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Viewing Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some, Most Recent at Top
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As a lover of children's literature, mother and bookseller of 13 years, I want to put good books into kid's hands. I share my philosophy on what makes a book good as well as book reviews and lists of great books for every reading taste and ability with a focus on new readers. I also highlight some wonderful books that are not always on the shelf at bookstores, but might be at your library and can definitely be ordered. All books mentioned are available in paperback unless noted.
Statistics for Children's Book Reviews and Then Some

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 19
1. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Katie Kath, 216 pp. RL 4

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones with perfect illustrations by Katie Kath! First, it is an epistolary novel, one of my favorite kinds of books. Next, in Sophie Brown, Jones has created an ethnic character who speaks matter-of-factly about being discriminated against because of the color of her skin. I am always thrilled to find

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2. Grandma in Blue with Red Hat, written by Scott Menchin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

Building a picture book around actual works of art can be a tricky task. With Grandma in Blue with Red Hat,  Scott Menchin, illustrator of several picture books and author of more than a few, creates a masterpiece. In addition to his work in picture books, Menchin is an award winning illustrator and teacher at the Pratt Institute Graduate School. This makes him very well poised to write a

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3. Art Lab for Kids AND Art Lab for Little Kids AND 3-D Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake, photographs by Rainer Schwake

Susan Schwake is an artist with over two decades worth of experience teaching in a diverse number of educational settings, running her own art school and creating and curating a permanent installation of children's artwork for a new wing of her local library. As a bookseller, I was immediately drawn to her first book, Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting,

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4. The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodabaugh

I am SO in LOVE with The Paper Playhouse: Awesome Art Projects for Kids Using Paper, Boxes and Books by Katrina Rodbaugh for SO many reasons. The only thing I don't like about it is that it did not exist 10 years ago when my kids were little and would have loved the projects inside. First, though, I have to commend publisher Quarry Books, creators of "high-end, beautifully designed, visual

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5. Amelia's Middle-School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss (except for words and pictures by Amelia) 80pp. RL 5

Wow! It's hard to believe that Marissa Moss's creation, Amelia and her composition book/diary, first hit the shelves 20 years ago! Amelia was not new to me, having just started as a children's bookseller, and having a daughter and a collection of American Girl dolls. Amelia and her notebooks have had a variety of publishers, starting with Tricycle Press. After publishing an excerpt from

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6. The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke, 38 pp, RL 2

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman and illustrated by Deborah Zemke is a fantastic new book from Creston Books, a homegrown publisher of books printed in America that launched in Fall of 2013. Of course I love a good story, but I also love a beautifully made book and all of Creston's books fit this bill, as you can glimpse in the photo below, and by taking a look inside The

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7. What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig by Emma J. Virján

Being an elementary school librarian has changed how I think (and feel) about books in really positive ways. During the decades that I was a children's bookseller, I had the luxury of being selective and critical with my tastes. Now, of course I am still critical and selective, but I am also more open minded in how I think about a book. What This Book Needs is a Pig in a Wig by Emma Virján is

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8. William and the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks

William and the Missing Masterpiece is the second picture book from Helen Hanckocks. Her first book, Penguin in Peril, was the biggest selling picture book in the UK last year! Hancocks has a fantastic, wry sense of humor that expresses itself perfectly through her cat and penguin main characters as well as the plots and illustrations of her books. Crime seems to be a theme in Hancocks's

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9. Migloo's Busy Day by William Bee

Migloo's Day is yet another fantastic book from a new favorite of mine, William Bee. With Migloo's Day, Bee creates a cross between a Richard Scarry book and a Where's Waldo look-and-find extravaganza, making himself a character in the book. Bee begins Migloo's Day with an introduction to the more than 65 culturally diverse characters who inhabit Sunnytown. On each page, the

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10. Sweet Stories for Baby: A Boxed Board Book Trilogy

A basketful of board books was always in the backseat of my car and the family room of my house when my kids were little. Between the birth of my first child and my third, the quality and quantity of boards books available changed greatly. I wrote about this as few years ago in, The Changing Face of Board Books and, even though my youngest is ten now, I still get excited when a great new

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11. The Bus is for Us! by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Gillian Tyler

The Bus is for Us! is a jubilant declaration byMichael Rosen, former British Children's Laureate and illustrated by the marvelous  Gillian Tyler. Anyone who has spent the day with a small child knows how much they love all forms of transportation. Rosen's rhyming text pays tribute to all kinds of rides, from a bike ride to a train ride to a sleigh ride - and even a ride on a fish, a kite

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12. Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Matt Phelan

Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudsen is a superb story perfectly illustrated by Matt Phelan. Phelan's soft watercolor and pencil illustrations tame the monsters that might have been frightening in this story about patience and perseverance. Marilyn's Monster begins, "Some of the kids in Marilyn's class had mosnters. It was the latest thing. Marilyn didn't have a mosnter. Not yet.

