Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich

 Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich. Simon & Schuster, 9781534400900, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? Hank the cactus cherishes his solitude. As creature after creature disturbs his serenity, he becomes more and more prickly. Hank realizes that his actions are hurting not only others, but himself. He courageously reaches out to Rosie the tumbleweed, who literally embraces his friendship. This story celebrates friendship and also can serve as a model for making things right after a social dustup. The desert setting is not often seen in picture books and Goodrich’s soft, but saturated, watercolors create an expansive setting but firmly situate Hank as the main character.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It’s a little surprising to see a cup come flying out from nowhere and land on Hank when the entire desert seems bereft of man-made objects except for Hank’s adobe home and painted pot, but Hank’s innovative solution makes up for that disparity.

To whom would you recommend this book: Preschool and elementary teachers and parents seeking friendship and inclusion stories.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, elementary schools, and daycares.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes. It’s always good to be able to recommend a new friendship story, and this one would make a perfect read-aloud and discussion starter.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Lisa Rogers, John D. Hardy Elementary School Library, Wellesley, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

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Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale

  Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale. Peachtree, 9781682630990, c2008, 2019

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Through Stockdale’s vibrant acrylic paintings and engaging rhymes, readers get an up-close look at an array of colorful fishes with unusual traits in their various habitats. Stockdale’s ability to create a variety of specific settings for each fish helps make this a standout. Back matter identifies each fish, where they can be found, and their special abilities, and a bibliography of other children’s books about fish.

Anything you didn’t like about it? This paperback version of the 2008 hardcover necessarily omits the colorful fish featured on the hardcover’s endpapers.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Any reader interested in sea creatures. Excellent for sea-themed storytimes.

Who should buy this book? School libraries, public libraries, and daycares.

Where would you shelve it? 597

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Certainly.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Lisa Rogers, John D. Hardy Elementary School Library, Wellesley, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

 

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Just Like My Brother by Gianna Marino

 Just Like My Brother by Gianna Marino. Viking, 9780425290606, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? Little Giraffe plays hide-and-seek with her brother, but as she searches, she despairs that she’s not as tall, fast or as brave as he. Alert readers will notice a spotted creature sniffing the air and rustling near the young giraffe, but never fear, Little Giraffe asserts herself and Leopard is cowed by her height, speed, and bravery. Marino’s charming, light-suffused illustrations pair perfectly with this sweet story’s warmth. With easily recognizable animals and spare text, it’s perfect for a preschool storytime about siblings, self-confidence and facing fears.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Preschoolers who love animals of Africa and families looking for books about siblings.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and daycares.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not on the top, but worthwhile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Lisa Rogers, John D. Hardy Elementary School Library, Wellesley, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

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Mama Tiger Tiger Cub – written and illustrated by Steve Light

   Mama Tiger Tiger Cub – written and illustrated by Steve Light, Candlewick Press, 9781536206777, 2019

Format: Board Book

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2.5

What did you like about the book Steve Light’s illustrations of a traveling mama tiger are full of movement with bold colors and a great use of geometric shapes that easily catch the eye. When shown, Mama Tiger’s face is expressive enough to draw the attention of the reader to a “sneaky” tiger cub following close by.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  This is a short and oddly unconnected story.  Of the eight two-page spreads, the tiger cub is only present in half of them (including the final “bedtime” scene), nullifying its use as a simple seek-and-find title and ultimately making this a series of scenes where we see Mama Tiger’s day instead of answering to the question the back cover asks (“What is Mama Tiger looking for?”). This also lacks the visual stimulation of a previous animal adventure Light has created, Black Bird Yellow Sun.  While Light’s pages are beautiful, they lack context and consistency for the title.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This title is a fun filler for families with tiger lovers.  

Who should buy this book? Libraries only as an additional purchase. Be sure to stock your shelves with Light’s much more engaging board books such as Trains Go and the previously mentioned Black Bird Yellow Sun.

