boy books

Review & Giveaway! Happy Dreamer By Peter H. Reynolds

Over a decade ago, I was an illustration and graphic design major, struggling to decide if I could really make it as an artist. I’m not talking about making it as in being successful or even just making a living at it. No, I was and have always struggled with feelings of inadequacy as an artist. I’m the apparently typical, overly critical, self-loathing type of artist who never really loves anything that I create. Why am I telling you this? Well, around that time, I was also extremely obsessed with picture books. I would frequently drive 45 minutes to the nearest big town from my school and get lost in the Barnes & Noble children’s department. It had this amazing forest decoration with benches built into the trees that you could sit with books for hours. I would wander around, grabbing a handful of new books and then hole up to get lost in the picture book world. On one of those trips, I crossed paths with Peter H. Reynolds most recent book, The Dot (2003). The first time I read it, I cried. I was awestruck. It moved me and spoke to me and about me in a way that no other book really has done. I bought it then and there with my limited book purchasing funds. It has traveled with me through design jobs, art jobs, marriage, two kids, three homes, multiple art spaces, and still sits on display above my desk in my tiny art studio in NYC. Every time I look at it, I am reminded to simply create. (But perhaps that is a longer story for another, much deserved post.) But this is where my deep love and admiration for the work of Peter H. Reynolds began.

So today, I am extremely thrilled to not only get to show Peter’s newest book; but also to gift it to someone else! There is something magical about Peter’s books. They don’t just entertain, or educate, or even just tell a story. His books inspire, and encourage, and invite readers to be. This newest book is the epitome of that. It does not hide or disguise its mission. It is bold. This book is Peter and is his invitation to everyone else who is like him, a happy dreamer. Come take a look at Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds, 2017 (and stay tuned for the giveaway!). Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: A Boy, A Dog And A Frog By Mercer Mayer

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Last Wednesday I began a discussion on wordless picture books and some of my tips on how to read them. It is such an interesting category of picture books and I am ecstatic to be able to share more excellent wordless picture books on Wednesdays for a while. I have quite a pile forming of wordless books to highlight, but today I want to start with one of my favorites from childhood.

A Boy, A Dog and A Frog is a simple, yet utterly delightful book. It is amazingly the first book ever published from now famous Mercer Mayer. It came out in 1967, seemingly setting off the last four decades of tremendous growth for wordless picture book creation. While it is not the first U.S. wordless picture book, it came early in the line-up and holds a prominent seat in the history of wordless pictures books, also remaining a favorite. Thus so, it is highly worth studying, discussing, and most importantly delighting in. Here is A Boy, A Dog and A Frog by Mercer Mayer, 1967. Read the full post…

Book Trailer: Sam & Dave Dig A Hole By Barnett & Klassen

This book looks excellent and the trailer just makes me laugh. I also keep thinking of the digger kids from that old TV show Recess. Anyone else remember that? I can’t wait to spend time with this new collaboration from these two awesome picture book makers. Check out Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, just published in October by Candlewick.

How To: Children’s Book Character Costumes Part 3

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And we are back today with Part 3 of our children’s picture book costume ideas. (See Part 1 and Part 2.) Today’s grouping is much smaller and might speak more strongly to the hearts of boys. These are some fun, active characters with bold moves and outfits. Let’s see some more character costume ideas! Read the full post…

Book Review: Brief Thief By Escoffier & Di Giacomo

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I am in desperate need to declare book review bankruptcy. I have so many books that I am aching to share, and yet life with two little ones in a new city refuses to calm down enough for me to do much more than tread water. That’s when I need a good laugh and thankfully books like this one get me every time. Allow me to introduce you to one of my surprise-favorite books from last year. A story about a chameleon and underwear. That’s right. This book does not shy from some not-so-subtle potty humor and I guarantee you’ll love it. This was one of my grand finale books at my final storytime back in Tennessee and I can honestly say that this book just knocks your socks off with hilarity. Even the older siblings who were hanging around in the next aisle because they were “too old for storytime” eventually were sitting in the back glued to the story with a silly grin on their face. Take a humor break from whatever has you racing and relax in the pages of Brief Thief by Michaël Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo, 2013. Read the full post…

Book Review: A Couple Of Boys Have The Best Week Ever By Marla Frazee

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One of the most memorable parts of childhood summers would have to be going to camp. Whether it be band camp, or church camp, or scout camp or Grandparent camp, the mere act of going away for a whole week and experiencing something different is epic as a child. The plans and adventures don’t have to be major and most likely the smallest parts of the week are what is going to stick and be recounted for years to come. And that’s what this book really captures. This is a humorous glimpse of the minor details surrounding a week of camp and featuring two boys, some dear grandparents, and some profoundly honest and perfectly placed speech bubbles. Here is A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee, 2008. Read the full post…

Dinosaur Children’s Picture Books To Devour

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I readily admit that after our last storytime, I’ve been on a bit of a dinosaur kick. I actually never went through a dinosaur phase as a child, at least that I can remember, so I’m just considering this my bound to come eventually moment. I’m also going to blame it on two books that recently came out, one by Willems last fall and Idle’s this spring, that were so overflowing with dino-awesomeness that they turned me onto the cretaceous creatures.

With my recent search for great dinosaur books, and the fact that I know dozens of children who can’t get enough of these (mostly) humongous creatures, I thought it fitting to make a list of my current favorite dino-themed picture books. As with all of my lists, this is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are many more amazing books about dinosaurs that I just haven’t found yet and I do hope that if you know of them, you’ll tell me in the comments! Here we have my current favorite dinosaur children’s picture books for that avid dino fan in your life (and it is totally ok if that is you): Read the full post…

Book Review: Knit Your Bit By Deborah Hopkinson & Steven Guarnaccia

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If books like this keep being published, I may just have to permanently change my mind about disliking historical fiction. Previews of this book continually caught my eye and after finally getting my hands on it this weekend, I have to say it has me hooked. And how could it not with a winning combination of elements – WWI, boys, soldiers, competition, and… knitting? Add to that surprising theme twist some excellent cartoon illustrations and you have a stellar, and very touching book. Here is Knit Your Bit by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia, 2013. Read the full post…