2018 reviews

Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Belly Button.jpg

What a fun book! It’s an interactive board book perfect for little ones to play with and enjoy. Each page asks where certain body parts are hidden. This provides ANOTHER level of interaction as parents can point (or tickle!) on their own baby and pair words to their meaning! Reading time will be filled with giggles, engagement, and learning with this fascinating book.

Now, I still turn the pages and lift the flaps myself with my son only being 10 months old. I’m afraid his strong grasp and underdeveloped fine motor skills might lead to tearing. But believe you me, he will learn ASAP to treat books with the utmost care.

Funny thing, a toddler at our library’s Storytime LOVED pointing and showing off her own belly button whenever her mommy asked “where is your belly button?”
Is your baby ticklish? Did this book help teach the names of body parts? What age do kids start “reading” themselves?

Squishy Turtle and Friends by Roger Priddy

This is one of my baby’s favorites. Big win-over factor = crinkly sounds 👂 But that’s not all folks! The material is water-safe!! I just wring it out like a dish towel after bath time. The kinetic enjoyment doesn’t end there, though 👋 Every Page has a different texture for baby to touch such as: ribbons, stitching, rubber spots, cloth flaps, felt, & textile tubing for a 3D effect.
Needless to say, it’s an awesome book. Definitely worth the purchase which was just around the same price of a board book. Speaking of, my purchase of this little nugget was on a voting day here in OKC. Full Circle Bookstore offered customers 15% off one book if they wore their “I voted” sticker. Heck yeah I took advantage of that!!

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

janey9.jpg

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. A classic. Every child needs to hear about the flower-loving bull who stays true to his gentle personality. He’s so very different from the other bulls, but that doesn’t bother him in the least. Ferdinand is 100% comfortable with himself! Even his mother recognizes his happiness is more important than fitting in. The world needs more picture books that promote peace ✌️ Also, who doesn’t love learning about history & other cultures?

Did you see the movie, “Ferdinand”? How did it compare? I haven’t seen it yet, but I usually agree with the common opinion that books are the better version of a story. Not always the case, though.

Is there a movie you prefer OVER the book? I stand by the movie version of A Little Princess (based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett). MUCH more satisfying ending.

Tree by Britta Teckentrup

janey8.jpg

Tree written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup is such a beautiful book that I LOVE to read aloud to my son. Her rhymes will push new readers to grow their vocabulary (which is one of the many reasons we read!). The art style is distinguished and lovely, and the story follows a satisfying, circular plot as we witness the changing seasons. So much happens to (and around!) 1 tree and 1 owl in 1 year. The owl seems to be the observer of the forest, but the story is chock-full of animals and plants. The reader views all this growth, change and variety of nature with unique peek-through pages.

What’s your favorite season? Why? I’m completely cold-natured and LOVE vacationing in warm, sunny places like the beach. BUT, I gotta say my favorite season is winter. I’m a January-baby (and like any proper lady we celebrate the whole birth month), but more importantly I’m obsessed with Christmas!! Sorry, if my book review got derailed. I’m just being authentic. I hope you are authentic, too.

Truck, Truck, Goose by Tammi Sauer

janey7.jpg

Truck, Truck, Goose written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Zoe Waring is an adorable picture book suitable for emergent readers. I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the author personally at SCBWI meetings, so I learned a little more background behind the story directly from her.
She explained her desire to write a book in which even the earliest readers could read on their own. Simple text, sure. But I can just imagine his proud look as Luke finishes a whole book all by himself.

The book relies mostly on the illustrations to drive the story. Goose packs a picnic for himself (he seems to carry out his entire house’s contents), and he sets up in a very inconsiderate location as traffic gets backed up. The laid back main character fixes his mess AND gets everyone back in a good mood with a little help from the ice cream man. All sorts of specialized trucks are represented in the illustrations: tow, fire, moving, dump, cement, semi, monster, trash, etc. I’m sure your little one will pour over the detailed pictures finding those differences.

Some background on the background (see what I did there?): I used my grandpa’s old Ford truck. While brainstorming in front of Luke’s library, I knew right away I wanted to use an actual truck. Happy coincidence the book cover matched fairly well!

What was your child’s first book he/she read solo? What about first spoken words? I swear Luke says “mama”, but he’s just asking for milk.

