Archive for Board Books

A TurtleAndRobot Book List: 15 Picture Books featuring Birds

It is not uncommon for a child to latch onto a specific subject and then focus intensely on that one thing for a time. When such obsessions begin, the book purchaser’s job suddenly becomes easier and imbued with a new sense of fun—any book containing that subject will be an instant winner. But once the obvious choices pertaining to that topic have been exhausted, choosing books can become a painful, and fruitless, process. Buyer beware- that T.V. tie-in title that pertains to your child’s interest may be tempting but I assure you there are always higher quality choices still undiscovered.

I compiled this list of fiction picture books for people with a bird-loving child in their lives. Angelo by David Macaulay, a phenomenal and underappreciated book, is about a pigeon that brightens the life of an elderly stone worker. Bob Staake’s Bluebird spotlights an attentive bird that befriends a boy who is being bullied by his classmates. Whether the cobalt-hued hero of Bluebird is an actual bluebird or just a bird that is blue isn’t made clear, but that won’t matter to those who choose this remarkable wordless picture book. The remaining titles feature generalized, i.e. not necessarily naturalistic birds of a recognizable breed, as their main characters.

 

Inch by InchInchByInch

Ages 3-7

By Leo Lionni

32 pages

Knopf

1960

1961 Caldecott Honor Book

 

Time FliesTimeFlies

Ages 3-7

By Eric Rohman

32 pages

Crown Publishers

1994

1995 Caldecott Honor Book

 

A Home for BirdHomeforBird

Ages 3-7

By Phil C. Stead

32 pages

Roaring Brook Press

2012

 

See TurtleAndRobot’s full review here.

 

Hello, My Name is RubyRuby

Ages 3-7

By Philip C. Stead

36 pages

Roaring Brook Press

2013

 

Flap Your WingsFlapYourWings

Ages 3-8

By P.D. Eastman

48 pages

Random House

1969

(Also by P.D. Eastman, Are You My Mother? and The Best Nest)

 

The BirdwatchersTheBirdwatchers

Ages 3-8

By Simon James

32 pages

Candlewick

2002

Out of print

 

Little Red BirdLittleRedBird

Ages 3-8

By Nick Bruel

32 pages

Roaring Brook Press

2008

 

Poppy and EllaPoppy&Ella

Ages 3-9

By Jef Kaminsky

48 pages

Disney-Hyperion

2000

Out of print

 

Franny B. Kranny, There’s a Bird in Your HairFrannyBKranny

Ages 3-9

Written by Harriet Lerner and Susan Goldhor

Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

40 pages

HarperCollins

2001

Out of print

 

13 Words13Words

Ages 4-7

Written by Lemony Snickett

Illustrated by Maira Kalman

40 pages

HarperCollins

2010

 

See TurtleAndRobot’s full review here.

 

Bluebird

Ages 4-8

By Bob Staake

40 pages

Schwartz & Wade

2013

 

A Funny Little Bird

Ages 4-8

By Jennifer Yerkes

48 pages

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

2013

 

Feathers for LunchFeathersForLunch

Ages 4-9

By Lois Ehlert

36 pages

HMH Books for Young Readers

1996

 

AngeloAngelo

Ages 4-9

By David Macaulay

48 pages

HMH Books for Young Readers

2006

 

The Life of BirdsLifeofBirds

Ages 5 and up

By Quentin Blake

80 pages

Doubleday UK

2005

Out of print

Comments (3) »

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh: A playful lesson in primary colors.

Mouse PaintMouse Paint Cover-001

Board Book

Ages Birth to 3

By Ellen Stoll Walsh

16 pages

Harcourt

1995

 

 

This lighthearted, simple story is also a lesson in primary colors. Three white mice are able to conceal themselves against a sheet of white paper and become invisible to a sleek, gray cat. But when the inquisitive mice discover three paint jars—one red, one yellow and one blue—they nearly blow their cover!

Thinking the jars they’ve discovered are for painting themselves, the three adventurous mice jump right in.

Mouse Paint Int 1-001

Their paint drips onto the paper creating bright puddles of color, inspiring the mice to play.

As each mouse—boldly adorned in a primary hue—dances, hops or jumps in the puddles, new and wonderful colors are created.

The illustrations, done in cut-paper collage, are set against a white background and clearly differentiate each vivid color.  The clean and unembellished design is incredibly pleasing; Walsh manages to make a seemingly basic array of primary and secondary colors seem like a celebration.

