Wow! Thanks to Aimee Isaac and Susanna Hill, I was gifted a copy of The Planet We Call Home. Just in time for the birthday of my youngest grand who will turn 7 very soon. She will love opening her very own autographed copy! Thank you, Aimee and Susanna!
The Planet We Call Home is beautiful! Written in a cumulative style, each phrase is added to the next, so by the end of the story, lines have been repeated and the story internalized. I love this format! The lyrical text is hope-filled and based on nature and conversation of our precious planet Earth. Lovely illustrations complement and extend the story. Back matter provides resources for further reading and ways to help our planet. Well done, Aimee and Jaime!
With Earth Day coming up soon, The Planet We Call Home is just right! It’s also the birthday party day, so I know one 7-year-old who will be reading it on Earth Day.
Written and illustrated by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom
What a delicious book! I have fond memories of my mom making flan, so I knew this book would be special! Thank you, Kathy Temean and Adriana for sending me a copy. Truly beautiful and tasty!
Anita is super excited to help her abuelita make flan for her abuela’s birthday. Anita is her abuelita’s special helper, and she can’t wait to learn how to make this delicious dessert. Except an accident happens, and Anita is afraid to tell abuelita about how she dropped a favorite glass plate that was often used to hold flan.
Abuelita and I Make Flan is a beautiful picture book. Complete with a recipe, Spanish words, and glossary, this picture book is a keeper. Young readers will be inspired to be helpers, hopefully want to learn new things, and be more willing to admit mistakes. Learning to apologize for accidents is a good thing to learn.
This book goes with my other “all about food” picture books! I can’t wait to try the flan recipe. Thank you, Adriana, for crafting this delightful book!
Anita loves to bake with her abuela, especially when they are using her grandmother’s special recipes for Cuban desserts like flan!
Anita is making flan for Abuelo’s birthday, but when she accidentally breaks Abuelita’s treasured flan serving plate from Cuba, she struggles with what to do. Anita knows it’s right to tell the truth, but what if Abuelita gets upset? Worried that she has already ruined the day, Anita tries to be the best helper. After cooking the flan, they need a serving dish! Anita comes up with a wonderful solution.
Complete with a glossary of Spanish terms and a traditional recipe for flan, Abuelita and I Make Flan is a delicious celebration of food, culture, and family.
Choo-choo! Hop aboard this hard-working nighttime freight train!
Written by Danna Smith and illustrated by Jon Andersen, this sturdy board book will delight train lovers of all ages. 🙂
Thank you, Danna Smith, Lynne Marie, and Rate Your Story March on with Mentor Texts! After participating each day, reading posts, commenting, and reading/studying mentor texts (picture books worth a closer read), everyone was eligible for prizes offered by blog guests. Fortunately for me, my name was pulled and I won a copy of Danna Smith’s adorable board book Wake Up, Freight Train!
Thank you to everyone for a fantastic month of reading, studying, and learning!
Why I Love This Book:
~ fun, rhyming text
~ trains, an ever popular subject matter for young readers
~ word play and train-specific words
~ answers to “What does a freight train do at night?”
~ bright colors, animals and wildlife, shaped board book
~ plenty of onomatopoeia so readers can join in the fun!
Hop aboard this train-shaped board book that introduces each car of a freight train during a nighttime adventure!
Blow the train whistle, shovel more coal. Here we go, freight train! Get ready to roll! Toot-toot goes the horn, Blink-blink go the lights, Clang-clang goes the bell, all through the night.
Featuring all the cars of a freight train, this board book is perfect for young readers who love trains! And since freight trains ride at night, there are adorable sleepy animals throughout for little ones to find.
There are so many reasons I enjoy this book. The message is wonderful for young children. The setting is fun, the characters are just right, and the problem-being brave enough to do something scary-is perfect for ages 3-5 who face an amusement park full of new experiences (in life and at actual amusement parks). And let’s not overlook the fact that Wanda is adorable!
Congratulations, Janet and Eunji!
Why I LOVE this book:
~the amusement park setting is fun and facing BIG rides is a common fear and experience of most children
A heartwarming picture book, Reach for the Stars shares the wonder and amazement of the natural world and all that is in it. Calandrelli leads readers through the growing up and exploring years in the life of a young girl, all the while encouraging readers to be amazed and to dream the big dreams about life. Jang perfectly captured the beauty and imagination of the story. Reach for the Stars is a lovely book to read to inspire, inform, and enjoy.
