Archive for the ‘Picture Book Review’ category

More Picture Books to Add to Your Reading List

June 30, 2022

What is home? It has different definitions for different people. Here is a look at books that describe a variety of homes.

Home

Wes and Claire, a brother and sister, use their imagination, art, and adventures as they live in their comfy Brown House. But when they have to leave their beloved home because of circumstances they can’t control, the family finds themselves homeless. They are on their way to nowhere, then somewhere, then anywhere as they desperately search for a place to stay. They end up living in a shelter where the family has the love of one another infused with hope and determination to find something better. When they finally are able to move into the Blue House, imagination, art, and adventure are alive once again, but they never forget where they have been and remember to help others in the same circumstances. A touching story that is ripe for discussion on why homelessness sometimes happens to people and how you can make the best of it.

Little Houses

A young girl visits Grandma and Grandpa’s little house close to the ocean where she and her grandma explore the beach. They search for shells of all colors, shapes, and sizes that wash ashore. They find empty little houses – the shells where their inhabitants no longer live. The little girl is filled with so many questions about the little houses, the shells, the rocks and stones, and the beach animals that she finds as she wanders around the beach. When the little girl returns home, she brings back empty little houses, good memories, and dreams of the many things she doesn’t know while looking for answers. This is a lovely book with illustrations created by the author’s wife.

Home: A Peek-Through Picture Book

A bear cub wanders out into the forest and gets to take a peek at a variety of animals building their homes. As night appears and winter nears, a pack of wolves is on the prowl for a tasty treat. The bear cub returns to his cave and the warmth of home for a long comfy sleep. This is an adorable peek-through rhyming book that kids will love as they learn about animal homes.

Celebrate Independence Day with this inspiring story that honors our nation’s flag.

30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag

This is a book that will touch your heart as you read about how the 30-foot tattered flag that flew across from Ground Zero after the 9/11 attack on the United States was restored. The flag was put into storage, but in 2008, it was brought back out. It was lovingly restored by citizens from different walks of life as it traveled to all fifty states. Pieces of flags of historical importance from each state were used to repair the torn flag. It was an act of patriotism that displayed the true fabric of America – our home. A must-read!

More Great Picture Books

June 9, 2022

If you go to your local library and take a good look at the children’s books available, you’ll find a treasure trove of delightful books to browse through. Here are three more that caught my eye.

Somewhere in the Bayou

In this humorous tale of a tail starring four friends, curiosity and wrong assumptions by the opossum, the squirrel, and the rabbit lead them to regret their decisions as they try to cross a river. The mouse, on the other hand, takes a different approach to the dilemma that proves to be a “lifesaver” with an unexpected ending.

Snail Crossing

A sweet and funny story of a snail who is “cabbage bound.” A truck, a troop of ants, and a crow are obstacles in Snail’s journey to cross a road to get a cabbage. When Snail gets turned around and ends up back where he began, the ants come to the rescue. Snail’s kindness to the pushy ants is repaid when the ants carry the cabbage across the road to Snail. This is a story of persistence, kindness, and new friends.

Some Daddies

Carol Gordon Ekster shows how special daddies are in her book, Some Daddies. She introduces different types of daddies. There are daddies that wear suits, daddies that wear uniforms, and daddies that wear comfy clothes. There are daddies that have beards, daddies that sing to you at bedtime, and daddies that hug you. As the author says, “Every daddy is different.” This book is a beautiful celebration of the diversity of daddies that extols all the things that make daddies special to the children who love them. If you’re looking for a perfect gift for Dad on Father’s Day, Some Daddies might be the one.

My Picture Books Reviews

June 2, 2022

It’s always a pleasure to discover new picture books. Here are a few of my recent finds.

