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Builda Block by Christopher Franceschellin and Peskimo

I absolutely adore the chunky BLOCK series of board books by Christopher Franceschelli and the design team Peskimo. The illustrations are a little bit retro with beautiful palettes and the design of the books is always amazing. Every page has a flap to lift or unfold that reveals a new scene or layer to the action on the page.  BuildaBlock begins with a boy and a girl looking  in a big city through the peek holes in the windows of the walls surrounding a construction site. The text reads, "What's going on here? Can I look too?" From there, the various machinery at the construction site is named, my favorite being the page that reveals the tunnel borer, a flap pulling down to reveal the underground subway tunnel and a fossil even deeper down! The final double page spread reads, "We build it up, we build it down . . . We build, build, build all over town!" with one flap lifting up to display a skyscraper under construction and a flap opening to the right, turning …
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Charlie Builds by Bob Bianchini

Charlie Builds by Bob Bianchini is a rhyming homage to the many things that little kids love to build. It's especially nice because, working alongside, playing and watching is his dad. Bianchini begins the book, "This is Charlie and he loves to build a castle with Dad fit for a king, a bridge made of sticks tied together with string. . ."
He goes on to show Charlie building with blocks at Dad's office, creating a fire station out of cardboard boxes at home, an igloo after a snow, a dog house in the backyard and a Lego garage for his toy cars, to name a few. Kids will delight in seeing everyday toys and other things from home in Bianchini's cartoonish illustrations. He ends Charlie Builds with these words, "Charlie will build anything no matter how tall . . . but this is his FAVORITE building of all!" The very sweet illustration shows Charlie and dad inside a blanket and pillow fort, reading a book about buildings. Short, sweet and filled with all the thi…

Have You Seen My Lunch Box? by Steve Light

I love Steve Light's picture books and board books and have reviewed eight of them already! With Have You Seen My Lunchbox? he matches his detailed style of black and white illustration with something all little kids love to do when being read a book - find things "hidden" in the pictures. The premise (and pattern) are simple and fun. On every page, a little boy is looking for something amid the low-grade chaos of home life with little kids. On the verso is the text telling readers what the boy is looking for. The color on the text page also matches the color of the item the boy is seeking. Light adds one color to the illustration so that the look-and-find game is just a little bit challenging. 
Don't miss these other magnificent books  by Steve Light!

Source: Review Copy

All Aboard! illustrated by Andrew Kolb and written by Nichole Mara

All Aboard! by Andrew Kolb and Nichole Mara is SUCH a treat! I love a book that kids can get down on the floor and play with, and All Aboard! is just that kind of book. Open the cover and unfold the pages to extend the train, then lift the flaps to see who is in each train car. The text tells a bit about each car and gives readers something to search for in each fantastic illustration. The backside of all the pages make one long illustration that is the view from the window of the train.

Kolb packs each vibrant illustration with humorous details, from a giraffe doing yoga to a frog prince to a luchador. One character, the little boy in the yellow shirt we see boarding the train on the cover, walks through the train cars and is in every picture. And ever train car has arrows and numbers on the floor, letting readers know which direction the story is moving in. I loved poring over Kolb's illustrations and discovered something new every time. All Aboard! is a stellar book that any kid…

Better Together: A Book of Family written by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg and illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr

Better Together: A Book of Family by Barbara Joosse and Anneke Lisberg, illustrated with wonderful papercut art by Jared Andrew Schorr is a lift-the-flap book featuring collective nouns (a favorite of mine) and families! Each page begins looking like a lone animal is facing a difficult situation - whether it's a predator or a "rumbly tummy." Lifting the flap reveals a whole family of each animal and one of the (sometimes many) names for this group of animals.
Joosse's writing is poetic, "One nervous zebra graze on the plain, flicky ticky, All alone . . .?" Lift the flap and a "dazzle" of zebras stands tall in the face of a lone cheetah.
Crows, meerkats, prairie dogs, and even rat pups fill the pages of Better Together, but my favorite is the final spread where "one little person" becomes a big, boisterous family. Schorr has cleverly included an animal from every family in the book in this final illustration, as toys, art hanging on the wal…

Tiny Town and Tiny Farm by Suzy Ultman

Earlier this year I reviewed and loved the nesting doll board book Masha and Her Sisters by, "artist, doodler, designer and crafty girl," Suzy Ultman. I am thrilled to present her newest board books, Tiny Town and Tiny Farm. These chunky little gems are perfect for pudgy hands. Filled with details little "readers" will love, every page has a die cut that gives a peek of what's to come and, when the page is turned, the image in the die cut fits in perfectly with the new scene.
Source: Review Copy

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale, 125 pp, RL 4

It's been a while since I reviewed a book in the graphic novel series Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales - four years and three books, to be exact. With Raid of No Return, the seventh book in Hale's amazing series of graphic novels focusing on important moments in American history, he tells a powerful story that is suspenseful, emotional and almost unbelievable. I also have not reviewed a book in this series since I began working as an elementary school librarian. Knowing Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales would be popular with my students, the majority being English language learners reading below grade level, I ordered four copies of each book in the series and they are rarely on this shelf. It's amazing to be able to inspire these young readers and challenge them at the same time.
Hale's books are perfect for history lovers and those who know nothing about history (or, like me, think they don't like reading about history) alike because he always finds the most inte…