Preschool to Early Elementary

Reviewed by Amanda Allen, Felicia Barman and Sherry Crawley.

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz (AbramsAppleseed, $16.95)
This book of rhyming couplets is perfect for children learning to read, and challenges them with easy and not-so-easy words, such as “slippery floors and dinosaurs.” It’s full of activities you can do with your child and beautifully illustrated. (AA)

Boom Snot Twitty by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Renata Liwska (Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99)
We can all learn an important life lesson from this tale of three friends, Boom, Snot, and Twitty: sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer. This simple book is perfect for youngsters to read aloud as we see Boom, a precocious bear, Snot, patient snail, and Twitty, a cautious bird, experience the ups and downs of a stormy day. (FB)

Count on the Subway by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14.99)
Journey to the Big Apple as a little girl and her mother encounter numbers on their subway route to their destination. Children can practice counting from one to 10 as the numbers jump off of each colorful page. We get a first-hand account of just how many turnstiles, train cars, stairs, and other factors it takes to get to the one and only Grand Central Station. (FB)

Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper (Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99)
The story of how Little Green and Little Red, and finally Little Yellow, work together will engage any child, but particularly boys, who’ll get caught up in all the machinery being used to construct a new bridge. Little Green shouts “Go!” and cement mixers, tow trucks, semi-trucks, backhoes and bulldozers start doing all the things that fascinate little boys, and the story gets “a little crazy” from there. (AA)

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears By Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton; illustrated by Nate Wragg (Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99)
Enjoy this modern version of a classic fairytale as “Goldi” stumbles upon a music studio in the house belonging to Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear. While they’re away auditioning lead singers for their band, Goldi causes mischief before dozing off inside. Who knew that a chance encounter upon finding Goldi at the house could result in a match made in heaven for Goldi and her future bear bandmates?! (FB)

I Love You Near and Far by Marjorie Blain Parker; illustrated by Jed Henry (Sterling Children’s Books, $9.95)
Love knows no boundaries in this sweet rhyming book about children longing for loved ones when they live far away. Whether it’s a grandparent in another state or a parent who is deployed, the story illustrates all of the different ways we can still stay in touch. This is a great book to help young children cope with long distances that separate them from important people in their lives. (FB)

I’m Brave! by Kate and Jim McMullan (Balzer + Bray, $16.99)
The main character in this ode to a fire truck and firefighters is a gleaming red fire truck, who tells readers to “check my wide chrome radiator, shiny as a mirror and the water cannon sproutin’ from my head!” When the fire alarm sounds, the brave truck and his companions race to the scene with words and drawings that evoke the adrenalin rush of an emergency, and the satisfaction of handling the crisis. (AA)

Knuckleball Ned by R.A. Dickey; illustrated by Tim Bowers (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99)
Poor Ned is a baseball who just can’t seem to fit in. Although school bullies make fun of him for being a wobbly baseball, he must hold his head high as he tries to prevent another classmate from also being bullied. He soon realizes that being wobbly like a knuckleball has its perks, and he teaches readers that they should embrace their unique abilities as he comes to his friend’s rescue. (FB)

Little Owl’s Day by Divya Srinivasan (Penguin, $16.99)
Who, Who … hasn’t wondered what it might be like to be awake all night? Watching the stars, listening to the sounds of darkness? For Little Owl, it’s just the opposite: he doesn’t know what it’s like to explore during the day. Encourage a sense of adventure and curiosity in your little explorer with this charming and vibrantly illustrated book. (SC)

Maple & Willow Together

by Lori Nichols (Penguin Books, $16.99 each)
Maple is an adventurous child whose parents planted a tree in her honor when she was born, and she and the tree are growing up together when sister Willow arrives. Author Lori Nichols grew up with a big sister and has three daughters – still, it’s amazing how authentic her characters and stories feel as they explore the relationship between sisters. (AA)

