Archive for ‘Picture Books’

August 17, 2016

Return (Journey Trilogy #3)

If you haven’t already head over to the Journey & Quest Giveaway for a chance to win the first two books in the Journey trilogy.

ReturnTitle: Return

Author/Illustrator: Aaron Becker
Publisher: Candlewick Books, 2016
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Fantasy, Adventure

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.

Activities:

  • Check out this activity kit containing drawing prompts, coloring sheet, and tips for adults on how “to read” a wordless picture book aloud to kids.

Why I Like This Book:

It’s like watching a silent action-adventure movie. Who knew a wordless book could be filled with such tension. I love that it’s high-fantasy in a picture book format. The art is gorgeous and it is interesting to see the evolution of Mr. Becker’s art from the first book to the last. I do like how the series starts and ends with family.

A timeless trilogy for all.

Enjoy the magical trailer and RETURN to wonder.

Find Return at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1452138168
ISBN-13: 978-1452138169

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

August 2, 2016

What a Beautiful Morning

KidsLogoORIGINALFILETitle: What a Beautiful Morning

Author: Arthur A. Levine
Illustrator: Katie Kath
Publisher: Running Press Kids (August 9, 2016)
Editor: Marlo Scrimizzia
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Family, Mental Illness, Emotions

Excerpt:

They even sang while Grandma made them cinnamon French toast. Which sometimes led to slightly burnt toast. And nobody ever minded.

Then they’d talk about their plans for the rest of the day.

“What’s on the docket?” Grandpa would ask.

And Noah always had dozens of docket ideas.

But this year, Grandpa forgot to ask what was on the docket almost every day.

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Every morning is beautiful when Noah visits his Grandparents. When Grandpa and Noah wake up, they take off singing and hardly stop: walking the dog, splashing through puddles, and eating French toast with cinnamon.

But one summer Grandpa seems to have forgotten how to do the things they love. Does he even know who Noah is?

Grandma steps in energetically, filling in as best she can. But it is Noah who finds the way back to something he can share with Grandpa. Something musical. Something that makes the morning beautiful again.

This is a story about how love helps us find even what we think is lost.

Why I Like This Book:

A heartfelt story that will resonate with any reader who has an older person in their life suffering from Alzheimer’s. I like how the author has made this topic accessible by starting with a morning routine/ ritual between Grandpa and Noah and then showing how it’s changed. This allows the reader to feel Noah’s confusion and sadness. The author doesn’t try to hide the reality that things change such as Grandma now making the coffee in the morning, Grandpa needing a nap, and having to make a new and different docket for the day. But there is room for hope when we see Noah find a way to connect with Grandpa. The metaphor near the end of seeing grandpa’s smile being “like the sun breaking through clouds” warmed my heart.

The loose line and watercolor paintings are a charming and engaging. The illustrator uses color to show when grandpa is cognizant and grays when he isn’t. A great visual for those little non-readers.

A wonderful book that can be used as a conversation starter with a child about old age and mental illness.

Find What a Beautiful Morning at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0762459069
ISBN-13: 978-0762459063

The review is part of the WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING BLOG TOUR. Do check out these other stops over the next two weeks.

8/2 Flowering Minds
8/3 MomReadIt
8/4 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books
8/5 Stacking Books
8/6 #Kidlit Book of the Day
8/8 Enjoy Embrace Learning
8/9 Unleashing Readers
8/10 Two Writing Teachers
8/11 Bildebok
8/12 Geo Librarian
8/13 Randomly Reading

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

June 30, 2016

Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch

grimeldaTitle: Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch

Author: Diana Murray
Illustrator: Heather Ross
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (July 26, 2016)
Editor: Katie Bignell
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Witches, Messiness, Consequences

Opening:

Grimelda’s house was black with grime
and stacked with jars of mold and slime,
and ogre’s breath, and spotted snails,
and oozing goo in rusty pails.

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Grimelda’s house may not be tidy, but it’s cozy, and that’s just the way she likes it. She also likes pickle pie. There’s only one problem—she can’t find the main ingredient in her messy house! Readers who enjoyed Norman Bridwell’s classic The Witch Next Door will love this funny, charming story about the everyday life of a witch.

Activities:

  • Check out these fun witchy related activities on Pinterest. (pickle-candied cupcakes, bat crafts)

Why I Like This Book:

A cheery, roll-clicking rhyme of a book that is sure to entertain the child reader while its theme of messiness is sure to please parents.

