Pied Piper Pics
Patrick is having his first ever sleep-over at his Granny’s house and as bedtime gets closer, he turns on the stalling tactics. “I don’t have a bed,” or a pillow, or a blanket or a teddy bear he cries. His Granny is at the ready and works almost the entire night chopping trees, plucking chickens and shearing sheep to correct all of these bedtime obstacles. Is she going to be able to beat the sunrise so Patrick will actually get some sleep?
Kids are going to love hearing Granny yell “what?” every time Patrick thinks of a new problem that gets in the way of going to sleep and the story will ring true to adults who are oh so familiar with kids like Patrick.
Check the WRL catalog for What! Cried Granny: An almost bedtime story.
This is a great book that demonstrates the importance of reading the illustrations as well as the text. “Yes” Cornelius tells his mom, “I’ve put away my toys.” Only by reading the pictures will you notice he’s put them away in the refrigerator! Fed your fish? “Yes,” but look closely and you’ll notice he’s fed that fish a chocolate chip cookie.
As Cornelius gets ready for bed, the reader will continue to laugh at all of his silly antics. The big colorful illustrations are delightful and you’ll be left with no doubts that “bedtime at Cornelius’s house is no ordinary event!”
Check the WRL catalog for Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed?
Flora has lost her blanket and no one is going to sleep until it’s been found. Every parent will be able to identify with the bunny family as they search the house from top to bottom, inside and out for that special bedtime comfort item. As the bunny family searches, see if your listeners can predict the ending. Will they find the blanket? Where has it been? Will Flora have to sleep without it?
This book’s simple text and charming illustrations are sure to make it a family bedtime favorite.
Check the WRL catalog for Flora’s Blanket.
A beautifully, richly illustrated story with rhyming text. This book makes a great read aloud – ideal for older pre-schoolers, K, and first grade. It contains a positive message about the love of books. It begins in the woods of Burrow Down where every creature is wondering about the mystery of the disappearing bedtime stories. The storybooks just disappear – even the smallest squirrel has a book taken! Is there a bedtime story thief? Eliza Brown, a brave little rabbit, is determined to catch this pest.
“She planned one night to lie in wait and use a pile of books as bait”
She is successful and the small flying creature she captures red handed is a snatchabook – he admits to being wrong too.
“Can’t you see I’ve got no-one to read to me!
Eliza realizes that the snatchabook just needs someone to read to him – “then he might behave alright!”
He agrees to make amends and return all the stolen bedtime stories. He can now join in happily, listening on someone’s bed to bedtime stories every night like the rest of the residents of Burrow Down.
Check the WRL catalog for The Snatchabook.
This is a funny, simple story about a dog’s life from the dog’s perspective. Large format digital illustrations make this suitable for group readings for pre-schoolers, a quick, funny reading to older kids, or inclusion in a dog-themed story time. The text is basic, short, and could be used for children learning to read. The story is about a loveable family dog – (mongrel, of course) and how busy his doggy life is!
“I wash dishes. Slurp! Slurp!”
“I inspect the trash for anything I can recycle. Munch! Munch!”
“I keep the humans warm since they don’t have any fur”
He doesn’t know how his family would manage without him! He epitomizes the dog that thinks he is, well, human!
Check the WRL catalog for A Dog’s Life.
Tony Ross has created more than one hundred books for children. Drat that Cat! is a humorous story illustrated with comic pen and ink watercolors. The book is about a beautiful white, furry cat with big blue eyes called Suzy. Suzy is always getting into trouble. She piddled on Dad’s golf bag and the smell would not go away. When Mom bought a bright new yellow sofa, Suzy loved to sharpen her claws on it. Everyone complained, “Drat that Cat!” But that was until Suzy refused to eat or drink! “She just lay on the bed.”
Check out this book to see how her owners bent over backwards to help her get better. And what did Suzy confide to Charlie Dog next door after she spent two days at the vet’s?
Check the WRL catalog for Drat that Cat!
