Monthly Archives: September 2018

Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything

Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything
by Chelsea H. Rowe, illustrated by Frank Dormer
Peachtree Publishers, 2018

After a few slow pages of listing words, the story picked up when Ebenezer opened up a “word” stand (he couldn’t give away words), bought a goldfish named Arty (short for Carassius uratus) and went on a catastrophic field trip (where everything that could go wrong, did).  Then he met Fitzgerald.  He had a collection of ideas.  Soon, Ebenezer provided words for Fitzgerald’s ideas and the two became inseparable, like Q and U. They made up stories and acted them out on the playground. Everyone loved them.  Ebenezer and Fitzgerald were the best of friends.

Word lovers will love the story, and those that want to expand their vocabulary will be introduced to thirty new words, with definitions after the story.

Read more reviews and order on Amazon.

Prince and Knight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince and Knight
by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Little Bee Books, 2018

A modern day ‘they lived happily ever after’ story of the prince and his groom.

Told in engaging rhyme readers meet a prince whose parents are getting older and are concerned the prince needs to find a worthy bride. They search the kingdom, but the prince learns ‘he was singing a different tune.”  One day a dragon attacked the kingdom, even the soldiers ran away, but the prince faced the dragon alone, until a knight in shiny armor appeared. Together they capture the dragon and know they are for each other. The villagers, king and queen all celebrate the prince’s joy.

A beautiful story with adventure and romance.

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A House that Once Was

A House that Once Was
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Book Press, 2018

The title promises a trip back in time, a mystery, and that’s exactly what’s delivered in this story poem tale with its mystical, magical illustrations.

We’re invited into an old house and on each page, we learn a few more things about the house, on a hill.  All the items of the last owner are still in their place, as told my favorite line:

Who was this someone
who left without packing
someone who’s gone
but is still everywhere?

Two children are the house explorers, but not the main characters.  The illustrations feature the main character, the house and all its contents.  Readers learn much from a yellow mustard jar, an artist’s palate, and photos on the wall. The author draws us into the story when she wonders who may have lived there, and where they may have gone.  After what must have been several hours, the children return home and the illustrations show they returned with a few treasures.

This is the kind of story poem that takes readers to a special place and will entice readers to return into the story’s feeling again and again.

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Little i

Little i
by Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2017

Another winner by Michael Hall!  In this suspenseful tale, Little i loses his dot and sets out to search for it. He searches high and low, until he finds it.  But the dot no longer fits and he leaves it behind to return home.  But on his adventure, Little i had changed.

Both the text and bright, bold, cut-out graphics personify Little i and his alphabet letter friends inviting children into Little i’s journey. A story to stimulate the ear, eye and heart.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

The Water Walker

The Water Walker
by Joanne Robertson
Second Story Press, 2017

Based on a true story that began in 2003, Nokomis (Ojibwe tribe in Ontario Canada) loved water and one day had a dream telling her that water will one day be more valuable than gold if we didn’t take care of it.  In her dream she was asked what she would do.  She and three friends formed the Mother Earth Water Walkers and set off to walk around the entire great lakes to get the public’s attention on water conservation. During 2015 she put nearly 4,500,000 footsteps on her sneakers.

Told simply, and using Ojibwe words throughout, I found this story inspiring, that one person in simple ways can bring attention to a public need.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

I am a Cat

I am a Cat
by Galia Bernstein
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018

A gray tabby cat, Simon, introduces himself to a roomful of large cats—think lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, etc.—and claims he is just like them. The large cats, of course, find that hilarious and laugh at Simon.  Each large cat introduces himself and what makes him distinctive. Simon challenges them how they can all be the same, when they each are different, and the large cats list off what they have in common and Simon quickly responds, “I have all of those things.  Only smaller.”  Find out how Simon gets them to agree they are all cats.

A hilarious read that introduces young readers to the world of large and small cats.

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Rescue and Jessica, A Life-Changing Friendship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescue and Jessica, A Life-Changing Friendship
by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Candlewick Press, 2018

Jessica, the hero in the story, writes of her and her service dog’s journey together.

In the opening scene, Rescue learns he is not meant to be a Seeing Eye dog, but he would be great as a service dog.  He’s disappointed. Meanwhile Jessica has her left leg amputated, which changes her whole life.  Rescue learns all the commands to be a service dog and Jessica learns to walk with a prosthetic leg. When Jessica decides to get a service dog, Rescue graduates from training and they get each other.  Love at first sight, they do everything together.

Readers follow both Jessica, as she learns to cope with her new disability, and Rescue, as he learns to help others.

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A Movie in My Pillow

A Movie in My Pillow
by Jorge Arguenta, illustrations by Elizabeth Gomez
Children’s Book Press, 2001

A boy from El Salvador escapes from his country and arrives in San Francisco with his father, leaving the rest of his family behind.  Their story is told in poems, written in both English and Spanish and illustrated with bold, bright colors of El Salvador.  Poems tell of his life in El Salvador, as well as the early days in the States.

The poems tell of his neighborhood where “you can taste/a soup of languages/in the wind.”  Other poems are about common experiences any boy might have, “Shadow/…you make me mad//because/every time/we race/you always win.”

The heart-song words and colorful illustrations make this an endearing story that will reach into a child’s heart.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

Willow Finds a Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Willow Finds a Way

by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells
Kids Can Press, 2013

Kristabelle decided she was the boss and everyone did what she wanted. When her birthday neared she made of list of everyone’s name and said “You can come if you are on my birthday list!”  But then she used the list to coerce the others to do what she wanted. Sometimes Willow didn’t want to do Kristabelle wanted, but did so she could go to the party.  In time Kristabelle removed two names when two kids did not comply. This made everyone mad, and quiet Willow wanted to say, “Kristabelle, you’re mean.” But the words just didn’t come out.  But she did think of something she could do.  In front of everyone, she took the list and crossed out her name!

A powerful story of standing up for oneself, even when dealing with a bully.

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We are Brothers

We are Brothers
by Yves Nadon, illustrated by Jean Claverie
Creative Editions, 2018

Stirring. Riveting. Heartfelt. We are Brothers tells the tale of how a younger brother is encouraged by his big brother to jump from rocks high above the water.

Told from the younger brother’s point of view, and in a poetic voice, we see “the wall.”  We feel the fear, “Not now”.  Surprised, the younger brother climbs the wall with the ease of a cat.  At top, he hesitates. Trusting his brother, he finally jumps…and everything is silent as he falls.  He’s thrust into the water, then returns to the surface like a fish.  Big brother celebrates the first jump, then they do it again.  As brothers.

The illustrations by award-winning French artist are soft, gentle, exquisite. They capture and show the feelings involved with the first jump from a high place. They show the trust the young brother feels from the encouragement of a loving big brother.

If you like this story, also check out Jabari Jumps, a story about a father supporting a boys first jump into a pool.

Read more reviews on Amazon.