Volume 4, Issue 10 (October 2017)

 
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You Must Bring a Hat!
by Simon Philip, Kate Hindley

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

I love when a book engages me at first glance. It draws with inner appeal before it even addresses the conscious mind. Color, layout, and font, all hit us before we agree to follow through and pick it up. The feel, the size, the illustrations, all capture before the first word is read. That’s when the book becomes an experience. This book has it all. Once I was inside, the story proved itself with chuckles and anticipation, ending with an out loud laugh. Cute from start to finish, this is an enjoyable read.


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Roar and Sparkles Go to School
by Sarah Beth Durst, Ben Whitehouse

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Everyone gets a little nervous about the first day of school. Even mommies and daddies get a tiny tumble in their tummies. It’s the start of new things, new directions, and new interests. It can all be a bit scary. Big sisters and brothers who have already mastered the event can be such a big help in getting little ones ready. Roar finds a whole new appreciation for his sister, and is sure happy to have her hand to hold.


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Princess Kitty
by Steve Metzger, Ella Okstad

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever felt the warmth rise in your cheeks when you mistakenly misinterpreted a situation? Princess Kitty thinks life is grand in her palace with her faithful human attendants. She is particularly excited because the palace is bustling about with the buzz of surprise, and Princess Kitty is sure it is centered around her! How will she handle the situation, if she is mistaken? What’s a princess to do? You’ll have to read it to find out!


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The Oyster’s Secret
by Traci Dunham, Hannah Tuohy

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Waiting is a hard task. Waiting, when no one else can imagine what you’re waiting for, can even be harder. It looks as if Mr. Oyster is missing out! He can’t do any of the wonderful things those around him can do. But, he is secretly content, because he knows something beautiful is growing inside of him. Something only time and patience can bring forth. Value and sacrifice are often productive companions. The illustrations by Hannah Tuohy are warm and inviting, lending a sweetness to the tale.


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Chef Aiden and the Corn Maze
by Tracy Andrews, Gaston Hauviller

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The power of suggestion, it can make us do crazy things! When Aiden’s brother Traven suggests the corn field is haunted, fear pops in to meddle with common circumstances, until the boys are running for their life. Like a shadow on the wall looms larger than its object and a bump in the night seems to echo louder than in the day, imagination can dance with suggestion until reality flees away. Thanks to the farmer, the boys come to their senses and all have a great time. And, once again Chef Aiden shares his special recipe with us. Illustrations by Gaston Hauviller are bright and colorful, bringing fullness to the overall experience.


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Chef Aiden Goes to the Zoo
by Tracy Andrews, Gaston Hauviller

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

I find this story refreshing. It left me singing an old Beatles tune. I get by with a little help from my friends. A casual visit to the zoo soon becomes quite an adventure, as circumstances take an unexpected turn. I’m always amazed at the sense of community that binds the animal world. Aiden and Traven find remedy to their dilemma with the clever help of the animal kingdom. A cute story to build up in a time when unity and helpfulness are crumbling. And, Chef Aiden shares his special gluten free banana bread recipe with us as a bonus. The story offers friendship, adventure, helping hands, and yummy treats, filling all the warm spots of life.


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I Am Bat
by Morag Hood

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Join the grumpily adorable Bat as he searches for his missing cherries in this vibrant and hilarious picture book. This short, easy to read book captured my heart. Bat is simply delightful, and reminiscent of youth. Strong desire, do or die stands, that quickly melt into new desires and different directions. This is an adorable storyline to introduce adjustments and flexibility. Bat’s winning personality makes this a fun storytime for all.


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The Adventures of Aiden
by Aiden and Louis Fornicola

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This easy reader encourages literary growth by following a young boy in fun and relatable activities. The book contains three stories about children who are able to accomplish great things by working together, such as flying a kite, climbing a tree, or helping small creatures in a pond. Aiden and his helpful friends find wonderful adventures in the everyday joys of their lives.


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Growing Friendships: A Kids’ Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
by Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore and Christine McLaughlin

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Conflict is inevitable. Even the kindest person comes face to face with it. We can’t protect our children from it, but we can prepare them for it. Growing up, we often learn the hard way, that the people or events that hurt us are only a small portion of the damage we incur. Most of the trouble comes with our response. How we handle the situations far outweighs the issues themselves. Growing Friendships is a social etiquette manual for kids. It’s clever pictorial approach makes understanding easy, and the more we understand, the more empowered we become. Start your children early, prepare them before they encounter that bully on the playground or become one. Often, as parents we feel at a loss to advise when approached with delicate issues of response. Take advantage of the opportunity to encourage your children with the wisdom of professionals, as presented in this book.


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Under-the-Bed Fred
by Linda Bailey, Colin Jack

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This fun story is the first in an early chapter book series by award-winning duo, Linda Bailey and Colin Jack. It’s a lighthearted face-your-fears tale that proves dreaded things may not be as bad as we think. In fact, it just might be the most interesting thing that’s happened to us yet. There are smiles and chuckles as fear fades, and friendship takes its place.


