Volume 4, Issue 7 (July 2017)

 
maureen_wright

Share, Big Bear, Share!
by Maureen Wright and Will Hillenbrand

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The joy of childhood permeates every page of this book, from cover to cover. Colors, illustrations, soft repetitive text that will build confidence for children to engage as the story flows. Basic building blocks forming foundations of kindness and generosity, while reaping the joys of inclusion.  Necessary tools often lost in the fast pace of progress. This is truly an asset to any family bookshelf.  Other titles in this adorable series are Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep and Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze.


alicia_acosta_monica_carreetero

Little Captain Jack
by Alicia Acosta, illustrated by Monica Carretero

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Pirates? Animal heroes? Adventure stories out to sea are always a surefire hit and this delightful story has a cute twist in the form of a little captain named Jack. Jack is as tiny as a mouse and constantly trying to make his presence known with his ship crew—who often misunderstand him or don’t see him because he is so small. Jack makes up little strategies and cute songs to keep his crew in line until disaster strikes, and a bad pirate takes Jack hostage! Through a series of humorous events, Jack realizes that bravery and smarts come from within … and being small definitely has its advantages.


emily_k_neuburger

Journal Sparks
by Emily K. Neuburger

Reviewer: Julianne DiBlasi Black

This book is such a beautiful way to get ideas from the brain to the page! Whether you are an art teacher looking for a day’s lesson plan, a beginning journal keeper, or a true sketchbook commando—this book has it all. Each page is a new way to think of your creative expression and a jumpstart in trying something new. For moms, this book is a gold mine of rainy day activities that can be tweaked to fit any age. The beautiful, fun, and funky layout is mesmerizing, and really gets the old brain popping. Great gift for teachers, artists, moms, or anyone who feels stuck and wants to explore their life on paper! Two marker-stained thumbs up!


jeanne_mcatee

The Story Gobblers
by Jeanne McAtee

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Tess MacMillan is the class storyteller. After a new boy moves to town and joins her class, Tess discovers she has a terrifying problem. The new boy follows Tess everywhere, begging her to tell him more and more stories. And the more stories Tess tells him, the fatter he gets, and the skinnier she gets. What can Tess do to get Dean out of her life before he gobbles up her very soul? She will need courage, ancient magic, and the help of special friends to save her from the story gobblers who are hunting her relentlessly. A new twist on storytelling, your child definitely hasn’t read anything like this before. Very amusing and fun to read.


kenneth_braswell

Daddy’s Family Tree: Introducing the Applewhites
by Kenneth Braswell

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This book addresses a serious issue of our day. We are becoming more and more aware of the necessary place of the father in the home. For a long time, stereotypes ruled society, pigeonholing male/female and father/mother relationships and their importance. Today, we understand more the importance of each role in the home. We understand identity is not a magical gift bestowed at birth, but one opened and forged through love and time. Balance is essential in life, and it is achieved with equal strengths upholding each side. Dads are essential and family is crucial to the full journey of self-discovery. Kenneth Braswell reminds us of this desperate need, and brings to the forefront simple ways to incorporate this understanding into our lives. Statistics are provided along with suggestions in how to overcome them. This is a tremendous help for every family, as well as for every single-parent household struggling to overcome.


steve_altier

Blast Off! With Gabby and Maddox
by Steve Altier

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What a fun and imaginative tale! We stare into the sky and it goes on forever it seems. During the day, it hides its wonders behind fluffy billows of white, and in the cover of night, it entices with sparkles of starry delight. We may wonder at times what dwells beyond what we can see. What surprises await behind if only I could see. Gabby and Maddox, a young sister and brother team, have a great adventure and get a wild peek. A fun fantasy adventure filled with suspense and chuckles.


christopher_p_stanley

The Tree Watcher
by Christopher P. Stanley

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet story calls for a simple shift of position. We are gently reminded to pull our gaze from the grindstone and look up! The earth puts on a show of wonder, changing her seasons like finely designed theatrical costumes. All we need to do is take a seat in her majestic amphitheater and enjoy. Youth is more aware, more in tune with its surroundings. Not yet distracted by the noise of daily demands. Free to look up and take in the beauty of a tree. The illustrations seem to flow almost in a gentle blur as we pass from concrete to serene.


jack_l_roberts_and_michaek_owens

The Elephant Picture Book
by Jack L. Roberts and Michael Owens

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The world is filled with amazing creatures. There was a time when animals were thought to be unintelligent and we did not value them as we do today. Because of our terrible mistakes, many animals became endangered, and some can only be found in zoos and sanctuaries today. This story centers around Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand. Interesting and identifying information is provided along with real photography, giving us up-close views and contrasts between them. This is a fun book for ages 4 to 7, helping them to grow with a wide appreciation for the animals we share this earth with, and the balance and harmony of our ecosystem.


patty_davidson

Little Bird
by Patty Davidson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a little book packed with big things. Confusion, compassion, kindness, and heart, to name just a few. Plus, it offers you a free audio download as well. When the children notice one of their friends is missing from school, they become concerned. When the days pass and she still hasn’t returned, they truly miss her. The beauty of a caring community comforts a broken place and helps the mending process. Communities are blessed when children learn and participate in such endeavors. Little Bird’s misfortune and the caring interest of her friends is a sweet and simple message every child’s heart can hear.


bonnie_apperson_and_terri_mainwaring

Grammy Likes Me Best
by Bonnie Apperson Jacobs and Terri Mainwaring

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Being a grandma is a wonderful joy. Each child is a delight, unfolding a bond as unique as they are. I’m amazed at the heart’s capacity to enlarge and overflow into ever increasing inlets and outflows. Making each one rich and alive. Jacobs and Mainwaring capture this fascinating truth and zero in on the matchless perspective of each happy recipient. Each child holds that special place, unrivaled by peers, that lasts in their memory for a lifetime. Illustrations by Adam Turner add a colorful realism to the overall happy tone.


gideon_sterer

Skyfishing
by Gideon Sterer and Poly Bernatene

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a delightful tale of old endings and new beginnings, and that awkward space between. Time and age can make necessary demands for restructuring, and adjustment can be difficult. But, when new life makes new companions, it can fill with warmth and creativity. Grandpa must leave behind his idyllic life and move to the big city with his family. Having packed all his fishing rods, he soon realizes there’s little opportunity to fish, until his loving granddaughter has a brilliant idea! The warmth and heart of this story is matched and outdone only by its creativity, and the illustrations by Poly Bernatene give it a powerful boost right over the top! It’s fun, imaginative, and most of all, heartwarming. A truly enjoyable read!


bonnie_apperson_jacobs_and_terri_mainwaring

They Call Him Grumpa
by Bonnie Apperson Jacobs and Terri Mainwaring

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

We have heard the old adage, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That seems to be so true in this story. Others in the family view Grandpa with less than beautiful eyes, but young Brady’s loving relationship with his grandpa tells him a different story and affords him a deeper, kinder view.


a_lawati_and_elizabeth_arnold

The Greatest Race
by A. Lawati and Elizabeth Arnold

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Generations still glean great insight from the 1800’s Aesop’s Fable of the tortoise and the hare. Ali Lawati brings a fresh look into the endless bank of wisdom tucked into that story, bringing another stretching, growing, application to yet another generation of youth. Today, cultures have crossed, creating new conditions and necessities. Stereotypes removed, there is a broader ground to press into and find our place, even as those in the story had to learn. A good story will always be a good story, but a storyteller who can re-tell it with freshness and relativity and quicken its beat in the hearts of a new audience is a great storyteller. The Greatest Race is a winner.


