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Fridays Featuring Flintridge – Picture Books

Catherine Linka shares her picks of …


When I choose new picture books to carry in the store, I may select five out of fifty the publisher shows me. I try to choose books that kids will want to hear over and over, and that parents won’t mind reading forty, fifty or a hundred times. 

I look for great characters, and wonderful, perhaps wacky artwork. I look for books that are fun for adults to read aloud, because the language is rhythmic or because there’s a chorus kids can join in on. I love books where children find surprises hiding in the artwork that adults might miss. And I adore books that make children laugh.

Picture books are made to be shared between an adult and a child. Even after children can read on their own, they will often return to a favorite picture book for the memory of togetherness with someone they love.

Here are some fun, new titles you may not have seen yet.

THIS MONSTER NEEDS A HAIRCUT by Bethany Barton ($16.99, Dial Books for Young Readers)

Stewart is a young monster who’s afraid that if he gets a haircut, he won’t be scary so he won’t get it cut. His dad wants Stewart to get a haircut, because things keep disappearing into Stewart’s out-of-control locks. Wacky artwork that both boys and girls will adore. Great for ages 3-5 years.

THE REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY BIG DINOSAUR by Richard Byrne (   Tiger Tales Books

Kids will laugh at Jackson the dinosaur who protects his jar of jelly beans from a larger dinosaur by claiming the beans belong to his friend. The bullying dino tries every trick to get Jackson to turn over the candy, but in the end Jackson and his friend turn the bully around. Lively, perfect read aloud for adults who love to act out books. Ages 2-4 years.

ABC ZOOBORNS by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland ($12.99, Beach Lane Books)

Fans of the outrageously cute photography in the original ZOOBORNS will swoon over the new ABC ZOOBORNS. One look at the minute koala on the cover and you’ll be hooked. From A is for Anteater to Z is for Zebra, ZOOBORNS is adorable. Ages 2 and up.

1-2-3 PEAS by Keith Baker ($16.99, Beach Lane Books)

You may already know Baker’s LMNO PEAS alphabet book. 1-2-3- PEAS has the same infectiously charming artwork. Peas in hats and glasses and tutus help readers count up to ten and then one hundred. Fun, engaging, repeating text with lots of hidden details to engage children in the art. Ages 3-5 years.

SQUID AND OCTOPUS: FRIENDS FOR ALWAYS by Tao Nyeu ($16.99, Dial Books for Young Readers) 

Squid and Octopus are friends, but even friends disagree sometimes. Three short gentle and loving stories show how friends explore the world together. Charming artwork, and silly jokes. Ages 3-5 years.

Please visit the Flintridge Bookstore today to pick up your copy of these great books, buy gifts, enjoy their extensive selection of other great reads  and relax over a great cup of coffee.  Also visit the website at to keep up-to-date with story times, author events and other exciting special events.

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Read With Me, Please

Read with Me: Best Books for Preschoolers by Stephanie Zvirin is reviewed by Krista Jefferies.

In her book, Read with Me: Best Books for Preschoolers ($18.95, Huron Street Press), Stephanie Zvirin offers parents numerous helpful tips to encourage their children to read, along with a comprehensive catalog of kid-friendly books. Zvirin, an editor for the American Library Association (ALA), provides insight about the types of books that are appropriate for each age group and how to share the experience of reading with children at the various stages of their early lives. 

This book is logically organized, each chapter building on the previous one like adding train cars to a locomotive on this journey to literacy.  Each list of suggested reading is alphabetically ordered, and filled with a variety of books for both boys and girls.  Among Zvirin’s recommendations for infants and toddlers are books that include bright colors and vibrant pictures, subjects that include everything from animals to sports, stories that teach anything from opposites to counting (in English and Spanish), and multi-cultural characters that expand a child’s scope of the world.  Her lists for older children, ages 4-8, include books that adhere to a child’s growing sense of the world, offering themes like family, friendship, nature, and make believe.

This book is a great tool for parents, but it’s also useful for family members, friends, daycare providers, and anyone else with an opportunity to read to kids. I recognized strategies I’ve used with my nieces and nephews, and even my students while reading aloud with them, such as changing inflection to capture characters’ voices or to show enthusiasm.  There are also plenty more to try out in the future, simple tips that make reading a constant fixture in a child’s life.  I plan to pass this book along to a friend who has recently mentioned he’d like to read more with his children but doesn’t really know where to start.  This is a terrific starting point for any parent, and Zvirin’s advices don’t stop here—the final pages offer an array of reputable resources for reading guides and book blogs that will connect anyone to the wide world of words. 

