Friday, April 30, 2021

Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems by Irene Latham and Amy Huntington - ADVISABLE

Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems by Irene Latham, illustrated by Amy Huntington
. PICTURE BOOK POETRY Charlesbridge, 2020. $17. 9781623541163 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

A collection of Nonet Poems, which are nine lines long, the first line having 9 syllables and each successive line one syllable less. All of the poems are about the number nine - 9 years old, a nine-banded armadillo, the 9th planet, the Little Rock 9 and others. 

 A fun collection of poems, Amy Huntington's illustrations are great and complement the poems. A great addition to your library's poetry collection.

Lisa Librarian

Bad Cat by Nicola O'Byrne - ADVISABLE

Bad Cat by Nicola O'Byrne.
PICTURE BOOK Nosy Crow (Candlewick Press), 2020. $17. 9781536217285 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Fluffykins is a cat with attitude. He broke a vase, tangled the yarn, sat on the computer, and is kicked out of the house until he apologizes. 

 I loved the illustrations - that cat . . . I think all cat owners can relate in some part, cats do what they want. A great big kitty, with pursed lips. I don't love narrative where an unseen voice talks to the main character, but the hilarious illustrations make up for it.

Lisa Librarian

Cave Paintings by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng - NO

Cave Paintings
by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng.
PICTURE BOOK Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press), 2020. $20. 9781773061726 

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

A boy travels from his planet to visit his grandmother on Earth for the holidays. She takes him to see ancient cave drawings, and sends him home with a gift to remember his trip.

 A colored pencil drawing of a naked woman (his grandmother maybe) just made this already odd book even stranger, and inappropriate for a picture book audience.

Lisa Librarian

Best Friend in the Whole World by Sandra Salsbury - ADVISABLE

Best Friend in the Whole World by Sandra Salsbury
. PICTURE BOOK Peachtree Publishing, 2021. $18. 9781682632505 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Roland is a bunny who lives alone and enjoys his quiet life. He likes to draw, listen to music and drink tea, but, he is lonely. One day, while taking a walk in the woods, he finds a pinecone with crafted eyes and arms. He takes it home and names it Milton. Milton likes all the things Roland does, and the two become best friends - for a few days, because on another walk in the woods, Roland sees signs taped on the trees. Someone is looking for pinecone named Popkin, and it looks just like Milton. 

Salsbury has written and illustrated a lovely story. I loved quiet Roland and how he so quickly embraced a friend - albeit imaginary. The illustrations are a perfect pairing to the text.

Lisa Librarian

Thursday, April 29, 2021

It's a Pumpkin! by Wendy McClure and Kate Kronreif - ESSENTIAL

It's a Pumpkin! by Wendy McClure, illustrated by Kate Kronreif. PICTURE BOOK. Albert Whitman & Co., 2020. $17. 9780807512166.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

One fall day, squirrel and field mouse discover a round, orange object in the middle of a forest path. They're unsure what it is and as they seek to solve the mystery (chair? table? lantern? pie?), they are joined by their forest neighbors and a party eventually ensues. When a new pumpkin (spoiler alert!) grows the following year, the neighborhood is excited because obviously this means another party is on the way!  

I was instantly charmed by this simple and sweet fall story. Anybody who loves pumpkins and stories set in autumn time will love this fun animal story. I love how the ideas the animals come up with about the pumpkin are all pretty logical. You could even turn this into a fun classroom lesson about hypotheses being educated guesses. Overall its a nice addition to a fall picture book collection. 

Reviewer: TC



Whose Baby is This? by Stephanie Babin and Camille Tisserand - ADVISABLE

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

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Baby animals can be found all over the animal kingdom--in the pond, at the farm, and in the faraway Savanna! This fun board book introduces baby animals with their corresponding parent along with fun facts about each animal. Young readers will love moving the pieces on each page to see which adult animal matches up with each baby. 

This book is a really fun choice for Pre-K readers who love the natural world. The illustrations are colorful but not overly bright or cartoony. The featured animals include some you'd expect (frogs) but also some unusual picks (hedgehogs). As its a board book I initially approached this as something I'd read aloud to my toddler, but its definitely more appropriate to actual preschoolers or even kindergarten-level readers. Overall a great pick!

 Reviewer: TC 

 

Can I Sit with You? by Sarah Jacoby - OPTIONAL

Can I Sit with You? by Sarah Jacoby
PICTURE BOOK Chronicle Books, 2021. $19. 9781452164649 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW 

When a stray dog follows a girl home, it promises to be a companion. 

The text is lyrical and the illustrations are beautiful, but I read it twice trying to figure out the story. Couldn't tell if the girl was talking to the dog, or if the dog was talking to the girl. I was grateful for the flap of the dust jacket that gave me some direction.

