May 6 – National Smile Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mom-loves-little-jumbo-cover

About the Holiday

During this month we take time to make sure our smiles are as bright and healthy as they can be by ensuring that we’re following the latest advice by dental professionals about brushing, diet, and oral health and scheduling dental visits for ourselves and our children. It’s also a great time to celebrate all the things that make us smile. One of which is spending time with our kids. On May 12 families will celebrate Mother’s Day—a holiday that’s guaranteed to bring out smiles all around!

Mom Loves Little Jumbo: Hello I Am Jumbo

By Yasushi Muraki

 

When young readers open the cover of this sweet board book, a tiny elephant named Jumbo introduces himself and his mom. “Mom is big,” he says. “I am small.” Mom’s size and strength come in handy when he falls, Jumbo explains, and if he’s in trouble, his mom keeps him safe. Jumbo’s mom not only protects him from big dangers like lions but from small bothers like rain.

Every day Jumbo’s mom takes good care of him. She shows him where to find the freshest grass and the most delicious fruit. Jumbo’s mom also remembers other things he loves, like having fun and playing hide-and-seek “She makes me laugh,” he says.

To show Mom how much he loves her, Jumbo picks “the most beautiful flower” for her. And at the end of the day? “At bedtime Mom cuddles me tightly. I like this best of all.” Yes, Jumbo reveals, “My mom loves me. And I love my Mom.”

Yasushi Muraki revels in that deeply felt awe little ones feel for their mom and all the things she does for them in his adorable board book. By using the matriarchal, close-knit structure of elephant families for his story, Muraki reinforces the bond between mother and child, which he simply, but lovingly demonstrates in his rich, textured images. Each page welcomes children with comforting  earth tones and actions by Jumbo’s caring mom that even the youngest readers will find meaningful.

Told from Jumbo’s point of view, Muraki’s storytelling incorporates two straightforward sentences on each page. In the first, Jumbo reveals something that his mom does for him, and in the second, he explains how it makes him feel. Jumbo even plays a game with readers midway through the book. When Jumbo picks a flower for his mom, little ones will learn that gestures of love are reciprocal, and the cuddly ending will lead to lots of snuggling between mom and child.

A perfect book for little ones to share with their mom on Mothers’ Day or any day, as a new baby present, or baby shower gift, Mom Loves Little Jumbo: Hello I Am Jumbo would be a favorite on home bookshelves and to find at public libraries.

Ages 3 – 5

minedition, 2019 | ISBN 978-9888341788

Discover more about Yasushi Muraki, his books, and his art on his website.

National Smile Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-Spool-Elephant-Craft

Spool Elephant and Baby

 

Who wouldn’t like a tiny elephant for a pet?! With this easy craft you can make your own little pal to keep you company.

Supplies

  • Printable Elephant Ears Template
  • 1¾-inch wooden spool with center hole, available at craft stores
  • ¾ -inch wooden spool with center hole, available at craft stores
  • Gray craft paint
  • Chunky gray yarn
  • Gray felt, 1 8 ½ x 11 piece
  • Paint brush
  • Black fine-tip marker
  • Hot glue gun or fabric glue

Directions

To Make the Ears

  1. Print the Elephant Ears Template
  2. Trace and cut out the large and small ears

To Make the Body

  1. Paint the spools with the gray paint, let dry
  2. Glue the tab on the ears to the body of the spool to secure, allowing the ears to stick out on either side of one flat end of the spools
  3. Wind the gray yarn back and forth around the spool, creating several layers of thickness
  4. When the body is as thick as you desire, cut the end and secure with glue

To Make the Trunk

  1. Cut a 2 x 4-inch piece of felt for the large elephant; 1/2 x 2-inch piece for small elephant
  2. Roll tightly and secure with glue
  3. Feed one end of the roll into the hole in the middle of the spool
  4. Cut to desired length

To Make the Tail

  1. Twist a small length of yarn and push it into the hole on the back of the spool
  2. With the marker draw eyes and a mouth on the face

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mom-loves-little-jumbo-cover

You can find Mom Loves Little Jumbo at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

 

May 14 – Mother’s Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-just-me-and-my-mom-cover

About the Holiday

We always love our moms, but on the second Sunday of May we celebrate everything they do for us. On May 9, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation establishing Mother’s Day as “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”  First envisioned to honor all mothers instead of primarily your own, the day has become a personal holiday in which families celebrate in their own unique and meaningful way.