Grimelda is a happy, go-lucky witch who enjoys her messy house until she can’t find the pickle root. So she begins her search of the house and the yard.  While successful in finding last year’s bathing suit, no luck on the pickle root. She flies to Zelda’s store but no luck there either. Then she does what everyone has been waiting for and starts cleaning and finds the pickle root. But don’t worry the story doesn’t end there on such a predictable note, the twist thrown in is true to Grimelda’s character and the accompanying consequence.

Kids will enjoy getting immersed into Grimelda’s world – missing pickle root, spell book, scream cheese spread. The illustrator’s child-appealing, messy loose art is a perfect match for Grimelda. I loved the richness the art brings to the character’s world.

The book definitely has read-aloud and re-readability charms.

Now I’m off to search for some missing pink binoculars.

Check out the book trailer. Enjoy!

Find Grimelda: The Very Messy Witch at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0062264486
ISBN-13: 978-0062264480

Disclosure: I received and F&G of this book from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

May 26, 2016

Quackers

quackersTitle: Quackers

Author/Illustrator: Liz Wong
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2016
Editor:  Nancy Siscoe
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-7
Themes: Identity, Fitting In, Friendships, Family

Opening:

“Meow.”
Quackers is a duck.
He knows he is a duck because he lives at the duck pond with all the other ducks.

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Quackers is a duck. Sure, he may have paws and whiskers. And his quacks might sound more like…well, meows, but he lives among ducks, everyone he knows is a duck, and he’s happy.
Then Quackers meets another duck who looks like him (& talks like him, too!)—but he calls himself a cat. So silly!

Quackers loves being among his new friends the cats, but he also misses his duck friends, and so he finds a way to combine the best of both worlds. Part cat, part duck, all Quackers!

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

My list of lovelies:

  • Opening page – juxtaposition of a cat saying “meow” with the text reading “Quackers is a duck.” You know it’s going to be a good story right from the beginning because that question WHY has popped up  along with a billion other questions which the author skillfully navigates.
  • Theme – finding your place and that it doesn’t have to be with just Group A or Group B but can be something in-between of your own choosing.
  • Art – so adorable and simple. Lovely and perfect for young kids.
    • I love the shades of green with muted red barn and blue-green water. The white ducks and orange cat just POP in this spread.quackers_2
    • This spread packs an emotional punch of what it’s like to feel different.quackers-interior-2

Grab a kid and read this book together at home or use it for story time in a classroom.

Find QUACKERS at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0553511548
ISBN-13: 978-0553511543

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received an F&G of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

April 29, 2016

Flora and the Peacocks

Welcome! Previously I reviewed Flora and the Penguins. It is my pleasure to bring to you Flora and the Peacocks, the latest addition in the Flora series, from the talented picture book author/illustrator Molly Idle. The Flora books explore the different aspects of friendship through innovative flaps in a wordless format.

Check-out my interview with Molly. Learn about her creative influences, approach to using flaps in storytelling, and her next two FLORA books!

Flora-and-the-PeacocksTitle: Flora and the Peacocks

Author/Illustrator: Molly Idle
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2016
Editor: Kelli Chipponeri
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Friendship

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

The darling, dancing Flora is back, and this time she’s found two new friends: a pair of peacocks! But amidst the fanning feathers and mirrored movements, Flora realizes that the push and pull between three friends can be a delicate dance. Will this trio find a way to get back in step? In the third book featuring Flora and her feathered friends, Molly Idle’s gorgeous art combines with clever flaps to reveal that no matter the challenges, true friends will always find a way to dance, leap, and soar—together.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

I love the Flora books for their artistry, innovation in storytelling via the use flaps, and for their exploration of the different aspects of friendship. Ms. Idle blends these three components like a maestro understanding how each one can help heighten the other to create a symphonic work of art. Kids can relate to the tug-of-war that happens in this three’s a crowd situation.

Flora befriends a pair of peacocks starting the merry-go-around of who is friends with whom, leaving at least one person unhappy until the very end.

  • I love the use of the flaps which heighten the emotion. My favorite is on spread five, where the peacock trains flap up in what I call happy –> very happy for the peacock next to Flora and miffed –> very miffed for the peacock standing away from the pair.
  • Who knew a wordless book could have so much tension. Loved the climax where the peacocks are fighting with Flora stuck in the middle. Love the movement through these spreads and the use of the right-left flap.
  • The use of green color and peacocks are perfect for this tale. Green the color of envy. Peacocks tend to be self-centered, at least in children’s books.
  • The finale consisting of an oversized gate-fold of the trio as friends is magnific.

Another beautiful addition to the Flora family.

Enjoy the gorgeous trailer.

Find Flora and the Peacocks at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1452138168
ISBN-13: 978-1452138169

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

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