jean_jullien

Before & After
by Jean Jullien

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Concepts of time ... they can often confuse and frustrate children and adults alike. Often, children don’t grasp the need to wait, or the order sometimes involved to bring about a desired outcome. This is a sturdy, hard block picture book to help in early childhood development. Before & After is a visual concept to easily grasp with the simple illustrations that awaken the meaning.


john_keats

A Song about Myself
by John Keats, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Oh, how I love poetry. And whimsical illustrations. So, this stunning and creative book featuring the poems of John Keats (originally published in 1901 from The Complete Works of John Keats) and pictures by Caldecott Winner Chris Raschka tugged at my heartstrings and reaffirmed the fact that I do, indeed love poetry. From the illustrator’s note in the back of the book (in my opinion just as important to read and discuss as the book itself), we find out that this poem is a letter John Keats wrote to his beloved sister after a 20-mile trek through the mountains of Scotland. It is about a “naughty boy” who goes on a quest of wonders and writes poetry as he wonders. Childhood memories are referenced in short, fragmented, and rhyming prose. Accompanied by Mr. Raschka’s distinctive (and stunning) watery and soft-edged designs, this book is definitely a must for poetry lovers of all ages.


billie_holladay_skelley

Ruth Law: The Queen of the Air
by Billie Holladay Skelley

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Many amazing women have blazed emancipating paths through time. In the year 1916, Ruth Bancroft Law was one of them. Daring to face the odds and endure the hardships, she forged a path for women through the very air. Overcoming many obstacles, she managed to set new records for cross-country distance by flying from Chicago to Hornell, NY. This short—but highly interesting—story is sure to inspire not only young women, but anyone who carries a dream in their heart.


nick_bland

Some Moms and Some Dads
by Nick Bland

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

These beautifully illustrated books by author and illustrator Nick Bland are just a dynamite duo to share at bedtime and offer a great opening of conversation about fun and sentimental moments we share with our parents. Beautiful short and poignant sentences describe different moments, activities, and characteristics that represent childhood moments we share with our parents. The colorful and extra creative pictures of the animals doing all sorts of kooky but totally relatable things are so engaging, but also laugh out loud funny. Some Dads and Some Moms are a perfect pairing to read together, and sweet reminders to families that we are all on this parenthood and childhood journey together.


Time Now to Dream.jpg

Time Now to Dream
by Timothy Knapman and Helen Oxenbury

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Time Now to Dream is an enchanting and special story about a brother and sister exploring the woods in hopes of discovering the source of rhythmic, unusual nighttime noises. Jack is very nervous and keeps asking his sister Alice if what they’re hearing is “...the Wicked Wolf ... with his big, bad claws and his snap-trap jaws?” Alice is adorably reassuring while they meet exquisitely illustrated woodland creatures along the way. The ending reveals a surprise that will delight readers and hopefully lull them into their own sweet slumber.


laurie_wallmark

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu

Reviewer: Julianne DiBlasi Black

Ever wonder why we use the word “bug” when discussing a computer problem? That would be a term first coined by the amazing Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code! This book is a delightful biography on one of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians and the mother of computer code as we know it today. An insightful and entertaining mix of inspirational quotes, educational firsts, and fun pictures, Grace Hopper makes a powerful yet friendly statement about following your dreams and not letting stumbles or delays hold you back from moving forward with all of them.


naarcisa_marchioro

13 Art Materials Children Should Know
by Narcisa Marchioro

Reviewer: Julianne DiBlasi Black

Stone, gold, paper, glass … this book celebrates art through history with an introductory on each material and where it fits into the progression human expression has made through time. From 2,000,000 BC forward, artists have collected, reused, reshaped, and combined to bring their own visions to life. This book provides a map of accomplishments alongside a timeline of human history to compare the ancient with the modern and how it fit into the daily lives of those experiencing major events in culture. An indispensable addition to any humanities or art history classroom, the visual progression and easy to follow format make it truly flip-worthy as a resource or simply a source of inspiration. Author Narcisa Marchioro does an exceptional job illustrating a wealth of facts for even the most visual learner.


anne_jakeliowitch_and_delphine_chedru

Animals at Night
by Anne Jankéliowitch and Delphine Chedru

Reviewer: Julianne DiBlasi Black

I was thrilled to get an advanced reader copy of this fun book. Full of information and glow-in the-dark surprises, it made for a super fun exploration activity just before bed. Each page covers the animals that would be found in different outdoor environments. By the pond, at the forest’s edge, at the beach, they are all brought to life with information on each animal doused in glowing discoveries. It is designed for ages 8 to 12, but I think this book spans further than that. The unusual graphics and printing style make it captivating as a picture book, and allows the child to grow with the book. Beautiful layout, great animal information, and awesome interactive questions with the bonus lure of glow-in-the-dark goodies make this book a special treat for any young critter! Look for the howling good fun to hit shelves in October!


bejamin_strouse_and_jennier_phelan

Hey, Boy
by Benjamin Strouse and Jennifer Phelan

Reviewer: Julianne DiBlasi Black

An adorable tale of aging and life-long friendship. The story, the illustrations, even the font and choice of binding and cover materials give this book a timeless gleam. It feels and sounds like a tale that has been around forever and, no doubt, will be. In summary, the story is about a boy and a dog, both growing older, both staying friends. But it is so much more than that. It is about dreams, and promises, and adventure, and love, and loss, and life. The minimalistic illustrations delicately give emotion room to take center stage, pulling on sensory heartstrings. A beautiful, sentimental book for any child or child-at-heart.


isaac_perry

Q Saves the Sun
by Isaac Perry and Shomari Harrington

Reviewer: Diana Perry

While most kids don’t like bedtime, it is Qadeer ‘Q’ Taylor’s favorite time of day. Every night, his dad comes home with a new story to tell. And every new story is really a secret mission that begins just as Q falls asleep. In his dreams, he and his sidekick Brian, who happens to be a T-Rex astronaut, fly off on their spaceship to conquer villains and save worlds as they carry out their nightly mission. Q becomes “Super-Q” and has the most exciting and daring adventures, all while sleeping in his comfy bed. This book serves as proof positive that reading a book can really be an adventure.


pamela_hartley

The Seasons of a Giant
by Pamela Hartley

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Giants and humans used to co-exist until, for reasons unknown, each side accused the other of causing trouble. A war broke out but finally both sides agreed to a truce and signed the War of Separation Covenant. Thirteen-year-old Isabel Margaret LaDuke (Izzy) grew up in a giant-free world, until one day, when one of her family’s cows goes missing, she takes her bow and arrow into the woods and is shocked to find a giant. This giant becomes responsible for starting up the war again, and Izzy decides she will be the brave warrior who gets everyone back to peaceful life again. Kids will especially like how Izzy, although young and afraid, finds the bravery deep within herself to face off with the giants.


carol_del_angel

Awesome Women Who Changed History: Paper Dolls
by Carol del Angel

Reviewer: Diana Perry

This is a fun book of punch-out paper dolls with accessories, but not just any dolls—these dolls are very important historical figures. This book educates young female readers by introducing them to women who changed history all around the world and encourages them to reach for the stars. This is a brilliant way for girls to “interact” with important historical women while developing their imaginations in pretend play.


sam_usher

Rain
by Sam Usher

Reviewer: Kristin Maggio, age 10

A sweet story of a boy and his granddad. It shows us how to make the most of a rainy day, and also that some of our best moments are worth the wait. Very enjoyable book that is matched with great illustrations.


