Monthly Archives: October 2018











by Claude Ponti
Archipelago Books, 2018
translated from the French

A fantasy story about Hiznobyuti (he’s no beauty), a young creature whose parents pushed him away because he was different.  But the creature had a great imagination and a yearning to be connected with his family despite their faults.  To survive his family, he befriended Martin Clock and lived beneath the kitchen sink.

Here is where his adventures began. He befriended elephants, witches and trees until he learned to communophone (connect with others) and also learned someone on another planet needed him. He and Martin Clock planted a mountain and climbed into outer space where he helped another planet.

When Hiznobyuti returned to earth, he found his home in ruins and his family in despair.  Nothing had gone right for them since they pushed away Hiznobyuti.  But everything got better when Hiznobyuti returned, (forgave his family) and helped them.

This story is rich with symbolism that speaks to its readers’ inner child.  Unlike most ‘thin’ stories published in America, this French story is thick with fantasy plot lines, compelling illustrations, and monster creatures–perfect to spark a child’s imagination and keep the pages turning.

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Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters

Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters 
by Rachel Kolar, illustrated by Roland Garrigue
Sleeping Bear Press

This brilliant collection of nursery rhymes for young Halloween readers will keep pages turning and laughter rolling.  In What Are Little Bats Made Of?, readers explore what little bats and little ghouls are made of.  Little imaginations will run wild in Mary Had a Little Ghost and run creepy in Zombie Miss Muffet.  But what happens in Sing a Song of Witches, when the blackbirds attack the witch?

Geared for the youngest readers, humor is woven in with the spooky, as in Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary:

Mary, Mary, tall and scary,
How does your graveyard grow?
With buried bones and carved gray stones
And little ghosts all in a row.

Illustrations are done in night darks and spooky purples to support the scary poem re-writes.  They often tell another story beyond the re-written one, as when the dog in Old Mother Hubbard hilariously runs away with arm and hand bones.

Those who love scary Halloweens will love Mother Ghost.

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Old Dog Baby Baby

Old Dog Baby Baby
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Roaring Brook Press, 2018

A beautiful story of an encounter between an old family dog and a crawling baby. Rendered in sparse rhyme alongside loose, color-splashed drawings, reader and listener will remember their first encounter with another living creature.  Baby’s curiosity pokes, squeezes, peeks and spies in old dog’s parts, while dog patently allows the baby to explore.  They roll together on the kitchen floor until they are all worn out.

A precious story, perfect for naptime.

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I’m Sad

I’m Sad
by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018

An engaging story of a sad flamingo that voice a child’s many concerns about being sad, with a spunky girl who speaks clearly on how being sad is just part of life.  The third character, a potato, inserts humor throughout the story and sets up the surprise ending.  If sadness exists in a little one’s life, this book will help explain it and accept it.  It might be the child sees your sadness or a friend’s sadness.  With few words and expressive characters, even the youngest readers will learn from this thoughtful rendering.

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Drawn Together

Drawn Together
by Mihn Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
Disney Hyperion, 2018

A boy visits his grandfather and they sit in silence, as one speaks Vietnamese and the other English.  Finally, the boy pulls out his art materials and creates a superhero figure.  Grandfather sees what he is doing and next to the boy’s caped superhero emblazoned in color, grandfathers creates a detailed black ink drawing of a Vietnamese warrior. Suddenly they communicate—through their art.  Each one’s imagination adds to the other, the boys in color, the grandfathers in black ink. They create their new world, building a closeness, until… that old distance comes between them. But, having bridged their gap, they find a way to love one another.

A beautiful story of a relationship built on mutually shared gifts.  Santat’s breathtaking, detailed art flushes out Le’s story bringing a compounded richness to each page.

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Julian is a Mermaid












Julian is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love
Candlewick Press, 2018

A loving story of accepting our differences.

When Julian sees other mermaids, he falls in love with them and dreams of being one.  When he dresses up as one, his abuela is at first surprised, but offers him a necklace and they leave for a surprise.  They go for a walk to the beach … where Julian can wear his mermaid costume with other mermaids.

Abuela shows complete acceptance for the Julian’s unusual preferences and supports his dreams.  Illustrations provide creative, colorful seaside costumes. A wonderfully, warm story.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.