When little George Washington goes to sleep on Friday night, he is six years old, but when he wakes up on Saturday, he’s seven! But nobody has remembered – not his mother, not his father, and not his half-brother. Or so he thinks…. He still has to eat his porridge, practice his arithmetic, and prune the cherry trees.
George Washington’s Birthday is written by award-winning author Margaret McNamara and illustrated by New Yorker artist Barry Blitt. It is a very clever approach to history because as readers make their way through the story, they meet little “Myth” and “Fact” bubbles that elucidate some of the stories featured in the book and myths that surround the first president. Did George Washington wear a wig? No. Did George Washington cut down a cherry tree? Probably not. Was he strong enough to throw a stone across the Rappahanock? Unlikely.
Readers young and old will delight in seeing someone, who we really only think about as an adult, being portrayed as a precocious little seven year old. And as we all know, no-one ever forgot George Washington’s birthday again! This “partly true and completely funny story” is perfect for classrooms, Presidents’ Day, or as a birthday gift.
Check the WRL catalog for George Washington’s Birthday.
Simon and his older sister Adele are walking home from school and they decide to stop at many famous Parisian landmarks such as the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Along the way, they meet many interesting people but Simon also misplaces many of his belongings including his gloves, hat, and books. By the time they arrive home, they are extremely worried about finding all the items Simon has lost. Luckily, all the townspeople they met arelined up at Simon and Adele’s front door with all of Simon’s lost belongings! Adele promises to walk Simon home from school again the next day.
Adele & Simon is an adventure story that takes place in the city of Paris instead of in a jungle, although it will be just as compelling to young listeners at story time. Barbara McClintock’s illustrations are incredibly detailed and perfectly capture the city of Paris. In every picture the items that Simon has lost are hidden and kids will enjoy pointing out those locations. Adele & Simon would be a great addition to a French or multicultural themed storytime. It is a longer picture book with a reasonable amount of text so it is best for ages 5 and up.
Check the WRL catalog for Adele & Simon.
Surfer Chick, written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Henry Cole, is the cute story about a baby chicken who wants to learn how to surf for the first time. She goes to the surf shop with her dad and buys a shiny new pink surfboard, but the real fun begins when the chick goes out onto the water for the first time. She soon discovers that it’s harder to stay on the board than she previously thought. Eventually though she gets the hang of it, and has the time of her life riding the biggest waves.
With bright, colorful, and super cute artwork, this book is great for all ages. Whether a child reads or listens to the story, this book is a lot of fun. It is a good read for the summer time, or maybe to take along on a beach vacation. So definitely check this book out!
Check the WRL catalog for Surfer Chick.
King Midas and the Golden Touch, told by Charlotte Craft and illustrated by K.Y. Craft, tells the story of an ancient Greek king, greedy for all the gold he can get his hands on. One day, King Midas is granted one wish, so he wakes up the next day and everything he touches turns to gold. After having his initial fun, an unfortunate accident happens due to his new ability. King Midas must choose wealth or family, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have a tragic ending.
The artwork is beautiful, with its rich colors and gold that stand out. The drawings are very nearly realistic, truly drawing the reader into the world of the myth. This book is enjoyable for all ages, but is better when read together because of the amount of text and larger vocabulary. This book is for anyone looking for an interesting story with a universal lesson.
Check the WRL catalog for King Midas and the Golden Touch.
Hercules, written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon, is an exciting retelling of the myth of Hercules’ last labor. Hercules, the great hero, must take the fearsome, three-headed dog Cerberus from Hades, using nothing more than his bare hands. In the end, Hercules is able to return to his village, victorious and celebrated, and then he is allowed a much-needed rest.
The artwork in this book is fantastic, in true keeping with the glory of this myth and its hero. The colors and the style bring the reader back to ancient Greece, right in the thick of Hercules’ heroic labors. It would certainly appeal to the child who loves adventure and excitement. This book is ideal for a later elementary school children, as there are some larger, harder to pronounce words. Parents could also read this to younger children who have an interest in mythology. Robert Burleigh’s rendition of an ancient tale is sure to appeal to a wide audience.
