New #PlayTestShare Giveaway!

I am delighted to be hosting another round of #PlayTestShare, courtesy of the lovely and generous folks at Raincoast Books!

Open to Canadian residents, ages 18 and up, one lucky person will have the chance to win one of the amazing #PlayTestShare items below! I had the chance to play and test out the Ghost Story Box
 book as well as pore over the Star Wars Super Graphic
, so you will see some photos and get my thoughts on those two items. Read on for even more information about all the #PlayTestShare items on offer and how to enter the giveaway!

Ghost Story Box
Based on a unique and original format, this game contains 20 story-telling puzzle pieces printed on both sides. Each piece can be interchanged or flipped over to allow for all kinds of plot twists and turns, and there are even two alternative endings! When all the puzzle pieces are used, they stretch out to over 8-feet long to tell your own mega ghost story!

Perfect for Halloween- or any fans of adorably illustrated ghost stories!- the Ghost Story Box is a wonderfully unique take on a family-friendly puzzle. As per the description, the game contains twenty double-sided puzzle pieces, all of which can be used interchangeably. There are ‘start’ pieces and ‘end’ pieces, but however you put a story together is totally up to the player! This game is like a wordless picture book come to life in a fragmented puzzle format: there are multiple stories, multiple directions and so many intriguing, funny, or peculiar ways you can piece together a story! You can see from one of the images in the slideshow below how I started piecing together one storyline involving a young girl who accidentally sits on a ghost! This game makes for enjoyable family time, and if you have a child who likes creative, inventive play (and making up stories!), this is an awesome game to share and have fun with.

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Star Wars Super Graphic
Graphic-design guru Tim Leong presents STAR WARS trivia via playful pie charts, bar graphs, and other data-driven infographics. From a Venn diagram of Yoda’s idiosyncrasies to an organizational chart of the Empire to a line graph of Grand Moff Tarkin’s management decisions, STAR WARS SUPER GRAPHIC shines a new light on the much-adored universe. Equal parts playful and informative, this visual love letter to the vast STAR WARS universe will enchant fans of all ages.

Star Wars fans out there, this is a pick for you! The Star Wars Super Graphic is an infographic-based book that contains everything Star Wars. From bar graphs, pie charts, organizational charts to closer looks at characters (for example, what are R2-D2’s thoughts?), this is a very cool, funny, new and different kind of Star Wars book. I’ve read my share of Star Wars books (and we have a collection in our household!), and I don’t have anything quite like this. I must admit that I have a soft spot for infographic-based books and visually-based odes to various subjects (there’s something so aesthetically pleasing about this format to my librarian brain…), so, yes, I really adore this book! This is an unusual, fun, keepsake kind of book that would be perfect for a Star Wars fan.

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The rest of the terrific #PlayTestShare items:

Say Zoop!
The newest book from Herve Tullet magically responds with bursts of color and moving shapes, empowering children by letting their imaginations liberate and direct each page’s reaction. Tullet’s books define the genre of participatory bookmaking, encouraging readers to explore and interact with the physical book in all its dimensions. The reward is tremendous: a journey of whimsy and sheer fun that extends well beyond the book’s pages.

After Dinner Amusements: Family Time
This is a fun little twist on classic games and activities and offers easy amusement during family dinners, holiday gatherings and road trips! This miniature deck of cards features fifty thoughtful and playful questions about the past, present, and future – a great way for family members to connect and learn new things about one another.

Animal Friends on Parade Puzzle
From a gorilla in a party hat to a hedgehog rat-a-tat-tatting on his drum, these animal friends from different habitats-the jungle, farm, woodland, and Arctic-know that togetherness is something to celebrate. Featuring twelve double-sided uniquely die-cut pieces by artist Junzo Terada, this fun puzzle offers (nearly) endless combinations, providing hours of entertainment.

Donner Dinner Party
Who’s safe when there are cannibals hiding among you? That’s the question at the heart of this fast-paced game of social deduction in which cannibals and pioneers face off in a fight for survival. Set in the winter of 1846, players are members of the ill-fated Donner Party wagon train, stranded atop a mountain with no food. Rowdy, outrageous, and full of deception, this party game packs a delightfully wicked twist!

Make and Move Mega: Dinosaurs
Press out, slot together and play with your very own T-Rex, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Pteranodon. Created by talented paper artist and engineer Sato Hisao, each of these detailed 3D models comes with easy-to-follow assembly instructions. No scissors or glue required!

Travel Matching Game
Mix and match with this classic matching game, which includes 36 robust, jumbo-size cards featuring charming illustrations by Greg Pizzoli that will have kids ready to pack up their bags and explore the world! Children will adore pairing colorful images of suitcases, taxis, stop signs, and other classic travel imagery as they develop memory, concentration, and identification skills.

