Monday, April 15, 2024

The Fabulous Fannie Farmer by Emma Bland Smith and Susan Reagan - ADVISABLE

The Fabulous Fannie Farmer: Kitchen Scientist and America's Cook
by Emma Bland Smith, illustrated by Susan Reagan
. PICTURE BOOK NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY Calkins Creek (Astra), 2024. $19. 9781635926125 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

After a bout of polio when she was 16yo, Fannie turned to her love of cooking. It wasn't until she was 31 that she entered the Boston Cooking School, going on to become the principal. Dissatisfied with cookbooks of her day, Fannie and her students started experimenting and standardizing the measurements and instructions for recipes - pioneering a new standard and helping home cooks for generations. 

While text heavy, Smith still keeps the story simple and engaging, supported by Reagan's old-fashioned illustrations. Every cooking class would welcome this addition. Fanny is white. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

Mine! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohman - ESSENTIAL

Mine! by Candace Fleming
illustrated by Eric Rohman
. PICTURE BOOK Anne Schwartz Books, 2023. $19. 9780593181669 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Up in the tree is a shiny, red, delicious looking apple. Different creatures such as a mouse, hare, bear, and fox all lay in wait for the apple to fall to the ground. Each animal daydreams about how delicious the apple will be. Finally the wind knocks the apple off the tree! A scuffle begins. Who will end up with the apple? It's not who you would expect! 

This was a great book. It had repetitive words such as "mine," which helps young readers engage and predict what will be said next. The illustrations were darling and went well with the text. The ending was especially fun with the surprise ending that also teaches a lesson. 

A. Criswell, English Language Teacher

Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Fastest Drummer: clap your hands for Viola Smith by Dean Robbins and Susanna Chapman - ADVISABLE

The Fastest Drummer: clap your hands for Viola Smith
by Dean Robbins, illustrated by Susanna Chapman
. PICTURE BOOK, BIOGRAPHY Candlewick, 2024. $18. 9781536224863 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

As part of her family's all-girl jazz band, Viola loved the drums and would always talk to other, more seasoned, drummers at their shows, trading tips and tricks. When the other girls left to pursue other interests, Viola formed her own band and advocated for women in music throughout her 107 year life. 

Viola's enthusiasm shines through a rare combination of enthusiasts text and swooping illustrations. What a fun book for any music class. There are some videos of Viola on the internet - so a great way to back-up the picture book with footage of her playing. Viola and her family are white; some of the other drummers are Black. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

I'm An American by Darshana Khiani and Laura Freeman - ADVISABLE

I'm An American by Darshana Khiani illustrated by Laura Freeman
. PICTURE BOOK Viking Books for Young Readers, 2023. $20. 9780593464724 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW 

This picture book explains what it means to be an American from multiple kids' experiences and backgrounds. Different children share their stories on how their ancestors came to America. Other kids are new to the country and are still adjusting to their lives in America. Some kids are grateful for basic human rights, while others appreciate the freedom of religion. This book recognizes Native Americans, same gender parents, and Russian Jews to name a few. 

Although this book was filled with great information, it was hard to get through. There was too much text on each page. My five year old daughter lost interest and didn't want to finish reading it. It seemed a little repetitive and was too long. All of the characters' voices were from different cultures, races, and origins. 

A. Criswell, English Language Teacher

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tala Learns to Siva by Kealani Netane, and Dung Ho - ESSENTIAL

Tala Learns to Siva
by Kealani Netane, illustrated by Dung Ho
. PICTURE BOOK Orchard (Scholastic), 2024. $19. 9781338859324 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Young Tala wants to dance the taualuga, a traditional Samoan dance, as beautifully as her Aunty Sina. While Tala can practice the steps, the final key - dancing to express love and reverence for her ancestors - will have to come from her heart. 

LOVE that there is another picture book from a national publishing house reverencing Polynesian culture. Ho's illustrations are bright and capture the beauty of the islands. Any school with Polynesian students needs to add this to their collection. Great for a simple lesson on the cultures or on dance in general. All of the characters are Samoan. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

One Of A Kind by Richard Michelson and Sarah Green - OPTIONAL

One Of A Kind
by Richard Michelson illustrated by Sarah Green.
PICTURE BOOK, BIOGRAPHY Calkins Creek, 2024. $19. 9781635925319 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Sarah was a poor Jewish immigrant living in a poor, smelly, noisy, neighborhood in New York. Her parents had been fancy and rich until the German' government took their money and put Papa in jail. Sarah noticed all the unfairness around her, and wanted to change things. She changed her name to Sydney. She pushed the limits for women and Jews. She joined a socialist club. She wrote a book called All-Of-A Kind Family. She tried to publish it. No one was interested. After World War II, she sent it in to a contest. Was the world finally ready for her book? 