Lisa Librarian

Daisy by Jessixa Bagley - ADVISABLE

Daisy by Jessica Bagley
. PICTURE BOOK Neal Porter Books (Holiday House), 2021. $19. 9780823446506 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Daisy is a young warthog. Her mama named her after her favorite flower, because they seem plain, but when you look closer they are beautiful. But the kids at school don't see her beauty and they tease her, calling her Thistle. So, Daisy spends her time alone, collecting things she sees as beautiful, because she looks closely. 

The artwork is so sweet - Daisy's shy expressions are adorable, and her sadness is evident. The 2 page spread of her "treasure trove" is wonderful. I liked the story, I loved that all the children's names were flowers or plants. I liked the message about giving people a closer look to see what makes them beautiful.

Lisa Librarian

Home for a While by Lauren H. Kerstein and Natalia Moore - ADVISABLE

Home for a While by Lauren H. Kerstein, illustrated by Natalia Moore.
PICTURE BOOK Magination Press, $17. 9781433831874 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Calvin has been in other foster homes, so this one, at first, doesn't seem much different. Calvin thinks no one wants him. But as he makes mistakes (breaking a vase, busting the bed) Maggie helps him breath to calm down and redirects until Calvin feels better. Maybe this isn't just another house - perhaps this is his home . . . for awhile. 

Magination Press has books about everything - and a child in temporary care, one who is having a great experience, is a great topic. I love that there is always an author's note at the end - this time it's a link to their site with pages that can be printed out and used independently of the book - I like that. Beautiful illustrations and a wonderful message, not just for kids in foster care. Sharing this with my school psychologist.

Lisa Librarian

Scribbly: A real imaginary Friend Tale by Ged Adamson - ADVISABLE

Scribbly: A real imaginary friend tale by Ged Adamson. PICTURE BOOK Harper Collins, 2021. $18. 9780062670823 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Maude and her mom have moved to a new town. There's lots of things to do there, but Maude doesn't have anyone to play with. So, because she likes to draw, Maude draws a dog, names him Scribbly, and imagines it does everything with her. So nice to have a friend, even if it's just in her imagination. But mom is worried that Maud isn't trying to meet new friends. 

AJ really liked this story. She loved that the drawing of Scribbly looked like what she could draw. She liked that Maud was a good friend to her imaginary dog, and she especially loved the ending - which might involve a real dog! I thought the illustrations were perfect, part kid line drawings set in a but more advanced environment, so the people look like people. I read a digital download (thank you Harper Collins) and the medium looks like crayon. A fun read aloud.

Lisa Librarian (and AJ age 5)

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin and Maribel Lechuga - ADVISABLE

Ten Beautiful Things
by Molly Beth Griffin, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga.
PICTURE BOOK Charlesbridge, 2021. $17. 9781580899369 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Lily is riding with Grandma to her new home in Iowa. Grandma suggests they try to find 10 beautiful things along the way. The sunrise, a red-winged blackbird, a creek, windmill blades. Lily is still worried, but the game helps, even the approaching storm is beautiful, but the most beautiful thing, the 10th one, only happens when they get there.

 Illustrations that could be framed, beautiful text - "the smell of mud . . . poured itself into some of the empty spaces in her" What a remarkable book. We don't know why Lily is moving, but there's an edge of sadness that can't be overlooked. I loved the things Grandma found beautiful, not just sights but sounds and smells as well. Such a sweet, gentle read.

Lisa Librarian

I'm not Cute, I'm Dangerous by Bruna De Luca and Benedetta Capriotti - ADVISABLE

I'm not Cute, I'm Dangerous
by Bruna De Luca and Benedetta Capriotti.
PICTURE BOOK Maverick (Lerner), 2021. $18. 9781848867062 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Fifi was hatched a fluffy crocodile. No matter how sharp her teeth, or how sneaking, she's just so cute! So, she tried to be spiky, but it rained, and the wind made her fluffy. So she sank into the swamp to practice sneaking, but the mud made her softer. Frustrated with the teasing, Fifi runs away, only to discover her cuteness attracts lots of animals. Perhaps she can use her looks to her advantage. Maybe she is dangerous! 

I really liked Fifi's problem - too cute. The illustrations were adorable and funny. Not sure I appreciated the ending, thank heaven it was only implied, but I supposed it's to be expected as Fifi is a crocodile.

Lisa Librarian

Dear Earth . . . From Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey and Luisa Uribe - ADVISABLE

Dear Earth . . . From Your Friends in Room 5 by Erin Dealey and Luisa Uribe.
PICTURE BOOK Harper Collins, 2020. $18. 9780062915320 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Starting in February, the students in Room 5 write a letter to Earth describing what they are doing in their classroom that month - February was consuming less electricity and using reusable water bottles. Earth writes back with a thank you and more information about how what they are doing helps. Their next letter responds and tells Earth what they are doing the next month - the letters go through the summer and into the next year, and the readers can see how the kids have changed because of the efforts they've made to be Earth Heroes. 