The Creature of Habit

A big creature, living on an island, does the exact same thing every day. It never changes. When a little creature arrives at the island, the big creature teaches him exactly what to do each day. But there’s a problem. The little creature doesn’t follow the rules and does his own thing. The big creature watches and calls it “absolute madness.” When the little creature begins to offer little changes in the habits of the big creature, the big creature slowly finds pleasure in doing things differently. This creative book is a lesson to let your hair down and stop being a creature of habit.

Good Job, George!

George is a great helper. He does a good job – most of the time. But when he enters a newly painted room he was told not to enter, the dog follows him. Chaos! Disaster! George’s parents are not happy George didn’t listen. George realizes that sometimes the choices he makes do not always get a good job pat on the back.

Gladys The Magic Chicken

Gladys The Magic Chicken is a rollicking tale of a chicken who everyone believes is magic and will grant wishes. In each case, it appears Gladys does grant the wish, but does she really, or is it just coincidence? The story is a bit lengthy but it’s a fun-filled romp with Gladys leading readers on her adventures in ancient times.

The Digger and the Duckling

Digger, a big machine, and his crew love their work. Roll. Dig. Build. But when a little duckling shows up at their job site, they’re annoyed. The longer the duckling stays, the more she becomes a part of the big truck crew. As the seasons change, the duckling grows and flies south. The big trucks miss their friend and hope that one day she’ll return. Will she? This is a cute story of how a little duckling charms Digger and his crew.

Do you have any favorite current picture books?

My Current Favorite Picture Books

May 12, 2022

Each of these books touched my heart in different ways. They are well worth reading and sharing.

Once Upon a Forest

A beautifully illustrated, wordless book about two friends, a marmot and a bird, who work diligently to bring back the forest that has been destroyed by a wildfire. Day after day, season after season, they continue digging and planting little trees. Slowly, the trees reclaim their place in the forest. This is a perfect book to elicit discussions about protecting our natural resources and taking care of our earth.

Out of a Jar

Llewellyn is a bunny who doesn’t know what to do with feelings he doesn’t like. So, he puts them in a jar “and that was that.” But when there’s no more room in the jars, his feelings burst forth. Like the shattered jars, Llewellyn is broken. Eventually, he finds relief as he slowly learns how to “muster up the courage to feel them” and let his emotions go. Another perfect book for children who are having difficulty dealing with emotions and learning how to manage them. 

Eyes that Speak to the Stars

This is a companion book to Eyes that Kiss in the Corners. Beautiful lyrical language tells the story of a young Asian boy who is upset when a classmate draws a picture of him with lines as eyes. His father comforts the boy by having them look at their eyes in a mirror and saying, “Your eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars…,” letting his son know that his eyes are special. This phrase is repeated throughout the book as the boy notices the similarities in his father, grandfather, and little brother’s eyes. Not only does he see the resemblances, but he comes to realize that their eyes are visionary and powerful. The captivating illustrations match the beauty of the words.

Brilliant Bea

Imagination plus dyslexia equals what? Bea! She is a little girl who has good intentions to learn, but her brain doesn’t listen which frustrates Bea. Luckily, Bea’s teacher encourages and supports her learning style. She gives Bea a recorder to tape her creative stories. Suddenly, Bea’s classmates listen to her stories and see a whole new person. Bea discovers “Learning differently wasn’t something to be afraid of anymore…” This is a great book to be shared with students who have dyslexia, learning challenges, and other students to help them understand that learning has its difficulties for everyone.
Back matter on dyslexia is included.

Picture Book Review: I AM SMOKE

November 18, 2021

I Am Smoke written by Henry Herz and illustrated by Mercè López, Tilbury House Publishers, 2021

I Am Smoke is a unique book told through the point of view of Smoke. Although Smoke can be dangerous, the author chooses to give Smoke an endearing personality by weaving scientific facts into the lyrical text and praising Smoke’s good qualities. Unlike humans, Smoke doesn’t have hands, a mouth, or a nose. Even though Smoke is missing these features, it can do many of the things humans can do. It encourages seeds to grow with its warmth. It drives pests out of enclosed places, speaks through smoke signals, gives off good-smelling scents, soothes bees, flavors and preserves foods, is used as a medicine, and eventually is recycled back to the earth. Mercè López’s multimedia artwork that includes a muted watercolor mixture of grays, blacks, earth tones, and flecks of brightness is breathtaking. The back matter provides more information that adds to the uniqueness of the story. The lyrical text of the author and the artistic talents of the illustrator result in a beautiful book that will fascinate readers of all ages. I highly recommend this book.  