alex_milway

Pigsticks and Harold and the Tuptown Thief
by Alex Milway

Reviewer: Kristin Maggio, age 10

When a thief is loose in Tuptown, it’s up to detective Pigsticks and Harold to solve the town’s crime and make sure the ball isn’t canceled. This story is filled with fun characters that make us happy to turn from page to page. Sure to be read over and over again, I hope this isn’t the last we see of Pigsticks and Harold. A truly fun pair!


laura_amy_schlitz

Princess Cora and the Crocodile
by Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca

Reviewer: Kristin Maggio, age 10

In this well-written story, we learn about the life of Princess Cora. She is feeling cooped up and bored with the same routine from her parents and nanny. Feeling frustrated, she asks her fairy godmother for help with getting the thing she wants most: a dog. She is a bit surprised when she sees the magic is sent in the form of a crocodile. Yet, the crocodile and Cora have a crazy plan to let her enjoy her day without the same routine. However, after finding out he isn’t the most well-behaved crocodile, she begins to think that she may have been given more than she bargained for. A very clever story that shows us there is always hope, and room for change.


ben_clanton

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt
by Ben Clanton

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

What I loved most about Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt is Narwhal and Jelly’s fun, kind, and supportive friendship. In this case, it’s a friendship between a narwhal and a jellyfish, which confirms that all living things can and will connect. This adventure story is filled with lots of action and figuring out how to help one another. Will Narwhal be the superhero he wants to be? Will he find out what his superpower is? Read the book and find out!

 

Volume 4, Issue 6 (June 2017)

 

I Am (Not) Scared
by Anna Kang

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Childhood is such a precious, fleeting, beautiful, and vulnerable time for little ones (parents included!). Having stories that address our anxieties, name them, encapsulate them, and hopefully calm them is incredibly important, not to mention comforting! I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant shares a day in the life of two animal creatures having a conversation about being brave … and scared. Told completely in large, easy-to-read dialogue, the furry friends debate what is scary and what is not scary (a tub of hairy spiders or a pit of hot lava is DEFNITELY scary.) The reader then discovers the setting of the story and root of their cute exchange. The ending is a sweet reminder that having friends makes us feel A LOT better in scary situations … and talking about our feelings is absolutely okay!


josh_funk

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk
by Josh Funk

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a fun read. The lighthearted banter between Jack and the narrator is sure to create chuckles along the way. Jack is NOT happy with the way this story is going, and grabbles about for a more productive outcome. Illustrations by Edwardian Taylor add to the entertainment wonderfully, making this an all around good time!


josh_funk

Things to Do with Dad
by Sam Zuppardi

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Sam Zuppardi, like a master mime, can relay a detailed story without a single word, or at least with only a few. This tender story of a busy dad, and the creative longing of his little boy will touch the heart and bring a smile to your face. We can all get lost in our To Do lists, and this gentle reminder carries great rewards. Lifelong bonds are often forged in casual moments shared.


michelle_schaub

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market
by Michelle Schaub

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What a fun and fresh look at the community excitement and involvement of a local farmers’ market! The poetry is as luscious as the goods gathered and sold, and just as enjoyable. A website is also provided so you can find the local farmers’ markets in your area, and join in on the fun.


Selah’s Sweet Dream
by Susan Count

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Grab a box of tissues and find a cozy spot when you read this second title of the Dream Horse Adventure series, because it will completely consume you to its end. Anyone from the horse world, as I once was, will live each page, taste the desire, feel the heaviness of disappointment and frustration, and the pull of inner grit and tenacity. And all readers will exclaim with jubilance the beauty of this magnificent horse and its rider. Wildness captured, can it really be tamed? This is truly a story of heart, struggle, and victory. A powerful impact and encouragement to anyone facing such odds. Read this story. You won’t be disappointed.


If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t!
by Elise Parsley

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This New York Times bestselling series will surely tickle your funny bone. Little Magnolia sees a poster saying, “You can do ANYTHING at the library,” and her great gusto and showmanship bursts through as she sets up her own circus. Yep, that’s right! Right there in the library! If your not chuckling yet, you surely will be as you read this lively story. The illustrations are as bold and endearing as Magnolia herself. So remember, if you ever see that poster saying you can do anything at the library, think of Magnolia, and don’t ever bring a circus!


Escape from Nettle Farm
by Justin Davis

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Can bad starts turn out well? In this enjoyable novel for young readers, a runt of the litter named Harvey is challenged to find out. The story is written well, and paced perfectly to keep young readers engaged and following along. It’s filled with emotion, and incites moral conscience. It rings with the sound of hope, and proves the power of unity. The family relationship provides an ideal backdrop for the story, and a pleasant reminder of what we can accomplish when we have the support of those we love.


Bucky Triceratops Takes the Bus
by Patty Davidson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Patty Davidson relays a child’s heart with a smile in all her stories. Bringing to adults a different perspective we may accidentally overlook in our grown-up world. Her stories are short and carry a simple point, but a point worth looking at from a much shorter perspective. The world is a large place to a child and can be intimidating. How they learn to view, act and react to it will carry lasting habits throughout their lives. Bucky is five years old and getting ready to start Kindergarten. There will be lots of new things, and he is a bit nervous. Mom understands the importance of a smooth transition, and helps him find his personal confidence to adapt and be prepared for the changes.


patty_davidson

Bucky Triceratops Loves Baseball
by Patty Davidson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Once again, Davidson brings that youthful excitement and openness of a child into view. Team sports provide strong and lasting effects on our children. Teamwork, fair play, respect, and kindness develop as we learn to merge from home life where we often shine in a single light, into a broader social circle where we become a single piece of a whole.


stacy_roberts

Boomer, Be Nice!
by Stacy Roberts

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Bullying is a major issue of our day, one with far-reaching damages. Stories like Boomer’s help children at an early age to see the outcome that awaits such behavior. Boomer finds his actions isolate him from everyone, leaving him lonely. Can he make things right again? His mother shows him how. It’s never too early for children to learn that their actions carry serious consequences, and to learn the importance of being nice.


martha_heineman_pieper

Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them
by Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Tantrums! We’ve all had our run-ins with them. Whether as participants or observers, we have felt the heat of its embarrassment and frustration. As parents, it can leave us feeling as helpless as the child, and desperate for answers. Jilly must learn there are more enjoyable ways to control her emotions, instead of letting them control her and her surroundings. Pieper’s 35 years of counseling parents and children brings gentle guidance to a very stressful situation. Illustrations by Jo Gershman are warm and surely to help children relate to the story.


janet_balletta

The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid
by Janet Balletta

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This award-winning rendition of Colombian folklore centers around the 1917 legend of La Sirena De Hurtado. The story tells of the young girl’s defiance of parents and custom as she went swimming in the river on Good Friday. Legend has it she was cursed for her disobedience and turned into a mermaid. Trapped there, the young mermaid tries to lure other children into the river and into her eternal disobedience. Hundreds of tourists flock to the river every summer to see the monument of the mermaid located on the edge of the Guatapuri River and swim in its crystal blue waters.


thrity_umrigar

When I Carried You in My Belly
by Thrity Umrigar

Reviewer: Julianne Black

This is such a beautiful book! When I Carried You in My Belly has an intimacy and sweetness that radiates from the pages—a perfect harmony between illustrator and author that envelopes like a warm blanket. From mother, to father, to extended family, with each family member introduced into the book, the blanket of love is woven larger, and the connection between all individuals is solidified with a grace and softness that needs to be read and shared. The child forms the centerpiece of the mother’s experiences while pregnant as well as the family’s contributions, bringing the baby into their world with love and anticipation. The color scheme, level of playfulness, and depth and connection is so incredibly paired that as a reader, I felt part of the family’s experiences and the bond they share. A true gift to any family.