AJ loved that the illustrator put a face on the picture of the earth, and that the kids classroom looked fun, especially the caterpillar on the wall. She also said she learned things about protecting the earth that she didn't already know, like sea turtles might eat plastic we throw away. I'm not sure this would translate directly into a similar activity for your class (because the Earth can't actually write back) but the idea of doing a different thing each month that helps the earth is great. You could use this book at the beginning of the year and then brainstorm with the kids ideas for each month.

Lisa Librarian (and AJ age 5)

First 100 Words: English & Spanish by Susie Jaramillo - ADVISABLE

First 100 Words: English & Spanish by Susie Jaramillo. BOARD BOOK. Encantos, 2020 $13 9781945635298 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Fun and colorful "First Words" board book in both English and Spanish. Sorted by topic, baby learns about nature words like "Frog/Rana"; school words like "Clock/Reloj"; and music words like "Singer/Cantante". 12 different topics cover so many things baby will experience. 

 Part of the "Cantico" series, Jaramillo's illustrations are so cute. The characters from the other board books are identified in the first group, and then baby can find them throughout the book. A delightful word book - love it. 

Lisa Librarian

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom by Colleen AF Venable - ESSENTIAL

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom
by Colleen AF Venable
, pictures by Lian Cho. PICTURE BOOK Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins), 2020. $18. 9780062494375 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

The band teacher is introducing all the instruments to the class, but before each child can demonstrate theirs, Felicity, who is very impatient, loudly plays the drum. He also manages the silly behavior of the class while he describes each instrument and tries to tell some of its history, interrupted every time by Felicity. 

I love the illustrations, distributed on the page a bit chaotic, like teacher trying to lead a class, control naughty kids and tell about something exciting all at the same time. I'm purchasing a copy for my library, but picking us some personal copies as well as gifts for my favorite band teachers.

Lisa Librarian

Bracelets for Bina's Brothers by Rajani LaRocca and Chaaya Prabhat - ADVISABLE

Bracelets for Bina's Brothers
by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat
. PICTURE BOOK Charlesbridge, 2021. $16. 9781623541293 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Bina loves her three big brothers, and there's only a week until Raksha Bandhan. This year Bina wants to make the bracelets she gives them, so she finds out from each brother their favorite and east favorite colors, shops with mom at the bead store and even gets a special bead for each that represents their hobbies. But when she tries to make the bracelets, she has to figure out how to use 2 of the the three colors in a pattern and feature each brothers' favorite, without using the color they don't like. 

I learned about a holiday, a fun tradition, and saw a great family with attentive and loving brothers. Plus, math and a craft. What a delightful picture book, the illustrations were great, colorful and detailed. Includes an author's note and math craft ideas with beads.

Lisa Librarian

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Pull and Play Sharing by Alice Le Henand and Thierry Bedouet - ADVISABLE

Pull and Play Sharing by Alice Le Henand, illustrated by Thierry Bedouet
BOARD BOOK. Twirl, 2020. $13. 9782408019716 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Lots of little ones have trouble sharing, whether it's the book they are looking at, a special toy or mommy's lap, sharing needs to be practiced and sometimes taught. 

This clever pull and play book has the grown up asking, or telling the child and then the sliding panel moves from not sharing to sharing. A great lesson that covers lots of childhood situations.  Nice sturdy panels, this solid pull and play book will stand up to much use in the school library or classroom

Lisa Librarian

Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen and Rob Sayegh Jr - ADVISABLE

Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr
. PICTURE BOOK. Abrams, 2021. $17. 9781419742019

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Arlo wants to draw an Octopus, in fact he is very excited, but once he starts, he doesn't like his drawing, Arlo doesn't think it looks like an octopus at all - so he throw his drawing - but someone else finds it, someone who is also trying to draw and isn't satisfied. When they compare drawings, each artist realizes that they are better than they thought! 

I liked Arlo's excitement and the progress of his frustration - brought on by his own negative thoughts. I really liked Rob Sayegh's illustrations, Arlo's crayon drawings were just perfect. This would be a great book to share with a child who needs help with positive mindset.

Lisa Librarian

Happiness with Aristotle by Duane Armitage, Maureen McQuerry, and Robin Rosenthal - ADVISABLE

Happiness with Aristotle
by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry, pictures by Robin Rosenthal
BOARD BOOK. G. P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin Random House), 2020. $9. 9780593108819 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Aristotle wondered, "Why am I here?" Everyone wants to be happy . . . what makes you happy? Friends are great - they are helpful, they share - we share with them, they make us laugh. True friends also help make us better people. 

This "Big Ideas for Little Philosophers" series is so cute. At first I wondered, who would want to read these to their kids, but they are so simple, so well put together with perfect questions that even a toddler can understand! I've shown this already to, like 5 adults, so I know I would recommend them. Perhaps the adults in their lives would appreciate the novelty of reading about Aristotle to their 3 year old, but I also know that the child will learn from the board book, and even talk about something important, like happiness. Well done!