My Favorite September Picture Book Choices

October 7, 2021

Below are some of the books I read during the month of September that piqued my interest.

Beatrice Was a Tree written and illustrated by Joyce Hesselberth, Greenwillow Books, 2021

Not wanting to go to bed, Beatrice stays outside. She imagines herself to be a tree that changes during the four seasons. She stretches her branches, feels the warmth of the sun, provides homes for animals, sheds her leaves, and, after a snowy winter, she blossoms once again. The magic of imagination is broken when Mom calls, “Beatrice, Bed! Now!” This book is filled with whimsical illustrations and lyrical text that will delight readers who appreciate nature. 

Mel Fell written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, Balzer + Bray, 2021

I love this book because of its unique format. It’s not your usual book as you follow Mel who wants to learn to fly. But before she flies…”Mel fell.” Readers follow Mel as she falls down, down, down past the critters in the tree who try to help her. Mel and the book take a turn (literally) as she plunges into the water. Make sure you follow the directions on how to turn the book to find out if Mel ever learns to fly. This book is sure to entertain readers!

Are You a Cheeseburger? written and illustrated by Monica Arnaldo, Katherine Tegen Books, 2021

Grub, a raccoon, and Seed, a seed, meet in a garbage can. Grub is convinced if Seed grows, cheeseburgers will blossom. Grub plants Seed and the two spend every night talking to each other and describing what is going on above ground and below ground. When Seed finally sprouts, they celebrate. Grub makes sure to water Seed every day as he longs for the promise of delicious cheeseburgers that will soon appear. But when Seed blossoms as a flower – not a cheeseburger plant – Grub is quiet. What is he thinking? You’ll have to read the book to find out. I love the uniqueness of this delicious book and the unusual friendship that evolves.

Mucky Truck written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Elisa Ferro, Henry Holt and Co., 2021

Kids will love this rollicking story about a little truck, a crane, a digger, and a forklift that get stuck in the muck until the firetruck comes to get them out. Onomatopoeia and rhymes will keep kids engaged along with an unexpected messy ending.

The Rice in the Pot Goes Round and Round written by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and illustrated by Lorian Tu, Orchard Books, 2021

This is a delightful story of a Chinese family coming together to prepare for their evening dinner. Readers will have fun joining in with the rhythmic text that goes along with the familiar song, “The Wheels on the Bus.” 

The Longest Storm written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, mineditionUS, 2021

Stuck in their house with no place to go, a single father and his children slowly learn how to reconnect with one another to become a supportive family unit once again. A definite must-read!

Norman Didn’t Do it! written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion, 2021

A humorous picture book about learning to share your best friend with others and accepting new friends.

Bright Star written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Neal Porter Books, 2021

A beautifully illustrated book about love, honor, and respect.

If any of these books are of interest to you and your family, make sure to check them out and enjoy!

PB Review: When Water Makes Mud

June 24, 2021

When Water Makes Mud: A Story of Refugee Children written by Janie Reinart and illustrated by Morgan Taylor, Blue Whale Press, 2021

This is a beautiful book about two young girls who are in a refugee camp They arrived there with nothing but their dreams. The older sister sees the sadness in her little sister. So, she picks up a stick to make something from nothing. She uses it to draw pictures from home. The little sister smiles, but happiness fades quickly. The older sister continues to find things to cheer up her sister – pebbles to make a puzzle, a bag to make a balloon… Each time, the little sister is happy, but then sadness takes its place. Until…water makes mud. The older sister sculpts a doll out of the mud. The mud baby becomes a precious toy for the little sister. As the days pass the two add more mud toys and dream. Janie Reinart’s lyrical text and Morgan Taylor’s captivating illustrations will evoke emotions that will melt your heart.

