Bunny’s Book Club

Our four year old B loves to “change the game” if you will. If our plan doesn’t really work for her, she will come up with a Plan B (or even a Plan C.)

I’ll be honest, she’s getting good at occasionally reframing our definite rules/ideas. We’ll find ourselves seeing things her way and you know what?

The girl usually has a darn good point.

Miss “Let’s Make a Deal” became an insta-fan of Bunny. It’s only natural she became a fan of a character with a gift for finding another way.

In Bunny’s Book Club, a clever, book loving Bunny is desperate to read more books. He fell in love with books during outdoor story time over the summer, and now that it’s inside… well, what’s a Bunny to do?

You guessed it– find another way to get his fill of books.

In the middle of the night, he scaled a wall (and about 7 other places.) He jiggled the locked library door. He peeked in the windows and finally discovered the book return. BINGO!

Inside the library, Bunny was thrilled– it was “better than a field full of fresh, crunchy carrots!” He took all of the books he could carry and went home. Eventually, his friends come knocking because he’d been MIA (loving life in his piles of borrowed books.)

They were intrigued.

They all snuck in.

They all got busted by the librarian– they all felt doomed– and they all… got library cards!

This story and its beautiful, expressive illustrations will effortlessly pull kids in– and you’ll all be left wanting more of Bunny and his Book Club.

Bunny’s Book Club (2017)
Annie Silvestro (Illus. by Tatjana Mai-Wyss)
Doubleday


Wanting more from Bunny? You don’t have to wait! New this summer– Bunny’s Book Club Goes To School.

Little Excavator

Littles love to be helpers. When you’re doing some work around your house, they might just want to be all in. We built a second garden this spring and we had lots of “all in” toddler (and preschooler!) moments.

They’ll want to use power tools (and are sad when they can’t.)

They’ll want to move materials that are more than twice their size (and are frustrated when they can’t.)

There are plenty of jobs they can do, however, so pay attention for when it’s okay to say, “YES! You can do that!”

In come the machines (a Bulldozer, Loader, Dump Truck, Backhoe, Crane and Little Excavator,) to build a park in their town. Everyone starts work on their own specific job, except for the Little Excavator. He can’t figure out what he should be doing. He tries to help the Loader, but

“Little E tries lifting up some junk
junk
junk!

But there goes Little Excavator–
over with a clunk!”

He tips, he flips, he gets in the way. By the end of the day, Little E is feeling pretty low.

Your littles will be rooting for Little E, wondering if he gets his big moment.

He does (and you’ll interrupt the story to shout, “Yay!”)

Little Excavator came in handy this spring. Our little helpers could remember Little E and that everyone has a job that fits them just right.

Little Excavator (2017)
The Anna E. Dewdney Literary Trust
Viking

Teeny Tiny Toady (+ interview with the author!)

B is almost 3 years old. *Pinch* WHAT?!

Now, she examines books. She looks deeply at the illustrations and turns the page when she’s ready. She sits still for long periods of time. That’s a story time game changer in this house!

Last night she was desperate to read a superhero book– so a superhero book we picked.

teeny

In Teeny Tiny Toady, you’ll be led through rhyme to the time when Teeny became a hero. Teeny, a little teeny toad (and sister of seven brawny dudes,) witnessed a toad-napping. Her own Mother, captured and put inside a bucket. *GASP* Imagine…

“Hopping faster than she ever
in her tiny life had hopped,
hurry-scurry, wild with worry,
Teeny flopped
and plopped
and slopped,
dodging spiderwebs and mushrooms,
leaping bugs and sluggy mothers,
till she skidded through the door– at last!– to gasp…
I need you, brothers!”

Don’t you feel like you’re there?! Poor Teeny.

She wishes she could be strong like her brothers so she could help save their Mama. After several attempts to free her, the brothers accidentally ploop into the bucket (whoops!) and Teeny is forced to find her strength (hint: she’s a smart little chick) to save the day.

You won’t regret getting this one for your bookshelf. Esbaum’s story + Yamaguchi’s illlustrations = fireworks!

Read on to the very first interview on the blog with my very own Mom, Jill Esbaum. 🙂


What (or who) was the inspiration for Teeny?