tim_mccanna

Barnyard Boogie!
by Tim McCanna

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Barnyard Boogie! is a fun and fast read involving all your favorite barnyard animals in their awesome Barnyard Band! Kids will love checking out which instruments each animal takes up—but what will Cow do? Tim McCanna’s use of rhyme throughout the book is played out in how the instrument sounds, making it a very interesting way to communicate a description of the vibration of the notes. That twist alone makes this book especially fun to read out loud! Allison Black’s illustrations have a sharp and bright, almost pop-art feel to them which leads the eye to dance around the pages, taking it all in like a puzzle. Barnyard Boogie! is definitely a winner for the Pre-K to Kindergarten age group! Get up and get ready to Mooooove!


barbara_bottner

Priscilla Gorilla
by Barbara Bottner

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Fantastic fun! Priscilla Gorilla is one of those children’s books that has a truly timeless feel. While brand new to 2017, it could have easily been your favorite as a child. Six-year old Priscilla is obsessed with gorillas. She talks about them, draws pictures of them, and dresses like them, which is LOTS of fun … unless you end up in the Thinking Corner. And in Mr. Todd’s class, the Thinking Corner was getting crowded. Illustrator Michael Emberley’s expressive line quality and effortless facial expressions allow the story to tell itself through a fabulously kid-friendly visual language that gives plenty of fun eye exploration and attention-keeping details from page to page. Barbara Bottner’s storyline, rhythm, and insight into a child’s perspective is positively delightful. Priscilla Gorilla is a true page turner, even for the squirmiest gorillas.


tricia_springstubb

Cody and the Rules of Life
by Tricia Springstubb

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

What I like most about Cody and the Rules of Life is that people actually speak to one another. They try to understand each other, even though that doesn’t always work out. Cody is a thoughtful, sensitive girl trying to cope with events and issues that come up in life including communicating to family, friends, and teachers. This is not always easy but the best way to learn is to dive in and Cody does just that.


kyle_morey

That Curious Sign on Aisle Nine
by Kyle Morey with Laren Bright

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This story will tickle, and make you gasp and giggle. It’s rhyming text leads with an increasing upbeat pace that children will enjoy following. A curious boy has become bored with the everyday typical pet, and is drawn by an even more curious sign on Aisle Nine of his local pet store. What is locked behind the door? Could it be just what the curious boy is looking for?


whitney_strauss_susan_giles_kathleen_cooter

Sweet Child Born in Texas
by Whitney Strauss, Susan Giles, Dr. Kathleen Cooter, PhD

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Sweet Child Born in Texas is an adorable primer to Texas pride. Set to a cheerful rolling poem, the book explores some of the state’s heritage, pastimes, and contributions to life in the USA. With humor that will appeal to parents and light-hearted graphics that will engage young audiences, each page is an experience. The book’s exploration of Texan culture alongside the endearing armadillo guide was exceptionally well thoughtout, as the armadillo creates a constant throughout the fast-paced topic changes and successfully grounds the storyline. The authors and illustrator of Sweet Child Born in Texas have created a brilliant keepsake and/or beautiful Texas baby shower gift that holds treasures for any personality.


linda_ravin_lodding

The Queen is Coming to Tea
by Linda Ravin Lodding

Reviewer: Jenna Grodzicki

The Queen is Coming to Tea is a fresh take on the classic childhood ritual of planning a tea party. The Queen is coming for tea, so Ellie must prepare. With her trusty elephant, Langley, she flies around the world, gathering the most delicious cakes, the finest tea leaves, the loveliest lemons, and the fanciest tutu. Unfortunately, Ellie and her friends can’t resist sampling the treats while they wait for the Queen to arrive. Will the tea party be ruined? The Queen is Coming to Tea is a sweet story filled with imagination and heart. Constanze von Kitzing’s brightly colored illustrations truly bring the story to life. Young readers will enjoy following Ellie on her journey and sharing the final moments between mother and daughter as they share a tea party for two.


adam_lehrhaupt

I Don’t Draw, I Color!
by Adam Lehrhaupt

Reviewer: Sherry L. Hoffman

Author Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrator Felicita Sala take readers on a journey through I Don’t Draw, I Color!. While it’s clear from the title that readers are going to be opening the book to see various shades of color, the philosophical side of the color wheel is also interweaved into the tale. Some shades of colors are bright and cheerful and other colors can be melancholy and gloomy. Others may represent anger while another color may show serenity. This book helps readers understand that everyone can be creative and we are all like pieces of art. Every one of us has special qualities and character traits that make us special and unique, and those differences should be celebrated. So take the time to read the colorful tale I Don’t Draw, I Color! and allow it to help paint a picture of what makes you special. After all, no one is better at being you than you.


joyce_sidman

Round
by Joyce Sidman

Reviewer: Sherry L. Hoffman

Round feels poetic as the words are read. Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman allows readers to almost feel and see the round objects found in nature and all around us, while Taeeun Yoo’s beautiful illustrations complete the mental image. Whether it is the round, smooth oranges hanging from the fruit tree or the round seeds that begin the journey for plants to grow, readers will become cognizant of the shapes found in the world around them. This book would be a perfect companion to math lessons about circles or spheres or science lessons about circular objects found in nature. Round opens up many opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether it is through math, writing, science, or art, this book will surely help to shape the minds of young readers.


amy_l_johnson

Letters Lost Then Found
by Amy L. Johnson

Reviewer: Joseph Murkette

Letters Lost Then Found offers us a glimpse through the window of another time, when communication was a physical act that required time, effort, and an investment in focused thought and emotion. Each letter written and received comprised a small, significant fraction of the writer’s thoughts, emotions, and persona. The book is author Amy L. Johnson’s compilation of letters written by her grandfather and great-uncle, William and Fred Raubinger, from November 1942 to February 1945. These two brothers tell us the story of life, death, and love as viewed through the lens of the tragedy of WWII. This book is a beautifully designed and powerful creation. We are offered the options of viewing it as an historical text, a powerful biographical work detailing the lives of two loving brothers, as well as a nostalgic, realistic view of communication in a computerless world. We learn about the brothers’ lives, their world, and their family. All of these factors are seamlessly woven together to create a powerfully compelling work that richly deserves its place in modern American literature.


tigercandy_arts

Stick Puppet Party!
by Tigercandy Arts

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

The perfect ingredients for a craft? Sticks, cardstock, colorful patterned paper, cardboard, and glue! Put these all together and you come up with an adorable Stick Puppet Party by Tigercandy Arts. Kids will delight in gluing, cutting, and creating puppets with the foundation materials in this kit. Materials are nicely packaged, organized, and easy to
understand/manipulate. Pushpins? Yes please! The puppets arms and legs can be moved with each having its one unique look. Throw in some old (or new) photos, magazine pictures, or your own artistic creations/faces to finish it off. Puppet shows are a classic childhood pastime and this craft will allow them to indulge in creating, and performing!


laurie_berkner

We are the Dinosaurs
by Laurie Berkner

Reviewer: Kristin Maggio, age 10

We are the Dinosaurs is a fun-filled, easy-to-read book for children. The colorful illustrations and sing song words make it extra special. I found myself singing the song long after I was done reading the book. A good read and overall excellent dinosaur book for kids to enjoy.


