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.

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.


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

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

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?


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

New Book Releases

by Carrie Anne

Numbers Board Book
written and illustrated by Thierry Laval
board book
Chronicle Books

Number books aren’t new, but how the content is displayed can vary. At first look, Numbers displays the numerical form of the numbers 1 to 10 on each page in large simple writing. The number is reinforced by an image illustrating that number and the sentence below which contains the number in written form: One Spider. But the book doesn’t end there. Each number is on a large flap. When your child lifts the flap they find another image related to the first one in both number and theme. One Spider and…One Witch. Now kids can count images on the initial page and inside the flap, adding additional counting fun. And who doesn’t love to see what’s behind a flap.

City Numbers

words by Joanne Schwartz, photos by Matt Beam
picture book
age 3-5
Groundwood Books

Most number concept books I’ve come across consist of child-like illustrations but our kids see numbers all around them in everyday life. City Numbers is based on photographs of numbers found in the city. I love how it shows that numbers aren’t just things in books but are used everywhere. Each spread consists of a full page photo of the actual number in a real surrounding: on a hydro pole, a store window, the sidewalk. The other side of the page has the number appear both in numeric and written form. It’s on a clean, white background to avoid confusion and add focus to the illustration. There’s no counting but kids will love pointing out the number in the photograph. In smaller type explains the photo, what it is, where it’s taken, what material the number is printed on. The numbers go up to 20 and also include other not so common counting number (but ones we see every day): 1/2, 2.5%, 2nd, even a long upc number at the end. After you’ve gone through the City Numbers book, why not explore your neighbourhood to see what numbers you can find.

American Museum of Natural History
board book
Sterling Publishing

Get kids excited about their alphabet using their love of dinosaurs with the ABCDinsosaurs board book from the American Museum of Natural History. This large format board book shares 26 dinosaur species, one for each letter of the alphabet. The dinosaurs are illustrated with a large colourful letter of the alphabet and the name appears below (first letter emphasized). Your little paleontologist might even discover a few dinosaurs they’ve never heard of before.

Dolphin’s Discovery (Jumbo Jigsaw Storybooks)

Imagine Publishing
age 3-5
A storybook. A lift-the-flap book. A puzzle. Dolphin’s Discovery from Imagine Publishing is all of these. Kids will enjoying going on a simple adventure under the sea with Dophin and her friends. As Dophin encounters a problem, one of her ocean friends has a solution: Dophin can’t see inside a dark ship; Electric Eel offers some light. Each spread offers two small flaps with a question about the story on the top and the answer underneath. This is a nice way to make the story interactive, asking them questions about elements in the story, some requiring them find or count images on a page. My 4-year old loved these. For added fun, there are six 15-piece puzzles embedded within the story. Each puzzle is of the ocean friends. The image underneath is an exact duplicate of the puzzle, making it easier for younger kids to match where the pieces go. Also, should a piece go missing (and they will) the printed image helps detract from the story like a blank space would. All size animal puzzles interconnect to make a giant floor puzzle too. A perfect companion for the cottage.

Rocket Town
written and illustrated by Bob Logan
Raincoast Books
board book
Who doesn’t love rockets? I’m an adult and I still think they’re pretty cool. The story within Rocket Town is simple, about a man and his dog heading to Rocket Town to find the perfect rocket just for them. While driving trough town they see all sorts of different rockets — big and small, ones that go up and down — which are illustrated in the text as well as the imagery. I love the illustrations in this book; very retro in design and colour. My 4 and 6 year old loved looking for the various rockets found on the pages, some more obvious than others. The big payout, and the pages your child will want to read over and over again, is countdown and blast off when the man and his dog eventually find the perfect rocket just for them. The book is simple and fun for kids but the design makes it something that even adults won’t mind reading over and over again.

I want to thank Crystal at Raincoast Books, Trish at Groundwood Books, Katie at Sterling Publishing, and Donna at Charlesbridge publishing.


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

New Book Releases!

by Carrie Anne

My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers
Raincoast Books
board book
Have you ever walked by construction and seen your child’s face fill with awe? Bulldozers. Backhoes. Graders. Construction vehicles are mezmorizing to kids, boys and girls. My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers is a sturdy board book with full colour photos of some of those big Caterpillar vehicles. Each spread focuses on one vehicle, offer it’s name in big bold letters with a full image along with a page that focuses on key aspects of the vehicle. You’ll find a close-up of the wheel or the boom ripper. Kids will love testing their knowledge on the vehicle names and the different vehicle parts. I liked that some of the vehicles were ones that I had never heard of (though perhaps construction junkie kids might know them already).
snuggle bunny
Raincoast Books
board book with puppet
Bedtime is the perfect time to snuggle together and enjoy a book. Let’s Get Ready for Bedtime! Snuggle Bunny follows a collection of stuffed animals as they get ready for bed. The story goes through a typical bedtime routine of tidying-up and brushing your teeth. Little ones will enjoy interacting with Snuggle Bunny, a hand puppet that is built into the middle of the book (the hole in the book enables Snuggle Bunny to appear on each page). The puppet doesn’t fit like a snug puppet so even dad’s hand would fit. I found the puppet not easy to control but I think just having the bunny there and moving around was enough to entrance my youngest. My little one even enjoyed retelling the story as she manipulated the bunny puppet.
Little Critter Numbers
Sterling Publishing
board book
I’m not a fan of character books like Dora or Clifford, but my kids love them and if these characters entice my kids into books, that can’t be a bad thing. Fans of Little Critter will enjoy counting with the Numbers board book. The book is a simple number concept book, offering both the numerical and written form of the numbers one to ten for number recognition. Each number is also represented by an animal for kids to count. Although there is no written story in the book, a story still exists in the form of following Little Critter through a visit to the zoo, taking pictures and counting the animals on his visit.
Rockin’ Babies
Sterling Publishing
board book
Not all parents are about fluffy white sheep and singing flowers. Some parents are about a little rock and roll and Rockin’ Babies lets them share their love in a fun cheeky way with their little ones. This cute illustrated board book takes typical baby moments, like having their photo taken by loving family or banging around on pots and pans, and puts a fun rockstar twist to it.
Disclosure : All books provided free to Carrie Anne  for review by publishers.
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