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How Do You Wokka-Wokka?
Mar 3rd, 2013 by Noodlenuts

Do your funky wokka,
get your dance on.

Some picture books are about stories—fantastic tales you can get lost in. Other picture books are about concepts—new ideas for kids to wrap their hungry minds around. But some of my favourite picture books, like Elizabeth Bluemle’s How Do you Wokka-Wokka?, are really just all about the sound effects.

Sound effects? Really?

Yup. Sound effects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wag!
Mar 3rd, 2013 by Noodlenuts

‘Fwip-fwip-fwip’

Okay, so the line above isn’t so much an introduction to this story as it is the sound at the heart of it—the sound of Earl the dog’s tail wagging.

In Wag!, cartoonist Patrick McDonnell has taken the beloved characters of his comic strip, Mutts, and used them to create a sweet, uncomplicated picture book about love and what makes us happy, framed by the simple question, “What make’s Earl’s tail wag?” Read the rest of this entry »

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No Bears
Oct 21st, 2012 by Noodlenuts

I’m tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS . . .
You don’t need BEARS for a book.

There are few things I love more in a picture book than a premise that makes me laugh right off the bat. And the funny thing about No Bears is that the protagonist, Ella, is right. After all the recent bear books I’ve come across—from Big Bear Hug to I Want My Hat Back, and with apologies to my dear friend Karma Wilson, who writes wonderful books about a beloved bear—it made me giggle that much more to encounter a picture book specifically about NOT having bears in picture books. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Animals Really Like
Oct 21st, 2012 by Noodlenuts

“We are frogs, and we like tennis and most martial arts. Our favourite food is pizza with extra mushrooms, but with absolutely no tomatoes whatsoever.”

The legendary conductor Mr. Herbert Timberteeth is thrilled to present his latest song, in concert: “What Animals Like Most.”  The problem, as presented in the story of What Animals Like Most, is that Herbert hasn’t actually bothered to ask any of the animals what they really like most. And he’s about to find out at the most inopportune time . . . . Read the rest of this entry »

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Press Here
Oct 21st, 2012 by Noodlenuts

Best. Baby. Book. Ever.

Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But not by much. So let’s just put it this way: if I was trying to help new parents build an essential library for their babies of the most spectacular children’s books out there (which I sort of am), Press Here would be at the top of the list. Read the rest of this entry »

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My Name Is Elizabeth
Oct 7th, 2012 by Noodlenuts

“My NAME is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones!!”

As much as I love picture books (and I do LOVE picture books), every once in a while I start to worry that there aren’t any truly original ideas out there anymore—lots of lovely stories, beautifully illustrated, written in unique ways and from new perspectives, but nothing really fundamentally different. Then I’ll find a book like My Name Is Elizabeth and my faith will be restored. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mocking Birdies
Oct 7th, 2012 by Noodlenuts

What a hoot. You said it.

Two little birds sit up on a power line in Annette Simon’s Mocking Birdies, alternately chatting companionably and driving each other nuts with teasing mockery. Sound like any siblings you know? Read the rest of this entry »

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I Want My Hat Back
Oct 7th, 2012 by Noodlenuts

Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back cracks me up. The story of a bear who has lost his hat and sets off to find it, I Want My Hat Back has a twist that will set kids off in fits of giggles every time you read it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lyle Crocodile
Feb 5th, 2011 by Noodlenuts

Age Range: Four and Up

Another set of stories from my own childhood, which I’ve found kids now enjoy just as much as I did.  Lyle is a vaguely anthropomorphic and rather tame crocodile reluctantly adopted by the Primms after they find him living in their new house. Further adventures involve Lyle’s getting used to life with people . . .
Read the rest of this entry »

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Little Critter
Jan 21st, 2011 by Noodlenuts

Age Range: Toddler & Up

Mercer Mayer’s “Little Critter” series has been a favourite of mine since childhood. While each book does tend to centre on a lesson learned, what I love about Little Critter is that unlike so many children in picture book series, he is far from perfect or sugary sweet in temperament.  Instead, it is through his well-intentioned mistakes and mischief that Little Critter comes to understand more about life as he traverses the minefields of childhood.
Read the rest of this entry »

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