t_nat_fuller

A Good Day for a Hat
by T. Nat Fuller

Reviewer: Kristin Maggio, age 10

A cute and delightful book. We join Mr. Brown as he tries to find the right hat for every
occasion. Sure to bring a smile to your day as he shows us that it’s good to be prepared. Pointing out and talking about his hats can be as much fun as reading the book!


honey_r_adewole

Materbeampater
by Honey R. Adewole

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Meet the Naughties, the Gritties, and the Notables! This is a humorous book of poetry
based on the lessons of life. There are poems about naughty girls, a boy who eats peanuts and peanut butter non-stop, and all sorts of strange but normal young people. Young readers will laugh out loud when reading this book.


eric_bower

The Magnificent Flying Baron Estate
by Eric Bower

Reviewer: Diana Perry

It’s 1891 and Waldo Baron lives in the nothing-ever-happens town of Pitchfork in the
middle of the desert. He constantly has to tolerate the wild and crazy inventions both of his parents create and is embarrassed when anyone comes to their house. One day he gets out of bed to find his parents’ latest scientific project is to make the house fly, way up in the sky. Their plan is to win the Inventors’ Contest in which inventors enter their flying vehicles in a race across the country. Waldo wishes at first that he was back on dry desert land but soon learns that he is about to embark on the greatest adventure of his life. Kids will want to come along for this action-packed flight as Waldo defines his true character and learns how to be his best self.


megan_mcdonald

April Fools’, Mr. Todd! (Judy Moody and Friends)
by Megan McDonald

Reviewer: Tessa Grodzicki, age 9

This Judy Moody book is about to make you laugh your pants off because it is filled with jokes and laughter! Judy and her classmates are about to have so much fun because April Fools’ Day is coming up! Judy is so happy because not only is April Fools’ Day on April 1 but her birthday is on April 1, too! And with the birthday present her little brother gives her, she has the perfect prank to play on Mr. Todd! But has her classmates and teacher forgot her birthday? Judy Moody and Friends is a great series for grades kindergarten to first grade because it makes you laugh out loud. Also I really enjoyed this book because it made me laugh out loud, too. I hope you get a chance to read this book!


johanna_huwitz

Double or Nothing with the Two and Only Kelly Twins
by Johanna Hurwitz

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Double or Nothing with the Two and Only Kelly Twins is a sweet, easy read. Not only do you learn what it could be like to be an identical twin, but you understand that we are all individuals, special and different. Just because someone wears the same clothes, has the same hair style, or comes from the same family, they still want to find their own identity. Even if you’re not a twin, you can relate to this book.

 

Volume 4, Issue 5 (May 2017)

 
cybele_young

Nancy Knows
by Cybèle Young

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Author and artist Cybele Young creates an ingenious story of Nancy, a little elephant who tries to remember something important. As she does, her mind fills with pictures of other ideas and objects. Things that go forwards, backwards, have wheels, fly, line up in a row, and other artistic combinations. But what Ms. Young creates are Nancy’s thoughts and memories masterfully presented in the form of paper sculptures. This book is an absolute must for an art study with children and a mentor text for writers … the possibilities are endless for how this delightful and heartwarming story can be used to inspire us in our own creations, all through a sweet little elephant named Nancy.


chelo_manchego

The Want Monsters: And How They Stopped Ruling My World
by Chelo Manchego

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Stories about monsters always give me a little pre-reading anxiety because I wonder how my children will react to them before bedtime. Not this story! It is an adorable and relatable story about how our inner desires and compulsions can take hold and bring out the ugly in us (yes, adults included). Children will appreciate the “wants” the little boy has: sweet treats, video games, popularity, and other valid childhood frustrations. Unfortunately, these frustrations take hold of him in consequential ways through a want monster named Oskar. As the story progresses, it is clear that differentiating between your needs and wants (and recognizing your impulses and managing them) will result in a much happier you. Great story to read and discuss with children and the adorable illustrations will keep them engaged from beginning to end!


alison_jay

Bee & Me
by Alison Jay

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

A bee flying through a city landscape pollinating the town with future flowers and colors galore captures the title of this wordless picture book perfectly. I love wordless picture books. For so many reasons, but mostly because the reader can interpret the message in ways that make sense to them, depending on their background knowledge, family life, and experiences. This of course enriches literature discussions (or bedtime snuggle talks) and allows us to just immerse ourselves in gorgeous illustrations, like the ones in Bee and Me. This story is a journey between a girl and a bee that shows up on her windowsill. Naturally, the bee is greeted with fear and apprehension but soon welcomed and nurtured to a plentiful, happy and purposeful life—all depicted through stunning and precious illustrations that can only be summed up with one word: friendship. The author’s note at the end reminds us of the importance of respecting our ecosystem and nature’s gifts.


arlene_stewart

The Friendship Bracelet
by Arlene Stewart

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

The Friendship Bracelet is a fun, engaging, and heartfelt book. The life of Olivia Jones suddenly starts to go downhill the moment her BFF and next door neighbor, Alex announces she’s moving to Paris. Olivia feels sad that evening when she watches Alex’s car drive away. How will Olivia spend her summer without her bestie? The good news is they do stay connected … by a bracelet! And more good news is Olivia makes some new friends. Read about Olivia’s crazy and fun summer!


gigi_priebe

The Adventures of Henry Whiskers
by Gigi Priebe

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

This is a great chapter book for young readers. It’s got action, adventure, and great characters—everything a reader hopes for. It’s perfect for individual or family night reading sessions. The storyline is enjoyable for all ages. There is enough suspense to keep them eager for the next reading, as well as opportunities for discussions on how they may have responded in the same situations. Using anthropomorphism, the author’s creativity makes the animals appear as if they are human, which gives kids a sense of familiarity they can identify with. Centering around a community of mice, the characters are fun and loving, and their interactions and surroundings are relatable, making this an all around good read. The actual setting in England’s Windsor Castle, and more specifically Queen Mary’s grand dollhouse adds such enrichment, and can be researched to further enhance the reading experience.


vern_kousky

The Blue Songbird
by Vern Kousky

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil 

Age-old sayings all emerged out of someone’s travels or experiences. “You can’t see the forest for the trees” must have found its meaning in the blue songbird’s story. Longing for a special song to sing so narrows the little songbird’s vision that she determines to set out upon a great quest to find it. Traveling around the world searching, and speaking with many wise birds, leads her to a land where the most beautiful songs are sung. To her surprise, it’s a land she once called home. Sometimes, the very thing we long for is right in front of us all along.


angie_flores

Cub’s Wish
by Angie Flores

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Sitting under a peaceful starlit sky, Cub is offered to wish upon a star. With much thought, he comes to realize his life is pretty full. What else could he ask for but to always be as happy as he was right then? Sometimes, we play the “If Only” game. “If only I were smarter, taller, prettier. If only I had more this and less of that, then I could be happier.” It’s good to have that defining moment when we truly see we have all we really need.


jose_carlos_andres

The Untold Story of the Tooth Fairy
by Jose Carlos Andrés

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Do you know the REAL story behind the tooth fairy? Whenever a child loses a tooth, a little someone takes it and leaves a small gift in exchange. It is said that the Tooth Fairy, before being a fairy, was an oyster who lived in the deep sea. Everything began when she lost her only pearl. She asked an octopus for help, the octopus asked a sardine for help, and the sardine asked a crab, and finally the crab asked a mouse for help.... Have you ever encountered the tooth fairy? Is it furry like a mouse? Does it have wings like an angel? Do you know the real story behind those missing teeth magically taken up from under our pillows? Jose Carlos Andres says he knows, and he’s willing to share the untold story with us in this delightful new book.


