“Never Too Little to Love” by Jeanne Willis
It’s February, so that must mean love is in the air. Everything is pink and red, and there are hearts all around. Of course, it doesn’t have to be just on Valentine’s Day that you and your child can fall in love with these great books:
Tiny Too-Little is a very small mouse with a very big problem: he’s in love. All he wants is to be able to plant a big kiss on the object of his affection, but he’s just too little to get to her! He gets creative and uses all the resources at his disposal. Disaster strikes! Will he get the kiss he longs for? You’re Never Too Little to Love.
Froggy’s First Kiss is a great book to read aloud with children. Kids love Froggy’s antics and they know things are never going to turn out like he planned. And of course, the book is filled with the familiar refrain of, “FRROOGGY!” which kids love to help with, and lots of other sound effects, like squeaky voices and a very loud “Ewww” which you can have a lot of fun reading. It’s a great book to get kids talking about feelings that they have but may not be able to explain, like when Froggy feels all wiggly and funny inside whenever Frogalina looks his way.
Hugless Douglas is a bear that wakes up from a long winter in desperate need of a hug. He hugs whatever he can find: rocks, trees, shrubs, and a variety of other animals that are not too pleased, but none of the hugs feel right until he gets one from someone who loves him. It’s a great book to lead children into talking about what they think love is, and how they find love with family and home.
“The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt
Although I’m no expert, I personally consider this to be the best children’s book of 2013. It is extraordinarily creative and laugh-out-loud funny for children and adults. When young Duncan reaches inside his crayon box, he finds instead, a stack of letters. Red and blue are overworked in comparison to the others, orange and yellow can’t agree on which of them should get to color the sun, and pink and beige have become bored because they’re always left in the box. In the end, Duncan comes up with a solution to make all the crayons happy.
This book can be used with kids of all ages. It can help younger ones with colors, and encourages them to “think outside the box” with their artistic expression and imaginations. While in older children, it can help them learn about letter writing, opinions, and how to express a point of view.
Daywalt’s writing is matched by the wonderful illustrations by Oliver Jeffers. If you enjoy his illustrations, I would encourage to also read This Moose Belongs to Me and to watch this short video about his work in this book.
“David Gets in Trouble” by David Shannon
Dealing with a cranky toddler or preschooler? Here is a list of books about handling emotions, and hopefully emerging unscathed. No Fits, Nilson and Maya was Grumpy are two new favorites at my house. They’ve helped us all to recognize that everyone gets grumpy from time to time, but you don’t have to stay mad. When in doubt, take a cue from Daniel Tiger and count to four:
Feelings by Aliki
Theo’s Mood by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Doodle Bites by Polly Dunbar
No More Biting for Billy Goat by Bernette Ford
Olive and the Bad Mood by Tor Freeman
Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos
No Biting by Karen Katz
Monster Be Good by Natalie Marshall
No Fits, Nilson by Zachariah Ohora
Maya Was Grumpy by Courtney Pippin-Mathur
Brownie & Pearl Make Good by Cynthia Rylant
David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? by Jane Yolen
“Opposites” by Xavier Deneux
When selecting board books for a baby, I look for a sturdy format that will endure love and many reads, simple text with bright pictures or photos, and tactile elements that encourage exploration. Board books usually don’t grab my attention, but the Lexington Public Library recently purchased two great board books: Opposites and Colors. Both titles are written by Xavier Deneux and are part of Chronicle Books series, Touch Think Learn. These books definitely invite little hands to touch and explore the pages! The artist utilized die cuts, cut outs, and layering to produce a spectacular layout. For instance, when demonstrating the difference between high and low, the artist placed a cat high on a tall ladder. To emphasize how far above the ground the cat is, the artist used a raised image and then paired it with a mole far, far down in a hole. Deneux went one step further and inset the mole, so the pictures stress the difference in the presented concept. I really love these new books and can’t wait till March when two more (Shapes and Numbers) will be released!
“Nonsense & Common Sense: A Child’s Book of Victorian Verse” by John Grossman and Priscilla Dunhill
Nonsense & Common Sense is a collection of poems from the golden age of children’s literature. The offerings range from silly nonsense to gentle instruction to the beautifully lyrical. Many of the poets are recognizable names such as Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Robert Louis Stevenson, but lesser known bards are included also. Each poem is wonderfully illustrated with artwork from vintage children’s books, die cuts, or other Victoriana memorabilia, and some of the poems are even accompanied by interesting side notes on the history of the verses. My only complaint about this book is the underlining sexism of a few of the poems, but there are not many of these, so it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this charming and whimsical read.