Each lesson in color mixing is given two full spreads, allowing children time to process how the new colors are made.

Mouse Paint Int 2

Mouse Paint Int 3-001

After all the playing in the paint, the mice are feeling sticky and give themselves a bath in the cat’s water bowl.

Mouse Paint Int 4-001

Readers are given a helpful reminder on how to create the new colors when the newly cleaned mice decide to continue painting. This time they use the paper instead of themselves and, learning from their past experience, they leave a little bit of white so that they may continue hiding from the cat.

Mouse Paint Int 5

Walsh’s masterful technique at introducing a basic concept is quite likely to prompt little ones to explore color and art, painting and drawing.

 

View the book!

IndieBound / Powell’s / Amazon

 

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A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na: A beautiful slumber inducer.

A Book of SleepDSC02005

Board Book

Ages Birth-3

By Il Sung Na

24 pages

Knopf

2011

 

 

 

In Il Sung Na’s first picture book, A Book of Sleep, he utilizes a mix of hand painting and computer enhancement to create soothingly beautiful illustrations. Intricate designs and complex textures are etched into his bold, simple artwork; lovely little details implore the reader to fully inspect each spread. His rich, saturated palette captures the blue hues of night and, in the last two spreads, the golden brightness of day. The simple, direct text describes the different ways in which several animals sleep—an ideal topic for bedtime.

 

The book opens: “When the sky grows dark and he moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep…except for the watchful owl.”

Over the next several pages, readers learn that some animals sleep in peace and quiet; other animals make lots of noises.

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Some animals sleep standing up, while others sleep on the move.

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There are animals that sleep with one eye open and some that sleep with both eyes open!

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Some animals sleep alone; other animals sleep huddled in groups.

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The sharp-eyed owl appears throughout the book—sometimes sitting plainly on a tree branch, sometimes hidden among the slumbering animals—and children will delight in locating the hidden observer. 

“But when the sky turns blue and the sun glows bright…everyone wakes up! Except for the tired owl.”

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Na’s gorgeous art engenders peaceful feelings; the serene nighttime scenes will surely set the stage for little ones to demonstrate favorite sleeping positions of their own.

 

View the book!

IndieBound / Powell’s / Amazon

Comments (8) »

Happy World Penguin Day! Here’s ten books to celebrate with.

Earlier today I discovered that it’s World Penguin Day. Though I had no idea such a day existed, I happen to love penguins. The penguin room at the Central Park Zoo is one of my favorite places in New York City.

So, in honor of this sacred day and my love for these utterly delightful creatures, I present ten of my favorite books featuring penguins.

 

Your Personal PenguinPersonalPenguin

Board Book

Ages Birth to 4

By Sandra Boynton

24 pages

Workman

2006

 

I’ve mentioned before, and can’t stress enough, how much I adore Sandra Boynton; her books—full of humorous stories, adorable characters, and warm, fuzzy feelings—are perfect for babies and toddlers. Her straightforward text and instantly recognizable, simple art is utterly appealing and completely irresistible.

In this heartwarming story, a darling little penguin is attempting to endear himself to an initially confused, eventually amenable, hippopotamus.

“Now, lots of other penguins seem to be fine in a universe of nothing but ice. But if I could be yours, and you could be mine, our cozy little world would be twice as nice. I want to be Your Personal Penguin.”

Who could truly resist such an offer?

View on Amazon

 

A Penguin StoryPenguinStory

Picture Book

Ages 2-6

By Antoinette Portis

40 pages

HarperCollins

2008

 

As with Portis’s other books (Not a Box and Not a Stick), she uses limited colors and produces beautifully austere, perfectly textured art.

Edna is a small and inquisitive penguin. She’s surrounded by white—the ice and snow, black—the night, and blue—the sky and the water. When she goes searching for more color, she finds an orange tent.

She brings some of her penguin friends to check it out and one of the human researchers inhabiting the tent gives Edna an orange glove. She dons it as a hat and wonders what other colors the world might have to offer.

View on Amazon

 

Penguin and Pinecone: A Friendship StoryPenguin&Pinecone

Picture Book

Ages 2-6

By Salina Yoon

40 pages

Walker

2012

 

Yoon’s bold, cartoon-y illustrations and sparse text combine to produce an endearing story of friendship and patience.