j.e._rogers

Kohana: A Native American Creation Myth
by J.E. Rogers

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The Native Americans always created stories to bring understanding, and to explain the unexplainable. Their stories were then passed down through time. In the story of Kohana, they tell how the wild wolf became man’s best friend—the dog. In the beginning, the Great Spirit created a beautiful world and set its boundaries. Kohana, a young mischievous wolf was part of that world. Filled with curiosity, he pressed against those boundaries. Drawn to a creature that roamed the plains on two legs, he was determined to know. In spite of warnings, he set out and formed a bond that not only lasted their lifetime, but through all time. The relationship between Kohana and the two-legged creature called man is still a powerful bond.


louise_courey_nadeau

Magelica’s Voyage
by Louise Courey Nadeau

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Magelica, with her tiny wings and long green hair, is a mystery to herself. Twelve years ago, gatherers working in a field came across a beautiful sapphire egg. The egg cracked and revealed a mysterious and magical child. She was taken in and deeply loved, and yet she still finds herself full of questions and wonder. We too may find ourselves at times wondering who we are, and why we are here. Magelica’s questions lead her on an amazing journey of discovery. A magical adventure where she finds something very special inside of her, and if she allows it to lead her, she just may find the answers to all her yearning questions, and even a greater sense of belonging. This early chapter book series is a great bridge to lead young readers into novels. It’s short enough to hold their attention, exciting enough to keep their interest, and fun enough to leave them wanting more.


louise_courey_nadeau

Magelica’s Voyage: The Rescue
by Louise Courey Nadeau

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Book 2 of our young readers chapter series opens to the stirring of Magelica’s gift in fitful dreams of a Prince in harm’s way. Searching out its meaning leads her back to the Isle of Dreams and the queen, hoping for a plan of rescue for young Prince William. The story promotes a sense of community and the power of connection. We feel the unity and love as it pulls together for a common cause, and learn the true meaning of belonging.


john_himmelman

There’s a Bug on My Book!
by John Himmelman

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a fun book for outdoor play and imagination. Children are encouraged to plop their book on the grass and discover all the ways common insects and critters creep, slither, and slide across it. The interactive text will stretch their imagination while learning fun facts about the many creatures that share outdoor living space with us. The back pages are full of interests and activities you can use to broaden the experience.


dawn_menge

Queen Vernita Journeys on an Old-Fashioned Paddleboat
by Dr. Dawn Menge

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Queen Vernita loves to spend her time traveling and discovering new wonders of this great world she lives in. Every year she sets a new plan for its 12 months in fabulous places, and meeting interesting people. The reader follows her journey, learning with her a wide variety of facts and interests. Though we only get a taste of the flavors, the queen opens many topics we can pursue for more information and create our own journey. I personally found delight in the great formations of lava columns called basalt, and there is so much to discover about the salmon’s life cycle. I also enjoyed the beautiful rose gardens, and the tranquil balance of the Oriental gardens. You can just imagine the sweet smells and comfort of their beauty. Queen Vernita shares wonderful facts with us and broadens our awareness of this great world in which we live. Get ready to explore!


jcm

The Wackenteach Series
by JCM

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

School at Pagic Elementary is definitely a little “wacky” in its delivery, but fun and effective in its intent. The children of Mr. Wackenteach’s class emerge each year, strong in self-esteem, confident in poise and posture, and broadened in a sense of community and teamwork. His wacky antics afford acceptance, inclusion, and a common bond among classmates. He is truly a teacher who would be remembered. The story is easy to read and magically opens wide for you to engage. Mr. Wackenteach carries that delightful Cat in the Hat excitement.


michelle_path

Xalien the Purple Alien: Xalien Goes to the Beach
by Michelle Path

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Our friendly little alien is back! Having made the best of a former visit that went bad, Xalien made friends with three Earth children. In a return visit, she arrives on a day planned for the beach. Xalien and the children find lots of laughs together as they learn and share their differences.


linda_christen

Henry the Blue Monkey: Being Different Is Good!
by Linda Christen

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Henry is faced with some hard decisions. Being the ONLY blue monkey isn’t always fun, and it can often be hard on his feelings. Henry has to decide how he is going to handle those hurt feelings, and decides to concentrate on all the great things about being the only blue monkey. After all, it does have some advantages. We can’t change how other people think or act, but we can choose how we think. Positive thinking brings positive feelings, and positive feelings can bring much happier behavior.


michael_smith

It Starts with a Raindrop/Comienza con una gota lluvia
by Michael Smith

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is science at its best! Uncluttered, it flows as simply and freely as its subject. The illustrations and lyrical text open the wonder of the water cycle with such ease. Children will follow with marveling interest as technical concepts transform into everyday realities they can understand. The book’s structure is solid, the artwork memorable, and the content important to us all. It would make for good discussion on family night, as you read it together and think of helpful ways we can all conserve our precious water supply. Teaching our children about the Earth’s bounty and giving them a part in preserving it will nurture respect for their surroundings and a sense of appreciation of our natural resources. English/Spanish edition.


sue_ann_kunberger

The Giddlywumps
by Sue Ann Kunberger

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Are you fighting that endless war just to see a clean bedroom floor? Battling each and every day just to try and keep it that way? If you’ve bribed, cajoled, or threatened far more, this just might be the book you’re looking for. The Giddlywumps come out at night, sneaking about looking for a mess. The messier the room, the better they like it. So, if you want to keep these creepy critters away, there is only one surefire way! This story just might end the Clean Your Room war.


helen_lester

Boris and the Worrisome Wakies
by Helen Lester

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone has shared a night with the Worrisome Wakies, so this story will relate to a wide audience. Boris, an adorable badger captured so delightfully by illustrator Lynn Munsinger, can’t seem to fall asleep. He’s too itchy, too thirsty, too hungry. His PJs are tangled, his cuddle bunny is hogging the bed, and on goes the hours, leaving Boris a very sleepy badger the next day. So sleepy, he misses out on all the fun his classmates share while he naps here and there. Can he overcome his worrisome ways and enjoy all the fun the next day?


maggie_grinnell

David and Rusty’s Pirate Adventure
by Maggie Grinnell

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone follows the open path in their heart as they read, and this one led me to a story of letting go. David and his pirate teddy bear Rusty were great buddies, and no doubt shared many adventures together. However, the course of this adventure may be a separating of their ways. Finding themselves stowaways on a pirate ship at sea, David’s only way back home may be to leave Rusty behind. The captain of this pirate vessel seems to have a great need for Rusty to remain. Can David let him go? Or I should properly say, can he let him stay? Personal growth and healing play a faint and tender tune in the background of this story that my heart heard loud and clear.


p.j._roberts

I Lost My Sock!: A Matching Mystery
by P.J. Roberts

Reviewer: Sherry L. Hoffman

I Lost My Sock! is a delightful tale that enables readers to join in on the missing sock mystery. Readers will take in Elio’s illustrations of various patterns and shades of unpaired socks and other objects to help fox find his other blue sock with polka dots. Along with practicing to identify similarities and differences among shapes and patterns, readers will also learn the irony of misinterpretation and friendship. The two main characters fox and ox will likely keep readers’ attention as they encounter wrong sock after wrong sock. Ox continues to stick by fox’s side to help offer solutions to the mystery. Will they ever find the match? Readers will need to follow along to discover the ending to the mystery. Teachers and parents shouldn’t lose sight of the ability of this book to open up dialogue about matching, sequencing of events, and friendship. 


mike_lawrence

Star Scouts
by Mike Lawrence

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Star Scouts is adventurous and entertaining. The illustrations are creative and fun. This friendship story is about being courageous and true to who YOU are. Being a new kid in town and starting a new school is not always easy and it’s worse when kids label you “weird.” We all face struggles of being different and not always fitting in. Luckily Avani finds a friend in Mabel! 


eric_kahn_gale

The Wizard’s Dog
by Eric Kahn Gale

Reviewer: Diana Perry

This is a delightful tale told from the point of view of Nosewise, a white dog who is taken in by the great sorcerer Merlin. Merlin also takes in an orphan girl, Morgana, who shows promise of having great magical powers. Nosewise feels left out when the two of them are behind the locked door where they practice their magic, and manages to wiggle through to this secret room before Merlin can close the door, changing his life forever. This story is so very entertaining that adults and children both will enjoy being whisked away to Old World England with these larger-than-life characters. This book engages readers right from the first page and takes them on a journey with whirlwind dangers, seemingly unsolvable dilemmas, and endearing relationships, all presented by brilliant writing. This is a must-read if you want to be entertained from start to end and escape into a world of old world magic.