Why I Love This Book:
~ beautiful illustrations, dreamy and imaginative
~ the wonder and awe about the natural world the author and illustrator share throughout the story
~ the fun of reading the story in rhyme
~ the natural world is amazing, and that appreciation and respect for learning about and exploring more is front and center in this book
~ science! STEM. Girls in science!
~ the encouragement to readers to dream big, explore, and follow your dreams
From Emmy-nominated science TV star and host of Netflix’s hit series Emily’s Wonder Lab Emily Calandrelli comes an inspirational message of love and positivity.
From the moment we are born, we reach out. We reach out for our loved ones, for new knowledge and experiences, and for our dreams!
Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of the world around us, this uplifting book will inspire readers of every age. A celebration of love and shared discovery, this book will encourage readers to reach for the stars!
I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter book. In part, I liked learning about a new area to me. Just check out this map at the front of the book! The writing was clean and understandable, characters engaging, the mystery lots of fun, illustrations just right, and current topics were spot on.
~fun setting, normal school adventures for elementary students (homework, projects)
~just right illustrations and back matter
This book is definitely a keeper.
It’s Fall now and the Cayuga Island Kids are busy with homework, projects, and after school activities. But there’s still plenty of time for mystery and adventure! In the third book in the Cayuga Island Kids chapter book series, Julian is exploring food science as he experiments with recipes on his quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Being a cookie sampler takes Mac’s mind off his troubles with fractions. Yoko is practicing gestures and facial expressions in anticipation of the school play tryouts. Maya is Ms. Choi’s helper in the after-school Make-and-Take-Club for younger crafters. Lacey is taking care of the little community library that Gram built—and searching for the next mystery to solve. When two of Ms. Choi’s glitter pens go missing, Maya turns to Lacey for help. The clues and evidence point to a suspect, but are they jumping to conclusions? When a classmate jumps to conclusions and shares false information about Julian’s cookies, the Cayuga Island Kids join forces to set the facts straight. When the kids research explorers for a school project, they uncover misinformation that blurs the truth, and makes the reasons for being a fact detective crystal clear. As the fall leaves turn color, the Cayuga Island Kids come to realize that sorting through clues and evidence—just like research—means making sure information is factual, and not just a fraction of the truth. Young readers will cheer for the Cayuga Island Kids as they embark on this latest adventure involving faulty assumptions, missing facts, flour bugs, and chocolate chip cookies.
Friends, we are talking gorgeous. I was initially drawn to this oversized picture book just by seeing some of the illustrations. The illustrations, plus the garden theme, put this book right on my want-to-read list. I love gardens.
After receiving In the Garden with Flori from NorthSouth Books, I was indeed enchanted with both the richly detailed illustrations and the gardening, trouble-filled story. Thank you, NorthSouth Books!
Why I like this book:
~ Gorgeous, detailed, full-page illustrations
~ Flori, the adorable sidekick, who as dogs do, causes a certain amount of trouble
~ Child-centered story
~ Love the garden! Both the wild outdoor garden and the protected inside garden
~ The endpapers – check out the detail!
~ The nature theme
Congratulations, Sonja, for creating this beautiful picture book!
Batchelder Honor recipient Sonja Danowski has created a new story reminding us that love, patience, and a sense of humor help any garden to flower.
What a fuss! Linn’s grandfather broke his leg. Fortunately, his granddaughter Linn offers to take care of his spectacular garden. After all, Linn has helped out in the garden many times and knows a lot about plants. With Linn’s dog, Flori, and her good friend, Emi, by her side what could go wrong? But when mischievous Flori causes a mess, Linn has to learn to deal with a difficult situation. Taking responsibility for the first time is a big step. Together with Linn, we experience pride in the trust placed in us as well as self-doubts along the way. Sonja Danowski’s lovingly detailed illustrations appear almost lifelike and unfold with incomparable magic.
Hello, friends! Just look at what I call “Girl in a Tree.” Her (current) favorite thing to do is climb trees. She was more than happy to shimmy up and strike a “missing-teeth” pose with Karen Rostoker-Gruber’s traditional retelling of a Yiddish folktale, A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale. Thank you, Miss Autumn.
And thanks to Karen for sending me a copy of this beautiful book and Kathy Temean for hosting Karen and her picture book. You can read more about Karen on Kathy’s blog, Writing and Illustrating.
