Today’s Flashback Friday – Father’s Day Favorites from Rita Zobayan.
Daddy Hugs 1*2*3
Written and illustrated by Karen Katz
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2005,
Prices vary per format
The Very Best Daddy of All
Written by Marion Dane Bauer
and illustrated by Leslie Wu
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004,
Prices vary per format
Father’s Day is just around the corner and to honor the occasion, I’m reviewing two picture books that have been daddy favorites in our household for years.
The first is Daddy Hugs 1*2*3 by perennial kidlit favorite, Karen Katz. This counting book is perfect for the younger crowd (ages 1-3). Its bright and action-packed illustrations feature Daddy playing with Baby with hugs at every number.
“Here I come! It’s Daddy!”
Four “Yay, you did it!” first-step hugs
Six “I gotcha now!” hide-and-seek hugs
Eight dancing on Daddy’s feet cha-cha hugs
Kitty is along for the fun and can be spotted on many of the pages. Numbers accompany the words, so the young readers can identify numerals. This is a sweet book that highlights the milestones in infant/toddler life. The story ends with good night kisses and is perfect as a bedtime book, as well.
The Very Best Daddy of All written by Marion Dane Bauer is a quiet book that presents the many ways through which fathers express and demonstrate love for their children.
Some daddies sing you awake.
Some hold you snug and tight.
Some take care of your mama, so she can take care of you.
Each page cleverly presents animal fathers. For example, Some tuck you in, safe and warm, when the sun’s about to go features a duckling cozying up in its father’s wing. Some daddies comb your hair, gently, gently, so you’ll be fresh and neat is paired with a gorilla combing his fingers through his child’s fur.
Leslie Wu’s pastel illustrations capture the warmth and strength of the animals in their landscapes. See the zebras on the savanna as the sun sets and the songbird feeding its baby in their nest.
The title suggests there is a very best daddy of all. Who is it? Your child will enjoy reading the book to find out.
There’s something extra special about a boxed set of books, especially when they’re beautiful and sturdy and made to last. You just know they’re for keeps. Bronwyn Bancroft’s 1, 2, 3 and abc ($17.99, Trafalgar Square Publishing, Ages 1-4) includes two titles in a compact set: An Australian 1, 2, 3 of Animals and An Australian abc of Animals. If the only Australian artist you know is Ken Done, take a look at the talent that is Bancroft.
In the vast sea of counting and alphabet books, it never ceases to amaze me when I discover new ones that are creative and original. Author Bronwyn Bancroft is an Aboriginal artist who uses her talents to entertain the littlest readers with vivid multi-media illustrations filled with dotted, striped and geometric designs.
An Australian 1, 2, 3 of Animals counts from one to twelve and features animals of Australia like koalas, kookaburras, and geckos, while An Australian abc of Animals takes readers through the alphabet with additional animals of Australia such as a dingo, honeyeater and a wombat. The illustrations are so pleasing to the eye that they will keep a toddler’s attention as you recite the numbers or letters.
Bronwyn Bancroft’s 1, 2, 3 and abc would make a wonderful addition to your toddler’s library, and with the thick board book pages, you can enjoy reading these books over and over again. Then, if you can bear to part with them, you can pass them on to another child who will enjoy them as much as you and your child did.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade
Rita Zobayan reviews 2 new elephantastic books.
When you think of animals playing hide-and-seek, which ones come to mind? A chameleon, certainly. A monkey, leopard or tiger, perhaps. But a large, hulking elephant? Not so much. Summoning strong imaginations, two authors have placed playful pachyderms in a favorite children’s game.
Salina Yoon has written and illustrated a darling board book, Where’s Ellie?: A Hide-and-Seek Book ($6.99, Robin Corey Books) for little ones aged 0-3. Ellie and her friends—caterpillar, ladybug, rabbit, lizard and squirrel—are playing a game of hide-and-seek. Young readers will search for Ellie and her peek-a-boo trunk in familiar settings, only to be surprised at what they find instead. The simple but colorful illustrations are fun to view. At 16 pages, the book is long enough to hold a youngster’s attention and short enough for parents to read over and over again, which they probably will have to do if their kids are anything like mine.