When Penguin found Pinecone he didn’t know what it was but it seemed like it was cold, so he knit a scarf for it. Grandpa explains to Penguin that pinecones live in forests, not in the snow.

Penguin is sad but he must do what’s best for Pinecone, and he returns him to the forest. Later, when Penguin comes back to visit his friend, he discovers that Pinecone has grown, and so has Penguin’s love for Pinecone.

View the book trailer!

View on Amazon

 

Lost and Found Lost&Found

Picture Book

Ages 2-7

By Oliver Jeffers

32 pages

Philomel

2005

 

Oliver Jeffers’s, This Moose Belongs to Me (2012) was a NYTimes Bestseller. His soft, calming art is crisp and expressive.

“Once there was a boy who found a penguin at his door.”

The boy, thinking the penguin is lost, sets out to find out where this quiet bird belongs. He learns that penguins live at the South Pole; the boy and the bird make the trip together.

Once at their destination the boy learns his new friend wasn’t lost at all, just lonely, and the two friends decide to stick together.

View on Amazon

 

Tacky the PenguinTackythePenguin

Picture Book

Ages 3-8

By Helen Lester

Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

32 pages

Sandpiper

1990

 

This pair has created some wonderful books together; Tacky the Penguin was one of my favorite books to sell. Lester’s stories are touching and funny and Munsinger’s art is whimsical and vibrant.

Tacky is not like the other penguins. They wear bowties, he wears a Hawaiian shirt; they are quiet and polite, Tacky is loud and graceless. But it’s Tacky’s odd behavior that scares off a pack of hunters and saves them all.

View on Amazon

 

The Emperor Lays an Eggemperorlaysanegg

Non-fiction

Picture Book

Ages 4-8

By Brenda Z. Guiberson

Illustrated by Joan Paley

32 pages

Owelet

2004

 

Clear text and luscious collage art take us through a year in the life of Emperor penguins—their harsh environment, their family dynamic and their eating habits.

After the mother lays the egg, the father must carefully roll the egg onto his feet and keep it warm. Once the egg hatches, both parents must work diligently to feed the chick and keep it safe and warm. The chick will make its first swim during the short summer, then the whole family must fatten up for the approaching winter.

This informative non-fiction book is also a beautiful storybook.

View on Amazon

 

If You Were a PenguinIfYouWereAPenguin

Picture Book

Ages 4-9

By Florence Minor

Illustrated by Wendell Minor

32 Pages

Katherine Tegen Books

2008

 

With playful, rhyming text and lush, detailed art, this husband and wife team takes readers on a journey through some of the fun activities a penguin experiences—diving, swimming, and sliding on the ice, to name a few.

There’s also a visual key to the ten different species of penguins found in this book and resources for learning more about penguins.

View on Amazon

 

One Cool FriendOneCoolFriend

Picture Book

Ages 4-9

By Toni Buzzeo

Illustrated by David Small

32 pages

Dial

2012

 

Small’s clean, loose line drawings and restricted palette bring Buzzeo’s spare and quirky text to life.

Young Eliot visits the zoo with his father and decides to bring one of the penguins home with him! His father—easily distracted and often otherwise engaged—doesn’t seem to notice the new resident at his house, or so readers are lead to believe.

View on Amazon

 

The Adventures of Marco and PoloDSC01831

Picture Book

Ages 4-10

By Dieter Wiesmuller

40 pages

Walker

2000

Out of print

 

Stunningly beautiful, sumptuous paintings cover every page of this over-sized picture book.

Polo Penguin and Marco Monkey meet when Marco’s cruise ship arrives in Antarctica. Marco is amazed at all the icy sites Polo introduces him to; he’s also amazed at how cold he is.

When Marco says he must go home Polo decides to travel with him since he’s eager to learn all about Marco’s home. The lush, green world is very different from his icy blue environs, and so, so hot!

The two friends would like to be together but realize they must each return to their own home; now they each have a pen pal.

View on Amazon

 

And Tango Makes ThreeTango

Picture Book

Ages 4-10

By Justin Richardson

and Peter Parnell

Illustrated by Henry Cole

32 pages

Simon & Schuster

2005

 

This beautiful book is based on a true story about an unorthodox family at the Central Park Zoo. Soft, realistic watercolors adorn this uplifting and sweet story.

