Seek and Find at the Library

magnifying glassDo you remember spending hours pouring over pages searching for Waldo? I do! Seek-and-find books are no longer just looking for a tall skinny guy in a striped shirt (although we check out plenty of those, too). We have books in which readers are asked to locate differences between two images or find small images inside full-size illustrations. We even have some seek-and-find books featuring pages with real photographs. The more books I looked for, the more I found (truly seek and find)!Find Momo the border collie.

One of the more charming titles I have come across is “Find Momo” by Andrew Knapp.  This book is full of photos, and each photo contains a border collie named Momo for readers to find. Sound easy? Not so much.  While you won’t have to go crazy looking up the answers online, you may find yourself needing a few minutes to actually find this adorable dog who enjoys playing peek-a-boo with readers. Another fun seek-and-find book is the Where’s the Meerkat series by Paul Moran. In these books you seek out a family of meerkats in a style similar to Where’s Waldo. However, in my opinion I find it easier to find a handful of meerkats (even if they are wearing sunglasses) in a crowd of humans than it ever was finding Waldo. Plus, the meerkats are just cute! Continue reading

Check It Out: Caramba

“Caramba looked like any other cat. He had soft fur and a long, stripy tail. He ate fish. He purred. He went for long walks. But Caramba was different from other cats. He couldn’t fly.”

Book cover for Caramba So begins the tale of Caramba, the cat who couldn’t fly. Caramba does want to fly, and he tries several times without success. In truth, Caramba is just different from all the other cats. Author Marie-Louis Gay has created an endearing character, with which we can all sympathize. We have all felt different at some point or been unable to do what seems easy to everyone else. Yet once Caramba accepts his differences and discovers his own personal talents, he is able to let go of his anxieties and even encourages his friend to try new things. If you have a little one worried about his or her own differences, check out this beautifully illustrated story.

Stories Without Words

Children love to tell tales, both of their own true experiences and those they have created. Often before a child can read print, you will see a child “reading” a book, ignoring the text, but using the illustrations as inspiration for a story he fashions as he turns the pages. In doing this, the child will learn to use illustrations as guides and will later be able to use this skill to help him in figuring out difficult words on a page and understanding more complex texts. Listening to a child “read” a book in this manner is a great way to build an early reader’s confidence and narrative skills. You can encourage your child to look closely at illustrations by providing her books without words. Try a few of our favorites:

Book cover for Chalk by Bill Thomson

Interested in more stories without words? Check out some of these.

Explore the World of Panoramic Books

Book cover for Where's Waldo! The Fantastic JourneyDo you remember “Where’s Waldo?” and how much fun it was to not only find Waldo and his accessories, but also see who else was in his world and what they were up to? As it turns out, there are more books like this. We at the library have classified them into two categories: seek-and-find and panoramic.

Seek-and-finds are just what you would expect – detailed illustrations in which you search for specific items from a list. Panoramic titles, however, do not have a list of items to find, and often they don’t have any text at all. But the more you look, the more you see in their fantastically full pictures.

Book cover for The Yellow BalloonPanoramic books are enjoyable for all age groups. The pictures are enchanting and pull you in, especially those by Charlotte Dematons, such as “The Yellow Balloon,” “Holland” and “Let’s Go.” Personally, I have poured over one book for several hours, amazed at the details, colors and scope of each page. Other titles will show how a location changes over the course of time. “In the Town All Year ‘Round” by Rotraut Berner shows how several places are transformed by each season. “Busy Bunny Days” by Britta Teckentrup shows thee locations (town, farm and port) over the course of one day. Books along these lines are also good for helping young minds understand time and how it passes, as well as the differences in seasons. Continue reading

Check It Out: Battle Bunny

Book cover for Battle BunnyRecently I have found several books that I feel are as much for adults as for children. One such book is a recent addition to the collection called “Battle Bunny” by Jon Scieszka. This is the (heavily edited) story of a young rabbit on his birthday. Countless are the stories about a young person who feels forgotten on his birthday, only to be surprised with a party thrown by his friends. We’ve been there, done that. At the outset, “Battle Bunny” is such a story. However, with the help of an additional author/illustrator, only known as Alex, the story takes a drastic turn. Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny and receives special powers, which he will use to put his evil plan into action!

What I love about this book is how it looks. Each page has been altered to look as if a young mind has taken the story into his own hands and not only changed the text, but also added to the illustrations with his number two pencil. You can still see the original text and illustrations, so reading both versions is possible. In my opinion, the story of Battle Bunny is more exciting than that of Birthday Bunny. Check out this clever book and see if you agree!