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 EverythingMom.com.

Holiday Book Picks

by Carrie Anne

The days are busy, full of learning and fun. I love winding down with my kids by enjoying a book together. Here are a few holiday books and new books you might be interested in adding to your personal library.

 My Little Stocking
by Sara Gillingham
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
Board book
12 pages

If you celebrate the holidays with stockings full of treats for your little one, you might enjoy My Little Stocking. This layered board book explores the question in a child’s mind when it comes to a full stocking Christmas morning: what could be in here. Each layer you turn in the book reveals colourful possibilities made out of felt and posing more questions. All the while, a little Elf peeks out, the head being a finger puppet you can move around as you read the story. The finger puppet concept is very similar to the Paul Frank Colors book reviewed last month .

Snow Baby Finger Puppet Book

Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
Chunky board book
12 pages

Baby’s first exposure to snow can be full of wonder and surprise for both baby and parents. Snow Baby takes you through baby’s experience in the snow, falling from the sky, landing on her face. The book is small and chunky for little hands and little ones will love the velvety soft baby face finger puppet that appears on each page, bring baby to life. The puppet hole is big enough for little fingers to probe too.

Michael Hague’s Treasury of Christmas Carols

by Michael Hague and Kathleen Hague
Sterling Children’s Books
Age 3-8
48 pages

Singing Christmas carols is a favourite pastime for our family during December. We sing along to the radio, music on the iPod, even just singing out of the blue.Michael Hague’s Treasury of Christmas Carols is a wonderful small collection holiday favourites that are easy for children to learn with their repetitive choruses: Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls,, Oh Christmas Tree, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Kids may know the tunes to these songs but not the words. This treasury includes a mix of large type words (without musical score to avoid confusion) and delightful Christmas illustrations of bunnies and cats and ducks enjoying the season.

Bitsy

by Paola Opal
Simply Read Books/Raincoast Books
Board book
24 pages

I’m always drawn to the look of a book first and I love the format for this board book, a tall rectangle versus a standard square board book. Bitsy is part of a new series of board books using simple illustrations with a limited colour palate. I love the story, a beaver family working together to build a damn. Mom and dad are able to cut the wood but Bitsy is not big enough yet to cut down the big pieces needed. A small hole in the damn needs the help of a small Beaver and Bitsy proves that all family members play an important role, each offering their own unique skills that make the family complete. What a wonderful message to give kids. I’m looking forward to reading some of the other books by Paola Opal.

 Animal Baths

by Bob Barner
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
age 3-8
32 pages

Bath time can be something kids either enjoy or avoid. Animal Baths is a great way to encourage kids to get soapy and preen like a duck, scrub like a bear and other animals. The colourful pages with collage-like illustrations take kids through the cleaning routines of some common (and perhaps not so common) animals. Then it invites kids to get clean, asking which animal they will be in the tub. The last two pages take the animal attributes talked about in the earlier pages, incorporating them into your child’s bath routine. A fun story for reluctant bathers and bath lovers alike.

 The Crown On Your Head

by Nancy Tillman
Feiwel and FriendsRaincoast Books
age 5-8
32 pages
Most books I come across are stories designed with kids in mind; stories we read for our children’s enjoyment. The Crown on Your Head is a story just as much for mom and dad and for kids (though I think it might even be a little more for the parents). We know as parents how special our kids are and that we see them destined for great things. This story tries to explain this feeling to kids, by talking about their invisible crown of magnificence. Unlike a traditional crown, like in the monarchy, that makes someone better than everyone else, this crown exists on everyone’s head, their special soul or ora. My 5-year old enjoyed the story but I took it more to heart I think, making me a little teary as a read it. I also love the note at the end of the book about how kids can reaffirm to themselves that their crown is indeed there, even if they can’t see it. A wonderful bedtime story or great for those growing and transition stages your kids go through.

I want to thank Katie from Sterling Children’s Books and Crystal from Raincoast Books for my review copies.
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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 EverythingMom.com.

New Picture Books

by Carrie Anne

As the cold weather creeps in, nothing beats snuggling with your little one under a warm blanket and enjoying a fun book together. Here are a few new books you might enjoy.

