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Books for Kids and Teens Book reviews of titles for children and young adults. Books are received from Library Thing publishers and NetGalley publishers. Books are also read and reviewed from the local library. All reviews are subject to reviewer's opinion and not the publisher or author
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1. #661 – Pig and Small by Alex Latimer

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Pig and Small

Written & Illustrated by Alex Latimer
Peachtree Publishers                9/01/2104
978-1-56145-797-7
Age 4 to 8            32 pages
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“Pig and Bug just want to be friends, but their size differences are proving to be a BIG problem. Pig wants to play games—but Bug is too small to keep up. Bug wants to make things for his friend—but Pig is too big to appreciate the craftsmanship! Just as they’ve given up all hope for a friendship, Pig has an idea. Will it work? (Yes, it will.)”

Opening

“Before this morning, Pig’s nose had never squeaked—not even once.”

Review

Poor Pig. His nose squeaked so much he even looked it up in a medical book. Squeaky Nose Syndrome is right after Squeaky Mouth Syndrome and before Squeaky Pants Syndrome. Wait, it isn’t there. There is no Squeaky Nose Syndrome. Pig examines his nose himself and finds the problem, which is not a problem at all, but a tiny bug. Bug is waving his arms—all four of them—trying to get Pig’s attention. Bug wants to be friends.

“Hello,” said Pig.
“Squeak, squeak,” replied Bug.

Pig and Bug start doing things together, but their friendship has problems from the start. What Pig likes to do—play board games, ride bikes, catch—was difficult and sometimes a wee bit dangerous for Bug, and what Bug likes to do—make things for Pig, Hide-N-Seek—was too small or too hard for Pig. They decide to part ways.

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I really like the illustrations by Alex Latimer. He also wrote and illustrated Lion vs. Rabbit (reviewed here), The Boy Who Cried Ninja (reviewed here), and Penguin’s Hidden Talent (sadly, not reviewed here). I love the simple lines and colorful characters that always shine with emotions. He also adds small details that I love and often find amusing. Latimer’s picture books use humor and situations to teach young children without seeming to send a message. In Pig and Small, size makes a difference for BIG Pig and small Bug, so they decide not to be friends. However, this is not the end of Pig and Small.

Pig turns to leave, after he and Bug decided to go their own ways, and the wind, blowing mighty hard, whips a newspaper at Pig, sticking it to his face. Open to the movie section—The Pirate, the Ninja, and the Invisible Dog—Pig realizes there are many things he and Bug can both enjoy. They go see the movie and have a great time. Bug . . . nah, I’ll leave the details between the pages. Do not miss the BIG finale.

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BIG Pig and small Bug decide size does not matter. There are many things the two interesting friends can do together that both enjoy. They enjoyed the movie and talk about it on the way home. There are museums, zoos, plays, and aquariums awaiting them. Size does not matter in friendships. Differences melt away between friends and they find ways to enjoy their time together.

Once again, Latimer’s soft, easy tones guide us to a new understanding of what friendship is about, or rather what it is not about—size. With kids back in school and the holidays approaching (much too fast), children have the opportunity to make many new friends. After reading Pig and Small, they will understand that size does not matter in friendship, or do friends need to have identical likes to get along and be friends. Friendship, as in life, is a compromise and differences should not matter . . . at least not to friends like Pig and Bug.

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PIG AND SMALL. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alex Latimer. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
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Pick up Pig and Small at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersyour favorite local bookstore.
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Learn more about Pig and Small HERE

WIN PIG AND SMALL from Peachtree Publishers HERE

Meet the author and illustrator, Alex Latimer, at his website:   http://www.alexlatimer.co.za/

Check out what he has to say at his blog:   http://alexlatimer.blogspot.com/

Tweet him at his Twitter:   https://twitter.com/almaxla

Find excellent picture books at the Peachtree Publisher’s website:   http://peachtree-online.com/

Peachtree has a blog with occasional giveaways here:   http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

Also by Alex Latimer

The Boy Who Cried Ninja

The Boy Who Cried Ninja

Penguin's Hidden Talent

Penguin’s Hidden Talent

 Lion vs Rabbit

Lion vs Rabbit

Just So Stories

Just So Stories

The Space Race

The Space Race

 The South-African Alphabet  

The South-African Alphabet

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pig and small
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Picture Book Tagged: acceptance, Alex Latimer, children's book reviews, differences in people, friendships, Peachtree Publishers, picture books, Pig and Small, respect, size doesn't matter

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2. #660 – In This Book by Fani Marceau & Joёlle Jolivet

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In This Book

Written by Fani Marceau
Illustrations by Joёlle Jolivet
Chronicle Books                8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2588-6
Age 3 to 5            94 pages
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“I am in the poppy, said the bee. I am in the nest, said the bird. I am in space, said the planet . . . And there is beauty all around us!

“From bestselling author and illustrator duo Fani Marceau and Joёlle Jolivet comes an art-immersive experience featuring early concepts and themes for infants, toddlers, and anyone delighted by the wonders of everyday life. Inspired by linocut art techniques, the illustrations offer windows onto ordinary objects and experiences. Open the book, delve into the details, and discover animals, people, and surprises large and small gracing each oversized page in this whimsical book that makes the perfect springboard for storytelling, learning, and dreaming.”

Opening

“I am in the poppy, said the bee.”

In This Book_Int_Barette and Nest

Review

At first glance, one would think In This Book about finding the bee in the poppy or the bird in the nest. The objects that are in things are not hard to find. This is not another Where’s Waldo type of art book for children. Far from it. In This Book brings a certain amount of sophistication to the picture book genre for very young children. A total of 52 images fill the pages. A few run the full spread but most just the single page. All begin with the phrase,

“I am in the [blank], said the [object in the blank].”

Repetition is good for this age group, yet reading this first-person phrase over and over and over becomes tiresome. Young children should have no trouble finding the object on each page and will enjoy their success. The biggest problem with the text is a lack of story. The languid phrase “I am in the . . . “is the only connection between each page, each object. Interestingly, the final spread is that of a child asleep in the lap of a sleeping adult. Wonderfully, the adult is dad, who does not get his share of representation in picture books. The child is holding a book—In This Book—and I wonder if the phrasing put them to sleep or if it was simply that time of day.

In This Book_Int_Box and Boat

The illustrations are an art technique called a linocut. For those, like myself, who need an explanation of a linocut, there is a wonderful visual explanation of the art from HERE. Once the illustration is drawn onto a piece of art-grade linoleum, and the artist carves out their image, the result is used somewhat like a stamp to make the prints that became this book. The carved linoleum must be a reverse-cut of the image, meaning any part of the image remaining white is carved out of the linoleum. The areas inked remain untouched. This is a rather simplest explanation. For those who want a better, visual “mini-lesson” in the art of linocut printing, please click HERE. (This is the same link as the above link.)

I think the fun In This Book comes from the stories a reader can make up about each object. Why did the monkey sit in the tree? Why is there only one person on the multi-car train? This spread of the train is a wonder shade of purple in a backdrop of green and purple. It looks to be a super train or a bullet train. Where might it be doing? The number of questions and stories imaginable are endless for each object. Those question, or simply talking about the illustrations, can further stimulate each child’s imagination and sense of wonder. For every reading, the stories can change, making In This Book a never-ending adventure.

In This Book_Int_Arms

IN THIS BOOK. Text copyright © 2012 by Fani Marceau. Illustrations © 2012 by Joёlle Jolivet. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
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Purchase a copy of In This Book at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

In This Book, originally published in France, in 2012 by hélium, is entitled, Dans le livre.

Learn more about In This Book HERE.
Meet the author, Fani Marceau, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Joёlle Jolivet, at her website:
Find additional picture books at the Chronicle Books’ website:   http://www.chroniclekids.com/
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Also by Fani Marceau

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

My Big Book of Colours

My Big Book of Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Joёlle Jolivet

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

365 Penguins

365 Penguins

Rapido's Next Stop

Rapido’s Next Stop

Oops!

Oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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in this book
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, children's picture book reviews, Chronicle Books, Dans le livre, Fani Marceau, hélium, In This Book, Joёlle Jolivet, linocut, picture books

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3. #659 – Fat and Bones and other stories by Larissa Theule & Adam S. Doyle

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Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Written by Larissa Theule
Illustrations by Adam S. Doyle
Carolrhoda Books            10/01/2014
978-1-4677-0825
Age 8 to 12           104 pages
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“Welcome to Bald’s Farm. Well, perhaps it’s not Bald’s Farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-footed pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man’s son, and Fat, his winged rival? They’ll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places . . .”

Opening

“Fat stood on the topmost branch of the tree, gazing in the direction of the farmhouse.”

The Story

Bones is the son of his father, the farm owner, who has most recently passed away. Fat is the former farmer’s fairy. They hate each other with a passion usually reserved for love. Now that Bone’s father has died, Bones will run the farm and his first priority: get rid of excess Fat.

In the span of one day, Bones tries to take out Fat, who tries to take out Bones. The pigs must move around on less and less feet to supply Bones with his favorite meal of pig foot stew. Pa may be dead, but Bones is still hungry. Ma, who is crying herself blind ventures out to the pigpen to grab a foot. Which one does she get?

Leonard’s family thinks he is the strangest spider that has ever spun a web. He cannot sneak and lives alone. He reads poetry while drinking herbal tea. Down below, Fat is making a new potion and needs the fresh blood of a spider. Leonard picks this moment to prove he can sneak. He cannot.

The Dead Man Song is for Priscilla Mae, the escaped spider for which Leonard has found love. She sees a group of animals honoring the dead farmer’s passing. Jimmy’s in Love pits mouse against mouse for the love of a mouse across the kitchen floor. Cat lurks on the floor, waiting for a wandering mouse. Sometimes he greets the mouse.

“Good afternoon, mousie-pie.”

Sometimes he pounces. Occasionally, that tricky cat does both. A mouse just never knows. Jimmy decides to take a chance but the floor is full of water—salty, tear stained water. Daisy and Tulip are the best of friends, sharing a puddle. All is well, until little sprouts move in and choke the water supply. Daisy and Tulip argue over how to get the sprouts to leave. The differences could mean the end of Tulip or Daisy.

Finally, Dog Alfred visits his Ma. Ma wants Alfred to go home. Alfred is sneezing. He has a cold. Alfred is upset, (and sets up Ma to speak a line of funny I love)

“Ma,” he said, [pleading voice] “I came all this way. I can’t go home now.”
“You live next door,” she said.

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Review

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is a fast read with only 104 pages. On those 104 pages, every word counts thanks to wonderful writing and editing. Each story has something to teach kids. In Leonard Grey III, Leonard learns it is okay to be yourself and love is better than alone. Fat feels morally obligated to care for his neighbors, even when he is the one who injured said neighbor. Be nice to others; get to know your neighbors; be responsible for each other. Esmeralda must decide which is more important, her jealousy and “revenge” or the good of the group. Fat and Bones is philosophy 101 for the middle grades.

I am not a fan of the cover. The moon grinning as it does is eerie, but that is the intent. The illustrations use dark tones of green, grey, and black. The image is often part of the shadow or obscured by it. I am sorry to say, I am not a fan of these illustrations. I love the individual stories. I enjoyed the way one story depends on the other. What happens in one story—or does not happen—affects another story, which affects another, and so on, yet none may be the wiser. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories play this out for kids in a way they can understand.

Humor plays a big part, easing what are actually dark themes of death, jealousy, war, and dejection into an enjoyable, funny story, odd as that may sound. Some kids may not like the darker, philosophical themes, while others will love them. I think the older the child, the more they will enjoy Fat and Bones.

These Seven stories, all intertwined, are a great read. Each story has a unique mix of characters from the Bald Farm. Each has their own plot, conflict, and resolution, yet the stories build on each other, need each other to live. There are many things kids can learn from these stories while reading a funny, heart-felt whole divided into parts that seem to stand on their own—because they do. Older kids will enjoy this book. Adults will enjoy this book. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is the author’s debut.

FAT AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES. Test copyright © 2014 by Larissa Theule. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam S. Doyle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.
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Purchase Fat and Bones at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Booksyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about Fat & Bones: And Other Stories HERE
Meet the author, Larissa Theule, at her twitter page:    https://twitter.com/larissatheule
Meet the illustrator, Adam S. Doyle, at his website:    http://adamsdoyle.com
Find other middle grade novels at the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://www.carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

fat and bones
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Adam S. Doyle, Charolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Debut Book, fairies, farm life, feuds, Larissa Theule, Lerner Publishing Group, middle grade novel, pig foot stew

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4. #658 – You Are (Not) Small by Anna King & Christopher Weyant

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You Are (Not) Small

Written by Anna Kangtop-10-use-eb-trans
Illustrated by Christopher Weyant
Two Lions             8/05/2014
978-1-47784772-5
Age 4 to 8           32 pages
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“Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! Size all depends on who’s standing next to you.”