Check the WRL catalog for Hercules.
Come along as a modern knight gets ready for bed, as he rides through forests, battle crocodiles, and climbs the tallest tower. “For a knight like me, going to bed…is a great adventure.” Each aspect of bedtime, climbing the stairs, taking a bath, brushing teeth, and climbing into bed, is given a knightly equivalent. The stairs become a mountain, our knight’s beloved hound becomes a fire-breathing dragon, and before bed he makes sure to put away his cherished toys in their treasure chest. Recreating these pre-bedtime rituals through the eyes of an aspiring knight is encouraging and affirmative, and great preparation for sleep.
For the illustrations, British author Davey uses a striking theme of reds, oranges, and yellows, and has created images composed of cut-paper collages. The double page spreads are visually striking and very stylized.
Night Knight is best suited to younger children, aged two to five, and it would work perfectly for repeated bedtime readings, thanks to its brief narrative. This book would be a great addition to any child’s bedtime routine.
Check the WRL catalog for Night Knight.
The Man in the Moon tells the story of MiM – the eponymous Man in the Moon – who lives with his parents on the Moon Clipper, a ship that is designed to turn into a moon at night and sails from one planet to another during the day. MiM is protected by his friend, Nightlight, who watches over him while he sleeps to keep him safe from nightmares.
But Pitch, the King of Nightmares, cannot abide the thought of a boy, who has never had a nightmare and he vows to make MiM a Prince of Nightmares. He attacks the ship when it is near Earth and, while hidden safely in the darkest tunnel of the ship, MiM hears a huge explosion. When he ventures out, he discovers that Nightlight, his parents, and Pitch have vanished. The Moon Clipper is now just a moon and unable to sail again. He is kept company by an assortment of creatures – Moonbots, Moonmice, giant Glowworms, Lunar Moths, and Starfish.
As MiM grows up on the moon, he collects all the balloons lost by children on Earth that float away into the sky (my favorite part!) and assembles magical creatures as Guardians to protect the children of Earth, including Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny. But, despite this, MiM remains troubled by their nightmares and thinks of a plan to help.
The combination of artistic techniques – acrylic paintings, pencil drawings, and old-fashioned prints of the moon and constellations – works very well. The Man in the Moon is a longer story than most picture books and is more appropriate for older children (young readers aged four to eight) and for reading at home, rather than as a book for a story time.
This is the first book in “The Guardians of Childhood” series and the series concept was recently made into a Dreamworks film with Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law. Envisioning the moon as a space-age shipwreck was delightful and the thinking that all our lost balloons are being collected and cared for by the man in the moon was a lovely addition. This is an imaginative story that manages to capture the wonder of childhood.
Check the WRL catalog for The Man in the Moon.
This story will introduce children to the world of bird watching. It is based on a true story about a red-tail hawk that settles in New York City and hunts for his dinner in Central Park. The reader will learn how unusual it was for this bird to make his home in the city. The hawk was named Pale Male by the bird watchers who watched him from a part of Central Park called
the Boat Pond. Soon he has a friend named Lola and they build a nest. Of course, everyone waits to see if she lays eggs. The author includes a note to the reader. She gives a wonderful history of Pale Male and his New York home. This story also includes a Learn More About Central Park page that parents will find educational.
Check the WRL catalog for City Hawk: A Story of Pale Male.
This affectionate tale will delight all ages. It begins when piglet upsets her papa and isn’t sure what to do next. The farmyard animals reassure piglet by telling her yes they love her but someone else loves her more. This story brings forth the desire we all have to feel loved. The reader will find joy in piglet’s happiness when she discovers who loves her a million times more.
Check the WRL catalog for Piglet and Papa.
