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.
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, Raphaele Frier, Charlesbridge, 2017.
In October of 2012, Malala Yousafzai was tossed into the mainstream media after the Taliban attempted to take her life. Malala was targeted because he was a girl receiving an education. Her father was targeted because he not only allowed her to get an education, he ran the school for girls.
After recovering from her injuries, Malala became a force to be reckoned with. She used her young voice to advocate for girls’ education. At the age of eighteen, she became the youngest person awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
You Are Two, Sara O’Leary, Owlkids Books, 2016.
At our house, we are inching closer with each passing day to 2-year-old status. This stage of life is most often referred to as the “terrible twos.” The days are filled with the struggle of telling a toddler “No,” while the toddler continues to do it. Or, brief, random moments of fussy and kicking when the toddler does not get what they want. Then, there is the constant refrain, “Mine.”
The twos can be quite terrible.