Opening

“You are small.”

Review

Two funny, hairy purple and orange creatures square off and let the other know about their size:  big or small. The orange creature tells the purple creature that he is small. The purple creature responds that he is not small, but the orange creature is big. Orange denies being big, despite towering over the purple, who denies being small, despite barely coming up the orange creature’s waist. STOP! What is going on with these two? Don’t they see the obvious?

Nope, they sure do not. The big guy denies he is big, bringing in others just like him to prove his point.

You Are Not Small int spread 3

 “They are just like me.”

Huh? The little creature brings in others just like him and he, too makes the same point. This argument is not logical, but young kids will not care. Honestly, in my first read-through, which is always for fun, I didn’t give much to the faulty logic either. I doubt I even noticed it—laughing excessively, wiping tears from my sparkling eyes, and holding my laugh-cramped stomach. Then the interaction gets a tad intense. Voices get louder.

“You are all small!’
“You are all big!”
“Small!”
“Big!”

Each of the supporting groups has interesting reactions. At first, the purple creatures look on, one wide-eyed (love it), but the orange creature’s are less interested. One even rolls his eyes (love it, more). Ratchet up the tension and voices. Everyone is now involved. This plot, the characters, the twist at the end all make for a charming book no young child should be without.

Five colors and a white background make perfect illustrations for this story. The black outlining brings character and emotions to these hairy big and small creatures. Their rotund figures remind me of polar bears. I love the small dot eyes. The comical noses on these creatures are huge and terrific. Add in the mitten-like hands and these creatures are all thumbs and harmless. Oversized text compliments these terrific illustrations, which children and their parents will love—enough to read many successive times.

 “BOOM”

Whoa! What was that? Two huge feet— each foot half a page in width—and two legs, cut off before the knee, slam down in the middle of the lively argument. The green, hairy creature is humongous! Tiny pink creatures find their way down by way of yellow parachutes. Purple and orange creatures look up with varying interest; including a wide-eyed, purple creature and a glasses wearing orange creature with a content smile (love the small details). Many of the creatures on both sides are smiling. Combatant purple looks to his orange sparring partner, points to one pink creatures and says,

“See? I am not small.”

Misunderstood orange, wearing a big smile, points to the green creature that dropped in only moments before, and says,

“See? I am not big.”

Notice, there are no exclamation points in either statement. The two creatures have come to a conclusion. Both sides smile, one declares something, and off everyone goes, happy as if no argument ever occurred. Lesson: your size is relative to whom you are standing near. You can be both small and big!

You Are Not Small int spread 1

You Are (Not) Small has one of the funniest twists/lead-ins to a next book I have read in a while. Aside from the back matter telling us the author/illustrator team of Kang and Weyant are working on a sequel, the final spread gives it away. Kids will grab up the sequel as fast as the books hit the shelves. Pre-order the sequel now, well, if you could, but you cannot. What a shame.

Kids will howl at the twist, never having seen it coming until it hits. All readers, young and old, big and small, will adore this crazy book about size’s relative nature, be it of girth or problem. There is always going to be one bigger and smaller than yours.

Go get You Are (Not) Small right now. Read it every night—you will do this voluntarily. Read it to the kids, if you want. They will love it as much as you will. Laugh every day. Cry every day (from laughing). Then, when the new book is announced, pre-order as fast as your small, uh, big, uh . . . just do it. Wonderful debut from this husband / wife team.  Up next: That is (Not) Mine  2015

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL. Text copyright © 2014 by Anna Kang. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Christopher Weyant. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Two Lions, New York, NY.
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Buy You Are (Not) Small at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryTwo Lionsyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about You Are (Not) Small HERE.
Meet the author, Anna Kang, at her facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/YouAreNotSmall
Meet the illustrator, Christopher Weyant, at his website:   http://christopherweyant.com/
Find more picture books to laugh at the Two Lions’ website:   http://www.apub.com/imprints

Two Lions is an imprint of Amazon Children’s Publishing

An interview with Anna Kang 

Art: India ink and watercolor
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Also by Anna Kang & Christopher Weyant
That is (Not) Mine  2015
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you are not small
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Amazon Children's Publishing, Anna Kang, children's book reviews, Christopher Weyant, debut author, picture book, Two Lions

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5. #657 – Jump! by Julia Dweck & Brian Allen

Jump-Cover-Square-600x600x
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Jump!

Written by Julia Dweck
Illustrated by Brian Allen
Sleepy Sheep Productions           9/01/2014
Age 3 to 6                24 pages
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“What’s a Jack-in-the-box without his home? Poor Jack has never jumped out of anything before, but his worn out box. Can Barker, the neighborhood dog, prove to Jack that there are many more exciting jumps outside in the great, big world?”

Opening

“Jack’s little heart began to thump,
As he prepared to take a jump.
He swung around and then he flexed.
His thousandth jump was coming next.

“Then tightening his coils, he sank,
And listened to the music crank.
He sprung out free, no longer trapped.
His rusty spring broke loose and SNAPPED!”

The Story

Cue music, wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . JUMP!

There goes Jack, from jack-in-the-box fame, making his thousandth jump, give or take a few. He‘s flying high. He’s flying a little too high. Oh, my Jack is flying higher than he has ever or should ever fly. He lands with a thump and realizes he jumped clear out of his box, and the box—his home—is gone!

Jack takes off looking for his home. Down the hallway he jumps over all sorts of toys—hula-hoop, little green army guys, jacks (of the spiked kind) and balls of assorted sizes. He rounds the corner and instead of his home, he runs into a big nose dog. Jack grabs a bubble gum wrapper to protect himself, but Badger is not interested in hurting Jack. Badger wants Jack to go outside with him and see all the ways he can jump.

Together, Badger and Jack jump into a twisting jump rope, hop on a trampoline and reach the sky, and then jump off a cliff into a waterfall, bungee jump off a bridge, and ride a jumping horse. Best of all, Badger and Jack jump into a 7-layer chocolate cake. They fall to the bottom and must wait for the birthday girl to set them free. Still, Jack has not found his home. Will he ever figure out where it landed?

Review

Jack is a highflying jack-in-the-box. The illustrations fill each spread from edge to edge with brightly illustrated scenes of Badger and Jack jumping high from the most unusual places (for a dog and a toy). They turn upside down, flip one way then the other, and wear equipment for some of their jumps. Badger is a cute small dog, perfect for Jack. Young children will adore both characters.

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I like the idea of the scene in which Jack grabs the bubble gum wrapper as a shield against a canine attack. The scene is funny. Everyone knows a bubblegum wrapper will not provide protection from an oncoming dog attack. Everyone but Jack, that is. Looking at this illustration, the garbage can does not look like it is on its side. It looks like another wall, or a door, with its flat, unadorned presentation against the flat detail-less wall.

Badger has the biggest, most adorable eyes, set in a face every child and parent will love. Jack conveys much emotion on his tiny face. He is dressed like a medieval joker. As a jack-in-the-box toy, Jack would please any child with his brightly colored hat and clothing. His jumping skills will definitely be the hit of the house should he ever put them on display.

Jack must literally think “out of the box” after losing his box/home. How is he going to jump, and enjoy jumping, without a box to hide in and then jump out of on cue? Badger has the answer and is eager to show Jack how to jump. Badger looks like a puppy and puppies must play. Is that why Badger buried Jack’s box/home? When Jack and Badger return home Badger gives Jack his other half. Jack jumps over and around it but refuses to jump in it. He wants to keep jumping with Badger. With a high five (no fist bump for these two—refreshing), Badger and Jack seal their friendship.

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I like Jump. It follows the prolific Julia Dweck formula: a good story told well with interesting, brightly colored illustrations. She has not gone wrong yet with this formula and has produced one more hit. Young children will love Jump’s story and illustrations. It has loads of humor, wonderful rhyming, and unusual messages for kids so young: think out of the box, expand your horizons, and seeking out friends that are different than you can be rewarding. Jump’s messages are perfect for parents, too, making Jump a truly exceptional story.

JUMP! Text copyright © 2014 by Julia Dweck. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brain Allen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Purchase Jump! at Amazon—Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Learn more about Jump! HERE
**Also includes word games and definitions used in writing stories. There is also an invitation to writer your own Jump! story, and then send your story to Ms. Dweck. See the guidelines at the end of the story.
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Meet the author, Julia Dweck, at her facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/juliadweckbooks
Meet the illustrator, Brian Allen, at his website: http://www.flylanddesigns.com
Find more picture books at the Sleepy Sheep Productions website:  http://sleepysheeppro.com/
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Also by Julia Dweck in 2014

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Eville, USA

Eville, USA

Beewitched

Beewitched

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

 

 

 

 

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Also by Brian Allen

Great Things To Be

Great Things To Be

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

I Can, I Will

I Can, I Will

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jump
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Digital Book, Picture Book Tagged: Brian Allen, children's book reviews, Fly Land Designs, jack-in-the-box, Julia Dweck, jumping, kindle .mobi, picture book, puppy, Sleepy Sheep Productions

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6. #656 – Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Flashlight_FC_LoResx
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Flashlight

Written and illustrated by Lizi Boydtop-10-use-eb-trans (1)
Chronicle Books           8/01/2014
978-1-4521-1894-9
Age 2 to 6        32 pages
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“Inside the tent it’s cozy. But what is going on outside? Is it dark? Is it scary? Not if you have your trusty flashlight! Told solely through images and using a spare yet dramatic palette, artist Lizi Boyd has crafted a masterful exploration of night, nature, and art. Both lyrical and humorous, this visual poem—like the flashlight beam itself—reveals that there is magic in the darkness. We just have to look for it.”

Opening

The young girl, let’s call her Amy, is outside with her flashlight, shining it on the ground. Look! she has found a mouse, no three mice, going about their nighttime activities. Looking up with her flashlight beam, Amy finds an owl, which looks a little spooked that Amy found it in its tree.

Flashlight Product Shot 1

Review

Flashlight is an amazing picture book. Without words, “Amy” has a nighttime adventure of a lifetime. With her flashlight, Amy finds all sorts of animals, but misses just as many who are in the dark. She spies an owl in a tree, a couple of fish in a pond, a fox, and doe with her two babies. If this is not the best adventure for a young child, I cannot think of what could be better. The artist strategically added a hole placed in each spread that focuses upon something the young girl does not see in the dark, but the reader now can. I like that little change that holds more surprises for the reader.

Oops! Amy tripped on stone, tossing the flashlight onto the ground. A raccoon has the flashlight and is lighting up Amy’s face. It passes the flashlight to a beaver, which lights up Amy’s backside. The animals continue to pass off the flashlight until the owl takes possession, pointing the light onto the opening of Amy’s tent. I believe the owl, as wise as it is, thinks Amy should be in bed. Amy tucks in then reads a story to the three mice. I wonder what the story she is reading those three mice.

Flashlight Product Shot 2

Flashlight is an amazing nighttime adventure right in the young girl’s backyard or park, there is no way to be sure. She enjoys finding the animals as well as young children will enjoy finding them. I enjoyed it. There are so many stories kids can imagine with each animal and what they are doing at might. Why does the wise owl want Amy to stop flashing its friends and go to sleep inside the tent? Is he worried about her sleep, or does he want her to stop interfering with the animals nighttime routines?

Children and parents will love this picture book adventure, as do I. Read as a bedtime story, Flashlight can about the young girl or the animals. Parents and their child will enjoy discovering the different animals. How wonderful that could be. The illustrations are all on black paper, with silver-lined animals (in the dark) and colorful animals as the flashlight shines upon them. Flashlight is a magnificent picture book and one of the most original I have seen this year.

Flashlight Product Shot 3

Flashlight is a Junior Library Guild selection for 2014.

FLASHLIGHT. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lizi Boyd. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Three Questions with Lizi Boyd

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Purchase Flashlight at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Flashlight HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Lizi Boyd, at her website:  http://liziboyd.com/ 
Find more magnificent books at the Chronicle Books’ website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Lizi Boyd

Inside Outside

Inside Outside

Black Dog Gets Dresssed

Black Dog Gets Dresssed

I Love Mommy

I Love Mommy

I Love Daddy

I Love Daddy

 

 

 

flashlight

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: backkyard camp-out, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, illustrations only, Lizi Boyd, nature, picture books

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7. #655 – Stanley’s Garage by William Bee

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Stanley’s Garage

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing      9/01/2014
978-1-5614-804-2
Age 3 to 8         32 pages
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“Stanley is working at his garage today. From filling up Hattie’s red sports car with gas to changing the tire on Shamus and Little Woo’s blue car, it sure is a busy day. As his friends each come in with their car problems, Stanley knows just what to do to get them back on the road.”

