Giveaway alert!

We talked recently about the power of wordless (and almost wordless) picture books. And today we’re giving one away!

Drum roll…

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MR. WUFFLES by the amazing David Wiesner falls into the “almost wordless” category. It has to be one of the strangest picture books we’ve seen – and we mean this in the best way possible. The namesake character is a cat who has discovered a most unusual “toy”: a tiny spaceship (you can see a hint of it in the lower-left corner of the cover). But Mr. Wuffles isn’t the only character in the book. There’s a host of aliens living inside the spaceship, all speaking an alien language. Readers will delight as the aliens discover Mr. Wuffles – and he them. We won’t give away more of the plot, but let’s just say adventure ensues! Don’t be fooled by the low word count; this book is NOT for the youngest picture-book readers. The book is a series of complex panels full of action. We think kids will love coming up with the words as the book progresses, and it may even inspire them to write up more adventures for the aliens.

Did we mention this book won a Caldecott Honor? (The Caldecott Medal is the highest award in the US for picture-book illustration.) We’re serious when we say this book is worth checking out. And when you’re done, check out more of the author’s work. (He’s won so many awards we’ve lost count!)

So how does one enter the giveaway?

Go to www.bookbears.com and wait for the pop-up inviting you to join our email list. Enter your email, and you’ll be in the drawing to win! (No purchase necessary.) And if you’re already on our email list then you’re automatically entered! We’ll choose the lucky winner on Saturday.

Extra bonus: By joining our email list now, you’ll be automatically entered into future Book Bears giveaways! Who doesn’t want free picture books??

Book Bears Read!

 

The art and text for MR. WUFFLES is (c) David Wiesner

The Power of the Wordless Picture Book

Today we’re talking about wordless picture books (and almost-wordless ones). No words, you say? Don’t we want our kids improving their reading skills? Of course we do! We at Book Bears believe there’s no better way to transform little bears into lifelong readers than to captivate them with stories and help them fall in love with books. And this can be achieved effectively through the reading and sharing of wordless books.

After all, just because a picture book doesn’t have words (or has few words) doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of story happening inside it.

In fact, wordless books can be extremely complex, and they often beg for repeat readings in which even more of the story is realized as the reader digests the small details of the artwork and pacing.

But do you want to know the best part about wordless picture books? They inspire a child’s imagination!

In place of an author’s narration, your child becomes the narrator, choosing the words to describe the scenes in the book and deciding where to inject exclamations and when it’s time to turn the page. We can’t think of a better way to get little bears excited about books and reading than to empower them to tell stories. It’s a bonus that they get to flex their vocab muscles along the way. Wordless books can also make for a fantastic introduction into the world of books for the more reluctant readers among our little bears.

There’s been an influx of wordless picture books on the market in recent years (including a spate of big-time award winners), and we couldn’t be happier to see these titles out in the world, inspiring little bears everywhere.

Book Bears Read!

More Book Bears Selections

Today we’re talking about a few more of our picture book selections, so you can see what Book Bears has to offer little bears! We hope you like our picks! As you may already know, our service centers around the joy of story, so we look for engaging storytelling and strong characters that kids will connect with. And these selections are up to the task! Read on to learn a bit more about our recent selections and why we chose them.

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LITTLE LOST COWBOY by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

From the publisher: “Arooo! I’m lost and I’m lonesome!” Poor Cowboy Coyote is alone in the desert. He can’t find his mommy and doesn’t know what to do. He’s tired, sore, wet, and bumped. But then a very nice toad gives the little lost cowboy the best advice of all – stay put, and your mommy will find YOU. With bright illustrations that playfully evoke the American Southwest, this collaboration between rising star Simon Puttock and award-winning Caroline Jayne Church is sure to become a read-aloud favorite.

Our take:

This is a sweet story with echoes of the classic children’s book Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. There’s a lot of nice repetition throughout as Cowboy Coyote goes from place to place, looking for his mother and meeting new animals.

And what kid won’t want to “AROOO!” right along with him?

The art depicts the desert landscape in bright colors and simple shapes, with plenty of unique details. In fact, the landscape is what inspired our book-related activity!

And of course, this book tackles an important subject: what a child should do if they become lost or separated from their parents. Have you had the “getting lost” conversation with your little bear? If not, this book provides an opportunity to start the conversation in a way that’s fun and lighthearted (and not scary!). There’s also nothing wrong with enjoying it purely for the story itself.

The text of the book is © Simon Puttock, and the art is © Caroline Jayne Church.

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RESCUE BUNNIES by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Scott Menchin

From the publisher: Newbie is a Rescue Bunny trainee. She has passed the Physical Fitness Test. She has passed the Emergency Rescue Roping Test. She has even passed the Blind Taste Test. Now it’s time for the toughest Rescue Bunny test of all…the Field Test! It involves a scared giraffe in a sinking mudhole, some hungry hyenas, and dance moves that sneak up on you. Will Newbie have what it takes? The right stuff? Can she handle the truth? One thing is for sure…she will have you at hello.

