“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Un Pato en Nueva York • Picture book with music CD

Un Pato en Nueva York
by Connie Kaldor  translated by Yanitzia Canetti
Available now  Secret Mountain  Ages 5-7
Parents' Choice Gold Award and Juno winner for Best Children's Album of the Year -- now available in Spanish from Secret Mountain, publisher of high-quality picture books, video and music for children.
Story: A little duck from the heartland dreams big -- making it to New York City and doing his ducky dance on Broadway!  An adventurous journey bound for failure?  Not when Duck meets up with truck driver Big Betty, who tells him "yes you can" with a nudge and point in the right direction of the Big Apple.  
The original release (in English) won a Parents' Choice Gold Award and a Juno Award (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy!) for Children's Album of the Year.  This new edition, translated by Yanitzia Canetti (who also translates the Dr. Seuss books) and with songs from Ines Canepa, includes narration of the story and the title song -- plus 11 additional songs in Spanish, featuring alligators who like to waltz at midnight, and opera-singing slugs who sneak out at night to dance the boogie-woogie, among others.
Story-behind-the-story:  Connie Kaldor explains, "The idea for A Duck in New York City came to me after playing a gig in New York City while I was on my way to the airport, heading back home.   There was a lone rubber ducky on the back seat in my cab, and I just started making up stories to the driver about how he got there.   The next thing you knew I had a story and song about a little duck from the prairie who dreams about making it big on Broadway.  
And Big Betty, the truck-driver who helps the little duck, is a character that I really wanted to put in there.  She’s like some musicians I’ve met on tour:  a true road-warrior, a sister, a generous soul.  Of course, in the end, the little duck makes it to New York on his own, and goes on to have a pretty interesting life.  It beats swimming back and forth in a little pond!  When we recorded the Spanish version, it was important for me that Yanitzia Canetti and Ines Canepa capture the spirit of the project, especially the humor, even if that meant sometimes changing the words here and there.   They were both very generous and made it their own, making sure that our little dancing duck was right at home!"

Leaf through the original English version of the book, listen to 60-second exerpts of all original English recordings and read brief bios of the author and illustrators -- here!

Order your reviewer's copy now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mitchell's License • Picture Book

Mitchell’s License
By Hallie Durand • Illustrated by Tony Fucile
Just out! • Candlewick Press  • Picture Book
Hop in for a hilarious, heartwarming ride with four-year-old Mitchell, a kid with a need for speed, a lead foot, and a very special license to drive.
Story: Mitchell was three years, nine months, and five days old when he got his license. This tyke may be tiny, but when he hops behind the wheel—Left turn! Right turn! Speed Bump!—boy, does he go fast! This pro driver is having a blast! He’s running out of gas, though, and his car doesn’t like what type of fuel Mitchell plans to put in the tank…
Story-Behind the Story with Hallie:
I have three children, ages 12, 8, and 6, and for many years now, I’ve watched them play “Remote-Control Dad” with their father, whose energy is boundless.  I’ve been astonished, all these years, at how much joy there is for them in just getting up and doing something, without any electronics.  I wanted to write a story about this, but more important, I wanted to write about the love of a dad toward his kids, about the dad’s willingness to get knocked around, a lot, just to make his kids laugh. 

But I didn’t know how to do it, until one day, while I was working my way through a massive pile of paperwork, the “key” came to me.  And the “key” was that the Dad was not a remote-control dad at all, he was actually a car.  And the thrill for the kid was that he could get his license and drive, at a very early age.  Once I cracked that, the story, which is about kid power, parent boundaries, but most of all love and being a family, pretty much wrote itself.

What People Are Saying:

«“Mitchell, an overwrought toddler who almost (but not quite) rules the domestic roost, is instantly recognizable as every tyke who gets a second wind after nine o’clock.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“In a nice pairing of text and art, illustrations show clearly and humorously what the spare narrative doesn’t, and doesn’t need to: three-year-old Mitchell’s car is actually his father, on whose shoulders Mitchell rides every night before bed…  This car and driver know how to have fun together, and the portrayal of father-son bonding is realistic and reassuring.”

An incredibly entertaining ride.”
Kirkus Reviews

This one is destined for family favoritehood.”
Publishers Weekly

“Young readers will be tickled, and parents will appreciate the creative bedtime play.”
School Library Journal

See “Mitchell” drive his “car!” This is actually Hallie’s own son, Marshall. How cute!
Download the story-hour kit!

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships • Picture book

by Catherine Thimmesh
Available now  Ages 4-8  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

“This remarkable photo book for children combines candid shots of unusual animal friendships with brief rhymes about the quality of friendship expressed in each picture. Also included is information about the animals and their setting, situation, and behaviors. Photos come from all over the world with many different zoos represented. This is a beautiful way to explore friendship, tolerance, and compassion.” - Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL
Story:  What makes a camel friends with a Vietnamese pig? Or a wild polar bear pals with a sled dog? In FRIENDS: TRUE STORIES OF EXTRAORDINARY ANIMAL FRIENDSHIPS, Catherine Thimmesh makes us wonder at the truth and mystery of unlikely animal friendships. Because the stories behind these friendships are true, not contrived, captured by photographers in many countries ranging from Siberia to Japan, they not only give readers insight into animals but challenge preconceived notions about compatibility. This book also expresses tolerance of differences and makes us look at the kindness of animals—and humans—a little differently.

Story behind the story:  Recently, I spoke with author Catherine Thimmesh and we were talking about how she put FRIENDS together and what kind of research was involved.  She shared this story with me:  "I dialed the Tobu Zoo in Japan, prepared to say "ohayoou gozaimasu" — the internet consensus for "hello" in Japanese. I couldn't speak the language, but still, I would happily babble like an idiot in my efforts to research an image for my new book. I love the interspecies animal pictures that occasionally hit the news and the web. Beyond the cuteness factor, I'm drawn to the truth — and the mystery — behind these striking images.  I wanted to create a book that was both a celebration of friendship and of tolerance. It's my thought that by showing the specifics (a piglet and a lion; a dog and an owl) the universals of friendship are truly revealed."

Summer 2011 IndieNext List

"Few books work with children as young as four and as old as nine, but this one does — and beautifully — with its two levels of text and photographs sure to engage every reader." — LLW for James Patterson's ReadKiddoRead

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...