A great book for parents and for Early Years settings too – Sue Martin
What people are saying. . .
Best Books of the Year 2014
A great choice to give to new parents.
eo, who first appeared in Lola Reads to Leo (2012), attends a baby program with his mother.
He and his fellow sitting-up babes enjoy singing and playing on their grown-ups’ laps, as well as exploring books and toys. The single- and double-page spreads include one or two sentences describing the action written in a bold, black type: “First they sing the happy song. / Then they play peekaboo with scarves!” Hearson effectively channels the style of Rosalind Beardshaw, who illustrated the previous Lola titles, and creates cozy cartoon scenes in warm jewel tones. The setting of this program is left unclear, but it could easily be a public library or a community center in a very diverse neighborhood (the skin tones range from chocolate to peach). Organizations offering such events will want to stock up on this title, since it offers a perfect introduction for babies and their caregivers alike. While the ending feels a bit abrupt, little ones will find much to recognize here, and their grown-ups will appreciate the baby-friendly book design with its thicker-than-normal pages, jacketless cover and rounded corners.
Like Leo and his friends, this book is a buoyant and bouncy delight. (Picture book. 6-18 mos.)
School Library Journal
Fans of Lola at the Library are reintroduced to her little brother, Leo, and his new library adventures. The author describes everything that happens at Baby Time each week... The beautiful acrylic illustrations do a great job of showing the diverse participants and are a perfect match for the spare text. With only one sentence per page, this book is a good choice for young readers and listeners. It would be useful for introducing both new parents and children to storytimes, as it clearly shows how much Leo and his mother enjoy everything about the experience.
Sue Martin Dolphin Booksellers
Alanna Books is an independent publisher, founded in 2006, and has a number of titles that are beautifully delivered, with a real understanding of children and parents. They are just the sort of publisher we love! Their latest book is Zeki Loves Baby Club...
A story for everyone, families are the same the world over.
It’s about all the things that babies find good fun as they develop and increase understanding. The book is full of information for parents too, with rhymes and words to join in with. As well as all that…. the book is a joy to hold and explore. Inside the covers, there’s information in small sound bytes about language and communication, stories and reading. It makes it a great book for parents and for Early Years settings too.
Baby Zeki knows it’s Wednesday, his favourite day, when mum puts on his orange jacket and wheels him to Baby Club. All his multi-cultural little friends are there with their mums or dads. The clever use of just enough friendly characters for toddlers to recognise on each page gives continuity throughout. Delightful starter book. – Mary Arrigan
All in all, this charmingly illustrated, sturdy book is a lovely opportunity to enjoy a simple story with the very youngest and to have a wonderful sing-along session too. A great choice to give to new parents. – Jill Bennett
BayViews and more... book review site
Annual Board Book Round-up
Leo is the younger brother of Lola, the character from McQuinn’s “Lola at the Library” series of picture books. This book stars Leo, who goes with his mom to the baby storytime at his local library, where they share books, do a knee bounce, play with scarves, and sing songs. The book is a hybrid – it is the size of a larger board book, with pages made of thick paper and coated in plastic to stand up to wear and tear. Few board books feature nonwhite human characters, so this diverse group of babies, as well as African-American Leo and his mom, are a welcome sight. Libraries will want several copies, to circulate and to use at lapsit or baby bounce storytimes.
Sprout's Bookshelf Bookblogging site
We recently read Anna McQuinn's new book Leo Loves Baby Time, the companion to her series featuring African American toddler Lola and her little brother Leo. (It isn't a board book, but does have reinforced pages for small kiddos.) Though he's a little old for it now, Sprout loved revisiting these favorite characters and seeing Leo in the starring role in McQuinn's comforting and happy title. Lola at the Library is available in board book form, and we read it nearly every week, either before or after our Friday visit to stock up on books.
This brilliant and empowering book all about one young child's enormously enjoyable visit to a toddler group deserves to be in every preschool child's home. It shows kids of all sorts enjoying stories, songs and being sociable with their carers. It's inclusive and diverse. It's also helpful and constructive (including words for all the rhymes sung and links to videos so you can learn melodies and actions). An authentic, warm and positive reflection of toddler life, let's find ways to get this book into every care setting, library, and health visitor's clinic!
