Volume 4, Issue 8 (August 2017)


Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight
by Michael Dotsikas and Morgan Spicer

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What a delightful tale! Benjamin and all his helpful friends are so marvelously illustrated, they win your affections with every page. I love the educational impact that so fully embraces the delight of the overall story. And, I treasure even more when a story holds a wide range of application. It keeps a book alive in many readings, never tiring the text. The loving wisdom of mother, the importance of compliance and obedience, and the importance of friends along our journey are all great realities tucked into Benjamin Birdie’s First Flight. This is a great early reading experience. The gentle rhyme carries a pleasant feel throughout. 


Shimmer: Songs of Night
by Raven Howell and Carina Povarchick

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This book delights with every page! I tried to pick a thought, settle on one to share, but it was impossible. Having grown up in a house filled with poetry and song, Howell has managed to capture the essence of life and sprinkle it on every page. Imagination awakens as the day’s eyes grow heavy and night springs to life. There is not enough space allotted to tell you of all the treasured thoughts tucked so brightly illustrated into this book. So I encourage you to find a copy and share the giggles and joys with your children. Let their minds wander and explore all the fancies and wonders of a simple world. They will never outgrow this book, or the creativity it can bring.  


Grateful for You, Good Night!
by Sherry L. Hoffman and Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

My most favorite time with children has always been those twilight moments where the wiggles and giggles give way to their softer, more contemplative side. Winding down for bedtime always gave me a peek into their day, and the ever-increasing growth of their heart and imagination. Warm cuddle time fosters their appreciation, and provides a wonderful opportunity to learn and express gratitude. Not only does Grateful for You, Good Night! help you to do just that, it also opens the joys of the sweeter side of parenting. Illustrations by Jacqueline L. Challiss Hill provide a loving visual stage for the text to dance upon, and together make a great nighttime routine.  


We Love You, Rosie!
by Cynthia Rylant and Linda Davick

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

We have all read and experienced the notions of a dog’s unconditional love. They wait so faithfully for those special moments we share. We Love You, Rosie! shows the turn of the coin as we see the unconditional love of a pet’s forever family. When she’s good and when she’s naughty, Rosie is loved. When she’s up or when she’s down, Rosie is loved. There’s a warm confidence in knowing we are loved for who we are, not just for the actions of a moment, but every day, in every way.  


Where Does A Rainbow Grow?
by Kathryn Kemp Guylay and Alexander Guylay

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The sequel to Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow introduces a new character in the series: Sammy the Bunny, who takes Blake on a journey to discover where healthy rainbow foods come from.

This simple, easy-to-follow book makes healthy eating a cinch. Teaching children the benefits of fruits and vegetables by color will carry a long-term effect, and it was interesting to see the areas of our body and the ways that they are affected by each color-coded food. The book addresses healthy eating, farm-to-table concepts, and plant identification in an engaging and positive way.  


Pip and Posy: the New Friend
by Nosy Crow and Axel Scheffler

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

When I think of awkward adjustments, my mind always regresses back to school days. Those days when life broadened and new members entered the scene. Those awkward times where threesomes replace our treasured one-on-one’s. It seemed harder for girls to adjust than it did for the boys. Or, they were better at hiding it. Oh, all the jealous emotions and mood swings that came with the sudden insecurities of group friendships and interactions. Scheffler eases the understanding into simple awareness, before hormones and emotions fight for control, leading to a smoother introduction. I do believe the better informed we are, the better we advance. Emotional health is as important as physical health, and early childhood development in both is an added plus!  


The Seashore Book
by Charlotte Zolotow and Wendell Minor

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Oh, the amazing power of the imagination. Words form with gentle churning, rising, and falling like the hand of a painter on canvas. A small boy’s inquisitive mind wonders about the world that lays beyond what he can see. Living in the mountains, he has never seen the sea. He’s never felt the cool breezes that float through the air, collecting the salty sprays of a playful ocean. Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and you captured every word as it played across your mind like old movie reels? Charlotte Zolotow chooses her words artfully in this delightful depiction of a day at the beach, bringing it to life with sheer imagination. Redesigned for its 25th anniversary, The Seashore Book beckons yet another generation.  


