Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ category

Wide-Awake Bear

March 1, 2018

We’ve all been there at one time or another. It’s the time when you’re exhausted but your child is wide awake.

Wide-Awake Bear is Elliot’s story.

wide awake

Elliott, a little bear, and his mother prepare to nap until spring arrives. Elliot dreams of spring until something awakens him, and he can’t go back to sleep. He tries everything, but the shadows and dark shapes in the cave scare him. His mother wakes and comforts him, but he is still a Wide. Awake. Bear. He pretends he’s a little fish and swims to the den’s opening. When he sees snow, ice, and dark clouds, he’s disappointed spring isn’t anywhere to be found. Mama assures him spring will come and tells him many things need to sleep during the winter. With his mother’s help, they fix Elliot’s bed, share a treat, and snuggle until there is no more wide-awake bear. Author, Pat Zietlow Miller does a splendid job of creating a sweet tale about going to sleep. Parents and children will easily relate to this story when it comes to family bedtime. Jean Kim’s illustrations done in soft colors will steal your heart. This book begs to read again.





An Act of Kindness Goes a Long Way

February 15, 2018

Hurry up! Move it! Hustle!

These words and phrases have become part of our vocabulary in our fast-paced society. We’re so caught up in our own lives sometimes we don’t even have time to share a smile or say hello. Are common courtesy and kindness disappearing? Not if talented authors like Pat Zieltow Miller have anything to say or write about it. In her newest book, BE KIND, she reminds us what kindness is and how a simple act of thoughtfulness can spread like ripples in a pond.


When a young student spills grape juice all over her dress, all but one of her classmates laugh. The classmate who didn’t laugh remembers her mother’s words to always be kind. She tries several different ways to make the girl feel better but is unsuccessful. She then ponders what it means to be kind. She begins with small things and goes on to bigger acts of kindness that spill out of school, spread around town, and around the world. Jen Hill’s illustrations show a diverse group of individuals in various settings doing acts of kindness throughout the book. With simple but powerful text, this book demonstrates empathy and understanding for others. It’s a wonderful resource for discussions of what it means to be kind, and it’s a must-have book for children, parents, and educators.

What have you done to be kind today?

Let There Be Light

January 25, 2018

When we moved to a new state and a new home in a new housing development, everything was … new. Meeting our neighbors helped us feel more comfortable in our surroundings, and as we cultivated new friends, smiles lit up our faces.

Sometimes you find neighbors don’t always agree with everything happening in a community, but when the developer of our neighborhood put a new “street light” at the entrance to our development, we all came together. The decision was unanimous. The light must go.

It’s wasn’t a street light. It was a  light pole that belonged in front of someone’s house to light up a driveway or walkway. If you blinked, you’d miss the tiny glow it cast. I kiddingly said, “Maybe the snowplow will take care of it for us.”

It did.


As of now, the light post lies face down in a puddle of slush. It’s a sad ending to the tale of the little light that didn’t shine brightly enough. The homeowners are in the process of replacing the light with a genuine street light that has a luminosity that will guide all those who enter our community.

Speaking of light …

Here are two sparkling books that will throw light on the subject of light.


The Way Home in the Night written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2017


Windows  is written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E.B. Goodale, Candlewick, 2017

Both of these books take place in the evening when lights illuminate the inside of neighborhood homes and businesses. Those looking in from the outside can catch a glimpse of what is happening on the inside. These slice of life images inspire curiosity, imagination, and a safe feeling of home and community. I especially love the lyrical language in The Way Home in the Night. The charming illustrations and text in both of these books make them a must read. And once you do,  I know you’ll agree with me.

Now, if you’re in the dark like we were this week because of a power outage, you might like this book.


Blackout is written and illustrated by John Rocco, Disney-Hyperion, 2011

When the lights go out, what’s a family to do? With the electronics down and out, a family learns how to reconnect with one another. Appealing text and illustrations show how family time can turn into quality time.









