Tag Archives: Children’s Books

Happy Earth Day from Stiletto Storytime

Happy Earth Day 2011 from Stiletto Storytime

And what better way to celebrate than to feature a great new children’s book about respecting, preserving and re-using the Earth and all it gives us. Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth is the perfect book to help educate young readers while also celebrating Earth Day! Taking on an alphabetical format- the book shows children how to create compost including instructing them on what can be added and what cannot. Need something to do with your laundry lint? Compost Stew can help. Adults and children alike will learn things they didn’t know about the world of compost.

Complimenting the book are illustrations by Ashley Wolff. The illustrations are done in an organic pallet and combine odd recyclable items such as newspaper, magazine pictures and sea shells in collage form. The ABC format of the book also makes it accessible for a variety of ages in both read-a-loud and independent reading form. This book would be a wonderful addition to any Earth Day celebration, conservation curriculum or at home project. A great addition to any young conservationist library!

Book Giveaway

To help celebrate Earth Day author Mary McKenna Siddals is giving away 5 copies of the picture book COMPOST STEW and 2 art prints from the book, autographed by illustrator Ashley Wolff. To enter go here. (Giveaway ends of April 25, 2011)


Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books, New Books, Reading Fun

Sunday Picture Book Picks

I guiltily admit is has been a bit since I posted my latest picture book picks. It’s not because I’m not reading them just that with Little Man being two…I am often reading the same one over and over. All you parents out there know what I mean…and don’t you dare try to skip a page..they always catch you. However I have been indulging in some great picture books of late. Some by myself and some with Little Man so enjoy and I hope you find one that’s perfect to share with all the little ones in your life.

Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs by Willy Caflin.

Illustrated by James Stimson. (Ages 4-8)

It’s a fairy tale mosh pit of fun and you’re invited. The only question about this newest book from Maynard Moose is who will laugh the loudest…you or the children you share it with. From Punzel to the many many dwarfs and a “chubbified” Prince riding a noble white moose..the fun never ends. With tons of fairy tale twists along with hilarious illustrations and plot happenings..it’s the perfect picture  book for older children to enjoy.  While the age designation for this book is 4-8, I would have to say as a children’s librarian you would need to be about 6 to get the humor completely but the book could be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages probably topping out around 12 for the independent reader. This is a really great pick for your older picture book reader….they haven’t heard this story but can identify the many they have within and the humor will keep them from thinking it’s for “babies” simply because it is in picture book form. If you enjoyed The Uglified Duck, you will love Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs. An added bonus is the included audio CD which blends perfectly with the book.

Press Here by Herve Tullet (Ages 4-8)

And now on to Little Man’s latest obsession: Press Here by Herve Tullet. This book has drawn my toddler in like magic and it’s so simple really. Some of the best books are. All you need is your imagination. This book takes simplistic illustrations and interaction with your child to a whole new level. Click here to check out an interactive video to show exactly what I am talking about. Now the age designation is 4-8 for this book but Little Man is only 2. However while he cannot completely grasp the full concept- this is his favorite book of the moment. The primary colors and simple shapes keep him occupied and interested much longer than many books for children his age. It’s also a very sturdily made book so I have no problem leaving it out for independent play. This is an “it” book that every child, classroom and library should have. It truly is literary magic.

Book Giveaway

Thanks to the always generous August House one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime will win their very own copy of Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs. Giveaway ends midnight EST April 24, 2011. US and Canada address only please. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply leave a comment below letting me know what picture book you are sharing with the children in your life? Is there a great new title you want to share or an old favorite?

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

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Tweet or Blog about these “Picture Book Picks”


Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Picture Books, New Books, Reading Fun

Review & Giveaway: Babyberry Pie by Heather Vogel Frederick

https://i0.wp.com/www.ci.oswego.or.us/library/youth/literacy/images/babyberrypie.gif “Take one wiggly baby, scrubbed clean. Add sugar to his nose and toes. Tuck him into a warm pie crust. Don’t forget a kiss good night! That’s the perfect recipe for a babyberry pie- and a peaceful bedtime. (Just don’t let that little giggleberry wiggle away!)”

Babyberry Pie is a delightful picture book that’s just perfect as that special way to help say goodnight. A playful rhyme to share one-on-one with your little one or to read aloud to a group, it’s lullaby rhythm makes it a winner either way.  As we ready baby for bed…we go through the normal motions of bath time and tucking in…however we are also making baby into a pie. This tale pairs a sweet rhyme with perfectly matched illustrations from Amy Schwartz to create a great bedtime read. While my little man does not sit still for much, he did sit still through all of Babyberry Pie. He especially enjoyed the part where baby gets sugared from his head to his toes!

