Classic Children’s Tales: 150 Years of Frederick Warne; Frederick Warne, $25.00, 112 pages, all ages.
Since 1865 Frederick Warne & Company has championed the importance of providing children with their own literature, and introduced the world to Beatrix Potter, Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott and Edward Lear, as well as more modern authors such as Eric Hill (creator of the Spot series) and Cicely Mary Barker (Flower Fairies). In 1983 Penguin Books acquired Frederick Warne, where it flourishes as an imprint. Now celebrating its sesquicentennial, Warne recently released a commemorative compilation of its most prestigious authors and illustrators. Classic Children’s Tales: 150 Years of Frederick Warne is a foil-stamped jewel destined to find pride of place on the bookshelves of many children’s book collectors. Devoted to Potter, Caldecott, Greenaway, and Lear, each of the four sections includes introductions supplied by modern legends Jan Pieńkowski, Paul O. Zelinsky, Lee Bennett Hopkins and Eleanor Taylor. Stories that have nurtured young spirits for generations are here, such as Caldecott’s “Sing a Song of Sixpence” and Greenaway’s “Mother Goose,” as well as a story by Beatrix Potter entitled “The Sly Old Cat” that wasn’t published until 1971, nearly thirty years after Potter’s death. These stories encourage young readers to imagine the impossible, that reading is an adventure, and that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Here’s to many more years of Frederick Warne and to the next golden age of children’s literature.
Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby, by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Alyssa Nassner; Abrams Appleseed, $15.95, 44 pages, ages 0-3.
Babies love being read to, and they will adore listening to this lyrical collection of original poetry curated by poet Lee Bennett Hopkins. The anthology’s thirty selections are divided into five topics, ranging from food to bedtime. Parents will notice some A-list authors among the group, including Marilyn Singer, (the Tallulah series) Jane Yolen (How Do Dinosaurs….? series) and J. Patrick Lewis (World Rat Day: Poems About Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of.). The sturdy, casebound board book is perfect for exploring little hands, and artist Alyssa Nassner’s bright and engaging illustrations make this a delightful introduction to all the sensory joys of poetry.
Wish, by Matthew Cordell; Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 48 pages, ages 3-6.
Sometimes parents wait a long time before children come along. They plan, live, cope with disappointment, until one day their wish comes true. Matthew Cordell’s charming elephant couple explores what it means to begin a family, and how adults deal with unexpected challenges. “We listen…. And we wait… but you never come. And everything stops.” will no doubt resonate with some families more than others. One day, while the patient pachyderms stroll along the beach, a crack of lightning splits the ocean apart, and a baby arrives on a small sailboat. There’s nothing preachy or overly saccharine here – Wish is a wonderful, simple and totally heartfelt way for parents to remind their children how much they are loved.