Sunday, January 05, 2014

Four 2014 Board Books

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket. Tatyana Feeney. 2014. Random House. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Small Bunny loved Blue Blanket. Everything he did, Small Bunny did with Blue Blanket.

I really loved this board book. I love Small Bunny. I love Small Bunny's love for Blue Blanket. I love how Blue Blanket "helps" him with many, many things. I especially love how Small Bunny needs Blue Blanket to help him read the hardest words in his books! I also love how Small Bunny oh-so-faithfully stands by and watches Blue Blanket in the washer for every single minute it takes. "It actually took 107. And Small Bunny watched Blue Blanket for every single one."

I love this sweet, predictable story of an attachment object. I thought the illustrations were just right--very simple, very sweet.

This one might pair well with Blankie by Leslie Patricelli, Owen by Kevin Henkes, Bubba and Beau Best Friends by Kathi Appelt, and Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.

Also available: e-book, picture book

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out 5
Total: 9 out of 10

All Fall Down. Mary Brigid Barrett. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2014. Candlewick Press. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

You might be expecting a board book telling of Ring Around the Rosie, I admit that I was based on the title, but instead All Fall Down is a book that celebrates things falling down--many, many things.

First the red block,
then the green.
Place the yellow one between.
Stack the blocks.
Build them high.
Make the tower reach the sky!

The book captures the simple every day things of life: a family playing together, eating together, just being together. I like board books that focus on ordinary, every day happenings. The moments that life are made of. The moments that you can almost forget to treasure if you're not careful. I also like the rhythm and rhyme of this one.

Spoon potatoes in a mound,
plopping green peas all around.
Plunk spoon and cup atop the plate..
Daddy reaches out--too late!

This board book is oh-so-easy to recommend!

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

Pat-a-Cake. Mary Brigid Barrett. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2014. Candlewick Press. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake
Clap, clap, clap.
Pat a pudding, wibble wobble.
Pat a puddle, splat!

This book made me laugh within a page or two. (I love the pat-a-pudding bit. The splat just makes me smile!) This is a book that demands to be read aloud. Read it to yourself silently, and perhaps it falls short. Read it aloud, and it transforms into something fun. I still don't like it as much as I like All Fall Down. But it's certainly a fun book worth reading and perhaps reading again again.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

Ten Tiny Toes. Caroline Jayne Church. 2014. Scholastic. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Mouth, ears, eyes nose, arms, belly, legs, and ten tiny toes!
Touch your ears, make them wiggle.
Touch your belly, laugh and giggle.
Touch your mouth, open wide.
Touch your arms, wave side to side.

I have liked some of Caroline Jayne Church's books in the past. This one, however, I just have a hard time liking. The pictures are over-the-top adorable as usual. And for parents who love, love, love her artwork, this one may prove quite satisfying. But for me, the text just does not work as it should. The rhythm feels forced and unnatural.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations 4 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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