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Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat
by Shana Hollowell, Jennifer Finch

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Perception! A single act or application, and yet it can produce multiple interpretations. Little Mouse is hungry for a sweet treat and sets out to find one among his friends. Each quickly responds to Mouse’s query with a definite yes, but Mouse also quickly learns everyone has their own interpretation of sweet. His fun adventure, like most, leads him right back where he started: home. Where life is truly sweet.


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If There Were Two of Me
by Karen Cogan

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

What would happen if there were two of you? I myself have taken this flight of fancy a time or two, when the busyness of motherhood seemed to swallow up not only time, but the imagination needed to make it through. This is a great opportunity to stir young minds beyond the daily tasks at hand. To imagine and dream, taking flight from the common, and finding what could be. Illustrations by Putut Putri are warm and nostalgic.


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Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Empire State of New York
by Barbara Terry and Beth Ann Stifflemire

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Mr. Waldorf has a hard time hanging on to his spectacles in this fun and educational series, The Spectacular World of Waldorf. However, his search for them leads us all on a grand adventure through some amazing places! On this adventure, he tours the famous Statue of Liberty, explores Niagara Falls, tries ice skating at Rockefeller Center, hikes the Adirondacks, and climbs the Empire State Building. The illustrations are big and bright, and lend a great visual to the learning experience of our travels with the fun-loving Labrador, Mr. Waldorf.


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The Zoo’s Secret
by Lindsey Bell

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Many children wonder what happens at the zoo when the visitors go home, the lights dim, the sun sets, and the moon rises. Do the animals sleep? Eat? Play? In this delightful rhyming and beautifully illustrated story, readers discover the zoo’s secret: DANCING! Animals shimmy and shake, twist and turn, and sing and dance all in the wee hours of the night. Porpcupines doing the hokey-pokey? You betcha! African animals beating on their drums? Yes! Owls in a masquerade, foxes doing the foxtrot (of course), and flamingos performing flamenco are just a handful of hilarious animal antics that readers will relish in. Such creative and rhythmic prose to cleverly describe the animals dancing hobbies. I can only hope the toucans will do the can-can for me next time I make a trip to the zoo!


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Boomer and Friends!
by Joshua Viola, Lindsey Bell, Aaron Lovett

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

It’s not often we read many books about bison in the prairie. That is what makes this sweet story about friendship, teamwork, and loyalty that much more fun and unique! Boomer is a tenderhearted bison that creates quite a BOOMING sound when he stomps, along with many other animals whose names correspond with their sounds. Author Joshua Viola explores the idea of friends becoming family and the companionship and security that provides … especially when Roarer the mountain lion is up to no good. What makes us stand apart can also be our best asset and Boomer is determined to save his friends from this sneaky feline. Colorful illustrations from corner to corner will captivate readers, and the expressions on the animals’ faces are exquisitely captured. Writers will definitely be inspired to come up with their own animal stories after reading about these loyal and brave friends.


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The Laughing Witch
by Andrew Newman, Liesl Bell

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

A beautifully illustrated story about a witch’s desire to help others using gifts from nature, her simmering pot, and a big heart. Learn how she lives hand-in-hand with all of nature and how she creates sacred space to honor those she loves and cares for. The book, which is part of the Conscious Bedtime Story Club collection, is a sure-fire winner for parents seeking conscious parenting tools. The book also includes simple steps for children and parents to practice in order to feel gratitude for nature’s gifts and a “Bedtime Bubble Spell” with calming techniques to feel relaxed before bed.


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The Boy Who Searched for Silence
by Andrew Newman, Alexis Aronson

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

The Boy Who Searched for Silence addresses themes like overcoming obstacles and searching for inner peace. The boy is meant to represent how many of us feel when anxiety and fear overtake our emotions, and how deep breathing along with meditation techniques can allow us to feel enlightment. As a result, the boy literally feels lighter inside. A meditation practice called “The Gratitude Spiral” is very simply described and will allow children to open up their hearts and voices to their parents at bedtime.


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Princess Amber
by Margaret Wright

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I always have a soft spot for books with whimsical lands and heroines, but to add in a true life story about a brave and precious girl fighting for her life? My heart is full. This lovely story shares the journey of a little girl’s short but precious life battling a medical condition that affected different parts of her body. Written in rhyming, lyrical prose, readers will learn about Amber’s interests, her family and friends, but most of all, her sweet spirit and big heart. The story also mentions a playground built specifically for children with special needs. The author’s note gives great insight into this special class and Amber’s international following. What a wonderful literary opportunity to discuss what compassion, empathy, and philanthropy really mean.


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Halloween ABC
by Nosy Crow, Jannie Ho

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Board books? Yes, please! Books that elicit giggles and interest for my 5, 3, and 1-year-old are a favorite in our house and Halloween ABC definitely delivers. The pictures are bold and bright, funny and unique. Each alphabetical page represents a different Halloween object or idea. What makes this book especially stand out (aside from the awesome illustrations) is the creativity behind the ideas. Cute pictures of candy corns are sprinkled throughout and the more my little story monsters read the book, the more extra details they notice on the colorful, hard pages. I’m not quite ready for the plethora of candy and costumes coming this fall, but after reading this delightful story, my kiddos sure are!


