Nothing Scares Spider! – by S. Marendaz/illustrated by Carly Gledhill

     Nothing Scares Spider! by S. Marendaz, illustrated by Carly Gledhill, Tiger Tales, 9781680102116, 2021

Format: Hardcover/Picture book

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

Genre:  Adventure

What did you like about the book? Brave spider sets out on a big adventure. But her friends are worried for her and themselves while their protector is away. She leaves a string of web behind for them to tug on in case of emergency. There are numerous tugs for her to come back and rescue them, which she does, though she does not consider them emergencies, until the last one. The last tug pulls them all into a real emergency in which they all work together to thwart the frog. I like that spider is brave enough to go out on her own and try new things, but doesn’t let her friends down in order to do it, she’s there for them when they need her. I like that she responds and helps them, even though she finds it … tiresome. Best of all, they work together in the end and spider says, “On my next adventure, You’re all coming with me. In case of emergencies!” Simple, clear, vibrant illustrations make this a joy to read.

Anything you did not like about the book? nope

To whom would you recommend this book? 2-5 year olds (I feel like this might be good for those struggling with separation anxiety)

Who should buy this book? Parents/libraries/schools looking to curb fears (of separation or just trying new things), or looking to encourage a sense of adventure.

Where would you shelve it? jfiction picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top, it was fun and cute for the little ones

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Vicky Deneault, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review5-4-2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, S. Marendaz | Tagged | Leave a comment

Berta’s Boxes / Las Cajas de Berta – Dario Alvisi, illustrated by Amelie Graux

  Berta’s Boxes – Dario Alvisi, illustrated by Amelie Graux, NubeOcho, 9788418133190, 2021

    Spanish Version: Las Cajas de Berta – Dario Alvisi, illustrated by Amelie Graux, NubeOcho, 9788418133268, 2021

Format:  Hardcover 

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

 Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? Berta is a little girl who seems so perfect. Everything about her is so neat and tidy. Her room is always clean. She is always organized. She only likes certain colors and she keeps all of her feelings in her boxes. Her parents are even proud of her and how she never shows any emotions and everything goes into her boxes. One day when she goes to school she has a very bad day. When she gets home and tries to process her day with her mom, no one pays attention to her and she gets very angry. Finally she explodes full of emotion and pieces together this BIG RED puzzle that looks like a monster. Miraculously after her complete meltdown she feels so much better. In the end she realizes it is not good to keep things bottled up. It is so important for us to express our feelings and process through all of our emotions. Now Berta wears all colors and she processes all of her emotions. When she does feel herself getting angry she takes to a creative activity as an outlet. This book is wonderful. It is full of emotion even just through the words and pictures. The pictures are cartoon drawings of Berta, her family and friends. The book is a great tool for having a conversation with children about building coping skills and how to cope when we have bad days. This is advice that can definitely be passed on to the adult reading the book as well. The other underlying storyline is the fact that the adults in Berta’s life did not initially help or encourage her to process her emotions. As adults in young peoples’ lives we have to make sure we are encouraging them to believe that emotions are okay and natural parts of our everyday lives.

Anything you did not like about the book? No. This is a great book that I plan on recommending to many parents.

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is perfect for the young reader who is learning coping skills for BIG emotions. This would be perfect for ages 3 – 7 years old 

Who should buy this book? Pre-schools and elementary schools

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 5/5/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review, Amelie Graux, Dario Alvisi, Emotions | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bizzy Bear:  Soccer Player – Benji Davies

 Bizzy Bear:  Soccer Player – Benji Davies, Nosy Crow Ltd., 9781536217315, 2021

Format:  Board book

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

 Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? Bizzy Bear is at his soccer game and the game is INTENSE! Bizzy Bear has to focus in order to make a pass to get a goal for the team. Bizzy Bear is successful and the crowd cheers loudly. The book is more of an interactive board book where children can play with different pieces in the book to move the ball or to move the goalie and the crowd. The illustrations are digital cartoon drawings of Bizzy Bear and his other animal soccer friends. The book is definitely a fun one to read with your new budding soccer player.

Anything you did not like about the book? Nothing I would change about this book.

 To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children 2.5 to 4 who might just be getting into young children’s sports!

Who should buy this book? Daycare centers and preschools 

Where would you shelve it? Board books

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

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 5/5/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Benji Davies, Board book, Novelty books, Sports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Toot & Puddle: How Does Your Garden Grow? – Holly Hobbie

  Toot & Puddle: How Does Your Garden Grow? – Holly Hobbie, Random House, 9780593124666, 2021

Format: Hardcover book

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

 Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? Tout, Puddle and cousin Opal get ready to plant for the season! They bring out their tools and prep their gardening space.  After their first prep of lettuce, they come back the next morning to realize someone has eaten their lettuce leaves. They pondered on what to do to preserve their lettuce leaves from this “uninvited visitor”. They decide to build a fence to keep the intruder out. But oh no! The fence did not stop the lettuce eater. They tried to catch the little intruder but they aren’t fast enough. The lettuce eater also started to eat the spinach. The trio decided perhaps the intruder does not know what the garden is for. So they decide to put up a sign. They end up finally spotting the animal that is eating the food in their garden and scare it away. The animal stopped coming back to the garden but the garden quickly became a boring place. They learned at the end that it’s always more enjoyable when we share things with others. In the end the garden became a place where anyone could come get free spinach. The illustrations look more like colored pencil drawings of the pig trio and their scary garden visitor. Very soft and gentle children colors in the illustrations. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No, this is a great story about sharing with others but also teaching children that connecting with nature is so important for our own happiness.

