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2014 Award
My First Book of Baby Animals
(Charlesbridge $6.95 Score:)

Though it may be enjoyed by toddlers as a knowing and naming book, this goes beyond the usual boardbook and will be worth sharing with preschoolers and early school aged kids. Stunning color photographs fill the sturdy pages with images of baby animals, labeled with the special name given to young animals. Done in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Stella's Starliner
(by Rosemary Wells, Candlewick $15.99 Score:)

Stella and her Mom live in a silver "house" all week while her Dad drives off to work in his red truck. For a long time Stella was content; but then some nasty weasels hurt Stella's feelings by calling her home nothing but a broken down old trailer. Magically, Dad arrives and carries his family off through the sky to a place where others appreciate the beauty of their silver home. The story just doesn't measure up to the beauty of Rosemary Wells' detailed illustrations; a charming dual homage to the pointillists and Van Gogh with his starry night. 4 & up.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Big Bad Bubble
(by Adam Rubin/ illus Daniel Salmieri, Clarion $16.99 Score:)


It's good fun to be more knowledgeable than the big scary monsters in a story and these monsters maybe big, but they are anything than scary! In fact, you could call them the scardy-cat monsters of La-la land. What is it they worry about? Mostly it's bubbles that they fear and the exaggerated claims of the harm they might cause. This is all because one of them was once hit by a bubble gum bubble that hit him in the face. Spoiler alert: In the end the monsters overcome their fear of bubble, but if itís not bubbles, there's always something new to worry about--isn't there? This storybook reminded the reviewer of the 24-hour news cycle spin. A fun way to introduce kids to the idea of not believing everything you hear. 4-8

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
Curious George Visits the Dentist
(H.A. Rey, et al, Houghton Mifflin $13.99 Score:)

Going to the dentist can be a scary experience. In another newly created adventure, done in the style of the classic series by Margret and H.A. Rey, here is an entertaining way to preview the event. Like kids, Curious George is not too eager to go and leads everyone in the dentist's office on a merry chase. Lucky for him it all comes out well in the end. 4-8.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Awards
The Pigeon Needs a Bath!
(Hyperion $16.99 Score:)

As always Pigeon is up to his spunky, stubborn ways. This time he insists he does not need a bath, even though the rest of the world is telling him otherwise. Mo Willems manages to convey everything every reluctant bather has ever expressed with a very few words, humor, and artful images that will speak to the great unbathed. 3-5

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Grandma
(Childs Play $16.99 Score:)

For young children the long good-bye of a grandparent with Alzheimer's can be especially frightening. A grandparent is not just forgetting, but suddenly no able to do many of the things they used to enjoy together. Even more upsetting, Grandma may act angry, even when the child has done nothing wrong. In this tender book, Jessica Shepherd tells the story with clarity, mixing in the reality without turning this into a dark journey for a young child. It's a reassuring book that follows Grandma to a nursing home with its ups and downs. Finally it speaks to the child's need to know that with all these changes, the caring comfort of loved ones is there. 4-8

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Award
Tilly's Staycation
(Childs Play $16.99 Score:)

It is vacation time and all of Tilly's friends are going away. Tilly keeps hoping that Mom is going to come up with a trip, even to Grandma's. But Mom has other ideas and Tilly discovers the fun of their special "staycation." 3-5

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2014.

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Awards
It's Not Yours, It's Mine!
(by Susanna Moores, Childs Play $16.99 Score:)

Blieka, has a new toy--a big red ball. It's all Blieka's! It's not to share. In fact, as Blieka puts it, "It's not yours, it's mine!" Yet, before long, Blieka discovers others sometimes have needed skills. A small but unpreachy storybook with a gentle lesson worth sharing. Bleika, by the way is never referred to as a him or a her--making this one hare that both boys and girls can identify with ease. 3-7.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: .

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2014 Award
Earlyears Lil Shopper Play Set
(International Playthings $26.99 Score:)

So many goodies in this green felt shopping bag. An apple with a crinkle leaf and rattle, and orange that opens and closed with a rattle inside, a banana that has Velcro peels to pull open, a cabbage with crinkly leaves and a soft container with a cow on front and a mirror when you lift the top. Babies love the repetitive action of filling and spilling and these items are ideal for that. Learning to grasp these playing pieces, to pass them from one hand to another and to purposefully let go, helps to develop their fine motor skills. These fruits and veggies are also good for knowing and naming as well as early pretend. Or choose the bright yellow bag with a constuction set inside. There's a fabric vehicle, a stop sign, safety cone, a basket with a fabric rock, and a hard hat with mirror inside. This is the kind of toy that is a good choice for travel with lots of surprises to pull out of the bag as you spin a story and put the toys in baby's hands to explore. 6 months & up.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2014 Award
Peaceable Kingdom Say the Word Game
(Peaceable Kingdom $24.99 Score:)


Fun for the whole family, Say the Word is a word game that involves silly story telling and recall. An appointed Story Master picks a character card and deals out three cards and a cue card to each of the other players. Now players take turns adding a word to the story. As words are incorporated into the story the Story Master writes them down on the erasable storyboard. Once 10-12 words are used, the next player does not draw a new card, but begins to retell the story, recalling and incorporating the words that are on the storyboard. Here's where the cooperative but often silly play comes in: if a player can not recall a word you can give up your cue card and the Story Master must try to act it out for you. If you still can't remember another person can give you his cue card and act out the word. The round ends when there are no more cue cards. Great for a small group of mixed ages that involves memory, story telling, and charades. Comes with 200 word cards, cue cards, story board and marker and is best for three to six players. Age 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2014. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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