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Monday, May 2, 2016

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (37)

This week's Storytime features a bothersome squeak, a daddy-daughter day, the safety of home, a wolfish summer camp, and a rather odd shopping list.

Good Night Owl

Written & Illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Ages 3-5, Available Now

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Owl is ready for bed. But as soon as he settles in, he hears a strange noise. He'll never get to sleep unless he can figure out what's going on! He looks everywhere-in his cupboard, underneath the floorboards-even in his walls. But while he's busy tearing his house apart, he doesn't notice one tiny, squeaky, mouse-shaped detail. . . . Will Owl ever get a good night's sleep?

I love Greg Pizzoli's books. Good Night Owl is both charming and silly; it reminds me of books that have stayed with me for years, like Frank Asch's Popcorn. Readers will love finding the source of the squeak in each spread!

From Good Night Owl (2016)
Hammer and Nails
Written by Josh Bledsoe; Illustrated by Jessica Warrick
Ages 5-7, Available Now

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Darcy has plans. She and her friend are going to play dress up, do each other’s hair, and polish their nails. Daddy has plans, too. He’s going to read the paper, mow the lawn, and fix the fence. When Darcy’s friend cancels and she’s sure her day is ruined, Daddy suggests that they tackle their to-do lists together with a Darcy-Daddy Day. Daddy dons a tutu, and Darcy gives him a fancy hair do. They groom the lawn with Her Majesty’s Mowing Service and face off in a Daddy-directed sock battle. But will Darcy want to hammer? Will Daddy do nails? Stepping outside their comfort zones, Darcy and Daddy opt to be open-minded and even a bit daring. As Daddy says, “Sometimes things you’ve never done end up being fun!” With a gung-ho attitude, Darcy masters the hammer, and Daddy goes for it with the nails.
Hammer and Nails is an incredibly sweet story about a daughter who spends the day with her father. The little girl, Darcy, is thinks her day is ruined after her friend cancels, but it turns out a day with dad can be just as fun. Loved it!

Safe in a Storm
Written by Stephen R. Swinburne; Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
Ages 3-5, Available Now

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"When the clouds grow darker and the rain pelts and stings,
I'm here, my little duck. Keep warm beside my wings."

In this comforting read-aloud story, all the animals find cozy places to keep them safe and warm, no matter how loud the storm rumbles or how dark the night gets. Next to their mothers, the baby animals are able to let go of their fears and fall asleep despite the storm.

Safe in a Storm is a fun, imaginative good-night story featuring loving animal characters. It'll comfort young children during scary storms and always.

While the premise of this story has been done thousands of times, Safe in a Storm stayed with me. Perhaps it was the color palette or the gentle rhyming text... either way, this is a great pick for quiet bedtime reading.

Wolf Camp
Written & Illustrated by Andrea Zuill
Ages 4-8, Available 5/3/2016

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Meet Homer, a dog who heads to camp to live like a wolf! Here’s the perfect book for the legions of kids out there who love dogs and funny books.

Homer is a dog . . . but he also secretly fancies himself part wolf. So when an invitation to attend WOLF CAMP (“Where every dog can live as a wolf for a week”) falls out of his kibble bag one morning, he’s determined to go. After his people finally agree, Homer boards the bus bound for Wolf Camp, along with fellow campers Trixie and Rex. They’re greeted on the other end by wolf counselors Fang and Grrr (“they seem nice”), and what follows is an array of wolf activities, including learning to howl, mark, and hunt. Of course, Homer’s a little homesick at times, and the food isn’t very good, but that just makes heading home all the sweeter.

Perfect for all those kids anticipating camp themselves, Zuill’s debut introduces a charmer of a dog and puts him in some laugh-out-loud scenarios.
Homer is in for a summer of new experiences when he heads off to Wolf Camp. Excited, then hesitant about how different things are at camp, Homer bonds with his new pack, tried new things, and, in the end, finds returning home bittersweet. 

From Wolf Camp (2016).
Chimpanzees for Tea
Written & Illustrated by Jo Empson
Ages 3-7, Available Now

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A silly, fun version of the game "telephone"—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry.
One day, Vincent's mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: "a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas" to be precise. "And hurry home in time for tea!" she says. Sounds easy enough.

Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent's memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice!

Needless to say, Vincent's mother is in for quite a surprise.

Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

Readers will love how the boy's list gradually becomes sillier and sillier. My favorite aspect of this picture book is the colorful, kinetic illustrations.

Love any of the books featured this week? Let me know in the comments!


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