Category Archives: Ages 0-3

Perfect

Perfect
by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Cathy Fisher
Graffeg, 2017
Originally published in Wales.

A tender story of a boy who finds he cannot love his baby sister when she arrives and his struggle to find his way to do so.

Another rich, moving story by Nicola Davies.  We learn about the boy through his love of swifts nested in the roof above his attic bedroom.  He’s a deep, caring boy.  He imagined  “racing and chasing, screaming with laughter and delight” with his baby sister when she came home, but, instead she lay quite still. Sad, he went outside, alone, and cried for his loss.  All summer long he couldn’t love his sister, no matter how hard he tried. He found solace in watching the swifts.

Then one day he found a baby swift on the ground. He picked it up and stretched out its wings and legs.  “Perhaps, I thought, it only needs a little help.”  He took it to his attic room and lifted it to the sky and it flew away.  He turned to his sister’s crib and thought, “Perhaps, … she only needs a little help.”  He picked her up, went outside to lay on the grass and told her of all his dreams of them together.

The illustrations show the emotions surrounding each scene: outside, inside, in his dreams.  In this dark time for the boy, blackness shrouds many pages of soft colors depicting his emotions.  Beautiful images.

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You’re Safe With Me

You’re Safe With Me 
by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Poonam Mistry
Lantana Publishing, 2018

The positive messages and story are perfect for this bedtime book, but it was the cover’s detailed India-styled drawings that pulled me in. Each page is beautifully illustrated with rich colors and details.  I had to slow down and carefully study each one so I wouldn’t miss the nuances of their story.

The story itself takes place in an Indian forest at night. Night sounds for little ones are normal and the baby animals sleep through them.  But when a storm passes through, the new night sounds frighten the young animals. Mama Elephant walks through the forest, comforting each animal.  In a lyrical voice, she explains what each noise means.  For instance:

Swish-swish! The trees moved.  Ooh-Ooh! The wind moaned.  The little animals  woke up and whimpered.

“Don’t worry about the wind,” whispered Mama Elephant.  “He’s an old friend of the forest.  He brings us seeds from faraway lands.”

Mama Elephant reassures each animal of the thunder, lightning, the waters in the river and other sounds.  Her explanations cleverly introduce nature’s cycles and explain how each sound supports their forest.

The positive, lyrically-written story with its stunning illustrations make this a book that will reassure its readers.

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Can I Be Your Dog?

Can I Be Your Dog?
by Troy Cummings
Random House, 2018

ARFY, a mutt living in a box near Butternut Streets, sends a letter to each home/business on the street asking if he can be their dog. He cleverly targets each letter specifically to the family/business inside.  At the yellow house, he shares he is potty trained, has his own squeaky bone and is willing to work with them on their pet cat.  At the fire station, he offers to fetch boots and claims he knows his way around all the fire hydrants.  Desperate, he even tries the dump, but is told to get lost.

Then, one morning, he wakes up with a letter addressed to him!  Who could it be from?  A great surprise ending.

The story completely tugs at the reader’s heart, as ARFY tries so hard to find himself a home.

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Lucy and the String

Lucy and the String
by Vanessa Roeder
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018

Illustrated in black and white drawings, with generous splashes of red string woven in, we meet a curious and clever Lucy.  A seamstress, she sees a string on the ground and, of course, pulls it.  And pulls it until she finds Hank—with a bear’s bare bottom—at the end of it.  Hank’s not so happy.  Lucy tries to cheer him up and cover him up, but he’s not impressed.  After many attempts she finds something that Hank likes, but when she cuts the string, to cut him loose, something even worse happens.  Find out how this friendship story, with a lot of loose ends, is sewn up.

Lucy and the String is written in a playful, poetic voice.  The author/illustrator knows just how to keep the tension and mystery going through the entire drama.