Where would you shelve it ? Board books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

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The Chickens are Coming – Barbara Samuels

  The Chickens are Coming – Barbara Samuels, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 9780374300975, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  Mom saw a sign that 5 chickens needed a home and decided that they would take Dawn, Desiree, Divina, Delilah and Daphne.  Winston and Sophie were so excited they prepared for the arrival and told anyone who would listen. But these chicks really did not want to be pets and no matter what the kids did the chickens would not lay eggs! And so the fun began. Colorful illustrations reveal all of the personalities and quirks. Readers will learn about different breeds and the fresh eggs they may or may not provide. Regardless of whether you live in the country or the city caring for chickens is a popular trend. This story can be appreciated by all.

Anything you did not like about the book.  no

To whom would you recommend this book? Children and their adults, parents or teachers, will enjoy this as a read aloud, bedtime read or introduction to caring for chickens at home.

Who should buy this book? School and public libraries, teachers, parents, grandparents.

Where would you shelve it?  Easy picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If looking for a cute story about raising chickens at home.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Sandy Kelly, JV Fletcher Library Westford, MA, retired School Librarian in Carlisle, MA.

Date of review: May 17, 2019

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Girls With Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records by Debbie Gonzales, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon

   Girls With Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records by Debbie Gonzales, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon, Charlesbridge, 9781580897471, 2019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  The history of women’s sports in America before and after Title IX is the subject of this sprightly, full-speed ahead, girl power, nonfiction picture book. It opens with a quick review of the bad old days when girls were not allowed to play sports or even sweat but quickly moves on to early pioneers, such as Senda Berenson Abbott, who coached women’s basketball at Smith College and Eleanor Sears, who played polo wearing pants. Despite the accomplishments of well-known female athletes ( Gertrude Ederle and Althea Gibson put in appearances) women were hampered by the lack of support for collegiate sports. Enter Title IX as championed by Congresswoman Edith Green in 1972. The colorful and lively illustrations done with acrylic ink and colored pencil show girls involved in an endless array of sports. The book includes an extensive timeline and bibliography. The exact language of Title IX is boldly presented in inspiring talk bubbles by a mixed cast of sporty girls.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I think it’s a stylistic choice, but all the girls in the book are whippet thin. Also, although I thought the first half of the book looking at traditional attitudes toward women and athletics was very strong, the second half focusing on Title IX was fuzzy on details. Why and who exactly were so opposed to the law is left unexamined. Although I applaud the wide scope and timeframe of the book, a narrowed focus would have provided more depth.

To whom would you recommend this book? Great for students interested in changing attitudes toward women and sports. This could be helpful background reading, even for a middle school student, who wants an overview on the topic.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? 796.082, with other books on sports

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you are looking to freshen up a sports section, this could be a useful addition.

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

 

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Little Taco Truck by Tanya Valentine, illustrated by Jorge Martin

   Little Taco Truck by Tanya Valentine, illustrated by Jorge Martin, Schwartz & Wade, 9781524765859, 2019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  Bold graphics enhance this story about a little taco truck who loses his favorite lunchtime parking spot to bigger, shinier competitors. In the end, the entire collection of food trucks (Miss Falafel, Annie’s Arepas, Jumbo Gumbo, etc.) all learn to get along and make space, so it’s a fable about international cooperation as well as an excuse to look at colorful vehicles with eyelashes and cute hats. The animal patrons are also a hoot as they cluster around the trucks at lunch: giraffes and alligators in hardhats as well as smartly dressed office workers.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No. The drawings are very stylized and stylish, so purists in the DK fanclub may not be satisfied with Martin’s illustrations.

To whom would you recommend this book? I haven’t seen many picture books about food trucks and they’re so ubiquitous these days that I’m sure those who love car/truck/construction books will take to Little Taco. A nice read aloud for prompting discussion about making room for all ethnic groups.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: May 18, 2019

 

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