If you are like me, I am always looking for cool new books to read with my kids. Here are few recently released. Let us know how you like them!
The sibling pair that last made Baby Cakes (2017) now walk themselves through a bedtime routine.
They pick up toys, bathe, brush their teeth, put on their “jammies,” cuddle up “to hear a favorite story,” exchange kisses, and go to sleep. As in the prior book, the pictures’ focus is on the children, both brown-skinned and with straight, black hair. The brown-skinned adult hands that place the toddler in the bath and then lift the tot back out make it clear that the children are being lovingly supervised, but the visual centering of the children allows for fluid reading of the text. “Time for bed. Pick up toys and put them away,” could be as easily interpreted as the older child’s guidance as instructions from an unseen adult. Similarly, there is no adult in the frame as the children “hear” the story, so readers may well see a newly literate older sibling reading aloud to a younger one—an empowering possibility. The titular refrain, “Where’s Bunny?” is introduced before the bath and then suspended till after. While this is logical (Bunny is a soft toy), it also adds unevenness to what should be a predictable textual element. A “bedtime checklist” on the front endpapers delineates all the steps, and a “clean teeth checklist” on the rear endpapers focuses on dental hygiene.
A nicely child-centered iteration on a common theme. (Picture book. 2-5)
A lovely vehicle for sharing nature with children. (Informational picture book. 4-8)
A select gallery of woodland and pond life appears on (and behind) parallel gatefold flaps.
Gathered in broad if arbitrarily ordered groups from “Plants” and “Animals” to “Habitats” and “Baby Animals,” 36 large oblong flaps, six per spread, each feature an isolated image and a large label on the outside, with a second, somewhat broader image and a one- or two-sentence observation beneath. Several of the creatures here—even the ants—bear anthropomorphic smiles, but Coleman’s vivacious paintings of flora, fauna, and natural features are otherwise reasonably accurate. Likewise, aside from a simplistic claim that the “colorful parts of a flower are called petals,” the notes add reliable and easily grasped facts. Both here and in a co-published dive into the Ocean, from “Coral Reef” to “Deep Sea,” printed lines that are hard to make out against dark backgrounds do furnish occasional challenges to legibility but leave the visuals, which are the main attraction, unaffected.
Pleasant if scattershot encounters with the wild world for budding naturalists. (Informational novelty. 4-7)
Can you suggest other new books your children enjoy?