The Festive Frolics of Panda And Owl
by Frank Lewis, Autumn Brook. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Panda and Owl are the truest of friends. No matter what the day or activity may be, it’s their friendship that brings the very best out of it. The five stand-alone stories provide lots of fun time to spend with these delightfully quirky buddies. A sure reminder that the details aren’t so important, but the ones we share them with are the best treasure and adventure of all.
The Bath of Least Resistance
by Gregory E. Bray, Steve Page. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Bogie, an inquisitive pup, has gotten himself in a real mess. Will Henry be able to coax him into a bath? And, will he be able to keep him clean once he does? Sometimes, our best efforts are no guarantee of the desired outcome. Illustrations by Steve Page are comical and endearing.
Lights Out: Book 1
by Nathan Reese Maher. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Something very strange is going on in Applewood. Mysterious disappearances, monstrous happenings, and newly acquired abilities leave the children of the town in a frightful state. Can they survive alone? Can they band together, putting their differences aside? Can they figure out these strange happenings and find “normal” again? What would you do if you woke up one morning and all the adults in your town were missing? Note to parents: The author utilizes the Open Dyslexic font, which helps and encourages readers who may be struggling.
Yo Soy Muslim
by Mark Gonzales, Mehrdokht Amini. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
From Muslim and Latino poet Mark Gonzales comes a touching and lyrical picture book about a parent who encourages his child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity. This tender story is a father’s letter to his daughter that flows with encouragement and heart. In a diverse world, identity can become confusing, and this father builds a gentle undergirding to lift his child to her greatest potential.
I’m Just No Good at Rhyming
by Chris Harris, Lane Smith. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
This delightfully amusing poetry will provide hours, days, even a lifetime of laughter. From chuckles to uproarious guffawing, this book is filled with hilarity’s calling. Though page after page is really outrageous, tucked among them are those that will truly engage us. (Page 116 is simply my favorite). Illustrations by Lane Smith are as raw and entertaining as the text itself. This is a great book to create fun days and lasting memories.
Gulliver’s Travels: Voyage to Lilliput
Retold by Martin Jenkins. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
In the best-known tale from Jonathan Swift’s classic satire, Lemuel Gulliver survives a shipwreck only to find himself on a strange island with even stranger inhabitants: miniature humans, no bigger than his hand. Since 1726, the amazing travels of Gulliver have thrilled audiences of all ages. Martin Jenkins’ retelling of the famous story brings fresh joy to a new generation. Illustrations by Chris Riddell are full of life, revealing the true whimsy of the original tale.
Sammy the Seahorse
by Martha Driscoll & Ann Driscoll, Ed.D, Susan Andra Lion. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Is it a horse? Is it a fish? It’s a Seahorse! Take this amazing journey under the sea and discover fish that look like a horse prince. This watery world is filled with fascinating creatures, males that give birth, and fish that look like plants. Explore and enjoy this educational wonderland. Illustrations by Susan Andra Lion are creative, bright, and whimsical.
by Dee White, Tracie Grimwood. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
This sweet story reminds us there is a place for everyone. Reena is deaf, and Dog is homeless, but together they fit just fine. This story of diversity and acceptance opens the eyes of possibility, and broadens our opportunities.
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Being present in the moment sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But, how many times do you misstep because your mind is racing ahead of you? Mindfulness can be unruly at times, and we may need to stop and let the mind and all her feeling companions catch up so we can start in unison again. The sooner we learn to recognize these awkward missteps, the sooner we can restore pace and presence. Illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds are sweet and peaceful.
Who Killed Darius Drake?
by Rodman Philbrick. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Arthur “Bash Man” is the school thug, paid with candy to bully and threaten other students. When genius orphan Darius Drake employs Arthur to help him discover the origin of a suspicious threat, written in blood, they uncover a mystery that involves Darius’s estranged grandfather, who was imprisoned for forging evidence in a search for a long-lost diamond necklace worth millions. The boys make the dangerous decision to search for the jewels themselves and in the process, discover that the car crash that killed Darius’s parents was not an accident at all. Who will be next? I found Darius to be a character much like a young Sherlock Holmes and was delighted that this story was written from the point of view of Arthur, not Darius. What kid doesn’t enjoy a good mystery?
