"You found me!" This is the text on the final flap of each page as you flip, flip, flip to reveal different animals. But, if you want to be a corny parent, this is also the book talking to you after you have stumbled across it on the Usborne Books & More website. It's a hidden gem I stumbled on myself, and I want to help you avoid that problem!
Flippy Floppy Jungle Animals (a Kane Miller book by Anton Poitier and Sophia Touliatou) is a board book with four thick pages, each of which contains four flaps. The premise here is that on the left side of each page sits an animal - elephant, lion, hippo, or tiger - asking, "can you find me? I'm hiding somewhere!" On the facing page (the one with the flaps) is a jungle scene.
With each flap you turn, the scene transforms into a different animal, until, on the final flap, you see the animals have collectively turned into the "hiding" animal. It's a little difficult to put into words, so take a look at the sequence with the tiger:
Clever, eh? I wondered if it would be a short lived favorite in my house because there are only four scenes, but my boys love going through the book on their own and exclaiming in a sing-song voice, "you found me!" once they reach the final flap. And there are fun details to notice, like the alligator lurking under the water and little birds that make appearances on each page.
The illustrations are whimsical and vibrant, making the book beautiful even for the sake of talking about different animals and ecosystems. If you're a fan of Count to 100, you'll recognize the artwork - the books share an illustrator. :)
It's that book that shows the transformational, and playful, power of art!
Buy Flippy Floppy Jungle Animals here! (board book, $12.99)
If you like this one, Kane Miller has two others in the collection! Check out Ocean Animals and Farm Animals.
Here's a quick video preview, too!
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This, of course, is a question anyone who has mastered childhood is familiar with. Kane Miller’s fun board book, I Want to Be an Astronaut (written by Ruby Brown and Alisa Coburn), brings a touch of imagination and creativity to this oh-so-familiar question.
Two kids, a boy and a girl, take turns daydreaming about what they might want to be when they grow up. On the first page of the book, we find them sitting in their living room with a cardboard box, scissors, and tape. On each subsequent page, one of the kids is in a new landscape – driving around a seaside bend, swinging over a crocodile-filled swamp, flying over a volcano in a hot air balloon – as they imagine a different vocation.
I’m a big fan of books that encourage (or even teach) imaginative play, so this book is a winner for me! It suggests thinking outside of the box, but it does so with that focus on dreaming about the future, not pushing to get there today. The story ends back in the living room, where the cardboard box is now adorned with paper plates and strips of tape, with cardboard cuttings strewn around the floor. The narration finishes, “I can be any of these things when I grow up. But I don’t need to decide just yet. I can just dream of having big adventures.”
It’s that book that suggests open windows for the future by encouraging creative play today.
Buy I Want to Be an Astronaut here! ($8.99, board book)
Click these photos for full size - and scroll down for my 2-minute video overview!
"Who's going to get ready for bed first tonight?"
"Micah!" (says Josh)
If you have kids, I'm sure you've seen this kind of exchange many times over. That classic volunteer-anybody-but-me tactic. Well, Take Ted Instead, a Kane Miller book written by Cassandra Webb and illustrated by Amanda Francey, addresses this sometimes frustrating tactic in a sweet, funny way that reminds you why, ultimately, you do still love your kids. ;)
The premise of this story is quite simple: it's bedtime, and a little boy is resisting, despite his mother's repeated statement, "it's time for bed, sleepyhead." Each time his mom says this line, the boy gives an excuse - "No, no, take Red instead." "No no, take Seb instead." "No, no, take Zed instead." And each time the boy's mom says her line, she finds this little boy somewhere new - inside a cupboard, under the dining room table, behind the curtains.
Eventually, the little boy tells his mom to take Ted, his giant teddy bear, instead. And here, the rhythm of the story breaks: "But Ted will be lonely, in a bed all on his own," says mom. This makes the little boy ponder until he finally dashes after his mom and Ted.
This book is pretty great not only because it pokes fun at the daily struggles of getting a kid to bed, but because it works on so many levels... there's potential for engaging reader's theater as you mix up the intonations of both mom and kid repeating the same lines, there's clever non-verbal humor as you see the little boy (or just his hands or feet) poking out from his various hiding places, and there is strong reading development built in with the repetition of lines and rhyming words for everything the little boy suggests his mom "take instead". You'll love it, your kids will love it... and you might just get them to bed!
It's that book that pokes fun at the toddler quirks that seem so hard in the moment but are just one more reason you love that kid.
Buy Take Ted Instead here! (hardcover, $11.99)
“I’m a dirty dinosaur with a dirty face. I never have a wash – I just shake about the place. Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake about the place!” This is another book that goes in my this-author-really-gets-little-kids category. Dinosaurs? check. Getting dirty? check. Lyrical, repeated phrasing? check. And, as an added bonus for the parents, the dinosaur washes in the lake at the end – check!
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur (a Kane Miller book by Janeen Brian and Ann James) follows a little dinosaur as it plays in the mud – and yes, the artist used real mud for the illustrations! The dinosaur gets its snout dirty, then face, then tummy… until it’s completely covered in mud! Then, at the end… “I’m a dirty dinosaur. I’m YUCKY! Oh, my gosh! I think I’ll stomp right to the swamp and… give myself a wash!”
So the little dinosaur ends up all sparkling clean. Of course, as any parent who has hung out with little kids knows, it doesn’t last long – the final page of the book shows the clean dinosaur eyeing the mud puddle again…
Hi there! I'm Christine - Usborne Books & More independent consultant, kids' book fan, English teacher, mom of two boys.