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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Greatest Opposites Book on Earth by Lee Singh and Tom Frost

The Greatest Opposites Book on Earth by Lee Singh and Tom Frost is an oversized board book with flaps to lift and unfold and even a pop-up or two. Lift the flap to the circus tent and head inside. Wet and cold, same and different, here and there, near and far and few and many are among the pairings in this well designed book. The retro illustrations and color palette give The Greatest Opposites Book on Earth the feel of an art book, almost more than a children's book and, while you may sometimes find yourself wishing for the thinnest narrative strand to connect the pages, this is still a book you will find yourself reading, or being asked to read, more than a few times.

Source: Review Copy

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World by M. E. Furman, illustrated by Susan Gal

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow a Tasty Trip Around the World by M. E. Furman and illustrated by Susan Gal looks and reads like a book that has been around for decades. How is it possible that no one has written a picture book about holiday cookie traditions from around the world before now? Happily, Furman and Gal have done a marvelous job making A World of Cookies for Santa more than just a picture book - geography, world cultures and recipes are also part of this magnificent book. And, if you fall in love with this book like I did, there is a website with even more cookies, people and places - World of Cookies for Santa!
A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa's Tasty Trip Around the World begins on Christmas Island, the first place in the world to welcome Christmas Day, and ends in Hawaii. But first, an introductory paragraph lets readers know that Santa Claus has many names and the children of the world have many different cookies they treat him with. In her author'…

Main Street Magic by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Main Street Magic by Ingela P. Arrhenius is a beautifully designed, marvelously illustrated book with over 30 flaps to lift and peek under. More than a story, Main Street Magic is a meandering stroll through the shops and sights with surprises hidden here and there. Starting at the bakery, each stop unfolds over two, two-page spreads. There are mice munching macarons and snakes in the sewers. There are cats in the salon and dogs munching bones at the Natural History Museum.  The journey ends at the circus where two flaps open to reveal what's inside the tent where the ringmaster and the elephant each have something hidden under their hats. There is some visual and verbal wordplay, although sometimes the text seems like something was lost in the translation from the original French to English. Even so, Main Street Magic is utterly charming and a delight to pore over.

Source: Review Copy

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand, 400 pp, RL: Middle Grade

The perfect book at the perfect time is how I would describe The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand. For me, there is nothing more luxurious and delicious than spending hours at a time lost in a book, especially because it doesn't happen that often. Of course, the time has to be right (family, work and domestic demands rarely allow for this) but the book has to be right also, and The Afterlife of Holly Chase is THE RIGHT BOOK to lose yourself in during holidays ahead of us.Hand takes the plot of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and a spoiled (albeit wounded) brat of a teenaged girl, shakes them up in a snow globe of YA delights and delivers a uniquely magical holiday story of personal growth and learning to make meaningful connections with a dash of romance on the side. 
While The Afterlife of Holly Chase ends with the titular character telling readers that Christmas is all about, "Connection. Togetherness. Love," she definitely doesn't start the novel wi…

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 …

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…