Kid’s Corner: Picture Books for a Toddler and an Older Kid

I am busy beginning to track the books I read with Strawberry now. She’s at an age where she is beginning to love books, and look forward to our reading times together. What a wonderful milestone! On the other hand, Raisin is a proficient reader of chapter books now. I find I must remind myself to sit down and read with him too. I feel reading togehter is an important learning time, even for the proficient readers. Raisin is, after all, only five years old still. Parent-child bonding is essential to developing a lasting relationship.

I’ll begin with a few baby books, and segue in to books for my older reader.

I’ve mentioned before that Strawberry loves babies. She sure does! Cuddle and Move by Elizabeth Verdick (Free Spirit Publishing, 2013) were perfect. In sweet black and white pictures and few words, each book followed the life of babies and toddlers through regular actions: climbing, cuddling, kissing. We read both books via netgalley digital reviews, and she loved to swipe to the next page and giggle and oooh and ahh over the next page of babies! I believe she liked Cuddle more, because kissing and cuddling babies was more interesting to her at the time than climbing and jumping toddlers. It has been a few months; she may enjoy the toddlers just as much now! Review book.

All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri (Little, Brown and Company 2011) is a sweet and simple farm animal bedtime book emphasizing the fact that “Little ones love kisses.” Each two-page spread tells the kinds of kisses the little animal loves, and it ends, of course, with the little child being kissed goodnight as well. There are very few words on each page, and the gentle colored pencil illustrations perfectly match the simple message of the book and the lullaby-like tone of the words. Oversized pages draw the young lap-sitting reader in to the love-filled farm.  Cybils 2012 nominee.

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and illustrated by Rick Lieder (Candlewick, 2012) is a lovely poem illustrated by photographs of the smallest creatures outside. Bees on a flower, an ant, a cricket singing, a spider on a silken thread. The poem is lovely, and the pictures invite the reader in to the natural world. I was amazed at how well the poetry and the images wove together. I found myself wondering which came first: the lovely poem or the images that captured the words. I am a very amateur photographer, and I could not believe the careful photographs. The last page of the book tells about some of the animals. I loved how the insects shown in this book were ones that are found in our backyards. This is a great book for helping kids come to appreciate the small creatures in their own outside world. That said, I struggled to interest Raisin in the book. I don’t know what it was about it, but the book simply did not interest him. Cybils 2012 nominee.

No Two Alike by Keith Baker (Beach Lane Books, 2011) celebrates the uniqueness of winter with gorgeous digital paintings of two birds enjoying nature. The text is rhythmic and rhyming, and provides a gentle framework for the how nothing is completely alike – snowflakes, fences, trees. The ultimate conclusion is that the birds are similar and very much alike but they are not quite the same. It’s has a gentle tone and the winter scenes in the book are lovely. Cybils 2012 nominee.

In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dusan Petricic (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a subtle book about childhood and a special place. Two brothers create a tree house together, but when the older brother “grows up” faster, the younger brother is discouraged and alone. It takes a black out to bring them back together. I loved the gorgeous illustrations, and it was a nice book overall. However, it seemed to have too much telling and not enough showing. It had lots of back story before it got to the climax of the blackout. Overall, it just didn’t feel concise. There are other books with similar messages that read a lot better. Review book.

Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristina Swarner (Three Pebble Press, 2012) is a sweet book about all the good people around us today. Each page begins with “Today,” followed by something that someone is doing to help, from a doctor to a big sister who holds her little brother to a child trying her hardest at a test. The phrases also show how each of these good people influence someone else. I love to positive message in the book, and the soft illustrations are just perfect for the tone of it all. I really enjoy reading it. It makes me smile. (Strawberry likes it too.) Review Copy. Cybils 2012 nominee.

Wishes by Jean Little and illustrated by Genevieve Cote (North Winds Press, 2012) builds on the familiar refrain that “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Each page has another sometimes silly ending t the “if wishes were…” beginning, from “if wishes were snowflakes” to “if wishes were kisses.” I love the analogies in this book, and the rhymes feel natural. The illustrations are mixed media, with the appearance of crayon and water color. I like how the two illustration techniques work together in this book, and I love wondering what wishes are going to be compared to next. Review Copy. Cybils 2012 nominee.

My last book of the week is one I found yesterday, and I love it! How to by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books, 2013) also has a non-traditional structure. Each page has a phrase to finish the beginning “How to,” coupled with a creative illustration to show how do do that thing. For example, “how to go fast” has a child on piggy back, a child on a scooter, a child with “wings”, and a child on stilts. “How to be a mermaid” has a child in a bathtub with legs twisted like a mermaid’s legs. The cover illustrations shows “how to make friends.” I loved all the analogies, the emphasis on imagination, and the illustrations. I can’t describe the illustrations — they look like colored pen and some watercolor — but I simply love the innocent look of the children. They are adorable and concentrating as they gaze at me from the page. How to is a book to seek out.

 What children’s picture books have you discovered lately?



About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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