My Kicks: A Sneaker Story
by Susan Verde and Katie Kath

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

There’s nothing like a broken-in pair of shoes to cushion each step with comfort. This cute story expresses the cycle of denial to acceptance when that sad moment comes and reality says a new pair is necessary. Like parting with old friends, memories flow. Nothing can replace these old kicks. And then, like meeting new friends, you find that special pair that holds promise of great things ahead. Hidden under the cover’s flap is a special surprise to help your little ones learn to tie their shoes.  


Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist
by Jess Keating and Marta Alvarez Miguens

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This fascinating true story of Eugenie Clark is inspirational on many levels. The heart of a child that catches the magic of a dream and lets it carry her for a lifetime. In her 92 years of life, she never let anyone tell her she can’t, or that her goal was unattainable. Seeing beauty where others saw ugliness and fear, she was able to accomplish many amazing feats, personal and world acclaimed. This is truly a valuable read, and will gratify the grit in every true heart.


Find Mom’s Wok
by Jung Hee Kim and Jung Ah Noh

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is truly a delightful story. The illustrations endear us not only to Shao Ming and her dilemma, but to the wonderful foods of China. The story carries the tender emotions that accompany carelessness, and the diligence of responsibility. I personally appreciated the footnotes tucked among the pages that helped with pronunciation, and details that heightened the enjoyment of the story. Not leaving it to my foreign mind to hack at the beauty of their culture and language. The point of the story, its colorful setting, and its culture all made this a fun reading experience.  


Big Little Hippo
by Valeri Gorbachev

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Growing up can seem ever so slow to the anxious little one perceived to be caught in a snail’s pace. Eagerness and longing can be miserable companions. Luckily for little hippo, he learns being big can mean many things, and sometimes you can help others just the way you are. It’s easy for children to feel lost in the large world around them and lose heart, and sometimes it’s the smallest things that can set it right.  


The Trampling Trembling Tanglelow Tale
by Greg McGoon

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The path to adulthood is rocky at best. The very word itself insinuates we have arrived intact, in some sort of fullness or maturity. But emotions? Who really understands them, much less makes noble or productive alliances with them? Greg McGoon has been given an acute ability to see these underlining Tramples and Trembles as they work their dastardly deeds upon us unsuspecting surface-dwellers. He shines a light upon what otherwise appears shady ground and strengthens our steps as we pass through. Whether adult or child, this poetic and lighthearted approach to those very real experiences of emotion offers us a healthy and fun understanding that is sure to make the journey a success. McGoon’s text and the illustrations by Jessa Orr bring such life and reality to what youth has been battling in the dark so long. They present a face we can understand … and overcome.  


And Then Comes Summer
by Tom Brenner and Jaime Kim

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Summer is such a magical time for kids and adults. Warm days of playing, exploring, and adventuring are what childhood memories are made of. And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner and illustrated by Jaime Kim is a stunning picture book about these endless summers days. Brenner poetically starts each page with cause-and-effect language that will lend itself to delightful responses from young readers. The illustrations are just as rich as the language. Acrylic paint is vibrantly used to depict “colorful sprays” of fireworks in a steamy summer sky, hopscotch on the driveway, red, white, and blue streamers on bikes, and ear-to-ear grins. A must-read for children.  