Opening

“This is Stanley’s Garage. Who will drive in today?”

The Story

Stanley the hamster owns a garage and a green tow truck. He spends the day helping his friends. Hattie needs gas in her car, and, like the days of old, Stanley pumps the gas for her. I love her red sports car. Shamu’s car has a flat tire. While Shamu and Little Woo’s car has a flat tire, Charlie’s car is overheated, and Myrtle, in her purple car, needs towed back to Stanley’s garage. All day Stanley fixes auto problems. It’s a lot of work for one day. Stanley, smudged in black oil spots, walks home. He takes a bath, eats his supper, and heads to bed ready for tomorrow. What job will Stanley take on tomorrow? Will he be a chef at his own diner, or maybe the farmer that grows the food?

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Review

Young boys will love the Stanley’s Garage. Stanley does a variety of jobs, all to help his friends. Young boys, and some girls, will enjoy Stanley in his new business. In his garage, Stanley works alone, unlike as a builder with Charlie. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color, and he basic shapes that compose the items in Stanley’s world, if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the illustrations. I like watching Stanley helping his friends and I really wish, like Stanley, garages with gas pumps still pumped the gas for customers. What else has changed that kids might recognize? The text is simple with a few complex words related to automobiles. These words are: radiator, overheating, jacks, tow (no, not toe), and oily. Boys and girls will have a new vocabulary to use when playing with their toy cars.

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Young children will enjoy learning about the jobs Stanley takes on in this series. Along with building a house and running a garage, Stanley will be a chef in his own cafe, and grow food as a farmer. What other jobs Stanley might take on in the future is anyone’s guess. After reading Stanley’s Garage, young children will wonder why mom and dad pump their own gas. Stanley’s Garage can help prepare for kindergarten, as they learn the colors, shapes, and new words in each story.

The Stanley books are also a great choice for story-time. The illustrations, thanks to those black lines, are easy to see from a short distance. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a cafe and then becomes a farmer.

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STANLEY’S GARAGE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley’s Garage at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Stanley’s Collection

cover farmer

stanleys cafe

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Review is HERE

 

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, William Bee, at his website:   http://www.williambee.com/

Check out William Bee’s fantastic blog:  http://williambee.blogspot.com/

Find all of the Stanley series at the Peachtree Publishing website:    http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

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Also by William Bee

Beware of the Frog

Beware of the Frog

Whatever

Whatever

And the Train Goes...

And the Train Goes…

And the Cars Go...

And the Cars Go…

Digger Dog - NEW

Digger Dog – NEW

 

 

 

 

 

Migloo’s Day – March 24, 2015

 

stanley's garage

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley’s Garage

Monday 9/8
Green Bean Teen Queen
Tuesday 9/9
Jean Little Library
Geo Librarian
Kid Lit Reviews
Wednesday 9/10
Chat with Vera
Thursday 9/11
Blue Owl


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: automobiles, children's book reviews, jobs, Peachtree Publishers, picture books, Stanley the Builder, Stanley the Farmer, Stanley's Cafe, Stanley's Garage, William Bee

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8. #654 – Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

rhyme scheerx
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Rhyme Schemer

Written by K. A. Holttop-10-use-eb-trans
Chronicle Books 10/01/2014
978-1-4521-2700-2
Age 8 to 12 176 pages
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“Kevin has a bad attitude. He’s the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he’s even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on?”

Opening

“First day of school.
My favorite.
Easy prey.

Giant John.
A parade float of himself.

The Story

Kevin, the class bully, is in seventh grade. He loves picking on certain kids. His teacher, Mrs. Smithson, does not like him, but does like to send Kevin to the principal’s office. She also turns a very blind eye when Kevin is no longer the bully, but the bullied. At home, Kevin is the accident baby with four “P” brothers: Patrick, Paul, Petey, and Philip. Mom and dad are both busy physicians with little time for home or Kevin.

Kevin keeps a notebook of his days at school, writing them in verse. Petey, in charge of driving Kevin to school, is a bully himself. When he notices Kevin’s notebook, Petey makes terrible fun of Kevin and then chucks the notebook out the car window. Kevin searches but cannot find it. Robin, who fits perfectly between the boy’s bathroom sink pipes, finds the notebook. It becomes blackmail. Robin wants to be the Poetry Bandit. Robin is a little jerk.

Mrs. Little, the librarian, knows it is Kevin tearing out pages from classics, circling and adding a letter or two, creating a unique poem, and then posting it at school for all to see. Mrs. Little soon takes to Kevin. She encourages Kevin to stop defacing school property and use paper other than pages from children’s classics for his unique poetry. As long as Robin has Kevin’s private notebook, sharing it at random, Kevin is nervous. There are a few bombs in the notebook that Kevin does not want exploding at school.

Review

Written in verse, Rhyme Schemer is a fast read. It is also an extremely enjoyable read that kept me laughing, sometimes loudly. Kevin is not a bad kid. His home life looks ideal to others, but reality is another matter. His parents are rarely home and brother Petey—who hates Kevin—is especially mean whenever possible. Bullies beget bullies. Kevin enjoys picking on his classmates. He meets with the principal much too often.

Kevin is not the classic bully who is mean and full of hate that spews out at other kids. Kevin is frustrated and trying to get his parent’s attention. His home life is mostly unfair and soon school will become unfair. The teacher ignores Robin’s attacks at Kevin, whether it is passing mean notes during class or ignoring a physical confrontation—where Kevin does not retaliate. She really does not like Kevin and then favors Robin, mainly because his father holds an important position.

I really like Kevin. He is a character you can easily favor, wanting him to catch a break. He’s a likable kid. Kevin pays a big price for defending Kelly, but he gains a friend, his first. I understand Kevin. He is the baby in a large family, but instead of being spoiled, he is picked on, sometimes harshly for no real reason. In a house full of people, Kevin is alone. What must it be like to have four brothers, all wanted, and with planned-out names beginning with a “P” (I wish I knew why), but he is the accident with a name beginning with the wrong letter. This alone must make him feel alienated from his family. Kevin deals with school unfairness and home by becoming a feeling-less, like stone.

Kids will like Rhyme Schemer. They will like Kevin. Kids will see a bully from a new perspective. The text is funny in so many places, and even sad in a few. Ms. Holt’s writing style is enjoyable and kid like. Kevin is the narrator, but I wonder if he is also the author and Ms. Holt his conduit. Kevin wrote several Odes to his principal’s tie. Some are in the story and some are at the end of the book. Don’t pass these by.

“[Clearing throat noise here.]
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O, Principal’s tie
You make me want to puke
Because you are the color of
Squishy, moldy fruit”

Reluctant readers will also find Rhyme Schemer easy to read. At the end, I was not ready to stop reading. I wanted more. There are no unanswered questions, no threads laying in wait for a resolution; I simply want to read more of Kevin’s poetry. Rhyme Schemer is one of those rare books that stay with you, long after the last page flips over. I hope to read Kevin’s eighth grade notebook.

RHYME SCHEMER. Text copyright © 214 by K. A. Holt. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Read a excerpt of Rhyme Schemer HERE (no cost)

Buy Rhyme Schemer at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.
Learn more about Rhyme Schemer HERE
Meet the author, K. A. Holt, at her website:   http://kaholt.com/books/
Find more middle grade books at the Chronicle Books website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Also by K. A. Holt

Brains for Lunch

Brains for Lunch

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel

 

 

 

Coming Fall 2015 – House Arrest – Chronicle Books

 

 

rhymer schemer

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

I really like the author information on the back inside book jacket.
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K. A. Holt is a writer
a mama
a bad (but fearless) cook.

She has written three
(three!)
books for kids.

Also?

She shelved books
in the library
during grade school.

Ms. Holt claims
(claims!)
she never had a detention.

Believe what you want.”


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Poetry, Reluctant Readers, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: absent parents, bullied, bullier, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, K.A. Holt, middle grade novel, poems, poetry, seventh grade

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9. #653 – Woodland LItter Critters ABC by Patience and Robert Mason

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

wood;and llitter critters ABCx

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Woodland Litter Critters ABC

Written by Patience Mason
Illustrated by Robert Mason
Patience Press 6/01/2014
978-1-892220-10-3
Age 2 to 5 32 pages
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“The Litter Critters were all found hiding by Patience Mason. As they gather to watch the sunset at the shady river the Litter critters introduce young children to the alphabet.”

Opening

“Near the shady river at the end of the day, Andy Acorncap ambled along.”

The Story

Here is how it happens: Clarice the Caterpillar is long and sleek and singing a song as she watches the sun set. Greta the Giant Gnat buzzes as Luisa and Leif Liveoak, with their long legs and huge feet, dance and put on a show. I doubt anyone is looking at the Nut Family, the bunch of show-offs. Certainly not Rupert the Reindeer, he is too shy to look at anyone. Sarah Sweetgumball, who only wants to fly, keeps both her eyes upon one-eyed Tilly Thistlebottom instead of the setting sun. Tilly likes to bounce around the ground.

Wallie the Walking stick towers over the Volt Vines’ family, whose ties are a tangled mess. Blue, one-eyed Xat and his master Xerxes the Xenos are the only foreigners, having flow in from the stars or maybe even Mars. Finally, everyone gathers around Zippy the Zygodactyl to watch the sun make its final descent and disappear. And that is how it happens most every evening.

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Review

As the day slowly winds down, various woodland creatures—litter critters—watch the sun set. From Andy Acorncap to Zippy the Zygodactyl, various critters from A to Z teach young children their ABC’s and a little about creativity. The author created each of these critters from various pieces of the woods that fall upon the ground, hence “litter” critters. Each is remarkably lifelike in appearance.

These critters are cute with their twig arms and legs, acorn bodies, and various decorations. Most of us walk over these cast-off pieces, never thinking at all about the possibility these could be critters. Patience Mason doesn’t think this way. Instead of stepping on the twigs and nuts, leaves and scattered seeds, she sees hiding woodland critters waiting for her to pick them up and give them life once more. These critters look real. Patience has done a remarkable job putting each together with imagination and creativity. Any child could do the same, though not at her level of artistry. Yet, with a little help, kids could create all sorts of litter critters never before seen. There is no artificial coloring added to any critter. Critters like Mike Magnoliacone and Greta the Giant Gnat, get their color naturally—Mike from magnolia cone seeds; Greta from sparkleberry leaves.

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An unusual feature in Woodland Litter Critters ABC, aside from all the critters, is the ABC’s are not only in upper case, as in every other ABC book, but also in lower case. Children can walk into their first day of school knowing both and be ahead of the class.

I think kids will enjoy looking at each critter, trying to find them in subsequent pages, and possibly making their own. In fact, I cannot imagine any child who reads Woodland Litter Critters ABC not wanting to make its own critters. For families that have a creative day, this is an ideal book. The possibilities are endless. While this is not a craft book, there are certainly many ideas represented for kids to follow or mix up. Woodland Litter Critters ABC is the most imaginative and creative ABC book I have ever seen. The pages are not thick as in most ABC books, but torn pages are worth the risk to introduce your child to the likes of Ulysses Unicorn and Elvis Evergreen (with wife Elvira).

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WOODLAND LITTER CRITTERS ABC. Text copyright © 2014 by Patience Mason. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Robert Mason. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Patience Press, High Springs, FL.

Purchase Woodland Litter Critters ABC at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPatience Press—your favorite bookstore.

See the individual creatures of Woodland Litter Critters ABC HERE
Meet the author, Patience Mason, at her website:   http://patiencepress.com/patience_press/Welcome.html
Meet the illustrator, Robert Mason, at his website:   http://www.robertcmason.com/
Find other books at the Patience Press website:   http://patiencepress.com/

Also by Patience Mason

Recovering from the War

Recovering from the War

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Robert Mason

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Solo

Solo

Weapon

Weapon

 

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woodland litter critter ABC

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: ABC's, children's book reviews, creativity, outdoors, Patience Mason, Patience Press, picture book, Robert Mason, woods

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10. #652 – I Love You Infinity by Jillian, Max, and Sam Schmidt

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I Love You Infinity

Written by Jillian, Max, and Sam Schmidt
Illustrated by Robert Pracek
Blue Note Books 2014
978-0-9895563-2-3
Age 4 to 8 32 pages
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“I Love You . . . Infinity brings a precious, yet simple message about expressing love, while journeying through space and experiencing a fun fact about each planet in our solar system with the characters Fisher and Rigley. The book’s vivid and colorful illustrations and lovable characters help your children engage in bringing them along on this lively adventure Fisher and Rigley’s characters are so entertaining and charming, they will pull your children’s attention in like gravity and encourage their imagination to explore an out of this world love. Bring the message of love into your home when you and your children say I Love You . . . Infinity.”

