I Love My Teacher by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Emma Dodd

I Love My Teacher by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Emma Dodd. Disney Hyperion, (9781368053082), 2021

Format:  Board Book

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

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book?   Rhyming text and bright illustrations depict a day at school in this board book edition.  A young boy heads into school to enjoy a fun day with his multiethnic classmates and his beloved teacher.  After hanging up his jacket, he enjoys games, show and tell, writing, reading, recess, music and art before the day is done.  This book will reassure first day jitters with its depiction of a fun day with friends.  

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a reassuring title to hand to children heading off to pre-school or kindergarten for the first time.

Who should buy this book?  Public Libraries and pre-school and lower elementary libraries

Where would you shelve it? Board Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:   6/17/2021         

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Board book, Emma Dodd, Giles Andreae, School, Teachers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Where’s the Puffin? / Where’s the Queen? by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Where’s the Puffin? (9781536217308) / Where’s the Queen? (9781536217292) by Ingela P. Arrhenius. Nosy Crow, 2021.

Format:  Board Book

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

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book?   These two new additions to the series feature sturdy board pages, felt flaps and a mirror.  The felt flaps make it easy for the youngest babies to manipulate. 

In Where’s thePuffin? the flaps reveal a variety of birds: a kingfisher, a blackbird, a swan, and the puffin.  Where’s the Queen? takes readers to London where the flaps reveal a police office, a bus driver, a soldier and the Queen.  The felt flaps come in a variety of shapes from a bird house to a red double decker bus.  The final page asks “Where are you?” and a lift of the flap reveals a mirror.  The bright and simple graphic illustrations appeal to young readers. These books are sure to be enjoyed by very young readers.  

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Share these with very young babies who will enjoy manipulating the felt flaps and the mirror.

Who should buy this book?  Public Libraries and pre-school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Board Books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  6/16/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Board book, Ingela P. Arrhenius, seek-and-find | Tagged | Leave a comment

How It Works: Tractor / How It Works: Rocket  by Amelia Hepworth, illustrated by David Semple

How It Works: Tractor / How It Works: Rocket  by Amelia Hepworth, illustrated by David Semple. Tiger Tales, 9781680106510, 2021

Format:  Board book 

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or Starred review) 3; 3

Genre: N/A

What did you like about the book? In six cutaway spreads, each of these British imports introduces a vehicle “made up of many different parts”, and encourages readers to “find out how it works”. The die-cuts— which diminish in size in How It Works: Rocket— are best matched with the subtractive process of rocket staging; in both titles, the typical size and shape of the cuts makes them ideal for small hands. Semple’s bright, attractive illustrations succeed in reducing complex machinery to bare essentials; they also incorporate numerous familiar— and noisy!— animals, providing an entry-point for those readers drawn to organic machinery. The UK-based illustrator’s sea gulls (which appear in both titles) cross the pond without incident, and should be familiar to residents of America’s heartland; in particular, black-headed gulls stand in effortlessly for the Franklin’s gulls that breed on America’s northern prairies. In the tradition of Clement Hurd (Goodnight Moon) and Blanca Gómez (Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse), Semple also hides a mouse in every spread, and just cleverly enough to challenge— but not frustrate— young readers.

Anything you didn’t like about it? As informational books, these titles work well; as informational board books, they’re just a bit mystifying. Writing at a higher level than the format’s usual fare, Hepworth occasionally introduces specialized terminology using other specialized terminology: “[t]he farmer uses a hitch to attach different equipment to the back of the tractor”, and “[a] manure spreader helps to fertilize the fields”. In other places, terminology is introduced in the illustrations, but not the text proper: although the “Service tower” is indicated as such in the illustration, in the text Hepworth notes only that “[rockets] are very tall, so astronauts have to climb a special tower to get into them”; at that, the definition of “astronaut” is never supplied, only to be inferred.
The cutaway design that works well for How It Works: Rocket is less happily suited to How It Works: Tractor. Readers are deprived of a visual representation of the attachment of equipment to the tractor hitch, with the baler, manure spreader, and plow relegated to text clouds.

To whom would you recommend this book? Caregivers of toddlers mesmerized by the machines in question; specialized library collections serving older children, where the format is desirable (e.g. children’s hospitals, some ELL programs).

Who should buy this book? Worth considering for larger board book collections at early childhood education centers and public libraries. 

