Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Rabbit Listened

The Rabbit Listened
by Cori Doerrfeld
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018

This is a book I wished I had written; it shares with kids and parents how listening goes a long ways in allowing another to be themselves.  In our busy world where we quickly solve the problem and move on to the next, we forget to slow down and listen, allowing the person to resolve the situation in their own way.

The story opens with Taylor deciding to build something new and great with his blocks, and he does. But then birds fly by and crash down his magnificent structure.  Taylor is sad.  First chicken comes by and consoles Taylor, suggesting he needs to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t want to talk. Then bear comes by and suggests Taylor let out his anger, but Taylor doesn’t feel like shouting. Other animals come by suggesting other things be done, but Taylor didn’t want to do their suggestions and remained alone when they all left.  Until a rabbit showed up. A rabbit who listened to Taylor, instead of telling Taylor what he should do.  And indeed, once someone listened and Taylor felt heard, he ran through, on his own, many of the things suggested.  Someone needed to listen.

The simple artwork showing Taylor, each animal, and his blocks emphasize the emotions Taylor feels.

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Monster & Son

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monster & Son
by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Joey Chou
Chronicle Books, 2016

Written in rhyme, lavished in humor, and set in monster land where ghoulish friends abound, monster & son enjoy a boundless day of fun together.  They transform into a new kind of monster on every page. They become sea monsters swimming in the ocean, skeletons playing bone in the cemetery, alien monsters with their dog, waiting for the spaceship.  They have tickle fights, tackle fights, and battle castle knights; they enjoy doing guy things together.

Illustrator Joey Chou uses muted, child-like haunting colors in the background, but the monster faces are always playful, laughing or loving.

From a wild day of fun clear into quiet bedtime, where the two hang like vampire bats, this is a fun book to share with dad.

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Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History
by Vashti Harrison
Little, Brown and Company, 2018

Little Leaders celebrates 40 well-known and little-known women who changed history in little or big ways.  From currently popular women, like Oprah Winfrey, to little-known women like Alma Woodsey Thomas.  Like other collections of women  who made a difference, I’m amazed at the variety and caliber of careers, especially those in history where women having careers wasn’t allowed.  From medical researchers, to physicians, to spies, to astronauts, engineers, filmmakers and more.  For many of these women, they made their mark against all odds, just quietly going about their work. An inspiring and eye-opening collection for girls and boys from all backgrounds.

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Guess Who, Haiku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess Who, Haiku
by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
Abrams Appleseed, 2016

A perfect introduction to haiku for preschoolers and kindergarteners!  Starting with introducing a cow, each haiku introduces a new animal common to young readers. Each haiku includes word clues and illustrations include picture clues.  The first haiku is:

new day on the farm
muffled mooing announces
a fresh pail of milk

The readers turn the page to discover (or confirm) the answer!  Then that animal recites the next haiku.  This simple-to-read and comprehensive format will help make learning about haiku fun and help first time haiku writers be brave enough to attempt their own haiku.  After a child has mastered Old MacDonald Had a Farm, this will follow beautifully to introduce them to poetry.

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Please Please the Bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please, Please the Bees
by Gerald Kelley
Albert Whitman & Company

A delightful story of how a bear takes things for granted, mixed with a bit of being kind and responsible, without any heavy-handedness.

Benedict, the bear, was a creature of habit. Each morning he woke, retrieved the honey the bees left, ate breakfast, played music, baked, knitted and ran errands. At days end, he’d end with honey tea.  Life was sweet, until one morning nothing was the same. The bees had gone on strike! Nothing went right that whole day. Finally, one of the bees had a serious talk with Benedict. Bear pointed out he ‘let’ them be in his field and they should be grateful. The bees pointed out that they do all the work, while their hive was in ruins. Benedict saw the hive and saw the way of his error. After some hard thinking, he decided maybe he had been too selfish. He changed his habits and learned life was even sweeter for everyone.

Gentle colors accent Benedict’s gentle demeanor and earnestness and make this a heartwarming story showing a change of disposition. A simple, yet grand, lesson disguised in a story.

