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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

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1. 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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2. 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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3. 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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4. 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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5. 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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6. 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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7. 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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8. 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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9. 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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10. 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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11. 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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12. 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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13. 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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14. 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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15. Inside this Book (are three books). by Barney Saltzberg

Inside this Book (are three books). is yet another   book with brilliant paper engineering from the master of picture books that playfully inspire creativity, Barney Saltzberg. When I was a kid there wasn't much more exciting than blank pages folded in half and stapled to make a book, and I have students in the library doing this every day. In fact, there is a really neat way to fold a

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16. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Stick and Stone is a gently rhyming book about friendship with some great word play written by Beth Ferry, hedgehog owner and debut picture book author, and illustrated by the fantastic Tom Lichtenheld. At the start of the book, Stick and Stone are lonely and alone, "A zero. A one." That changes one day at the playground when Pinecone comes along and makes fun of Stone. Stick

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17. brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, 328 pp, RL 4

Winner of the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor Medal (her third) and the Coretta Scott King Award for Authors, brown girl dreaming is worth every medal and more. Like the Newbery Medal winner this year, Kwame Alexander's Crossover, Woodson's book is a verse novel - two verse novels wining ALA awards in the same year! While Jacqueline Woodson's memoir in verse, brown girl dreaming, is

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18. Earth Day by Jane Yolen

Earth Day I am the Earth And the Earth is me, Each blade of grass, Each honey tree, Each bit of mud, And stick and stone Is blood and muscle, Skin and bone. And just as I Need every bit Of me to make My body fit, So Earth needs Grass and stone and tree And things that grow here Naturally. That's why we Celebrate this day. That's why across The world we say: As long

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19. A Jelly-Fish by Marianne Moore

A Jelly Fish Visible, invisible, a fluctuating charm an amber-tinctured amethyst inhabits it, your arm approaches and it opens and it closes; you had meant to catch it and it quivers; you abandon your intent. - Marianne Moore

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20. A Shooting Star by Edith M. Thomas

A Shooting Star From Aridane's Crown Something came flashing down Over the distant town, Over the river and sleeping farms; The planets above seemed to wink As they watched the traveler sink; And motherly Earth, I think, May have folded a little lost star in her arms. -Edith M. Thomas

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21. maggie and milly and molly and may by e.e. cummings

maggie and molly and milly and may maggie and molly and milly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while

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22. Poem in Your Pocket for Young Poets: 100 Poems to Rip Out and Read, Published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets, Selected by Bruno Navasky

POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY is APRIL 30, 2015! Visit poets.org for printable, pocket sized poems and other fantastic poetry related items or click here! I fell in love with Poem in you Pocket: 200 Poems to Read and Carry, published in conjunction with The Academy of American Poets and selected by Elaine Bleakney, last April. Maybe this year I will be able to bring myself to

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23. Noodle Kids: Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together by Jonathan Sawyer

As someone who is a part Italian, carb-loving home chef who has made more than a few pounds of pasta with my kids, there is almost no way I would not love a cookbook titled Noodle Kids. And, with every page turn I found more and more to love, admire and appreciate about this brilliant cookbook by chef, father and restauranteur Jonathan Sawyer. Sawyer has a long culinary history, but it is

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24. Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

I love reading picture books to every grade at the elementary school where I am the librarian, but I have to confess that the kindergarteners are my favorites to read to. And Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede with perfect illustrations by Greg Pizzoli is my new absolute favorite book to read to them. I love it when I read a book that gets my listeners to think even before I have read the first

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25. Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform

Full Speed Ahead! How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform, a French creative studio started by Marie-laure Cruschi in 2007, reads like an inforgraphic with each page presenting a speed (KM/H and MPH) and things that move at that speed. With your interest piqued, you can flip to end of the book where there is a glossary that provides a paragraph of information about the vehicle, person, animal

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