Sunday, February 28, 2021

Standing on Her Shoulders by Monica Clark-Robinson and Laura Freeman - ADVISABLE

Standing on Her Shoulders: A Celebration of Women
by Monica Clark-Robinson, art by Laura Freeman.
 PICTURE BOOK  Orchard Books (Scholastic Press), 2021. $19. 9781338358001 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A mother and grandmother tell a young girl about her heritage, the women whose shoulders she stands on, her mother and the generations before, as well as the legends from history who made a difference for all women. The freedom seekers, the women who fought for a vote, revolutionaries, bus riders and dreamers. We are all standing on their shoulders. 

I loved the message so much! The story is illustrated with famous women throughout. It was fun to see who I know - without look at the pictures and descriptions at the back. A wonderful book about appreciating, remembering and acknowledging the women who came before and paved the way.

Lisa Librarian

Five Sisters by Stephanie Campisi, illustrations by Madalina Andronic - OPTIONAL

Five Sisters by Stephanie Campisi, illustrations by Madalina Andronic. PICTURE BOOK Familus LLC, 2020. $17. 9781641701570 

BUYING ADVISORY:EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW 

An old man who cares for the forest receives a special branch from a tree which he uses to carve a set of dolls for his wife. The dolls hear her stories and play in the sunshine and make the couple happy, but when winter arrives, a wolf attacks the dolls and the man tries to save them by placing them back in the tree they came from. 

Reviewed from a Galley copy, so I hope the actual book's text is easier to read - small font in white on a light background. Even so, the story was odd - childless couple treat a set of dolls like children? A wolf shadow that devours their house? Even after a couple of readings, I wasn't sure what happened. The illustrations, by a Romanian artist, give the dolls a matryoshka look, and the story a folklore feel.

Lisa Librarian

Vole and Troll by Iza Trapani - ADVISABLE

Vole and Troll
by Iza Trapani.
 PICTURE BOOK Charlesbridge, 2019. $16. 9781580898850 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A Troll has taken over the bridge and wants to charge a toll to anyone who passes. The vole wants to get to the grass on the other side, so when the troll sings his song (to the tune of "This Old Man) the Vole has an idea! Teach the troll another song and distract him long enough to get over the bridge. But the Vole will need a new song everyday, how long will this trick work? 

A fun sing along book, also includes "The Itsy Bitsy Spider," "The Hokey Pokey" and other fun songs. Such fun to read together, and with a whole class . . . I can see kids taking turns acting it out. Can't wait for story time. Trapani's illustrations are cute too, lots of movement and energy in both the text and pictures.

Lisa Librarian

Zuri Ray Tries Ballet by Tami Charles and Sharon Sordo - ADVISABLE

Zuri Ray Tries Ballet by Tami Charles, illustrated by Sharon Sordo
. PICTURE BOOK. Quill Tree (Harper), JUNE 2021. $18. 9780062914897 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Zuri and her BFF Jesse are trying out a week of ballet camp. At first Zuri can’t figure it out, until the teacher tells her to use her imagination. Then Zuri upsets Jesse when she tries her own way. Can the BFF’s remain F’s after this? 

Watching Zuri with her dress-up trunk is my first favorite thing about this – and watching the Bff’s figure out real friendship is my second. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Hugo Sprouts and the Strange Case of the Beans by John Loren - HIGH

Hugo Sprouts and the Strange Case of the Beans by John Loren. PICTURE BOOK. Harper, JULY 2021. $18. 9780062941169 


BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Hugo is sick and tired of being the youngest – not allowed on the rides, getting the smallest ice cream cone. With his inventing mind he concocts a potion to make himself the biggest of them all. But he’s fast on his way to becoming a bully. Can anyone stop him? 

With book #2 Loren is carving a niche as a slightly creepy, but ultimately cute, PB author/illustrator. This time the palette is green and a bit queasy. And fun! 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Not-So-Scary Dog by Alanna Propst and Michelle Simpson - ADVISABLE

The Not-So-Scary Dog
by Alanna Propst, illustrated by Michelle Simpson.
 PICTURE BOOK Magination Press, 2021. $17. 9781433832048 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Tommy wants to turn down an invitation to a birthday party because there will be a dog there and he's afraid of dogs! But, his mom understands and wants to prepare Tommy. The best way, she says, is through exposure. Getting close to dogs, but small steps so it won't be scary.  So, after looking at dogs online, and visiting a dog rescue, Tommy feels less afraid when he sees a dog at the park - but will he be able to enjoy himself at the birthday party? 