Opening

“Mommy, How much do you love us?” asked Fisher and Rigley.”

The Story

The family of three starts out on the ground asking if mom loves them bigger than their house. Then Rigley, who is a giraffe, wants to know if Mom loves them farther than the moon. The next spread shows Rigley in his space outfit, floating near the sun. Once again, he asks,

“Do you love us BIGGER than the sun?”

Of course, mom does love him bigger than the sun. Then the trio head off to a star; the rocky planets Mercury and Venus; the beautiful Earth; red Mars; Jupiter, the largest planet in the system; Saturn and all its rings; cold Uranus; as far out as Neptune and the once, but no longer planet of Pluto. Mom loves the boys more than all the planets in the solar system, the universe, and finally infinity.

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Review

Brothers Fisher and Rigley ask Mom how much she loves them. This sparks a long series of increasing degrees of love. The first thing mom must do is explain the meaning of infinity. Mom says,

“It means forever and always.”

Though not exactly correct, that definition fits the book. Infinity is limitless in time, space, or distance; a number so great you cannot count it. For a four-year-old, “forever and always” may be easier to understand. Do not think your child will learn a “fun fact” about each planet. The “fun facts” include the Sun is big, planet Earth is beautiful, Mercury and Venus are rocky, Mars is red, Uranus is cold, Saturn has rings, Neptune is a long way away, and Pluto is no longer a planet. I expected more, something new, something interesting. If you want interesting facts about the solar system and each planet, go to Kids Astronomy.com. (http://www.kidsastronomy.com/) The writing is good and nearly error-free.

I love the spread, near the end, with the complete solar system laid out including poor abandoned Pluto. The brightly colored illustrations fill up each page, and, because you are in space, expect to see a lot of yellows and blues. The three characters are cute, especially Rigley, who is a giraffe.  Somewhere I read that the two brothers were to represent the two brothers who co-authored the book with mom. Now, which one chose to be a giraffe? Whoever you are, your giraffe is cute and one of my favorite animals.

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I really like the last spread where mom finally proclaims,

“I love you infinity.”

The light blue page shows each planet, in correct order, and the spaceship carrying the characters moves around those planets in a lopsided figure eight—the symbol for infinity. All of the illustrations are pleasing to the eye.  When you purchase I Love You Infinity, be care to get the correct book, there are two other children’s books with the same title.

Kids will enjoy I Love You Infinity, especially if they are into science or the planets. Anyone can make this book work into a fun, giggle-fest, ending in a series of hugs and kisses goodnight. Boys in particular will enjoy this picture book, which I think the authors have planned as a series, though I do not know what is next on their agenda. Though I Love You Infinity is a simple picture book about the complex solar system, it does a good job of orienting kids to our solar system and space, and it gives parents a fun read. The font is rather large, often too large, but if read in a story hour with several kids, the extra large font could be visible to every child. An interesting debut by mom and her two creative sons.

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I LOVE YOU INFINITY. Text copyright © 2014 by Jillian, Max, and Sam Schmidt. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Robert Pracek. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Blue Note Books, Melbourne, FL.

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Buy I Love You Infinity at AmazonB&NBlue Note Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about I Love You Infinity HERE

Meet the author, Jillian, Max, and Sam Schmidt at their Facebook page:    https://www.facebook.com/Jillian.Anjill

Meet author, Jillian Schmidt, at her website:   http://infinityauthorjillian.blogspot.com/

Find other books at Blue Note Books website:   http://www.bluenotebooksonline.com/

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i love you infinity

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: Children's Books Tagged: family, Jillian Schmidt, love, Max Schmidt, outer space, relationships, Sam Schmidt, solar system

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11. #651 – A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M.G. Schmidt & Sieb Posthuma

a pond full of inkx

A Pond Full of Ink

Written by Anne M.G. Schmidt
Illustrated by Sieb Posthuma
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers 3/01/2014
978-0-8028-5433-9
Age 6 and up 34 pages
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“Discover the humorous and imaginative world of Dutch writer Annie Schmidt with this new collection of her beloved poems. Paired for the first time with art from award-winning illustrator Sieb Posthuma, these poems offer readers of all ages a perfect introduction to the fresh and inventive voice of an international renowned author.”

Review

There are ten witty poems in A Pond Full of Ink. All are kid-friendly with subjects that will make most kids laugh. It begins with a situation most writers would love to have: a never-ending pond of ink and a portfolio of ten thousand stories and much more left to write. The writer might have written about the next poems subject: a naughty little girl who is not nice to anyone. She figures she will have enough time to be nice and polite once she becomes an adult.

pond ink USE

With rhymes using some unusual words, these poems are quite delicious. Kids might need to look up a word or too, but it is good to learn new words while we read. In the poem Belinda Hated Getting Clean . . . Schmidt uses the word inveterate1 to describe how Belinda hated to get clean. Mom is at the end of her tether2 and tries to bathe her daughter, but Belinda glowers.3

In most of the poems, the new words can be deciphered by their context as in Three Elderly Otters who want to go boating but the signs all say,

“FORBIDDEN FOR OTTERS”

Those that keep the otters from the boats are called rotters.4 The three otters cannot find anything to do until they spot bicycles. Oh, so delighted, the three otters spot a sign that reads,

“OTTERS DON’T NEED TO PAY”

otters

A Pond Full of Ink is a wonderful collection of poems. Each tells a story, most with unusual characters that the artist depicts at their quirkiest. Especially funny is Are You Joking, Mrs. Keller? Mr. Reeves is unhappy with the pets Mrs. Keller keeps in her house with her. He is not upset that there are seven. No, he is upset with the kind of pet she keeps. Mr. Reeves suddenly changes his mind after Mrs. Keller makes a veiled threat. What I really love is the illustrations. There are the seven bears standing in different windows. Each one is watching, some with an angry look. One pulls back the drapes, as if sneaking a peak. The one splash of bright color in the spread full of dark, muted reds and off-white is the green cactus sitting in an unoccupied window. Your eye is drawn to the cactus, but it is probably best to keep your eyes on the seven pet bears.

A Pond Full of Ink will entertain any age. The illustrations enhance the poems and are quite humorous. The poems are longer than most kid’s poetry, but they are easy to read aloud. Most are ridiculously unrealistic, like the table that wants to go for a stroll along the shore—and does! Also, a young girl’s (supposedly) stuffed crocodile eats nasty adults; a deer who wonders into a home ends up staying, sitting on the couch, used as a hanger for all sorts of the woman’s items; and a family living in a tree . . . wait, that could actually be true.

naughty girl USE

If you want to know read about a gossiped upon man who meets up with the four gossiping woman; three robbers who have robbed all but the moon and go after that; or any of the other poems described, you must read A Pond Full of Ink. The wonderful illustrations will help you visualize anything you cannot. Make sure you look around at the added details. The poems are funny, inventive, and some of the most interesting poems for kids I have read this year. A Pond Full of Ink comes from a poet from across the pond, Dutch poet Anne Schmidt. If you look closely, the book begins with “A” and ends with “Z” and a little sign that reads, “end.”

A POND FULL OF INK. Tex copyright © 1978 by The Estate of Annie M.G. Schmidt. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Sieb Posthuma. English translation copyright © 2011 by David Colmer. Reproduced in part by permission of the publisher, Eerdmans BFYR, Grad Rapids, MI.

Purchase A Pond Full of Ink at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryEerdmans Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about A Pond Full of Ink HERE

Meet the author, Annie M.G. Schmidt, at her website:    http://www.annie-mg.com/

Meet the illustrator, Sieb Posthuma, at his website:  http://www.siebposthuma.com/

Find more books at the Eerdmans BFYR website:   http://www.eerdmans.com/

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

A Pond Full of Ink was first published in 2011 by Em Querido Uitgeverij B. V. The original title is Een vijver vol inkt.

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1 firmly affixed, for a long time, in a bad habit—[inveterate]

2 rope, usually tied to an animal to keep it from roaming off—[tether]

3 a sullen, angry, resentful look on someone’s face–[glowers]

4 a nasty, unpleasant people—[rotters]

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a [ond full of ink

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: Anne M.G. Schmidt, children's book reviews, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, international poetry, picsture books, poetry, Sieb Posthuma

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12. #650 – The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey by Gregory E. Bray & Holly J. Bray-Cook

cover 2 mzzox

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The “Tail” of a Boy Named Harvey

Written by Gregory E. Bray
Illustrated by Holly J. Bray-Cook
Published by Gregory E. Bray         6/01/2013
978-1-488271465-4
Age 4 to 8              32 pages
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“Harvey is always playing with his pets, but his pets don’t like the way he plays with them. When the tables have turned, will he enjoy the way he’s played with?”

Opening

“Harvey was an energetic boy. He loved playing sports.”

The Story

Harvey is a typical five-year-old. He is rambunctious, energetic, imaginative, and self-centered. Harvey loves playing with his pets: a dog and a cat (names not given). Being a young boy, he does not think of either pet’s feelings or consider how they might like to play. The pets are like large dolls that breathe. Harvey puts clothes on them, uses the cat as a basketball, and dresses both up in military garb when he wants to play army—sending the cat up into the air so it may return in a parachute. To say Harvey plays rough with his companions is a mild way of describing his actions. Harvey plays like a little boy plays, with energy and enthusiasm.

The poor dog and cat are not happy and try to avoid Harvey at all costs. His parents cannot figure out why the pets react so adversely to their son, until the day mom catches Harvey ready to catch his parachuting kitty.

“She sent him to his room after dinner and he was only allowed to come out for school and meals.”

Harvey’s response to his punishment further shows he has no idea what he did to get into so much trouble.

“Stupid pets!”  [Harvey said, while lying in bed.]

Review

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I really like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Subconsciously, Harvey understood what he did was wrong. In his dream, he is the “pet” and the pets “own” him. The pets play with Harvey exactly as he played with them—thrown up in the air, dressed up, and abruptly awakened. Harvey hates this “playing.” The army games the pets play with Harvey terrify him enough to jolt him awake. Mom tells him it is only a dream, but Harvey has other thoughts on his mind,

“I’m sorry guys. I didn’t know how bad I treated you. I promise to play nice with you for now on!”

I like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey because animal abuse starts with that first inappropriate action. While most kids do not continue on abusing animals—and later extend the abuse to humans—the sooner they learn to respect their pets, the faster they will learn to respect other people and themselves. Harvey’s self-centeredness, typical for his age, opened up a notch with his revelation. I love that Harvey came to this realization mainly by himself, though he would have gotten there much slower had mom not punished him. This is a perfect example of how kids learn. The author’s inspiration for the book came in part from his son Liam and their cat Harvey. The author got it right.

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Now, what I do not like about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. I am not a fan of the 8 x 8 format mainly because little hands need the stronger pages of a traditional picture book format. A couple of pages came loose from the binding in my copy. The main problem with the story is the lack of action. The narrator tells us 90 percent or more of what is happening instead of letting the characters do this. The story would be more engaging had this happened. The reader would also be able to add to the story by adopting character voices and further charm their child. Please remember the key maxim: Show not Tell.

The illustrations are good, not traditional looking picture book illustrations, but nicely done. The pets are great at showing their dislike through facial expressions, though my cat would have simply hissed or bit, then run away. When the pets do run away, their fast retreat is nicely illustrated. The illustrator made sure we understood Harvey’s point of view drastically changes when he becomes the pet. The dog and cat (wish they had names) are adorable. Nice job with the little details I love so much.

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I think kids will like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Young kids will appreciate the story and laugh at Harvey’s predicament. Those with pets will quickly learn from Harvey and that is a great thing to happen. Classrooms with a pet would do well to read this story, as would any child soon to get their first pet. The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey is the author’s, and the illustrator’s, first children’s book. They both did a nice job bringing the story of Harvey (the cat or the boy, I am no longer sure which) to life.

THE TAIL OF A BOY NAMED HARVEY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gregory E. Bray. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Holly J. Bray-Cook. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gregory E. Bray, Sacramento, CA.

For a young lad’s critique, click HERE

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Purchase The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey at Amazon—B&N—CreateSpace—Gregory Bray—your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey HERE

Meet the author, Gregory E. Bray, at his blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Meet the illustrator, Holly J. Bray-Cook, at her website:

Gregory E. Bray published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

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tail of a boy named harvey

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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A Little about Gregory E. Bray

gregory e bray authorx

“Gregory E Bray (1967-present) was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where he still resides He was a film major in college who now works in the IT industry. He has written scripts for corporate videos and shorts and uses humor in everything he writes. He uses his humor in this, his first children’s book, to help get the books message out to children. His inspiration for writing this children’s book comes from his wife Lita, their son Liam and their cat Harvey.”