Royal Bingo
This majestically illustrated bingo game features portraits of 64 royal icons from around the world. Spot famous faces like William and Kate, or meet some less familiar figures such as the playboy prince Wenzeslaus of Liechtenstein. Each royal is further brought to life in an accompanying booklet, which details their personalities, foibles, gaffes and romances. Who will reign supreme?

Giveaway Info:

The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and entrants must be aged 18 and up. The contest will run from September 20, 2017 to September 28, 2017. One winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com, confirming their name, their mailing address, and their ONE (1) giveaway prize pick. The winner has 48 hours to email me with their prize pick and Canadian mailing address, or another winner will be chosen.

THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED- big thank you to everyone who entered!

The winner is… JENNIFER P.!

If I haven’t heard from the randomly drawn winner in 48 hours, I will select another winner.

 

 

Click here to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter!

I received copies of Ghost Story Box and Star Wars Super Graphic from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this giveaway. Thank you! Opinions and comments regarding the titles are my own. Prizes provided by Raincoast Books.

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Recently Read: Great Picture Books & Non-Fiction Titles!

It’s been a tad quiet on the Fab Book Reviews front lately…I had lofty goals for posting in June, somehow (why?!?) not counting on the fact that Summer Reading Club, school visits, and recent life craziness, etc., would really impact my reading and posting schedule! Ah well!

Here are some wonderful picture books and non-fiction children’s titles I’ve recently read and/or shared at storytimes. Some titles have been promoted during Summer Reading Club, though I may do another separate post just for those titles! I’ve starred the ones which I have used and were a big hit at one of my storytimes. I haven’t yet used Corinna Luyken’s The Book of Mistakes or Adam Lehrhaupt and Felicita Sala’s I Don’t Draw, I Color! at storytimes, but I highly, highly recommend taking a close look at both of these titles. Totally unique- an experience in storytelling and incredible visuals– just amazing work!

 

Shark Dog! by Ged Adamson*
Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino*
You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman, illus. Liz Climo*
My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel*
Blue Whale Blues by Peter Carnavas*
Whose Poop Is That? by Darrin P. Lunde, illus. Kelsey Oseid*
Pink is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals (World of Weird Animals) by Jess Keating, illus. David DeGrand*
South by Daniel Duncan
Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault
I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illus. Felicita Sala
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

Hopping Into Easter with Picture Books and a Giveaway!

As a children’s librarian, part of the build up to Easter weekend at the library includes fielding a lot of questions about Easter books or Easter-themed books, preparing songs and stories about bunnies and other cute creatures…and, did I mention, finding lots and lots of cute stories about anything Easter-themed? I now have two more charming Easter titles to add to the list!

My lovely friends at Raincoast Books recently sent me two perfect-for-Easter picture books: Bunny Bus by Ammi-Joan Pacquette, illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow, and Margret and H.A. Rey’s Happy Easter, Curious George. Bunny Bus is quite the adorable story featuring a bunny-shaped bus, resplendent with rosy cheeks and bunny teeth. A rhyming story with bounce and a fun repetition of ‘hop’ and ‘stop’, Bunny Bus is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers (or any bunny-hop loving kid!). The story is short, simple and sweet, with just a brief moment of trouble (when the bunny bus tires out), followed by quick problem-solving and a happy turnaround to an Easter Parade. Happy Easter, Curious George (with sparkly stickers!) is, as one can expect from the franchise, a light and sweetly silly story featuring George’s antics that always go slightly awry, leading to some confusion followed by a happy conclusion. In this tale, George joins Easter celebrations at a park, where he excels at Easter egg juggling and decorating, and gets into a slight mix-up with how Easter egg hunts work! I adored Curious George growing up, and am always happy and comforted to see George and read about his adventures. R.P. Anderson and Mary O’Keefe Young, the author and illustrator, respectively, of this title have done very well in keeping the charm of the original series.

Now for some (more!) excitement:

I have new (just read once by me) hardcover editions of these titles and I would like to find them a new happy bookish home! One winner will have a chance to win both Bunny Bus and Happy Easter, Curious George. You won’t get them in time for Easter, I’m afraid, but you’ll still get some fun picture books, so it’s all win-win!

If you’d like to enter, here’s what you need to know:

You must be a Canadian resident, 18 years of age or older. The giveaway will run until April 18, 2017.

One winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com OR DM’ing me on Twitter @fabbityfab confirming their name and their mailing address. If there is no responses from the winner within 48 hours, a new name will be drawn.

The giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to MELINDA P.!

Please email or DM in the next 48 hours to confirm your address!

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions:

Enter the Hopping into Easter Book Giveaway

Copies of Bunny Bus and Happy Easter, Curious George were provided courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.

#PlayTestShare: Spring Break Fun and Giveaway!

