Dear Readeo Friends,

This week we introduce two titles from the witty Balloon Toons series. These books present the action in comics-style panels with a generous helping of humor. In Rick and Rack and the Great Outdoors by Ethan Long, Rack (a buck, or male deer) teaches his friend Rick the raccoon how to fish, decipher animal tracks while they’re hiking, and how to canoe. Each one ends with a funny twist.

In the second Balloon Toons tale, the cat-loving narrator teaches a friend (and all of us readers) how to do The Super Crazy Cat Dance of the book’s title. Author Aron Nels Steinke uses rhyme and sequential illustrations to model how to groove to the cat dance moves. You and your youngster will be on all fours to practice before you know it!

Our third title is another travel-themed treat from Laurie Krebs, author of this month’s featured book, We All Went on Safari–as well as We’re Roaming in the Rainforest. This week in her Off We Go to Mexico! illustrated by Christopher Corr, Laurie Krebs teaches us Spanish words as we go from la playa (the beach), and on to climb las piràmides (the pyramids). You may recognize the fiesta-bright artwork of Christopher Corr from another book in our Readeo library: My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone.

Off We Go to Mexico
Rick and Rack
The Super Crazy Cat Dance

Use Readeo this week to read or BookChat using these new books! Let us know what you think of the Balloon Toons books and your travels to Mexico on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

With all my best,
Jenny

Jenny Brown is the editor for Readeo and oversees all book selection for the site. She has worked in the children’s book world for the past 25 years, holding positions with HarperCollins and Scholastic, and was the Children’s Books Reviews Editor for Publisher’s Weekly.  She currently writes for School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Shelf Awareness. Jenny graduated from Princeton University. You can read more from Jenny on her Web site, Twenty by Jenny.

Posted February 15th, 2011 in Books, News, Reading, Relationships by Jenny Brown

Dear Readeo Friends,

This week, we hope you’re hungry! Two of the three new additions to the Readeo library invite you and your child to a feast, and the third continues the travel theme we’ve established over the past two weeks.

Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table by Vanessa Brantley Newton invites us all to join Auntie Mabel’s bountiful Sunday dinner. But when the kind hostess begins the blessing, she not only blesses the bounty of food, but also everyone around the table and those who are absent!  Soon the guests are falling asleep, and the food is getting cold! Warmth and humor abound in Vanessa Brantley Newton’s tale. You may recognize her artwork from her book Let Freedom Ring!, which is also in the Readeo Library.

As young Adika and Mama Panya head to market, Adika invites everyone he meets to join their meal in Mama Panya’s Pancakes by Mary and Rich Chamberlin, illustrated by Julia Cairns. Mama Panya worries about whether they will have enough pancakes for everyone. But Adika believes they’ll have “a little bit and a little bit more” for all the guests. Julia Cairns also illustrated this month’s featured book, We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs.

And continuing along with our travel theme, My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone, illustrated by Christopher Corr, follows Granny as she travels around the world, counting from one magic carpet purchased in Istanbul to 10 black llamas she buys in Peru—which she gives to her granddaughter.

Mama Panya's Pancakes
My Granny Went To Market
Don't Let Aunt Mabel Bless The Table

Let us know what you think of Auntie Mabel’s Sunday dinner, Mama Panya’s pancakes, and your travels with Granny by commenting here or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

With all my best,
Jenny

Jenny Brown is the editor for Readeo and oversees all book selection for the site. She has worked in the children’s book world for the past 25 years, holding positions with HarperCollins and Scholastic, and was the Children’s Books Reviews Editor for Publisher’s Weekly.  She currently writes for School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Shelf Awareness. Jenny graduated from Princeton University. You can read more from Jenny on her Web site, Twenty by Jenny.

Posted February 8th, 2011 in Uncategorized by Jenny Brown

Laurie Krebs We All Went on Safari Free Online

Laurie Krebs, the author of We All Went on Safari, traveled to Tanzania (pronounced tan-za-NEE-uh) with her husband. She saw all of the places and all of the animals that she mentions in her book (and gives more details and a map at the back of the book). She even learned how to count to 10 in Swahili! Here she tells us what it was like to travel through East Africa, and across the Serengeti where the Maasai people live among these stunning animals.

Is the “ancient crater floor” that you talk about (on the page with the four “lordly lions”) the same as the Ngorongoro Crater that you show on the map at the back of the book?
Yes. The Ngorongoro Crater is an upside-down volcano. We stayed at the top of the crater, and then we’d travel by vehicle down into the crater. The topography changes as you go toward the bottom into this amazing place. These particular animals do not have to travel like they do over the Serengeti. They’re protected geographically because it is a crater. The water supply is more stable there.  It’s a beautiful place where both the creatures and the Maasai live.

Tell us about the Serengeti.
The Serengeti goes on and on and on. The entire horizon is just grasslands. You could see the wildebeests parading from the Serengeti of Tanzania and on up North to Kenya to follow the water supply. Different animals eat grass at different levels. The zebras eat the lowest grass. For the wildebeest, the grass was a little higher. The antelope would eat the highest grass. The mouths on the different kinds of animals were created to take care of the different levels of grass. That’s why the animals seem to go in tandem with one another.

Is there really a Serengeti gate (on the page with the 8 “wiry warthogs”)?
Yes there is. It’s an entrance into the park. I sent a photograph of that to Julie Cairns, the illustrator.