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: Zeb Wimsatt, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 18 June 2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Board book, Rockets, Tractors | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life is Beautiful – Keb’ Mo’ and Marco Furlotti

Life is Beautiful – Keb’ Mo’ and Marco Furlotti, Flowerpot Press, 9781486721054, 2021

Format:  Hardcover

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

 Genre: Picture book  

 What did you like about the book?  This is a great book about love and how the emotion fills us up and overwhelms us in the most beautiful ways. The book does not explicitly mention if it is the love of a parent and child or a family member and a child, therefore it makes for great interpretation for caregivers to explain to young children about loving anyone in our family. The book is also taken from the song that Keb’ Mo’ wrote with the same title “Life is Beautiful”.  He opens up the book with a short narration  about the importance of the book and he even invites readers to listen to the song as they read and even try to sing along! The narrator tells the young boy in the book that he loves him so much that he wants to spend all of his days doing things with him such as going sailing or going dancing. The narrator also talks about the sadness that we feel sometimes when we think about life without someone but how while we have them we can spend our days filling them with love.  The illustrations are bold and beautiful. The illustrator used lots of blues, yellows and purples in the pictures. The pictures look more like hand drawn images as opposed to digital ones. 

Anything you did not like about the book?  I would like to have seen the full lyrics of the song printed in the last pages of the book. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is for young readers ages 3- 5 who are starting to build deep friendship bonds and family bonds. 

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?  No

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

Date of review: 06/18/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Keb' Mo', Marco Furlotti, Music | Tagged | Leave a comment

Oscar’s Tower of Flowers – Lauren Tobia

Oscar’s Tower of Flowers – Lauren Tobia, Candlewick Press, 9781536217773, 2021

Format:  Hardcover book

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

 Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? A book with no words but with so much to say! Someone in Oscar’s life is going away. Oscar is sad but instead of remaining sad he finds something to pour all of his emotions into. I love how the book has no words so you can make up the person’s relationship to Oscar. It could be his mom, his nana, his aunt, his nanny, let your child’s imagination fill in the gaps with this story! Oscar decides he is going to grow one, two, three, A ROOM FULL of plants and flowers and plants. Oscar realizes that instead of being sad he could refocus his attention on the plants but soon there are too many in the house. As a result he gives away his plants to other people he loves/cares about. Soon after all the plants are gone again his favorite person returns. This book is amazing because essentially I just made this entire storyline up because… there are no words! The pictures are so beautiful and they almost present themselves as a comic/graphic novel layout. 

Anything you did not like about the book? Excellent book for any child entering the imaginative phase. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is perfect for two-year-old children because they are just diving into imaginative play and making up stories. 

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: 06/17/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, *Starred Review, Lauren Tobia | Tagged | Leave a comment

My First Book About Ramadan: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children – Sara Khan, illustrated by Ali Lodge

My First Book About Ramadan: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children – Sara Khan, illustrated by Ali Lodge, The Islamic Foundation, 9780860378303, 2021

Format:  Board book

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

What did you like about the book? A very child friendly book on the celebration of Ramadan. The book explains when the holiday starts which is based on when the thin crescent moon is seen by practicing Muslims.The book also has a two page layout showing that Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all across the world and that it looks different for different Muslims.  Native Arabic words used in the faith for different terminology are also included. I actually did not know much about Ramadan except that it was a time of deep reflection and prayer for worshippers. I did not know that during Ramadan Muslims are called upon by their faith to do acts of good deeds for others. It also gives young readers very tangible things they can do for their acts of service during Ramadan such as giving away toys to other kids who may not have as many. The pictures are bright and colorful and also give great diversity in the skin tones of different types of Muslim people. I think this is one of the most important aspects of the book. Often times, especially with our Muslim community members, we often only associate a certain “kind” of person with being Muslim. It is so important to teach young people the beauty of religion but also the diversity of people. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is great for young children who are Muslim, but also children who are not but need to be introduced to a diversity of people and places. It is perfect for children ages 2 and older. 

Who should buy this book? Preschools, daycares and parents of young children

Where would you shelve it?  297.36

 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: 06/17/2021 

Posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, Ali Lodge, Muslims, Ramadan, Sara Khan | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Listen Up ! Train Song: – Victoria Allenby

 Listen Up ! Train Song: – Victoria Allenby, Pajama Press, 9781772782134, 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? An excellent way to introduce rhyming to young readers. The book explores the different types of sounds trains and train parts make. On each two page layout you get a large zoomed in photo of a train/train part or even a railroad crossing sign. On the opposite side of the picture there is a short large-text script that asks the readers what sound the picture makes and then encourages them to make up their own song based on the photo. The book is very realistic and simple which makes it a perfect read to pair with a hands-on activity. Similar to other books in this series the author also provides in the back of the book ways that parents and educators can deepen the learning process with this book. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is for the train lover who is learning to rhyme. This is perfect for children ages 2 and older. At this age they have started to sing many nursery songs and would love making up their own silly songs. 