by Yann and Gwendal Le Bec. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano
Raymond is a good and happy dog—the best kind of dog his owners could ask for! But one day, Raymond has a “big thought” about engaging in his world in a bit more of a human way. Sitting at tables, going to movies, and sipping on cappuccino are all pleasures that Raymond is finally able to enjoy! He soon lands his dream job of working at DOGUE magazine and while he loves the exclusive interviews of acrobatic canines and painting pups, he soon realizes that while human adventures are fun, snuggling, scratching and sniffing are his true doggy desires. The tone of this story is so playful and readers will laugh out loud at all the canine escapades, clever illustrations, and heartwarming ending.
by Guy Lodge. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
When do we begin to strive for perfection? How do we groom our lives for success? Guy Lodge answers these questions in his book Valedictorian, and maps out a simple path to achieve it. If we start our children out right, teach them how to set and achieve goals, we are securing them a future. There’s an old saying, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!” This seems to encapsulate the message here. Posters are included sharing many famous Valedictorians of our time.
Longfellow Finds a Home
by Linda Shayne, Art Leonardi. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Longfellow is a blue Dachshund that has trouble fitting in, and it really gets him down. He has nowhere to call home. He’s short and he’s long. He’s not tough or strong, and he is often passed over by those who are. This story encourages us in dealing with our own awkward issues, and promotes family, loyalty, and finding our special place where we always fit in.
Barnaby Never Forgets
by Pierre Collet-Derby. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano
Oh, the Barnabys of the world. They are the forgetters—whether it’s remembering where the glasses are left, library books are tucked, wet bathing suits sit or dollar bills misplaced. Barnaby Rabbit is the sweetest character, and thank goodness his confidence does not seem shaken as he reminds himself of things he does remember: writing Christmas lists, feeding his grasshoppers, and ice cream night. Author and illustrator Pierre Collet- Derby shares an easy to read “sing song” text accompanied with bold and engaging illustrations. Coming from a family of forgetters (but married to a family of rememberers), Barnaby Never Forgets is very endearing and relatable. Now, where did I leave the book?
La La La: A Story of Hope
by Kate DiCamillo, Jaime Kim. Reviewer: Larissa Juliano
This beautiful book by author extraordinaire Kate DiCamillo and talented illustrator Jaime Kim depicts a little girl finding her voice in a big, big world. The hues of purple, navy, and white background showcase a little girl expressing herself throughout nature. As her journey progresses, she connects with the moon … and realizes that she might have been heard after all. Reading the author and illustrator’s note at the end of the book will also provide a beautiful insight into the background of the story and how ultimately all of us desire companionship and to be heard.
by Kay Barnham, Mike Gordon. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Growing up presents challenges from our first cry in the delivery room. Survival depends on how we meet those challenges. Many are aced by sheer growth and time, but one can challenge us into adulthood. Emotions, and how we deal with them, can undo the best of us. This great teaching series about everyday feelings is a fun introduction to a lifelong quest of self control. The illustrations by Mike Gordon are delightful.
Hubble Bubble: The Wacky Winter Wonderland!
by Tracey Corderoy, Joe Berger. Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 11
The Wacky Winter Wonderland is a fun and imaginative book. Pandora’s Granny, with one wave of her wand, can make a lot of great magic: cookies with sprinkles, snowflakes, and a magical winter wonderland to name a few. Pandora loves to be with her Granny, because everywhere they go becomes magical and fun. I wish I had a grandmother like that, too!
Spy School Secret Service
by Stuart Gibbs. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley goes undercover in the White House to take on a SPYDER operative determined to assassinate the president in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. Kids will just love this action-packed story that starts with a bang and doesn’t even slow down right up to the end. I loved the many ‘covert’ layers to this story; I found it hard to tell the good guys from the bad. It also describes the inner workings of the West Wing. Just don’t pick it up late at night to read a chapter or two—you won’t be able to put it down!
Digby of the Dinosaurs
by Linda Yiannakis. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Sixty-five million years ago, a meteor struck the earth and all the dinosaurs went extinct. Or did they? Digby Darby has no idea about the extraordinary turn his young life is about to take when he runs off one afternoon. He tumbles into a hidden canyon and finds himself among dinosaurs that escaped extinction and survived to the present day in their secret domain. Young readers will love learning the Haanasasen language and pronunciations of the names and words that are found in the back of the book. This story has a wonderful underlying message about adoption: Family is family if they love each other, even if they are different.
by Chris Callaghan. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Life for Jelly Welly—or Jennifer Wellington—is totally and utterly normal in Chompton-on-de-Lyte. She lives with her mom and dad and gran, has nosy neighbors who like to gossip, and really needs to think of a science project that will get her a good grade. But when news breaks of an impending chocopocalypse, her whole world—and the world at large—is thrown into utter chaos. But Jelly has a sneaking suspicion that something isn’t right. She and her gran investigate, picking up on a mysterious trail of clues. This is a great, exciting, and fun mystery with an unforeseen twist that kids will love to sink their teeth into. Includes fun chocolate facts at the end.