Happy (almost) Spring Break!

I am delighted to be hosting a second year of a special Spring Break Fun giveaway, courtesy of the lovely and generous folks at Raincoast Books!

Open to Canadian residents, ages 18 and up, one lucky person will have the chance to win one of the amazing #PlayTestShare items below! I had the chance to play and test out the TouchThinkLearn Fly!
 book as well as the gorgeous Towering Tree Puzzle
, so you will see some photos and get my thoughts on those two items. Read on for even more information about all the #PlayTestShare items on offer and how to enter the giveaway!

TouchThinkLearn Fly!

A deceptively simple and joyful celebration of the natural cycle of life, this book adds the bonus of removable-and movable-characters and scenery to the bestselling TouchThinkLearn format, featuring the hallmark production technique of glued-on pieces dovetailing with die-cut openings. In this first narrative title in the series, the movable pieces invite and involve the reader in a meaningful and multisensory participation in the story.

My kingdom for interactive stories! I am a big fan of interactive board books and picture books. In my work as a children’s librarian and as a mom to a toddler, interactive books are a go-to resource. They engage, surprise, delight and let children (and adults!) have a different kind of fun with books. I already own a number of TouchThinkLearn board books- I just adore Xavier Deneux’s bold, clean and vibrant artwork- so I couldn’t wait to see and play with this movable book. Happily, I can say that this is another big winner! The addition of removable pieces- moving from one side of the board book and fitting to the facing page cut outs- just adds MORE to this life-cycle based story and promises that kids will be extra curious and tickled by the story (and experience). To me, these kinds of books are magical and captivating!

Towering Tree Puzzle

Join adorable critters as they navigate the seasons and make new friends in their towering tree. Imaginative play and puzzle logic intersect as each interlocking branch of this innovative puzzle tells a new story, providing hours of entertainment. Adventure is just a branch away!

With artwork by Teagan White (author-illustrator of the enchanting picture book Adventures with Barefoot Critters and others), the Towering Tree Puzzle is a a beautiful, worthy of a displaying on a wall kind of puzzle. Unique in design and structure, this puzzle will likely delight with how many ways there are to put it together! Unlike more traditional puzzles where pieces only fit exact spots, this tree puzzle allows for a little more freedom and little more creative play as you can fit shaped pieces in multiple spots! You can make up stories about Teagan White’s utterly charming animals, their habitat, or you can just have fun building, rebuilding, and rebuilding with the seventeen double-sided pieces (yes, double-sided!). Such a wonderful and unusual idea for a puzzle- love this one so much!

The rest of the terrific #PlayTestShare items:

The Ultimate Book of Cities

Where does the Express bus take you? How many swans are in the lake at the park? The Ultimate Book of Cities reveals the answers to these questions and much, much more in an oversized fact- and action-packed look at life in the big city! Featuring 59 flaps, pop-ups, pull tabs and movable parts, this all-you-need-to-know guide provides detailed information about what makes a city tick: from the different ways of getting around and what goes on in all the big buildings, to what traffic signs mean and who are all the people who keep the city in tip-top shape!

Birds of the World Nature Sticker Activity Book

Beautifully illustrated by Olivia Cosneau, Birds of the World introduces aspiring ornithologists to these and other fun facts through a range of coloring activities, removable stickers, and a short quiz. In the process, children learn about the rich variety of birds living in our world, including nightingales, swallows, hummingbirds, pelicans, penguins, parrots, toucans, and flamingos, among others.

Quicktionary

Introducing a new, fast-paced casual card game for word lovers and anyone who loves to think on their feet. Simple to learn, with nearly endless possibilities, this free-for-all game is a fun addition to any game night.

Crystal Menagerie Coloring Book

This fresh new coloring book renders foxes, birds, hedgehogs, and more with a prismatic look that makes them as cool to display as they are pleasing to color. With just the right level of detail, these unique designs can easily be completed in one sitting if so desired, but those who want a more involved coloring session can opt for a 3-dimensional look-and make these animals leap off the page.

Space Playing Cards
Launch into your favorite card games while immersing yourself in deep space! Each playing card features extraordinary NASA photography and two Pantone colors on beautifully designed card backs. Includes a complete 52-card playing deck, plus 2 jokers.

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site
From the team behind the beloved international bestseller comes a companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. All of our favorite trucks are back on the construction site-this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done. The millions of fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site are in for a mighty good time!

642 Things About Me: Young Writer’s and Artist’s Edition
A new offering in the wildly popular 642 series, this unique journal encourages young creators to dive deep into the subject they know best-themselves! Packed with quirky, thought-provoking, and imaginative drawing and writing prompts, 642 Things About Me: Young Writer’s & Artist’s Edition is a fun way for kids to document their lives, jump-start their creative talent, and produce a memorable keepsake-or the first draft of their bestselling memoir.