A wonderful story about working through something that might scare you. The illustrations are cute and the text rhymes. Magination Press has included a lot of parent notes for helping your child navigate this process.

Lisa Librarian

Ducks on the Road by Anita Lobel - ESSENTIAL

Ducks on the Road
by Anita Lobel.
 PICTURE BOOK A Paula Wiseman Book, (Simon and Schuster), 2021, $18. 9781534465923 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ESSENTIAL 


AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

As Mama and Papa Duck take their 10 little ducklings on a walk, one by one each gets distracted saying hello to a different animal. Suddenly Mama and Papa realize all the babies are gone! But when they call out, they get a big surprise!

Anita Lobel's illustrations are stunning, the ducklings and their friends are so cute, the scenery is idyllic. Lots to look at on every page, but not so much that the reader is distracted. A fun read aloud where the child can call out the name of the friend each duckling is meeting.

Lisa Librarian

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love you by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague - ESSENTIAL

How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
. BOARD BOOK Cartwheel Books (Scholastic Press), 2009. (Board book Edition 2020) $8. 9781338712827 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

When the children are naughty, we love them anyway, and when the children are dinosaurs, they are loved even more!  

Oh so cute - I remember this when it first came out in picture book, so excited to see this board book edition. The story is darling, and Jane Yolen is a master poet, so fun to read. Each illustration is a different dinosaur (with the name carefully written in small letters nearby), and the dinosaurs are representing little children - Mark Teague, I do love your art!

Lisa Librarian

10 Hugs and Kisses by Beginning Baby - ADVISABLE

10 Hugs and Kisses
by Beginning Baby.
BOARD BOOK Chronicle Books, 2021. $8. 9781452170947 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Baby counts from 1 to 10 with sweet ideas for showing love, like two happy smiles, four fishy kisses, and 5 tum-tum tickles. 

Each number is a full page of the board book, plenty big for tracing with tiny fingers. I can just see a parent (or grandparent) doing all the things as they read this lovely book. The illustrations are colorful animals like narwhals, foxes and monkeys.

Lisa Librarian

Chase the Moon, Tiny Turtle by Kelly Jordan and Sally Walker - ADVISABLE

Chase the Moon, Tiny Turtle: A Hatchling’s Daring Race to the Sea by Kelly Jordan, illustrated by Sally Walker
. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Page Street Kids, 2021. $19. 9781645671527 

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

 AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

 A tiny turtle and its fellow hatchlings need to make the run to the sea from their nest. 

Told in rhyme, it even shows the danger of the journey and the joy at the end. I would pair this with Swinburne’s Run, Turtle, Run, which shows photos of the tiny turtles. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Old Misery by James Sage - OPTIONAL

Old Misery by James Sage, illustrated by Russell Ayto. PICTURE BOOK. Kids Can Press, 2018. $17. 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Old Misery lives with her cat and has only her apple tree to treasure. However, this does not stop everyone from stealing her apples! She helps a mysterious stranger who then grants her wish to protect her prized apples. This may turn out to be a case of being careful what you wish for. 

The illustrations for this strange tale are appropriate to the tone of the story and provide Edward Gorey vibes. The writing, however, will only benefit from a read aloud from a dedicated reader who will provide the theatrics necessary to bring the tale to life. Otherwise, a silent read will reveal that the plot proceeds much too quickly with an ending that is less than satisfying. 

AEB

A Tiger Like Me by Michael Engler - ADVISIBLE

A Tiger Like Me
by Michael Engler, illustrated by Joelle Tourlonias, translated by Laura Watkinson. PICTURE BOOK. Amazon Crossing Kids, 2019. $17.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – ADVISIBLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Experience a day in the life of a young boy-tiger as he navigates the complexities of satisfying his tiger appetite, avoiding baths because all that soap and water cannot be good for a tiger, stalking in the wilds of his livingroom, and cuddling with his family. 

Charming illustrations bring to life a cute story translated from the original German. This would be an ideal read aloud book with many opportunities for fun with the playful prose. The reader will not be able to avoid Calvin and Hobbes comparisons, but the overall experience will be enjoyable.

AEB 

I Don’t Want to go to Bed! By David Cornish - ADVISABLE

I Don’t Want to go to Bed! by David Cornish
. PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2020. $15. 9781460750599 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A boy has an elaborate plan to stay out of bed for as long as possible. 

