Love, Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Santa
by Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Lee White
Arthur A Levine Books, 2017

This book is sure to become a classic, as it dispels the myth of Santa in a loving, affirming way.  It will be a hit with kids, as half the pages invite children to open letters tucked inside envelopes.

Beginning when Lucy was five, she wrote a letter to Santa, and Santa wrote back. When she was six, she wrote another letter, and Santa wrote back.  When she was seven, she started a letter, but…asking for stuff didn’t matter as much.  By the time she was eight, she suspected that Santa was not real and the presents had come from mom.  Her mother wrote a letter back explaining Santa’s job is not to deliver presents, but to help us ‘believe’. Her mother tells Lucy she is now on Santa’s team. A touching story that reframes ‘Santa’ in a new, fresh way.

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The Book of Chocolate, The Amazing Story of the World’s Favorite Candy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Chocolate, The Amazing Story of the World’s Favorite Candy
by HP Newquist
Viking, 2017

This book is a chocolate lover’s delight for both adults and children!

The history of chocolate begins in ancient times with the cocoa bean and goes up until 2015’s top selling chocolates.  Everything about chocolate you ever wondered is in this book.  I completed it’s 147 pages in a weekend.  As a history buff, I loved the stories of how chocolate started as, basically, cottage industries in the United States.  How the families battled to make their own unique chocolates successful, how the second world war influenced the industry and helped bring peace to the world.

The book contains fun factoids, like, “Research has found that countries where people eat a lot of chocolate also produce a lot of Nobel Prize winners”, with Switzerland at the top with 26 pounds of chocolate per person and 32 Nobel Prize winners per 10 million people.  The book includes old advertisements, old photos, and geography lessons, too.  Maps show that 71.2% of cocoa beans grow in Africa.  Wonderfully written, easy to read and you better have a box of chocolates on hand!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.  Great gift book!

A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785
By Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2016

Mix in a small bit of history from 1785, two partners trying to best one another, grown men in underwear, and two men literally ‘peeing’ from a hot air balloon ride to save their lives, and readers will have a fun read on the First International Flight by Balloon. In this ‘mostly’ true story, Englishman Dr Jeffries and Monsieur Blanchard, the pilot, join together to make the first hot air balloon flight between countries.  They start in England and cross the English Channel/La Manche, to land in France.

The story opens when both men claim they will be the first to step off the aerial car in France, and it ends with both men insisting the other goes first.  Find out how they both try to best each other, and how and why they join together in the end.

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The Green Umbrella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Umbrella
by Jackie Azua Kramer, illustrated by Maral Sassouni
North South Books, 2017

A lovely friendship story with structure, repetition, and an introduction to lots of fun things about the world.

On a rainy day, Hedgehog said to Elephant, with a green umbrella, “I believe you have my boat.”   Elephant disagrees, but offers to share it with Hedgehog.  Then Cat says, “I believe you have my tent.”  Again, elephant disagrees, but offers to share it with Cat.  Following the structure similar to Jan Brett’s “The Mitten”, the story goes on.  What makes the story interesting is what each animal does with their green umbrella.  Hedgehog, among other things, watches dolphins leap two by two; Cat studies plants and flowers in wooded forests.  Following each animal, young readers are introduced to all kinds of different things done by each animal. When it stops raining, Elephants closes the umbrella and starts to go on his way, but they all call out.  Soon this eclectic group of animals all become friends.  A fun read for family.

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Thelma the Unicorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thelma the Unicorn
by Aaron Blabey
Scholastic, Inc., 2017

Thelma yearns to be a unicorn, while her friend Otis says she’s perfect the way she is.  When she ties a carrot on her head, an accident sprinkles pink paint and sparkles on her and she looks like a unicorn.  Suddenly all her dreams come true and she is famous.  But when the crowds never leave her alone, so she can just be herself, she rethinks the importance of being a unicorn and what being a unicorn can bring.

Written in rhyme it’s almost sugary sweet, almost a lesson, but not quite on either.  It’s a full rounded story that does deliver a message in and among all Thelma’s excitement and challenges. A fun read.