Lisa Librarian

Equality with Simone De Beauvoir by Duane Armitage,Maureen McQuerry and Robin Rosenthal - ADVISABLE

Equality with Simone De Beauvoir
by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry, pictures by Robin Rosenthal
BOARD BOOK. G. P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin Random House), 2020. $9. 9780593108840 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Simone de Beauvoir was all about equality. Boys and girls should be treated the same and can do what they want - this will make them happy. She also said that boys and girls cry when they are sad. We should be ourselves and care about others. 

Great multicultural characters in the illustrations, and I like the little lessons in the book, like what makes you sad or happy. I do like that we are teaching about the philosophers as such a young age, and while it seems the parents will enjoy these more than the toddlers, I think the activities are valid and important.

Lisa Librarian

Truth with Socrates by Duane Armitage, Maureen McQuerry and Robin Rosenthal - ADVISABLE

Truth with Socrates
by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry, pictures by Robin Rosenthal
. BOARD BOOK G. P. Putnam's Sons, (Penguin Random House), 2020. $9. 9780593108758 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Socrates taught that wisdom is being honest and truthful. It's important even when it's hard or scary to be honest. Dishonesty hurts others as well as yourself. Thinking about truth and asking questions is also important in developing wisdom. 

I loved that this was a book about asking questions! What an important concept. Darling picture, cute activities, this is a fun series, but I do think the parents will enjoy reading about Socrates to their kids more than the toddler will want to grab this one. But, awesome to be taught about Socrates at such a young age.

Lis Librarian

Imagination with René Descartes by Duane Armitage, Maureen McQuerry, and Robin Rosenthal - ADVISABLE

Imagination with René Descartes
by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry, pictures by Robin Rosenthal. 
BOARD BOOK. Putnam's Sons, (Penguin Random House), 2020. $9. 9780593108789

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Rene Descartes was a philosopher who thought imagining makes you wise. He experimented with imagining, picturing things he had experienced as well as thing he hadn't. He realized that people are different and so are their imaginations, but we all imagine. Descartes said "I think, therefore I am." 

OK, I think the grown-ups will enjoy sharing this clever board book with their toddler, probably more than the toddler will enjoy the book, however, the imagination activities would be fun to try and are great conversation starter, even for a young person. Stretch that imagination!

Lisa Librarian

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Presidency by Ruth Spiro and Greg Paprocki - ADVISABLE

The Presidency (
Baby Loves Political Science) by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Greg Paprocki. BOARD BOOK Charlesbridge, 2021. $9. 9781623542351 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Baby's papa works at the food pantry, he leads a team that helps him. So does the President, but instead of running a food pantry, the president runs the country. There's a line of people to take over if the president can't do her job, and there's people to give the president advice. There's info on how to get the job (people vote for you), how long you get to be president, where you work (Washington DC) and even if baby can be president (nope, not old enough yet.) 

A bit of a jump from Dad's job to the president's job. I like how Spiro has simplified this complex political position to the very basics. I don't see my toddler asking me to read about politics, but the book is so cute, and I love the diverse people in the illustrations, so what better way to introduce this to children?

Lisa Librarian

Baby Loves Political Science: Congress! Ruth Spiro and Greg Paprocky - ADVISABLE

Congress! (Baby Loves Political Science) by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Greg Paprocki. BOARD BOOK Charlesbridge, 2021. $9. 9781623542344 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

When a bike ride is affected by pollution, mom writes a letter to her congressperson. Baby learns about the branches of government, what Congress does, and how an idea goes from a suggestion to bill, to a committee, to a vote, and finally to the president to be signed into law. 

This series is so cute, Spiro has taken American Government to its most basic, perfect for the future politician. I love the sturdiness of the board book, a toddler will love all the happy faces in the illustrations and I appreciate the multicultural characters.

Lisa Librarian

 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

We Are Still Here! by Traci Sorell, and Frane Lessac - ESSENTIAL

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac
. PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION Charlesbridge, 2021. $18. 9781623541927 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

The Native Nations Community School is having Indigenous Peoples' Day! 12 of the children have prepared presentations on topics including Assimilation, Termination, Indian Child Welfare & Education, Language Revival and Tribal Activism. After each short description, the phrase "We are still here!" is repeated. 

Frané Lessac's illustrations are amazing.  Historically and culturally accurate, set the stage for introductions to these important topics.  Traci Sorell has beautifully explained these issues in a simple and straightforward way. Older students can use the information as a springboard to choose a topic for further research, or as an empathy builder. It can also be used in a classroom as part of a unit on Native Nations. Includes more information on each topic that includes an explanation of the scene in the illustration, a glossary, sources, an author's note, and a time line from 1870 (when the US ended treaty making with the Native Nations) to 2007. This is an important book to add to your library. I am recommending it to my Utah Studies and American History teachers as a resource as well.