EYA Early Years Educator
Absolutely Gorgeous and 'scrumdiddliumptious' in every possible way, from illustrations, simple text and curvy writing to the content, this book is a delight from start to finish. Short, fun and colourful, babies and toddlers will just love singing some of the songs at the back and recognising the familiar experience of going to 'baby club'. There is singing, stretching, clapping, wriggling and 'zooming to the mooning!"
Books for Keeps ****
In this charmingly illustrated, sturdy book we join Zeki and his mother as they visit the library for Baby Club... this book provides a great opportunity to share a wonderfully inclusive, simple story and enjoy a sing-along-session with the very youngest. A copy should be given to all new parents.
Also celebrating books and, this time, libraries is Zeki Loves Baby Club ...
It’s a sturdy paperback with heavier than normal pages and rounded turning corners making it child friendly. Zeki is the baby brother of Lulu, well known for her love of the library and stories. The pages are filled with charming illustrations of babies and their parents enjoying together what, in Scotland, would be called a Bookbug Session – rhymes, songs and stories. The text is limited but engaging and at the back of the book there are some songs to use at home. – Jane Sandell
The School Librarian
We go along with Zeki to his Baby Club and, page by page, we see him greeting his friends and their carers, playing games, singing songs, and reciting rhymes in a welcoming circle. It is a simple formula, easy to follow, and can be read straight through like any other book. But there is much more to it than that. Words to accompany all ten activities pictured in the book are given at the back, so you are encouraged to stop at each page and sing along with your own child. What a helpful book for parents of very young children to support their early years activities at home. Indeed it would be a help for anyone starting up a playgroup or Baby Club themselves and Nurseries would also benefit from it.
It is good to see multilingual greetings displayed on the page as babies from different ethnic backgrounds assemble together to share the fun. One of the songs is given in the original Irish and translated into English, French and Urdu as well, which is a most welcome addition. A reference is also provided to a website where you can sing along with a video, an excellent idea for those parents and carers not so well-versed in musical arts and for first-time parents in particular who may need to brush up on early songs and rhymes.
To celebrate Independent Booksellers Week, we asked staff from six children's bookshops from around Britain to share their favourite tales for toddlers -
Chosen by Newham Bookshop in East London
Bright and bold illustrations and simple text celebrate a baby’s day as he goes in his buggy to meet with his friends and their carers, to have fun together playing a variety of games before finishing with a cuddle and a story. A lovely celebration of our vibrant multi-cultural society.
We like to include Goodreads and Amazon reviews as these are people who've not been sent review copies and just post for the love of the books!
Zoe Toft on Goodreads *****
This should be the next Booktrust book for its baby pack - it so perfectly reflects a baby's life, is warmly drawn, diverse, inclusive and just lovely. A must have for every nursery and playgroup.
Kelsey on Goodreads ***
Finally, someone wrote a book about storytimes! McQuinn highlights the best moments about the younger storytimes, including songs, scarves, and action rhymes. The parents are engaged and helping the children through the rhymes, including the rocket ship rhyme (Zoom, Zoom, Zoom).
Samantha on Goodreads ****
Baby Leo invites readers to share all of his favorite activities at Wednesday morning Baby Time. Simple text gives an accurate description of the activities that make up a Baby program and is supported by vibrant illustrations that include racially diverse children and parents.
Recommended for babies and toddlers.
Kim on Goodreads ****
Go to book when subbing for baby time.
Maggie KutsBord on Goodreads ***
multicultural babies! yay!
Meg McGregor on Goodreads ****
Leo Loves Baby Time and who wouldn't? Leo gets to sing, dance, roll, play, giggle, shimmy and shake, and just enjoy being a baby. And then he gets to snuggle with his Mom and read books!
Leo has a great life! Don't you wish you were a baby?
This book expertly demonstrates the ideal life a baby should have and I am so happy to see books and learning as a major part of his day!
Mary on Goodreads ***
This is a good interactive story for very young children about many of the things that happen at Baby Time. The illustrations are adorable and the story is short and simple. Great for babies to read with their grownups!
Keyy Ford on Goodreads ****
I love this book! We used it for one of out baby time programs and everybody got a kick out of it.