Candy 1 to 20
By Laurie Wolf and Pam Abrams, photographed by Bruce Wolf
20 pages
Board Book
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
On the heels of Halloween, kids might have their minds on candy. Candy 1 to 20 is an early concept counting book full of bright, colourful candy photographs. Each page displays just the numeric number using actual candy photos taking on the shape of that number. The actual numbers are big, taking up the whole page, and are uncluttered by other elements or words on the solid white background. Each number consists of that same number in candy pieces. One liquorice strip represents the number one; thirteen gummy bears are laid out to represent the number thirteen. Kids can see and trace the number shape, plus they can count the individual candy elements to reinforce the number on the page. It’s a sweet book to enjoy together.


Julius: I Love Color: A Paul Frank Book (Paul Frank Books)
10 pages
Board Book
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
Paul Frank is always a lot of fun for kids. I had the chance to review Paul Frank’s Only In Dreams board book on EverythingMom . Kids will jump right in to a world of colour in I Love Color, especially with Julius the monkey as a finger puppet to take them through the pages. I actually love that the puppet is just his head with arms illustrated on the page; it’s easy and fun to move his head around to look at the image on the page. Along with matching the band of the rainbow, kids can pick out images on the page that are red and it opens it up to a discussion on other things they see in the world around them in that colour.

Amazing Baby! A Sing-Along Board Book
12 pages
Board Book, oversized
Silver Dolphin/Raincoast Books
This isn’t a new book by it’s a great book for parents and baby. The oversized board book is filled with colourful shapes and objects familiar with the Amazing Baby! books. The pages contains the words to some much loved and perhaps a few new lullaby songs. There are big chunky tabs on the side making it easier for little hands to turn the pages. The CD included contains beautiful versions of the lullabies within the book, acoustically sounding. I even found myself enjoying them. The book and CD can be used together or separately. Even my 7-year old son asked to hear the music before bedtime.

Clare Beaton’s Nursery Rhymes
Clare Beaton
14 pages
Board book
Barefoot Books
I love the illustrations and wordily tales told in many of the books from Barefoot Books. Clare Beaton’s Nursery Rhymes is another example of the publishers great illustrative work. The book contains words for 7 popular nursery rhymes but it’s the illustrations that add a wonderful warm feel to the book. Each image is a collage of fabric, like a story sewn in a family quilt. Even the rhyme titles themselves look hand-stiched on the page. What a wonderful way to share a classic nursery rhyme together.

Shadow
Suzy Lee
44 pages
Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books
I understand the benefit of wordless storybooks; they’re a great way to let a child use their imagination and tell a tale based on pictures. Most kids learning to read take a picture walk through a book prior to looking at the words. That being said, I’m not a fan of this type of book. But sometimes I do come across a wordless picture book that does interest me. Shadow is one such book. What starts off as a girl discovering her shadow while in the garage, turns into an adventure in the jungle. The girl’s world and her shadow world meld together, until mom calls her for dinner. I love seeing how shadows can transform and stir up a child’s creative thinking. After reading, why not try your own shadow adventure.
I want to thank Crystal from Raincoast Books and Leah from Barefoot Books for my review copies.

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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 EverythingMom.com.

New Books To Check Out!

 by Carrie Ann

Little Miss Austin: Pride & Prejudice
words by Jennifer Adams, art by Alison Oliver
Gibbs Smith/Raincoast Books
board book

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite stories; I’m a romantic at heart I guess. BabyLit from Gibbs Smith/Raincoast Books is a fun way to introduce children to the world of classic literature. Little Miss Austin: Pride & Prejudice is a sweet counting book focusing on elements from the story: 1 English Village; 2 Rich Gentlemen (Mr Bingley and Mr. Darcy). Each spread focusing on one number (up to 10) with the number in large type on the left side and a simple drawing to illustrate the number and story on the right. The book helps reinforce number recognition with the large number and counting elements in the illustration. Even without the Pride and Prejudice references it is a lovely counting book but who doesn’t want to count the courting couples or sisters? Even the cover art makes the book look like a piece of literature versus just a board book. I’m looking forward to seeing more classics come out in this collection.

Ones and Twos
by Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn
picture book
24 pages
Tundra Books
This lovely rhyming book follows two girls and a bird. The copy is fun, focusing on the numbers two and one: one bird, two eggs. One girl, two legs. The collage-like illustrations are colourful and extend into the bottom border of the page where readers can enjoy finding pairs and explore patterns. My 4-year old loved picking out the patterns (one, two, one, two) as well as finding examples of one and two in the images themselves. Ones and Twos adds an early concept book appeal with a delightful story to go along with it.

