Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 31


I was originally hoping to offer one final amazing new book to end my series with, but quite honestly I am all out of ideas! I have been specifically choosing kids picture books from my NEW BOOKS shelves at the library where I work, and everything that's left that I haven't written about either a) was published more than a year ago or b) just isn't all that exciting to me. So here you have it, just a final wrap-up post on Day 31.

Some observations from the past 31 days:
  • Writing posts ahead of time and scheduling them is the best idea ever. Some days I would whip out 4-5 book reviews in a single sitting, and some days I struggled to create one.
  • I'm glad I chose something simple to write about - the majority of my time was spent copying and pasting info from Amazon. "My thoughts" took very little time to write, which was key to making this a successful project.
  • I became very familiar with my new books. I don't always take the time to read new books as they come in, but this project forced me to. I feel I could confidently "book talk" any of the 30 books in this series to interested patrons.
  • This could very easily be a series I do again next October. It's not like it's a topic that exhausts itself in 31 posts. There will be tons of great kids picture books that come out between now and then.
  • I'm ready to take a break from book reviews.
For those of you who have joined me the past 31 days specifically for these book reviews, thank you!!! The content of my blog is typically more library-oriented, with plans for storytimes and crafts and events that I do with the kids and teens at my library. I will continue to throw in the occasional book review, but after today I will head back to a little more regularly-scheduled-programming. :)

It's been a fun month, I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have! Remember my giveaway ends at 11:59pm EDT tonight, so hop over to that page and leave a comment to be entered. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 30

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio.  June 2014.

From Amazon: "A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson. This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters. But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?"

My thoughts: Wow this is a really sweet book! Any kid who loves puppies will be drawn in immediately, and the book teaches an important lesson in the end. One should not be ashamed of the things they like to do, and even if they don't look like the rest of their family (an important concept in adoption), family really is about relationships and the ones who love them.

Age: Preschool and up

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 29

Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood.  October 2014.

From Amazon: "Cat took on a bunny in Here Comes the Easter Cat, but now Christmas is coming, and Cat has a hunch he's not on Santa's 'nice' list. Which means? No presents for Cat. So he tries to be good, but children, it seems, aren't wild for his brand of gift-giving. Still, Cat might surprise himself, and best of all, he may just get to meet the man in the red suit himself—and receive a holiday surprise of his own. Fans of Pete the Cat, Splat the Cat, and Bad Kitty will delight in this holiday treat."

My thoughts: At first glance this seems like a thick book (it is - 88 pages). But when there are many pages with no words, and almost all the other pages with only a single short sentence, it is a fast read. In the style that reminds me of Mo Willems and Jan Thomas, there is a narrator interacting with the Cat. It's a fun story of learning to give rather than receive.

Age: Toddler and up

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 28

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water Across the World 
by Christine Ieronimo.  May 2014.

From Amazon: "Alemitu lives with her mother in a poor village in Ethiopia, where she must walk miles for water and hunger roars in her belly. Even though life is difficult, she dreams of someday knowing more about the world. When her mother has no choice but to leave her at an orphanage to give her a chance at a better life, an American family adopts Alemitu.  She becomes Eva in her new home in America, and although her life there is better in so many ways, she’ll never forget her homeland and the mother who gave up so much for her. Told through the lens that water connects all people everywhere, this eye-opening, emotional story will get readers thinking about the world beyond their own."

My thoughts: This is a tug-at-your-heart kind of story about both water and adoption. It is fairly short, though the concepts are big. I wouldn't choose to read it to my young children quite yet (maybe my preschooler, but I'd have to explain a lot), but it would be great for kids in elementary school who maybe are going to be doing a service project or fundraiser for clean drinking water, or children who have been adopted.

Age: Elementary and up

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Monday, October 27, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 27

Otis and the Scarecrow by Loreen Long.  August 2014.

From Amazon: "On the farm where Otis the tractor lives, the farmer has introduced someone new—a scarecrow to shoo away the pesky crows. But when Otis and the animals greet the scarecrow with friendly smiles, the scarecrow’s frown never leaves his face. So everyone leaves him alone. Then one day, when a cold autumn rain sets in, Otis and the animals snuggle close and play Otis’s favorite game: the quiet game. Otis knows the puppy and ducks can’t sit still for long, and soon the farm friends begin to giggle and squirm, feeling warmed by one another’s friendship . . . but on this day, Otis can't seem to take his eyes off the lonely figure in the cornfield. A deeply resonant book about subtle acts of compassion and standing up for others, featuring everyone's favorite tractor, Otis."