The Whopper
by Rebecca Ashdown

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Author and illustrator Rebecca Ashdown shares a heartwarming and hilarious story about what happens when a little boy named Percy tells a lie that snowballs into some monstrous circumstances. The Whopper begins with sweet Grandma gifting her well-meaning, but not so well-liked, knitting concoctions to the family. Luckily for Percy, the latest sweater gift is for the family dog. Unfortunately, the dog gets into quite a mess (literally) and Percy has to throw the sweater away. Problem solved? Not even close. Percy lies about the sweater’s demise, only to result in a lot of guilt, and a big whopper of a lie monster that follows Percy’s every move. White space is beautifully used to showcase the vibrant and bold illustrations. Readers will connect with Percy’s predicament and hopefully realize that as cute as a little whopper monster is, lying is definitely a whopper of a no-no.  


Hattie and Hudson
by Chris Van Dusen

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

A sweet and surprising story about what friends will do to protect each other. Haddie is a young girl who loves nature and all the gifts it has to offer—especially the lake. Haddie is so happy on her water adventures that she sings a song that ignites a mysterious creature’s curiosity. Hudson is a kindhearted but startlingly enormous creature that emerges from the lake to befriend Haddie. She is not afraid of him, but others are. And the two begin a beautiful (but secret) friendship. What really stands out in Van Dusen’s story are the illustrations. His artistic and writing skills are sure to delight and surprise us in the best of ways, just like Hudson.  


The Dragon Hunters
by James Russell and Link Choi

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Brothers Paddy and Flynn are … the Dragon Hunters! A fast-paced and engaging read-aloud about a journey to save the family dog from an evil (and exquisitely illustrated) dragon. Written in clever rhyme, this story is sure to delight dragon-loving and imagination-using readers who enjoy a great adventure story. The pictures by illustrator Link Choi are so unique, with sketches on white backdrop for some pages, and then corner-to-corner vibrant dragon details on the other pages. A few shivers and gasps will happen as readers notice the creepy dragon tails, claws, and teeth during Paddy and Flynn’s rescue mission. BONUS: The book is interactive! Readers can download a special app to bring the fearless brothers’ action into 3-D glory. So fun! With Paddy and Flynn around, we’ll be kept on our toes as we wonder what adventures (and dragons) lie ahead!  


There Might Be Lobsters
by Carolyn Crimi and Laurel Molk

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Sukie and Chunky Monkey just weren’t sure about the beach. After all, there was a lot to be afraid of! Stairs! Beach balls! Waves! And … lobsters! An adorable day at the shore becomes a wonderful story about getting over fears as a dog, the dog’s stuffed monkey, and their fearless leader Eleanor take to the sea for a side-step outside Sukie’s comfort zone. The time explaining the thought behind Sukie’s fears is exceptional. Perfectly relatable for kids to absorb but not so long and drawn out to lose their attention. The illustrations are wonderfully paired to the story–the sunny and carefree whimsy of the art confirms the storyline without making Sukie’s apprehension seem unjustified. This is a great book for the over-cautious kid in all of us.



Sea Monkey & Bob
by Aaron Reynolds and Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Reviewer: Julianne Black

When two aquatic friends—a sea monkey and a puffer fish—suddenly become fearful that one might sink to the bottom and the other might float to the surface, a very (not so) serious drama unfolds among the creatures of the ocean. Reynolds nails the geeky neurosis of each friend through goofy dialog while Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates the drama the pair experiences keeping it together and joining forces to overcome their terrifying (unlikely) dilemma. When reading it as a bedtime book, my daughter’s favorite part was giving the peripheral fish their own voices based on the faces they were making. Having a reason to jump into an outside perspective on irrational fears will make a nice teaching tool for kids suffering from heightened levels of anxiety. Great read and fun to share, Sea Monkey & Bob makes for a giggletastic addition to any child’s library.  


The Very Very Very Long Dog
by Julia Patton

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Oh, Bartelby! What a mess you’ve made this time! This is a sweet tale of a kind and happy dog living in a bookstore and playing with his family, except that he is so long from head to tail, he has no idea the trouble his bottom is causing! We follow Bartelby on his daily walk and watch what kind of chaos is in store for a dog who is so long, he has no idea what his back half is up to! It’s up to his family to come up with a solution, and quick because Bartelby has vowed never to leave the bookstore again. Julia Patton does a wonderful job taking you on Bartelby’s walks, and the illustrations are a wonderful mix of minimalistic watercolor-sketch, yet so full of story. Each page’s illustrations take the story well beyond the narration, making it a joy to linger and absorb poor Bartelby’s surroundings and unfortunate predicaments.  