Old MacDonald Had a Truck Bingo

A classic family-friendly game gets revved up with a winning combination of construction vehicles and farm animals, featuring artwork from the picture book Old MacDonald Had a Truck . With six illustrated, double-sided game boards plus a set of colorful bingo calling cards and chips, this easy-to-learn game is sure to be a hit at any playdate or family game night.

Giveaway Info:

The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and entrants must be aged 18 and up. The contest will run from March 9, 2017 until March 16, 2017. One winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com, confirming their name, their mailing address, and their ONE (1) giveaway prize pick.

Enter by clicking on the following link to Rafflecopter and follow the instructions to enter:

Click here to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter!

Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to AMY H.!

The winner has 48 hours to email me with their prize pick and Canadian mailing address, or another winner will be chosen.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated.

 

I received copies of TouchThinkLearn Fly! and Towering Tree Puzzle from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this giveaway. Thank you! Opinions and comments regarding the titles are my own. Prizes provided by Raincoast Books.

A Christmas Board Book Look: The Nutcracker by Jack & Holman Wang

 

nutcrackerCozy Classics: The Nutcracker by Jack & Holman Wang (original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann)
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Cuddle up with a classic! In twelve needle-felted scenes and twelve child-friendly words, each book in this ingenious series captures the essence of a literary masterpiece. Simple words, sturdy pages, and a beloved story make these books the perfect vehicle for early learning with an erudite twist. Budding bookworms will delight in this clever retelling of the classics made just for them!

In E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker , marvel at Maria’s favorite gift , cheer as she defeats the Mouse King, and journey to the magical Land of Sweets. It’s a festive first words primer for your literary little one!

Just in time for Christmas!

Growing up, one thing I liked to do every year around Christmas was to watch the TV movie The Nutcracker, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. I absolutely adored ballet (was an aspiring ballet dancer as well!) and, like a lot of folks, thought Baryshnikov was pure magic. So, I’d hunker down in front our fireplace with some hot chocolate and watch…And while I don’t participate in that tradition anymore, my love of that memory and how much I still enjoy The Nutcracker stands. Needless to say, when I first heard that Jack and Holman Wang would be adapting The Nutcracker as a Cozy Classics title, I was delighted!

The Cozy Classics version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker is, as I was hoping it would be, utterly charming, inviting and capturing that magical, otherworldly feel of the story. As with the previous Cozy Classic titles, there is one word per page with a facing page involving adapted scenes from The Nutcracker. Using simple but significant words to represent iconic moments from the story- such as ‘gift’, ‘sweets’, ‘mouse’, ‘dance’- the Wangs do a solid job telling the story as clearly as possible for little ones. As for the characters and scenes? From the Mouse King to Maria, to the dancing and land of sweets, the details here in the felt characters and scenery are something quite special. I had the very lucky chance to view, in-person, some of The Nutcracker character felts last year and they were incredibly beautiful- detailed and intricate. It is very cool to get to see them here in the pages of the completed book!

Any readers who have previously adored Cozy Classic titles or the awesome Star Wars Epic Yarns from Jack and Holman Wang might especially adore and appreciate this version of The Nutcracker. There is something dreamy, fun, and comforting about this title and the rest of the Cozy Classics board books; they really can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

P.S. Happy Holidays!!

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Picture Book Reviews: Before Morning & First Snow

beforemorning23719206Review: Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, illus. Beth Krommes
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: October 4, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description:

There are planes to fly and buses to catch, but a child uses the power of words, in the form of an invocation, to persuade fate to bring her family a snow day – a day slow and unhurried enough to spend at home together.

In a spare text that reads as pure song and illustrations of astonishingly beautiful scratchboard art, Sidman and Krommes remind us that sometimes, if spoken from the heart, wishes really can come true.

“Let the air turn to feathers,
the earth turn to sugar,
and all that is heavy
turn light.”

That quiet, resonant hush- perhaps even a shiver- that comes with reading something so beautiful that it makes your heart sing? I had that feeling throughout my reading/study of Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes’ sublime picture book Before Morning.

In an author’s note at the very back of the book, Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman writes that Before Morning is “written in the form of an invocation– a poem that invites something to happen…”. Like the expectant pause before an orchestra conductor begins, Before Morning opens with a few wordless pages of Caldecott medalist Beth Krommes’ stunning artwork before the poetry begins. A story centering around a child’s wish for snow transforms into a most beautiful, profound tale about wishes, love, and togetherness. The combination of Joyce Sidman’s poetry and Beth Krommes’ unique scratchboard art is superb- deeply affecting, heartwarming and truly something magical. Before Morning is a read perfect for the wintertime, of course, but also a read worth savouring at any time of the year.

