Monthly Archive: July 2015

Toni Buzzeo, Author of Whose Tools? | Speed Interview

Toni Buzzeo, Author of Whose Tools-- Speed Interview

Toni Buzzeo is the author of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times bestseller One Cool Friend, as well as many other books for children. A former elementary school librarian and secondary-school teacher, she now lives with her husband in both Buxton, Maine, and Sarasota, Florida.

Which five words best describe Whose Tools?

Fun, informative, inspiring, challenging, diverse.

If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from your book, who would it be? Why?

I can’t tell you how much I love that woman roofer way up on that roof with her nail gun!


Can you imagine how she’d feel about climbing a mountain or traversing a rope bridge? Maybe we’d go to Costa Rica together, a place I’ve never been (though I’ve been to Africa three times) and she’d challenge me to relinquish my fear of falling from a great height!

What has been the best reaction from a reader of Whose Tools?, so far?

I have so enjoyed the praise we’ve heard about the diversity in the book [“Women are well represented among Datz’s carpenters, roofers, electricians, plumbers, and painters (who are drawn in a range of skin tones), providing a subtle “you could do this, too” message…” ~ Publishers Weekly starred review], but by far this set of two photos is the best reaction, first Logan enjoying the text and illustrations with his dad, Derek, and his mom, Jen, and then Logan enjoying the board book in the way babies do best!

Logan Photo1Logan Photo2

What’s on your nightstand? Any books?

Goodness yes! I have two children’s novels from the library, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell and Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia. Then there’s a lamp, my iPad, a candle, and my earplugs. I also have a huge pile of picture books over on the desk because it’s too wobbly to set on the nightstand!

For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?

Definitely Earl Grey tea and a Kind nut bar—the sort with lots of nuts and a pinch of sweet-and-salt.

Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?

Mostly my MacBook Air, whose name is Elizabeth, but in a pinch, pen and paper, especially when I’ve just started a manuscript.

Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Whose Tools?, your writing style, or yourself?

My husband, Ken Cyll, is a silent co-author of the book. He’s an engineer and a woodworker and when I told him my idea, he jumped on it (practically to the point of harassment as he regularly repeated this question, “When are we going to start that book?”) His knowledge was absolutely invaluable throughout the writing and development process and the book is dedicated to him!

Whose Tools? by Toni BuzzeoWhose Tools?

Written by Toni Buzzeo, Illustrated by Jim Datz

Publisher’s Synopsis: This nonfiction ode to building a house from the ground up features six kinds of craftsmen and the 24 tools they use, accurately labeled. The answer to each inquiring refrain is revealed under a gatefold, seven in all, engaging the reader in an informative guessing game. With lyrical (and factual!) text by New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo, and the expertly stylized art of illustrator and designer Jim Datz, this sturdily constructed board book is perfect for curious and playful young readers.

Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1419714313

I See Kitty, by Yasmine Surovec | Book Review

I See Kitty  Written and Illustrated by Yasmine SurovecI See Kitty

Written and Illustrated by Yasmine Surovec

Age Range: 0 and up

Board Book: 30 pages

Publisher: Roaring Book Press

ISBN: 978-1-62672-093-0

What to expect: Adorable kittens, bright colors, board book.

I SEE KITTY is an adorable board book, perfect for preschoolers and younger. The simplistic, bright and engaging illustrations will delight small children. They will be entranced as we follow Chloe, a sweet little girl who loves kitties. First she sees them in the pet shop window up for adoption, which sets her imagination on fire. Chloe sees Kitty in the clouds, in a puddle, in cotton candy and in a woman’s crazy up-do hair at the bus stop. Chloe dreams of kitty in a psychedelic kitty paradise complete with a milk river and more cardboard boxes than any kitty could ever dream to hide in. Then, she hears a noise at her bedroom door—it’s kitty! And her Mommy says she can keep her. A truly happy ending for all.

Yasmine Surovec is already an immensely popular cartoonist, playing on the daily interactions between cats and their humans. She is truly talented in bringing the sweet and funny cat presence into your home, even if you only dream of owning a cat someday like Chloe. My two-year-old daughter loved this book so much that she kept taking it out of my review pile to flip through the pages by herself. The simple prose and elegant depictions of adorable kitties will engage even the smallest children. I also appreciated that at thirty pages, this was a very long board book. We could always use more pictures of kitty! Highly recommended for all children, 0 and up.

Daytime Nighttime, by William Low | Book Review

Daytime Nighttime  Written and Illustrated by William LowDaytime Nighttime

Written and Illustrated by William Low

Age Range: 0 and up

Board Book: 28 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt

ISBN-13: 978-1-62779-172-4

What to expect: Animals, Day vs. Night, Board Book

William Low is a renowned children’s book author, and he has created another book that is sure to become a favorite. The illustrations are surprisingly vivid and lifelike, and the words are simple enough for early readers to sound out themselves. Start in the daytime, where butterflies, robins and beavers bustle about in the sun. Rabbits, puppies and geese enjoy playing in beautiful flowers and stylistic sunrays. Then it’s nighttime, and time to explore what happens while children sleep. Fireflies, raccoons, owls and frogs are all at home in the moonlight. Then we see a child with a teddy bear laying down for bed, making this a perfect bedtime story.

This is an excellent book to use for compare and contrast discussions with your child, day versus night, daytime animals versus nighttime animals, etc. The book is sturdy and longer than average for lots of reading enjoyment, and the illustrations are beautiful and calming for bedtime. This is sure to be a favorite of both parents and kids!