. Details here.

Download now. Listen whenever. Keep forever (or 98 years anyway). 
Two new books every Thursday. Go get 'em!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

I Think I Can - a review

I Think I Can

By Karen S. Robbins
Illustrations by Rachael Brunson
Schiffer Publishing, 2019

Below is my review as it appeared in the June, 2019 edition of School Library Journal.

PreS-Gr 1-An aardvark and a mouse share a silly conversation that begins with a simple and positive pronouncement: "I think I can." In this easy reader designed for a shared reading experience, the aardvark's dialogue consists mainly of single sentence declarations. Mouse's responses are a bit longer and serve to further the story line, "You think you can what?" The book's layout and Brunson's illustrations make it easy to focus on reading. Aardvark's words are in a large, blue font, and Mouse's words are black. Aardvark always appears on the left page against a plain white background, and Mouse always appears on the right. Both are simple cartoon characters in soft, pleasing colors with expressive, happy faces. The story culminates in a song set to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." The rhythm of the song is a bit forced, but the joy of singing and reading a song will overcome any shortcomings in meter. Unlike other, wordier, "you read—I read" stories, this one is sweet and super short, leaving no excuse to forgo a quick, shared story. VERDICT Librarians can hand-sell this book to busy parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Teachers can use it to pair confident and emerging readers for a shared experience.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Bo the Brave - a review

Bo the Brave
By Beth Woollvin
Peachtree, 2020


Bo the Brave is a delightful tale of adventure and derring-do with a strong female protagonist. When Bo's brothers set off on a quest to catch a monster, Bo is left behind—too small, they tell her. Bo decides to go off on a quest of her own. Armed with an arrow, a net, or a sword, she approaches each beast with a signature catchphrase, "Get ready to be got!" But the monsters Bo encounters are not really monsters at all. In fact, they're quite kind,

"You simply MUST learn to swim," the creature bellowed, plucking Bo from the waves. "And me? A monster? Don't be ridiculous. I am the Kraken! I mean you no harm."

When Bo finally does find monsters, they're certainly not the type she'd been seeking.

This good-sized book has Beth Woollvin's signature style artwork (Little Red, Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel).  Bo's hair and cape are lovely shades of pink and the creatures are sufficiently mythical without being scary. This is a longer read-aloud for attentive 4-year-olds and up. The suggested age range is 5-9. Bo is an enchanting adventurer.

On sale in April, 2020.  My copy was provided by the publisher.

Where's Baby? - a review

Where's Baby? By Anne Hunter Tundra Books, 2020 Toddlers are one of the most difficult audiences to reach when writing or reading...