The Incredible Magic of Being
by Katherine Erskine. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Julian is definitely not your average kid. He has two moms and no dad and suffers from a heart
condition. Julian has one more thing that makes him different: sensory perception. He never thinks of himself and has the ability to practically read others like a book. This story is unlike any other I’ve read. The book has twists and turns I didn’t see coming and will definitely make readers think as they realize how Julian heals and fills the needs of anyone he meets. I wondered if it’s to forget about his own pitfalls in life or if he is just a blessing among us. Either way, kids will enjoy Julian and learn the meaning of his incredible magic of being.
The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King
by Max Brallier. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Life after the zombie apocalypse is pretty good for 13-year-old Jack Sullivan: He lives in a mindclobberingly cool tree fort with his best friends, speeds through town playing Real-Life Mario Kart, has a crew of monster buddies, battles zombies on the regular, and generally treats life like it’s a videogame! But then Jack’s friends make a startling discovery: They may not be the last kids on earth, after all. This is great news for everyone… except Jack. Just like the other books in this series, this story hits the ground running and never stops. Young readers will love the illustrations of the layout of the town and the magnificent tree fort, and the terrific cliffhanger ending.
The Secret Keepers
by Trenton Lee Stewart. Reviewer: Diana Perry
When Reuben discovers an extraordinary antique watch with a secret power, his life takes an intriguing turn. As one secret leads to another, Reuben finds himself torn between his honest nature and the lure to be a hero. Now he is on a dangerous adventure—full of curious characters, treacherous traps, and hairsbreadth escapes—as he races to solve the mystery before it is too late. This story has so many twists and turns and a little magic weaved throughout. It kept me guessing from start to finish. Another great book by Trenton Lee Stewart!
Emily Windsnap and The Falls of Forgotten Island
by Liz Kessler. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Emily is headed to a tropical island for a relaxing vacation with friends and family. And this time, Emily promises her best friend, Shona, there will be absolutely no adventure, just plenty of fun. But adventure always seems to find Emily, and before she knows it, she ends up on the other side of a powerful waterfall on a forgotten island no one else can get to. This book has it all: tested friendships, danger, young love, fantasy, adventure, and mystery and all of this is wrapped up in secrets that are strategically revealed. Young readers won’t be able to put this one down.
Suee and the Shadow
by Ginger Ly, Molly Park. Reviewer: Diana Perry
Twelve-year-old Suee wears her hair to the left in a point, favors a black dress, has no friends, and she likes it that way. When Suee transfers to the dull and ordinary Outskirts Elementary, she doesn’t expect to hear a strange voice speaking to her from the darkness of the school’s exhibit room, and she certainly doesn’t expect to see her shadow come to life. Then things start to get really weird. I found this book to be an entertaining story to show young readers why they shouldn’t be dark, moody, angry, and unfriendly. A wonderful bedtime read.
Gamer Squad: Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind
by Kim Harrington. Reviewer: Diana Perry
After their scary adventure, Bex and Charlie have sworn never to play Monsters Unleashed again. Then Veratrum Games Corp releases a new augmented reality game featuring aliens instead of monsters, and the best friends just can’t resist. This is the stuff great kids’ books are made of: science fiction, fantasy, adventure, danger, typical school stuff and a bit of young love. A fast and exciting read.
Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart
by Dion Leonard, Lisa Manuzak. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
This is an incredible true story of love, friendship, and chance. The fact that this amazing pup survived China’s Gobi Desert alone with its tremendous heat, and endured a 77-mile race along her newly found friend, brings warmth to your heart and a cheer upon your lips as they cross the finish line as true forever friends.
The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird
by Kim Smith. Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil
Best pals Dana (Scully) and Fox (Mulder) have pitched a tent in the backyard for a sleepover. But the night is full of strange sounds, lights, and shadows. Surely there’s a rational, scientific explanation for everything … or is there? With beautiful illustrations of pint-sized Dana and Fox, this humorous and notscary-at-all story will introduce the TV show to an entire new generation of fans.