 

firstsnow28645701Review: First Snow by Bomi Park
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Look out. Now look up. From the sky one flake falls, then another. And just like that-it’s snowing.

In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year’s first snowy day. From her initial glimpse out the window to her poignant adventures-rolling a snowman, making snow angels-the girl’s quiet quests are ones all young readers will recognize. Simple, muted text and exquisite, evocative art conjure the excitement of a day spent exploring the wonder of snow-and the magic that, sometimes literally, such a day brings. As subtly joyful as a snow day itself, this book will find its home in the hearts of young adventurers everywhere.

“Shhhh, listen…
do you hear something?”

With these few engaging words, readers are taken into author and illustrator Bomi Park’s lovely picture book debut First Snow. I have a soft spot for wintry picture books and have read a fair number of them- but it never ceases to delight when something new, surprising and fantastical about the winter season crosses my path.

Beginning with a young child waking up to their first snow, we follow along the soft, lush, predominately black and white illustrations as the young child’s play with snow grows and grows to a whimsical and unexpected finale. Bomi Park has crafted an unusual and dreamlike narrative in First Snow: starting with something as unassuming as a child’s quiet, quiet pad into a snowy yard turns into a fantasy-filled wander, ending with a snow and snowman-filled world with red-hatted and red-scarfed adorned children. A little leap of curiosity and imagination is needed here, but do take that leap- Bomi Park’s work is truly enchanting. Any readers who love the understated and dreamy elegance of picture books by authors and illustrators such as Komako Sakai, Sara O’Leary, Sydney Smith, Kyo Maclear, or Giselle Potter might especially delight in First Snow.

I received copies of these titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.

Picture Books Make Perfect Presents…Titles from Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen & more!

Ahh, the world of picture books is a marvelous, incredible one. I have read over one hundred picture books this year- and counting- and it’s been another STELLAR year. Innovative, hysterical, meaningful, and all around excellent, picture books authors and illustrators continue to amaze.

As holiday season is almost upon us and many of us- myself included!- are in the midst of searching high and low for standout gifts and surprises, I wanted to feature the following three wonderful picture books as possible ideas for the book (or art!) lover- young or old- in your life.

 

duiztak28250952Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Publication: October 18, 201 by Candlewick Press
Book Description:

Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su!

THIS BOOK. Du Iz Tak? is up there as one of my surprise favourites of the year. I became familiar with Carson Ellis’ gorgeous illustrative work after reading her picture book Home, and poring over her illustrations for The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Wildwood Chronicles. Du Iz Tak? is an entire world- and another level- of wow. Written entirely in imagined insect-speak- beginning with the seemingly innocuous ‘Du iz tak?’, readers are taken on a fantastical, thrilling and wondrous journey with beautiful, elegant insects. From their discovery of a tiny shoot which then grows and grows through the seasons, the insects adapt and impress with every change- or danger- thrust upon them. With Ellis’ stunning illustrations as the readers’ guide, much of the delight of Du Iz Tak? resides with deciphering the language of the insects…and even more delight rests in coming to some revelations about their language!

There are so many ways that this book can be enjoyed and shared- and it really is one of those picture books that has something for all ages. Whether cherished as a work of illustrative excellence, kept as a coffee table book, as a child’s foray into insects, or even used as an unexpected read aloud, Du Iz Tak? is phenomenal. You can take a look here to peak inside the book a bit more!

 

wefoundahat28473874We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Publication: October 11, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Book Description:

Hold on to your hats for the conclusion of the celebrated hat trilogy by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen, who gives his deadpan finale a surprising new twist.

Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat. . . . Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting eyes tell the tale in this brilliantly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy and deceptive simplicity. The delicious buildup takes an unexpected turn that is sure to please loyal fans and newcomers alike.

The Hat trilogy has come to an end! Beginning with the acclaimed I Want My Hat Back, and on to the also much-acclaimed This Is Not My Hat, Klassen’s series revolving around some not-so-innocent animals has been massively popular. In his wonderfully distinctive, roguish approach in text and artwork, the Hat trilogy comes to an unforeseen conclusion in We Found a Hat. With two wide-eyed (and perhaps shifty-eyed…) and intriguing turtles as our protagonists, readers are in for more delights.

Confession time: I must admit here that it took me a second read to click into the first book of the series, I Want My Hat Back. It is deceptively simple and I think that threw me off at first read! I was smitten with Klassen’s artwork pretty much from the first time I saw his illustrations, but it took a second look for me to fall in major book love with I Want My Hat Back. Now though, I cannot even imagine the picture book world- or storytime- without his wry, quietly subversive, brilliantly comical series. We Found a Hat is indeed a worthy, wonderfully bold and funny conclusion to the series. And while I cannot give away the ending here or spoil what befalls our two turtles in the challenge over one hat, I will say that Klassen surprises yet again!