Volume 4, Issue 3 (March 2017)

 
laura_hensley_garno

Tiny Garden Big Trouble: Loving Your Neighbor
by Lara Hensley Garno

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

When good intentions suddenly take a bad turn, three young friends are faced with some very important lessons. Overly enthusiastic, they jump ahead against warning and find themselves in big trouble. The story makes room for great family discussions on such topics as following directions, not jumping to conclusions and misjudging others, and most of all, ways we can brighten a person’s day and make them feel loved. The back of the book provides activities and a project that will help reinforce the excitement of the story.


Bedtime for Buzzy

Bedtime for Buzzy
by T.J. Hackworth

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Parents know that the toughest task of the day can often be the last task of the day. Children’s creativity seems to peak at the bedtime hour, and the games begin! Well, little Buzzy is no different. He’s not ready for bed. There’s too many adventures to still be had. This cute story takes him step by step closer to the desired outcome as each adventure shuts down for the night with sure anticipation for another day.


dana_wall_amber_wall

Emma Beams During a Wonderful Dream!
by Dana Wall and Amber Wall

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

If your child struggles or finds English lessons no fun, bright-eyed and bouncy-curled Emma can be of help. In this fun learning series, Emma manages to tie in an easy lesson on such things as superlatives and comparatives, metaphors and similes, and conjunctions. Each story provides lively rhyming text, and colorful personalities that are sure to make learning fun. Other titles include: Emma Jane Goes on a Plane and Emma’s All Gloom as She Cleans her Room.


Carol_Bacon

Sarafina and the Not-So-Wonderful Day
by Carol A. Bacon

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The warm and appealing illustrations of this story create a perfect atmosphere for a colder, yet necessary topic of our day. Bullying is on a definite rise. Insensitive teasing can often bloom into downright meanness. It’s easy to follow the crowd and not rock the boat, but often small stands can overcome many troubles. Sarafina is faced with rejection. Her excited expectations fall in its paralyzing effects. Sometimes, it only takes one person to reach out and make a difference. Sarafina meets someone who understands, and encourages her to appreciate herself just as she is. This is a sweet and simple story, but it builds a broad and deep foundation for the stage of life to rest upon.


Julianne_DiBlasi_Black

Sleep Sweet
by Julianne DiBlasi Black

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The beautiful images, the soft dreamy color palate, and the tenderly whispered text flows like a gentle lullaby that will carry your little ones into sweet sleep. Tucking in the world’s mighty creatures, under the covers of starry skies, quilts of fluttering leaves and blankets of soft grass all fall to dreamy visions of happy things. This story, along with others, works with SpellBound, a free mobile app that uses augmented reality to turn paper books into virtual pop-up books. See the pages come alive in 3D, along with sound and animation. Reading becomes an experience!


Jon_Wayne_Faust

Helicopter Harry And The Copter Kids: Dream It, Learn It, Do It!
by Jon Wayne Faust

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Imagination, excitement, history, and education all rolled into one amazing adventure! Oh, there is so much to share. My thoughts are pushing and shoving each other to be the first ones out. Dragonflies, bumblebees, copter hands, superheroes, out of this world transformers! Each one has a story it’s begging to tell, and all at once. You’ll have to read this one to take it all in. Tucked amid all the excitement is a crucial reminder for every loving parent, grandparent, and guardian. Though we desire the very best for our children, sometimes our desires just aren’t a good fit for them. Sometimes, we can unwittingly crush their hopes and wishes by inflicting our own upon them. We too, can be a holder and keeper of their dreams, just like the da Vinci dream bank, with a little understanding and encouragement. Includes a great Copter Kids Quiz and a website where you can check your answers.


arnold_rudnick

Little Green
by Arnold Rudnick

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Disappointment can be ever so lightly folded into encouragement, and Little Green seems to keep falling into its crease. Inspired by the wonder he finds in those all around him, he reaches beyond himself to discover its newness. The little green frog wants to spread his arms and soar like the beautiful white geese, and run fast through the fields and prance elegantly on his feet like a team of horses. One by one he approaches and hears, “Anything is possible if you believe in yourself ... anything is possible if you try hard enough.” But believing, and trying, no matter how hard, could not make Little Green any more than he was. Disappointed and discouraged, he wants to give up, until he learns that anything IS possible when you give all you’ve got, except you cannot be something you’re not. A great story of acceptance, appreciation for the differences around us, and contentment with where we fit in.


learning_my_way_series

Learning My Way Series
by Mary Birdsell and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The Learning My Way series is dedicated to children attending school in Tanzania. Each book offers an educational look into a different culture and language, while based on common things we all share such as animals, family, and colors. Looking For Our Families provides an opportunity to develop matching skills that will help prepare children for basic math concepts in the future. In this book, children will learn to pick out an object and determine which group it will match, based on the familiar concept of family. Fronts For Our Backs provides another simple learning task of matching. The ability to recognize and match these animals of the wild from both their front and back views. Colors On Our Papers brings to mind Shakespeare’s reference, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Are colors the same all over the world? Even if their name is pronounced in Swahili? Is hello still hello if it’s called njano in Tanzania? It’s fun to see what other kids are doing just like us, even if the wording is a bit different.


meaghan_fisher

Tyler the Fish and the Lake Erie Bully
by Meaghan Fisher

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

It’s Tyler’s first day of school, and he’s excited. There’s so much to look forward to! He has a great day up until lunchtime, when a mean trout fish demands his lunch. Bullying has become a rising issue in our society. Parents are finding it difficult to bring reasonable understanding to their children on the matter. Younger and younger children are having to face cruelty and injustice. Stories like Tyler the Fish are helpful resources in bridging the gaps. Illustrations by Tim Rowe are bright and endearing.


meaghan_fisher

Giuseppe’s Famous Pizza Pies
by Meaghan Fisher

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Giuseppe was good at what he did, and it brought him great joy. His talent and his personality made a perfect team, and people from all over lined up to enjoy the experience. When things go wrong, and Giuseppe’s pizza cart meets its demise, he doesn’t know what he will do. In this award-winning story, we learn that Giuseppe’s love for whathe does and the time and care he gave to those he served, made the people appreciate his craft, and willing to help him expand it. Fisher provides strong and solid principles in this lighthearted tale.


meaghan_fisher

If I Could Pull the Moon from the Sky
by Meaghan Fisher

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

If you could find a rope big enough and pull the moon from the sky, what would you do with it? Would you put it in a wagon and pull it all around? One little boy has lots of ideas in this charming picture book that inspires little readers to use their imaginations.


