Monthly Archives: March 2016

Lost. Found.

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Lost. Found.

By Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Neal Porter Books, 2015

This is a clever, interactive book that kids can tell the story with their own words.

Only two words, ‘Lost’ and ‘Found’, are used and the illustrations tell the rest of the story.  The story is about a red scarf that is lost by a bear and found by raccoons, but lost then found by a beaver, but lost then found by an otter, etc.  Lost by several more forest animals, they all circle around the lost scarf.  Each wanting it for their own, they jump at it to make it theirs.  This, of course, ruins everything and a pile of yarn lays on the snow-covered ground.  Remorsefully, they each gather a pile and sit together to knit another red scarf—which becomes long enough for everyone to enjoy!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Kuma-Kuma Chan, The Little Bear

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Kuma-Kuma Chan, The Little Bear

By Kazue Takahashi
Museyon, 2015
Translated from Japan

This quiet story of a quiet bear is done in quiet colors in a small format for tiny readers.  The perfect quiet story for preschoolers.

After introducing readers to Kum-Kum Chan, the narrator wonders what the little bear does during his day, so we follow the bear.  From waking up, to eating a breakfast of tomatoes and lettuce from his garden, to tidying up the house.  We follow Kum-Kum Chan as he contemplates clouds passing by, as he dances to raindrops, and as he rolls across the room to stay in the sunlight.  He does many things a preschooler may do to enjoy his surroundings.   Its simplicity and charm pull in the reader.  Completing Kum-Kum Chan’s day in bed, it makes a quiet bedtime story.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

And What If I Won’t?

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And What If I Won’t?

By Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Qin Leng
Owlkids Books, 2015

A cleverly funny story featuring one boy’s vivid imagination.

Mom asks her son to put his plate in the sink.  He asks, What if I won’t?  She says she would tell him that’s rude.  The boy asks what if he threw it across the room.  She says he would have to clean up the mess.  What if I made the kitchen a bigger mess?  Back and forth the two go, using wilder and wilder situations to make things worse and worse.  When he ends up on a foreign planet and even the aliens send him back home, it all returns back to the mother and son together and she says she’d ask him to put his plate in the sink.

A rollicking fun read kids will love!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Interstellar Cinderella

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Interstellar Cinderella

by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt
Chronicle Books, 2015

Versions of the Cinderella story come from many countries around the world, and now one version comes from space!  In this version, Cinderella brings her confident, independent self with her!  It’s fun to compare our traditional American version with this modern Interstellar version.

Written in rhyme, it’s fun to turn each page to see what Interstellar space looks like and what Cinderella does next.  Instead of meeting her prince charming at a ball, Cinderella fixes the Prince’s spaceship!  Instead of seeking his love using a glass slipper, the prince uses a sonic socket wrench.  When he asks, “Be my bride,” Cinderella makes a counter-offer!

Children who especially love tools, will love this story.  The end papers feature old and space-age tools to examine.  This updated version truly fits the attitudes most girls have today:  independence and a huge amount of confidence.  A joy to read!

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Finders Keepers

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Finders Keepers

by Keiko Kasza
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015

Squirrel buries an acorn and marks its location with this red, derby hat.  Of course, the wind blows it up into a tree and a bird decides to use it for a nest, but it wobbles out and lands on the water and is re-purposed as a boat.  And so the hat journeys through several owners until it comes full circle and lands where the squirrel left it.  When the squirrel gobbles the buried acorn and leaves behind the acorn top, the journey begins again!

A fun read for the young and a great way to show how one item can be many different things to different people.  It’s also a great way to discuss recycling and reusing objects.

If you liked stories showing different meanings for the same thing, consider the 1963 classic, Who Took the Farmers Hat? 

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Little Miss, Big Sis

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Little Miss, Big Sis

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2015

Big sibling/little sibling stories generally don’t appeal to me, but this one is simple, direct, poetic, and completely drew me in.  The words and illustrations support each other so well, I’m still surprised they were not done by the same person.

The story spans from before birth through toddler showing the stages and challenges a Big Sis goes through with a new sibling: from waiting to become a big sis, to going to the hospital, to feeding the new baby.  Words and illustrations sweetly and humorously show Big Sis’ experiences, including a drooling, food-throwing, and hair-pulling baby, as well as a clapping, napping, and loose-in-the-house baby.  The book has total ‘toddler-appeal’.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

One Word from Sophia

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One Word from Sophia

by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Jasmeen Ismail
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015

Sophia has one true desire for her birthday, a giraffe.  But she has four problems: her mother, who is a judge; her father, who is a businessman; her uncle, who is a politician; and her Grand-mama, who is very strict.

She prepares for and delivers to her mom, the judge, a very wordy courtroom argument why she should have a giraffe.  But her mom cites flaws in her argument and says she is too verbose.  She then prepares and delivers a sales pitch to her father, the businessman.  But her dad finds serious obstacles and says she is too effusive.  She then approaches her uncle and grand-mama, but with similar results.  She then approaches her family and shortens her speech to just one word—Please!  It worked and she gets her giraffe.  The rest of the story is so compeling, the one word request comes as a surprise.

The book bring new vocabulary words, economic principles, and political strategies to a child’s level.  Cleverly written, boldly illustrated with loose lines and colors.  Probably better for the 6-7 year old.  Perfect for the child that likes to argue!

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Maya’s Blanket

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Maya’s Blanket

by Monica Brown, illustrated by David Diaz
Lee & Low Books, 2015

Following the tradition of the Yiddish folk song about an overcoat that is made into smaller and smaller items, Maya Morales has a special blue and green with purple butterflies blanket (manta) made by her Abuelita, which eventually becomes frayed on the edges.  Maya, with the help of her Abuelita, uses the material to make herself a dress (vestido).  It gets stained at a party and Maya makes it into a skirt (falda).  Smaller and smaller remakes occur until she loses the final remake, a bookmark.  At this point, she decides to write a story about her manta, and writes this book.  While the story is not new, incorporating Spanish culture and a girl who makes her own new items with the help of her Abuelita, makes this a love-filled story.  The book is written in both English and Spanish.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.