Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers, Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy Brady, Worthy Kids/Ideals, 2018.
The latest children’s book from the VeggieTales franchise is a padded board book of bedtime prayers. Complete with colorful illustrations from Lisa Reed featuring the well-known, and well-loved VeggieTales characters.
There are short, easy to understand, rhyming prayers that can be used as part of the evening ritual of reading books before bed. The prayers in this little collection are designed to help child and parent reflect on their day and prepare for the day yet to come. Scattered throughout the book are verses from the Psalms.
Riley Can Be Anything, Davina Hamilton, The Ella Riley Group, 2017.
Do you remember in grade school being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a fun question designed to get us to think about vocation. There were lofty dreams of going to space or being a vet or a firefighter.
The question would come again during high school and college as we inched closer to the “real world.” It was a question that could be a stressor in its own right.
To be honest, I never felt like, “I don’t know,” was an acceptable answer.
Captain Monty Takes the Plunge, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Kids Can Press, 2017.
In this fun children’s book, Monty the Malodorous has a well-kept secret. He cannot swim.
To hide his secret, Monty declares that “Real pirates don’t bathe! Yar-har-har!”
But the not taking a bath thing catches up with him. Monthy falls in love with Meg the mermaid. It is Meg who tells him, “You’re a real nice pirate, Monty, but you smell like stinky boots.” Monty begins to consider rethinking his avoidance of contact with water.
A Stick Until . . . , Constance Anderson, Star Bright Books, 2017.
The story starts off quite simply with a stick. From here, we see the many different ways a stick can be used by various animals. A stick is a fly swatter. It is a gift and a toy.
A stick is a stick until it is not.
This clever children’s book shows children that something as simple as a stick can be used in creative and innovative ways. The colorful illustrations are a great addition. Plus they provide a discussion starter for the parent and child or teacher and student.
Shelter, Céline Claire, Qin Leng (illustrator) Kids Can Press, 2017.
Claire’s picture book is a parable for children. In the story, a storm is coming. All the animals seek shelter in their homes. Little Fox is the only character that wonders about the animals who may be stuck in the storm.
A bear parent and child are stuck in the storm. They go from home to home looking for shelter. Each family turns them away. “Try the neighbor”, they all say.
Including Little Fox’s family. Unable to accept the outcome, Little Fox runs after the bears to give them a lantern to guide their search for shelter.
As fate would have it, the snow from the storm weighs down on the foxes den, and the family barely makes it out before their den collapses. The Fox family is able to find their way to where the bears have built an igloo. The foxes knock and ask for shelter for the night. Unlike their response to the bears, the bears welcome the family in.
Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons, Amy-Jill Levine & Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.
Love You Always, written by Eileen Spinelli with illustrations by Gillian Flint, is the latest gift book for new babies or for Christmas. The verses are gentle and the repetition is soothing. The book aims to communicate to the child that he or she is loved – always – but a host of family members. Mostly by Mama and Daddy.
But other family members are included. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, and Uncle. Counsin and family friend even get a shout out. At first, this inclusion of extended family members is great. It is often rare to see Auntie and Uncle included in a children’s book. While the book seems to include a lot of the family tree, there is no inclusion of siblings or step-parents.
Daddy’s Girl is a new picture book from author Helen Foster James and illustrator Estelle Corke great for children ages 2-5. Jame’s rhymes make the story of a little girl preparing her tea party approachable for young ears. Corke’s illustrations make use of pink and yellow as the primary colors, ensuring that each page is bright and colorful.
As the little girl, whose accessorizing includes a crown, pearls, and a boa, has tea with her teddy bear and Daddy, she realizes she has more than enough to share with others. She invites other stuffed animals to the tea party. The story concludes with a father and daughter hug, as the daughter expresses, “I love that you are here.”
Russel Hoban has written some of the best classics in children’s literature. Bread and Jam for Frances and Bedtime for Frances are two of the most loved.
In 1966, Hoban wrote Charlie the Tramp, illustrated by his wife Lillian Hoban. Charlie is a young beaver who wants to grow up to be a tramp. His parents, much to the dismay of Charlie’s grandfather, allow him to experience the life of a homeless beaver. During this experience, Charlie hears, like young Samuel in the night, the call to his life’s work.
Miss You Like Crazy, Pamela Hall, Tanglewood Press, 2014.
Walnut is a little squirrel who is going to miss his mom when she goes to work. They agree that it would be a lot of fun if he could go to work with her. They imagine the adventures they could share. Even though they cannot have these adventures all the time, Walnut’s mother assures him that he is always on her mind. Together they find ways to have a presence for each other when at work or school.
The story is light-hearted and fun. The illustrations are cheerful and eye catching. Toddler J enjoyed hearing the story, but I think she might have enjoyed the pictures of the squirrel family more.