Any readers who have adored the previous Hat titles, or who have loved any of Klassen’s picture books will undoubtedly appreciate We Found a Hat. Jon Klassen’s artwork is truly marvelous and as with Carson Ellis’ Du Iz Tak?, We Found a Hat is a picture book which is a joy to have not only as a great piece of children’s lit, but also because it is so beautiful.

 

ACHILDOFBOOKS28686931A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Book Description:

A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.

I have talked about the incredible A Child of Books in a previous review post, so I don’t wish to repeat myself too much here! Since my first reading of it a few months back, it has remained another standout- a favourite of my reading year. As with the Carson Ellis and Jon Klassen titles mentioned above, A Child of Books is art, exemplary children’s lit, and a treat for book lovers all at once. I thought it might be fun to share the trailer for A Child of Books so you can take an even better look at the book- from the creators themselves!

I received copies of We Found a Hat and A Child of Books courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada/Candlewick Press in exchange for honest reviews and for the purposes of this blog post. All opinions and comments are my own.

Picture Book Fun with Pigloo and Peppa Pig!

From Olivia to Miss Piggy, Wilbur to Piglet and beyond, I have long adored and had a soft spot for literature or entertainment starring or featuring piggies. (Our elderly guinea pig is even named Wilbur!). This post spotlights two fun picture books that star adorable piggies: Pigloo and Peppa Pig and the Little Train!

piglooandpeppa

 

piglooPigloo by Anne Marie Pace, illus. Lorna Hussey
Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: October 18, 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.
Book Description:

Pigloo is an explorer. His destination? The North Pole. Big sister Paisley has doubts about Pigloo’s plan, but Pigloo knows that explorers have to be patient as well as brave. When Pigloo takes his sled to the top of a hill, he sets off on his expedition – with a little unexpected help.

This sweet, expressively illustrated story shows that sometimes the greatest adventures are the ones that happen in your own backyard.

Pigloo is a perfect-for-the-wintertime picture book featuring a darling young pig. Little Pigloo wants nothing more than to be a great explorer and bravely trek through the cold and snow to get to the North Pole. While his mom, dad, and especially his big sister all have their qualms, concerns and notes about his plans, Pigloo tries to remain hopeful about it all.  One thing Pigloo has carefully considered and prepared are his special explorer snacks- his ‘stores’ as we learn; but the one thing he has not considered is just how much patience it requires to be an explorer- especially when one is waiting for a big snowfall!

The adorable Pigloo!

When it finally snows enough, Pigloo makes it outside and ‘considers the best way to get to the North Pole and back before lunch’.  In a lovely story curve, readers get to see Pigloo’s big adventure come to happy fruition as he is- unbeknownst to him- carefully helped by his big sister, Paisley. While Paisley had initially been a little downcast on Pigloo’s big plans, it turns out that she comes through with a little magic to make Pigloo’s dreams of exploration come true. What starts out as a seemingly straightforward story about a little pig’s wintertime adventure ends up being an altogether very sweet story about kindness between siblings, and about just how much fun a grand imagination and believing in the impossible can be.

Anne Marie Pace, author of the Vamperina Ballerina books, and Lorna Hussey, illustrator of Not This Bear, have created a gentle and amiable story here that will likely go over well with kids during the winter season. Pigloo is an adorably illustrated pig with a big heart; kids and adult alike might appreciate his imagination and open, trusting nature. Readers who enjoy stories on the genial side- topped with a little lesson- think along the lines of Karma Wilson’s Bear series, Greg E. Foley’s Don’t Worry Bear, the Chester Raccoon series, or the Llama Llama books– might particularly enjoy this sweet story.

 

peppatraincover

Peppa Pig and the Little Train based on the TV series created by Neville Astley and Mark Baker
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada/Candlewick Books. Thank you!
Publication: August 2, 2016 by Candlewick Entertainment
Book Description
:

All aboard! Peppa Pig and her brother, George, are ready to chug, chug, chug all through the town on Grandpa Pig’s little train.

Peppa Pig and George are visiting Granny and Grandpa Pig, and Grandpa Pig has a surprise for them. Toot, toot! Chug, chug! Grandpa drives a little train out of the garage, and Peppa and George hop on board. Who will they meet as they ride the train all around town? And when Miss Rabbit’s bus gets stuck in the mud, who might help them save the day?

Before having a child, I had really only heard of Peppa Pig and her brother George in passing at the library. Mostly it was when getting questions such as: why don’t you have more Peppa Pig books? Or: where are all of your Peppa Pig books? I was always curious about this pig- one with an English accent no less!- and have now, thanks to having a toddler, become well-versed in the delightful and funny world of the charismatic Peppa Pig. For those unfamiliar with Peppa, this book and its world might seem a little nonsensical or peculiar- but for those more aware of it (…or those who have fans in their household), this might be a real treat.