If I Could Keep You Little
picture book
32 pages
Sourcebooks/Raincoast Books

I love Marianne Richmond’s books, like the Night Night book I mentioned in an early post. If I Could Keep You Little is a book for parents as much as kids. Although it’s not a new book (released in 2010), this fall season always seems to be a time of reflection. Perhaps it’s the timing with back to school. We cherish the special moments and stages our kids are at right now like singing them lullabies or dressing them in cute outfits. Sometimes we wish they would never grow-up, never loose their dependence on us, but we also know these new accomplishments bring other special moments to share. Parents will recognize their own feelings painted through the lovely pages. This books is a great way to talk about your child’s development and achievements and might also address some fears they may have about growing up.

Happy Birthday, Hamster
picture book
36 pages
Scholastic

Birthdays are such an important thing for kids. The day is all about them. They want to feel special and they want their friends and family to feel excited for them too. Happy Birthday, Hamster follows Hamster and his friend dog as they do some errands: visit the bakery, toy store, and card shop. Hamster can only think about his birthday but dog just seems to be doing errands. But the surprise is on Hamster when they get home to find a party waiting. I love the story pattern in this boo: description of all the fun things in the shop, Hamster’s ideal choice, what dog ends up getting, then moving on to the next shop. The images are colourful and fun, the way a party book should feel. On the shop page the author uses rhymes to describe what’s in the shop, kids will love being pulled in when asked what they would choose.

I want to thank Crystal from Raincoast Books, Sylvia from Tundra Books and Nikole from Scholastic Canada for my review copies.

What are you reading with your kids today?

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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 EverythingMom.com.

New Books !

by Carrie Anne

Row, Row, Row Your Boat: A Teddy Bear Sing-Along Book
By David Ellwand
Silver Dolphin (Raincoast Books)
Board book
Age 0-3

Kids will love singing along to this large format board book showing stuffed teddy’s recreating the the scenes song in the famous childhood rhyme. For added fun there is a musical score that can be played along with each page, just press down on the speaker button found on the front page. I love that you can control whether you want to play the music or not versus it playing automatically on each page though I’m sure your child will want to play the song over and over (and over) again.

Hide and Seek Animals
DK Canada
Picture Book
Age 3-5

Search and find books can be a lot of fun for kids but many can be too complicated for little ones offering very intricate pictures to look at. This Hide and Seek Animals contains a collage of animals with a photo list of the animals to look for. Kids will enjoy searching for familiar animals like a dog as well as finding unique animals such as the Greenland shark. The images are photographs and although the picture contains a collection of animals to look at, they are large and not obstructed. The search and find exercise is more about animal recognition than finding something hidden. This is a great book to do together or to give your child to explore on their own for quiet time.

While You Are Sleeping
By Durga Bernhard
Picture Book
Age 3-8

If you’ve ever traveled to a different timezone or have family and friends in a different part of the world, you may have already talked about timezones with your child. While You Are Sleeping is a great way to illustrate this without getting all technical about the different times. This cute lift the flap book starts off with a mother and child reading a story one evening while on the other side of the world another child is getting dressed for the morning. Each picture has a map image worked into the illustration, showing where the activity is taking place (reading in Alaska, getting dressed in Nigeria). Lift the flap and it turns into a clock showing the time. There are very little words in this book. The concept of different times is illustrated wonderfully through images, maps and the little clock flaps. Not only does this address time, it also touches on geography and customs. The inside covers also have a map of the world with the timezones marked and a little illustration showing all the places you visited in the story. This was a fun book with beautiful illustrations that transporter us around the world.

Splish – Splash
Boxer Books/Sterling Publishing
By Nicola Smee
Picture Book
Age 3-5

Join Mr. Horse along with Cat, Dog, Pig and Duck in this fun adventure on the sea. As they row their little boat the waves get bigger — splish, splash — until everyone is knocked out of the boat. Not to worry, Mr. Horse brings everyone safely to shore only for all the friends to head back out to sea again. The large text and illustrations make this book seem bigger than life. You can almost feel the waves sloshing around on the pages. The playful use of text size as the waves get bigger adds to this feeling and the anticipation of what’s to come. This is just a fun book to read out loud with lots of repetitive words and cute characters.

I want to thank Crystal from Raincoast Books, Katie from Sterling Publishing, Donna from Charlesbridge and Chris from DK Canada for my review copies.

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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 EverythingMom.com.