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is great for the young child ages 2-5 learning to share but also perfect for spring gardening time.

Who should buy this book? Daycares and elementary schools

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 5/5/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Gardening, Holly Hobbie | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wren by Katrina Lehman, illustrated by Sophie Beer

Wren by Katrina Lehman, illustrated by Sophie Beer. Scribble, 2021. 9781925322118

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Wren is a kid who just wants a little peace and quiet. He lives with his cacophonous family of 4 siblings in the noisy city. Then a new baby sister is born who never stops wailing, no matter what anyone does. He decides to move in with his grandparents, permanently! It is quiet with them in the country, but as you might expect, he ends up missing his family, no matter how noisy they are. When he returns and gingerly agrees to give the baby a cuddle, surprise! She stops crying, sweetly curls her tiny fist around his finger, and smiles.

This classic new baby story may not cover new ground, but it still offers some laughs. It’s fun to notice the antics of Wren’s siblings – each sibling caroming around the busy, crowded house is up to noisy mischief, playing instruments, running around as superheroes, teasing the younger ones, while Wren is the quiet kid who just wants to read or peacefully build a tower of blocks by himself. The bedraggled Dad can barely function, although the Mom seems to take the chaos in stride. I particularly enjoyed the grandparents – Grandma wears boots and spends her time in the garden, while Grandpa bakes cookies, knits, and wears fluffy slippers. The new baby has a caricature wailing mouth, which becomes a beatific smile at the end. The illustrations, “a combination of traditional mark making and digital medium,” are full bleed panoramas of the bustling household, in a palette of bright reds, yellow, and blues, with a slightly retro feel. This is a fun story time read and a light hearted book for families expecting another baby.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  For ages 3-6, especially when a new sibling is expected.

Who should buy this book? Day care centers 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’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 5, 2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Babies, Katrina Lehman, Siblings, Sophie Beer | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Dragon Path by Ethan Young

The Dragon Path by Ethan Young. Scholastic, 2021. 9781338363302

Format: ARC (5/21 pub date)

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

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? Young Prince Sing is traveling with his family, the Wong Clan, as they seek to reclaim Old Land, their ancestral home. They must take the treacherous Dragon Path, which is ruled by the Dragon Tribe, a clan of slobbering evil dragon people. When the Wong Clan is betrayed by one of their own and ensnared in a trap set by the Dragon Tribe, all seems lost. No one expects the young prince to have the key to their rescue.

This is a dramatic folkloric-like fantasy with steampunk trappings – the Wong Clan travels in a vehicle reminiscent of Mad Max’s giant truck, but with sleeping quarters and details of a 19th century Chinese house. There are deceptions, epic battles, a magical orb, and allusions to political hostilities that go back generations, not to mention a giant magical unicorn cat named Midnight. The political feud between clans may go over some readers’ heads, but the battles and Sing’s stay with a Mystic make for great drama. Prince Sing cannot be older than 12, but he is wiser than his years. Kids will cheer as he saves the clan. The art is beautiful, even in the black and white of the uncorrected proof.

Anything you didn’t like about it? no

To whom would you recommend this book? For graphic fantasy lovers, ages 10-14.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Graphic novels

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 5, 2021

Posted in *Book Review, Ethan Young, Fantasy, Graphic novel, Steampunk | Tagged | Leave a comment

Amazing Animals of the World by Jana Nova and Sabina Konecna, illustrated by Zuzana Dreadka Kruta

 Amazing Animals of the World by Jana Nova and Sabina Konecna, illustrated by Zuzana Dreadka Kruta, Albatros, 9788000059303, 2021

Format: Hardcover/picture book

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2

What did you like about the book? The vibrant illustrations were imaginative and are accompanied by details on each animal including facts and fun comments to entertain the kids.

Anything you did not like about the book? The translation on this book left the language feeling awkward. The pictures look like they are meant for younger children (3-6 years old), but the words are so long and often unusual that it really shifts the age closer to 10-12 year olds. My kids have good vocabularies, but I still had to stop (probably on every page, sometimes multiple times) to explain some of the words to them. The phrase “gird your loins” seems out of place in a children’s picture book and one animal is captioned in large letters “lizard from Hell” which I chose not to read to my children. Also, I found the font difficult to read, especially the headings. Each chapter has a lead in, which seems wordy and out of place.

To whom would you recommend this book? Children 8-10 years old with a good vocabulary and who like vibrant, imaginative pictures.