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Whobert Whover, Owl Detective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whobert Whover, Owl Detective
by Jason Gallaher, illustrated by Jess Pauwels
Margaret K. Elderberry Books, 2017

A hilarious book where the words tell one story, while the graphics tell another!

Whobert Whover (so clever, for the adults) is on the case when he discovers possum lying awfully still.  He looks for clues.  He finds a feather and concludes Debbie the bird killed Possom.  Debbie tries to explain to Whobert, who did it, but Whobert Whover doesn’t exactly listen and looks for more clues.  A rollicking walk through the forest, where Whobert so busy he doesn’t even notice that Possom is up and running away.  Everyone, including the young readers, knows who done it—except Whobert!  The ending doubles readers over in laughter.

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The One Day House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The One Day House
by Julia Durango, illustrated by Bianca Diaz
Charlesbridge, 2017

Before the words begin, the story begins with illustrations showing young Wilson finding a phone number for a neighborhood fix-it program for the elderly.  Knowing this, he goes home and tells Gigi he will paint her house “orange and yellow like the sun.”  She replies, “I will like that.  But today, you are all the sunshine I need.”  He tells his neighbors one day he will fix Gigi’s windows, put up a fence and repair her balcony, and they all agree that will be wonderful.  Then, ‘one day’ is here, and all the neighbors show up to do the things Wilson said would happen.  A story of love and earnestness, sprinkled with a quiet repetition building up to the ‘one day’.  An inspiring family story, as well as a story about programs made to help the elderly, people with disabilities and those unable to afford to repair their house.

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When the Moon Comes 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Moon Comes 
by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James
Tundra Books, 2017

A richly written story of how Canada’s inhospitably freezing winter sets in and how hockey brings life to the cold.

Cast in a magical glow, a village of children anticipate the upcoming winter fun in the cold, northern lands of Canada. When December’s sudden cold sends ducks south, they know to wait for the full moon, when the beaver flood (their winter lake) will be perfect.  The day arrives and they tramp to the site, plow off the snow, uncover the ice, and the game is on! In the full moon’s light they play their hearts out, stopping only when the puck is lost. They return home and the afterglow returns with them.

A perfect story to experience the season’s first night on ice. Vivid descriptions take readers to this special time, “Our wet pants freeze solid in the cold, and we walk clanking like knights in armor, lances over our shoulders, hoods like helmets around our faces”. Filled with wonder, each glorious detail is highlighted as the children experience the magic. Perfect for hockey and late-night snow fans!

 

Melvin the Mouth, Young Mel Blanc…before he was the Man of 1,000 Voices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melvin the Mouth, Young Mel Blanc…before he was the Man of 1,000 Voices
by Katherine Blanc, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Charlesbridge, 2017

The words and illustrations take readers into the heart of a ‘sound’ genius, Mel Blanc, who, as an adult, created voices/sounds for 1500 movie/television characters.

Young Mel loves to create sounds to go along with the vivid characters he imagines.  Everything is BIG for Mel.  He Whooooooosh’s down the hall.  He captures kids with his Rrow! RROW!  Even, ‘garbage duty’ turns into a Zrroom-Zroom race car screeching around corners.  Readers will love all the trouble Mel gets into just being himself.  And they will love that the parents accept that someday Mel will use his ‘talent’ in some useful way when he grows up.  A supportive story for a child’s ‘gifts’.  Back matter includes background on Mel’s work as an adult. (Think Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Barney Rubble and 1,497 more!)

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Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale
by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Deborah Marcero
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2017

Written in perfect rhyme, Twinderella is a rich spin off the original Cinderella.

The story claims Cinderella was a twin, and this tells the true story of the two sisters and what happened to the quiet twin. While being forced to care for their evil step-sisters, the twins had their own dreams.  When they were told they couldn’t go to the ball, God Mom appeared and changed things for them.  The prince danced with both and fell in love. When the glass slipper fit both the twins, he had to choose.  And so he did… you’ll have to find out how!

They titled it a ‘fractional’ tale because math and fractions fill the pages; math lovers will adore the story.  A fun read where they live, “happ’ly ever half-ter.”

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