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Step Right Up, How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step Right Up, How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
by Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter
Lee and Low Books Inc., 2016

This little known history story is about a former slave who had a way with animals. Because of his abilities, people soon started calling him Doc. When the Civil War ended, he started a horse hospital. He owned a horse who birthed Jim, part Arabian.  The horse was so sickly, Doc kept him in his house until he got better. Doc soon discovered just how smart Jim was and began teaching him the alphabet—which Jim learned!  Doc and Jim began touring the US.  In time Jim worked with the Human Society and helped promote kindness towards animals. The compelling story keeps the pages turning and an afterword includes photos and more details about Doc and Jim.

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Love Is

Love Is
by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane
Chronicle Books, 2017

This touching story features a little girl who learns about love when she rescues a little lost duck. She takes the duck home and soon discovers, “Love is noisy midnight feedings,”  “Love is waking up together…beak to nose.” But it’s also early mornings, messy bath times, and tidying up after the duck.  But soon the duck is ready for a bigger pond and the girl senses it’s time for the duck to travel on.  She returns it to the park’s pond to join her mother and the girl becomes ever so sad.  Then one day she meets up with her duck and the duck’s new family and she learns love lasts.

Sweet friendship story, written in a gentle rhyme little one’s will want to hear again and again.

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The Cloud Artist, A Choctaw Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cloud Artist, A Choctaw Tale
by Sherri Maret, illustrated by Merisha Sequoia Clark
The RoadRunner Press, 2017

A Choctaw tale, told in both English and Choctaw languages, tells of a young girl gifted as a cloud artist, where she turns clouds into pictures.  With her gift Leona entertains her tribe. Then a circus promoter noticed the cloud art and asked Leona to make cloud art for the circus goers.  Her first day she happily shares art as it comes to her.  But by the second day, people started demanding for what they wanted to see, each demand becoming more and more outlandish.  Angry, she stops the art and leaves.   The next day she returns to give back the money given her and inform the promoter she will no longer do art for money.

Somehow a truth and honesty run through the story, where Leona listens to her heart to make her own decisions. And there’s a magic in a gift we don’t hear about, forming art in the clouds. The Choctaw show how they appreciate each person’s gift for what it gives to them in joy; money isn’t important. A refreshing tale.

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Be Kind


Be Kind
Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill
Roaring Book Press, 2018

Pat Zietlow Miller is an excellent writer of what goes on inside.  In Be Kind, we meet a girl who witnesses Tanisha spilling grape juice on her brand new dress.  While her classmates laugh, the girl tries to think of ways to be kind.  She makes an attempt, but Tanisha runs off.  She thinks of other kind things she could say, but she wasn’t sure.

The girl imagines many ways to be kind to others, some of them difficult to do, like sticking up for someone who is being bullied. After all these ideas, she decides that maybe the best thing to do is sit by Tanisha in art class and paint a picture for her.

Written in first person, readers quickly take ownership of what they might do if they wanted to be kind to someone.  Be Kind expands ideas of being kind, how being kind impacts others, and can be used to launch a discussion on kindness. Be Kind is a gentle, loving story.

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Natsumi!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natsumi!
by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Priscilla Burris
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018

In this humorous and endearing story, Natsumi does everything in a BIG way! She especially loves being LOUD!  Everyone is continually reminding her to not be so fast, or hard, or loud, except her grandfather. A festival of traditional Japanese arts is coming soon and everyone is preparing for their event. Whenever Natsumi prepares, disaster happens!  Things just don’t go right. When she is at her lowest, Grandfather takes her to the village hall where, “Natsumi heard a sound like muffled thunder.”  For two weeks she practices at the village hall after school for her entry and keeps it a secret from her family. The illustrations capture Natsumi’s boisterous ways, leading readers straight to a surprising climax.

This lovable character will sure to become a favorite. Artist Priscilla Burris illustrated Natsumi’s lively character perfectly!

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