How to Find Gregory E. Bray

Website:

Blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/gregoryebray

Goodreads Author Page:   https://www.goodreads.com/geb1967

Amazon Author’s Page:    amazon.com/author/gregorybray


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: be kind to pets, cats, children's book reviews, dogs, Gregory E. Bray, Holly J. Bray-Cook, imagination, pets, picture books, relationships, respect

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13. #649 – Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano & Laia Aguilar

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Bonjour Camille

Written by Felipe Cano
Illustrated by Laia Aguilar
Chronicle Books              8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2407-0
Age 3+           32 pages
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“It’s a Sunday morning, and Camille—adorned in a tutu and a top hat—has so many things to do! There is jumping on the bed (of course), choosing a new favorite color, drawing thousands of faces on thousands of balloons, hiding all of the umbrellas, seeking out the unexpected on a map, and more in delightful surprises, all experienced through the eyes of an inspired child.”

Opening

“On Sunday mornings, as soon as the sun comes up, Camille opens her eyes and . . . “

Review

Camille wakes and puts on a tutu and a top hat. This is her battledress. She has many things to do on this Sunday, beginning with jumping on the bed until . . .

“THAT’S ENOUGH!”

That was Camille’s mother. Camille has many things planned for her day. She plans on,

Bonjour Camille_Int_2

“Giving names to all the waves.”

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“Asking the wind in a whisper voice to tell her a story.”

There are so many things Camille has to do on a Sunday. She most definitely must get an ice cream cone and then let it melt away in her hand. Depending upon the height of your viewpoint, Camille’s plans are either delightful ideas or odd and impossible. As Camille continues making her plans, giving balloons’ faces and yelling at winter until . . . a voice penetrates her thoughts,

“STOP that jumping!”

Camille is a typical young girl, bored on a winter Sunday, trying to find fun things to do inside the house. While she conjures up her plans, Camille continues jumping despite her mother sternly saying it was enough (but she did not say exactly enough of what). Camille, deep in her thoughts, may not have heard.

I love Camille’s spirit and I adore her whimsical imagination. Though many little girls have had ice cream melt on their hand and drawn faces on a balloon, Camille plans these activities and then allows the ice cream to melt, and draws faces on thousands of balloons. Camille has an indomitable spirit.

The illustrations look drawn with Camille’s own hand. The images are simple, yet fun. Originally released in Spain, Bonjour Camille is different from most picture books from Chronicle. Other than its small 6 x 8 size, the colors are not as bright and bold as most picture books. None of this takes away from book’s charm. Bonjour Camille is the perfect gift for a spunky little girl or the parents of an adorable baby girl.

BONJOUR CAMILLE. Text copyright © 2011by Felipe Cano. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Laia Aguilar. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Purchase Bonjour Camille at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Bonjour Camille HERE

Meet the author, Felipe Cano, at his website:

Meet the illustrator, Laia Aguilar, at her LinkedIn:    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laia-aguilar/1a/493/bb0

Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

First published in 2011 by BOBO CHOSES.

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bonjour camille

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Bonjour Camille, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Felipe Cano, imagination, indomitable, Laia Aguilar, little girl dreams, picture books, translated from Spanish, whimsical

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14. #648 – Stanley the Builder by William Bee

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Stanley the Builder

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing           9/01/2014
978-1-5614-801-1
Age 3 to 8           32 pages
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“When Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works step-by-step—from clearing the site with a bulldozer, to pouring the foundation, to painting the finished house in Myrtle’s favorite colors. Luckily, Charlie helps out too. Building houses is hard work, but all three friends are happy with a job well done.”

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Opening 

“What are Stanley and Myrtle doing?”

Review

Myrtle the mouse just purchased a plot of land and hires Stanley to build her a house. Stanley is an industrious hamster. After clearing the land with his bulldozer, Stanley and his helper Charlie, build the foundation. The tricky work of laying down the bricks is next. There is not a wolf around who will be able to blow this house down. When the house is finished, Stanley paints it using Myrtle’s favorite colors. All done, Stanley heads home, newspaper in hand, for dinner, a long bath, and bed. He will wake up ready for a new day.

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Young boys will love the Stanley the Builder. Stanley uses all kinds of machines to help him build Myrtle’s house. Will kids know what and how these machines are used? Stanley wears a yellow safety hat, possibly just as dad wears. Young boys, and some girls, who enjoy building things just like Stanley, will love a story about building, especially with the cute hamster Stanley. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the main illustration. I also like that Stanley’s friend Charlie helps and Myrtle finds a way to help out, too. These three friends work well together. Young children will enjoy pointing out the equipment Stanley uses—a crane, digger, cement mixer, and bulldozer. A game can be made of finding the machine, the item used to build the house, or a specific color, after reading the story, of course. In this way, Stanley the Builder can be a great way to prepare for kindergarten. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a garage.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-007

STANLEY THE BUILDER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley the Builder at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, William Bee, at his website:   http://www.williambee.com/

Check out William Bee’s fantastic blog:  http://williambee.blogspot.com/

Find all of the Stanley series at the Peachtree Publishing blog:   http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

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Also by William Bee

Worst in Show - 2014

Worst in Show – 2014

Digger Dog - 2014

Digger Dog – 2014

Stanley the Farmer - 2015

Stanley the Farmer – 2015

Stanley's Garage - 2014

Stanley’s Garage – 2014

 

Review HERE

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Migloo’s Day – 2015

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stanley the builder

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley the Builder

Monday 9/1

Green Bean Teen Queen

Tuesday 9/2

Jean Little Library

Geo Librarian

Kid Lit Reviews

Wednesday 9/3

Chat with Vera

Thursday 9/4

Kiss the Book

Blue Owl

Friday 9/5

The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: builds a house, bulldozer-cement mixer-crane-digger, children's book reviews, Peachtree PUblishing, picture book, Stanley series by William Bee, William Bee, young children

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15. #647 – The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

guardian herd 1 starfire

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The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire

Written by Jennifer Lynn Alvareztop-10-use-eb-trans
Harper/HarperCollins Children’s Books      9/23/2014
978-0-06-228606-2
Age 8 to 12              272 pages
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“Once every hundred years, a black foal is born, prophesied to either unite or destroy the five herds of flying horses that live in the land of Anok. He is fated to become the most powerful Pegasus in all of Anok. Star is this black foal. Even though Star has malformed wings that make him unable to fly, the leaders of each herd will take no risks and want to execute Star before his first birthday. With the help of his friends, Star must escape the clutches of the powerful leaders. His epic journey of self-discovery turns into a battle between good and evil that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.”

Opening

“Star trotted through the dense pine forest, alone.”

The Story

The Pegasi of Anok (mythical winged horses), consists of five herds each with their own leader—the over-stallions—and their own land. None crosses the borders without permission. Wars have been raging between these herds for hundreds of years. Star is a black foal born into the Sun Herd, led by Thunderwing. When Star’s mother died birthing Star, Thunderwing’s mate adopted him, much against her mate’s wishes.

Star, a black foal, was born under the Hundred Year Star. If he can remain alive until his first birthday, he will receive the star’s power, and then become either a destroyer or a healer. No one knows which he will become, not even Star, and this terrifies the over-stallions of each herd. The last black foal born under this star all thought would be a healer. He was a good weanling, but when he received the power, he became a destroyer and wrecked havoc in all the land of Anok. It is up to the over-stallion of the guardian herd—Thunderwing—to kill the black foal before his first birthday, or to let him live and receive his ultimate power. Thunderwing is as scared as the others are and plans to execute Star before his first birthday.

Only Star’s three friends and his adopted mother believe Star will be a healer and seek to keep Star alive so he can receive the power of the Hundred Year Star. The other weanlings (those under one-year of age) bully Star and his three friends, mainly because he cannot fly. He does not fit into his wings, and must walk every like a common horse—a terrible insult to a Pegasus.

One particular weanling has it in for Star and tries to kill him. But in doing so, he crosses into another herd’s land, starting a war. Between this new war and the majority of pegasi wanting him executed, Star knows he must be on his own. Can Star survive without his friends, tend to his own food and water, and remain hidden from all other pegasi? Whether or not Star can survive on his own will greatly determine his future. With five herds looking for him, Star’s odds of survival are slim.

Review

The Guardian Herd has every element a kid wants in an adventure. The author has created an imaginative, highly stylized world kids will appreciate. There are great characters that are easy to understand and like, even the terrifying bully Brackentail. This adventure has tons of action, some with violence. The violence is not bad until the final battle, making this book more appropriate for middle graders on the older end of their age-range.

There are many characters is The Guardian Herd. So many that the author starts with five pages of descriptions so kids know the herds and the pegasi in each herd. I found this section a tad overwhelming and skipped it altogether. I had no trouble remembering who was who and where they belonged. The only thing this list does, in my opinion, is make the story seem cumbersome and it might scare off a reader or two. I would drop it or place it at the end of the story.

Star is a wonderful character. Despite his worthless wings and inability to fly, Star has a warm personality, respects and honors his friends and adopted mare, and is braver than one would think given his situation and fate. Star is a character whose side you will quickly take up. When off on his own, Star’s humor—or the author’s humorous writing—had me in stitches. I loved his friend Crabwing and the things they did in and around the bay.

Granted, there is a huge war near the end of the story and the violence can be just shy of young adult territory, but I do not think it will give any kid nightmares, especially when the scenes that follow these battles are as strong and easy to envision. Once these scenes begin, the war becomes a distant memory. I think these final scenes will override any violent scenes a kid may linger on. The ending is extremely well written and strong. It was nothing as I imagined it might be. I cannot explain any further without spoilers, so this will have to do: the ending is fantastic. If the author does not hurry up and finish the next book, I may start stalking her blog.

The Guardian Herd may not be a New York Bestseller, yet, but it will entertain, and possibly teach your child a few things about friendship, respect, and loyalty. If not, they will still be completely engrossed for a few hours with an imaginative world that actually resembles our own world in many ways. I highly recommend this series for kids age 10 and up. Adults who love fantasy adventures will also enjoy The Guardian Herd #1: Starfire. This is Jennifer’s debut novel with HarperCollins—her first traditionally published book!

THE GUARDIAN HERD #1: STARFIRE. Text copyright © 2014 by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Advanced Readers Copy received from the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

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Get your copy of The Guardian Herd: Starfire at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryHarperCollinsyour favorite book store.

Learn more about The Guardian Herd: Starfire HERE

**Also Available in Audio

Meet the author, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, at her website:    http://www.jenniferlynnalvarez.com/

Find more exciting stories at the HarperCollins website:    http://www.harpercollins.com/

HarperCollins Children’s Books is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Here is a twelve-year-old kid’s view of The Guardian Herd #1:  Starfire. Read Erik’s review HERE

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Also by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

The Pet Washer

The Pet Washer

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Reviewed HERE

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guardian herd starfire

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: children's book reviews, Guardian Herd, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Publishers, Hundred Year Star, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Land of Anok, middle grade novel, Pegasus, Starfire

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16. #646 – Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky

Alphabetabumx

Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses

written by Chris Raschka
Photography collection by Vladimir Radunsky
New York Review Children’s Collection        10/01/2014
978-1-59017-817-1
Age 4 to 7        80 pages
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“An ALPHABET book?
“An ALBUM of old photos?
“We named it ALPHABETABUM.

“Here celebrated artist and author Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka put a delightful new old-fashioned spin on the alphabet book. Radunsky has selected portraits off children from is spectacular collection of antique black-and-white photographs. Raschka has given the children names and written deliciously teasing rhymes about them. The result is ALPHABETABUM, a book of letters and pictures to which readers will happily return to again and again both to look and to learn.”

Opening

[A picture of a young girl in a short dress with a sash.]

                   “Aa
Awkward Agnes Alexandra
Shows her ample ankles
Although her knees are grander.”

Review

Vladimir Radunsky writes, “If these photos were taken in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries, then the children in them could have been our great-great-great grandparents! So we have an extraordinary chance to see what our great-great-great grandparents looked when they were children.”

There are 26 photographs of children of varying ages in Alphabetabum; the first original book from New York Review Children’s Collection (all others are reprinted classics). I looked closely at the eyes after reading Radunsky’s thoughts that one of these could be a great-great-great-grandparent, aunt, or uncle. I have never seen any pictures of my parents as children, so seeing what they might have worn captivated my attention as well.

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Some of the portraits are comical, like young Baby Beulah Bridget who wears a huge white bow upon her tiny head. The bow is too big for her small head and looks to topple at any moment. From the clothing, it is obvious these children are from all over the world. One young boy, named Quiet Quentin Quint, wears long white pants under a black pair of knickers with an ornate jacket and cummerbund. Atop his head is a stocking cap (today, we call these skullcaps) and leans on a cricket bat. Quentin is a serious child.

