Saturday, April 17, 2010

Boy, do I have some new gnus for you!

Spring is a glorious time - daffodils and tulips are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is warming your face, new toys are coming in from all our favorite companies...

Alex, loved for its creative and colorful toys, has expanded its line of great bath toys. In addition to the ever-popular bath crayons, "basketball" hoops, instruments, and water squirters, now you can enjoy Fishing in the Tub, where an intrepid bather can hook foam fish, and the Tub Coaster Traffic Jam, a floating automotive version of those bead mazes everyone knows and loves (See our baby room for Melissa & Doug's wooden versions!).

With the return of bugs and flowers and sunnier afternoons (oh my), it's a perfect time of year for Melissa & Doug's gardening tools! Their garden line, Sunny Patch, has all manner of toys for outdoor exploration from trowels, hoes and rakes to gloves, magnifying glasses and butterfly nets, in super colorful themes like Happy Giddy (orange and green bugs) and Blossom Bright (pink and yellow flowers).

Send your kid to their next slumber party with a bright (we're talking fashionably neon) and soft over-the-shoulder overnight bag from Sassafras. These totes are decorated with a plush sea critter cutie, like crabs, mermaids or sea horses. For first-time or seasoned toddler travelers, Sassafras has pull-along animal bags: probably the cutest thing on wheels since the cave man era. Your choices include zebra, puppy, giraffe, and leopard (yowza!).

Our newest addition to our Hello Kitty section are Kimmidoll collectible figurines. These small dolls are only two inches tall and wear adorable kimonos. Each character represents a particular value or wish. For example, Yoko is "Positive": "My spirit is noble and inspires confidence. By honoring your word and living true to the noble, you will inspire confidence and respect." Give these tokens to your friends and family, or start your own collection.

For your older friends, there's plenty of new things in our chapter book room too!

Who doesn't love a good spy? Hone your espionage skills with Slinky spy kits. The Spy Hawk Night Vision headset comes with a "night vision" red light and a microphone to amplify sound. You'll be taking missions from Bond's M before you know it.

Crafty types will love the latest activity kits from Klutz. Fashion origami gives detailed instructions and wildly patterned papers to create outfits in the Harajuku style (mixing together colors, patterns, and fashion styles to create a totally original look). Klutz Animation shows you how to make stop motion movies with regular household items; it even includes a packet of plasticine with which to make clay figurines.

Since I can't not tell you about books, here are some new titles we're super excited about!

You love her Mother Goose, fables, and especially her baby and animals board there's a reprint of Gyo Fujikawa's Oh What a Busy Day! This collection is full of her round-cheeked, expressive toddlers, silly and serious rhymes, and tons of little vignettes to pour over for hours. And I promise you, you will want to come back to this book again and again, and each time you'll find another surprise in her drawings.

Our staffers Natasha and Miruna are ecstatic that Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet have a new, giant picture book out: Oops! It's big, bold, and bright like 2006's mathematical comedy 365 Penguins. (How many times do you encounter that genre?). Oops! follows the chaotic chain of catastrophes of a family trying to get to the airport on time, and even includes a cause-and-effect explanation in the back. Our staffers are extra ecstatic that Jolivet will be at the French Library and Cultural Center on April 29th!

Speaking of math, there's a great new picture book biography of Leonardo Fibonacci written by Joseph Dagnese. Blockhead tells the story of young Leonardo, who was called "Blockhead" because he was always daydreaming about numbers. Despite their ridicule, this young daydreamer continued to do what made him happy and so grew up to discover number riddles and mathematical patterns in nature that scientists still use today. There are plenty of good biographies for kids about famous politicians, inventors, and athletes, and it's great to see a good, coherent one about a mathematician!

My last pick of new books is for all the Percy Jackson fans out there. The incredible paper-working duo Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda have a new installment in their pop-up Encyclopedia Mythologica series: Gods and Heroes. As always, the paper design is gorgeously detailed and vibrant and the writing is clear. The legends are from civilizations around the world, including Egyptian, Norse, Native American, and Polynesian.


Julia Denos said...

I need to stop in soon for a hut visit and some of these excellent picks, Fujikawa + OOPS included!

<3 to CG!

JD said...

I salute you for mentioning our book about Fibonacci!

See the website if you haven't yet watched the video.

Many thanks,

Joseph D'Agnese