Just Me and My Mom

By Mercer Mayer

 

Little Critter and his pet frog were having a day out with Mom, traveling into the city on the train. Little Critter even got to buy the tickets himself. He’s also learned some manners and tried to help his mom get on the train, “but the steps were too high,” so his mom helped him instead. Soon they were all settled in and waiting for the conductor to punch their tickets. “But when the conductor came by, the tickets were gone. So Mom paid the conductor some more money.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-just-me-and-my-mom-train

Copyright Mercer Mayer, courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers

They disembarked into a very busy city. All the crowds, sounds, and sights were a little overwhelming, but Little Critter was only thinking of his mom. He “held her hand so she wouldn’t be scared.” Their first stop was the Museum of Natural History with its rooms full of dinosaur skeletons and eggs that are so tempting to touch.

In the next room there was a Native American exhibit, complete with mannequins wearing costumes to try on. Little Critter dressed up “just for Mom. But the museum guard didn’t like that.” The guard quickly showed them into another room where the Aquarium was. “There were lots of fish in a big tank of water.” Somehow Little Critter’s frog joined them. During the seal show, Little Critter became part of the program. He didn’t mean to end up on stage, he just wanted “a closer look at the seals.”

The art museum had weird pictures, and lunch at the fancy restaurant ended before it even began when the maître d’ threw them out for having a frog at the table. They “decided to have a hot dog from a stand. That was more fun anyway.” Then came the boring part. “Mom wanted to go to a big store full of dresses and stuff like that. Yuck.” Little Critter even had to be fitted for a new suit. When they passed the toy department, Little Critter found the enormous teddy bear he had “always wanted but Mom said, “‘It’s time to go.’”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-just-me-and-my-mom-museum

Copyright Mercer Mayer, courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers

Finally, it was time to head back to the train station. They took a taxi and Little Critter “got to ride in the front seat. The taxi driver drove real fast. That was cool.” At the ticket window Little Critter’s mom had a good idea. She bought the tickets herself because she “didn’t have enough money to buy more tickets if these got lost.” All in all, what would Little Critter say about his day? “We had fun, just me and my mom. I even stayed awake all the way home—well, almost.”

With an eagle eye and perfect pitch, Mercer Mayer reveals the way it is for parents and kids—with plenty of laughs sprinkled in. In Just Me and My Mom, the day may be full of mishaps and shenanigans, but Mayer is always focused on the sweet intentions of Little Critter and the loving relationship between mother and child. Mayer’s city bustles with his well-known animal characters who are colorful in so many ways. Kids will recognize and giggle at Little Critter as he plays ball with the seals, picks up the dinosaur egg, scowls at the tailor, and enjoys a high-speed taxi ride through the city. Adults will appreciate the mortified looks on Mom’s face and also understand her ready smiles.

Ages 3 – 7

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2001 | ISBN 978-0307125842

You can enjoy tons of fun on the Little Critter World-Wide Network, including activities, movies, apps, a sing-a-long, and more!

Mother’s Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mother's-day-card

Happy Mother’s Day Card

 

Here’s a pretty vase of flowers for you to color for your mom! You can make it even more personal by writing one thing you like best about your mom in the center of the flowers. Get your printable Happy Mother’s Day Card here!

Picture Book Review

May 8 – Mother’s Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cuddles-for-mommy

About the Holiday

Celebrating mothers dates back to the ancient Greeks and their annual spring festival honoring maternal goddesses. In the 1600s a Mothering Sunday was enacted in England, and employers encouraged their servants, apprentices, and any other employees who lived away from their families to visit their mother and bring her gifts. This tradition died out by the 19th century, but gained popularity again after World War II when it merged with the American holiday.