Cover removes and becomes a colouring poster!

Peppa Pig and the Little Train is a picture book based upon the television series and episodes. In this particular adaption, the story revolves around Peppa Pig’s grandfather building a very special little train (named Gertrude): a train that Grandpa Pig can proudly conduct, with room for Peppa, her brother George, and other friends to ride in. While in the train, singing a little song about her grandpa’s little train going ‘chug chug chug’, Peppa and company meet folks who keep asking about Grandpa’s toy train. Each time, they must explain that Gertrude is actually NOT a toy but a real, working, sturdy ‘miniature locomotive’. A problem arises when Miss Rabbit’s bus gets stuck in mud; despite some doubts about the little train’s abilities, Grandpa Pig’s miniature locomotive comes to the rescue!

A happy, fun, and irreverent story- as is the wont of Peppa Pig’s stories and television episodes- Peppa Pig and the Little Train is sure to delight new or avid fans of the popular series. Readers who have enjoyed series such as Olivia by Ian Falconer, Charlie & Lola by Lauren Child, or Pete the Cat by James Dean might especially adore muddy-puddle-jumping Peppa and her imminently likable and funny world.

I received a copy of Pigloo courtesy of Raincoast Books and Peppa Pig and the Little Train courtesy of Random House of Canada in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.

Winter Picture Books Giveaway: Waiting for Snow and Bunny Slopes!

berriesjayIt is giveaway time here, courtesy of the lovely folks at Raincoast Books!

Open to Canadian residents, ages 18 and up, one winner will have a chance to receive the two beautiful, wintery picture books featured in this giveaway- just in time for the season and holidays coming up!

 

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Let’s take a closer look at the two beautiful books, and read on for how to enter the giveaway!

 

waitingforsnow28114524Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold, illus. Renata Liwska
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: November 1, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description:

Badger cannot wait one more minute for it to snow. When his friend Hedgehog explains that everything comes in its time, Badger is as unconvinced and impatient as ever. But Badger’s friends have a few tricks up their sleeve to try to get the snow’s attention and distract their pal in the meantime. In the end, Badger sees there’s no trick-only waiting-until at last, it’s time.

In Marsha Diane Arnold and Renata Liwska‘s Waiting for Snow, readers are taken on an engaging and warmhearted story about friendship and patience featuring a little badger and his animal friends. The story opens with Badger looking up into the sky and telling his friend Hedgehog that he is tired of waiting for snow to come: ‘It’s winter and I haven’t seen one snowflake”! Though Hedgehog tells Badger that ‘it will snow in snow’s time’, and his other sweet friends try and help make the snow fall, Badger still becomes rather impatient. However, it is through spending time with friends, finding fun in company, and learning, slowly but surely to be just a little patient, that Badger finally, finally, gets his snowy wish.

Waiting for Snow is a gorgeously illustrated and quietly told story; any readers who have previously read and adored works by either the author or illustrator might love this read. Arnold’s text is so lovely and unassuming here, making the most of softly repeated phrases and words as well as uncomplicated dialogue and narration. Liwska’s illustrative work here, as with her other works (The Quiet Book, Once Upon A Memory and many more) is so utterly cozy and inviting. There’s something almost wonderfully nostalgic about Liwksa’s style- it takes me back to my own childhood! Readers of all ages who enjoy the stillness and heart of picture books such as If You Want to See a Whale or Bear Has a Story to Tell, might especially love Waiting for Snow.

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bunnyslopes28645651Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: October 4, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Time to tackle the bunny slope! Shake to help Bunny make it snow, tilt to help Bunny ski down the slope, and turn to help Bunny escape a cliff in his path. Is there any obstacle Bunny can’t conquer? Bringing grins and guffaws with each turn of the page, readers will find Claudia Rueda’s innovative bookmaking as entertaining as the twists and turns of a ski slope-and as satisfying as a cozy cup of hot cocoa.

Claudia Rueda is a children’s author and illustrator with numerous bestselling titles to her name including Huff & Puff (a toddler storytime favourite!) and Is It Big or Is It Little?. You might also recognize Rueda’s distinctive artwork from the tremendously popular picture books, written by Deborah Underwood, featuring Cat: Here Comes Santa Cat, Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat and more. Now with Bunny Slopes, Rueda has added another wonderfully fun interactive picture book- this one winter-themed-to her roster!

In Bunny Slopes, we are taken on a rather action-packed ski day with a bunny. Bunny is ready to go for a ski adventure, but he needs the readers help to make it snow and to help him move down the hills. Starting off with simple instructions such as shaking and tapping, bunny’s skiing activities get a little more theatrical, asking the reader for little more flourish and fun in their book-maneuvering! As with hugely popular storytime titles like Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, Press Here, or Tap the Magic Tree, Claudia Rueda uses the interactive, conversational aspect of this story to great effect. Perfect for a winter season read aloud, a storytime big or small, (or anytime reading, really!), Bunny Slopes is mightily merry and giggle-inducing, and invites readers young and old to participate- making for a winning read and experience all around.

