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Staff Pick: This Is Not My Hat

This Is Not My Hat

Understanding the narrative is an important skill your toddler needs to learn to read, but sometimes talking about the book as you read it can be a challenge.  How do you ask questions without interrupting the flow of the story?  How do you encourage your child to guess what happens next?  Don’t worry, I am here to help!

Check out these two books by Jon Klassen; This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back.  There’s an obvious underlying hat theme going on, and what kid doesn’t love hats?  In the first story, a little fish has stolen a big fish’s hat.  In the second one, a bear searches for his lost hat.  Both stories have important lessons about stealing, and they’re both amusing (I checked with my nephews, the books are definitely funny), but the best part is how easy it is to talk about the narrative.  Every page is an opportunity for questions.  Both books are written in a conversational style that’s very engaging.   The illustrations are eye-catching.  Both books are open-ended, which allows your preschooler to tell you what happens!  Your child will be guessing what happens next long before you turn the last page.

I Want My Hat Back
Recommended by:  Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great

Envy turns to admiration and finally to friendship for Goat and Unicorn.

Have you ever been jealous of someone? Or thought they were better than you? That’s how Goat feels about Unicorn. Goat can ride his bike, but Unicorn can fly. Goat can do simple magic tricks, but Unicorn can turn things into gold. How can you compete with someone who can make it rain cupcakes?

Then one day, Unicorn actually talks to Goat. Goat finds out that Unicorn likes all sorts of things about him! He loves goat cheese, adores cloven hooves, and is completely jealous that Goat can eat anything he wants. Who knew?

So the two become friends and learn to celebrate their differences. Hooray! They even imagine themselves as crime fighting superheroes. Taste their cloven justice!

Recommended by:  Erin Webster, Pike Branch Library

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Staff Pick: What Color is Caesar?

What Color is Caesar?

Caesar is very confused about his color. He is a Dalmatian, who does not know if he is white with black spots or black with white spots. Nobody else in his house seems to think it is a big deal, but Caesar is very concerned. He sets out on a journey to seek the truth about his identity.

What Color Is Caesar? is a great story to illustrate that skin color is not the best way to identify yourself. It is more important to evaluate others by what is under their skin and not what you see on the surface.

Recommended by:  Lindsay Haddix, Nora Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)

Aunt Flossie's Hats

Sara and Susan share tea, cookies, crab cakes, and stories about hats when they visit their favorite relative, Aunt Flossie.

Sarah and Susan enjoy spending time at their Aunt Flossie’s house.  It’s like a step back in history.  They like playing dress up in her fancy hats because her hats come with their own stories…and Aunt Flossie tells them these stories each time the girls try on a different hat.  Most of the stories are from a time before the girls were born, when she was a girl.  But one of the hats has a story the girls know and help tell.  It involves a lake, a boy, a dog and their dad’s very funny accident.

Recommended by: Claudine Polley, African American History Committee


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Staff Pick: Two Nests

Two Nests

Two birds build a nest together and hatch a baby bird, but when they fail to get along the father bird moves to a new nest, and though baby bird is unhappy at first, when he learns to fly from nest to nest he sees that the situation isn't that bad.

There are so few good books on divorce that are not didactic and can be used with very young children.    Two Nests is at once both light-hearted and honest.  Two little birds fall in love, build a nest and hatch an egg.   “But the birds were large, and the nest was small” and it is decided that another nest is needed.  Everyone is sad when Daddy moves to the other side of the tree.  Baby Bird now has two homes and when she grows wings, everyone celebrates.

Recommended by:  Daniell Wilkins, College Avenue Library



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Andrew Drew & Drew

Andrew Drew & Drew

If you love to draw, if you love to imagine, you will love Andrew. Follow him has he doodles his way through the flaps and folds of this unusual book.

Any young person will love this picture book about Andrew and his love of drawing. Most preschoolers love to draw and in this story titled Andrew Drew and Drew the book unfolds before their eyes with Andrews’s drawings. He takes a blank paper and turns it into something fabulous. Stairs become dinosaur; a simple line becomes a kite and then a spacecraft. Children will learn that their doddles can turn into something magical. Barney Saltzberg author and illustrator do a fantastic job of capturing their minds.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone, Flanner House Branch

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Staff Pick: Please Papa

Please Papa

Alice learns the importance of saying "please" as well as that this magical word will not lead to everything she wants.

Please, Papa by Kate Banks, illustrated by Gabi Swiatokowska and Wait! Wait! By Hatsue Nakawaki , illustrated by Komako Sakai are two charming new picture books that celebrate imaginative play and playful interactions between young children and parents. Please , Papa even gently encourages good manners.

Wait WaitBoth books have large text, and simple, evocative language that invites the most important feature of read aloud time – conversation about the stories. Children and adults will certainly want to talk about the slightly surreal, stylized illustrations in Please, Papa. The images of the little Alice and her parents look like paper dolls cut out from a turn of the century prints and on one page a small dog, a bat on what might be an owl, hang upside down from the top of the page. Alice is pretending to have a farm and is reminded to say “please” as she requests various animals. When Papa is tired of being her horse, a frowning Alice is convinced to give her horse a rest when he in turn, uses the magic word please.

Wait! Wait! follows a small child as he encounters various neighborhood animals on the sidewalk – a butterfly, a lizard, pigeons, cats – they all fly, wiggle or leap away. But when he is scooped up and placed on his father’s shoulders, the exploration of the park continues. “Here we go!”

Recommended by: Mary Sullivan, Decatur Branch

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Staff Pick: What Is Part This, Part That?

What Is Part This Part That?

Song-like rhyming text invites readers to guess what different components add up to. For example, a secret's part whisper, part keeping mum, and a certain kind of fruit is part peach and part plum (a nectarine).

A book that combines rhyme with reason, shapes with colors, and with great word play? That is hard to find. This picture book also has surprise fold-out parts! The description in the inner cover describes it this way: “Just like dancing is part step and part swing, when you put parts together you get a new thing!” This book also offers plenty of opportunities for an interactive storytime.

Recommended by: Joseph Fox, Wayne Branch Library

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Staff Pick: My First Day

My First Day

Explore some of the fascinating things that animals do on their first day.

Human babies can’t do much on the first day they’re born. Can animal babies do more? This book talks about many different animals on their first day. The baby capybara swims and dives on his first day. The baby polar bear curls up in a snow den with his mother. The baby sifaka rides piggyback. This is a wonderful description of what baby animals do to survive their first day. It also has extra information in the back about each animal in the book.

Recommended by: Mary Sullivan, Decatur Branch Library

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Staff Pick: Chocolate Me

Chocolate Me

Relates the experiences of a dark-skinned, curly-haired child who wishes he could look more like the lighter-skinned children in his community until his mother helps him realize how wonderful he is inside and out.

Actor Taye Diggs uses his own childhood experiences to write Chocolate Me! It’s the story of a boy who’s teased by other kids at school because he looks different. He feels left out and wants to be like everyone else—what little kid wouldn’t? Thanks to his wise and loving mom, the boy learns to love the beautiful, chocolatey skin he’s in. This heartfelt picture book has big, bold, colorful drawings and simple, child-friendly text.

Recommended by: Denise Malone, African American History Committee


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