The side characters are the stars of this picture book. Any child who has tried to keep from going to bed will fully sympathize with the boy’s antics. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story by Maureen Fergus and Mark Fearing - ADVISABLE

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
by Maureen Fergus and Mark Fearing.
PICTURE BOOK Alfred A. Knopf (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18. 9781524714512 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Vlad the Vampire is bored with his regular routine, so he heads t the community center for some activity, Hockey offers pounding, crushing and destroying, so Vlad signs up. But studying up and watching Hockey is different than getting on the ice himself. 

A great story about practicing hard and teamwork. The illustrations are really cute (Vlad's team is all little kids) and while it doesn't address the scary vampire elements, immortality and lots of gold play a big part. I really liked this, a cute sports book with a darling comic angle.

Lisa Librarian

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy and Ana Ramirez Gonzalez - ADVISABLE


A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. 
PICTURE BOOK Atheneum Books for Young Readers, (Simon and Schuster), 2021. $18. 9781534445345 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It snowed where Gabo lives, but he doesn't have the right clothes or a sled to go out and play, so Mami helps him put plastic bags over his sneakers, and he wears his Papi's hat. Now, to find a sled! 

Such a happy little boy, and what fun he is having in the snow. Although he is too shy to meet his neighbor's granddaughter, or ask to play with the other kids, the storm brings friends together anyway and he has a great day. Ana Ramirez Gonzalez's illustrations are bright and sweet. A perfect book to share on a snowy day. Also available in Spanish.

Lisa Librarian

Miriam at the River by Jane Yolen and Khoa Le - ADVISABLE

Miriam at the River
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Khoa Le
. PICTURE BOOK Kar-Ben Publishing (Lerner), 2020. $18. 9781541544017 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Young Miriam is waiting at the river to make sure her brother, who will be called Moses, is safely discovered by Pharaoh's daughter. 

Jane Yolen's text is beautiful, such a heartfelt retelling of the biblical story. And oh, the illustrations - I could almost see the movement in the water of the Nile. My heart was racing to see the hippo and the crocodile so close to the basket! How brave Miriam must have been.

Lisa Librarian

Reynard the Fox Retold by Renate Raecke and Jonas Laustroer - OPTIONAL

Reynard the Fox
Retold by Renate Raecke, illustrated by Jonas Laustroer and translated from German by Anthea Bell,
 80 pages. PICTURE BOOK Minedition, 2020. $20. 9781662650062 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When the animals gather at court to complain about Reynard the fox, the king wants to see him. He's done some pretty terrible things, but it's only fair that he is allowed to answer for himself. But when the bear fails to bring him back, and is injured in the attempt, and the cat is nearly killed trying to do the same, the king sends Reynard's friend the badger. But if Reynard comes to court, can he get himself out of this mess, too? 

Jonas Laustroer's illustrations are fantastic, expressive and so well presented - the personification of the animals is amazing. The story is a bit violent for a picture book, and the format (facing pages of text, then facing pages of illustration) makes it difficult to read to someone, it would work much better as an independent read for an older reader. I liked the author's note at the end which talks about the history of these stories.

Lisa Librarian

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor - ESSENTIAL

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor
. PICTURE BOOK. Balzer + Bray (Harper), 2021. $18. 9780062878014 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Mel may only be a little bird, but she is sure that today is the day she is going to fly. When Mama is away, she takes her chance. As she falls, and falls, and falls, the other denizens of the tree try to stop her. I’m not going to spoil what happens when she reaches the bottom. Tabor’s illustrations are as delightful as the story - worthy of framing. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

The Owl Who Asks Why by Michelle Garcia Andersen and Ayesha L. Rubio - ESSENTIAL

The Owl Who Asks Why by Michelle Garcia Andersen, illustrated by Ayesha L. Rubio
. PICTURE BOOK. Page Street Kids, 2021. $18. 9781645671534 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Because the little owl asks “Why” it is teased by all of the other owl. Because the little wolf asks “when” instead of “how”, he also is mocked by his pack. Both take off to get away from the others and together they get lost. Can they join forces to find their way home? 

A little bit of “Who’s on First”, but a lot of super adorable buddy comedy and family appreciating their different members. I’m not sure it will cure adults of feeling pestered by kids who ask a lot of questions, but it can help adults see life from their point of view too. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Together We Grow by Susan Vaught ad Kelly Murphy - ADVISABLE

Together We Grow by Susan Vaught ad Kelly Murphy. PICTURE BOOK Paula Wiseman Books (Simon and Schuster), 2020. $18. 9781534405868 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

There's a big scary storm outside, and all the animals are safe in the barn, except the foxes who are turned away because there isn't enough room. Until one little duck reaches out and invites the family in because "love prevails." 