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Dogs Love Books, Too!

Today Debbie Glade reviews a book for children and their pups.

As an author who has visited many schools and libraries, I have encountered the wonderful world of Reading Dogs. “What’s that?” you say. Well, a Reading Dog is a specially trained service canine that sits and listens as a young child reads him a book. It has been proven that children who are hesitant to read aloud or who are struggling with reading at the proper level, improve their literacy skills when they read aloud to a Reading Dog. It is really quite a special sight to see a child sitting on the floor alongside a gentle pup, that is listening to the story and not getting frustrated with any mistakes the child is making. Many schools and libraries offer this service, if you are interested.

The Bedtime Book for Dogs ($15.99, Hachette Book Group, Ages 4 and up) by Bruce Littlefield is a perfect story for a young child to read to a dog. The story is about an unnamed dog who takes a walk to the park without his owner, only to discover that it is not much fun to be in the park all alone. The prose in the book are very basic, the illustrations by Paul S. Heath are vibrant and the story is adorable. All children who love dogs or have one of their own, would surely enjoy reading The Bedtime Book for Dogs – just before they go to sleep, of course.

You can preview the book online by clicking here.

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Avoid The Summer Slide!

Finallogo4-C.largeScholastic’s Tips for Helping Kids Avoid the Summer Slide:

Encourage your children to read four or more books. Research shows that kids who don’t read at least four books during the summer break lose valuable reading comprehension skills that can put them behind when they go back to school in the fall.

Find great books. Nine out of 10 kids say that they are more likely to finish reading a book if they pick it out themselves, so make a trip to the bookstore or library more exciting by allowing them to show you which books they want to read!

Take reading beyond the book. Ask your child questions about the story they are reading and try to find relevant supplemental activities to enhance their comprehension, such as a visit to a museum, checking out the author or book website, or doing an arts and crafts project.

Join a fun, free summer reading program. Scholastic’s Summer Challenge is completely free and easy to use! Kids read books, log their minutes, and earn rewards! Parents receive emails each time their child hits a reading milestone so that they can keep the encouragement going all summer long.

Fun For Kids! On April 27th, Scholastic will launch the 5th annual Summer Challenge, a free online reading program for kids grades K-8, found at . The Summer Challenge encourages kids to read books that are interesting to them and to log the minutes they spend reading on the website in order to win prizes and contribute to the Read For the World Record. Last summer, kids around the world read 52,710,368 minutes which broke the previous record, and we’re confident that they will do it again this year! Kids can keep track of their personal reading minutes and can also choose to contribute to their school’s tally.

Parents Win Too! Parents are provided with free recommended reading lists, and will receive emails when their kids hit milestones during the course of the summer. Plus, the site offers free resources, expert articles, and downloadable reading certificates you can print and hang on the fridge.

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INTERRUPTING CHICKEN, (2011 Caldecott Medal Honor Book) written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein, is reviewed today by reading enthusiast Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. Studio City.

Who hasn’t tried to read a book to their child, when interrupted by said child with their own version of what might come next? That is exactly what happens in INTERRUPTING CHICKEN when papa chicken tries to read a bedtime story to his, wide awake, little red chicken. Warned not to interrupt, little red chicken promises, “Oh no, Papa. I’ll be good.”

And so papa begins reading the fairytale, Hansel And Gretel. “Hansel and Gretel were very hungry. Deep in the woods they found a house made of candy. Nibble, nibble, nibble: they began to eat the house, until the old woman who lived there came out and said, “What lovely children! Why don’t you come inside?” They were just about to follow her when…”

Well, at this point of the story, little red chicken could not contain herself and screamed, “Out jumped little red chicken and she said, ‘Don’t go in! She’s a witch!’ So Hansel and Gretel didn’t. The End!”

The next story papa chicken tried to read was Little Red Riding Hood. Just when Little Red meets up with the big bad wolf, little red chicken interrupted, again, yelling, “Out jumped little red chicken and she said, ‘Don’t talk to strangers!’ So Little Red Riding Hood didn’t. The End!”

And so it went, story after story until papa chicken was getting very, very tired. It was then that little red chicken told her papa a story of her own, which put him right to sleep, with absolutely, no interruptions!

I love the fact that little red chicken not only inserted herself into all the stories, but made herself the heroine. Children will love this funny and creative tale, although it might make bedtime just a tad later than originally planned, for both of you!

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling (with no interruptions!) every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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