Did you give the artist any other tips–about the animals or the clothes the Maasai would wear?
For eight years, Julie Cairns had lived in Botswana [which is just north of South Africa; Tanzania is in the Northeast of Africa]. She had drawn the Maasai people in many of her art creations and also in a number of her titles for Barefoot Books. The Maasai people are very tall and handsome, with very erect posture. There’s a certain way they hold their chins, and I think she captured that beautifully. I didn’t have to educate her at all on the Maasai people.

Do the Maasai only dress in red? We liked their beaded necklaces and headbands.
They dress mostly all in red, and in various plaids and stripes. In some cases they do go off a little into the purple or orange side of the red. This is a cultural thing that they hold very dear.

How did you choose the 10 animals you would focus on?
The animals were in different settings throughout Tanzania—in the crater, on the water, in the jungle—so I chose animals that actually lived in the areas I wrote about. I also chose the animals I thought children would most enjoy.

Did you learn Swahili while you were there?

I did learn a little Swahili! “Hello,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome.” And I learned how to count. We kept looking for leopards, and our guide asked, “Wapi chui?” (Wapi is pronounced “WHOP-pee”; the pronunciation for “chui” is at the back of the book!)

Have you also traveled to the Amazon, where your book We’re Roaming in the Rainforest takes place?
Yes, we went to the Peruvian Amazon. We stayed at the confluence of the Amazon and the Tahuayo Rivers, and then we’d travel in dugout canoes to different areas. The creatures were fascinating. The jungle was every bit as dense and flowery and leafy as I had envisioned it.

Read We All Went on Safari Online for Free

Posted February 1st, 2011 in Book of the Month by Jenny Brown

Dear Readeo Friends,

This week our three new additions to the Readeo Library (aimed at children ages 3-8) invite your child to take a walk on the wild side.

In Crow by Leo Timmers, the towering presence of the “pitch-black” feathered hero scares the tiny multi-colored Finch, Parakeet, and Chickadee. Crow just wants to be their friend, but when he tries to approach them, he sends them scurrying. His attempts to look more like them are even more disastrous! Only when he goes back to being himself does Crow win their friendship. It’s an uplifting message, delivered with a great deal of humor.

We’re Roaming in the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Anne Wilson, introduces your child to chatter monkeys, poison dart frogs, leaf-cutter ants, and the other creatures that live deep within the Amazonian rainforest. Stunning collage illustrations and a lilting rhyming text will make your youngsters feel as if they’ve been on a journey.

Then, after a brief rest, they can travel on to the Serengeti plains where the Maasai people roam and acacia trees grow. We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania by Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julia Cairns, begins with Arusha, Mosi, and Tumpe as our guides, and they gather more friends as they go. They count up from one “lonely leopard” (“moja” in Swahili) to 10 “enormous elephants” (“kumi”). At the end of the book, curious children can find out more about the animals featured, the Swahili language, and the Maasai people who live in East Africa, where northern Tanzania meets southern Kenya.

Crow
We’re Roaming in the Rainfores
We All Went on Safari

Safe travels – and don’t forget to let us know about your journeys on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

With all my best,

Jenny

Jenny BrownJenny Brown is the editor for Readeo and oversees all book selection for the site. She has worked in the children’s book world for the past 25 years, holding positions with HarperCollins and Scholastic, and was the Children’s Books Reviews Editor for Publisher’s Weekly.  She currently writes for School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Shelf Awareness. Jenny graduated from Princeton University. You can read more from Jenny on her Web site, Twenty by Jenny.

Posted January 25th, 2011 in Books, News, Reading, Uncategorized by Jenny Brown

For those of you who’ve recently joined Readeo, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jenny Brown, and I’m the editor here at Readeo. I choose the books and also conduct a monthly interview with one of the luminary authors or artists who’ve contributed to the Readeo library.

Each month we feature a book from the Readeo library that you can read from start to finish, whether you’re a guest or a dedicated Readeo subscriber. Along with that book, we feature the book’s author or artist for some insights about the seed of the book’s idea or the creative process. For the month of January 2011, we’re featuring an interview with Peter H. Reynolds, the author and artist of Ish (our featured book for January) and The Dot.

From now on, we will also be sending you weekly updates with new additions to the Readeo library, so you can stay on top of our latest selections. This week, we are pleased to add Eating and Sleeping, both by Liesbet Slegers (some of you may remember her as our December featured author-artist). These two books help toddlers name all of the familiar parts of their mealtime and bedtime rituals. Liesbet Slegers gets to the heart of the toddler experience; she stretches your child’s vocabulary while providing enough visual clues to put toddlers immediately at ease.

Who’s in the Forest? by Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Jill McDonald, takes your child on a walk through the woods, with gently patterned collage artwork and creatures children can easily recognize. A rolling rhyme makes “foxes on the prowl—creep, creep, creep” and “bear cubs tumbling in a heap, heap, heap” look harmless indeed.

Let us know about your BookChat experience with these books by posting on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

With all my best,

Jenny

Jenny BrownJenny Brown is the editor for Readeo and oversees all book selection for the site. She has worked in the children’s book world for the past 25 years, holding positions with HarperCollins and Scholastic, and was the Children’s Books Reviews Editor for Publisher’s Weekly.  She currently writes for School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Shelf Awareness. Jenny graduated from Princeton University. You can read more from Jenny on her Web site, Twenty by Jenny.

Posted January 20th, 2011 in Books by Jenny Brown