The first modern notion of Mother’s Day came in 1872 and belongs to Juliet Ward Howe. It wasn’t until 1912, however, after Anna Jarvis promoted the holiday through a letter-writing campaign to politicians and newspapers across the country that Mother’s Day was celebrated in every state. President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday in 1914. Now Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world. Today, let your mom know how much she means to you!

Cuddles for Mommy

Written by Ruby Brown | Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton

 

While Little Owl sits on the tree branch reading her book and watching her Mommy knit, she feels like giving her a cuddle. But what kind of cuddle should it be? There is the kind of cuddle that’s just right to say good morning. But it’s afternoon and Little Owl and Mommy have already had their good-morning cuddle.

Perhaps a goodbye cuddle then. Those always feel good when Mommy drops Little Owl off at school in the morning. But Little Owl isn’t going anywhere. Little Owl thinks and thinks. “What about the cuddle I give you when I’m sorry?” asks Little Owl. But Mommy reminds her that she hasn’t done anything wrong.

Then Little Owl has another idea: there’s a special cuddle Mommy gives when Little Owl is scared. That might work—except that Little Owl isn’t afraid now. After a while Little Owl says, “’I always give you a cuddle to say thank you. Like when you’ve brought me a new book.’” Mommy Owl tells her to hold on to that cuddle because they are going to the bookstore later.

Little Owl thinks and thinks. What other reasons are there to give a cuddle? There’s the excited happy cuddle, but while Little Owl is happy, she’s not excited. And cuddles come when Mommy is proud of her, Little Owl decides, remembering her trumpet performance last week. And when Little Owl is sick; Mommy always cuddles her then, but she’s not sick today. The good-night cuddle is always a favorite, but it’s far from bedtime now.

Suddenly, Little Owl has a fantastic idea. “I know what kind of cuddle I can give you RIGHT NOW, Mommy!” exclaims Little Owl. “She wrapped her wings tight around Mommy Owl and squeezed tight. The Mommy Cuddle! Just because I love you!”

Ruby Brown’s sweet dilemma makes for cuddle-perfect reading. The gentile and loving dialogue between Little Owl and her Mommy is a reminder for children that their mom is always there to make any day or event better with a hug and endless love. Kids will recognize and respond to all the different hugs and the nuances behind those squeezes.

Tina Macnaughton’s soft paintings of the adorable Little Owl and her Mommy are lit with glowing golds, greens, pinks and violets that reflect the love between them. Little Owl’s memories of all the different life events that elicit the cuddles she gives Mommy and gets in return are depicted with homey details that reinforce the closeness between mother and child. The special relationship between mother and child is evident on every page, where cuddles and hugs abound.

Little Owl is endearing in her earnest quest to find just the right hug for the feelings inside her, making Cuddles for Mommy an excellent book for bedtime or naptime—or for any time that a hug would feel just right. Cuddles for Mommy is a nice addition to a child’s bookshelf.

Ages 3 – 8

Little Bee Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1499802030

Mother’s Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-paper-plate-owl

Make a Mother’s Day Hug Card

 

Moms love hugs on Mother’s Day—and any day! Make this Mother’s Day card that says “Owl always love you!”

Supplies

  • Paper plate
  • Brown, yellow, and orange colored pencils or crayons
  • Black, orange, and red markers

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-paper-plate-owl-open

Directions

  1. Fold the sides of the plate in toward the center, overlapping one on the other a little
  2. Trim the top and bottom of each folded half-circle to make room for a head and tail
  3. Draw eyes and a beak just above the round center of the plate
  4. Outline the eyes in back marker and add pupils
  5. Draw and color a beak with the orange marker
  6. Color the back and front of the plate with brown, yellow, and orange colored pencils or crayons
  7. Write “I Love You” or whatever you would like to say to your mom in the center of the plate
  8. Fold the wings closed

Give  your mom your card along with a hug!

Picture Book Review