Michelson interestingly portrays Sydney Taylor's life and how she was a strong voice against anti-Semitism, low wages, and helping others to feel represented. The illustrations are nice and reflect the emotion of the story. 

PGPowers

Friday, April 12, 2024

The Bees of Notre Dame by Meghan P. Browne and E.B. Goodale - NO

The Bees of Notre Dame by Meghan P. Browne, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
. PICTURE BOOK Random House Studio, 2023 $19. 9780593374566 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - NOT RECOMMENDED 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW 

-- 

I was very disappointed by the lack of illustrations and in-text information about the bees of Notre Dame during and after the fire. All of the interesting information is stuffed into the back matter instead. What a waste of a good idea for a picture book! As much as a I like the illustrations, having the fate of the bees after the fire reduced to two pictures is a travesty! Would some of author please write this story? 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS.

Before the Seed by Susannah Buhrman-Deever, Gina Triplett, and Matt Curtius - ADVISABLE

Before the Seed by Susannah Buhrman-Deever illustrated by Gina Triplett & Matt Curtius
. PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION MIT Kids Press, 2024. $19. 9781536226577 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Before the Seed is a discussion on how pollen moves from plant to plant to create seeds. The world of green that grows from seeds is aided by whirling winds, buzzing bees, and bustling birds. 

Buhrman's text is simple for children to understand with scientific facts on each page for more information. Lush detailed illustrations delight the reader on every page. 

PGPowers

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Colorful Mondays by Nelson Rodriguez, Leonard Montes, Rosana Faria and Carla Tabora - ADVISABLE

Colorful Mondays: a bookmobile spreads hope in Honduras
by Nelson Rodriguez and Leonard Montes, illustrated by Rosana Faria and Carla Tabora. Translated by Lawrence Schimel
. PICTURE BOOK NON-FICTION Eerdmans, 2023 $18. 9780802856166 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

While life in Luis's Honduran village is difficult, especially with his papa away looking for work, Luis and the whole village look forward to Mondays - the day the bookmobile arrives. After enjoying the time at the bookmobile, Luis will spread the stories he read throughout the village all week. 

Based on a real bookmobile that serves three small village in Honduras, and one of the bookmobile workers who drive each week to the villages. I don't know if it is a translation problem, but the text is not very engaging. All of the characters are Hondurans. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS.

The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed and Hatem Aly - ADVISABLE

The Book That Almost Rhymed
by Omar Abed illustrated by Hatem Aly.
PICTURE BOOK Dial Books for Young Readers 2024 $19 9780593406380 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A boy is writing a rhyming story about knights, dragons, and pirates when his sister comes along and wants to participate in his story. She takes a crayon, ruins some of the rhyming words, and adds her own words and wild ideas. Now as the boy reads his story, some of the sentences don't rhyme anymore and the story seems crazy. He feels frustrated until he realizes something important about his sister's words. 

Abed has crafted an amusing and lively rhyming story with a cute surprise ending. Aly's illustrations are fun and energetic. 

PGPowers

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Wild by Yuval Zommer - OPTIONAL

The Wild by Yuval Zommer.
PICTURE BOOK Doubleday (Random House), 2024. $19. 9780593708989

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

While the people of the world thought The Wild was big enough to supply all of their wants forever, The Wild is sick and needs someone to get the world's attention. 

I love the gold leaf on the cover and the personification of The Wild. What puzzled me was Zimmer using a boy as the voice for The Wild. Not only is Mother Earth always depicted as a woman, but when I think about climate activism, the first three people who come to mind are women - Rachel Carson, Wangari Matthau, Greta Thunberg - I wish the author had made different editorial choice. Certainly a fair book to add to a lesson for young people about the need for people to start respecting Earth. The human main character is a white boy, with a variety of other ages, genders, ethnicities joining in within the illustrations. 

Cindy, Middle School Librarian, MLS

This Wolf Was Different by Katie Slivensky and Hannah Salyer - ADVISABLE

This Wolf Was Different
by Katie Slivensky illustrated by Hannah Salyer.
PICTURE BOOK Beach Lane Books, 2024. $19. 9781665900959 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Many thousands of years ago, a pup was born to a wolf family in the forest. Her brothers and sisters were more wolfish than she was. She tended to stay close to the den and follow snails. One day while following a snail, she was separated from her wolf pack. She couldn't find them and was alone. Then she noticed a new creature that she had never seen before. 

Slivensky has created an interesting story about how dogs and humans began their life's journey together. Salyer's illustrations are soft and mystical helping us imagine life thousands of years ago. 

PGPowers

Welcome to Kiss the Book Jr.!

Welcome! Kiss the Book Jr. is for board books, picture books, early readers, and chapter books.  Also, any novels and non-fiction that we ag...