Nancy Tafuri is one of my go-to preschool authors. All three of my kids love her books. This new one is no exception. Each page shows a parent-baby pair and the special kind of kiss they share. (Woof kisses for the puppy, Moo kisses for the calf, Eep kisses for the baby mouse.) There is some good solid preschool learning here: animal identification, animal sounds and the names of baby animals. But mostly kids will just love the beautiful realistic illustrations and the comforting theme of parents loving their babies.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not always a huge fan of wordless picture books. However, my kids often do like them. This new book by Holly Hobbie tells the story of a little toad who found his way to her garden. There is a little bit of adventure when the toad encounters the dangers of a car on the road and narrowly escapes from a hawk. Mostly though it’s a simple story that celebrates the beauty of nature that is right in our own backyards. The addition of letters to and from the author and her granddaughter at the front and back of the book and of a few facts about toads at the end of the book make this a fuller experience than the typical wordless book.
Janson is a mouse who lives in a corner of a museum. One night she stumbles into the modern art wing and falls in love with all that she sees. She starts to paint by copying the different artist that she sees. In the end however she becomes a true artist by creating her mousterpiece: a painting all in her own style. Preschoolers will like the story and the art. It’s also a great way to introduce a lot of modern artists (Rousseau, Warhol, Seurat, Picasso, Kandinksy, Pollack and more) to an older child.
All Kinds of Kisses and Gem have been nominated for Cybils in the fiction picture book category. I think Mousterpiece also deserved a nomination although it was not nominated.