These are the books we are looking forward to reading and sharing with Tilly and Marian in March (the ones marked with a double asterisk are ones we especially loved).
Color Train by David Miles (Familius, 1 March, 2019).**
Publisher’s description: All aboard the Color Train! Join Mary Cassatt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and the rest of the world’s most famous artists on a colorful train ride that teaches both essential colors and iconic works of art. This adorable two-in-one board book unfolds into a 56″ train (perfect for playtime or room decor!) A handy velcro clasp keeps everything snuggly shut when reading time is over.
Margaret’s review: Art books are a must for us, and we love this primer on colors and art! Marian especially likes that it folds out into a train. We’re giving a full review of this book later in March.
Mighty Mighty Construction Site Sound Book by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle Books, 5 March, 2019).
Publisher description: The #1 New York Times bestselling team behind Mighty, Mighty Construction Site brings readers the mighty—and sleepy—sounds of a busy construction site! Lightly abridged and revised from the original text, this playful board book includes a sound bar with five fun sounds—vroom, yay, glug, beep, yawn—that lend interactive fun to the setting of the hit picture book.
Jen’s review: I’m not generally a fan of toys and books that make sounds, but the noises in this book are cute and bearable rather than grating, even after multiple listens. This is high praise for noises from a children’s product. It probably helps that I like the book. Tilly is fascinated by construction and heavy machinery so this is a great book for her.
Fox & Chick: The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier (Chronicle Books, 5 March, 2019).**
Publisher description: In the second book of this lauded series, Fox and Chick are off on three new adventures involving a boat ride, a mysterious box, and an early morning trip to see the sunrise. Despite the antics ensuing from their opposite personalities, the contradictory duo always manages to find a happy center. This early chapter book in comic-book form is perfect for emerging readers, while the sweet and funny characters and captivating art hold appeal for picturebook audiences as well.
Jen’s review: Oh my gosh I LOVE this book. I love the stories, and the pictures, and I utterly adore the friendship between Fox and Chick. The way Fox gets exasperated by Chick and yet remains friends with him kind of reminds me of my husband and I. Fox is sensible, and Chick has a wild imagination and is a bit of a knob. This is pretty much my marriage and possibly why I like this book so much. The characters are endearing. The first book in the series, Fox & Chick: The Party and Other Stories, recently won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, and this book is a worthy follow-up.
Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (Dial Books, 5 March, 2019)
Publisher description: In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty.
Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does.
This emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated picture book explores one girl’s powerful act of friendship in the midst of an unknown situation.
Margaret’s review: I haven’t read this yet, but the book’s description makes me tear up, which probably means I’m going to get all weepy when I read it to Marian. She will not notice.
The Human Body (PlayTabs) by Stephanie Babin (Chronicle Books, 5 March, 2019)**
Publisher description: Big, sturdy tabs to push and pull make for great learning fun in this brand-new nonfiction series. Preschool children learn how special their bodies are in this innovative format, featuring three pull-tabs on each spread. Pull a tab to see how to take care of your body or what our five senses are, and push a tab to take a close look at an X-ray of a skeleton! With just the right amount of age-appropriate information, Body is the perfect title to add to any young child’s library of nonfiction books.
Jen’s review: Great book! The tabs to push and pull are fun to use and are sturdy enough for 16-month-old fingers to not destroy (well, given enough time and determination I’m sure Tilly will destroy it, but she’s read this under supervision and so far it’s faring better than some of our lift-the-flap books). I love how it’s a well-rounded look at the human body and health, and includes not just things like what various body parts are but also the importance of healthy eating and bathroom hygiene.
Almost Everybody Farts by Marty Kelley (Sterling Children’s Books, 5 March, 2019).
Publisher description: Grandmas fart. Teachers fart. Terrifying creatures fart. But . . . is there someone who DOESN’T fart?
With sly humor, this fun board book looks at a subject that’s sure to make children laugh: farting. With silent farts, farts like horns, and rainbow farts from unicorns, Almost Everybody Farts comically captures the gassy scene. And only one person insists she’s fart-free: MOM! But is she? Kids will insist on reading this rhyming story again and again.
Margaret’s review: I don’t have this book yet, though the publisher says it’s on the way. I’m going to admit: I love funny books, and my sense of humor can be a bit, well, base. Ha! In other words, I’m probably going to find this funnier than Marian, especially since she has no idea yet that farts are funny.
