Monday, May 10, 2021

The Day the Rain Moved In by Eleonore Douspis - ADVISABLE

The Day the Rain Moved In by Eleonore Douspis
. PICTURE BOOK Groundwood Books, 2020. $19. 9781773064819 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Pauline and Louis's family has a problem. It's raining inside their house. They've looked for the source, it's not the roof and there are no cracks, but even when it isn't raining outside, it's raining inside. The children are worried that their friends at school will find out about their problem. Soon there's frogs in the house and plants starting to grow inside - and then, one day - the kids from school peek in the windows. 

This was a strange story that got better after a second reading. I was as confused as the family, but then, saw this as a fanciful story, rather than a realistic one (a leak that couldn't be repaired) and enjoyed it very much. Great conversation starter with children - what would you do if it wouldn't stop raining inside your house?

Lisa Librarian

Animals: Here We Grow by Shelley Rotner - ESSENTIAL

Animals: Here We Grow
by Shelley Rotner
 NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2021. $19. 9780823448289 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

From babies to adults, the text simply shows the names of the life stage "Egg to tadpole to Frog" featuring 14 different animals with great, full color pictures. 

I read this with my granddaughter, and after the first - a butterfly - she took over pointing at the pictures and saying the names. We learned that a "hatchling" comes out of an egg, and we learned that - a baby rabbit is a kit and a baby horse is a foal. We even discovered a bonus picture in the appendix. The photography is beautiful, lots of different animals represented. This is an instant favorite. 

Lisa Librarian (and AJ age 5)

Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp - ADVISABLE

Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp. BOARD BOOK. Chronicle Books, 2021. $8. 9781797205328

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Babysaurus loves being with his big Mamasaurus but he gets lost one day. As he wanders in search of her, he asks other small dinos (triceratops, pteradactyl, etc) if they've seen her but nobody has seen his wonderful, tall, loving mother. Eventually she finds him and they happily head off together. 

This is a cute little story about love between mother and child. Babysaurus is so proud of his mother and her unique traits! I like the bold yet quiet color scheme of the illustrations and the unpretentious highlighting of various dinosaurs. This is a fun pick for young readers who like dinosaurs and want an actual story rather than an encyclopedia. 

Reviewer: TC

Thornwood by Leah Cypess - ADVISABLE

Thornwood (Sisters Ever After) by Leah Cypess
, 260 pages. Delacorte Press (Random House), 2021. $17 

Content: G (some danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It’s Rosalin’s 16th birthday and the whole kingdom knows what is supposed to happen – today Rosalin is supposed to prick her finger on a spindle and die – or fall into a 100-year sleep. Her younger sister, Briony, has been living with this forever and knows that all spinning wheels have been banished from the castle. But after waking her sister to prepare for the party, Briony goes back to her room and doesn’t remember anything until she wakes up on the floor of the tower room - next to a spinning wheel! When she rushes to find Rosalin, a handsome prince is on the verge of kissing her sister awake, which should break the curse. Until it doesn’t. Not only is the castle still surrounded by the thorn hedge, but the thorns are getting more aggressive. And not only has 100 years gone by, but several centuries have passed. Briony knows there is a way out of all of this, but she can’t seem to get anyone to listen to her. 

A solid, lovable, Sleeping Beauty twist. It does remind me of E.D. Baker’s Wide-Awake Princess series, but my fairy tale readers are the most voracious. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Zee Grows a Tree by Elizabeth Rusch and Will Hillenbrand - ADVISABLE

Zee Grows a Tree
by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
. PICTURE BOOK Candlewick Press, 2021. $18. 9780763697549 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Zee Cooper's family has a tree farm. On the day she was born, a douglas fir seeding also started its life journey. The tree was big enough to plant outside in a few years, and Zee was just big enough to help. By the time she was in kindergarten, the tree was just a bit bigger than Zee - she got her haircut for school, and she helped prune the tree. Zee cares for the tree for many years - it takes a long time to grow a Christmas Tree. 

As we read Zee's story, we also learn about the growth of a Douglas Fir. I loved the parallels to Zee's life. Hillenbrand's illustrations are full of color, well detailed and interesting. It's fun to see a book about a Christmas tree that isn't seasonal.

Lisa Librarian

Tomorrow Girl by Vikki Conley and Penelope Pratley - OPTIONAL

Tomorrow Girl: A Tale of Mindfulness by Vikki Conley and Penelope Pratley
. PICTURE BOOK Exisle Publishing, 2021. $19. 9781925820362

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Tomorrow is one of those children that is always running. She's excited to see everything and doesn't have time to slow down. She meets a girl named Yesterday who is afraid to do things that she had trouble with - won't play in the sand because once she got some in her eyes. And she meets a boy named Today, who is quiet and watchful - he notices an otter in the water, a cloud that looks like a dragon in the sky, and that if you climb a tree your whole perspective changes. But will Tomorrow slow down and take a look herself? 

The title includes "a tale of mindfulness" and that will help the reader understand that this is an allegory. Probably needs some explaining anyway. I liked the illustrations, but I feel the story was too weird. Might work in a classroom with a bit of structure to make sense of it.

Lisa Librarian

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody - ADVISABLE

The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore #1) by Amanda Foody
, 283 pages. McElderry (Simon), 2021. $18 

Content: G (mild danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Barclay is content with his life as the mushroom farmer’s apprentice, mostly because it keeps him in Dullshire village where his parents both died. Then comes the day when he runs into the Woods to save the other apprentice and they encounter a dreaded Lore Keeper, who entangles Barclay with a Beast. In order to rid himself of the Beast, Barclay follows Viola, the Lore Keeper, to Sycomore, the Lore Keeper town deep in the Woods. There, Barclay will have to undergo challenges and danger in order to rid himself of his Beast and the Mark. Eye-catching cover, with a fun adventure inside. Seems to be the beginning of a series. It will be interesting to watch Barclay grow into his power. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS https://amzn.to/3e2EzdC

This is Still Not a Book! By Jean Jullian - OPTIONAL

This is Still Not a Book! by Jean Jullian
. BOARD BOOK. Phaidon, 2021. $17. 9781838662745 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K – OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

13 spreads give us 13 clever wordless scenes of things are definitely not a book. A couple of them will have to be explained to young ones (does anyone play Snake on their phone any more?). I haven’t seen the original, but this looks fun to page through at least a few times. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Goodnight Astronaut by Scott Kelly and Izzy Burton - OPTIONAL

Goodnight Astronaut
by Scott Kelly, illustrated by Izzy Burton,
PICTURE BOOK. Crown Books (Random House), 2021. $18. 9781524764289 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Twin boys want to be astronauts, they have lots of adventures together and apart, even after they grow up: sleeping outside in their treehouse, taking a family cruise when they were teens, camping solo, surviving the icy woods together and much more, eventually becoming astronauts. 

I felt like I was missing a bunch of background knowledge. The stories about all the places they slept felt disconnected - was that how they trained to be an astronaut? Was it about 1 boy or 2, I had trouble keeping track of who was doing what. I don't think this would hold a kid's interest. The narrative looks like poetry but is prose. The illustrations are well done, but without the text to really support the book . . it just doesn't work for me.

Lisa Librarian

Glow by Ruth Forman and Geneva Bowers - ADVISABLE

Glow by Ruth Forman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
. BOARD BOOK. Little Simon, 2021. $9. 9781534446335 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A couple of boys come in from playing at the end of the day, they enjoy the evening, take a bath and "shine" in the moonlight. 

A truly beautiful board book. The illustrations are soft and expressive. A nice book for calming down before bed.

Lisa Librarian

The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin - ADVISABLE

The Passover Guest
by Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin.
PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2021. $19. 9780823445622 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It’s spring of 1933 in Washington DC and Muriel is enjoying the cherry blossoms on the National Mall. It’s also Passover and Muriel is sad that her family has no food to celebrate with. As she passes Lincoln memorial, she notices a strange man doing tricks. When asked about the Passover, she explains that her family will not be celebrating it. He encouraged her to run home and see if things would be different. When she arrives at her sparse living quarters, her parents are seated at an empty table. That is when the stranger shows up at their door and miraculously provides a bountiful Passover feast. The miracle inspires Muriel to run and invite the Rabbi and others as the stranger disappears. Muriel knew in her heart who the guest was. 

Both author and illustrator drew from their childhood memories of the Seder. This book is a modern updated story taken from I.L. Peretz’s book, entitled Der Kunzen-Macher. Kunsel uses the story from her childhood and the setting in DC, which was her home, to create a fanciful retelling of a miracle. As the illustrator, Rubin drew upon the Jewish artist Marc Chagall, who also illustrated a version of this story. While the story is rich in hope and history, the dark illustrations made it difficult to feel the joy the author was trying to express. 

MOMMAC 

Frogs (New and Updated) by Gail Gibbons - ADVISABLE

Frogs (New and Updated) by Gail Gibbons
. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2021. $19. 9780823448340 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A frog’s life begins as a cluster of eggs. The jelly protects the growing embryo. When the embryo is large enough, it hatches into a tadpole. The tadpole grows its back legs first and then its front legs. Their gills eventually disappear and are replaced with lungs. At this time, the frog is ready to leave the pond. Frogs hibernate during winter. Frogs are amphibians, which means “two lives”, one in the water and one on land. 

Gail Gibbon’s updated book relates the most recent information on the life of a frog. Both her illustration and writing are clear and informative. She includes other information about frogs, instructions for telling the difference between frogs and toads. Each elementary library should have one. 

MOMMAC 

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...