Lisa Librarian

Flip! How the Frisbee Took Flight by Margaret Muirhead and Adam Gustavson - ESSENTIAL

Flip! How the Frisbee Took Flight by Margaret Muirhead, illustrated by Adam Gustavson.
PICTURE BOOK, NON-FICTION Charlesbridge, 2021. $18. 9781580898805 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

First seen as a pie tin throwing fad on a college campus in 1920, then in 1937 Fred Morrison threw a popcorn lid to his girlfriend at Thanksgiving, and played with the cool flying disc all over. Soon the popcorn lid dented and wouldn't fly straight, so Fred tried a pie plate then a cake pan. Fred was a pilot in WWII and designed a flying tin with curved edges like a plane's wings. Then when he got home, he marketed it as a flying saucer toy which eventually was noticed by Wham-O, who renamed it Frisbee - the rest is history! 

Oh Boy! The story of the Frisbee - I loved the illustrations so much, very mid 20th century in both style and look. The text was just right and the story well told. Includes an author's note and sources. An awesome non-fiction choice for my middle school.

Lisa Librarian

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer - ADVISABLE

Wonder Walkers
by Micha Archer.
 PICTURE BOOK Nancy Paulsen, (Penguin Random House), 2021. $18. 9780593109649 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Two children decide to take a "wonder walk" so they go out, and ask each other questions, like "Is fog the river's blanket?" and "Do caves have mouths?" They walk through a meadow, woods, climb a tree and visit the shore before returning home in the evening. 

Such lucky children, with access to all those environments and inquisitive minds. I loved that the questions were rhetorical and fanciful. I loved the illustrations - rain and wind, fog, shadows and sunshine in beautiful landscapes. I love the idea of a wonder walk.

Lisa Librarian

The Elephants Come Home by Kim Tomsic - ADVISABLE

The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship by Kim Tomsic, illustrated by Hadley Hooper.  NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Chronicle Books, 2021. $19. 9781452127835  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Seven angry elephants turn violent because they have been hunted and bullied, so a man named Laurence and his wife Francoise offer them shelter in a sanctuary known as Thula Thula.  When the elephants first arrive, they are still angry and wreak havoc, but over time Laurence bonds with the elephants and they learn to live safely in the sanctuary. As the elephants get more comfortable, they expand their living space and move away from Laurence, coming back for visits sometimes.  When Laurence passes away the seven elephants come to the house on the day of his passing and morn with Francoise.  

Elephants are so endearing, but this touching story of two people’s willingness to provide a safe haven for these beautiful, troubled animals gives a glimpse into the elephants’ souls. The illustrations are charming, and the text is simple and to the point, so it is easy to understand.  The ending is sad, when Laurence passes away, and it made me want to cry, but it is also amazing the bond the elephants had with him. 

Reviewer, C. Peterson    

Friday, April 23, 2021

Surprise! Slide and Play Shapes by Elsa Fouquier - OPTIONAL

Surprise! Slide and Play Shapes by Elsa Fouquier. BOARD BOOK. Twirl/Editions Milan, 2021. $15. 9782408024697

 BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A cat goes on a fun adventure in a colorful land with surprises on every other page. Cat instructs the reader on which shape to move and various pop-ups come out of the page to increase the fun and adventure. 

This board book is a bit tricky to read. The fact of its being a board book makes you think its for younger readers--and it is--but the target audience (toddlers) are too small to actually figure out the moving parts. A parent could read this to a baby or a preschooler could look at it on their own, but its not great for the kids you might expect. That being said, the illustrations are really fun and colorful and the simple cat adventure is a nice and easy storyline for kids to follow. 

 Reviewer: TC

 

 

Dragonfly by Aimee M. Bissonette and Catherine Pearson

Dragonfly by Aimee M. Bissonette, illustrated by Catherine Pearson
. PICTURE BOOK. Albert Whitman and Company, 2020. $18. 9780807558218

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Dragonflies have been around for 300 million years. They start as naiads, living many years in the water before growing wings. They come in a variety of colors and can be found almost everywhere, even near desert pools. Dragonflies must make use of what little time they have. 

A most delightful book!. It is not only professionally written but has the most exquisitely bright and beautiful illustrations. The art captured my soul. 

MOMMAC 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care by Sean Julian - ADVISABLE

Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care by Sean Julian
. PICTURE BOOK. NorthSouth Books, 2020. $18. 9780735844148 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

It’s Norman’s first day in day care and his shyness is keeping him from joining in the fun. Then, Mrs. Beak assigned Norman a partner for a performance. Norman did not feel brave enough to act in front of others, but with Jake’s encouragement, maybe he can pull it off. 

While the storyline in this book is average, the illustrations keep the reader going. Julian’s depictions of darling dinosaurs make it an easy read. 

