ages 3 – 6



                               

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Dawn and I were pleased to have the opportunity to serve as Cybils judges once again, Dawn for the Fiction Picture book category, and me in Middle-Grade Fiction.

The results are in! The winners have been announced in categories from graphic novel, to app, to YA, fiction and non-fiction. Check them out for a good read with the perfect blend of literary merit and kid-appeal.

I always look at the finalist lists as a special bonus. There are no losers, so be sure to check out the complete list of finalists for even more books to love.



                               

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Unique Picture Books from Little Gestalten {Review & #Giveaway}

Last fall, Gestalten, a German publisher best known for art, architecture, photography, and design books, launched a U.S. imprint for children’s books. The selection available so far from Little Gestalten leaves me confident that they will be an incredible resource for interesting and appealing children’s literature, with a unique aesthetic. I received five of their new offerings for review, and all are up for grabs in today’s super giveaway. The Zoo’s Grand Opening: An ABC and Counting Book by Judith Drews (ages 3-8) A zookeeper and his assistant await the arrival of twenty-six animals for their newly built zoo at the beginning of this picture book. In rhyming verse, each animal is described with some subtle humor in the text and the illustrations. With each page turn, a new animal
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Paddington in the Pages

Are your kids excited about the new Paddington movie? Judging from the previews, it veers from the book significantly, but I think it opens up the door to share some of the classic — or new — stories with them. Harper Collins sent me some new books with an obvious tie-in with the movie, some reprints and others all new, that are specially targeted to toddlers, preschoolers, and independent readers: Paddington Bear All Day Board Book and Paddington Bear Goes to Market Board Book are classic stories by Michael Bond reprinted for the first time as board books. They are slim books and a great 6 x 6 size, which would be perfect to slip into your purse or diaper bag. The stories are sweet
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Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

When nonfiction reads like a story, children can get lost in the story. In the case of Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls, I found I even needed to remind myself that this lyrically told, incredible story was in fact a true one. Children and adults alike, prepare to be amazed. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born with a significant physical deformity in his right leg. In his community in Ghana, there was little, if any, respect for people with disabilities. Though his father left, his mother had faith in his ability to overcome his disability and live a “normal” life. He learned to adapt- crawling and hopping to get around, shining shoes for money, and
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When Otis Courted Mama

Cardell is a young coyote quite content with his life. His “perfectly good” mama and daddy may not live together, but he’s happy with the time he gets to spend alone with his mother or with his father, stepmother, and younger stepbrother. As the title and cover illustration indicate, things get a little tricky for him when his mother has a new suitor. Kathi Appelt’s When Otis Courted Mama presents a child’s perspective on blended families and watching a parent date again. Cardell appreciates the special qualities of both of his parents, and as the text states, he’s “mostly used to” his living arrangements, split between his parents in different parts of the desert. His time with his mama isn’t shared with anyone, though, and the few coyotes
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50 Years of Rudolph #Rudolph50 #Giveaway

When I sat down to write the post on 5 Minutes for Mom celebrating 50 years of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the longest running special in television history, I wasn’t sure what to say. Sure, I grew up watching Rudolph, but could I get nostalgic about it?  It turned out I could, and the more I wrote, the more I realized what a big part that brave reindeer has had in my Christmases over the years. While we own the DVD of the Rankin/Bass special and have several Christmas decorations, we don’t have any Rudolph books, which is kind of amazing. So I was thrilled to receive a box of Rudolph books as part of the review and giveaway, featured over on 5 Minutes for Mom. The books
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Animal Teachers

In the nonfiction picture book Animal Teachers, author Janet Halfmann introduces young readers to twelve different groups of animal parents and children. Beginning by pointing out to readers that parents and caregivers are their first teachers, parallels are then made to the ways in which animal parents teach their little ones skills or habits that are essential to each particular type of creature. The animals chosen for inclusion in this nonfiction book are widely varied, including some exotically wild ones like emperor penguins and cheetahs, and more domestic or familiar animals such as chickens and beavers. Each animal is depicted in attractive and realistic watercolor illustrations by Katy Hudson that portray their natural habitats well. What really appealed to me as a parent and early childhood educator was
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Snowman’s Story

A tall black top hat falls from an owl’s talons just as some woodland creatures are building a snowman. After a fluffy red scarf is put in place to accompany the hat, the now-animated snowman is handed a book, and the bear, bird, fox, and rabbit wait for the story to begin. Snowman’s Story by Will Hillenbrand presents a wordless adventure showing just how far some creatures will go for a good book. The rabbit perched inside the hat atop the snowman’s head is attentively listening to the story on that beautifully snowy cover illustration. But then sleepiness overcomes everyone, and as the creatures begin to settle in for the night, the rabbit gets a sneaky-eyed look on its face… and snatches the book right out
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Hank Has a Dream #Giveaway

Looking for a new bedtime story for your little ones? Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley brings back the delightfully adorable Hank, a stuffed woodland creature who showed his compassionate side in Hank Finds an Egg (linked to my brief review). This time around, Hank is telling a friend about his magical dream, and the meticulously detailed dioramas that provide the images in the book add greatly to the magic factor. You’ll want to hear more about this picture book, so head over to read my full review on 5 Minutes for Mom today. Be sure to view the video trailer for this imaginative book, and enter to win a copy, too.  
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Bright Board Books for Kids

I have a thing for board books, and I like that it’s more common to see a large-format board book (not just the chunky toddler ones). Board books are great for durable reading — especially for independent play and reading time — for kids up through school age. This is a 26th anniversary board book edition of Elmer. I vaguely remembered the story of the patchwork elephant, but he was never one of my kids’ favorites, because it wasn’t a book we owned. However, the story holds up so nicely. It’s a little bit silly, because of course he’s a completely imaginative and different-looking elephant, but the theme of fitting in and being yourself is so current. I love how when Elmer tries to fit
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Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds

Mr. Tweed is a smartly dressed dog who is heading out for his daily walk. With his dapper suit jacket, striped trousers, walking stick, and extremely tall stovepipe hat, he looks like quite the character. Soon, he reveals himself as a kind friend as he bumps into neighbor after neighbor in need of assistance. Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds by Jim Stoten tells the story of this helpful dog, in a picture book that is part narrative, part counting book, and part ‘look-and-find’ activity book. Each friend that Mr. Tweed assists is looking for an increasing number of items or creatures- one kite, two kittens, three mice, in that type of pattern. After the missing object is declared, readers are invited to search for them on the
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Bad Dog Flash

A puppy and mischief go hand in hand, and in Ruth Paul’s new picture book Bad Dog Flash, the mischief couldn’t get any cuter. Flash has energy, and he just wants to play. When chasing the cat leads to him getting chastised, Flash tries to avert his attention to other playful things. But trying to carry a stick inside results in a broken window, and sniffing at the shoes all lined up in a row ends in a mess of chewed leather. After a series of indoor and outdoor adventures gone awry, poor Flash is mucky and sent out to his dog house away from everyone else. Thank goodness that his little girl knows when he needs some love. As a picture book, this makes
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