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Giveaway Info:

Giveaway is now closed!

Thank you all so much for your interest and entering the giveaway.

The winner is….PAM!

Winner has 48 hours to email or DM me with confirmation of address or another name will be drawn.

The contest is open to Canadian residents only, and entrants must be aged 18 and up. The contest will run from November 28, 2016 until December 10, 2016. One winner will receive two books: one copy Waiting for Snow and one copy of Bunny Slopes. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of giveaway via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by emailing me at fabbookreviews[at]gmail[dot]com OR DM’ing me on Twitter @fabbityfab confirming their name and their mailing address. Prizes are fulfilled by Raincoast Books.

Enter by clicking on the following link to Rafflecopter and follow the instructions to enter:

Click here to enter on Rafflecopter!

 

I received copies of Waiting for Snow and Bunny Slopes from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of this giveaway. Opinions and comments regarding the titles are my own. Prizes and fulfillment provided by Raincoast Books. Thank you!

Halloween Fun with Curious George & Little Master Conan Doyle

curiousgeorge_hoorayforhalloweenReview: Hooray for Halloween, Curious George by Margret & H.A. Rey (illus. in the style of H.A. Rey by Martha Weston)
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: July 19, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book Description:

It’s Halloween! When George and his friend the man with the yellow hat go to a party at Mrs. Gray’s house, George is excited to find out that it is a costume party. After seeing his friends dressed up as astronauts, mummies, witches, and more, George gets to pick out his own costume. But George accidentally wraps himself up in a tablecloth and gets mistaken for a ghost! Will everyone enjoy George’s Halloween trick, or will he scare away the party guests? Each hardcover gift book comes with festive Halloween stickers.

 

In Hooray for Halloween, Curious George, our titular character goes to a Halloween party at Mrs. Gray’s with the man in the yellow hat. When the two arrive at the party, though, they discover that it is a costume party- and neither of them are wearing costumes! George, of course, wants to find a costume to join in on the fun, and searches for something perfect among the dress-up clothes at Mrs. Gray’s house. It wouldn’t be a Curious George adventure without a small stumble or misunderstanding, and there is a fun Halloween one here: involving George, a fall, a tablecloth and the sudden appearance of a…ghost?!

Hooray for Halloween, Curious George is a sweet and gently fun Halloween read; perfect for any fans of Curious George or for readers who would like to read or share something that isn’t scary for Halloween. Martha Weston’s illustrations here are lovely and absolutely keep with the cozy and warm aesthetics of Magret and H.A. Rey’s work. Reading Hooray for Halloween, Curious George made me think back to my own childhood where I was a big reader of Curious George books! The addition of a page of Curious George stickers (all with images from Hooray for Halloween) will certainly only add to the appeal of this book!

I received a copy of Hooray for Halloween, Curious George courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

 

 

soundsprimerhoundofbaskervilles17841553Review: Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles: A Babylit Sounds Primer by Jennifer Adams, illus. Alison Oliver
Source: Board Book
Publication: September 1, 2013 by Gibbs Smith
Book Description:

Delight your little one with the sounds and sights of a mysterious night in Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles: A BabyLit® Sounds Primer. Alison Oliver’s bold illustrations correspond with Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text to create pairings little bibliophiles will love to have read to them, such as “hounds howl,” “gates screech,” and “stairs creak.

HOWL! SCREECH! CHIME! RUSTLE!

If you have ever wondered how an adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles might look if adapted adorably and cleverly in board book form, then look to this title from the popular BabyLit series!

Focusing on a slew of sounds, as imagined from Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous work, this BabyLit Sounds Primer features ten objects and their respective sounds. For example: we have wheels that ‘clatter’, leaves that ‘rustle’, and fire that ‘crackles’. Each page of the board book features one object and the facing page features the sound of the object. What I especially like about this particular BabyLit addition is how it takes something as iconic as this Sherlock Holmes case and cheekily formats and restyles it into something so enjoyable and so exactly RIGHT. Alison Oliver’s illustrations are, as ever, cuter than cute- but in this book they are little bit spookier and darker in colour palette to match the adapted work. Oliver’s imagining of Holmes and Watson is so great in this book! This is a board book title that while, of course, will be enjoyed by babies and toddlers (my daughter loves trying the sounds with me!), adults (and Sherlock fans!) might also get a big kick out of this and want to add it to their own library collection for the pure joy and fun of it. If you end up enjoying this BabyLit entry, you might also want to check out the Dracula and/or Frankenstein adaptations!