Jill: Hmmm. I guess it would have to be the toads and frogs I used to capture while on family camping trips. I’ve always liked the tiniest ones. Thinking about those camping trips must have jogged something loose…maybe regret at the thought that I might possibly have forgotten to release them a time or two? How, I wondered, did the poor toads feel about being stuck in a bucket? 😦

I know there is often a lot of writing (and then re-writing!) that happens before a story is “complete.” How long did it take for Teeny and her family to come to life?

I started the story in early 2011, and Teeny and her dopey brothers sprang to life pretty quickly. By June, it was finished, so I sent it to my agent. A few rejections followed, one that took nearly A YEAR. I kept tweaking, smoothing lines, honing details, adding humor. The lines that never changed at all were the opening ones. I felt like those sort of dropped from the sky, honestly. In February of 2014, the story sold to Sterling. I did a few small revisions and, two years later, it was a book.

Did your visions for the story match up with the world the illustrator created?

Illustrator Keika Yamaguchi created a toady world that was better than anything I could have imagined! I was bowled over by her work. You feel like you’re right there in a lush toady paradise with Teeny and her brothers as they try to get their Mama out of the bucket. Who knew toads could be so roly-poly and adorable?

Which do you prefer? Toads or frogs?

Toads. They aren’t quite so quick to hop away, so they’re easier to catch. Plus, they’re dry, so they aren’t as slippery.

Blech. Next: what is your workspace like?

Neat and tidy, for a change. But that’s because I just went through every. single. paper. that’s been piling up all winter/spring, waiting to be filed or dealt with. Yay! I can see the top of my desk again!

You have several (how many?) published books. Which one was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I recently sold number 40, counting both picture books and the nonfiction books I do for National Geographic. The easiest book to write was I HATCHED! That’s because I dreamed it — in a little birdie voice that rhymed. When I woke up, I ran to my office and started jotting the lines I could remember. There were only TWO, but I remembered the gist of the whole thing, so that was a really fun (and quick) one to piece back together. The hardest … ? Probably I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO because it took me 10 years to find the right story for the main character, Nadine the cow. I wrote two totally different stories starring Nadine during that time, but they just didn’t feel right. So I’d put her story away for a few months or a couple of years before feeling myself pulled back in to try again.

Describe your perfect productive writing day.

A perfect writing day is rare. Like, sometimes-not-for-months rare. It happens when a) there’s nothing on my calendar, b) nobody waiting for anything from me, business-wise, c) my house is clean, and d) I have a manuscript I’m itching to work on. And if it’s raining, that’s even better, because there’s nothing I “should” be doing outdoors. 🙂 Most writing days are filled with other obligations, which is one reason I love writing picture books. I can think about them anytime, jotting notes into a little notebook no matter where I am, then working on them at home for half an hour here, two hours there.

Last one! How does it feel writing picture books that your grandchildren want to read?

Strange, like worlds colliding. But delightful, too. For so many years, my kids were no longer interested in picture books, and I didn’t have grandkiddos. So now, when one wanted to read HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR every bedtime for weeks and the other wanted FRANKENBUNNY or TEENY TINY TOADY? Pretty cool. And surreal. Makes me want to write more books for them, while they’re still little.


Thanks, Mom, for everything.

Be sure to say hello in the comments! You can find more from Jill here:

http://jillesbaum.com/ or http://picturebookbuilders.com/

Teeny Tiny Toady (2016)
Jill Esbaum (Illus. Keika Yamaguchi)
Sterling Children’s Books

Announcement!

Dear Readers,

As you’re aware, our B is a member of the not-so-terrible two’s and next year she’ll be enjoying *gasp* threenager land.

In my mind, it’s not August 2. It’s almost Thanksgiving.

Which means B is 2.5.

Which means she’s a big sister.

Which means the next few months will totally fly by as we adjust to our new life as a family of four.

Which also means my well oiled machine of a to-do list for late summer/fall 2017 is complete.

“Ahh…” is what I’ll say as we snuggle Baby #2 and bigger Baby #1.

*Slaps hand* BACK TO THE POINT…

Since B is interested in board books and picture books (and doesn’t rip pages *phew*), she’ll be helping me review BOTH on Books for Babies– I’m so excited to tell you that starting Friday we’ll be posting our first picture book review!

At the top of the homepage, please notice the shiny, new tabs– one for Board Books, and one for Picture Books. 🙂

We’re starting picture books off right with help from an old friend who helped us begin Books for Babies… Dinosaur.

Happy Reading to you and your littles!

Kerri