diane_bourgeois

Aimee and Divine Inspiration: On a Journey
by Diane Bourgeois

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Aimee sets out on her life journey. Eager to discover the wonders set before her, she embarks upon her little vessel and sails away. Where will this divine river lead? What changes will it bring? Will she find strength and love as she drifts through the magical forest of dreams? Will the cave of shadows challenge her as she steadily navigates its course? Will Aimee find her rainbow, and acquire the greatest treasure of her life? There’s only one way to find out. Embark the tiny vessel and take the journey with her, page by page in this meaningful storybook.


jessie_sima

Not Quite Narwhal
by Jessie Sima

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

In today’s world, family has broadened and stretched, transforming into new shapes and images. Sometimes, the lines blur and kids become confused. Unsure of how to process the changes, they can often feel misplaced and torn. Jessie Sima offers a story that can help the process and bring a happy conclusion that it’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to have two places where you’re safe and loved equally.


anna_mcquinn

Lola Gets a Cat
by Anna McQuinn

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Lola loves cats, and looks forward to owning one. When mother tells her they require much care, Lola sets out for the library to learn all she can on the subject. She pretends her toy cat is real and practices to be a diligent pet owner. So often, the excitement of wanting a pet is quickly overpowered by the reality of care and responsibility that is necessary to make it a forever experience for all. Our animal shelters are filled with tried and botched attempts. Anna McQuinn provides a sweet and delightful approach, as we follow Lola’s earnest desire all the way through to a positive outcome, and what is sure to make a lifetime memory. The illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw will warm your heart as Lola achieves her heart’s desire.


richard_michelson

The Language of Angels: A Story About the Reinvention of Hebrew
by Richard Michelson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Earnest desire often weds sacrifice and bursts forth change. The Language of Angels is a story of just such a union. In 1885, few Jews in Israel used the holy language of their ancestors, and Hebrew was in danger of being lost—until Ben Zion got involved. Through the help of his father and a community of children, Ben modernized the ancient language, creating a lexicon of new, modern words to bring Hebrew back into common usage. Together, father and son were able to grow, expand, and preserve it, to the joy of all.


stacy_mcanulty

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite
by Stacy McAnulty

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The age-old debate rages on. “Mom loves you best….” has echoed the halls of most homes. All the adorable animals of this story must come to realize, as does every child growing up, we are all favorites in our own special way. Everyone offers something unique to their own personality that another cannot shade or take away. When we realize that, we can all be content with our place. This is a sweet peek into an age old controversy.


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You Don’t Want a Unicorn!
by Ame Dyckman

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could learn from one person’s mistake? Bestselling author Ame Dyckman and beloved artist Liz Climo bring us a fun-loving story with an important reminder that all is not as one may imagine, and to be ever so careful what we wish for! This is truly a snuggle and giggle storytime treat.


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The Youngest Marcher
by Cynthia Levinson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young civil rights activist, debuts on the dimly lit stage of our day that casts its dark shadows against a beautifully set backdrop. A story of hope, strength, and valor to be remembered and honored in the heart of a growing nation. A story where courage rose in the hearts of the youth, set to make a difference in their day. Courage determined to make a stand, believing and willing to sacrifice themselves for that belief. Audrey Faye Hendricks was 9 years old and wanted to enjoy life like everybody else. She was willing to stand for what she believed in, and helped usher in the change of a nation. This book is a treasure for all children. To know the country they call home ached with growing pains, and they still came forth with our banner waving.


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Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes
by Mary E. Lambert

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

One of my favorite middle grade books I’ve read in a long, long time. It was emotional, funny, sad, and heartwarming …. and dealt with the addiction to hoarding. Annabelle and her family are dealing with their mom’s accumulation of everything from milk cartons, old toys, sheets, dog food cans (but no dog), newspapers sorted by the weather, and more—and the repulsive effects it has on their emotional and physical well-being. Family “game nights” turn into revelations of family history and dysfunction (and a mother who genuinely wants to please her family). Despite the seriousness of topic, there is still such an earnestness and sweetness to Annabelle’s voice, it made me feel like I was hearing my best friend share her innermost painful, funny, and sordid family details during a Friday night sleepover.


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Otherwise Known as Possum

by Maria D. Laso

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

An exquisite middle grade story about a young girl nicknamed “Possum” who lives in the deep South during the President Hoover era. Told in Possum’s southern twang, the narration almost has a warmth and familiarity reminiscent of The Help—tween version, of course. With every page I turned, I loved this book more and more. I couldn’t believe how quickly I was emotionally invested in Possum and her father’s journey to discovering their life without their Momma. Despite the heart-wrenching grief of losing a parent, the story also has so many sweet and funny moments with Possum starting school for the first time, being protective of her daddy, and navigating through school friendships. I savored every description, dialogue, and interaction that exemplified Possum’s vulnerability, adorability, and bravery. I can’t wait to read this book again. Inspirational to a reader and most definitely a writer. An absolute gem.


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Wolfie & Fly
by Cary Fagan

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

An early chapter book that portrays the complexities of friendship, anxiety, and imagination in an adorable page-turning read. Renata (Wolfie, as she is nicknamed later in the story) is an only child who is smart and sassy … but elements of her reclusive personality keep her isolated and wary of fostering friendships—much to her parents’ dismay. Renata prefers to create, engineer, and build things all by herself, until one day, a next-door neighbor needs some help. Renata is reluctant to assist Livingston (Fly) until he pleads that his older brother will seek revenge on him for losing his baseball. The adventure of this unlikely pair is so fun to read and brings us back to those beautiful neverending afternoons of our childhood. Humor, tenderness, and the sweet reminisce of new friendship makes this a must read for all ages.


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Boy X
by Dan Smith

Reviewer: Diana Perry

His mother is a scientist. His dad was a soldier. Twelve-year-old Ash is something new altogether. Kidnapped, he wakes up in a strange white room in a clinic on a remote tropical island. Ash needs answers and he has 24 hours to get them. To escape, he must risk his life. But what’s more dangerous: the jungle, his captors, or the mysterious chemical injected into his veins? This is brilliantly written as, just like Ash, I couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad. It all comes together in one satisfying ending. This book could easily be and should be a movie. While there was no mention of a second book, the last sentence leads us to believe that Ash McCarthy’s adventures aren’t over yet.


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The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle
by Gabrielle Kent

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Alfie Bloom, the most unpopular kid in the world, gets a letter: He has inherited a castle! But being the owner of a castle isn’t all fun. Hexbridge conceals a centuries-old secret, the heart of a dangerous mystery that threatens to destroy everything in Alfie’s life. The story hits the ground running and never slows down. Full of mysterious people with even more mysterious names, a bear rug that talks and flies, dragons, druids, and all kinds of magical mystical things. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it does. The only disappointment was reaching the end.


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In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown
by Amy Gary

Reviewer: Diana Perry

The life of the author behind the beloved children’s classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny comes alive in this fascinating biography of Margaret Wise Brown. Margaret’s books have sold millions of copies all over the world, but few people know that she was at the center of a children’s book publishing revolution. She lived life bigger than most of us. Amy Gary does a terrific job of capturing the life of an eccentric, exceptional, and extraordinary woman.


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Cleo Edison Oliver in Persuasion Power
by Sundee T. Frazier

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Cleo is a girl with a big vision. She and her best friend Caylee start a brand new business, making personalized barrettes. Cleo has always wanted to meet her birth parents. She has a small chance and a little bit of hope which might lead her to them. I encourage you to read this energetic, exciting, and eventful novel, because for Cleo, nothing is impossible!