Danica Midlil on Goodreads 5 of 5 stars
Hooray!!! Leo is Lola's little brother! He goes with Mommy to Baby Time (or baby storytime) and this book shows his and his mother's wonderful routine. Loved it! The pages are even thick and sturdy for sharing with little hands! Great book that extends what "Lola" did for storytime to the younger set!
Storytime can make a huge impact in a child's life. Not only will the child have fun and hear language, these are opportunities for parents to learn songs, rhymes, bounces, finger plays, and gain confidence in their ability to impact their child's brain development and life.
If you have a child in your life, visit your local library to inquire about storytime. You don't want to miss it!
Afriendlylibrarian - ****
Leo loves baby time and I love Leo! I expect no less from Lola's baby brother.
Longer and more indepth Reviews
DC Public Library
Leo Loves Baby Time by Anna McQuinn is a follow-up to the wonderful Lola series! This new book aims for a slightly younger audience. It focuses on Lola’s little brother, Leo, as he begins his day by preparing himself for, yeah you guessed it, baby/toddler story time! He has breakfast, sits in his stroller and heads to the library. Leo loves going to Baby/toddler story Time at the public library. There Leo plays peek-a-boo, sings the rolly song, claps, reads, and zooms to the moon and back!
Families who go to similar programs at the DC Public Library will enjoy seeing the familiar games and songs here. Those who haven’t tried it yet may be inspired to climb into their strollers and stroll on over. As someone who works in a library, McQuinn clearly understands how programs for babies work. She highlights all of the positive things that the programs do. The simple and straightforward text is easy to read. This book is ideal for very young children who are just heading to their first library program. Hearson’s cheery and warm acrylic illustrations are stunning. The illustrations are presented in bright, vibrant colors that will draw the attention of the youngest readers. Leo Loves Baby Time really makes a “real-world” connection with young readers by capturing children interacting in a program and connecting with one another too. Printed on sturdy pages, this book is safe to hand to very small children who are progressing past board books. It would also be a great one to use with families just starting to use the DC Public Library in your community.
This book is appropriate for ages 1-3. Finally, someone wrote a book about the story time experience! (A great big shout out to the DC Public Library story time crew). If you like stories about Leo, read about Leo’s big sister Lola in the following titles: Lola Loves Stories, Lola at the Library, and Lola Reads to Leo.
Story Time Secrets
Resources for Sharing Books with Kids
About the Illustrations: Leo is the younger brother of Lola from Lola Loves Stories, but Leo’s story has a different illustrator. The two artists’ styles are very similar, though, so kids who know Lola will be likely to recognize Leo as her sibling. The soft palette and sweet faces give the pictures a gentle tone that perfectly matches the story. Baby time is a fun and comfortable place for Leo, and the illustrations reflect that. The people in the pictures are culturally diverse, which is always a plus for story time books, and the story time activities shown will be familiar to anyone who has attended baby story time.
Story Time Possibilities: Story time performers, take note! This book will easily become a regular part of your baby story time repertoire. It not only reinforces the vocabulary we use in story time all the time, but it also models appropriate caregiver behavior and demonstrates without preaching why it is that a baby enjoys going to lap time. Lots of themes would work with this book, but it would be especially nice for a Library Week program, or for the first session in a baby lap time series.
Reader’s Advisory: Story time regulars, infant daycare teachers, children’s librarians, and new moms are all likely candidates for enjoying this book. The text is simple enough that an older sibling might even be able to read it to the baby of the family.
Walking Brain Cells book review site
A follow-up to the wonderful Lola series, this new book aims for a slightly younger audience. It focuses on Lola’s little brother, Leo. Leo loves going to Baby Time at the public library. He gets to play games, sing lots of songs, play with animals and make friends. The book also focuses on Leo getting ready to go. He has breakfast, sits in his stroller and heads to the library. Families who go to similar programs at their public library will enjoy seeing the familiar games and songs here. Those who haven’t tried it yet, may be inspired to climb into their strollers and head on over.
As someone who works in a library, McQuinn clearly understands how programs for babies work. She highlights all of the positive things that the programs do. She also limits the words on the page to make this book ideal for very young children who are just heading to their first library programs. Hearson’s illustrations have a cheery warmth to them that really capture children interacting in a program and connecting with one another too.
Printed on sturdy pages, this book is safe to hand to very small children who are progressing past board books. It would also be a great one to use with families just starting to use libraries in your community. Appropriate for ages 1-3.