The photographs in Alphabetabum range from the casual to the formal, though it would not have been a casual friend taking the casual picture. In all cases, the person behind, or next to, the lens would have been a professional photographer. Photographs back then took quite a while to develop and many people had to hold that smile for several minutes. In today’s instant world, I wonder if such portraits are possible.alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Alphabetabum is an interesting and quite curious ABC book. It is really more for older kids and adults, not the young child trying to learn their ABC’s, though it could be done. These ABC’s are for those who love poetry, old photographs, and funny verses that try to define the child based on their clothing, they way they pose, and maybe a smile or lack thereof. The names are all alliterated and interesting. I like Alphabetabum because of it’s quirkiness and because I love old photos and photography. I don’t think you need to have those interests to find Alphabetabum worth your time. Alphabetabum will become endearing, leading you to want to share this unusual ABC picture book.

ALPHABETABUM: AN ALBUM OF RARE PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEDIUM VERSES. Text copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Vladimir Radunsky. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York, NY.
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Buy Alphabetabum at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Alphabetabum HERE

Meet the author, Chris Raschka, at his twitter:   https://twitter.com/ChrisRaschka

Meet the photography collector, Vladimir Radunsky, at his website:    http://www.vladimirradunsky.com/

Find classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

The New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Also by Chris Raschka

If You Were a Dog

If You Were a Dog

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Give and Take

Give and Take

 

 

 

 

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Also by Vladimir Radunsky

Advice to Little Girls

Advice to Little Girls

Hip Hop Dog

Hip Hop Dog

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

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Review HERE

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: ABC Book, alliteration, children's book reviews, Chris Raschka, classic photographs from early 20th century, formal portraits of children from long ago, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York Review of Books, poetry, Vladimir Radunsky

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17. #645 – Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Flora and the Penguin                    2014

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Flora and the Penguin

Written and illustrated by Molly Idle
Published by Chronicle Books 2014
978-1-4521-2891-7
Age 4 to 8 (+) 32 pages
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“Flora is back and this time she partners with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, and gliding on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other in an exuberant ice dance. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results.”

Opening

As Flora ties her right skate, she notices something poke out of a hole in the ice. What could it be?

Review

Flora is back at the ice rink, getting ready to glide and twirl when she sees something odd in the hole across from where she sits lacing her skate. Flora extends her hand, offering it to Penguin. He accepts (I am assuming Penguin is a he, I really do not know). Flipper in hand, the pair glide in perfect harmony. Left foot glide to the right; turn and right foot glide to the left. In absolute harmony, Flora and Penguin take off and then LEAP into a perfect twirl.

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Oh, NO! Penguin misses his landing, falling onto his rotund rear. Flora glides away . . . laughing. Penguin belly slides to her with a twinkle in his eye. This is not Flora and the Flamingo. The grace and style are present. The harmonious duet is there. The serious business of skating is not. Penguin brings the smiles and laughs out of Flora. He also spoils his partner, or, rather, he tries. Flora rejects Penguin’s gift. Sure, it is a small fish he has brought her; a snack Penguin chased below the ice—in synchronicity with Flora’s skating. Flora flips the fish over her head. Penguin looks mortified as his gift somehow lands into the hole in the ice and swims away.

The beautiful illustrations once again capture the elegant characters gliding, twirling, and leaping. At quick glance, one might believe this is the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo, only with a penguin. That person would be wrong, terribly wrong. In Flora and the Flamingo, Flora is the student learning from Flamingo, the teacher. In Flora and the Penguin, Flora is no longer the student, nor is she the teacher. She and Penguin are friends skating together and having fun. When Penguin misses his landing, no one turns away in admonition. No, Flora happily laughs and Penguin giggles as they join back together. These two are playmates.

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Playmates have fights, as you are sure to remember. Flora turns away in a pout, checking on Penguin when he looks away. Penguin is also pouting in anger and keeping an eye on Flora. These two friends need to find their way back and Ms. Idle does this in grand style. A four-page grand spread. Flora and the Penguin is a gorgeous, wordless picture book that will wow anyone lucky enough to turn the pages. Some pages contain flip-up, -down, or –sideways, always changing the scene and promoting a smile.

Flora and the Penguin is an easy choice for anyone who loves ballet. Yet this gorgeous, should-win-lots-of-awards picture book will attract a wider audience. Like her throngs of admirers, I cannot wait for her next release, though I am secretly hoping for new characters in a new story. Whatever direction she takes, parents and young children will love the finished product. Ms. Idle has perfected the art of wordless storytelling.

FLORA AND THE PENGUIN. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Molly Idle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Buy Flora and the Penguin at AmazoniTunesB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Flora and the Penguin HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, Molly Idle, at her website:  http://idleillustration.com/

Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books’ website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Molly Idle

Camp Rex

Camp Rex

Tea Rex

Tea Rex

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flora and the penguin

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: ballet, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Flora and the Penguin, gorgeous illustrations, ice skating, Molly Idle, penguins, picture books, wordless stories

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18. #644 – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

Lobo cover

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The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and illustrated by C.L. Murphy
Published by C.L. Murphy         8/22/2014
978-0-9883187-5-5
Age 4 to 8        32 pages
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“Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.”

Opening

 “Ohh …….Rooooxxxyyyy . . . Roxy…..Roxy?”

The Story

After a stormy night, Lobo finds a bird lying upside down in the grass. It has blue feet, which worries Lobo, but it turns out the bird, named Bobby is a blue-footed booby. The storm blew Bobby all the way to Lobo’s home, hurting his wing in the process. Lobo’s friend Roxy the raven splints Bobby’s wing and then the two take Bobby home. He lives by the ocean, but none of the beaches Lobo arrives at is the correct beach. Bobby lives on Wolf Island—wolf population zero—an island of the Galapagos Islands. The islands are across the ocean rom Lobo’s forest. Lobo does not swim well and is afraid a sea creature might attack the group—or him. What does he do know? How will he get the injured Booby back home?

Review 

I have loved The Adventures of Lovable Lobo ever since Lobo ventured into a barnyard full of animals trying to make friends. He was a cool wolf pup when he refused to hunt and kill in his first adventure. Lobo was wonderful with a young Bigfoot. In Lobo Goes to Galapagos, Lobo must be maturing. He takes the lead, transporting an injured boobly bird, a depressed seagull, and a lonely crab by himself. Roxy helps by flying most of the time instead of landing on Lobo’s back for a free ride. Lobo never complains. These are his friends (even the sad seagull and the blue-footed boobly both of which he just met) so he steps out.

I loved the unexpected bits of humor, such as when Sandra popping onto the beach with the perfect timing of a great comedian One f the best lines is this one,

LoboGalapagos_page33_image38

“The water was so clear that if Lobo looked down he could see many things swimming around,   so he tried not to look down.”

Poor Lobo, he endures one fear to take a new friend, injured in the storm, home. The nice thing about Lobo’s stories is the lack of a message. Lobo is a good wolf, a wolf to aspire to be, and a friend to every animal without prejudice. This is Lobo’s makeup, not his message. Still, I take friendship, honesty, loyalty, and courteousness away from Lobo’s adventures.

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I was disappointed that Lobo Goes to the Galapagos was only to drop off a new friend. I thought he would go there to explore and show me creatures I did not know existed. True, I had never heard of a blue-footed boobly—and yes, it is real—but I wanted more.

The illustrations are once more fantastic. My favorite and one that Ms. Murphy will find hard to top, is her gorgeous sunset, sunrise beaches. I have been to the Caribbean many times and have seen many outstanding sunsets and rises, but none were as magnificent as the ones in Lobo Goes to the Galapagos. Ms. Murphy the magic touch. All of her illustrations are bold, bright, beautiful renditions of her stories. If the images are not hopping off the page at you, they bathe you in phenomenal patterns of color. She is a fantastic artist.

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Lobo’s latest adventure, Lobo Goes to the Galapagos, will not disappoint his loyal fans. Young children new to the lovable wolf pup will enjoy the story’s soft humor and awesome tale of friendship. As of this tale, Kindle readers can finally enjoy Lovable Lobo. Once again, Lobo and his friends captivated me. I hope one day, Lobo will make a longer trip to the Galapagos Islands. He would make the perfect ambassador.

THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO #5: LOBO GOES TO THE GALAPAGOS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by C.L. Murphy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, C.L. Murphy.

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Purchase Lobo Goes to the Galapagos at AmazoniTunes—Ms. Murphy’s Website.

Learn more about Lobo Goes to the Galapagos HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, C.L. Murphy, at her website:     http://lovablelobo.com/

Pop in on the author at her Twitter, Facebook, or Blog.

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Also by C.L. Murphy

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1:  Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1: Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2:  Lobo Visits the Barnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2: Lobo Visits the Barnyard


The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3:  Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3: Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4:  Lobo's Howliday

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4: Lobo’s Howliday

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Review of Lobo #1

Review of Lobo #2

Review of Lobo #3

Review of Lobo #4

 

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: Blue-Footed Boobly, C.L. Murphy, children's book series, childrens book review, friendship, Galapagos Islands, helping friends, Lovable Lobo, loyalty, picture book, wild creatures

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19. Technical Difficulties

WordPress made an update and I am having technical problems. Instead of posting the actual post, I am getting the formatting showing through. Hopefully you will get this message in one piece since I have not added any bold, or italic, or copied anything into the post. If you are looking at formatting, then there is no need to explain ny further.

I will get a hold of WordPress and work on this today. Hopefully, I’ll be back in order for Tuesday’s post.

I am so sorry.

Sue

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Filed under: Children's Books

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20. Interview with 16-Year-Old Artist Reyes Rosa

Today, Kid L it Reviews is pleased to bring you an interview with Reyes Rosa, a sixteen-year-old, up-and-coming illustrator. He is here to also showcase some of his work which I think you will enjoy.  (All art copyright © 2014 by Reyes Rosas.)

 

Hi, Reyes. Let’s start at the beginning. How old were you when you began seriously drawing?

I’m 16, now.   And I began seriously drawing last year.

The illustrations here, how old were, Reyes when you created them?HNI_0094

I drew most of them recently.

What is it about illustrating that you like so well?

I find it fun and exciting to give characters life.

 Is there anything you don’t like?

I love everything I do.

Reyes, who is your favorite artist and why?

I do not have a favorite artist. I don’t watch other illustrators.

 

Has a piece of art or character that influenced your art?

This is Kirby and he was my inspiration to start drawing when I was younger.

Kirby is your muse. How does Kirby influence you? 

At the time, he seemed so fun and lively. And he could become anything he wanted, simply by inhaling it!

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How old were you at the time?

I really don’t remember, but I think I was about 11

Until Kirby came along, how much did you draw?

Before that I really didn’t draw at all.

I love the interesting character study you did of a Kirby. I really like all the expressions and positions you included.

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I love your art I have seen. The digital illustrations are fantastic an on the level of much I see today in picture books. How did you learn to make digital art?

I am a self taught artist and the program I mostly use is Colors 3D for digital art.

Did you have any help? Maybe a book on drawing?

I didn’t use any outside sources, I just started drawing.

Some of those art programs have a large learning-curve. No one helped you learn any of it?

No. I have done everything on my own, thru trial and error.

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Color 3D is a new one for me. What are the advantages/disadvantages of using Color 3D?

Some of the advantages are that it is a very comfortable, easy to use program. It isn’t cluttered by any unnecessary options. And some of the disadvantages are that the program is a little limited in terms of image resolution and tools.

Was Color 3D difficult to learn?

The program itself did not take long to get comfortable with, but acquiring  the skills took quite some time.

HNI_0008_JPGHave you tried using any of the usual programs illustrators like? (Illustrator, Photoshop, Manga 5, Corel Draw, or the open source Gimp)

I have not used any others because this one is the most comfortable for me to use. I have tried Gimp, but found that it is a little overcomplicated. And the others, I just don’t have the funds for.

Do you use a graphic pad?

I do not have a graphic pad, but I have wanted to try one. I use a stylus.

 

What is your normal process when creating illustrations?  Do you sketch and then scan, paint and then scan to finish other areas? How do you get such great looking illustrations?

I usually just sketch within the program and then build the drawing from there.

Which part of the process do you enjoy most – sketching, painting, or digital illustration?

I love sketching and digital illustration. I don’t like the initial starting process of getting a rough sketch down, but I love the process of coloring and shading.

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I know you would like to illustrate children’s books. Have you any experience? 

I have worked with my mother on her kids cookbook doing the illustrations for it.

What you interests you about a career illustrating children’s books?

I like working in the children’s market because it’s more creative and less limited and lets me have more freedom in what I create.

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Reyes you are a young man with lots of time ahead of you. Have you decided the life path you will take? Will it include art?