MOMMAC 

In my Dreams I Can Fly by Eveline Hasler and Kathi Bhend - ESSENTIAL

In My Dreams I Can Fly by Eveline Hasler, illustrated by Kathi Bhend
. PICTURE BOOK. NorthSouth Books, 2020. $18. 9780735844308 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Grub, 2 Worms, Beetle, and Caterpillar would meet among the roots to play cards. As winter approached, each friend took turns showing their winter stores, knowing they were prepared for the cold months. One night, the friends gathered to play cards, but Caterpillar did not show. Worried, Beetle went looking for her. He found her wrapped in a blanket of warm threads. He reported that Caterpillar needed to rest. As the spring weather warmed the ground, they dug tunnels to the surface. What new world awaited them? And, what happened to Caterpillar? 

I could not put this book down. The heartwarming story, along with the ingenious illustrations created a warm spot in my heart. Who knew you could love creepy crawlies? 

MOMMAC 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The New Royal Detective by Becca Topol, illustrated by Parvati Pillai - OPTIONAL

The New Royal Detective by Becca Topol and Parvati Pillai
. PICTURE BOOK. DisneyEnterprises, Inc., 2020. $10. 9781368059282 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Mira lives in Jalpur at the palace with her father. She loves mysteries and pays attention to everything. One day, Mira’s friend Pinky lost her goat. Mira uses her sleuthing skills to help her friend. The queen, passing by at the right moment, notices Mira’s skills and invites her to the palace. Mira’s dreams of becoming a royal detective come true. 

The appeal for this book is high due to the Disney label. The plot is very predictable, and the illustrations are definitely Disney. A young reader could imagine herself in this same role. 

MOMMAC https://amzn.to/3cT4wNi

Monarch Butterfly (New and Updated) by Gail Gibbons - ESSENTIAL

Monarch Butterfly (New and Updated) by Gail Gibbons
. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2021. $19. 9780823448319 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants, which become the food for the newly hatched caterpillar. The caterpillar will eat till it is ready to turn into a chrysalis, a hard-shelled covering. When the chrysalis is ready to open, a monarch emerges. Monarchs live about 9 months and migrate south to warmer climates for the cold months. But they always return north to start the process all over again. 

Gail Gibbon’s updated book relates the most recent information on the life of a butterfly. She also includes instructions on how to raise one. Both her illustration and writing are clear and informative. This is a must for any library. 

MOMMAC 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Welcome Home, Whales by Christina Booth - OPTIONAL

Welcome Home, Whales by Christina Booth. PICTURE BOOK Blue Dot Kids Press, 2020. $18. 9781733121286  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL

 AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

A young child can hear a whale out at sea.  Nobody else in the family can hear the whale, but this child is driven to the shore as the whale calls out.  The child feels like the whale is sometimes joyful and sometimes sad, and the whale’s sadness comes from all the times that it has been hunted.  When the child whispers, “sorry” to the whale the whale returns with its calf.  

Concentrating on the harmony between humans and whales, this picture book has a mystical feel between the child and the whales.  There is not a compelling story, but a feeling and sorrow for endangered right whales. The last two pages of the book give scientific facts about the whales and a history of their endangerment.  The illustrations are mediocre and although I am an advocate of teaching our children about endangered animals, this book implies a lot about the whales’ story and leaves all the information to those willing to read the facts at the back.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson 

Always by My Side: a stuffie story by Jennifer Black Reinhardt - ESSENTIAL

Always By My Side: a stuffie story by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
. PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2021. $18. 9780593173824 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Stuffie explains to his person how he will take care of him and love him forever. 

Reinhardt creates a bright, colorful, darling way of talking about how a stuffie is a lifelong friend to some people. You come away feeling that it is ok to love a stuffed animal . It reminds me of my husband who still possesses a childhood stuffed monkey. 

MOMMAC 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Little Bug on the Move by Stephanie Babin and Olivia Cosneau - ESSENTIAL

Little Bug on the Move by Stephanie Babin, illustrated by Olivia Cosneau
. BOARD BOOK. Twirl (Chronicle), 2021. $15. 9782408024642 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre K- ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Little bug is busy. She is on the move constantly. Little bug decides to hide and rest. What happens to her in the end? 

This simply illustrated pop up book introduces children to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. An enjoyable read at any age. 

MOMMAC 

Bird Show by Susan Stockdale - ESSENTIAL

Bird Show by Susan Stockdale
. PICTURE BOOK. Peachtree Publishing Co., 2021. $17. 9781682631287 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Birds are quite fashionable in their plumage. Birds are the only animals that sport feathers. It is typically the male that sports elegant feathers. Females have dull colors to protect them from predators. 

The illustrations in this book about plumage are delightful enough that one does not realize they are learning scientific principles. The author shares specific information at the end of the book about the birds she has illustrated. An enjoyable read at any age. 