My thoughts: My girls discovered Otis not too long ago, with the book Otis and the Puppy. Beautiful pictures and a feel-good story captured all of us. This one highlights Otis's compassion once again as he befriends the farm's scarecrow, even though the scarecrow is a little different than the rest of his friends.

Age: Preschool and up

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 26

Mix It Up! by HervĂ© Tullet.  September 2014.

From Amazon: "Accept HervĂ© Tullet's irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist's simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader's imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page. Tullet prompts plenty of giggles in addition to a profound understanding of colors, and once again displays his unique genius and vision in a work that is a glorious and richly satisfying companion to Press Here."

My thoughts: If you enjoyed the NYT Bestseller Press Here, you'll also enjoy this book. I think I might actually like this one even more! This one is also interactive, asking you to tilt the page or rub the colors, and shows the new colors you can make by mixing them together. The paint dots and blobs look so real it seems like I could touch them and feel the bumps and ridges. The opening sentence made me smile - "It's that time again." (alluding to fans of the first book that we're going to touch the pages here too!)

Age: Toddler and up

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 25

Froggy Gets a Doggy by Jonathan London.  February 2014.

From Amazon: "A pet! Mom has agreed:  Froggy can have a pet.  Off to the pet store they go.  Mom would prefer a bunny or some mice, but Froggy and his little sister, Pollywogilina, have their hearts set on a doggy.  And when Froggy sees the little dog with big brown eyes, he begs to take her home. Mom cautions Froggy about all the new responsibilities he will have taking care of Doggy, but Froggy’s sure there will be no problem.  He doesn’t count on Doggy being more difficult to train than he expected. Froggy always lands himself in a pickle, but he always bounces back.  That’s why everyone loves him!"

My thoughts: Froggy's adventures are always so much fun. I like how this one teaches kids that there are certain responsibilities that go along with owning a dog. Plus the family goes to an animal shelter to get the dog, instead of a pet store - good thinking on the author's part! This is a great installment in the Froggy series.

Age: Toddler/Preschool and up

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Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 24

Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Dilemma by David Soman.  August 2014.

From Amazon: "It is Halloween and Lulu must decide on a costume. Should she be Ladybug Girl or something new? She tries many different costumes, but nothing seems right. Maybe she'll think of the perfect costume as she enjoys the autumn day with her family by pumpkin picking and going on a hayride. But it isn't until Lulu and Bingo help a little girl who is lost that Lulu discovers who she was meant to be for Halloween..."

My thoughts: One week until Halloween! In this newest book in the Ladybug Girl series, Lulu has trouble deciding how she wants to dress-up for trick-or-treating, since she's Ladybug Girl every day. I'll admit this wasn't my favorite book in the series (my kids have Ladybug Girl and Bingo and LOVE it), though I do love the illustrations.

Age: Preschool and up

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 23

P is for Pirate by Eve Bunting.  August 2014.

From Amazon: "The word pirate means one who plunders on the sea, and piracy has been around for as long as men and women have longed for adventure and lusted for riches. But it wasn't all fun and pillaging! Being a pirate was not an easy life. Written by award-winning author Eve Bunting, poetry and expository text are used in this alphabetical examination of the history of piracy. Topics include legendary ships, fabled hideouts, and notorious villains like Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard. Includes the pirate code of conduct as well as the different occupations aboard ship."

My thoughts: There are so many books by Sleeping Bear Press in the __ is for ______ series, and they're all so well written! They're so informative they could be considered non-fiction, yet they are almost always featured as picture books. This one really does tell a lot about pirates, from ships to specific pirates, to even the execution dock and flogging... Because of the detail, I don't think even my preschooler would be interested in this one, but pirate-loving kids in elementary school would eat it up!

Age: Elementary and up

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 22

Everything's Better with a Beard by The Robertsons.  March 2014.

From Amazon: "The Duck Commander family is known for their long, flowing beards. In this photographic picture book with whimsical, rhyming text, objects both animate and inanimate are given the Duck Commander family treatment—with beards! Whether it’s a dog, a truck, or a duck, one thing’s for sure: Everything’s better with a beard!"

My thoughts: Yes, my husband and I are fans of Duck Dynasty. This book uses real photographs (Photoshopped of course!) and flowing rhymes to create a silly little poem fitting the style of the Duck Commander clan. "Behind every beard you'll find a great guy: like Lincoln, and Moses, and Santa, and Si!" It's very lighthearted and just plain goofy. It's great if you just need a little laugh!

Age: Toddler and up

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