Who should buy this book? Daycares, 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? No

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

Date of review:  06/17/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Picture Book, Board book, Trains, Victoria Allenby | Tagged | Leave a comment

Shipwreck Reefs – Aimee M. Bissonette, illustrated by Adele Leyris

Shipwreck Reefs – Aimee M. Bissonette, illustrated by Adele Leyris, Albert Whitman & Company, 9780807512876, 2021

Format:  Paperback ARC

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

What did you like about the book? This book was very informative about coral reefs in our ocean environments that are “human”made. I worked at the New England Aquarium for many years. Ocean science is very important to me; however, I never took extensive time learning about things such as shipwrecks and how they change the ocean floor environment. The book talks about how shipwrecks end up on the ocean floor. It informs readers about  the method of sinking ships, including the pre-set up procedures for the ship before it is bombed into the ocean! There is also an abundance of smaller captioned information about different marine life and other cool marine biology facts on each page. The artwork actually looks more like watercolor paintings of each scene. 

Anything you did not like about the book? It was too information packed. It would be nice if the final copy breaks up some of the text and increases the font size on each page. Make the small sub-captions on each page a little larger and bolder on the page as they almost sink behind the artwork on each page. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This is for the lover of all things ocean life. Perfect for a child age 4 and older due to some of the more technical names in the book. It would also make a perfect pre-school and classroom resource book for an ocean unit. 

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

Where would you shelve it?

 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: 06/17/2021

Posted in *Book Review, Adèle Leyris, Aimee M. Bissonette, ARC, Marine life, Oceans | Tagged | Leave a comment

We Want to Go to School! : The Fight for Disability Rights – Maryann Cocca and Janine Leffler

We Want to Go to School!:  The Fight for Disability Rights – Maryann Cocca-Leffler and Janine Leffler, Albert Whitman & Co., 9780807535189, 2021 

Format:  Paperback ARC

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

 What did you like about the book? I did not know much about educational disability rights and the history behind getting an equitable school system for everyone. In the beginning of the book we meet Janine who tells us about all the educational resources she received as a child with cerebral palsy. Immediately within the first pages of the book I was hit with a wave of emotions. As a mom of a child who receives several of the resources Janine received,  I also never sat and thought about the milestones and fights others had to go through to make this possible for my son. The book is narrated in Janine’s voice as she walks us through the history. She begins the story in the 1970s when there were millions of children in our country who were not allowed to go to school with “normal” kids. The book also highlights all of the reasons people gave for why children with disabilities could not go to school with their peers. The most impactful part of this two page layout is realizing that many of the people who blocked children with disabilities from schools were people like politicians, school leaders and even some teachers at that time! The book also does an excellent job tying in the race and class inequality tied to this issue. She makes readers aware that many of these unfair policies specifically impacted black and brown families more. It is no surprise that in the end the families won the court case! I loved this story and I cannot wait until the hardback copy is published.

Anything you did not like about the book? No! This book needs to be tied to school curriculum everywhere. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This book is first for every child with disabilities to get to know the history of educational support. It is perfect for ages 5 and up to talk about how there are many people who learn differently and might need extra support. 

Who should buy this book? Pre-school, elementary schools, younger middle school children 

Where would you shelve it? E or J 300s

 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: 06/17/2021

Posted in *Book Review, *Starred Review, ARC, Disabilities, Janine Leffler, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, School | Tagged | Leave a comment

More Than Just A Game: The Black Origins of Basketball – Madison Moore, illustrated by Lonnie Ollivierre

More Than Just A Game: The Black Origins of Basketball – Madison Moore, illustrated by Lonnie Ollivierre, Albert Whiteman & Co., 9780807552711, 2021

Format:  Paperback 

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

 What did you like about the book? This book was filled with historical gems! Shamefully the only thing I knew about the origins of basketball was that it was created in Springfield, MA.  Basketball is such a popular sport now however, I often wonder about how a sport that used to be played predominantly by Jewish white males now is dominated by Black men. If you are a reader or know a reader who has pondered this question as well, then this book is for you/them. In the book we learn about things such as the Black Five team. They contributed tremendously to the current landscape of basketball. We also learn about the origins of other teams such as the  Harlem GlobeTrotters. The narration reminds us that just like many other parts of American life, those who wanted to play basketball competitively, were blocked from having access to those teams. The illustrations look more like beautiful watercolor paintings of different basketball scenes. 

Anything you did not like about the book? If this is truly to be a picture book for younger readers there is a lot more script on each page which might be hard to maintain the focus of younger readers. However, if it is intended for the pre-school and older children then the amount of script on each page is fine.

 To whom would you recommend this book?  This is for the reader who loves basketball. Particularly age 5 and older. 

Who should buy this book? Elementary schools 

Where would you shelve it? 796.323

 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: 06/16/2021

Posted in *Book Review, Basketball, Lonnie Ollivierre, Maison Moore, Sports | Tagged | Leave a comment