Who should buy this book? I really think this needs to go back to the publisher before I can

Where would you shelve it? nonfiction picture books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Vicky Deneault, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review: 5/4/2021

Posted in *Book Review, Animals | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mad for Ads: How Advertising Gets (and Stays) in Our Heads – written by Erica Fyvie, illustrations by Ian Turner

  Mad for Ads: How Advertising Gets (and Stays) in Our Heads – written by Erica Fyvie, illustrations by Ian Turner, Kids Can Press, 9781525301315, 2021

Format: Hardcover

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

 What did you like about the book? After reading this book, I don’t think kids will look at their world in the same way again! This book illustrates the little ways that advertising enters our lives–whether we realize it or not. The book is organized into seven chapters that highlight different components of advertising. This includes a mini lesson in marketing, the many different kinds of ads, how your brain processes advertising, how marketers gather information to generate ads, and even a timeline of the history of advertising. Each chapter is loaded with information presented in a funny, yet informative manner, that makes all this information easy to understand. Each chapter tailors the information to something that would pertain to a child, making all this information to be more relatable to their own lives. For example, this book points out how items on a shelf in a store are at the eye level of the target audience. So, items marketed to an adult are higher on a shelf than those marketed to a child. There is also information on how advertisers pair a product with something that is appealing to their target audience–for example, puppies and a new bike. 

The bold and bright illustrations provided by Ian Turner are not only entertaining in this book, but highly useful in comprehending all the information. For example, a two-page illustration points out all the different places in a neighborhood where advertising is present. Also, another illustration demonstrates how different parts of our brains react to advertising. There is so much information packed in this book and the illustrations really help to break up the information into more manageable chunks.

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? I would recommend this book to children eight years old and older, especially if they are doing a unit on advertising or persuasion in their classroom. I also think older children will find this information interesting, even if it is not something they are studying in school.

Who should buy this book? Public school libraries, this is a great tool for a classroom that is doing a unit on advertising or persuasion.

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: May 3, 2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, Advertising | Tagged | Leave a comment

Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal

Zonia’s Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal. Candlewick, 2021. 9781536208450

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Zonia is an Asháninka girl who lives in the Peruvian Amazon River basin with her loved ones, shown as her mother and a nursing baby brother. Accompanied by a strikingly colored blue morpho butterfly, she joyfully visits her various animal friends in the rainforest – two-toed sloths, cocks-of-the-rock, coatis, and others. It is clear that she lives in harmony with the place and its inhabitants – “[She] knows just who to visit when she wants to be quiet and still.” But when Zonia comes across a patch of forest that has been deforested, she runs back to her mother, frightened at what she has seen. Her mother tells her that the forest is speaking to her. ‘”Then I will answer,” says Zonia, “as I always do.” / “We all must answer.”‘ On the last page, Zonia looks like a little warrior, with beautiful markings of red paint on her sweet brown face signaling her determination to protect her homeland.

This is a strikingly beautiful picture book. The language is poetic and simple; the art is stunning. The author used acrylic, colored pencil, pastel, ink and linocuts and woodcuts on handmade banana leaf paper, and the combination of textures and colors is wonderful. Back matter includes a translation of the text into the Asháninka language, facts about the Asháninka people and the Amazon, including the threats to their existence, and a lovely key to the animals portrayed in the story. There is also a list of sources and resources. What a thoughtful and moving book!

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? A wonderful choice for story time or classroom discussion, for ages 4-8.

Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 4, 2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review, Animals, Indigenous people, Juana Martinez-Neal, Peru, Rainforest | Tagged | Leave a comment

No More Plastic by Alma Fullerton

No More Plastic by Alma Fullerton. Pajama Press, 2021. 9781772781137

Format: Hardcover

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

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Isley loves the beach, but on the day when she witnesses the death of a right whale on her beach, due to a stomach filled with plastic, she gets angry. She decides to educate her family and her community on ways to use less plastic, from eating ice cream in cones instead of cups, getting the mayor to ban bottled water and helping her mom choose plastic-free products from the store. But people get tired of the effort, and plastic starts to pile up on the beach again. Finally, Isley constructs a huge whale completely from the trash she finds, and then people get it.

I like that, although fictional, the story offers a true to life idea of how to change one’s community, by changing personal and societal practices. The book really takes its subject of plastic pollution seriously – the art is in diorama form, created with actual found plastic waste, acrylic paint, sand and digital elements. It’s cool and important that the art created from plastic waste adds a certain ugliness to the images, truly channeling the importance of reducing its use. Observant readers can point out the photos of sand, plastic bottles, bags and toys within the art. This is a successful and accessible portrayal of the problem for young readers.

An author’s note provides information about the setting (Prince Edward Island) and includes lists of steps kids can take to reduce plastic at home and in the world.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is appropriate for story time, and a good way to introduce the topic of pollution in classrooms to ages 3-5.

Who should buy this book? Day care centers, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 4, 2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Activism, Alma Fullerton, Oceans, Pollution | Tagged | Leave a comment