New Books For The New Year

by Carrie Anne

From concept books to story books, resolve to start the New Year by spending more time sitting and exploring the joy of reading together.

This New Baby
by Teddy Jam, illustrated Virginia Johnson
Groundwood Books
board book
22 pages

Holding a new baby, staring into a newborn’s eyes, can evoke a feeling that is hard to put into words. This New Baby, with it’s water colour illustrations, tries to express what mothers, fathers, relatives feel through the use of poetic versus. A wonderful book to read with your new baby and remember those first moments of joy.

 Except the Color Grey
by Arlene Alda
Tundra Books
age 3-5
24 pages

What’s your favourite colour? It’s a common question asked of kids. The answer comes quick but usually it’s not just one colour. And who can blame them. Except the Color Grey explores this question with kids using wonderful coloured photographs depicting the sites kids might take in during their day. The words say what the kids are thinking about some of the colourful things they see outside. This is a great book exploring the idea of colour and how it exists in every day things. I love the use of general photos of things the kids could encounter when out. Why not explore some of your child’s favourite colours around the house or on a neighbourhood walk?

 Bear in a Square
by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Debbie Harter
Barefoot Books
age 3 to 5
32 pages

Bear in a Square is a fun concept book that combines shape recognition and counting. Follow bear’s adventures, from when he gets up until he goes to sleep. Each spread shows bear in his next environment, such as at school or visiting the circus bears. Readers are invited, through large text on the page, to find a shape in the illustration. As you turn the page, you’re asked to find a new shape and the number of images on each page increase from 1 to 10. Kids can count the shapes as they find them, plus they can count the line of shapes down the right, illustrating the number for that page. At the back is a page showing al the shapes with their names. Although the text is simple, the flow does illustrate a story which is nice within a concept book.

 Lots of Dots
by Craig Frazier
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
age 3 to 5
32 pages

Okay, this isn’t a new book (released in 2010) but I do love it so. This colourful book invites you to examine the world around you, a world filled with dots of different sizes and functions, but dots none the less. I love the bright colours on the white pages with the dots highlighted. My kids loved pointing and counting all the dots on the pages. Plus afterwards they were more attune to the world around them, pointing out dots in things they never gave a second glance at before. A fun book.

 You Are a Gift to the World / The World is A Gift To You
by Laura Duksta, illustrated by Dona Turner
Sourcebooks/Raincoast Books
age 3-8
32 pages

It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of ‘items’. This uniquely designed book is really two books in one but with the same message: people and the beautiful world around us are the best gifts we can receive. You Are a Gift to the World, talks about how important our kids our to us, how they make us feel and how that is gift enough. This can translate into all people who are important in our lives. The World is a Gift to You, reminds us of the special gift the world is with the animal, plants and nature surrounding us. Each tale ends in the middle with a simple message. Forget the Barbie, LEGO and transformers, this is a message of appreciating the gifts that are really important. I love that.

I want to thank Crystal from Raincoast Books, Sylvia from Tundra Books, Leah at Barefoot Books, and Trish at Groundwood books for my review copies.


Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 , and is the Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief at

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