Monday, March 02, 2009


TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick)

There was one little baby who was born far away.
And another who was born on the very next day.
And both of these babies, as everyone knows,
had ten little fingers and ten little toes.
There was one little baby who was born in a town.
And another who was wrapped in eiderdown.
And both of these babies, as everyone knows...

You see, you're joining in already! Good grief! Heavens to Betsy! Surrender, give up, wave the white baby-diaper flag! You can't resist it! All around the world we go, from city and town to green hills and sandy tents, meeting multicultural cuties along the way, all who have the requisite digits and tootsies. Chummy little chubbies crawl and cruise across the wide pages, culminating finally in the warm familiarity of the loved one on the lap:

But the next baby born was truly divine,
A sweet little child who was mine, all mine...
And this little baby as everyone knows,

gets kisses on fingers and toes and a few bonus smackers on the tip of the nose. Poetic pacing as perfect as the tick of a metronome is matched with broad pastel artwork, making for a match between artist and writing almost as formidable as that between mother and child...almost. Get your serious snuggle on with this flawless first picture book, a perfect shower gift and one that is sure to inspire read-aloud even to tykes still floating around in utero. Why wait? (birth and up)

Also of interest:
More page-turners for the pre-pre-preschool set.

I KNOW A LOT OF THINGS by Ann and Paul Rand (Chronicle) Young children know so very many things: how to dig a hole, that "a book needs pages and a cake takes ages to bake," and "the moon is a light for the night, and the sun is as round as a bun and very bright," such lovely thoughts to celebrate the knowledge of young children hard won by careful observation. Best of all, the illustrator of this 1956 vintage, retro-feeling reissue knew how to create pictures as simple and exciting and clean and sharp as a cymbal crash. Page after page we encounter clever designs, brave colors and surprising lines that make the eye-popping most out of the minimum. (2 and up)

THE TICKLE MONSTER IS COMING! by James Otis Thach, illustrated by David Barneda (Bloomsbury) Nothing is like the carbonated anticipation of getting a good tickle, and this book milks it to the max. The tickle monster smells the toothpaste, hears your pj's unfold, and as you get into bed, waiting for the perfect moment to strike, and when finds it, he'll get you top to toe! Consumer warning: ticklish child and finger-wiggling parent not included in purchase price, but I think you won't have any trouble supplying that yourself. (3 and up)

RHYMES ROUND THE WORLD by Kay Chorao (Dutton) Nothing beats a good collection of children's poems to savor while nursing or to share in a rocking chair. My favorites upon which I have come to rely are Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells' compilation HERE COMES MOTHER GOOSE and Jane Yolen, Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Dunbar's perfectly delectable collection HERE'S A LITTLE POEM, but here is another gorgeous addition to baby's book basket, a treasury of delightful,well-chosen poems that carry children across Africa, Korea, Greece, Mozambique, Israel, India, Germany, Australia, America, Iran, France, England, Poland, Mexico... on and on, the littlest listeners will float like clouds across the many lands on the lilt of fine language. The pictures are markedly attractive, a throwback to the style of the old Golden Books many of us remember as children, saturated with color and enough detail to allow young eyes to notice more and more as they grow but never to overwhelm. A very nice trip indeed. (3 and up)

More, more, more, said the baby? Visit Russell's Book Basket.

Also, make sure to participate in the utterly splendiferous Share a Story, Shape a Future Blog Tour to discover tons of thoughtful posts that offer helpful hints for a whole childhood of great books and hints for cultivating a lifestyle of family reading! This a really unique internet event that you will not want to miss.

On a personal note:
Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss, who would have been 105 years old today. Let loose with a party blower and post your favorite book title by the master of Cat-in-the-Hat disaster at Sally Murphy's Writing for Children blog. Though I loved the whole lot of them as a little girl, the top of my list would have to be THE SNEETCHES, snarky, quotable little riffs on tolerance that stand the test of time, including "Too Many Daves," "What Was I Scared Of" and "The Zax." I also love to break out my copy of BARTHOLOMEW AND THE OOBLECK for a wacky spring weather storytime. And for a big, dizzying dose of all things Seussical, don't miss THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR. T, his seriously surreal 1950's foray into motion pictures with a haunting score and some very memorable musical numbers.

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
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Terry Doherty said...

Thanks for the shout-out about Share a Story-Shape a Future. Splendiferous ... now that's a great Seussian word!

Becky said...

They all look like fun books- so thanks I will have to check them out!

I am constantly on the look out for great books to read to my kids. Tonight we read a fun but educational book titled "Moose with Loose Poops" by Charlotte Cowan- a pediatrician. Her goal in writing the book was to inform both kids and parents about gastroenteritis. My kids loved it for it's cute humor and beautiful illustrations, I loved it for it's educational information.

Anonymous said...

I love Mem Fox...hadn't seen this book. I can't wait to look for it! I am curious if you have read...which I am sure that you have...Dr. Seuss's book..."Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!" We had a great time celebrating his birthday last week. Thanks for sharing! As always, I enjoy reading your blog!!

Irene Latham said...

Oh the Sneetches... love them. Horton is still my most favorite "an elephant is faithful one hundred percent."

Mozi Esme said...

We've just been going through your previous posts to get some recommended titles for our library list! Thanks for posting these. There are SO many books in the library that it's daunting to know where to start without wasting a ton of time, as much as I'd love to read them all...


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