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Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters

Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters 
by Rachel Kolar, illustrated by Roland Garrigue
Sleeping Bear Press

This brilliant collection of nursery rhymes for young Halloween readers will keep pages turning and laughter rolling.  In What Are Little Bats Made Of?, readers explore what little bats and little ghouls are made of.  Little imaginations will run wild in Mary Had a Little Ghost and run creepy in Zombie Miss Muffet.  But what happens in Sing a Song of Witches, when the blackbirds attack the witch?

Geared for the youngest readers, humor is woven in with the spooky, as in Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary:

Mary, Mary, tall and scary,
How does your graveyard grow?
With buried bones and carved gray stones
And little ghosts all in a row.

Illustrations are done in night darks and spooky purples to support the scary poem re-writes.  They often tell another story beyond the re-written one, as when the dog in Old Mother Hubbard hilariously runs away with arm and hand bones.

Those who love scary Halloweens will love Mother Ghost.

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Old Dog Baby Baby

Old Dog Baby Baby
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Roaring Brook Press, 2018

A beautiful story of an encounter between an old family dog and a crawling baby. Rendered in sparse rhyme alongside loose, color-splashed drawings, reader and listener will remember their first encounter with another living creature.  Baby’s curiosity pokes, squeezes, peeks and spies in old dog’s parts, while dog patently allows the baby to explore.  They roll together on the kitchen floor until they are all worn out.

A precious story, perfect for naptime.

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Little i

Little i
by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2017

Another winner by Michael Hall!  In this suspenseful tale, Little i loses his dot and sets out to search for it. He searches high and low, until he finds it.  But the dot no longer fits and he leaves it behind to return home.  But on his adventure, Little i had changed.

Both the text and bright, bold, cut-out graphics personify Little i and his alphabet letter friends inviting children into Little i’s journey. A story to stimulate the ear, eye and heart.

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Am I Yours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Yours?
by Alex Latimer
Peachtree, 2018

Two hundred million years ago, in the age of dinosaurs, a great wind pushed an egg out of its nest. It rolled far down the hill until it landed in the valley.  No one stopped to claim the egg, so the dino inside the egg started asking, “Excuse me, please, but am I yours?  One by one each dinosaur asked if it had body parts that matched his or her own body parts, long neck, three horns, a crest, etc.  Until the sun sets…and they see its profile and they know exactly who the egg belongs to.

This story seems to speak to that part of a child that wants to know it belongs.  A lovely story.

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ABRACADABRA! The Magic of Trying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABRACADABRA! The Magic of Trying   
by Maria Loretta Giraldo, illustrated by Nicoletta Bertelle
Magination Press, 2018
Originally published in Italy.

Little Owl is the last bird in his class to try to fly.  He’s too afraid!  When Mrs. Pigeon encourages him to fly, he insists he doesn’t want to fly.  Turtle passes by and asks why he isn’t flying like the others and Little Owl admits he’s too afraid of falling.  Turtle gives him the magic word, ABRACADABRA! and insists Little Owl can fly. But Owl fell. Mouse, then Hedgehog also encourage him. With all their reassurance, Little Owl tries one more time, follows all their suggestions, and flies. When he flies over a pond and discovers a Little Frog who is afraid to make his big jump out of the pond, Little Owl gives him the magic word and encouragement until Little Frog jumps out.

Striking colors in loose designs on white backgrounds calm young ones and invite them to apply the story to their situation.  Includes notes for parents to help their child overcome a fear.

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When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…
by Molly Bang
The Blue Sky Press, 2018

A thinker of a story and a great introduction to math.

On a rainy day, Sophie is stuck inside trying to build a puzzle pieces into a square. When her sister walks by and quickly makes a square, Sophie concludes she is not smart. Fortunately, her teacher introduces the concept that “we become smart”, when most the kids believes you have to be born smart. She gives them a math puzzle using squares and rectangles.  After the kids struggle with the puzzle, the teacher introduces the most important word, “Yet” and tells them, “You haven’t figured it out … YET.”

That one word changes everything for Sophie.

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