Blue on Blue, by Dianne White, illustrated by Beth Krommes; Beach Lane Books, $17.99, 48 pages, ages 2-5.

Thunderstorms have a powerful and sometimes frightening impact on young children, but Blue on Blue dispels some of that apprehension through rhyme and rhythm. Dianne White’s first childrens book describes the swell of an impending storm with minimal, well-chosen words. In fact, the text is so spare and the pacing so quick that I am surprised at the recommended age range, which is  five to eight year olds.  It is a perfect selection for toddlers, however – just long enough to keep little children entertained, and White’s word repetition reinforces key concepts. Caldecott Medal winner Beth Krommes’ (The House in the Night; Grandmother Winter) instantly recognizable scratchboard and watercolors of children splashing and jumping in puddles are full of rich detail and are a welcome celebration of rainstorms.  

Omnia vincit amor

“Boot and Shoe,” by Marla Frazee; Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 3-6.


Two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee introduces us to Boot and Shoe, an inseparable pair of pups who share everything – a bed, a food bowl, even a communal arboreal latrine. The majority of their time is spent on opposite ends of their ranch-style home. Boot is a back deck kind of dog and Shoe naturally resides on the front porch. A squirrel, bored and mischievous, confuses the canines to the point that they spend the rest of the book on opposite porches mournfully waiting for the other to return to his rightful spot.  This adorable misadventure is rendered in black pencil and gouache, giving the dogs a soft and lighthearted feel while the hand-lettered text by Frazee adds more charm. Younger readers will delight in being in on the joke that the dogs need only bark to hear each other, while older children will appreciate learning about a true friendship that conquers loneliness and grief.