Weather in 30 Seconds
by Jen Green, Tom Woolley, and Adam Scaife

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Designed for grades 3 and up, this book is a wealth of bite-sized information on a dizzying amount of weather topics. Why it rains, deserts and droughts, even global warming are broken down into bare bones, giving kids (and inquisitive parents) easy to discuss snapshots into weather phenomenon. The flexibound binding choice is perfect for this book—light enough to carry in a backpack, yet durable for constant reference. Well-written and illustrated, this is a great guide for science-minded kids at home or any science teacher to have on hand for a quick visual aid.  


Brobot Bedtime
by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Scott Campbell

Reviewer: Julianne Black

A super cute book for any robot fanatic, written and illustrated like a flip book or comic strip— meaning the characters don’t always say what they are doing, leaving some of the storyline to be told by the scene they are in. Why is this interesting? Many children’s books spell out in the narrative what is happening and use the pictures to support the text. In this book, the reader is looking to the whole picture for information. Adorable robot speech, interactions, and robot bedtime drama make this a fun story for kids, but also for the lucky person who gets to read it with them! This book has become an insta-fave at our house, and will I read it over and over? Affirmative!  


Sophie and Scottie’s Adventures of the Monarch Mystery
by Cindy C. Murray

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Fraternal twins, Sophie and Scarlet (Scottie) don’t look alike but are very much alike in their personalities and interests. They love growing up on their farm, Shear Haven Ranch, and think their lives are full of great adventures. Then one day their aunt sends them a strange-looking frame with an even more unusual picture. It seems like the worst present ever until they discover its magic. The photo is actually another world that they can enter right through the frame. The girls have one wild adventure after another and meet their Uncle Drake, who leads them to lands not seen before where many undiscovered creatures dwell. Readers will escape into this world along with Sophie and Scottie. This is a fun book and a great way to spend an afternoon.  


by Ally Condie

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Cedar Lee and her brother Miles are surprised to learn that their mom buys a summer house in her hometown of Iron Creek. All three of them are struggling to heal after losing their dad and brother in a car accident. This story completely yet subtly describes in detail the acts, emotions, and pathway that the survivors experience. It is, however, an uplifting and fun-to-read story. Cedar makes friends with Leo, a young local who works at the Summerlost Festival and helps to get her a job there. Two mysteries drive this story. This masterfully told tale seems to pull the reader into it so that they feel more like they’re experiencing the story rather than just reading it. To elevate the theatrical mood, this book is divided into Acts 1 through 3, rather than chapters. I really couldn’t put this book down until I finished the last page. Just wonderful!  



The Pudding Problem
by Joe Berger

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Sam Lyttle in the The Pudding Problem is a complicated kid trying to figure stuff out, and hoping to be understood. He tends to stretch the truth or as some say, he constantly tells mostly “harmless” lies. Sam has a great imagination, and you like him even though he tends to do some unlikable things. In the end he decides to come clean, or could his final “truth” be another lie?  



Laugh Out Loud
by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

In Laugh Out Loud, Jimmy, a middle school kid, loves reading so much that he’s inspired to start a book company for kids and run by kids. What I loved most about this book is that it really gives hope to dreams no matter what age you might be. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of your dreams as long as you believe in yourself and your dream, and of course, work towards it. Most people laugh and make fun of Jimmy, but that doesn’t stop him. Instead, Jimmy’s actions inspire his mom and dad. Will Jimmy get the funding for his book company? Read the book and find out.  

Volume 4, Issue 7 (July 2017)


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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)


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.


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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. 


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! 


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.