The Nap Rap by Joan Gold Cypress and illustrated by Lola Buckwald. Queen Scarlett, $24.95. (Oregon author)
I never thought I would be saying this, but I rapped my little one to sleep the other day. Naptime can be a challenge, and this day’s venture to dreamland started off like most others — with contemptuous rebellion coupled with shrill shrieking from an over-tired tiny human. When I finally conquered the journey of getting my son into bed, I calmed him with the promise of an extra-special reading treat. I pulled out The Nap Rap by Eugene author Joan Gold Cypress and queued up the accompanying music downloaded to my iPod. My little one’s eyes grew wide as the music began, and I opened up the beautifully illustrated book — featuring the artwork of Lola Buckwald. “Even the bees are catching some Zs. All the llamas are in their pajamas,” I started reading in an erythematic manner to the music that has a gentle beat that is perfect for children. The rhymes rolled off my tongue, and the story was beyond appealing to my son. The rap is catchy and makes naptime fun — but not too much fun. While we always read before sleep, this was the first time I got to work on honing my rapping skills at the same time. Overall, the book was delightful, joyous for children and adults alike. It’s a great way to start a nap with a smile on everyone’s face — but be warned, it’s now the top requested book in the house. — Elisha Young
Dinosaur: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen and Kathy Wollard. Workman Publishing, $25.95.
My son, like most children his age, is obsessed with dinosaurs. So when I came home and told him I had a new photicular dinosaur book for him, his excitement was overshadowed by a very quizzical look on his face. I tried explaining the concept of photicular to him — also known as integrative photography — but it was a bit over his head. So I pulled out the book, and handed it to him so he could see for himself. “Mind blown! This is so cool, Mom!” were the exact words from my son as he flipped through the pages of Dinosaur, completely enamored by the moving images. About an hour later, when he had finally finished admiring the illustrations that made him feel like he had time traveled a million years, he was ready to actually read the book. I was delighted to find the written words as engaging as the imagery. The book is informative and written in way that captivates even the youngest of growing minds, yet is still decipherable for a new reader. Dinosaur does a great job of transcending time and bringing long extinct storied creatures back to life in a way that is alluring to readers of all ages. — Elisha Young