Hide & Seek ($15.99, Alfred A. Knopf Books, ages 2-5) by Il Sung Na is a counting book that also features an elephant playing hide and seek, but this time Elephant is the seeker. The other animals must find places to hide; where will they go?! Flamingo wants to make sure that Elephant isn’t cheating. Gorilla thinks carefully about his hiding spot. “10! Ready or not, here I come!” cries Elephant, and the search is on! Na uses rich, bright colors and various art techniques to create a visually spectacular picture book. The animals’ expressions are adorable, and children will enjoy counting the butterflies that accompany Elephant on the search. Like elephants, children will not forget—to read Hide & Seek that is.
When it comes to numbers, there are plenty of counting books out there to choose from, and while many counting books for infants go
only to 10, Basher: 1, 2, 3 ($16.99, Kingfisher, ages 3 and up), written and illustrated by Simon Basher, takes children into the realm of the double-digits — all the way up to 20. Each two-page spread of the book with its bold red cover features a solid color background with a bold black number and playful illustrations which often depict an alliterative description of the number. The large bold black 19 on a solid yellow page is matched with a picture of the “Nineteen naughty sheep [who] splash and jump in puddles” on the opposite page. Along the bottom of each page is a list of the numbers, with the current number underlined (so you don’t lose track of your counting).
Besides just helping a child to learn numbers, Basher: 1, 2, 3 offers numerous opportunities for learning new colors, animals, insects, objects, and vocabulary, as well as the ability to teach your child how to spell the numbers, which are written out in each description. I like books like this that give me an abundance of tools on each page with which I can teach my child. It is not just having my child help me count the “Seven tiny rabbits jump around in cowboy hats.” It’s being able to ask him “What color hat is that rabbit wearing?” and saying “Show me how you jump like a rabbit!” Going all the way up to 20 simply extends the fun to be had with this unique counting book. Each page offers new ways to interact with your child while learning numbers at the same time. Basher: 1, 2, 3 is a charming, creative, and innovative counting book perfect for helping your child learn the first 20 numbers!
-Karen B. Estrada is today’s reviewer.
Today Karen B. Estrada weighs in on the incredibly cool BabyLit board book series from Gibbs Smith ($9.99, ages 1 and up).
As an English teacher, I was excited when I saw the BabyLit series and happened upon the Little Master Stoker and Little Master Dickens books. I was not sure quite what to expect from these durable cardboard baby books which purport to introduce young children to classic literature; to be honest, I was skeptical. But when the books arrived, I was instantly delighted.
In Little Master Stoker’s Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer and Little Master Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer, author Jennifer Adams and artist Alison Oliver creatively summarize key elements of two classic works of literature. The “art” in these books is just that—scenes that go beyond simple illustration. In Dracula, edgy double-page spreads
utilizing a red, purple, black, gray, and white color palate make the 19th century classic seem contemporary and fresh. The story begins with “1 castle” and moves through counting up to 10 using relevant and important aspects of the actual novel. While the book does not really tell the story of Dracula—not that it is a story you’d want to read to your infant or toddler anyway—it offers enough details to familiarize them somewhat with elements of the story. When your child comes across Dracula again as a teen or an adult, perhaps he will recall the 1 castle and 2 friends who read 7 letters and diaries in the Little Master Stoker book he read as a child.
In A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer, equally punchy illustrations depict an image in which the color of an object tells the story. While I felt Dracula more closely related to the actual novel, the images and colors in A Christmas Carol will nonetheless provide your child with the same familiarity of this classic work of literature. Share the story now with your youngster to foster an appreciation for Dickens’ complete version in the future. In other words, if you are looking for some wonderful, timeless holiday reading that is appropriate for your child who is just learning numbers and colors, check out the Baby Lit Little Masters series by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver. Like the original novels, these books should be on your shelves!