Now, as a person who lives full-time in an RV with her husband and quite hunting-crazy cat Monet, I know something about being crowded. When all the grands are over (7), there is nary a place to sit. We have to double-up AND use the floor. Inside the RV, we have also had: 2 cats, 1 dog, a fledgling goldfinch, spiders, earwigs (YUCK), flies, wasps, adults, grandchildren, 2 bunnies…I think that might be it. Thankfully, this crowd was not all at the same time. Oh, and the occasional Monet-attempted catch-and-release mouse.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale. Told both in rhyming and lyrical text, the mix was perfectly combined for a satisfying read. Not too much of either, but just right. For a fun retelling of a traditional story, you need to read about Farmer Earl and his crowded farmhouse.
What I Like About This Book:
-humor abounds, though I imagine Farmer Earl would not feel the same way
-the hugely huge family (this phrase cracks me up)
-a fun, re-imagining of a classic tale
-the animals and chaos
-perfect little rhyming couplets that young readers will pick up in no time
-the combination of both lyrical and rhyming text
-adorable and engaging illustrations filled with plenty of details to amuse readers
Farmer Earl has had enough―his home is too crowded! So, he visits the wise woman in town for help. She tells him to bring all his ducks in the house. And then all his horses. And all his goats too! How will there be more room with all these animals? This updated folktale uses humor to explore what it takes to gain a new perspective.
Historical fiction for middle grade, here I come! Thanks to Kathy Temean and her blog Writing and Illustrating, I won a copy of Wheels of Change from author Darlene Beck Jacobson. Thank you both for introducing me to this fascinating trip back in time.
Twelve year old Emily loves spending time in the carriage-building shop, even though it is not appropriate for young ladies who should be spending their time inside learning how to sew, bake, clean, and care for a house. With a quick mind, sincere heart, and means-well actions, Emily seeks answers to why people act the way they do, often getting herself into trouble.
Set around the turn of the century (1890s to 1900s), Wheels of Change indeed focuses on the changes of that time period. From the plight of being female to the lingering after-effects of the abolition of slavery to the ever-moving-forward march of replacing horse and buggy with motorized vehicles, Jacobson does not shy away from history. The clash of changes factors is faced head-on, all through the eyes of Emily. A few facts are based on personal family history while the rest of the story springs from her creative mind.
Why I Loved This Book:
~the story is based on history and changes that cause struggles and disagreements for most people
~the time period is one about which I enjoy reading
~great writing and descriptions allowed me to “see” what was going on
~the emotions and the conflict of the story seemed to be what could have really taken place
~it was obvious that plenty of research went into the writing of this book
~LOVED the back matter and learning about the family connections to this story
~the book would be perfect for young readers to read as they learn about history (for both education and pleasure)
Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2015
Mighty Girl Pick 2015
Grateful American Book Prize Honorable Mention 2015
Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.
With Great Power, The Marvelous Stan Lee, An Unauthorized Biography
Written by Annie Hunter Eriksen
Illustrated by Lee Gatlin
Page Street Kids, 2021
Ka-POW! Sending thanks to Annie Hunter Eriksen, Lee Gatlin, and Kathy Temean for sending me a copy of this super picture book about Stan Lee, the comic book hero icon!
I enjoyed reading Kathy’s feature on With Great Power, The Marvelous Stan Lee, An Unauthorized Biography. You can read her post here.
This fun picture book is filled with engaging history, colorful action scenes, and plenty of comic book feel. I thoroughly loved reading more about Stan Lee. If you love comic books and super heroes, you’ll want to read this one! THWACK!
What I Loved About This Book:
~ fascinating information about Stan Lee
~ detailed, comic book feel of the illustrations
~ fun and engaging read
~ inspirational story
Every superhero has their origin story: a radioactive spider bite turns ordinary teen Peter Parker into Spider-Man, wealthy Tony Stark escapes captivity by building his Iron Man suit, scientist Bruce Banner survives gamma rays only to transform into the Hulk.
For Stan Lee, it was books of adventure, monsters, and magic that helped him transform from an ordinary boy to a superstar superhero creator. At first, reading these stories was a pathway to a world bigger than his family’s tiny apartment in New York City, but it wasn’t long until Stan was crafting his own stories, creating comics professionally when he was still just a teenager! Still, writing wasn’t exciting when the heroes were always the same: strong, perfect, and boring. Stan had a revolutionary idea. What if anyone―even an ordinary kid―could be a superhero?
Discover more about the life of the Cameo King, known to many for his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and how he revolutionized comics with this vibrant introduction bustling with action, humor, and references for fans new and old. ‘Nuff said!