While all the other mated penguins are tending to their newly laid eggs, Roy and Silo—two male penguins—find a rock to care for together. The zookeeper notices their activities and trades the rock for a penguin egg in need of nurturing.

The two take turns caring for the fragile egg and before long their daughter Tango is born.

View on Amazon

 

Mr. Popper’s PenguinsMrPoppersPenguins

Middle Reader

Ages 5-12

By Richard & Florence Atwater

Illustrated by Robert Lawson

140 pages

Originally published: 1938

Reprint edition: Little, Brown

1992

 

This fantastically ridiculous story—and 1939 Newbury Honor book— was illustrated by the extremely talented Robert Lawson (The Story of Ferdinand). 

Mr. Popper wishes he’d seen more of the world before he married Mrs. Popper. He spends his spare time reading and daydreaming about Arctic explorers. Then one of those explorers sends him a penguin in response to a fan letter!

When that penguin gets lonely, the Poppers acquire another lonely penguin to be his mate; eventually the pair produces ten more penguins. And that’s when Mr. Popper starts touring the “Popper’s Performing Penguins, First Time on Any Stage, Direct from the South Pole” show.

And hilarity ensues.

This is not only an excellent read-aloud book for the whole family, but also an enjoyable (and quick) book for any reader who loves to laugh.

View on Amazon

Comments (11) »

My top thirteen books for Halloween, from board to young adult.

Five Little Pumpkins

Board

Ages birth to 3

By Dan Yaccarino

16 pages

HarperFestival

1998

Dan Yaccarino’s art is bright and bold and features expressive pumpkins, a ghost, a witch and a black cat. Based on the popular rhyme and finger play, this book offers a great opportunity to learn about colors, expressions and counting to five.

 

One, Two Boo

Board/ Lift-the-Flap

Ages 18 months to 3 years

by Kristen L. Depken

Illustrated by Claudine Gevry

12 pages

Golden Books

2009

Meet a ghost, a cat and other traditional Halloween characters as you count your way through this lift-the-flap haunted house.

 

Spooky ABC

(Originally published as Halloween ABC in 1987)

Picture Book

Ages 3-6

By Eve Mirriam

Illustrated by Lane Smith

32 pages

Simon and Schuster

2002

This Halloween themed alphabet book features a varied array of spooky items and creatures. F is for fiend, N is for nightmare, and X is for a xylophone made of bones. They’re all creepily and perfectly illustrated by the unmistakably talented Lane Smith.

 

Dem Bones

Picture Book

Ages 2-6

By Bob Barner

32 pages

Chronicle Books

1996

White skeletons, set against bright backgrounds, play instruments while teaching young listeners how all our bones connect. This picture book version of the Bones song features additional information about each of the bones as well.

 

Georgie

Picture Book

Ages 2-7

By Robert Bright

48 pages

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

1999

Originally published in 1944, Georgie is not strictly a Halloween book, but it is a great story about a ghost. Every house has a ghost. Georgie loves his house, all its squeaks and its owners. So when some of the squeaks and creaks get fixed, Georgie decides its time to find another house. After searching and searching, Georgie soon realizes he loves his house best.

 

Hallo-weiner

Picture Book

Ages 3-7

By Dav Pilkey

32 pages

Scholastic

1999

This is one of my favorite Halloween books. Dav Pilkey’s story is sweet and hilarious; his illustrations are colorful, and cartoon-y. The other dogs laugh at Oscar, a dachshund, because he’s so short and long. The teasing gets worse when Oscar’s mother dresses him as a hotdog for Halloween. But it’s Oscar that saves the night after the other dogs are chased into a lake by two mean cats.

 

The Halloween Play

(Originally published as The Halloween Performance in 1990)

Picture Book

Ages 3-8

By Felicia Bond

32 pages

HarperCollins

2008

Roger has a small and very important part in the school’s Halloween play. This adorable book follows all the pre-show jitters and anticipation through to the performance and post show excitement. Using warm colors to depict tiny Halloween characters, this book could easily become a year-round favorite.

 

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Picture Book

Ages 4 to 8

By Linda Williams

Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

32 pages

HarperCollins

1988

When the little old lady is followed home by an empty pair of shoes, she tells them, “I’m not afraid of you!” Soon a pair of pants, then a shirt, and a pumpkin head joins them, and they’re all following her! The little old lady is still not afraid, and after rounding them all up, she has a lovely scarecrow for her garden. Lloyd’s bright, colorful folk art is a perfect complement to this spooky story with a funny ending.