Yes, it will definitely include art and I would like to do 3D rendered animation in the future.

Have you thought about college and the art programs they have?

I have not thought about it yet, because I am only 16. But, my mom has thought about sending me to the Art Institute Of Chicago.

HNI_0009You’ve got to love moms. They are always one step ahead.

What do you do to relax?

I like to play video games.HNI_0011

 

 

 

 

 

What would be the most important advice you would give to young artist following you?

Never give up on any drawing, it might look bad at the start, but that’s only part of the process.

 What would you like to get out of this interview?

 I would like for you to share my art with others.

What is the next step for you and your art?

 I want to take my art to where I can do this professionally and have someone represent me.

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Thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews. In kids lit, an up and coming new artist interested in creating children’s books is exciting. Your innate talent is inspiring. I hope you become and accomplish all you wish to achieve.

 

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Reyes is a self-taught digital artist and
pencil illustrator with a focus on character
art for video gaming and children’s literature.
He has been drawing since he was old enough
to hold a crayon. Reyes is a passionate guy who is
ready to take the next leap by pursuing art as a career.
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Reyes is off the grid, but as been encouraged to build a blog so others may find him and his art.
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Illustrator Spotlight, Interviews Tagged: artist, children's books, digital medium, illustration, kidlit, Reyes Rosas

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21. #639 – Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole by Irene Latham & Anna Wadham

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Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole

Written by Irene Latham
Illustrated by Anna Wadham
Millbrook Press                             8/01/2014
978-1-4677-1232-3
Age 4 to 8             32 pages
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“Welcome wildebeest
and beetle,
oxpecker and lion.
This water hole is yours.
It offers you oasis
beside its shrinking shores.

“Spend a day at a water hole in the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Irene Latham’s gorgeous poems are accompanied by additional facts that provide further details about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Wadham complete this delightful collection.”

Review

Dear Wandering Wildebeest, is composed of 15 poems about wild African animals, a glossary of possibly unusual words, and a section of advanced reading, enhanced by beautiful illustrations of the animals and the African land in which they live.

If you like giraffes, monkeys, lions, and elephants, you are in luck. There are also rhinoceros, small nightjars, vultures, marabou storks, oxpeckers, and, of course, wildebeest. Don’t worry, there are many more animals than that in this wonderful book. The pages look like the African Plains have jump onto the paper, leaving nothing bare. The beautiful skies change with the day, sometimes the dark blue of midnight or the rosy shade of dusk.

Some of the poems rhyme and some do not, but all are easy to read aloud. Impala Explosion swiftly jumps off the reader’s tongue.

“Wind lifts
grass shifts

eyes search
legs lurch

twig pop
grazing stops

ears twitch
tails hitch

peace shatters . . .”
—Impala Explosion, (partial poem) by Irene Latham © 2014

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Kids will love the poems. They will understand them all, and any word that is foreign to them is most likely sitting in the glossary waiting to spread some understanding. If you like the aforementioned giraffes, Ms. Latham wrote a triptych in its honor. What is a triptych, you ask? I have no idea, but the glossary knows. Let’s check.

“triptych: a work of art divided into three sections”

That would be correct. The giraffe’s poem is divided into three sections:

Craving,

Caution, and

Courage.”

Feeling parched, the giraffe craves a drink. Giraffe’s must be cautious, as it has no idea what other animals will be at the water hole. It could be dangerous. To quench its thirst, the giraffe must be courageous and confident because other animals will pounce on a weak animal. Giraffes are cool creatures. If the poem does not convince you of this, read the information box in the lower left side of the spread.

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Each spread has an information box containing interesting things about the animal or animals illustrated. I really like the information the author/poet adds to the spread, much of it new information that I found fascinating. For instance, did you know the impala could jump as high as eight feet? Eight feet! That is high enough to clear the privacy fence in your backyard, if you have one, and have two feet between the top of the fence and the impala’s belly. How about this, in one year, the wildebeest travels—looking for food—more than 800 miles across the Serengeti. This is equivalent to you traveling across the state of Kansas, east to west (or west to east) twice, or the state of Rhode Island from north to south (or south to north) a whopping 20 times! The extra information is very interesting.

The illustrations are simply gorgeous. The African animals depicted in detail and the landscapes of various colors are easily as beautiful as the animals—except maybe snakes. I do not like snakes. If you do, they are covered and you will think they are beautiful. Check out each animal’s eyes. There is always something going on that draws their attention. (I think that darn snake is looking at me!) There is so much to see on each spread.

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Dear Wandering Wildebeest is one of those picture books that will delight nearly 99% of those most who read its poems and view its lovely art. Kids, you will love the animals, the sometimes-quirky poems, the illustrations, and all the interesting side information about life at an Africa watering hole for the wild creatures that need it for survival. If you love poetry and animals, Dear Wandering Wildebeest is a book is for you. It is really that simple. With school right around the corner, Dear Wandering Wildebeest is perfect book for show and tell or light research for a book report on an African watering hole and the animals that depend upon it.

DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: AND OTHER POEMS FROM THE WATER HOLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Irene Latham. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Anna Wadham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase a copy of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryMillbrook Pressyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole HERE.

Meet the author/poet, Irene Latham, at her website:    http://www.irenelatham.com/

Meet the illustrator, Anna Wadham, at her website:    http://annawadham.blogspot.com/

You can find more poetry at the Millbrook Press website:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

Millbrook Press is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

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Also by Irene Latham

The Sky Between Us

The Sky Between Us

Don't Feed the Boy

Don’t Feed the Boy

 

 

 

Read Review HERE.

 

Also by Anna Wadham

The Ant and the Big Bad Bully Goat

The Ant and the Big Bad Bully Goat

Dingo Dog and the Billabong Storm

Dingo Dog and the Billabong Storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: African animals, Anna Wadham, children's book reviews, Irene Latham, Lerner Publishing Group Inc., Millbrook Press, picture book, poetry

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22. #640 – Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10) by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

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Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10)

Written by Karla Oceanak
Illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press                   6/10/2014
978-1-934649-49-7
Age 7+           160 pages
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“Finding a dinosaur bone is like hitting the jackpot, right? Dino fossils are worth millions! Plus you get to b famous! You’re minding your own kid business when bam!—out of the mud pop fortune and glory. Ka-ching! That’s how I thought it would go, anyway, after my best friend, Jack, and I found a fossil in our neighborhood ditch. But as usual, grown-up rules made things way too complicated.”

Opening

“I wish we could play outside. This morning, I said that. I mean, I actually heard my own voice speak those exact words. Me. Aldo Zelnick.”

The Story

Aldo and his best friend, Jack, actually did go outside to play. It was cold and muddy causing the boys to slip and slid right into a neighborhood ditch. This is when Jack finds a big rock that, when cleaned, is much better than a rock. It is a fossil—a dinosaur fossil, right from their own backyard.

Aldo believes the fossil is worth millions of dollars and holds this hope out to the very end. Jack is thinking only of fame. A famous paleontologist, a famous middle grade paleontologist, would be cool, he thought. Jack holds out this hope to the very end. This is the only contention between Aldo and Jack: fame or fortune, but why not both!

The boys head to the natural history museum to find out what kind of fossil they found and, for Aldo, how much it is worth. Aldo thinks the museum will pay him on the spot—they do not. But, it is a dinosaur bone and the ditch might just have more bones. Now the boys must get the neighborhood to consent to digging up the ditch, and then find the rest of the dinosaur. Once done, Aldo and Jack will go on tour with their fame and fortunes. If only they can keep everyone out of the ditch until excavation day.

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_Denver_Museum

Review

When we last read about Aldo he was skiing in Ignoramus. Since then, Aldo and Jack have changed only incrementally, as they normally would. I like that the authors are not maturing the characters quickly. Of course, with twenty-six books, they have lots of room to let the characters blossom slowly. Still, Aldo may be in college by the time “Z” hits the shelves. Aldo is still using his diary to write about his life and then—oh, I meant his journal, so sorry. Sometimes a good character just sticks with you and Aldo is one of those characters. He also wants you to know he is an artist and draws some terrific scenes that help readers visualize his stories.

In “J,” for Jackpot, Aldo and his best friend Jack finally go outside to play. They do not pick the best day, as it is cold and the ground is muddy and slippery. Aldo and Jack slip and slide into a neighborhood ditch. In the ditch Jack loosens a great looking rock. The rock turns out to be a dinosaur bone and more could be in that ditch. Aldo thinks this is great fortune, as in money. Jack thinks this is fortunate, as in fame. He would love a dinosaur named after him. Aldo would probably like a bank, or at least the largest vault, named after him. They have hit the JACKPOT!

As in books A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I, J (for Jackpot) is crazy and funny with loads of mishaps, misunderstandings, and a girl interfering—or trying to—with Aldo and his journals. Jackpot is not a graphic novel. It contains enough text to keep the story on track and moving, but not so much as to crowd out the wonderful illustrations meant to be from Aldo. I love the detailed illustrations that greatly enhance the story. Aldo and Jack both sport Indiana Jones hats (fedoras). Kids will love the black and white “doodles” Aldo draws on nearly every page.

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I enjoyed Jackpot, reading it in one sitting. Middle grade kids—especially reluctant readers—will love this series. The characters are believable, multi-dimensional, likable and in many ways familiar to everyday life. Reluctant readers will appreciate the story staying on track and the short chapters. Kids can stop reading at any point, and when ready, easily reemerge back into the story. This is most terrific for reluctant readers who are at a distinct disadvantage with continuing a book midway through.

As far as the actual writing is concerned, the story stays on point even when Aldo goes off on a tangent. Aldo’s tangential thoughts are about money. In several illustrations, Aldo has made long lists of numbers needing added to project his coming wealth. The characters, especially Aldo and Jack, are easy to care about as the story progresses. If you have been reading the alphabet series known as Aldo Zelnick, you already care about Aldo and Jack, but the author makes no assumptions and brings new readers into the fan club.

Jackpot is the tenth book in Aldo’s series. I like that each of these books introduces new words that begin with that book’s letter. Jackpot, then, has words beginning with the letter “J.” Examples include jabbering, jack squat, jicama, and several French words like Joie de vivre and jugo de naranja. There is a glossary in the back, which defines each “J” word. In the text, the highlighted words are marked with an asterisk (*).

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The Aldo Zelnick series is similar to The Wimpy Kid except that Jackpot, and every book thus far, have better defined illustrations. I like the “J” words in Jackpot. The glossary defines each of these words. I also like reading the comic Bacon Boy by Aldo Zelnick. How often do you get two books in one and both books are terrific? Aldo and Bacon Boy have a lot in common. I think Bacon Boy is Aldo and a safe, funny way for Aldo to document his childhood. Kids will laugh their hinnies off, no external exercise needed.

JACKPOT: AN ALDO ZELNICK COMIC NOVEL (#10). Text copyright © 2014 by by Karla Oceanak. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kendra Spanjer. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bailiwick Press, Fort Collins, CO.

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Purchase Jackpot at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryBailiwick PressYour Favorite Bookstore.

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Learn more about Jackpot HERE.

Meet the author, Karla Oceanak, at her website:  http://www.karlaoceanak.com/

Meet the illustrator, Kendra Spanjer, at her website:   http://www.kendraspanjer.com/

Find more Aldo Zelnick books at the Bailiwick Press website:   http://www.bailiwickpress.com/

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Also by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

Ignoramus:  An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#9)

Ignoramus #9

Hotdogger  (#8)

Hotdogger (#8)

Read Hotdogger Review HERE.

Read Ignoramus Review HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: Aldo Zelnick, Bailiwick Press, children's book reviews, comics, Karla Oceanak, Kendra Soanjer, middle grade books

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23. #641–We’re Going to the Farmer’s Market by Stefan Page

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We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

Written and Illustrated by Stefan Page
Chronicle Books        3/04/2014
978-1-4521-1834-5
Age 1 to 3          14 pages
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“TO MARKET! TO MARKET! We are on our way! Visit local farmers, fill baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and then head home to coo a healthy feast all with your goodies from the farmer’s market!”

Opening

“To market, to market, we are on our way.”

Review

What little one does not like going to the store with mom and dad? Farmer’s Market takes young children to an open farmer’s market where they can pick out the day’s groceries from assortment of fine stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables. Start at the dairy and pick up eggs, milk, and a slab of cheese. Next pick out fresh vegetables like lettuce, radishes, onions, celery, and potatoes. Now add those fruits. Choose from tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, black berries, mushrooms, and kiwi. With a full basket you are ready to head home.

“To kitchen, to kitchen, we, chop, stew,and bake.”

All that is left now is to wait for our feast and watch Daddy ice the cake. Ready? Let’s eat!