Kelly Murphy's gorgeous illustrations are breathtaking. the simply poetry makes for a quiet read to help a child weather a storm. The farmer is going to have quite a surprise in the morning as even the forest animals came in like deer, raccoons, snakes, frogs and a number of birds. I am concerned, however, that the duckling literally let the foxes into the henhouse. 

Lisa Librarian 

A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram an Meriona Cabassa - ADVISABLE

A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram and Meriona Cabassa
. PICTURE BOOK Barefoot Books, 2020. 9781646860616 

EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It's market day, and a young girl is looking for the perfect gift to bring home to her Amma. Spices or a flower, sweets or peacock feathers, maybe she'd like a clay pot or some fabric. 

 So many colors, scents, sounds and ideas! The brightly colored full page illustrations bring this wonderful market to life. Items she sees are written in bold and correspond with a "What's in the Market" glossary at the end. Also includes descriptions of famous markets around the world.

Lisa Librarian

Bubbles… Up! By Jacqueline Davies and Sonia Sanchez - ADVISABLE

Bubbles… Up! by Jacqueline Davies, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
. PICTURE BOOK. Katherine Tegen (Harper), MAY 2021. $18. 978-0062836618 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A young girl revels in the feel, color, sounds, of being in and under the water at her local pool. 

Oh, I so hope that pools might be open again the summer, because Sanchez’s vivid illustrations will entice everyone into the pool! Davies’ words rise and fall across the pages just like a swimmer and her bubbles. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

To Carnival! A Celebration in St. Lucia by Baptiste Paul and Jana Glatt - OPTIONAL

To Carnival! A Celebration in St. Lucia by Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Jana Glatt
. PICTURE BOOK. Barefoot Books, APRIL 2021. $17. 9781646861613 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A little girl keeps missing the bus to get her to the Carnival celebration. However, she picks up a ragtag group of others who follow along with her. A fresh additive tale. It does take a bit to get to the meat of the picture book, though. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Fauja Singh Keeps Going by Simran Jeet Singh and Baljinder Kaur - ADVISABLE

Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon
by Simran Jeet Singh, illustrated by Baljinder Kaur.
PICTURE BOOK, BIOGRAPHY Kokila (Penguin Random House), 2020. $18. 9780525555094 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When Fauja Singh was a little boy, he couldn't even walk. His legs were weak, eventually he learned to stand, and slowly his legs gained strength as he pushed himself and by the time he was 15 he could walk a mile! Fauja worked on his family farm, grew up and married, but never attended school because the distance was too far for him to walk. At 81, he moved from India to England to live with family and discovered he enjoyed running. So he trained and at 89 ran his 1st marathon, eventually running in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon at age 100! 

What an inspiring story about working hard to make your dreams come true. I thoroughly enjoyed his preface (he's 109 now), and the list of the many records he holds.What a journey from boy too weak to walk to Oldest marathon runner. Baljinder Kaur's illustrations are darling.

Lisa Librarian

Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat -- NOT RECOMMENDED

 

Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat  by Eileen Christelow. PICTURE BOOK. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $17. 9781328869272.

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

The five naughty monkeys go trick-or-treating with their babysitter. One by one, they quietly trade costumes with kids they meet along their route, so that by the time they are ready to go home, the babysitter has five other kids in tow instead of her own charges. All ten kids think this is a hilarious trick.

In actuality, this is an awful trick to play on someone, with many possible repercussions, and it is not something to be encouraged. How will the other kids' parents feel when they realize their children have disappeared? How will one babysitter -- with authority over only five of the kids -- keep all ten kids safe in the dark on a crowded sidewalk when they don't even know everyone? What happens to the five little monkeys when the babysitter takes what she thinks are the original kids back home and leaves the monkeys behind? Yes, this book is supposed to be fun and not taken seriously, but it does give children an idea that could cause serious safety issues; kids who are young enough to enjoy the humor of the book will likely be tempted to try something similar, while kids who know better will likely be too old to truly enjoy the story.

Sydney G., Library Media Specialist

Pillow Places by Joseph Kuefler, illustrated by Dana Fritts - ADVISABLE

Pillow Places by Joseph Kuefler, illustrated by Dana Fritts
. PICTURE BOOK. Balzer + Bray (Harper), JUNE 2021. $19. 9780062956736 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

An ode to the versatility of pillows to fuel imagination. A cute book to read with little ones if they say that they are bored. A fun way to spur imaginative play. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Can We Be Friends? by Erica Sirotich - OPTIONAL

Can We Be Friends? Unexpected Animal Friendships From Around the World by Erica Sirotich
. Harper, 2020. $18. 0062941585 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A turtle and hippo? A dolphin and dog? Can these animals really be best friends? Of course they can! 