 

Dragon’s Halloween

Early Reader

Ages 4-8

By Dav Pilkey

48 pages

Scholastic

1995

This is another one of my favorite Halloween books. It contains three tales about Dragon and his Halloween adventures: “Six Small Pumpkins,” “The Costume Party” and “The Deep Dark Woods.” Dragon is one of my favorite early reader characters. He’s sweet, funny, adorable and endearing. The stories are wonderful and the art is irresistibly delightful.

 

Ed Emberly’s Drawing Book of Halloween

Activity Book

Ages 6 to 12

By Ed Emberly

32 pages

LB Kids

2006

Ed Emberly leads young and aspiring artists, shape by shape, through the steps to drawing spooky characters and scenes. A great book for the family to share.

 

Little Monsters Cookbook

Activity Book

Ages 6-12

By Zac Williams

64 pages

Gibs Smith

2010

Features thirty recipes for Halloween, or anytime kids want a spooky snack. Some of the recipes are simple and others more complicated to accommodate a range of ages. Large colorful photographs accompany all the recipes in this spiral-bound (genius!) cookbook.

 

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Middle Reader

Ages 8-13

By John Bellairs

179 pages

Puffin

2004

(Originally published in 1973)

John Bellairs (1938-1991) was an amazing storyteller who wrote adventurous tales of terror. This is the first book in the Lewis Barnavelt series. After Lewis’s parents die, he goes to live with his uncle in an old, large mansion full of secret passageways. The previous owner of the house was an evil wizard who planted a clock inside its walls, counting down to the end of the world. When Lewis accidentally awakens the dead on Halloween night, the clock begins ticking even faster.

 

Halloween Tree

Young Adult

Ages 10 to 16

By Ray Bradbury

160 pages

Yearling

1999

(Originally published in 1972)

In this eerie tale set on Halloween, eight costumed boys are lead through time and space by Mr. Moundshroud. While searching for their friend Pipkin, who was swept up by a dark something, the boys get a glimpse of how other, sometimes ancient, cultures celebrated this time of year.

Comments (9) »

Jamberry: A book you’ll read again and again.

Jamberry

 

Board book

Birth-2 years old

By Bruce Degen

32 pages

HarperCollins Publisher

1983

 

This is a perfect book and holds a permanent spot on “my top twenty books for a baby” list.

The illustrations are colorful, detailed and whimsical. And there are fun things going on in the background to point out and talk about.

The text has a flawless rhyming pace, making almost any adult feel like the most practiced preschool teacher or librarian while reading it aloud. When there’s a perfect rhythm to follow you can almost sing the words, making it that much more fun to read.

Jamberry is a simple story about a boy and a bear going berry picking and the friends they meet along the way. They travel down a river in a canoe, dance in meadows, hop on a train, and take part in a Berryband concert! Then, an already perfect day of berry picking and festivities draws to a close with fireworks.

Be prepared—little ones will want to hear this story over and over and over.

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Comments (2) »

I am a Bunny: A frolicking bunny in red overalls.

I am a Bunny

 

Board

Birth-3 years old

By Olé Risom

Illustrated by Richard Scarry

26 pages

Golden Books

Originally published in 1963

 

Richard Scarry (rhymes with hairy) is best known for his Busy Town books. In Cars and Trucks and Things That Go he uses animal characters to introduce people and their professions, automobiles, machines, transportation and buildings. The illustrations in those books are detailed and accurate, as well as brightly colored.

The illustrations in this book are richer than his usual style; though they evoke the same joyous feelings that all his books share. The palette changes with the seasons and is always luminous. Each page is a work of art. And you get to experience the year of a young, frolicking bunny in red overalls!

“I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas. I live in a hollow tree.”

Thus begins the perfectly simple story, which follows Nicholas the bunny through each of the four seasons.

In the spring he likes to pick flowers and chase butterflies. In the summer he likes to lie in the sun and watch the birds.

In the fall he watches the leaves fall from the trees. In the winter he likes to watch the snow falling (me too!).

“Then I curl up in my hollow tree and dream about spring.”

I am a Bunny should be one of many Richard Scarry books in every young reader’s collection.

View on Amazon

Comments (4) »

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