Let’s Learn Japanese: First Words for Everyone by Aurora Cacciapuoti (Chronicle Books, 5 March, 2019)
Publisher description: An accessible introduction to the rich language and culture of Japan, this tote-able Japanese language collection makes an artful addition to any library, as well as an ideal travel primer and companion for aspiring Japanese speakers. Pairing words and characters with whimsical illustrations, each section features examples of word pronunciation, the three main Japanese writing systems (kanji, hiragana, and katakana), and common Japanese elements. At once instructive and a joy to behold, Let’s Learn Japanese is a go-to gift for the world traveler and language learner.
Jen’s review: This is definitely a bit old for Tilly and other baby librarians who really are still babies, but it’s a gorgeous book. I love the style of illustration, and it’s a great introduction to Japanese. There are common/useful words, a pronunciation guide, and is basically a very pretty primer for a complicated language.
Side by Side by Chris Raschka (Phaidon Press, 11 March, 2019).**
Publisher description: King and Jester, Boat and Captain, Mountain and Climber… fathers and children are all of these things and more in Chris Raschka’s tribute to this familial pair. Each stanza presents three scenarios in which the father and child’s roles are subtly balanced. The pairs vary between stanzas, coming together in a visit to an ice-cream truck. With minimal text and maximum emotion, the book encapsulates Raschka’s own passion and nostalgia for being a father to his [now-grown] son.
Jen’s review: A sweet and beautiful book, not so much one for reading aloud (I know I harp on all the time about whether something is good for reading aloud but seriously, I spend A LOT of my days reading aloud) but a great one for the artwork and message. I love the depiction of the father-child relationship, as it is sweet and heartfelt without being overly sentimental and sappy. I hate the sappy books. I also like the diversity of characters portrayed in this.
You Are New by Lucy Knisley (Chronicle Books, 12 March, 2019)
Publisher description: A world of being new is waiting for little ones and the grown-ups who love them in this warm and funny book perfect for baby showers. From napping to crying, cuddling to playing, this book introduces the world with humor, honesty, and unmitigated sweetness. Award-winning author and artist Lucy Knisley celebrates the joys of having—and being!—a baby in this timeless celebration of new beginnings and the transformative power of love.
Jen’s review: A lovely and sweet book that isn’t sentimental and sappy (so basically the only sweet books I like). The pictures are gorgeous and this is a wonderful ‘welcome to the world’ kind of book. It’s cute and funny and the thing I like most about it is that it doesn’t stop at the newborn stage and the ways that things are new grow with the child.
The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram, illustrated by Meera Sethi (Penny Candy Books, 12 March, 2019).
Publisher’s description: In The Yellow Suitcase by Meera Sriram, Asha travels with her parents from America to India to mourn her grandmother’s passing. Asha’s grief and anger are compounded by the empty yellow suitcase usually reserved for gifts to and from Grandma, but when she discovers a gift left behind just for her, Asha realizes that the memory of her grandmother will live on inside her, no matter where she lives.
Margaret’s review: This is such a lovely book about morning for the loss of grandparent, particularly a grandparent that lives in a different country. The author says in the back that the story relates her own family’s experience when her children’s first grandparent died in India, when her children had been raised in California. It’s a colorful, memorable book.
One is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra (Chronicle Books, 12 March, 2019).
Publisher description: One is a rainbow. One is a cake. One is a piñata that’s ready to break! In this lively picture book, a companion to the Pura Belpré–honored Green Is a Chile Pepper, children discover a fiesta of numbers in the world around them, all the way from one to ten: Two are maracas and cold ice creams, six are salsas and flavored aguas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this vibrant book enumerates the joys of counting and the wonders that abound in every child’s day!
Jen’s review: One of the more joyful counting books I’ve read! I love the bright illustrations in this, and how festive and food-related the scenes and objects are. I’m a big fan of the food. I’m tempted to ask Tilly’s baby-sitter, who speaks Spanish, to read this with us so I can learn the correct pronunciations.
B is for Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank (Candlewick Press, 12 March, 2019).
Publisher description: One morning after breakfast, Baby’s big brother is getting ready to take the basket of bananas all the way to Baba’s bungalow in the next village. He’ll have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds, and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. But what he doesn’t realize is that his very cute, very curious baby sibling has stowed away on his bicycle. Little ones learning about language will love sounding out the words in this playful, vibrantly illustrated story set in West Africa.