Our take: This is a great book about perseverance, as Newbie the bunny puts her all into her training to become a “Rescue Bunny.” Most of all, it’s a book about friendship and helping others, as Newbie ends up making a daring rescue—we love that the book has such a well-developed story arc. The author Doreen Cronin is a pro, and Scott Menchin’s art is endearing.

We think kids will have so much reading all the speech bubbles in this book. We also appreciated that Newbie is a female character that both boys and girls will relate to and be rooting for. Our package includes a physical activity inspired by the “rescue” theme.

Bonus for parents: there are some very familiar phrases from popular culture sprinkled throughout. The kids won’t “get” them, but who cares?

The text of the book is © Doreen Cronin, and the art is © Scott Menchin.

And don’t forget: we’re still running our coupon – just a few days left!

Book Bears read!

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Hooray for May! May Book Bears news

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It’s been a good May so far! We’ve received our very first review from Deanna over at Chi City Mom. The review calls out our Share the love of stories card, saying it “includes some great conversation starters” for kids and also noted that the books we sent were “big, bright, colorful and beautiful” and really captured the attention of her four-year-old. We love this great pull-quote:

“If you want to instill a love of reading and keep the children engaged in reading, Book Bears is a way to go.”

Here’s the full link to the review. Thanks for the love, Deanna—and we’re so glad your little one enjoyed the books!

And we also received this super-cute video from Lucee at Mom Junky of her young son trying to open the Book Bears package.

Yep, the struggle is real! Thanks again for sharing the adorable video, Lucee!

Keep an eye for a new post coming soon in which we break down some of the recent Book Bears selections and why we chose them!

Book Bears read!

Book Bears Selections

Today we’re talking about a couple of our picture book selections, to give you a little taste of what Book Bears has to offer! This is the first in a series of posts in which we share the “why” behind our picks. Let us know what you think!

Our background editing children’s books definitely comes in handy when we’re evaluating books to include in the Book Bears program. The holy grail for us is to find titles that are chockful of kid appeal and have strong literary merit, and that’s what we seek to do each month. Because our service centers around the joy of story, we place a special focus on engaging storytelling and strong characters that kids will connect with. With our first selections, we think we have done just that. Read on to learn a bit more about our selections and why we chose them.

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NIGHTTIME NINJA by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young 

From the publisher: Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission? With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.

Our take: There’s a strong build-up of tension in the story, and we love how the reader isn’t quite sure what’s going to happen next. Plus, there are fun perspectives, including an opening that encourages little bears to physically turn the book.

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We also love that during the whole beginning of the book, the nighttime ninja appears as a silhouette, allowing any kid to picture him or herself in the story.

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Even better, when the nighttime ninja is finally revealed, his skin is brown. (There’s a post in here for another day, but let’s just say #WeNeedDiverseBooks.) Kudos to the publisher for pairing a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator with a debut author—we think the story feels fresh because of it. That collage-style artwork is just the perfect inspiration for the book activity we’ve included in the monthly Book Bears package! And of course, many little bears will relate to the nighttime ninja’s goal—a nighttime snack!

The text is (c) Barbara DaCosta, and the illustrations are (c) Ed Young.

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SUBSTITUTE CREACHER by Chris Gall 

From the publisher: The troublemaking students of Ms. Jenkins’ class arrive at school one day to discover a substitute creacher has come to put a stop to their monkey business! He regales them with mind-boggling stories about his former students who didn’t follow the rules: Keith the glue-eater, Zach the daydreamer, and Hank the prankster, to name a few. But even this multi-tentacled, yellow-spotted, one-eyed monster’s cautionary tales about the consequences of mischief-making can’t seem to change the students’ wicked ways until he reveals the spookiest and most surprising story of all: his own. Chris Gall’s vibrant artwork leaps off the page with a dynamic comic book aesthetic that will grab both parents and monster-loving kids!

Our take: We think kids will be blown away by this book’s design. There’s so much to feast over! Let’s start with the cover: metallic green ink makes the substitute’s skin shimmery green. We don’t know a kid on the planet who won’t spend some time running their fingers over that and moving the book around in the light.

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The interior spreads are even more engaging with the substitute’s speech in green slime and lots of interesting comic panels.

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Since the dawn of time, kids have taken advantage of their substitute teachers (sorry to our teaching friends!), and kids will relish in the story’s fun setup. We think kids will enjoy hearing each “case” about the various kids who have misbehaved in the past— these stories also inspired the book activity in the monthly Book Bears package. There’s a nice twist at the end, too, which definitely humanizes the sub!

The sub’s speech throughout the book is written in rhyme, which is fun for reading aloud with little bears. There’s plenty of text, too, which is a great challenge for developing readers—and we love how it’s packaged in a way that kids won’t even notice. We’re not surprised this book received a couple starred reviews when it first published. Bonus: this book can also work for Halloween. What’s not to love?

The art and text are (c) Chris Gall

We’ve got more books on the way and can’t wait to tell you all about them. Happy reading, bears!