Category Archives: Ages 4-8

When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Sophie Thinks She Can’t…
by Molly Bang
The Blue Sky Press, 2018

A thinker of a story and a great introduction to math.

On a rainy day, Sophie is stuck inside trying to build a puzzle pieces into a square. When her sister walks by and quickly makes a square, Sophie concludes she is not smart. Fortunately, her teacher introduces the concept that “we become smart”, when most the kids believes you have to be born smart. She gives them a math puzzle using squares and rectangles.  After the kids struggle with the puzzle, the teacher introduces the most important word, “Yet” and tells them, “You haven’t figured it out … YET.”

That one word changes everything for Sophie.

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Earth! My first 4.54 Billion Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth! My first 4.54 Billion Years
by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield
Henry Holt and Company, 2017

Told from Earth’s playful and proud voice readers learn all about how earth began and exists today. Using humor and familiar terms, “You can call me Planet Awesome” will keep pages turning.  First, we learn all about Earth’s family, including the Milky Way family that has billions of planets.  Then we learn of Earth as a baby and how it formed oceans and land over thousands of years. Using a timeline, it shows progression and changes in life on Earth, from plants, bugs, dinosaurs, mammals to humans. Earth notes humans are the only creature to ever care about Earth, but also the only creates that forget to “share and play nice and clean up after themselves.”

This is friendly introduction to the science of Earth.  Illustrations are big, bold, bright, friendly and easy to read.  Young scientists will study and ask questions, fortunately there is back matter that includes sources for more science on earth!

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A Horse Named Jack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Horse Named Jack
by Linda Vander Heyden, illustrated by Petra Brown
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

A perfectly-rhymed, counting book about a mischievous, loveable horse named Jack, what could possibly be better for young readers?

“When Jack greets children on the farm,
he’s friendly, frisky—full of charm.”

Jack ventures out of his stall to learn about kittens, hay bales and carrots, only his neighbor doesn’t approve of him munching on her garden and ten tomatoes hurl his way!  Cherries, bees, a puddle of mud, make one dirty horse who returns to his barn.

Pure fun, pure joy, kids will delight in Jack’s mishaps and adventures.

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Kaya’s Heart Song

Kaya’s Heart Song  
by Diwa Tharan Sanders, illustrated by Nerina Canzi
Lantana Publishing, 2018

Fascinated with her mama’s singing, Kaya learns that, like her Mama, she has a heart song. On her way out to play, she follows a butterfly that takes her where she’s never been before.  She sees a friend guarding a door.  Behind the door is a carousel of elephants.  Wanting to ride them, Kaya pulls vines from the elephants and begins to hear her heart song and her dream soon comes true.

This is a mystical, magical, musical story that tugs heartstrings, sings to ears and encourages the reader to listen for her own heart song, knowing that with a heart song, anything can happen.

Illustrations in (healing) green with bright spots of color portray a mystical place in Malaysia where magic can happen. Back matter introduces the practice of mindfulness where, when the mind quiets and becomes still, it leaves room for awareness to move in. It encourages living in the present moment.

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W is for Welcome, A Celebration of American’s Diversity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W is for Welcome, A Celebration of American’s Diversity
by Brad Herzog
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

Author Brad Herzog shares how people immigrate to the US and highlights accomplishments of naturalized citizens, introducing immigration refugees, and naturalization. Each letter introduces ideas including: cultures, diversity, freedom and journey. Many immigrants are highlighted, like Einstein, Carnegie, and Muir.  The book is truly packed with a broad collection of how America was formed with people from many countries. Great for the classroom, and perfect for parents to open many discussions about America’s diversity.

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Moon

Moon
by Alison Oliver
Clarion Books, 2018

Living a frenzied life, Moon wonders what it would be like if she were free (from homework, lessons, practice, cleaning, etc.)  That night she saw a shooting star and went outside to look for more.  She found paw prints that were strange, exciting and wild. A furry creature stared at her—a wolf.  She crawled on its back and ran through the forest.  She learned to pounce, play, howl and she learned to be still, listen and feel. She learned to be wild. Though she returned home, she took her wolfy ways with her and remained happy.

Moon brings a sweet taste of wildness and a fantasy break from a child’s hectic day. Readers will learn how one girl became one with the wolf and her (wild) ways, suggesting they, too, can find their inner wildness.

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Hoot and Honk Just Can’t Sleep

Hoot and Honk Just Can’t Sleep
by Leslie Helakoski
Sterling Children’s Books, 2017

During a storm, eggs of owl and duck tumble away from their nests.  The mothers find their lost egg and return them to their nests, but there’s a mix up.  Owl is born with ducks and world is topsy turvy—and those ducks sleep all night!  Duck is born with owls and does not take to fur and bones for dinner!  Rendered in rich, bold, layered pastels on sanded paper the characters jump off the page.  Written in terse, rhyming verse it’s a delight to the ears.

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Izzy Gizmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Izzy Gizmo
by Pip Jones, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Peachtree, 2017

A rhyming delight, we follow Izzy Gizmo through her imaginative inventions, some that work and some that don’t!  She gives up when one fizzles, until her Grandpa encourages her to try again.  Izzy thinks about it…until a crow falls and breaks his wing and she takes him to the vet.  The vet suggests she help the crow adjust to living on the ground. She invents all sorts of contraptions to keep the crow happy, but what the crow really wanted, was to fly.  Again, after a series of mishaps and almost giving up, she comes up with a way for the crow to fly.  Before you know it a long line of things needing mending appear and Izzy is happy.

Bright, splashy colors of gidgets and gadgets will fascinate young minds.

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Mela and the Elephant

Mela and the Elephant
Dow Phumiruk, illustrated by Ziyue Chen
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

An adventurous young Mela leaves behind her brother, for he has nothing to trade her, and borrows her uncle’s boat to chase a fish down river. Soon she is too far down and cannot row up the swift waters. She offers an alligator her fish, if he would return her to the village. She tosses him the fish and he swims away. She attempts to trade with other animals and is soon left with nothing to trade, alone and lost. An elephant offers to take her home, with nothing in trade.  Mela learns kindness is its own reward.

Concludes with a bit of a ‘preachy’ ending, but great for discussion.  Illustrator Ziyue Chen engages young readers into the story when she captures facial expressions of an independent and brave Mela on her adventure.

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Tilly and Tank

Tilly and Tank
by Jay Fleck
Tundra Books, 2018

I was apprehensive of a book featuring a tank, but delightfully surprised at the originality of the friendship story inside.

The story opens with Tilly noticing “a different kind of elephant” in the distance. Then, from Tank’s perspective, we see how he sees the “barrel and turret” of the strange tank. Tilly is the one who approaches, while Tank sounds off warnings. Tank’s response to Tilly’s “Hello” was a loud Boom! Tilly runs. After several attempts Tilly leaves behind a gift.  When Tank checks out the “weapon”, he realizes the strange tank was a “friend”.

Tilly’s innocence contrasting with Tank’s appearance of violence keep the pages turning.  While Tank appears violent, his voice has a genuine softness, reframing the tank’s image.  A brilliantly told and illustrated story.

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