Showing posts from June, 2021

Apple of My Pie by Mika Song, 128 pp, RL 1.5

  Apple of My Pie   by Mika Song Review Copy from RHGraphics While I missed Norma and Belly's first adventure in Donut Feed the Squirrels , I am happy that they have embarked on another food-centered adventure in Apple of My Pie . The adventure begins when Gramps, with his hilariously oversized spectacles, needs a break from reading out loud to Little Bee. The pair head down from their tree and off to the farmer's market where Gramps finds himself on a truck headed to an apple farm and pie making factory. Little Bee runs back home to rally Norma and Belly and make a rescue plan. As the trio sets their plan in action, Gramps is headed down a conveyor belt and into the pie factory with the rest of the apples - minus his glasses. Norma, Belly and Little Bee do their best, but it is Helen, a student visiting the orchard on a field trip, who spots Gramps and keeps him from being gobbled up in a pie eating contest before returning him, pie and all, to the Osage orange tree where they

Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn, 272 pp, RL 3

  Monster Friends  by Kaeti Vandorn Review Copy from RHGraphic VanDorn's debut,  Crabapple Trouble , encompassed her two-fold talent for creating a visually engaging world while telling a story centered on social-emotional challenges and joys. In Monster Friends , two seeming opposites, the boisterous Emily and the retreating Reggie, find that they both struggle with the same difficulty - being heard by others. Housesitting at the seaside, Reggie is brooding over his latest adventure gone wrong. He is avoiding the pile of letters from the League of Locksmiths asking him to renew his membership or risk losing it while working up the courage - and the right words - to tell his exploring partner that he's not cut out for adventure. Emily's arrival - and her summer to-do list - draws Reggie out of the house and embarking on another adventure. As the unlikely pair fulfill Emily's goals of searching for sea monsters and planning beach parties, Reggie gains a new perspective o

Wildflowers by Liniers, 40 pp, RL 1.5

  Wildflowers by Liniers published by  TOON Books   Telescoping in over the course of a few panels, a plane crash and its survivors are revealed. Three young girls sit on the beach, deciding to explore this mysterious island they are now stranded on. With sisterly banter, they head into the jungle where they find talking flowers and a sign that says, "Only Reality Can Kill a Dragon." Pondering its meaning, they head deeper into the jungle where they find a "pocket gorilla," are chased by a wildflower-eating dragon, are covered in popcorn-tasting-snow and come upon an ancient temple with something dangerous inside. When reality (a voice that calls, "G-I-I-I-R-L-S . . . G-I-I-I-R-L-S . . .") kills the dragon, a page turn reveals toys strewn about a garden, toys that informed the story/adventure that just played out, the final pages showing the sisters running across the yard and into a house together. Liniers's skill with how the story unfolds across th

Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol

  Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol Review Copy from Macmillan Books Memory Jars is an exploration of living in the moment, even when you find you have the ability to bottle the moment and save it forever. Freda and Gran spend a "hot, sweet, sticky July day" picking (and eating) blueberries. Freda is so enraptured with the experience of eating the delicious berries that "taste like sweet sunshine" that she tries to eat them all, keeping the good times going forever. When she falls to the floor in tears when she can't, Gran tells Freda not to get upset. They can put the berries in a jar and save them by making jam that they can enjoy all year. After all, blueberry jam was Freda's grandfather's favorite. Taking the jam jar her Gran gives her, Freda has an idea. Over the next several pages, readers see her collecting all the marvelous things she wants to save and remember forever. Somehow, whatever goes in the jar is, literally, preserved. Gran's freshly ba

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag, 208 pp, RL MIDDLE GRADE

The Girl from the Sea   by Molly Knox Ostertag Review Copy from Graphix The Girl from the Sea is the perfect wish-fulfillment, summer romance with just the right amount of magic. When fifteen-year-old Morgan Kwon slips on the rocky shore one night, her life flashes before her as she sinks under the waves. Or, as Morgan describes it, the boxes she likes to keep the different parts of her life tucked neatly into burst open. Small town life on Wilneff Island in Canada and memories of chasing seagulls with her younger brother when they were little come pouring out of one box. School life and hanging with her friends spill out of another box. Her parents fighting, her father leaving and her brother's anger in the aftermath of divorce flow out another box. And then there is the box that Morgan wants to keep private until she can leave the island for college in any big city where she can "be gay, far away from this tiny town and everyone who's known me since forever." When