Sirtoch uses cartoon-like drawings, a bit of rhyme, and a paragraph to give a basic introduction to some unlikely pairs of friends. The style of illustrations and the rhymes will appeal to little readers, but if you want more information you’ll have to go somewhere else. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

No Kimchi for Me! by Aram Kim -- OPTIONAL

 

No Kimchi for Me! by Aram Kim. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2017. $17. 9780823437627.

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

Yoomi loves all of her grandma's cooking, from her seasoned bean sprouts to her tiny anchovies, but one thing she can't tolerate is kimchi. To her it's too spicy and smelly and disgusting. When her older brothers make fun of her for having babyish tastes, Yoomi decides to find a way to tolerate this big kid food. But the task ends up being much more difficult than Yoomi ever expected.

Many kids will relate to the dilemma of not wanting to eat certain foods, but the solution of adding those foods to other dishes is helpful in only a few cases. While it can be interesting and informative to read about other cultures, in this case the kimchi IS the main cultural reference, and since kimchi is a speciality food that none of the students I surveyed had ever heard of, both the learning experience and the urgency of the character's goal are likely to be lost on most children. Perhaps No Kimchi for Me! would go over better in an area where kimchi is more popular.

Sydney G., Certified Library Media Specialist

Amadou’s Zoo by Rebecca Walsh - OPTIONAL

Amadou’s Zoo by Rebecca Walsh
. PICTURE BOOK. Page Street, 2020. $18. 9781624148842 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Madame Minier’s class is headed for a day at the zoo. Amadou is excited, but his teacher seems to be more interested in order and facts, while Amadou wants to use his imagination and connect with the animals. Which one will the other kids follow? 

Not about a struggle for control. Instead, a celebration of passion and exploration through imagination. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

The Missing Pairs by Yvonne Ivinson - ADVISABLE

The Missing Pairs by Yvonne Ivinson
. PICTURE BOOK. Greenwillow (Harper), AUG 2021. $18. 9780062842893 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Badger, Fox, and Hare have each lost half of a pair. Bear says he knows exactly where to go to help them. A homophone mix-up leads to a silly situation, but everything comes out right in the end. 

Ivinson has talent as an illustrator/author. A good supplement or introduction to homophones, or just enjoy the woodland animal antics. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Monday, February 22, 2021

I Promise by LeBron James and Nina Mata - ESSENTIAL

I Promise by LeBron James, illustrated by Nina Mata
. PICTURE BOOK. Harper, 2020. $20. 9780062971067 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A simple series of promises to do well and live a good life. 

LeBron started the I Promise foundation in his hometown of Akron to encourage kids to stay in school and do their best. This simple picture book spreads that mission to the world. This would be a great class theme for the year. Mata’s illustrations hit just the right note. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Blue Ridge Babies 1,2,3 by Laura Sperry Gardner and Stephanie Fizer Coleman - OPTIONAL

Blue Ridge Babies 1,2,3 by Laura Sperry Gardner, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
. PICTURE BOOK. Page Street Kids, MARCH 2021. $19. 9781645670834 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Meet the animals roaming the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

With a rhyme from an old poem from Olive A. Wadsworth, Gardner gives us collective nouns for each animal and Coleman really delivers on the illustrations. I’m not sure the rhyme holds up in 2021. If this were a board book, I would give it a higher rating. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho, illustrations by Dung Ho - ESSENTIAL

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
by Joanna Ho, illustrations by Dung Ho.
 PICTURE BOOK Harper Collins, 2021. $18. 9780062915627 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A girl notices that her eyes are different than the other girls at school. She has beautiful eyes that "kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea." Like Mama's eyes, which also sparkle when she laughs. They are like her Amah's eyes, which see into her heart and can read her mind, and help her see the stories Amah tells. They are even like her little sister Mei-Mei's eyes, which look at her with love. 

Gorgeous illustrations and beautiful text draw a connection between a child's features and the women who love her. A wonderful story about celebrating your beauty, and seeing it in the people who care about you. Highly recommended, especially if you work with an Asian population.

Lisa Librarian

Outside In by Deborah Underwood and Cindy Derby - ADVISABLE

Outside In by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Cindy Derby. 
PICTURE BOOK Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. $18. 9781328866820 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When a girl needs to stay inside, she reflects on how outside comes in: She can see through windows or light patches and shadows on the walls and floor; , or sounds from outside like, like chirps and rustles, and the smells. She also notices the things that come from outside, food like berries, and clothes made of cotton and wooden chairs and the feel of our pets; also, the things that come in from outside like bugs and water through the pipes. Outside will still be there when she can go out again. 

I loved Cindy Derby's water color illustrations - a beautiful, timely reminder that outside provides so much peace, color, warmth, and necessities. I don't know if this was written in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is the perfect message for this time.

Lisa Librarian

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Pacifier by Alice Le Henand and Thierry Bedouet - ADVISABLE

Pacifier
by Alice Le Henand, illustrated by Thierry Bedouet. 
BOARD BOOK Twirl (Chronicle Books), 2020. $13. 9782408024611 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Little Croc is asked to leave his pacifier home so he doesn't lose it on his walk; Little Kangaroo needs to leave hesr in the cubby until naptime; Little Monkey is getting too big, now that he has a baby brother; Little Bear feels it's time to say bye-bye, and Little Cat can't be understood with a pacifier in her mouth. All of the children have positive responses, and the cute illustrations change to show before and after. 

Originally published in French and translated into English by Wendeline A. Hardenberg, this adorable story is so much fun to play with. Through a pull tab the picture changes from with the pacifier to without. Although it's a great lesson if your child needs it, the cuteness of this board book isn't lost on those who just want a cute, heavy duty interactive board book.

Lisa Librarian

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Curls by Roth Forman and Geneva Bowers - ADVISABLE

Curls by Roth Forman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers.
BOARD BOOK Little Simon (Simon and Schuster), 2020. $9. 9781534446311 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

4 African American girls enjoy their beautiful curls, each with a different hairstyle. Sweet, poetic, Bower's illustrations are great!

Lisa Librarian

Friday, February 19, 2021

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer - ESSENTIAL

Packs: Strength in Numbers
by Hannah Salyer.
PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. $18. 9781328577887 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Groups of animals have different names, like packs, herds and pods, and these groups make the animals better - like ants working together to build a colony by growing their own food;a school of fish hunting together, or an implausibility of gnus protecting each other by sheer numbers. 

Beautiful illustrations, the kind that look like art that should be framed. I loved learning what the groups are called, how theirs numbers enable them to survive better, I loved the message of conservation and how we as a human community can help. Includes sources for further reading.

Lisa Librarian

Whose Baby is This? By Stephanie Babin, Illustrated by Camille Tisserand - ESSENTIAL


Whose Baby is This?
By Stephanie Babin, Illustrated by Camille Tisserand.
BOARD BOOK, ACTIVITY BOOK Twirl, 2020. $15. 9782408023898 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A full and busy page of an environment with both adults and babies but they aren’t always together. The Babies have a “clue” about who they belong to. On the opposite page there are windows which, when slid, reveal the parent. Also, we learn the name of the baby (like an otter baby is a pup).

Environments include pond, forest, farm, and meadow. A simple tip of the book resets all the windows, I wish there was a tiny indentation or something for my finger to catch on so the slide was easier, perhaps this will improve with wear. Sturdy and well engineered, this will stand up to a lot of checkouts.

Lisa Librarian

Thursday, February 18, 2021

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen - ADVISABLE

No Vacancy
by Tziporah Cohen,
222 pages. Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press), 2020. $17 

Content: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

11yo Miriam has recently moved from New York City to Upstate New York where her parents have purchased a motel. Leaving her 2 best friends behind, this promises to be the worst summer ever. The next exit off the highway is a bigger town with a college, so The Jewel Motel gets very little business, and even though the diner next door makes the best grape pies ever, if the motel doesn't have customers, the diner doesn't see much business either. Kate is the granddaughter Myrna, the owner of Mabel's Diner, and she and Miriam make fast friends with each other. Both girls are aware that without customers, the family businesses are in real trouble, and they hatch a plan - to make a random rust pattern on the screen of the derelict drive-in seem like an image of the Virgin Mary. 

I loved that "No Vacancy" had some great plot layers. Miriam's family is Jewish, the only ones in town, while Kate and her family are Catholic as is the housekeeper at the motel, Maria. There was a disabled kid - come to town with his mother who hoped the Virgin would heal him - he was so together, taught Miriam a lot about believing in yourself despite problems. I loved the bits of Jewish culture, especially Miriam's Uncle Mordy who couldn't eat at the diner because the kitchen wasn't Kosher. "No Vacancy" is a great next read for kids who liked the "Front Desk" series - I thought it was going to be similar, but it completely stands on its own merits.

Lisa Librarian

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas - ESSENTIAL

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
by Adrianna Cuevas
, 288 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux (MacMillan), 2020. $17 

Language G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (hunting, peril) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

6th Grader Nestor Lopez has moved around all his life, his father is currently deployed, and this move was to Texas to live with his Abuela. It's always just a few months until they move again - this is his 10th first day of school and he's in 6th grade, so Nestor plans to lie low, not make friends and get by with his sketch book and his mom. But this place is different . . . Nestor has always been able to understand animals, but in Texas they are asking for help. There's a witch in the woods, and some people think it's Nestor's Abuela. 

I loved the realistic representation of a military kid, the worry about his dad, his "not unpacking all his boxes," the letters and books they exchange. The story was exciting, a good amount of magical realism with witches and a snake and talking animals, and danger! I'd love to see more of Nestor and hope there's a sequel.

Lisa Librarian

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel -- ADVISABLE

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2017. $14. 9780823436712.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

P. Mantis tells about her life, from her birth on a beautiful sunny day in May to the October evening when she lays her egg sack and takes her final breath. Along the way she eats several siblings, escapes birds and bats, and even learns to fly. While the narrative style turns My Awesome Summer into a story, paragraphs inside both covers provide plenty of nonfiction information on praying mantises.

Many children will enjoy this bug's-eye view of the life of such an interesting insect. The author's entertaining voice and colorful illustrations aid in keeping students' attention.

Sydney G., Library Media Specialist

Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn - ADVISABLE

 Circus of Stolen Dreams by Lorelei Savaryn, 304 pages. Philomel (Penguin), 2020. $17 

Content: G (mild danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Andrea’s little brother, Francis, has been missing for 3 years. Her parents are moving on, but Andrea can not let go. When she sneaks out of the house one night, she follows a glimmer in the woods – to a mysterious circus, full of children and of intriguing tents. Reverie: the Land of Dreams, it says. The price – just one dream or one memory. Andrea knows just what memory she wants to give, and she enters the circus, where she meets the Sandman, who is in charge, and Penny, who seems to want to be her friend. As she leans into the celebration, she can’t but think there is something important she has forgotten – something that her heart wants her to remember. 

Like the children who go to Pleasure Island in Pinocchio, the children in Reverie don’t realize they have given up something important. Circus of Stolen Dreams also reads dark, but it is a gentle way to hope that the kids who read it will think before they choose running away as the answer. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery by Ally Carter - ADVISABLE

Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery
(Winterborne #2) by Ally Carter
, 352 pages. Houghton Mifflin, MARCH 2021. $15 

Language: G (0 swears, 0“f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (abundant danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

April and the others try to keep things going at Winterborne Mansion, but Gabriel aches from Isabel’s desertion. When he disappears again, April is sure that something is wrong and that Gabriel needs their help. However, a visit from an aggressive social worker, the appearance of a man who says he’s April’s father, and a second Sentinel are highly distracting. 

 Lots of danger, lots of surprises, lots of layers – enough to be somewhat confusing at times. Carter seems to be aiming this to be a second Gallagher Girls series – I won’t give things away, but like the original, there are many layers that are just being revealed at the end this second volume. 

 Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi - ADVISABLE

 A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi, 320 pages. Quill Tree (Harper), 2020. $17 

Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL – ADVISABLE, MS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Mimi and her mother are spending the summer with her maternal grandparents in Karachi, Pakistan. In America they are poor, but in Pakistan they and are rich with a beautiful house and servants. One of those servants is Sakina, the young daughter of the cook. Sakina’s family is poor – if Abba (Dad) doesn’t go to his job, they will have no way to make money. Because Abba is sickly, Selena has to leave school in order to help him. As the girls get to know each other, the both have many questions. Eventually those questions are also for the adults in their lives. 

Faruqi gives us a peek into a very different life in a different part of the world . The girl’s alternate chapters, so we see Sakina as much as we do Mimi. The side story of Mimi’s estranged father is okay, but is really a distraction from the friendship of the girls. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage - ADVISABLE

 The Lost Wonderland Diaries by J. Scott Savage, 384 pages. Shadow Mountain, 2020. $18 

Content: G (some danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Celia’s mother may be a librarian, but Celia hates reading – her dyslexia makes it almost impossible. Tyrus, the strange boy who secretly shelves library books, does love books. When the pair finds a box that has been in Celia’s family for generations – a box owned by Lewis Carroll, - yes, the author of the Alice books – Tyrus insists they attempt to open it. Thus starts a chain reaction, sending them tumbling into the very real Wonderland. There the pair face many challenges – because Wonderland is broken, and local lore says that only The Alice can save them.  Well, Celia is no Alice. 