The publisher’s profits from the sale of this book are being donated to UNICEF. I highly recommend adding this book to your home library.

Picture Books I Enjoyed Reading

June 3, 2021

These are a few of the books I picked up at my local library that I found enjoyable. Do any of these interest you?

Find Fergus written and illustrated by Mike Boldt, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2020

Fergus is a silly bear. He doesn’t know where to find a good place to hide. He hides behind a skinny tree. He hides in a crowd of bunnies. He hides among elephants and moose. With a little practice, Fergus finally finds a perfect place to hide. Can you find Fergus?

Avacado Asks: What Am I? written and illustrated by Momoko Abe, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2021

When a little girl at a grocery store asks if an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable, Avocado suddenly doesn’t know where he belongs in the store. Is he a fruit? A Vegetable? An herb, a fish, cheese, egg…? He is feeling lost and lonely until Tomato helps Avocado understand the many things he is good at being. Avocado and Tomato agree being themselves is good enough!

Zonia’s Rain Forest written and illustrated by Juana Martinez Neal, Candlewick, 2021

This beautifully illustrated book is about a young Asháninka girl who lives in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest. She happily greets her animal friends each day until the day she sees something she has never seen before. Trees in the rain forest are being cut down. The little girl knows the forest needs help, and she vows to protect it. This book is a call to action to help save the Amazon rain forest.

Mars! Earthlings Welcome written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis, Henry Holt and Co., 2021

Stacy McAnulty has added another delightful book to her universe series. This time readers learn about Mars. This kid-friendly book is filled with wordplay, humor, and lots of information. How about a trip to Mars?

Don’t Be Smug! A PB Review

May 20, 2021

Sometimes you just need a good laugh, and Smug Seagull provided that for me. This book is written and illustrated by Maddie Frost. The format is a combination of prose and graphic picture book. Seagull has a high opinion of himself and his masterful way of snatching snacks from unsuspecting beachgoers. He thinks he is “the best snack swiper from shore to shore.” Until…the day Seagull confronts a small crab.  Seagull’s confidence is shaken when he is unable to snatch a french fry from Crab. Crab continues to outwit Seagull’s efforts. When Seagull tries to snatch snacks from beachgoers, they fight back. Seagull is devastated as he realizes he has lost his swipe. Seagull abandons hope and decides to move to a lake and “eat soggy breadcrumbs with ducks.” Until…Crab shows up once again and shows Seagull how easy it is to snag a snack just by being cute and courteous. Seagull teams up with Crab and discovers a little humility goes a long way. The hilarious text and illustrations in this book are sure to keep readers laughing.

Coming Soon: A Hilarious Picture Book!

February 25, 2021

Cow Says Meow written by Kristi Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, March 16, 2021.

If you like animals, wordplay, and serious silliness, this is the book for you! Cow Says Meow written by Kirsti Call and illustrated by Brandon James Scott will have you and young readers meowing, clucking, and belly laughing with each page turn. The illustrator’s bold art will appeal to the youngest of readers who can practice identifying the animal pictures and matching the animal sounds to the proper animal. The clever text with a young boy as the narrator combined with the humorous illustrations make this book a winner! “Ewe” will love it!

Join the free virtual book launch on Tuesday, March 16th at 7pm EST. Kirsti Call will be singing a song written by her daughter especially for Cow Says Meow. The illustrator will be there, too, for a fun evening. You can register here. https://www.anunlikelystory.com/event/cowsaysmeow  Once at the site, click on the date above the pictures of Kirsti Call and Brandon James Scott in the big black box.

See you there!


%d bloggers like this: