Monthly Archives: September 2015

You Look Yummy! (The Best Picture Book for Boys I’ve seen all year!)

YummyYou Look Yummy!
By Tatsuya Miyanishi
Museyon, 2015
Originally published in Japan

You Look Yummy! Is an utterly endearing story that touched my heart; and I can see why it’s an international best seller.  It’s the best picture book for boys I’ve seen all year.

A baby Ankylosaurus hatches open, but no parents are available.  When he sees an adult Tyrannosaurus, he runs up and grabs onto the leg of the Tyrannosaurus and calls out, “Daddy! I was really lonely.  I was scared.”  Startled, and touched by the youngster’s innocence, the Tyrannosaurus, who had planned to eat the youngster, doesn’t have the heart to hurt him.  In fact, he defends the youngster when a hungry Chilantaisaurus approaches to eat it.

The next morning Tyrannosaurus is worried when he can’t find the baby.  Eventually, the baby returns carrying some berries he had picked for his daddy.  Tyrannosaurus was so angry, he scolded the little one.  The Baby apologizes, saying, “I thought you would be happy…”  Tyrannosaurus enjoys teaching the little one how to be a tyrannosaurus until he realizes he’s doing the wrong thing.  When he sees the baby’s parents, he tricks the baby into going in their direction, as he runs the opposite direction.  Once Tyrannosaurus is sure the baby understands he has found his correct parents, he says goodbye and leaves.

Even though the Tyrannosaurus is not the real father, readers will enjoy the power the little one has over the adult, who protects and nurtures him.  Bright yellows, oranges and greens emphasize the starkness of the foreign land of dinosaurs and hold the attention of the young reader/listener.

See more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

The Desperate Dog Writes Again













The Desperate Dog Writes Again
By Eileen Christelow
Clarion Books, 2015

A tongue-and-cheek funny story showing how even the most horrible, worse things will work out, when given time.

Life is perfect for Emma who shares her couch with George and an orange cat, until Loretta shows up!  First Emma thinks Loretta is trying to kidnap George and Emma attacks her.  Emma gets in trouble!  To rid the house of this intruder, Emma goes to the library and emails Dear Queenie for advice.  Emma is advised to use a perfume the intruder will hate so much, she will leave the house running.  Only that doesn’t work out as planned!  Returning to Dear Queenie, Emma gets more advice—and more trouble!  Find out how Emma discovers the benefits of this intruder.

The youngest readers may need an explanation on the “Dear Queenie” reference, but they will enjoy watching Emma getting into more and more trouble, until things work out.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Who Took the Farmer’s Hat?

farmers hat









Who Took the Farmer’s Hat?
by Joan L Nodset, illustrated by Fritz Siebel
HarperCollins, 1963

In a humorous way, Who Took the Farmer’s Hat? introduces children to ‘perspectives’ and gives the reader an opportunity to laugh and ‘correct’ all the mistakes!

In brief, the farmer loses his hat and every animal he asks says he hasn’t seen a hat, but he or she did see a: fat, round flying bird in the sky, or big round brown mousehole in the grass, or a silly round brown boat.  Each one described from their perspective how they saw the brown hat.  Who Took the Farmer’s Hat is a brilliant book where illustrations work with the words to tell the story.

Originally published in 1963, this book is still available in paperback and worth an investment.

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I Will Fight Monsters for You

fight monsters












I Will Fight Monsters for You
by Santi Balmes, illustrated by Lyona
Albert Whitman and Company, 2015
Originally published in Barcelona, Spain

A fresh view of dealing with night time monsters, this reassuring story empowers scared toddlers.  Weaving humor, readers will find that Martina is as scared of monsters as monster Anitram, who lives below her, is as scared of humans!

Martina is sure there are monsters who live under her room.  She imagines they will jump up and down at the same time and cave in the floor.  She can’t sleep.  She’s afraid the monster will grab her and teach her how to scare people.  Her daddy reassures her, “I will fight MONSTERS for you,” and explains how she can be brave and help.  The size of the monster depends on how scared you are, he says.  If you feel very brave, the monster will shrink and run away. Martina begins to feel a bit better and falls asleep.

At that very moment, a pink monster named Anitram is convinced that on the other side of her floor is a human city!  She has heard a girl human jumping on her bed before and worried that if all the humans started jumping at the same time, the floor would cave it!

Like Martina, Antirum’s father reassures his daughter.  Find out how Martina and Antrium meet and are no longer afraid.

The simple, friendly  drawings done in pink and blue-green are reassuring to toddlers.

Originally published in 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, this comforting book is an international bestseller.

For more reviews and to purchase, visit Amazon.

Tags: night, monsters, Santi Balmes, Lyona, facing the unknown
Cate:  0-3

Mama Seeton’s Whistle

WhistleMama Seeton’s Whistle
By Jerry Spinelli
illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Little Brown and Company, 2015

A young toddler can’t be found and a frantic mom puckers up and gives a two-note whistle.  Her son appears.  With that success, she starts using the whistle to call her family to dinner and it soon becomes a tradition to whistle each night and serve her family a chocolate cake for dessert.
As the kids get older and further away in the neighborhood, the same two-note whistle calls them in.  Eventually the kids grow up and move away and the mother misses her family.  One day at dinner, her husband–just for fun–encourages her to whistle like the old days.  Somehow that whistle is heard and her family appears within a few days from far and wide.  Sitting as a family, they enjoy their mother’s chocolate cake!

A wonderful story featuring a favorite family tradition.  I imagine kids will make this generational story a favorite.  Uyen Pham’s detailed illustrations include dozens of activities a typical family of kids do in their day; readers are sure to find themselves in the pictures.

Picture book stories are getting so brief these days, it was refreshing to read this story about a loving family tradition.  Perfect for children with a large family.

The Bamboo Sword

bambooswordThe Bamboo Sword
by Margi Preus
Amulet Books, 2015

Bright, ambitious, and responsible for his own care, we follow young Yoshi who dreams of being a samurai, but is forced out onto the streets by bullies.  He befriends strangers to make a living.  Fascinated with travel he visits the harbor where the first American ships to visit Japan in 1853 to demand access to Japanese ports.  We also meet Jack, a cabin boy on the American ships.  While on shore, Jack becomes separated from the other Americans.  When Jack sees Yoshi being bullied, he can’t stop himself from lending a hand and the two become tied to each other for survival and to get Jack back to the ship. Neither speaks the other’s language and it’s only their combined cleverness and quick wits that keep them alive.  Twists, turns, and surprises convene as the two negotiate between samurai, bullies, and the tensions of the American’s demanding access to long-closed Japanese ports.

A history of America’s first encounter with Japan is included following the story.
This is a follow up story of Preus’ Heart of a Samarai.

Read more reviews and order on Amazon.

How to Catch a Mouse

CatchaMouseHow to Catch a Mouse
By Philippa Leathers
Candlewick Press, 2015

A delightful story where the words tell one story and the illustrations tell quite another.  Perfect for toddlers who like to point out the incongruencies.

Clemmie believes herself to be a fearsome mouse catcher.  She’s an excellent stalker, she’s patient and alert, and she knows everything about catching a mouse.  She is so fearsome, she believes, “All the mice are afraid of me.”  She checks her house, and finds not a mouse until she hears a noise in the kitchen.  She finds a creature wearing disguises.  She discovers a mouse!  Too late, it gets away.  But, she just learned one trick that just might help her catch that mouse, which you’ll have to read the story to discover.

The illustrations are simple, clean and show the mouse watching Clemmie in all her moves.  Chuckles on every page.

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The Thunder Egg

thunderEggThe Thunder Egg
by Tim J. Myers, illustrated by Winfield Coleman
Wisdom Tales, 2015

A tale of “the girl who cared for the Thunderbird’s child—and saved her people.”

A young Cheyenne girl, sensitive to her environment, finds a Thunder Egg.  She is led to care for the egg, even when other children ridicule her.  Her grandma comforts her, saying “Someday you’ll find your power, and with it the good you can do in the world.” In the middle of a drought, each tribe member is asked to make sacrifices.  The girl chooses to sacrifice her egg, her most valuable possession.  She leaves it near a tree where lightning has struck before.  Lightning strikes it, breaking it open.  In thanks for her caring for the Thunder Egg, the Thunderbird brings rain to the land.

A touching story of a sensitive girl’s resolve.

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Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth

Good Fortune Cloth










Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth
by Joan Schoettler, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Shen’s Books, 2011

Ji-su’s mother is chosen to work as a seamstress at the Korean King’s palace and moves away.  Ji-su loves her mother and vows to join her by matching her sewing skills.  Her grandmother continues Ji-su’s training.  So determined to be with her mother, Ji-su is sewing when her friends are playing.  When her work is good, she sends an example to her mother, but her mother never receives it.  Find out where the example is sent and how it results in a visit from the palace.

A story of love and a story of working hard for your goals.  Beautifully rendered illustrations wrap the two into a warm, engaging book.  Lovely.

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Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee

Sky High











Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee
by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Carl Angel
Tricycle Press, 2009

Maggie Gee was one of two Chinese-American women to serve as military pilots in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during World War II.

A little known story, Marissa Moss and Carl Angel bring Maggie Gee’s story to life.  While other families in the 1930’s watched baseball games, Maggie’s family watched airplanes take off from the San Francisco airport.  Maggie’s dream was to fly, an unheard of feat for a women, not to mention a Chinese-American one.  Her hero was Amelia Earhart.  Her family teased her, saying she was only telling stories, but when Pearl Harbor was attacked, she quit her studies and joined WASP.  When she completed flight school, she send home a post card saying, ‘My story is true.’  The story includes one encounter with another American pilot who did not know her and she was mistaken for an enemy spy!

An inspiring story.  An appendix outlines Maggie Gee’s accomplishments, including that she later went on to work as a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley Labs.

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