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Showing posts from April, 2019

Otto and Pio by Marianne Dubuc

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 Otto and Pio by Marianne Dubuc Review Copy from  Princeton Architectural Press There is something magical to me about forest stories, probably because of the deep impression left on me as a child by the picture book Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, illustrated by the inimitable Arnold Lobel. Of course, tree houses are pretty intriguing and unforgettable as well. Dubuc's Otto and Pio has that forest magic and a fantastic tree house that will linger in your memory long after you close the covers of this marvelous picture book. Dubuc's pencil and water color illustrations are warm and inviting and Pio is pretty much the cutest creature (to hatch from the coolest "egg") I have seen on the page in a while!  Living in a very old forest in a very old tree, Otto the squirrel is surprised to find a strange green ball on the branch leading to his front door as he leaves his house one morning. It's still there when he returns, but he goes about his business - until a "very smal…

Mya's Strategy to Save the World by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, 208 pp, RL 4

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Mya's Strategy to Save the World  by Tanya Lloyd Ki Review Copy from Penguin Random House
It is rare, for me, to read a middle grade novel where the main character educates herself on and is passionate about global social justice. Reading Mya's Strategy to Save the World, I was often reminded of Marley Dias Gets It Done and So Can You!, a non-fiction part DIY, part memoir by a real-life-kid who tackled a social justice issue. Dias's book is a fantastic call to action filled with genuinely helpful ideas on how to educate and act. Dias and her book, in part, are so successful because her mother is a social activist with a foundational knowledge that she shared with her daughter, who then passed it on to readers. What I appreciate about Kyi's book is the fact that Mya is a self-starter who is, for the most part, educating herself while also trying to educate others. And, she's a twelve-year-old girl in seventh grade who is succumbs to the unavoidable challenges of girls …

Big Foot and Little Foot: The Squatchicorns, by Ellen Potter, illustrations by Felicita Sala, 131 pp, RL 3

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Big Foot and Little Foot: The Squatchicorns by Ellen Potter, illustrated by Felicita Sala Review Copy from Abrams Kids
This third book in the Big Foot and Little Foot series finds Hugo and his best friend Gigi making a birthday present for Boone, Hugo's human friend, when some they learn they have visitors. Nogg and Yama are Sasquatches with horns on their heads, also known as Squatchicorns, who, with their parents and their whole clan, have had to flee their home cavern. And they have a secret. As Hugo and Nogg make their way to Boone's house to attend his birthday party, Hugo tries to to find out why the Squatchicorns are on the move. Nogg tells a story of moving to Craggy Cavern after a flood only to have things go missing. Then an eerie blue light is seen floating in the dark passages of the cavern. By the time the strange sounds start, the Squatchicorns - and Hugo - are feeling spooked. Hugo is not sure he believes in ghosts, but it definitely sounds like the cavern is haunt…

Babies Can Sleep Anywhere by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Carolina Búzio

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Babies Can Sleep Anywhere by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Carolina Búzio Review Copy from AbramsAppleseed To me, one of the most wondrous things about becoming a new mother was the way my daughter could sleep anywhere. Eleven years later when baby number three arrived, we would park his basinet in the center of the kitchen/family room and marvel at the way he slept amid the chaos. Babies Can Sleep Anywhere is a sweetly rhyming reminder of this time, joyfully illustrated with a gentle palette and playful patterns. Wheeler shows readers all the places and ways that baby animals sleep, from puppy piles to upside down bats to pairs of goats and moose taking a snooze in a cranberry bog. Each quatrain ends with the refrain, "But babies can sleep anywhere." The gentle rhymes and soothing colors are meant to lull little listeners to sleep, but this book is such a delight to read and the illustrations are so wonderful, you'll want to keep your eyes open!

How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure

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How To Be A Cat by Nikki McClure Review Copy from AbramsAppleseed
With her inimitable paper-cut illustrations, each from a single sheet of black paper, and innate connection to the natural world, McClure's fantastic How To Be A Cat is now available as a board book babies are guaranteed to love. A day in the life of a kitten and mama cat is described with one concise word per page. Starting with with STRETCH, the pair moves on to CLEAN, POUNCE (with kitten jumping on mama cat), BRAVE (mama cat turns on kitten, making fur stand up), the pair heads outside to explore, hunt, tumble and so much more before returning home to FEAST and DREAM.


Leyla by Galia Bernstein

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Leyla by Galia Bernstein Review Copy from Abrams Kids Leyla is a sweet story of living with a big family by Israeli author and illustrator Bernstein, but it is also a wonderful story about finding peace when the noise is too much. While the word meditation is never used, Bernstein's story is so well told - and illustrated - that it doesn't need to be. Leyla is tired of her large, fussy, busy, noisy family that is always wanting to hug, kiss and groom her. So she runs away to a quiet place, hurting her foot on a rock along the way. There she meets a lizard. Who shushes her. The lizard is very busy doing nothing and Leyla wants to learn how to do nothing, too. The lizard instructs her saying, 
To do nothing, you sit perfectly still, feel the sun on your skin, listen to the leaves rustling un the wind and the insects buzzing in the air, and think of nothing at all. In my favorite illustrations in Leyla, she sits, eyes closed, body relaxed, next to the colorful lizard. When she opens h…

The Questioneers: Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants, by Andrea Beaty, illustrations by David Roberts, 144 pp, RL 3

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The Questioneers: Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants by Andrea Beaty illustrated by David Roberts Review Copy from Abrams Kids In this second book in the Questioneers Series of chapter books (based on the phenomenal picture book trilogy, soon to be a quartet) the constantly curious Ada Twist and knowledge of the scientific method save the day when a pair of pants engineered by her pal Rosie send Uncle Ned up into the clouds. It is great to get to know more about Ada, and her interest and wonder for the world around her bursts off the page. And I definitely love seeing more of the mod 70's designs in her home and on her family! Ada begins her day pursuing the science behind smells, with a brief moment of future planning for experiments that will determine which came first - the chicken or the egg. With a brief reminder from her brother, Arthur, to remember Rule No. 1: Don't take Arthur's things without his permission, she moves on to more of her favorite thing - having a question t…

Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horáček

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Song of the Wild: A First Book of Wild Animals by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horáček Review Copy from Candlewick Press Nicola Davies is a wonderful and prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. With a degree in zoology and time spent studying whales and bats, as well as work with the BBC's Natural History Unit, Davies shines when writing books about animals and the natural world. I've reviewed eight of her books in as many years and am always delighted and entranced by her work. With Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals, Davies adds another title to her collection of essential books for all children (more in this series at the end of the review). On thing I especially appreciate about her work is the breadth and organization that she brings to each subject, which is probably informed by her training and work as a zoologist. Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals is divided into five sections: Big and Small, Colors and Shapes, Animal Homes, Animal Babies, and Anim…