Animal Babies – Charles Fuge

⚠️ WARNING! Cuteness Overload! ⚠️

Perhaps calling it in February is a tad early but I’m calling it anyway. That’s how confident I am. I’d like to officially present Animal Babies with the award for:

🏆 Favourite Board Book of the Year 2018 👏

If you have or know any children that are at or nearing the board book stage this needs to be on your radar. Charles Fuge has both written and illustrated this little gem. A sweet educational rhyme takes your child around the world with baby animals on land, ice, rivers and into the depths of the ocean.

Simply looking at the front cover illustration I could already feel it coming on and by the end I had one of the most serious cases of Melted Heart Syndrome ever. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Charles Fuge’s baby animals are some of the best animal illustrations I’ve ever seen.

Each animal is detailed and gorgeous, from the cuddly baby bears up a tree to the cheeky meerkat babies hassling the bewildered cobra. Their expressions are varied and you can see that they all have their own personalities. Even the background and small foreground animals are captured beautifully.

My favourite is the hatching platypus that someone needs to replicate in plush toy form for kids me to cuddle.

I also need a framed print of the procession of adorable ducklings.

I don’t care that this is allegedly a “children’s book”. I will be buying a copy that Mum and I will wear out together and another for my doctors’ waiting room.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – MoonDance Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

With simple, rhyming text and lavish illustrations by Charles Fuge, this vibrant board book explores the lives of the cutest critters in the land: baby animals!

From baby bears who feel safest up a tree and baby penguins who nest on their daddy’s feet to baby koalas who hitch a ride on their mama’s back, each spread features unlikely pairs of baby animals playing and interacting. Ducks, chimps, elephants, rhinos, meerkats, whales, and even sea horses all make an appearance to bring delight children of all ages. 

Poetry for Kids: Robert Frost – Jay Parini (editor)

Illustrations – Michael Paraskevas

Poetry for Kids: Robert Frost is the latest in a Poetry for Kids series, with previous books featuring poetry by Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman. This book contains 30 of Frost’s poems, prefaced by an introduction of Frost’s life and inspiration for his poetry, and followed by short explanations of each poem’s meaning in a section titled ‘What Robert Was Thinking’. There are definitions included with each poem for words children (and adults) may not be familiar with.

This book is part of an established series so obviously there must be a children’s market for this type of book but personally I would have preferred to see this book marketed as a gift book. Without the ‘for Kids’ branding I think the market would have opened right up for this book.

The audience for this book is listed as 8+ but I know I wouldn’t have appreciated this book as a child. At 8 I was reading Roald Dahl, not poetry books, and I don’t think that’s so unusual.

My fear for this book is that it may be used in schools to teach poetry at kids instead of to kids, and that could ruin Robert Frost for them. I say this because the only poetry I’ve ever hated with a passion have been poems taught to me. I always baulked at a teacher telling me emphatically what the poet meant by each word, line by line. I wanted to have the opportunity to think about the poem myself and decide what it meant to me, and always wondered if the poet actually intended the poem to be interpreted the way my teacher said was the only way, the right way.

Digressing, that reminds me of a story about Alfred Hitchcock helping his granddaughter write an essay for film school about his movie Shadow of a Doubt. Her grade? C. So the story goes, he shrugged and said, “That’s the best I can do”.

Anyway … I grew up adoring The Road Not Taken but that was mostly because my Nan used to quote it all of the time and I’d often read the photocopied poem stuck to a wall in her house with Blu-Tack. I don’t know I would have liked it as a kid without my Nan’s influence.

Michael Paraskevas’ illustrations are absolutely wonderful! They complement the poetry beautifully. I think adults will like them better than kids though. It’s only as an adult that I appreciate artwork like this.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – MoonDance Press for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

A collection to be read, experienced, and treasured. 

Whether capturing a cold New England winter’s evening, or the beauty of an old, abandoned house, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost left an indelible mark on our consciousness. This stunning celebration of his best-loved work includes 35 poems specially chosen for children ages 8 to 14 by author and historian Jay Parini.

Illustrator Michael Paraskevas brings the poems to life with his pitch-perfect scenes, infused with majestic color and quiet simplicity. Poems include “Mending Wall,” “Birches,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Fire and Ice,” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,”

This gentle introduction also includes commentary, definitions of key words, and an introduction to the poet’s life.

I Love a Book – Joe Rhatigan

Illustrations – Olga Ivanov & Aleksey Ivanov

What’s not to love about a book about loving books?! I Love a Book is adorable! This book could singlehandedly grow a new generation of bookworms, introducing them to the portable magic found between pages.

I would have loved reading this as a child and was delighted reading it as an adult. While other adults have coffee table books that make them seem more cultured than they probably are, my coffee table books consist of children’s books and I look forward to adding this one to them.

The words flow so well and the illustrations complement the poetry beautifully. The illustrations are extraordinary! Brightly coloured and detailed, they captured my imagination. Each time I look at a page I see something new. There are stories to be discovered in each of the illustrations. I both want to tell those stories and hear from children the adventures they see taking place on each page.

Thank you very much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – MoonDance Press for the opportunity to read this book. I’d happily recommend this book for child and adult bookworms alike.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

This is a celebration of books, reading, and our imaginations, I Wish I Could Write a Book opens with a list of types of books and where to find them. The simple, lyrical prose then becomes more frantic as a young reader encounters pirates sailing the sea, a classroom of monsters “learning math with their paws,” and even an animal doctor making house calls in a helicopter.

With lavish illustrations nearly spilling off the page, the young reader finally makes a startling discovery about his own imagination and creativity. This book is for anyone who loves books and wants to instill this passion in the next generation.