Read This! Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch

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October is always a good time to read about witches! In this rhyming tale by Diana Murray, Grimelda believes that “messed is best”. However, when she can’t find the pickle root she needs for a recipe, she knows it’s time for drastic measures: CLEANING. Heather Ross’s illustration show us a witch who is friendly, not scary.

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Read This! Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch

Read This! Every Day Birds

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This book is like a beginner’s field guide to birding. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater writes simple rhyming characteristics for twenty different North American birds, which pair beautifully with Dylan Metrano’s cut paper illustrations. I *love* cut paper illustrations, so this book was a winner from the start – and maybe we’ll get a little better at identifying the birds in our area!

Read This! Every Day Birds

Read This! Shoe-la-la!

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This is the book for the moment at our house. Perhaps you have a similarly fancy kid? One in love with glitz, glamour and SHOES?! If so, this rhyming tale by Karen Beaumont, paired with LeUyen Pham’s always fabulous illustrations is a winner. Nothing too brilliant here, but a fun, well-illustrated book for the dress-up set. Frances can basically recite the whole thing to us at this point!

Read This! Shoe-la-la!

Books for Queer Families: Everywhere Babies

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This is my absolute favorite book for new babies and I recommend it to everyone. It’s not a book specifically for queer families, so much as it is a book that is super inclusive of all kinds of babies and families. A rhyming tale of what babies do.

Pros: Inclusive – there are two moms zonked out with a newborn, there are white grandparents holding a brown-skinned baby, there are dads being dads (i.e., involved and awesome) just as muchas there a moms being moms. Marla Frazee is one of my absolute favorite illustrators and the pictures here are just a delight. Love it.

Cons: There are no cons. Okay, that’s not totally true – for a super inclusive book, it’s surprising to me that there are no illustrations with a kid or parent with a visible disability.

The Bottom Line: So lovely. Buy it, read it, love it, give it away.

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Looking for more books about queer families? You can find the other books I’ve reviewed here.

Books for Queer Families: Everywhere Babies

Read This! What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig

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Bright, silly rhyming fun! What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig by Emma J. Virjan is perfect for kids who are building their reading skills – apparently learning to rhyme is an important step towards literacy! Bonus, this is such a quick read, which means I love when it gets picked up at bedtime (Frances gets three books – it’s nice if they aren’t all super long).

Read This! What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig

Preschool Reads: Valentine’s Day

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There just aren’t a ton of great Valentine’s books out there. I tried to find a good mix that focused on the basics of the holiday: love, hearts and sending cards! Here are a few that we enjoyed. What are your favorites?

If You’ll Be My Valentine, written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka (2005).

A little boy makes Valentines for his family, friends, even his teddy bear, in this cute rhyming tale.

Mama, Do You Love Me?, written by Barbara M. Joose, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee (1992).

What better time for a tale of unconditional parental love than Valentine’s Day? This is one of my favorite reads year round – so reassuring to all kids that even if Mama is mad, she still loves you!

My Heart is Like a Zoo, written and illustrated by Michael Hall (2009).

A simple book that compares the emotions of the heart to animals – but OH SO fun to find all the hearts in the illustrations. Would be a great tie-in with a craft project.

A Secret Valentine, written and illustrated by Catherine Stock (1991).

A girl and her mother make and send Valentine’s Day cards to family and to her elderly neighbor. In return, on Valentine’s Day, she gets many cards back – including one from a secret Valentine.

Valentine’s Day, written by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell (2000).

Ms. Madoff’s class makes Valentine’s Day cards for a classmate who has moved to Japan. While they create, they remember all the fun things they did with Michiko.

Note: I tried and failed to find a Valentine’s Day book that featured a Latino/a child. If you know of one, please let me know!

Preschool Reads: Valentine’s Day

Read This! Spots in a Box

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A young guinea hen, concerned with his lack of spots, orders some in the mail. The first batch are way too big, the second “too sneezy, too small” (pepper, anyone?). Finally, after a number of misses, the hen finds his spot. They may not be traditional, but they fit him perfectly! Spots in a Box by Helen Ward is a cheerful, rhyming read.

Read This! Spots in a Box