Thursday, December 16, 2021

New Concept Books for Toddlers

My toddler twins destroy board books like nobody's business, so I'm thankful to have a supply of five new titles generously sent to us by publishers. These are all new or soon-to-be-published concept books in board book format. 

Hooray for Snowy Days! by Susan Kantor and Katya Longhi (Little Simon, 10/19/2021) is a cheerful rhyming book featuring big-eyed woodland creatures experiencing the joys of winter. They say hooray for jumping in snow, riding on sleds, building snowmen, and other traditional winter activities. The illustrator uses lots of color in the animals' clothing and in the mountains which serve as the backdrop for every scene. The result is that even the pages featuring snow and ice have a warm and cozy feel. 

Similarly The Very Hungry Caterpillar's First Winter (Penguin Random House, 1/4/2022) describes a variety of ways to spend a winter day: watching the snow, bundling up, jumping in slush, baking treats, etc. Each spread shows a cozy scene created in Eric Carle's signature style, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar can be found hiding in each illustration. This book highlights the fun side of wintry weather and is a great introduction for little ones who might soon experience snow for the first time. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast (Penguin Random House, 12/14/2021)  uses familiar breakfast foods to introduce the concept of counting. Each spread features a different type of food: one cup of yogurt, two bowls of cereal, three pastries, etc. As in the original The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the title character makes a hole in each item as he eats through it. Little fingers can touch the holes as they count the foods on each page. In my family, we especially like the egg page because one of the six egg dishes featured is "egg-in-a-hole," which is a frequent breakfast favorite of my kids. All the food vocabulary in general is pretty unusual for a board book, and it provides some good opportunities for exposure to words young kids might not otherwise hear in everyday conversation. 

Learning with Llama Llama: Numbers (11/9/2021) counts backwards from 10 as Llama Llama cleans up his bedroom and then runs to give Mama Llama a hug. The style of the illustrations makes it a bit difficult to count each individual item, which is not ideal for actually teaching counting. As a quick slice-of-life story for toddlers, however, the book is a success. I would have gladly used this in a baby or toddler story time when I worked in the library. Learning with Llama Llama: Colors (12/21/2021) combines colors with food, as Llama Llama, in the mood to make art, creates a picture out of the fruits and vegetables on his plate. The rhyming text in this one falls a bit flat, as the rhymes aren't perfect all the time, and the rhythm is often awkward to read aloud. I'm also not personally thrilled with the idea of a book that encourages playing with food, though it's hard to know whether kids will imitate the behavior or not. 

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