Go Fish! by Tammi Sauer

janey6.jpeg

Here goes Goose again! Go Fish is the (kind of) sequel to Truck, Truck, Goose. Sequel in the sense the characters carry over from the first book. But this is a stand alone story as well. Tammi Sauer wrote this with the same purpose -a sweetly simple book for emergent readers to read all on their own. The animal friends go to the pond but have no luck catching any fish. They catch a lot of funny items along the way, though. Finally, they hook a whopper and reel it in, but it’s too big! This monster fish scares the animals off the dock, but they are still hungry! What do YOU do when dinner plans fall through? Call for a pizza delivery of course! The ending has a funny twist with the monster fish wanting a pizza slice himself. They oblige and all go swimming together. Just adorable.

My son’s little library is stocked with the cutest books, and these sweet additions came directly from the author, signed copies and everything! (Authors are my rockstars!) Like I said in yesterday’s post, I met Tammi through the SCBWI, and at one of the meetings she presented the new board book version of Truck, Truck, Goose along with the brand new sequel Go Fish. I learned board books cost more to produce, so that version usually takes longer to come out. (Publishers probably want to see if a book is going to be profitable.) But how could any of Tammi’s and Zoe’s collaborations not be successful? Good job, ladies! Keep up the great work!!

When was the last time you went fishing? What is your bait preference: worms (live/plastic), lures, spinner baits, etc? What about fishing location: off the shore, dock, or boat? What’s the youngest age a child might enjoy this outdoor activity? I know my dad, an avid and lifelong fisherman, plans to take Luke ASAP.

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

janey5.jpg

Mother Bruce by author/illustrator, Ryan T. Higgins, is straight up hilarious. First of all, the title character is that grumpy old man everyone loves, because you know deep down he’s actually sweet. Well, he gets in a pickle when his thoroughly planned out dinner recipe backfires and lands him in an unwanted parenting situation. The humor derived from both words and pictures is sure to appeal to children as well as adults. I picked up this (hardback!) copy at Barnes and Noble for EIGHT dollars during a special sale.

You Are My Merry by Marianne Richmond

janey4.jpg

This was the first Christmas gift I bought my baby. We LOVE Marianne Richmond! A friend gifted me Bedtime Blessings at my baby shower, too.
The incredibly talented Marianne is both author and illustrator to a huge selection of picture books each one to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy! This Christmas-themed story is special to my little family, because our last name is “Merry”.

With fun, rhyming prose and lighthearted illustrations, Marianne drives home the simple message of unconditional love. She has nailed the emotional perspective of a parent. The love we have for our children is boundless, and this sweet story shows how even simple holiday activities are bursting with familial joy!

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Does your family do something out of the ordinary? What about a special Christmas story you read every year?

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan

janey3.jpg

One of my new favorites! Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy this book; there are so many cute creatures featured in this story. The author spotlights forest animals not commonly used such as possums, hedgehogs, badgers, & moths. Animal variety is not the only strength! The reader follows the main character, Little Owl, whose world and normal life occurs at nighttime. We catch a glimpse of a familiar story pattern when Little Owl ends his activities & falls asleep, but now it’s morning! It encourages children to think about new and different points-of-view. I appreciate she writes in a way so as to not underestimate the readers & their ability to learn. There are a few “advanced” concepts in the story for early readers such as moth wings covered in dust and a skunk’s typical diet. But we read to learn, so *Go Authors! Push the Limits!*

Are you a “night owl” when it comes to your typical schedule? Maybe an “early bird” fits your personality/energy level better. Me? Oh, I’m definitely in the “permanently exhausted pigeon” category. 

Peek-a-Book, I See Who? by Steve Elkins

janey2.jpeg

Today’s book is Peek-A-Boo, I See Who? written by Steve Elkins and illustrated by Rod Hefferan. I’ve been focusing on well-known, obviously popular picture books in these reviews, so I’m taking a different stride in today’s post. This adorable board book with fold-out pages also comes with a CD, so if you can scrounge up a player...bonus? (The author also produced the music to accompany the story.) It was quite a steal from Mardel for only $5! Each page has sweetly rhyming prose on the left-hand side which give clues to the “guess who” question on the right. The child lifts the flap to see which Bible character is the featured answer. The final page and poem-riddle leads the reader to ask who is a loved blessing & heaven-sent miracle. **drumroll** YOU!! That’s why this makes a great book for parents to read to their child; it reminds me of books by Marianne Richmond (which you KNOW I adore!)

What hidden gems have you found in book bins, garage sales, or on the clearance rack?