Jen’s review: I loved Baby Goes to Market, Atinuke’s previous book, and this one is a fabulous follow-up. A gorgeous story of two sibling going to visit their grandfather, all centred around the letter ‘B’. This is a fun read-aloud one with some great first words and pictures.
Hello Honeybees by Hannah Rogge, illustrated by Emily Dove (Chronicle Books, 19 March, 2019).
Publisher description: Nature lovers will adore this ingenious board book that transforms into a stand-up beehive! Simply “fly” the two bee characters attached to ribbons through the beautifully illustrated pages to visit a garden, tour the beehive, and see how honey is made. Full of playful and informative touches, this book is a sweet introduction to the hardworking honeybee that will have young readers buzzing to learn more.
Jen’s review: A cute interactive board book that I think covers an important environmental issue: how important bees are to our survival. This isn’t so much a book that’s good for the story or characters but it’s a fantastic informational one.
Margaret’s review: Marian also enjoys this book, mainly for the bees. They’re such fun to play with. I imagine she’ll enjoy it a bit more in a few months when I can ask her to move the bees and she will (instead of flinging them around wildly).
Pigs in a Blanket by Hans Wilhelm, illustrated by Erica Salcedo (Chronicle Books, 19 March, 2019).
Publisher description: Three little piglets are all bundled up and as cozy as can be. Open the “blanket” flaps of this novelty board book and help the piglets start their day! Young readers will follow their wacky antics and ever-changing wardrobes as these energetic pigs jump, prance, and dance through a fun-filled day before finally climbing back into bed again. A delightful rhyme reinforces key daily rituals and the importance of winding down the day and going to sleep.
Jen’s review: This book passes the read-aloud test. It’s a short and cute one to read aloud, not my favourite ever in the whole wide world in terms of read-aloudability, but it’s definitely up there as a great one to read. I like the details in the pictures, and the fact that there’s a ‘blanket’ around the book is adorable.
Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesdays by Jon Stahl, illustrated by Tadgh Bentley (Scholastic, 26 March, 2019). **
Publisher’s review: “Once upon a time,” begins the big blue monster who is trying to tell a fabulous story. “It needs to be about a kid who is eaten by a dragon,” he insists. But his little monster friend is not convinced that this is a good idea. “Dragon stories usually don’t end well,” he warns.
As the two monsters argue over how the story should go, a hungry dragon named Dennis is listening nearby. Dennis knows exactly how this story should go… And by the way, what day is it? Watch out!
Margaret’s review: This is such a funny picture book about how to tell a story. There are so many ways to tell a story! So many funny ways. I had an advance review of this where all the pages are separate, and I’m going to need to pick this one up in hardback.
You Are Light by Aaron Becker (Candlewick, 26 March, 2019).
Publisher description: With a wondrously simple die-cut book, the Caldecott Honor–winning creator of the Journey trilogy brings his talents further into the light.
This is the light that brings the day.
Open this beautiful book to find a graphic yellow sun surrounded by a halo of bright die-cut circles. Now hold the page up to the light and enjoy the transformation as the colors in those circles glow. In an elegant, sparely narrated ode to the phenomenon of light, Aaron Becker follows as light reflects off the earth to warm our faces, draws up the sea to make the rain, feeds all the things that grow, and helps to create all the brilliant wonders of the world, including ourselves.
Margaret’s review: This book is cool! It’s been raining every day since I received it, but it’s finally sunny today so I plan to take it outside and see how all the colored cut-outs reflect. This is such a cool idea for a toddler.
Publisher’s description for Dragons Are Real: This Mythical Creatures board book offers babies and toddlers a glimpse into the colorful, whimsical world of dragons. Discover what makes them so magical!
Moonlight and courage and sparks, oh my! That’s what dragons are made of. Did you know that dragons don’t just breathe fire…they sneeze it? Or that they love to barbecue–even their vegetables? Fantasy lovers will be tickled to learn all sorts of “facts” about these Mythical Creatures in Holly Hatam’s (#1 New York Times bestselling illustrator) unique new series. Look for Unicorns are Real, too!
Margaret’s review: I do not have a review copy of this one, but both of these board books look so cute! I’m a sucker for fantasy books, both children’s and adult’s. 🙂
We have more recommendations from this year!