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Boo Who?
by Ben Clanton

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Boo Who? reminds us that everyone has something special and unique to offer in our relationships, no matter how different we may appear or experience life. Upon reading this book, I immediately thought of how impactful this story would be to share with my students before recess or P.E. Boo is a ghost who can’t touch, feel, or participate in typical childhood activities. Feeling defeated and left out, Boo wonders where and how he fits in until a game of hide and seek turns into the perfect chance for his invisibility to ironically make him feel noticed. Nothing spooky about this sweet little ghost! It’s an adorable, clever, and thoughtful read for all ages.


I Want to Be in a Scary Story
by Sean Taylor, Jean Jullien

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I love stories that use unique fonts to differentiate between each character’s dialogue. So fun to read aloud! This adorable story shares Little Monsters’ dilemma of wanting to be in a scary story … but not TOO scary! What ensues is a cute and surprise ending that will delight readers and hopefully inspire some of their own spooky/funny stories. This unique story will surely be a hit during Halloween time but also to any book lover who enjoys tenderhearted monsters and interactive read-alouds!


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The Chalk Rainbow
by Deborah Kelly, Gwynneth Jones

Reviewer: Julianne Black

The Chalk Rainbow is a pure celebration of co-creation, love, acceptance, and triumph through dedication and appreciation. The story centers around a family experiencing some of the totally naturally occurring challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the ripples it creates in daily routines. ASD is so different from family to family, but The Chalk Rainbow does a great job of expressing common situations without drawing any specific conclusion. Told by the sister in the family, her challenge to engage and comfort her brother becomes a game that transforms into an adventure, eventually becoming a situationally-unique and brilliant solution. A staple for families, friends, and schools to teach insight, understanding, and creative problem solving, The Chalk Rainbow is both an important communication tool and storytime treasure.


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Zip! Zoom! On a Broom
by Teri Sloat, Rosalinde Bonnet

Reviewer: Julianne Black

A delicious Halloween treat, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom counts up to 10 and back while racing through a night’s adventure for ten crazy witches. One goes zip, two go zoom. Three witches glide from room to room. Just try to keep up with these gory gals, as they go on an adventure with skeletons, monsters, bats, haunted castles, lightening, dragons, and more. While the story and illustration are amazing, I think what sets this one apart is that it counts both up to and back from the number 10, and with all the witches trying to stay on the same broom, the visual component of addition as well as subtraction is present. Fast paced and fun enough to hold an audience but consistent enough to get the fundamentals across, Zip! Zoom! On a Broom is a wonderful addition to your October bedtimes or school’s seasonal reading routine.


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The Splendid Baron Submarine
by Eric Bower

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Waldo “W.B.” Baron always speaks the truth. His teacher and fellow students would definitely disagree. They don’t know that his parents are secret inventors of unbelievable gadgets and machines. When Waldo explains what he did over summer vacation, he is punished for lying. One day, his parents are hired to go on a secret treasure hunt and thus begins a tale of adventure, danger, mystery, and all kinds of inventions. Kids will thrill over reading this book. I know I did, and I’m a big kid at heart. I found this book most creative and see it as stirring all kids of visuals in the reader’s imagination. They will feel like they’re along for the wild ride with each page.


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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow
by Jessica Townsend

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks—and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. This is the ultimate book for any child to read, especially those who feel inferior and untalented. Morrigan’s life changes dramatically in this story that rivals classics such as Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland. The ultimate fairy tale—I loved reading every page!


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Skeleton Tree
by Kim Ventrella

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Twelve-year-old Stanly finds a bone growing in his yard and knows he’ll have the perfect photo to submit to the Young Discoverer’s Competition. With such a unique find, he’s sure to win the grand prize. But, oddly, the bone doesn’t appear in any photos. Even stranger, it seems to be growing into a full skeleton . . . one that only children can see. Stanly’s little sister Miren adopts the skeleton as a friend, but when she starts to grow sick, Stanly suspects that the skeleton is responsible and does everything in his power to drive the creature away. This story unravels like a flower in the morning sun and is the kindest way to help any child, whether current or in the future, to deal with losing a loved one.


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Horace Burp: Lizard Boy
by Christine Tennent, Rob Overend

Reviewer: Diana Perry

This is the perfect, fun to read book about a not-so-typical 8-year-old boy named Horace. Why is he different? Because he seems to have the capabilities of most chameleons and the older he gets, the more traits he acquires. This is the beginning of Horace’s adventures as he overcomes the hardships of being unpopular, fighting off bullies, and trying not to let his chameleon-like talents show. I get the impression that Horace wouldn’t trade his special talents to be the most popular boy in the entire school.


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Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Cake Contest!
by Tracey Corderoy, Joe Berger

Reviewer: Olivia Amiri, age 10

Hubble Bubble The Great Granny Cake Contest, is a humorous, fun read. Everyone should have a grandma like Pandora’s grandma! Wherever Pandora’s granny goes, she uses her magic. Yes, Granny is a witch! She causes chaos and craziness wherever she goes, including the house museum, on a cooking show, and at the school garden fair. Will Pandora get everything back to normal before everyone finds out what Granny has done? Read the book to find out!