Must-Have Marvin! by Christy Ziglar; illustrated by Luanne Marten (Ideals Children’s Books, $14.99)
Children and parents alike can learn a valuable life lesson from this book about materialism. Through his quest for a toy robot that he “must” have, young Marvin finds out the hard way that you shouldn’t cherish possessions over maintaining friendships with others. Sometimes we all need a reminder that we’re never really satisfied with things; it’s the people in our lives that matter the most. (FB)

My Bus by Byron Barton (Greenwillow Books, $16.99)
Joe the bus driver takes young readers on a tour of his route, picking up dogs and cats along the way in a tale that sneaks in an arithmetic lesson. Young children can enjoy the colorful drawings and fun story and older children will be able to solve the addition/subtraction math problem. (AA)

My Pet Book By Bob Staake (Random House Children’s Books, $17.99)  Book lovers will rejoice over this whimsical story about a little boy who decides that his favorite book would make a much better pet than a typical pet dog or cat. The little boy painstakingly chooses the perfect book at the bookstore, much like a child would pick the perfect doggie in the window of a pet shop. Readers will be on the edge of their seat when the book gets lost, and hope the little boy owner will be reunited with his beloved “pet”. (FB)

Puddle Pug by Kim Norman; illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi (Sterling Children’s Books, $14.95)
Percy the Pug is a precocious puppy who loves puddles of every kind. In his quest for the perfect puddle, he stumbles upon an especially brown, squishy, muddy puddle that fits the bill; however, the puddle belongs to an overprotective mama pig and her three piglets. It’s up to Percy to see if he can squirm his way into the hearts of the pigs so that perhaps they can coexist in muddy bliss one day. (FB)

R Is for Robot by Adam F. Watkins (Penguin, $16.99)
If you’re tired of “A is for apple” and “B is for ball,” check out this self-proclaimed noisy alphabet book. Silly, bright, and sure to induce giggles, thanks to words like YOINK – oh wait, I don’t think that’s actually a word – oh well – it’s funny! Learn the ABCs the robot way! (SC)  

Sam’s Pet Temper by Sangeeta Bhadra; illustrated by Marion Arbona (Kids Can Press, $16.95)
Parents are all too familiar with that moment when a child’s temper tantrum rears its ugly head. This clever book shows how a young boy named Sam conjures up an imaginary friend, who happens to be Temper. When Sam gets tired of Temper getting him into trouble, parents will appreciate the coping mechanisms Sam uses to eventually get rid of this pesky pet, like counting to 10, singing the ABCs backward, or taking deep breaths, to name a few. Children can learn from these scenarios to ensure that tempers don’t flare anytime soon. (FB)

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear by Monica Carnesi (Nancy Paulsen Books, $15.99)
Watch friendship blossom between two forest friends as Bear and Beatrice, a bunny rabbit, bond over fun seasonal activities throughout spring, summer and fall. Everything goes fine until winter comes, and Beatrice doesn’t understand why Bear must go away. After attempting to hibernate with Bear, she realizes that rabbits aren’t meant to sleep all winter, so she must come up with a thoughtful way to share her winter experience with Bear once he wakes up. (FB)

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Brigette Barrager
(Random House Children’s Books, $17.99)
Imagine a world where unicorns are real and people are imaginary! This magical twist on reality comes from the perspective of Uni, a unicorn who tries to convince her fellow unicorns that little girls are indeed real. The possibilities are endless as the vibrant, yet soothing illustrations whisk readers away into an entertaining fantasy of adventures that unicorns and little girls could enjoy together. (FB)

The Winter Train by Susanna Isern; illustrated by Ester Garcia (Cuento De Luz, $16.95)
Animals, trains and snow – what’s not to love? This lovely book teaches the importance of helping friends and working together. As the first snow of winter swirls around them, the animals of the forest prepare to travel south. What will they do when they discover the squirrel is missing? Hop on board to find out! (SC)

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