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13. WHOSE TOOLS? by Tony Buzzeo & Jim Datz

Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo and Jim Datz is flat-out brilliant. A large-sized board book, each page uses rhyming riddles to ask the question, "Whose tools are those?" The right hand page opens to answer the question, showing a spread of workers using the tools in question. There are 24 tools in all - many more than you may even know the names of yourself. And, the people using the tools are

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14. Spots in a Box by Helen Ward

I had no idea that Helen Ward, author of two of my favorite picture books: The Tin Forest & The Dragon Machine is also an illustrator! These books, along with two others, Finding Christmas, which is a very sweet sibling story, and Little Moon Dog, are illustrated by the magnificent Wayne Anderson. I am so happy to make this discovery, especially with Ward's newest book, Spots

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15. Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi by Jack and Holman Wang

Of course there is a specific market for Star Wars: Epic Yarns, the trilogy of books by twins Jack and Holman Wang, creators of Cozy Classics. However, this happens to be a very large market - one that has raised their children and grandchildren with these movies as part of their lives. Why am I reviewing these books? I was one of those people who stood in line, more than once, as a child to

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16. Stink Moody in Master of Disaster by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid, 64 pp, RL 2

It is rare that I review more than one book in a series, but sometimes I love a series so much that I want to review a book again, just in case anyone missed it the first time around. Last year I reviewed Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble, the first book in this new sibling (in more ways than one) series featuring the characters from Megan McDonald's Judy Moody series, which spawned the  Stink

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17. Keep a Poem in Your Pocket by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY IS TODAY! (print, clip,pocket and share!)   Keep A Poem in Your Pocket  by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers Keep a poem in your pocket And a picture in your head And you'll never feel lonely At night when you're in bed. The little poem will sing to you  A dozen dreams to dance to you At night when you're in bed. So-- Keep a picture in your

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18. If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

I am very embarrassed to say that this is the first book by  Kadir Nelson I have reviewed here. Nelson is an award winning artist who's work can be seen on postage stamps and New Yorker covers. Nelson has also won many awards for the children's books he has illustrated and written. His authorial debut, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball won the Seibert Award, the Coretta

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19. The Clouds by Rosemary Wells

The Clouds Some clouds fill with sunshine Some are dark with sorrow. Some are left from yesterday And some are for tomorrow. The clouds go proudly sailing by. I love their proper names. Stratus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Cumulus and James. -Rosemary Wells

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20. Snowball by Shel Silverstein

Snowball I made myself a snowball As perfect as could be. I thought I'd keep it as a pet And let it sleep with me. I made it some pajamas And a pillow for its head. Then last night it ran away But first - it wet the bed. - Shel Silverstein (suggested by zoey)

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21. The Trees by Philip Larkin

The Trees The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread,  Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say,

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22. Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems vt J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack

J. Patrick Lewis, former U.S. Children's Poet Laureate and author of Take Two! A Celebration of Twins and World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of, among many others, had written Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, illustrated by Michael Slack. In Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, not only does Lewis parody poems by greats like

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23. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Mihcael J. Rosen, illustrated by Lee White

I love cats and I love haiku, so it makes sense that I find The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Lee White absolutely charming and fascinating. The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers consists of 20 poems, one each for a different breed of cat, divided into four sections that any cat owner will immediately recognize:

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24. The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp, 177 pp, RL 3

  The farmyard humor in The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp made me laugh out loud the way that watching any episode of Shuan the Sheep does and the potty humor made me laugh out loud the way any kind of fart in general does. While I am definitely embarrassed to admit that farts and fart jokes still crack me up, I think that I am not alone in this. I also think that there

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25. The Dark Gravity Sequence: The Arctic Code by Matthew J. Kirby, 324 pp, RL 4

Matthew J. Kirby is the author of Icefall, a tense mystery set in the Viking Age on an isolated, barren fjord in a small shelter that sits beneath a looming glacier. Danger comes from within and without, but the narrator Solveig, the middle child of the king, is a believable hero with a compelling voice.  I loved Icefall so much I couldn't wait to read a new book from Kirby that revisited a

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