Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pretty As A Picture: An Illustrated Year: 2012 Picture Book Reading Challenge Hosted by An Abundance of Books

I’m taking this challenge partly because I’m  the lap-sit, toddler, and Preschool storytime lady, but also because of my slightly maniacal obsession with picture books. 

You will often find me behind a mile high stack of  these glorious and captivating volumes as I peruse their pages for the perfect stories for my storytime children as well as my own personal enjoyment. 

There is something so quaint and magical about a books filled with stories of talking animals, silly sayings, and whimsical drawings. They bring you back to the days when any dream was possible and all problems could be solved by an ice cream cone or your mother’s soothing voice. 

I have pledged to read 24 picture books (level 3) within the year in the an Illustrated Year 2012 Picture Book Challenge. 

Here are the rules for the challenge below: 

The Details

  • Timeline: January 1, 2012- December 31, 2012
  • Select your level:
                     Level 1 - Read 12 picture books
                     Level 2 - Read 16 picture books
                     Level 3 - Read 24 picture books

  • You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go.  If you do list your books in the beginning, you can always change them later on.
  • Crossovers with other challenges count.
  • Digital books count
  • Re-reads count as long as you read them in 2012 and you post a new review for the book.
  • You can join anytime


Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas 
 Picture Book
 JE Thomas (New Picture Books Shelf) 
 Publication Date: 2011 

Who isn't ready for fun? that's all I have to say. 

Little ones will squiggle and squirm reading this laugh out loud barnyard animal romp about three cows who are having quite a jolly time moving and  grooving on Chicken's sofa. 

Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy mimicking the simple gross motor movements as you read the story such as jumping and dancing. Jan Thomas's graphic novel/comic book-style word balloons add a touch of whimsy to this funny and charming picture book. 

Hedgehug: A Sharp Lesson in Love by Benn Sutton 
 Picture Book 
 JE Sutton (New Picture Books Shelf) 
 Publication Date: 2011

This book's awww factor is cranked up to maximum capacity as readers meet Hedgehug, a prickly and too-cute-to be-believed hedgehog in search of love. 

Hedgehug is on a mission to find love as he toddles out of his burrow and marches through the forest toting his homemade valentine and listening to the bathump of his heart. 

Will Hedgehug find the love of his life or is he looking for love in all the wrong places?

Read Hedgehug: A Sharp Lesson in Love to learn that sometimes love can be quite prickly, but where there's a quill there has to be a way. 

I give this story 2 hearts up!

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman
Picture Book
JE Freedman (New Picture Books Shelf)
Publication Date: 2011

Blue, Blue, who's blue? It's chicken that's who! Blue Chicken is a quacky, wacky story about a snowy white chicken who magically jumps out of a painting to help paint the picture's barn blue.

A paint-tastrophy ensues as the well-meaning chicken knocks over a glass of sky blue paint turning all the animals on the farm blue!

Chicken quickly snaps into action and courageously saves the day with his ingenious plan.

What's the plan you say? Come on over and check out the book Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman to find out!

Freedman's use of flamboyant colors and bold font will draw children to this sensational and delightful picture book.

The Friendship Wish by Elisa Kleven
Picture Book
JE Kleven (New Picture Books Shelf)
Publication Date: 2011

Who doesn't dream of the perfect friend, just maybe not one as shimmery and sparkly as The Friendship Fairy! In the story, you will meet Farley, who is looking for a dog-gone good friend. Unfortunately, as Farley searches for that special friendship all his neighbors seem way too busy with their own activities than having him join in.

One night, Farley dreams of a beautiful, magical "Friendship Fairy" who did all the wonderful things Farley enjoys doing with his friends including playing the guitar, singing, and being fed pancakes. Watch as magical events unfold in Farley's life after the visit from this majestic lady. 

Yuck! That's Not a Monster by Angela McAllister
Picture Book
JE McAllister
Publication Date: 2010

The story begins as Mr. and Mrs. Monster excitedly wait for their gruesome young as they hatch from their eggs. They glow with pride when they see that two of their children, aptly named Frightful and Horrid, live up to their full expectations of ugliness.

Unfortunately, their third little monster, who hatches from their bounty of eggs, is an  insanely adorable, sickeningly cute, little bundle of tufted pink fur, which they name Little Shock. He receives this moniker because it is such a shock that two very ugly monsters could create such cuteness.

Little Shock's sweet-natured ways and cutesy appearance just might pay off during a particularly scary event in the woods that will leave little ones gripping their seats at the sheer suspense of it all.

