May brings all sorts of delights. Not just May flowers, but also some terrific new books for kids.
Adele Enersen loves taking pictures of her newborn baby, Mila. She’s put them all together in the delightful WHEN MY BABY DREAMS. If there was ever a doubt that kids can sleep through anything, here’s proof positive. Little Mila is posed with a “Chinese dragon,” lying across a “bubble gum sky,” and “hanging on a clothesline,” all the while blissfully snoozing. I think this is the perfect gift for new parents, especially if they’ve welcomed a baby girl into their family.
When the little ones wake up, it’s important to keep them amused, and writer Benn Sutton has teamed up with creator and illustrator Dan Pinto to do just that. HEDGEHUG, A SHARP LESSON IN LOVE is a sweetheart of a kid’s book, with bright colors and an engaging story. There are all kinds of cute animals, including a bunny, an owl, a boar, and finally, Hedgehug’s true love, an armadillo.
It’s great to encourage our kids to be creative, and Kelly DiPucchio’s CRAFTY CHLOE does just that. With witty illustrations by Heather Ross, this charming story introduces us to a heroine who is very good at making things like a coffee filter flower hat, and an outfit for her dog, Bert. But what to get her best friend Emma for her birthday? The latest collectible doll has been picked by another girl. Chloe sets out to create the perfect gift, and ends up learning to share and forgive, too.
Even though it’s long past Valentine’s Day, and we’re certainly not planning for snow anytime soon, I have to include SNOWY VALENTINE. The author is David Petersen, a great favorite of knowledgeable buyers of children’s books. Jasper, the bunny, sets out to find the perfect gift for his beloved wife, Lilly. The illustrations are beautifully done, with an heirloom Victorian vibe. The theme is compelling: under any circumstances, love is the greatest gift.
I’ve noticed that there often seems to be a gap in the children’s book market. There are lots of swell things to read with little kids, and wonderful YA books, but not much for the eight-to-twelve set. Polly Horvath informs us that her MR. AND MRS. BUNNY-DETECTIVES EXTRAORDINAIRE! is translated “from the Rabbit.” When Madeline’s parents are kidnapped, she turns to two bunnies to help. Together, they deal with a note which was tacked up on the fridge, and they confront some very nasty fox characters. Exciting reading, focusing on adventure and the family bond, with evocative black-and-white illustrations by Sophie Blackall.
Treat your kids, and most of all, treat yourself to the pleasure of reading with them this month.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com