MOMMAC 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Turnover by Mike Lupica - ADVISABLE

The Turnover by Mike Lupica
, 243 pages. Simon & Schuster, 2020. $18

Content G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

7th grader Lucas Winston loves basketball. There is nothing he loves more except maybe his mother and grandfather. Lucas’ grandfather is a basketball genius who shares Lucas’ love for basketball and coached Lucas and his team mates to victory the previous year. Lucas is hoping for a repeat, but when he is given an assignment to write about an important person in his life, Lucas discovers a past secret that could threaten to tear the relationship with his grandfather apart. 

Anyone who loves basketball will probably like this book. Lupica always delivers on court action. There is nice tension as Lucas begins to unravel his grandfather’s past. I thought the reaction to the secret seemed a bit extreme considering how many decades had expired. The ending is not a surprise, but is satisfying nevertheless. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Maisy’s Moon Mission by Lucy Cousins - ESSENTIAL

Maisy’s Moon Mission by Lucy Cousins
. BOARD BOOK. Candlewick Press. 2021. $10. 9781536215083 

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K – ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Maisy and Tallulah are traveling to the moon! 

 What makes this book fun is the interactive space adventure as small hands push, pull, slide, and turn wheels in this brightly colored board book. Took if for a test run with a one-year old and it was an instant hit. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Desert Diary: Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire by Michael O. Tunnell - ESSENTIAL

 Desert Diary: Japanese American Kids Behind Barbed Wire by Michael O. Tunnell, 134 pages. Charlesbridge, 2020. $20

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

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

8yo Mae Yanagi and her classmates are prisoners in the Topaz Camp in Utah during World War II. She and her classmates kept an illustrated classroom diary. The diary, coupled with insightful research, illuminates what resilient people can do when faced with the unthinkable. Topaz was located in a harsh, square mile of Utah desert, holding upwards of 8,000 people. 

Loaded with pictures and photos of the original class diary, this is an inviting and captivating read. Information is presented in accessible themed chapters. This is a beautiful rendering of a dignified people unfairly placed in a terrible situation. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Crocodile Rescue (Wild Survival) by Melissa Cristina Marquez - OPTIONAL

 Crocodile Rescue (Wild Survival) by Melissa Cristina Marquez, 240 pages. Scholastic, 2020. $8. 

Content G; Violence: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

12yo Adrianna Villalobos gets to travel the globe with her older brother, Feye, and their parents, for the nature show her parents host. Adrianna is excited to finally be old enough to be on the show as they journey to Cuba in search of an injured crocodile. After Feye is injured in an accident partially caused by Adrianna, her parents want her behind the scenes, but Adrianna is intent on proving that she has a place in the show and with her adventurous family. 

Adrianna’s adventure is an easy read and the pacing is fast. I liked the use of Spanish terms and the glossary at the back insured that readers could understand them. Anytime an animal was mentioned in the book there was an informational insert with a line drawing so kids who like animals can pick up some quick facts. The plot is superficial though and easy to predict. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Logan Likes Mary Anne (The Baby-Sitters Club) by Gale Galligan - HIGH

 Logan Likes Mary Anne (The Baby-Sitters Club) by Gale Galligan, based on the novel by Ann M. Martin, 170 pages, GRAPHIC NOVEL Scholastic, 2020. $13. 

Content G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Mary Anne isn’t sure what to expect from her 8th grade year, but she is glad to get back with the Baby-sitters Club. When the group becomes overwhelmed with jobs, Mary Anne gets sent on a job with Logan, a dreamy boy who just moved to Stoneybrook, as a test run. Logan and Mary Anne seem to hit it off, but Mary Anne feels awkward and uncertain around Logan, and life for Mary Anne suddenly seems complicated. 

 Fans of the Baby-sitters Club books will devour this one, no questions asked. Mary Anne’s character is sweetly awkward and relatable. The art is colorful and bright and helps tell the story, so pull up some cake and celebrate Mary Anne’s angst and birthday with her. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939 by Barbara Krasner - ADVISABLE

37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939 by Barbara Krasner
, 160 pages. Kar-Ben publishing (Lerner). 2021. $18. 

Content G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

12yo Ruthie Arons is a young Jewish refugee on the M.S. St. Luis, bound for Cuba to escape Nazi Germany. Ruthie discovers a Nazi on board and worries about her father, especially when the ship is not allowed to dock in Havana. 

Though Ruthie is fictional, the story is based on actual events. Written in free verse, this is a fast read, though the verse doesn’t seem like actual poetry. Tough this is a nice introduction into the plight of the St. Luis, it doesn’t say anything new or go into much depth. The timeline at the back is a nice touch. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus - ESSENTIAL

A Place to Hang the Moon
by Kate Albus
, 309 pages. Holiday House, 2021. $18.