I loved this book and the glorious artwork which will captivate a very young and wiggly audience such as preschoolers. Illustrator Alison Edgson hits the mark with her sharp details and spot-on shadowing and shading which adds beauty as well as interest to the story. The rendering of Little Shock's sweet face will leave readers swooning. Well done!

Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book by Brian P. Cleary
ABC Concept Book
JE Cleary
Publication Date: 2007

This stunningly beautiful ABC picture book is a cheery feast for the eyes and wistful tongue-in-cheek delight to the ears. Children will surely become fascinated with the brilliant, soft and aw-inducing illustrations of flamingo hairstylists to kissing kangaroos that decorate it's pages.

The language in the book will introduce young readers to words such as Quail and Wallaby which will definitely induce fits of giggles to all-out laugh-out-loud snorts of glee. Kids will also enjoy a "letter hunt" as they search the pages for the hidden letters being read about on the book's pages.

I may be an adult, but after reading this book I know I certainly want a second helping of Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes!

Dog In Boots by Greg Gormley
Picture Book 
JE Gormley
Publication Date: 2011

Dog has quite a footwear dilemma ahead of him after he reads the classic children's storybook, Puss In Boots.

He must have a pair of beautiful, bodacious boots to parade around in during his daily doings.

So this passionate pooch sets off to the shoe store and tries on a brilliant pair of black, buckled boots which he immediately buys.

Unfortunately, he finds out that while these boots are perfectly polished they're not appropriate for rough and tumble bone digging, so he decides to ditch them and get himself a pair of boots that are up for the task.

The salesman suggests a rubbery pair of canary-yellow boots which will definitely suit dog's dirty mission.

Unfortunately, they don't do the job for another favorite pastime: swimming. So off again strides the pup to the shoe store to find just the right shoe to mend this irksome quandary.

Will our canine friend find that perfect shoe? Find out by reading this delightful story that grabs readers with its sweet storyline, light and fluffy illustrations, and a surprising ending, and  winsome spirit.

Jammy Dance by Rebecca Janni 
Picture Book (New Picture Book Shelf) 
JE Janni 
Publication Date: 2012 

It's time to cha-cha in your footie p.j.s and waltz in your nightgown over to your favorite reading spot to listen to this spirited bedtime story. 

It's off to bed for two boisterous p.j. clad siblings who bust-a-move during their nightly bedtime routine. 

This dance fest includes a bubbly bath, combing out some tangly tresses, brushing those pearly whites, and getting ready to listen to a magical fairy tale. 

Rebecca Janni expertly describes the daily "dance" with lively poetic print which preschoolers will adore. 

Illustrator Tracy Dockary's blissful illustrations illuminate the child-like quality of the text. 

Her painstakingly joyful renderings make the reader want to join in on the bedtime bash. 

Some other picture book faves that I have reviewed can be found by clicking on this link: 

These books include:

Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke

 Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson,

All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri

Reaching by Judy Ann Sadler

Strega Nonna's Gift by Tomie DePaola

Miss Jennifer's Picture Book Parade Pick

Scary Mary by Paula Bowles                                
 Picture Book (New Picture Book Shelf) 
JE Bowles
Publication Date: 2012

Scary Mary is quite a curmudgeonly hen who "vants to be alone" at all times. There is no budging no matter how hard the other farm animals try to persuade this persnickety poultry to play with them. 

She rules the barnyard and makes it perfectly clear to all the animals that she is not a "chick" to be messed with. 

In order to cull the other animal's kindly actions, Scary Mary puts up all types of roadblocks including signs and a very foreboding-looking fort. 

To Scary Mary's chagrin, these precautionary measure arouse even more interest in the friendly livestock. Everyone wants to play!

Scary Mary gets her feathers in a twist and her explosive temper scares the other animals away. 

Will Scary Mary enjoy her "me" time or find out being alone isn't all it's cracked up to be? 

Read this charming tale which illustrates the importance of pro-social behavior and the true meaning of friendship. 

Children will enjoy the carefree renderings of sweet-faced farm animals and the bold use of primary colors which make this a true picture book gem. 

I give this story 2 eggs" up! 

Lola Reads to Leo by Anna McQuinn
Picture Book (New Picture Book Shelf)
JE McQuinn
Publication Date: 2012

Lola and her parents are getting ready for a bundle of joy. The family reads books, prepares the home for the little ones needs and finally the day arrives: Lola is a big sister. Lola loves being a big sis and decides she can help him stop crying whether it be for tiredness or a clean diaper.

This wholesome tale can be easily incorporated into a talk about becoming a big sister or brother for parents and simplifies the needs of infants to young children.

Simple words and pictures give the story a compelling aura into  the love of a family.