Finding this book was like opening a wonderful present. The author’s ability to put into words the pure joy a child gives to his or her parents makes this a touching story indeed. It will warm the hearts of young and old to share the daily moments of happiness parents feel for the wonderful, sweet child they love more than a million twinkling stars.
Check the WRL catalog for Yummiest Love.
A child’s search for a bedtime snack turns into a nocturnal adventure in Barbara DaCosta’s playful Nighttime Ninja.
A ninja is on a mission. Armed with a rope and anchor, he swings through the night sky until he reaches an open window. Carefully, with grace and precision, he enters through an open window and makes his way through the quiet house. He reaches his goal and prepares his tools when all of a sudden the lights turn on and the ninja (and reader) is greeted with a humorous surprise.
Nighttime Ninja is a simple and straightforward story highlighted by DaCosta’s confident, austere prose and Ed Young’s wonderful mixed-media collage illustrations. The text and illustrations truly complement each other. The collages are so large and expressive that too much text might overwhelm their effect. The scenes where the ninja is moving through the house are especially inventive.
Parents looking for a fun bedtime story should consider Nighttime Ninja.
Check the WRL catalog for Nighttime Ninja.
This spring, I had the opportunity to work with the library’s technical services department, cataloging youth and young adult materials. The internship allowed me the chance to catalog books I might not otherwise notice during the course of my regular duties. One such book was Luke Pearson’s charming graphic novel Hildafolk.
The protagonist of this short, colorful graphic novel is a young girl named Hilda. One evening, while engrossed in a book about trolls, she overhears the weather report on the radio. Delighted to hear that the forecast calls for rain, she asks her mother if she can sleep outside in her tent. This is the start of a wondrous adventure for Hilda, who takes great delight in the natural world around her. As Hildafolk unfolds, the heroine encounters giants, trolls, and a very unusual figure made of wood.
I was initially drawn to Hildafolk because of the art. Pearson’s illustrations are whimsical and colorful, and Hilda’s eyes in particular are quite large and expressive. Although the story is fairly simple, Hilda’s sense of wonder and delight really brings Pearson’s narrative to life.
Hilda’s adventures continue in two sequels: Hilda and the Midnight Giant and Hilda and the Bird Parade.
Check the WRL catalog for Hildafolk.
One of the most beautiful picture books I’ve come across recently is Ari Berk’s Nightsong. It is a sweet story with large, expressive illustrations by Loren Long that capture the beauty and wonder of the night and the unknown.
Nightsong is about a bat named Chiro who lives with his mother in a cave. One night, Chiro’s mother tells him it is time for him to fly out on his own into the world. She tells him to go no further than the pond and then come home after breakfast. Chiro is scared because it is dark and he cannot always see. He asks his mother how he will find his way. His mother says he should use his good sense, which is “the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you.” Using his good sense, Chiro embarks on a wondrous adventure that leads him to the pond and beyond before returning to the safety of his mother.
At some point, every child will have to go out into the world on their own and Nightsong presents this in a manner that is relatable for both parents and children. Ari Berk’s confident storytelling is enhanced by Loren Long’s illustrations. Long uses just the right amount of light, shadow, and color to illustrate Chiro’s adventure, and the expressions on Chiro’s face as he gains the confidence to follow his good sense and explore his world are simply delightful.
Check the WRL catalog for Nightsong.
Here’s a book full of movement and sound that is perfect for energetic preschoolers. Told in a rhyme, animals leave their footprints while they dance across the page. “Tippity! Tippity! Little black feet! Who is dancing that tippity beat?” Young children will enjoy interacting with the story and guessing which animal uses their feet to make these sounds when they dance. A turn of the page reveals the answer, “Ladybugs are dancing on tippity feet. Tippity! Tippity! Happy Feet!” Lindsey Craig has teamed up with Marc Brown, author of the award winning Arthur series, on her debut book. Marc Brown’s simple shapes, collage-style art, and textured patterns will appeal to readers. Dancing Feet! is an ideal choice for getting children moving and singing during story time.
Check the WRL catalog for Dancing Feet!