Books + Imagination = A Great Adventure

January 11, 2018

One flashlight. Three kids. An adventure in the making.

Author, Matt Forrest Esenwine, and illustrator, Fred Koehler team up to create an imaginative adventure that begs the reader to keep turning the pages.


Flashlight Night, written in rhyme, begins with three children sitting in a tree house filled with books. When the older boy turns on the flashlight, the night comes alive, and so do their imaginations. The children embark on a grand backyard adventure following the path of the light. Each page turn brings the children into a new adventure. A kitten becomes a tiger, the underneath of a deck reveals an Egyptian tomb, a pool becomes an ocean with a pirate and a ship, sailing through rough waters where a sea monster suddenly appears. A stuffed teddy becomes an enormous bear that helps save the three adventurers and lets them return safely to their tree house. Keep a close eye on Fred Koehler’s illustrations done in pencil and digitally colored. They cleverly reveal what classic books motivate the children’s adventure.

What light shines on your imagination?


A Gift of Imagination

December 7, 2017

If someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I’d say a green umbrella. Why?  Because it’s much more than an ordinary umbrella. It’s an object that tickles your imagination and takes you on extraordinary adventures.


The Green Umbrella is written by Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrated by Maral Sassouni. On a rainy day, Elephant is taking a walk with his umbrella when he meets Hedgehog who insists Elephant has his boat and tells him of his boat adventures. When Elephant says Hedgehog is mistaken, Elephant offers to share his umbrella with Hedgehog. Along comes Cat who insists Elephant has his tent and tells of his tent adventures. Elephant says Cat is mistaken but offers to share his umbrella. The story continues as Elephant meets different animals who are convinced his umbrella is not really an umbrella but something else. In the end, despite their differences, they all become friends. Maral Sassouni’s illustrations are whimsical and rendered in soft pastels. The Green Umbrella is a delightful book of imagination, sharing, and friendship.

Get me that green umbrella!




Goodnight Everyone

November 30, 2017

We’ve all had those nights when our kids just don’t want to go to sleep. Well, Chris Haughton knows how to solve that. He’s the author/illustrator of many award-winning books, including my favorite, Shhh! We Have a Plan.


In his book, Goodnight Everyone, the forest animals are sleepy – the mice, the hares, the deer, and Great Big Bear. However, Little Bear is wide awake. He wants to play, but all of his friends are too tired. Soon Little Bear gives a huge yawn and decides it’s time to go to sleep like everyone else. The story is simply told, but the techniques used by Chris Haughton are what make this book so likable. The color palette is vibrant and reminiscent of the evening sky after the sun sets. The cut pages will delight readers as they see the animals get bigger with each page turn. As the size of the animals grows, so do their yawns and their sleeping sounds. The endpapers are another treat to behold. The beginning of the book depicts the southern night sky and its constellations and the placement of the planets, moon, earth, and sun. The end of the book depicts the northern night sky and the placement of the planets, moon, earth, and sun and the constellations where Little Bear and Great Bear are easy to pick out. This charming book is sure to get your wide-awake youngster yawning and ready for some zzz’s.






A Winning Team

November 16, 2017


Author, Mac Barnett, and illustrator, Jon Klassen, have teamed up once again to create another winner. The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse is a tongue in cheek or a-duck-and-a-mouse-in-a-wolf’s-belly tale. Everything about this book is perfect – the pacing, the dialogue, the humor, and the delightfully funny illustrations done in muted tones and mixed media. The story is simply told. A mouse is gobbled up by a wolf and meets a duck who lives inside the wolf’s belly. The mouse sees life is good for the duck and wants to stay. The two celebrate with a dance and give the wolf a woeful stomach ache. Things go well for the duck and the mouse until a hunter tries to shoot the wolf. The duck and the mouse fight to defend their home and save the wolf who is thankful not to have perished at the hands of the hunter. He grants the two a favor. What did they ask? To find out the rest of the story, you’ll have to read this hilarious book!


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