Savage takes a fresh look at the Alice on Wonderland story, creating a unique continuation of Carroll's story. What if Carroll himself had visited Wonderland and what kind of changes had his visit made to the ones he left behind?

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Amari and the Night Brothers by B B Alston - ESSENTIAL

 Amari and the Night Brothers by B B Alston, 416 pages. Balzer + Bray (Harper), 2021. $18 Content: G (some danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Amari knows that her brother Quinton is alive, no matter what the mean girls at her school say. Poking around in his room, she finds his briefcase and also receives an invitation to audtion for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. What? Turns out Quinton is very famous in supernatural circles. And Amari is determined to suceed and rescue him no matter what the obstacles. With a dragon for a roommate and a revealed talent that is actually illegal, Amari has most of the supernatural world rooting for her to fail. 

Whoa! Fans of the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend will gobble this up next. Lots of danger, great twists, and plenty of magic! 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Heroes Level Up by Tom O’Donnell - ESSENTIAL

 Heroes Level Up (Homerooms & Hall Passes #2) by Tom O’Donnell, 416 pages. Balzer + Bray (Harper), 2020. $17 

Content G (Some danger) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

When the Briandalorian adventurers find June Westray’s cell phone in a random bazaar, they seek out Albiorix. Reluctantly, Albiorix reprises his role as Hall Master. But as the group prepares to go back to Suburbia, they must face the wilds of high school! The makers have created more difficult tasks – starting them as lowly freshmen and challenging them to throw epic parties, join winning teams and other such. All along, a group of unscrupulous Briandalorians are moving to thwart their every move. 

Huzzah! Welcome back to an epic twist on Dungeons and Dragons. I had a grand time adventuring with the gang. I have a feeling this is the last of the series, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to be wrong. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS 

Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee - ESSENTIAL

 Brother’s Keeper by Julie Lee, 320 pages. Holiday House, 2020. $18 

Content: G (some deaths) 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

12yo Sora wants to be in school, but instead she is laboring at home, being forced by her mother to learn how to be a good Korean wife and caring for her 8yo brother. As the Communists start to tighten their grip on the North of Korea, the family decides it is time to make the long trek to the south. Along the way, however, the family gets separated and Song will have to do all she can to get her brother to safety. 

I don’t want to say too much – your reader’s should discover the details of Song’s journey and the aftermath on their own. I love being immersed into the Korean war through the eyes of a local – no American savior’s here. There is plenty of real danger here, and a lovely story of a girl rising above her “place”. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS https://amzn.to/3aDut1j

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation by Michael S. Bandy, Eric Stein, and James E. Ransome

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation
by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, illustrated by James E. Ransome.
PICTURE BOOK Candlewick, 2020. $18. 9780763696504 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Michael takes a trip from Alabama to Ohio with his grandmother. He's never traveled on a train before and is surprised when he and his grandma have to ride in the "colored only" train car, But, as they travel further north, the sign comes down and Michael meets a white boy from his same town, but they'd never met because of segregation. 

Ransome's illustrations (as always) are great, but I think the story needed more context, particularly at the beginning. There was no indication from the text that it took place in the 1960's. Not until the author's note does the reader learn this, and I doubt the average child looks past the story itself. I think it could be used in a classroom, to help with a discussion about segregation.

Lisa Librarian

Max and Mo's 100th Day of School by Patricia Lakin and Priscilla Lamont - ADVISABLE

Max and Mo's 100th Day of School by Patricia Lakin and Priscilla Lamont, 32 pages. EARLY READER Ready to Read (Simon and Schuster), 2020. $5 (paperback). 9781534463257 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When Max and Mo see the kids making crowns to celebrate the 100th day of school, the hamsters want to get involved, too! So they also make crowns and want to count, but 100 is a lot of counting for a hamster. 

These hamsters are so cute and smart! I love that their adventures don't get them in danger or ruin any of the things the students have prepared themselves. A "Level One" reader, this will build confidence and has a nice story. Includes fun instructions for making a 100th day of school necklace.


Lisa Librarian  

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...