Picture Book Review: Underground

Underground by Uijung Kim
Underground: Subway Systems Around the World
by Uijung Kim

4 out of 5 stars
This book gives details and statistics about underground subway systems around the world. There are 10 large subway systems featured, including New York, Mexico City, London, Paris, and Tokyo. The statistics include when the subway system was first opened, how many passengers it carries a year, how many lines are in the city, and the distance the tracks travel.

Each subway system includes a search-and-find illustration with objects to look for hidden in the artwork. I love the cartoon illustrations and how the objects are hidden so cleverly in between train cars or behind passengers. The art is brightly colored, and there are tons of little details in each scene that make it special and interesting. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes

Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes by Jef Aerts
Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes
by Jef Aerts, Sanne te Loo (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Adin and Dina are best friends “like twin cherries on the same stem”. They love to climb the cherry trees on the family fruit farm and pick cherries together. When Adin’s family moves away to the big city, the two friends start to plant cherry pits along the road, and in the spring the cherry blossoms create a trail leading the two friends back to one another.

This is such a sweet book about friendship and loyalty. I just love how close Adin and Dina are. They like doing everything together and can almost read each other’s thoughts. Such a precious friendship! I love how this book deals with loneliness and disappointment in such a healthy way. The two friends are separated, but they still can remain connected. A beautiful story!

The illustrations are truly special. Such gorgeous colors and soft lines! The artwork is so delicate and enchanting. The scenery of the fruit farm and the beautiful cherry blossoms is absolutely exquisite. Even the setting in the city has a kind of urban charm.

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Picture Book Review: The Walrus and the Caribou

The Walrus and the Caribou by Maika Harper
The Walrus and the Caribou
by Maika Harper, Marcus Cutler (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars
In this traditional Inuit story, an old woman begins to create some animals when the world is first being formed. She makes a walrus with antlers, and a caribou with tusks, but these cause too many problems. The walrus’ antlers overturn all the kayaks in the water. The caribou use their tusks as weapons against the hunters. How can the woman correct her creations?

I loved this funny story! The silly illustrations really make it hilarious and fun. The poor woman is so frustrated with her unruly creatures, but she is determined to do whatever it takes to make them behave.

I loved the cartoony artwork. The caribou and walrus have such silly expressions! The art really tells the story in an engaging way.
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Picture Book Review: The Stone Giant

The Stone Giant by Anna Hoglund
The Stone Giant
by Anna Hoglund

3 out of 5 stars
The daughter of a knight goes on an adventure searching for her lost father. All alone, she travels to the desolate land of the stone giant, knowing that anyone who looks in the giant’s eyes will be turned into stone. She is clever and brave, and has a plan to defeat the giant and save her father.

I really liked this fairy-tale story, especially because it is a brain vs. brawn kind of story. The fearsome giant doesn’t stand a chance when the knight’s daughter uses her clever mind to devise a plan for defeating the giant. I liked her character. She is resourceful and smart! The plot line is simple, but with whimsical details that make it fun to read.

I didn’t like the illustrations though. It has a very amateurish look. The artwork is not polished or consistent. The characters’ hands and feet look lumpy. If the illustrations were more professionally done, I would have enjoyed this book more. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Sand Elephant

The Sand Elephant by Rinna Hermann
The Sand Elephant
by Rinna Hermann

4 out of 5 stars
Paul outlines the shape of an elephant in his sand box, and is delighted when his sand elephant comes to life and takes him to the magical Sandcastle Land. There he meets other children and their sand animals, and they all play together in the castle. But a storm blows up and and washes the sand flat, and the children must call to their sand animals to revive them.

I loved this whimsical and imaginative story! It speaks to me so strongly of my childhood playing with imaginary animal friends in a fairy tale castle. Anything can happen in a child’s world of dreams.

The elephant is such a robust and steady character, and I love how he leads Paul through all their adventures. The whole story is just delightful! Continue reading

Baby Board Book: Five Little Ducks

Five Little Ducks by Ailie Busby
Five Little Ducks: First Book of Nursery Games
by Ailie Busby (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars
This board book is so adorable! It’s full of sweet rhymes from childhood like “This Little Piggy”, “Hickory Dickory Dock”, and “Polly Put the Kettle On”, but also has new rhymes included. The rhymes all have hand motions or other activities that can be done along with the rhymes. This can help young toddlers to learn to hold up a certain number of fingers as we count down from five, or to move their arms or legs as the rhyme instructs. It’s so cute!

These rhymes go way beyond the simple “Peek-a-boo” style that I always found so boring. These are really interesting and fun! There are ducks, dinosaurs, trains, bunnies, and lions. There is roaring, tickling, hopping, clapping, and flying fingers.

I really appreciated that the bright illustrations show all kinds of children; young babies, older toddlers, disabled children in wheelchairs, children with glasses, African, Asian, Caucasian, and Hispanic children. Plus every kid is so cute! I love the art style in this book. Continue reading

Children’s Non Fiction Book: Rosa’s Big Boat Experiment

Rosa's Big Boat Experiment by Jessica Spanyol
Rosa’s Big Boat Experiment
by Jessica Spanyol

5 out of 5 stars
I love how this book puts STEM concepts into simple terms for little readers. The children learn that objects float or sink based on their density. “Everything is made of molecules… They are very, very tiny. The closer the molecules are packed together, the denser the object.” That quote is probably the most technical part of the entire book. The rest of it is mostly simple statements about how a marble will sink, but a ping pong ball will float. A sponge will first absorb the water and then sink.

The children in the book build boats out of objects that can float and they have a boat race. The boats are made out of tin foil, milk cartons, and plastic bowls. The boat with the biggest sails and a hull that is pointed at the front will sail the fastest. Continue reading

Children’s Non Fiction Book: Caribou

Caribou by Dorothy & David Aglukark
by Dorothy & David Aglukark

5 out of 5 stars
This book contains wonderful information about caribou, their habitat, their migration patterns, and their young. There are two to three paragraphs of information in each section, giving interesting information like how caribou survive against predators and how their antlers grow. There is even a section about how Inuit tribes will use caribou skin or bones to make clothing and utensils.

I love the warm artwork in this book! It really makes it enjoyable to read and see these majestic animals illustrated in their wilderness home. It immediately captured my attention!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.