Content: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

12yo William, 11yo Edmund, and 9yo Anna are orphans - their parents died years ago and they recently lost their grandmother. Their solicitor is concerned that families wanting to adopt them may be looking more at their trust fund than at the children, so, when Mr. Engersoll suggests the children be sent to the country with other evacuee children out of London, and give them the opportunity to see some families for themselves, they take the chance. All three are good readers, and value it, so they make an instant connection with the village librarian - but she appears to be an outsider herself - some of the village leadership feels Mrs. Muller is "unsuitable" to billet the children, so they are placed with a family, and then another, they find themselves needing a miracle. 

What a delightful read! Oh the children were great - I expected them to be entitled and difficult, but just the opposite. So many books referenced and quoted - librarians will love "A Place to Hang the Moon", and will also love recommending it. A nice WWII historical fiction, a great companion read for those who loved Bradley's "The War that Saved my Life."

Lisa Librarian

The Dragon Path by Ethan Young - HIGH

The Dragon Path by Ethan Young
, 202 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Scholastic. 2021. $13. 

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

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Prince Sing, heir to the Wong Clan is on a journey to seek the Old Land and a better life. Taking a short cut through dangerous lands ruled by the Dragon Tribe, Prince Sing becomes separated from his family. The young prince discovers a traitor and family secrets that could either destroy or save him and his clan. 

 Magic mixes with steampunk to bring the Wong Clan to Old Land. It’s refreshing to find themes of family and honor. Though the novel ends satisfactorily, there is room for a sequel. If so, I’m in. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman - HIGH

Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman
, 212 pages. Holiday House, 2021. $17. 

Content G 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

11yo Harry Mancini lives in the same house that Harry Houdini lived in. Harry knows tons of information about Houdini and his amazing escapes. Incredibly, young Harry finds himself getting texts from Houdini himself. At first Harry is flattered, but when Houdini comes up with a plan to swap places and send Harry back to 1921, things take a sinister turn that could cost Harry his life. 

 Gutman weaves actual photos and facts about Houdini into his book. This is a fun way to learn information about the man behind the legend. Harry is a likable character with a good friend, and even though Houdini tells him that everyone wants to escape from something, it’s nice to discover that happiness can be close to home. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Careful What You Wish Fur by Vera Strange - HIGH

 Careful What You Wish Fur (Disney Chills) by Vera Strange, 247 pages. Disney Press (Buena Vista Books, Inc.), 2021. $7. 

Content G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

13yo Delia loves fashion. She is obsessed with taking the perfect selfie every day for the PicPerfect app so her ranking will stay high. Unfortunately for Delia, her hardworking single mom has finagled an opening in an upscale school where Delia is no longer top dog. As she struggles to fit in, she discovers a fur coat seemingly abandoned outside of House DeVil, that transforms her. Literally. Suddenly her skin is flawless and her selfies amazing. All is grand until the owner decides she wants her coat back. 

 These books are growing on me. Once you pick up the book you will want to finish it, which isn’t hard. These books are fast reads and don’t have to be read in any order. Delia is a fairly self-centered teenager, but getting hearts on social media comes at a high price for her. Lesson learned in the Twilight Zone. Also, you should not a fur coat off a mannequin. Ever. Kick back and enjoy a romp with the darker side of Disney. 

Michelle in the Middle 

Cat Crusader (Max Meow) by John Gallagher - ADVISABLE

Cat Crusader (Max Meow) by John Gallagher
, 228 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Random House, 2020. $13. 

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content G; Violence: G 

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

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Max Meow, a cartoon cat, lives in Kittyopolis and has 12 followers on his podcast. Max gets a bite of space meatball which transforms him into Cat Crusader, a flying superhero. Evil villain, Big Boss wants his minion, Agent M to steal the space meatball and discredit Max, though he doesn’t count on Max’s scientist friend, Mindy. 

 The pictures are colorful and bright. This is not quite on par with the Dog Man books, but kids will enjoy it. The plot is straightforward and fairly predictable but a fun ride. Besides, we all secretly wish we had a magic space meatball that could make us superheroes. 

 Michelle in the Middle 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Race to the Moon (Escape This Book!) by Bill Doyle and Sarah Sax - OPTIONAL

Race to the Moon (Escape This Book!) by Bill Doyle, illustrated by Sarah Sax
. 186 pages. Random House, 2020. $11. 

Content G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS (GIFT)- OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

With this book on space, the reader has three chances to join NASA’s space program and help the Apollo mission reach the moon, either as the mission commander, the moon buggy driver, or the flight director. Think escape room meets book. 

The book is loaded with interactive activities for the reader to do with the book, like cut up its pages and drawing in it, so getting a copy for a library may be dodgy. Readers could read it without vandalizing the book, but it may just be too tempting to follow the directions. Fun and immersive for readers interested in space, it will definitely hold your attention, but it may also be a one and one book as well. 

Michelle in the Middle  

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...