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_stalls

Farmer’s Market is a nice board book for younger children interested in grocery shopping, food, or spending time with mom and dad on errand—this time grocery shopping. The view is that of the child as seen in the line waiting for something, the view is of adult legs and hands holding shopping baskets. Oddly, none of the people with stalls to sell food from have a smile. Their looks are one of disinterest.

The pages are thicker than normal so little fingers have a much harder time tearing them. The pages also have a nice finish that let’s things like peanut butter and jelly wipe off the surface without leaving a stain.  And the book is the perfect size (6” x  6”) for little ones to carry and read.

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_Fruits and Veggies

The illustrations in Farmer’s market are basic, making it easier for young kids to understand and know what is illustrated. Each spread has a basic color in the background, such as yellow, green, and orange. The items pictures are large and easy to recognize. Kids will enjoy finding the item you ask them to find, or simply pointing to each and telling you hat it is. They could also then find the same item in your refrigerator or the next time you go to the grocer.

Young children will enjoy reading Farmer’s Market with mom and dad. It can prepare them for an actual trip or help them understand what each item you buy looks like. I think this is sturdy little book for little fingers can help kids learn about basic food, grocery shopping, and enjoying the entire process—especially the cake Dad is icing. Farmer’s Market is Stefan Page’s debut. Also available to enhance the child’s experience are a Farmers’ Market Mobile
and ABC Flash Cards. (images below)

“To table, to table, it is time to dig in!”

WE’RE GOING TO THE FARMER’S MARKET. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stefan Page. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Buy Farmer’s Market at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Farmer’s Market HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Stefan Page, at his twitter page:    https://twitter.com/StefanPage

Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

ABC Farmers' Market Flash Cards

ABC Farmers’ Market Flash Cards

Farmers' Market Mobile

Farmers’ Market Mobile

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction Tagged: board book, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dairy, fruits, groery shopping, meal pereparation, Stefan Page, vegetables

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24. #642 – Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt & Vin Vogel

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Maddi’s Fridge

Written by Lois Brandt
Illustrations by Vin Vogel
Flash Light Press              9/01/2014
978-1-9361612-9-1
Age 4 to 8          32 pages
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“Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, play in the same park, and go to the same school. But while Sofia[s fridge is full, Maddi’s fridge is empty—white empty—just a small container of milk.

“Why doesn’t your mom go to the store?” Sofia asks

“We don’t have enough money”

“But what if you get hungry?”

“We have some bread,” says Maddi. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

“Sofia promises Maddi she won’t tell, but is determined to help her best friend. She sneaks food for Maddi in her bag and discovers that, while fish and eggs are good for kids, they aren’t very good for backpacks. Despite Sofia’s very best efforts, Maddi’s fridge is still empty. Sofia promised not to tell. Now what does she do?”

Opening

“When Sofia and Maddi played at the park, they stretched their toes to the sky.”

Review

Best friends Sofia and Maddi play in the park every day. Sofia runs faster than Maddi, but Maddi climbs the rock wall quicker than Sofia does. Somehow, that evens things out for the two friends. Their food situation is far from even. Sofia discovers Maddi has only milk in her fridge—less than full. Sofia’s fridge is loaded with food—good food. Maddi has a lot of energy for a girl barely eating, but then, hunger knows how to mask itself, usually through embarrassment and shame. Embarrassed, Maddi makes Sofia promise not to tell anyone. Sofia goes home to eat. (Why didn’t she invite Maddi?)

MF layout 3

Sofia keeps her promise not to tell; still she must help her best friend. That night, Sofia’s mom makes fish and rice for dinner. There is enough food that even Pepito, the dog, had some fish and rice mixed into his dog food. Sofia got a great idea. She asks her mom if fish is good for kids and mom says it iss perfect. That night, Sofia put some fish in a baggie and dropped it into her backpack. The following day, Sofia’s backpack stunk of inedible fish.

“Yuck,” said Maddi

“Double Yuck,” said Sofia.

The following night, Sofia’s mom makes frittatas for dinner. Again, even Pepito has frittata mixed into his bowl. Sofia asks if eggs are good for kids . . . see where this is going. Yeah, Sofia tries to help her friend and keep her promise at the same time, but backpacks filled the night before, and sit outside the fridge waiting for the morning to arrive, do not make good transportation when sneaking food for a friend.

MF layout 9

Sofia knows she needs help. Can she break her promise to Maddi? Kids will understand this story; laugh at the funny moments, and leave wanting to help others, as kids are prone to do. In Maddi’s Fridge, Sofia’s brother offers his favorite food and Pepito offers his bowl and a can of dog food (what a happy dog—I thought it was a cat).

The illustrations add humor with the comic-like characters and a neighborhood setting that could be your neighborhood. Randomly open the book and odds are good you will see a positive spread and probably humor. Only three pages express Maddi’s situation and her embarrassment. The author kept Maddi’s Fridge a story kids will enjoy and understand.

In the end, the two girls must work out what it means to break a promise. Will Maddi be upset with Sofia? What is more important: promises or people? (Or best-friend people?) Maddi’s Fridge could easily have been a message story or had the lack of food a constant talking point. Instead, Maddi’s Fridge is a sweet story about two best friends taking care of each other.

Mf layout 5

Oh, there is another side story where Maddi helps Sofia, but I can’t fit it all in. Sorry, you will need to read Maddi’s Fridge. The story is perfect for story time, teachers of grades K to 2, and homeschoolers. Maddi’s Fridge is a sweet story that remains positive, refusing to become sad or gloomy, though the subject of hunger can certainly be both.

MADDI’S FRIDGE. Text copyright © 2014 by Lois Brandt. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Vin Vogel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Flash Light Press, Brooklyn, NY.

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Buy Maddi’s Fridge at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryFlash Light Pressyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Maddi’s Fridge HERE.

Meet the author, Lois Brandt, at her website:    http://www.loisbrandt.com/

Meet the illustrator, Vin Vogel, at his website:    http://www.vinvogel.com/

Find more picture books at the Flash Light Press website:    http://www.flashlightpress.com/

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Also by Vin Vogel

The Thing About Yetis! (Fall, 2015)

Music Class Today! (Fall 2015)

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maddis fridge

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: childhood hunger, children's book reviews, Flash Light Press, hunger, Lois Brandt, picture book, social issues, Vin Vogel

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25. #643 – The Pushcart War: 50th Anniversary Edition by Jean Merrill & Ronni Solbert

PushcartWar
The Pushcart War: 50th Anniversary Edition

Written by Jean Merrill
Illustrated by Ronni Solbert
The New York Review Children’s Collection   9/16/2014
978-1-59017-819-5
Age 8 to 12             230 pages
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“Do you know the history of the pushcart war? The real history? It’s a story of how regular people banded together and, armed with little more than their brains and good aim, defeated a mighty foe.”

Opening

“The Pushcart War started on the  afternoon of March 15, 2026, when a truck ran down a pushcart belonging to a flower peddler.”

The Story

The Pushcart War began on a normal New York City day. The streets were jammed with cars, taxis, and delivery trucks that ranged from the normal size to the mammoth trucks with tires large than your car. It was taking up to four hours to travel four city streets. Tempers are running high, especially for Mack, a truck driver, who, despite his parents being pushcart peddlers, hated pushcarts. That day, with pure intention, deliberately ran into Morris the Florist (no known relation). Thanks to Marvin Seeley’s photo of the onset of the Daffodil Massacre, we know how the war started.

THE PUSHCART WAR. Text copyright © 1964/1992 by Jean Merrill. Illustrations copyright © 1964/1992 by Ronni Solbert. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review of Books, New York, NY.The trucks don’t want the pushcarts on the road and blamed them for the congestion. For some reason, these light, tiny, carts bothered the heavy, huge trucks. The peddlers couldn’t let the attack of Morris the Florist go unanswered, but lacked the funds the truck companies enjoyed. instead of a major affront, the peddlers decided to use pea shooters and pins to deflate the trucks tires, causing mass congestion and anger people to the point of voting trucks off city streets. For a while it worked and no one could figure out how the tires all went bad within minutes of each other. Until a mechanic found a pin.

A single pin, or many pins does not reveal the culprit. One the newspapers ran the story, children began shooting truck tires for fun, unwittingly taking up the cause for the pushcart peddlers. Unfortunately, Frank the Flower was spotted and arrested for killing a truck tire with a pea shooter. He confessed to all 18,991 flattened tires.

“All 18,991?” asked the Police Commissioner as if he had not heard correctly the first time.

“I cannot be sure down to the last tire,” said Frank the Flower. “But I have been at it several days now.”

“But 18,991 tires!” Aid the Police Commissioner.

“It was nothing,” said Frank the Flower.

Well, kids took up the cause and to stop them the city began taxing tacks, which made the British upset since they are the world’s top producers of tacks. This got Washington involved. New York City becomes embroiled in the Pushcart War, though this name is not used yet. The Big Three Truck Companies: Leaping Lemas, Mighty Mammoths, and Tiger Trucking held a secret meeting to wipe out the pushcarts and the Pushcart King. What will happen to New York City in 2026? Will the pushcarts survive? Will the British calm down? Will Frank the Flower, who single-handedly killed 18,991 truck tires, ever leave his jail cell? What will happen to Mack, the trucker who put Morris the Florist into the hospital and started the war?

THE PUSHCART WAR. Text copyright © 1964/1992 by Jean Merrill. Illustrations copyright © 1964/1992 by Ronni Solbert. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review of Books, New York, NY.Review

“The Big Three,” comprised of three delivery truck firms LEMA (Lower Eastside Moving Association) also called “Leaping Lemas,” and Tiger Trucking or “Tiger Trucks,” and Mammoth Moving, which used three sizes of trucks: Baby Mammoth, Mama Mammoth, and the Mighty Mammoth. These are the bullies of the story. For once, the bullies are not too big to fail.

The Pushcart War is a fun read. The humor is terrific and kept me groaning and laughing every few pages. The pushcart peddlers are a colorful bunch of characters especially The Pushcart King. The name to Maxie Hammerman because he fixes all of the pushcarts or builds new ones from scratch and is the only one in New York City capable of making the pushcarts correctly. When the trucking bullies decide to kidnap and dispose of The King—thinking he is the mastermind behind the campaign to rid the city streets of their trucks—Maxie has a surprise of his own. This is one of the best scenes of the story. It felt like I was reading the script from the movie called The Sting.

THE PUSHCART WAR. Text copyright © 1964/1992 by Jean Merrill. Illustrations copyright © 1964/1992 by Ronni Solbert. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review of Books, New York, NY.

Kids will enjoy this futuristic farce of a “true tale.” The author casts herself as the futuristic novelist reporting on The Pushcart War ten years after the dust has settled and people are ready to hear about the war once more. City kids play a large part in the war, keeping the mayor and police commissioner completely puzzled. Written in 1964, the author envisions a New York City sixty years down the road. I find it interesting that there is no grand technology like cell phones and computers. The biggest difference is the extremely crowded streets, excess number of delivery trucks, and prices remaining similar, if not lower than the prices of her current time. (Apples are 5 cents).

The Pushcart War has style. The illustrations are black and white line art similar to what one would find in a newspaper only upgraded several times over. I love the illustration of Frank the Flower shooting his peashooter for the first time and Mr. Jerusalem who, after struggling over the morality of shooting truck tires, finds he is not only a terrific shot but enjoys his mission. Mr. Jerusalem quickly becomes the top tire executioner.

THE PUSHCART WAR. Text copyright © 1964/1992 by Jean Merrill. Illustrations copyright © 1964/1992 by Ronni Solbert. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review of Books, New York, NY.The Pushcart War is a classic tale of the big bully taking on the little guy and finding the littlest guy can outsmart, outthink, outwit the big dumb bully with grace and class. It should be required reading for every middle grade student. There is a little sociology, psychology, criminology, and a few other “ologies” worth reading. I love The Pushcart War.

THE PUSHCART WAR. Text copyright © 1964/1992 by Jean Merrill. Illustrations copyright © 1964/1992 by Ronni Solbert. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review of Books, New York, NY.

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Buy The Pushcart War at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Pushcart War HERE

Meet the author, Jean Merrill, from New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/books/jean-merrill-childrens-book-writer-dies-at-89.html?_r=0

Meet the illustrator, Ronni Solbert, from NYRB:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/authors/ronni-solbert/ 

Find more classics at The New York Review Children’s Collection website:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

The New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of The New York Review of Books:   http://www.nybooks.com/

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Also by Jean Merrill and Ronni Solbert

The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars 3/10/2015

The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars
3/10/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pushcart war

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: bullies, children's book reviews, Jean Merrill, middle grade novel, mighty trucks, New York Review of Books, outwitting an opponent, pushcarts, Ronni Solbert, standing up for what is right, The New York Review Children’s Collection

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