As a librarian I can’t help but think about what a great addition this book would be to any storytime collection. Perfect for a “bedtime” themed storytime or even lap sit. The easy rhythm and theme will make it a much used treasure.

Also remember to keep a watch out for Hide and Squeak coming in February of 2011 from Heather Vogel Frederick and C.F. Payne.

Book Giveaway

One lucky Stiletto Storytime reader will receive their own copy of Babyberry Pie from the delightful Heather Vogel Frederick herself. To enter simply leave a comment below sharing your favorite bedtime picture book. US/Canada addresses only. Giveaway ends at midnight on January 5, 2011. Good luck and happy reading to all.


Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Picture Books, Heather Vogel Frederick, New Books

Review & Giveaway for Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea? (Book 7)

https://i0.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/_tgofztGxcvg/TKCptNsTFCI/AAAAAAAAAEk/yu5b-j32lj4/s1600/book7.jpg“It’s the Science Fair, and the second grade is all over it! Some kids are making man-eating robots. Some kids are holding their breath for a very, very long time. Some kids are doing interesting things with vacuum cleaners. The theme, obviously, is global warming. But what should Ivy and Bean do? Something involving explosions? Or ropes? Something with ice cubes? Or maybe . . . maybe something different.”

Let me start off by saying I am a big fan of the Ivy and Bean series. There is a truthfulness to the writing that I think really captures kids and the way they think. This is a series written for kids to relate to…not books written because parents want kids to relate to it. It’s quirky and full of random little bits of humor along with the essential ingredient: a good story. If you have children or work with them you know they can be fascinated and delighted by extremely small and often random things. (Example: The importance of who will sit on the state of Colorado on a rug shaped like the United States.) I really enjoy it when you can find an author who gets that and can work that childhood mentality into their books in a way that’s not fake or trying too hard. Book 7 Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea is no different than the first six volumes in the series. It’s clever, funny and extremely kid friendly….meaning kids “get it” and will enjoy reading it. Annie Barrows writing paired with Sophie Blackall’s expressive illustrations will have not just the kids but parents giggling as well. It’s a great choice for read-a-loud too since the humor really comes out on multiple occasions. So join Ivy and Bean as they tackle a new problem: global warming. That’s right Ivy and Bean are going green!

Want a sneak peek at Ivy and Bean: What’s the Big Idea ? How about a copy for that special little scientist in your life? The always generous Chronicle Books will give one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime their own copy.  Simply comment below with your email address. US and Canada addresses only please. Giveaway ends midnight December 9th, 2010.


Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Girly Books, New Books

Review & Giveaway: Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold


The classics are just that…classics. However some of the most fun I’ve had in picture books has been when classics are reborn and re-imagined…one of my personal favorites is The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. In that category we can now add Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold, a collection of “re-nurseried” rhymes for a new generation. Since it’s from J. Otto Seibold…you know it’s gonna be a great read. If you have not read Olive, The Other Reindeer then now is the perfect time of year. And since it’s from Chronicle Books…you know it’s going to be unique and detail oriented. Their packaging is simply fantastic and their attention to every detail in their covers is hard to beat.

While these humorous rhymes are skewed for the slightly older child than traditional Mother Goose, the rhyming and humor will keep the kids interested and bring back memories of the original inspiration. With great new funky rhymes such as “Blah Blah Black Sheep” and “Little Asleep Bo-Peep”, parents and kids will be laughing along with every turn of the page. Modern, dramatic illustrations complete this new look at Mother Goose for today’s kids. The bold images contain lots of details and hidden humor to keep kids looking more than once. It’s sure to be a hit with both girls and boys and even has a little of that special “boy” humor we all know they enjoy. So who would you share this book with?

Want a sneak peek at Other Goose? How about your own copy for that special child this Holiday season? Chronicle Books will give one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime their own copy and a great matching poster.  Simply comment below with your email address and share your favorite traditional rhyme (Mother Goose or Other). US and Canada addresses only please. Giveaway ends midnight December 6th, 2010.


And if you like Other Goose make sure to add a uniquely inspired set of “Old Maid” cards in those stockings this year!


Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books

Traditional Indian Tales By Reshma Sapre

https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_umwyscWQk0M/TBWs2dymH3I/AAAAAAAAABs/I5m-epW3J2s/s1600/0615370713-frontcover.jpgAn old man goes searching for adventure and finds more than he bargained for in a classic Indian tale for readers both young and old. As old Raaheeji leaves his comfortable home for the jungle beyond he happens upon a tiger. The tiger imprisoned in an ancient cage begs to be released and promises he will not eat the man in return for his help. However upon release the tiger immediately revokes his promise calling the man a fool for believing him. The man’s fate in the end will lie in the hands of a banyan tree, a buffalo, a road and a very clever jackal. Will the man ever return to his home or will he forever be known as a fool?

The Traveller, The Tiger and the Very Clever Jackal is a beautifully written and elegantly illustrated work that brings the beauty of India and the art of the folk tale to life.  Combining the best of a well-written traditional story with gorgeous illustrations, Reshma Sapre and Jessica Lian create a picture book that is perfect for reading alone or out loud to children of a wide variety of ages. The elegant artwork shines as brightly as the writing as Lian brings characters such as the banyan tree to life with subtle detail and well-designed personification. The book shines as a must have international contribution to any library whether personal or public.


https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_umwyscWQk0M/TBVryhc1cOI/AAAAAAAAAA0/Lv8qgUY6Nac/s1600/0615370721-frontcover.jpgSun, Moon and Wind are all invited to a feast to celebrate the coming of the monsoon. They are each asked to bring something back to their mother Star of the North Sky since she will light the way for them. However not everyone remembers to do so. Only one of her children will be rewarded for their loyalty when they return. In a classic folktale about how the Sun, Moon and Wind got their place, Reshma Sapre continues to delight with time-honored tales from the land of India.

In the Indian Night Sky is a classically written folk tale creating a magical explanation for the nature of the sky.  Children will delight in its beautiful black ink pages with silver metallic and primary color drawings that jump off the page.  Illustrator Jayme Robinson has taken a modern approach in the artwork for this picture book that contrasts nicely in some ways with the text and somewhat oddly in others. While the color scheme pops for the reader some of the objects pictured seem to clash with the very traditional wording of the story.  In the end while the mix of modern and traditional seems a novel idea the art comes across as slightly inconsistent.




In the end Sapre’s amazing rhythm and ability to create that traditional wording and atmosphere save this picture book and make it one worth reading.

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Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Picture Books

Review: The Limit by Kristen Landon


Almost every family has a credit card. While it’s never a good idea to go into debt or to exceed your financial budget, the repercussions of such an action are not extreme in today’s society. If you splurge on something or even need to make an emergency purchase you may have to pay extra but the cost is usually not much. Perhaps you may pay an overdraft fee or owe more in the long run but it’s not as if someone is going to come to your house and take your first born child. However in the future what might happen if you reach your limit and what might it really cost you in the end? What if it did cost you your child or what if you were taken because your family couldn’t afford to pay their debts?

Matthew Dunston never worried about being taken, after all his father made a good living and he and his sisters never had any reason to believe that someday they might exceed their family account. While his mother shopped quite a lot and their father was always playing golf they still believed that their parents always had everything under control. The Dunstons had heard of children being taken to the workhouse for family debts but they didn’t know anyone who had disappeared personally. No matter anyhow since “Matt” as his family calls him is the oldest of the Dunston children and still in middle school, if they did go over their limit the government would simply put them on “supervised spending “or some other penalty program. Everyone knows the government never takes kids under high school age to the workhouse for family debts. Until now that is.

When thirteen-year-old Matt’s family accidentally goes over “the limit”, he finds himself in the highest ranks of the workhouse program. After testing exceedingly high in his math capabilities he is sent to the “top floor”, a kids dream where he can literally have anything or do anything he wants except the one thing he wants most: to go home. However soon odd things begin to happen to the kids at the workhouse and Matt finds perhaps his family’s unfortunate luck of losing him to the government was not luck at all.

In an inventive thriller that will keep you reading non-stop until the very last page, Kristen Landon has given middle grade readers a fast paced tale that will enthrall even the most reluctant reader.  Suspense, mystery and excitement all combine to make The Limit a must read not just for kids but their parents as well. Landon details a future society that has incurred the ultimate penalty for debt: children.  Kids will enjoy reading Landon’s fearsome tale and parents may even think twice next time they go to swipe their card for that un-needed purchase.  In the end everyone will want to know what it cost the Dunston family when they went over “the limit”.

The Limit will be available on September 7, 2010. In the meantime you can go “Behind the Scenes” and check out Landon’s inspiration for her latest book.


Filed under Children's Literature, Middle Grade, New Books