Picture Book Review: The Green Giant

The Green Giant by Katie Cottle
The Green Giant 
by Katie Cottle

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

When she goes to visit her grandfather in the country, Bea discovers a green giant made of plants in the greenhouse next door. They have a lovely summer together, playing, swinging from trees, flying kites, and jumping rope with vines. But soon, Bea has to return to the city, and the green giant gives her a magical gift.

I thought this story was charming! The giant tells Bea all about when he was a young sapling in the city, and how he had to move out to the country because of all the pollution that made it hard for him to breathe.
Bea herself is an adorable character. Curious and sweet, she enjoys simple summer activities and is friendly to everyone (and every plant).

I like the crayon look of the art style, but the artwork isn’t very polished or symmetrical. Sometimes Bea’s eyes are different sizes, and the green giant’s design is severely lacking. He just has a plain smiley face for a face! Just two dots for eyes and a line for a mouth. I would have expected something a little more imaginative from an artist. And his body doesn’t seem like it has any structure. He’s a boneless blob of green and yellow leaves. He looks weird, instead of endearing.
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Book Review: The Case of the Sliding Spaceship

Art Smart, Science Detective by Melinda Long
Art Smart, Science Detective: The Case of the Sliding Spaceship 
by Melinda Long ,  Monica Wyrick (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Art and his friends are on the watch for alien activity in their neighborhood, but they never expected a REAL alien spaceship to appear in Art’s telescope viewer. The aliens appear to be in a purple spaceship right next to the moon, and Art and his friends prepare for an invasion. Art prides himself on being a logical scientist, so he uses his knowledge to hatch a plan to protect his friends from anything the aliens might use to attack.
Are there really aliens attacking Earth, or are Art and his friends overreacting?  Continue reading

Book Review: Emily’s Fortune

Emily's Fortune by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Emily’s Fortune
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

When Emily’s mother dies, Emily plans to travel West to live with her aunt, but the state orphanage has other plans, and Emily is forced to run away from the Orphanage Child Catchers. With the help of another orphan boy and her trusty turtle, Rufus, Emily will travel by train and stagecoach through the Wild West to reach the safety of her aunts home. 

This is a funny and cute little story with plenty of adventure and hilarity! It would be a wonderful book to read aloud to children, because there are so many opportunities for funny voices and dramatic voices. 
I enjoyed the story, but it’s not particularly amazing or special. The plot is simple, the characters are static, but it’s the writing style that really keeps the reader interested. The writing is witty, the dialogue is snappy, and the scenes flow smoothly into a cohesive story. And young readers aren’t looking for complex plots or deep characters, so it’s a perfect book for children!

Picture Book Review: Miss Pinkeltink’s Purse

Miss Pinkeltink's Purse by Patty Brozo
Miss Pinkeltink’s Purse 
by Patty BrozoAna Ochoa (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Miss Pinkeltink is homeless, and she carries around a massive purse full of random stuff. Sometimes she knocks things over with her enormous purse, and the townspeople complain that she has run over their roses with her purse, or knocked down their fence, or bumped children off their bikes.

But Miss Pinketink has a good heart, and she shares the stuff from her purse with the townspeople. She gives out a roll of tape to fix a flat bike tire, or a comb to a bald man, a bone to a cat, and a plunger to a car mechanic with hilarious results!

A little girl named Zoey recognizes that Miss Pinkeltink’s heart is in the right place, even if her gifts are not always the most useful things. Zoey organizes the townspeople to provide a home for Miss Pinkeltink, and show their appreciation for all her gifts to them!
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Picture Book Review: Three Wild Pigs

Three Wild Pigs by Lisa Anne Cullen
Three Wild Pigs: A Carolina Folktale 
by Lisa Anne Cullen (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

The three wild pigs are fishing in their boat off the Carolina coast, when a hurricane begins to blow in from the sea. They scramble back to shore and hunker down in their homes of dune-grass, thicket branches, and strong conch shells. The voice of a wolf is heard on the winds of the storm, as the wolf-winds try to blow down the homes of the pigs. Together, they survive the hurricane winds and the rising waves, despite the howling wolf-winds.

I liked the story of these three wild pigs! There is a lovely fluidity to the pacing, and there are lots of little details that make the narrative special.
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Picture Book Review: Poppy’s Pants

Poppy's Pants by Melissa Conroy
Poppy’s Pants 
by Melissa Conroy

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Penelope calls her grandfather, Poppy, and when he gets a hole in the knee of his pants, she offers to sew it up for him. But sewing up a hole in the fabric proves to be more complicated than Penelope expected, especially since Poppy is color blind and doesn’t what type of thread Penelope should use! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Henry is Kind

Henry is Kind by Linda Ryden
Henry is Kind: A Story of Mindfulness 
by Linda Ryden, Shearry Malone (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

As part of their heartfulness meditation practice, Ms. Snowden’s elementary class starts doing a kindness project, and each child tells the class about the kind things they do through the week. But Henry can’t think of anything that he has done to be kind, until his classmates remind him of all the little things he has done to show them generosity, helpfulness, and kindness.

I loved the themes of loving-kindness, generosity, and mindfulness in this book! The first few pages show the class learning a meditation that they repeat and take into their hearts, fostering love and gentleness toward the people around them. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: This is a Taco!

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose
This Is a Taco! 
by Andrew Cangelose, Josh Shipley (Artist)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Taco is a squirrel who loves to eat tacos, and he agrees to be in this book to teach young children about squirrels, with the understanding that there will be tacos in the book! But Taco gets more than he bargained for when he is mistaken for a flying squirrel, forced to eat tree bark, and hunted by a ferocious hawk. Can Taco take back control of the narrative before it’s too late?

I love books that break down the fourth wall, especially picture books. As Taco becomes increasingly anxious about the chaotic turn the story is taking, he does a beautiful job of addressing the reader directly and including the audience in the book narrative. The writing is quite clever, and similar to another favorite picture book, The Monster at the End of this Book !

The illustrations are so lovely! Colorful and funny, each page has a charm all its own. Taco is so cute!! He’s cuddly and adorable, and I love his funny facial expressions.
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Picture Book Review: Narwhal and Jelly

Peanut Butter and Jelly by Ben Clanton
Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3) 
by Ben Clanton (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars

The cuteness!! The adorableness!! The sillyness! I can’t get enough of Narwhal and Jelly. They are so cute and lovable! Narwhal has some strange eating habits, so Jelly tries to help him broaden his culinary comfort zone with hilarious results.

Each little comic is so delightfully funny! I laughed my head off, and smiled and chuckled with glee. I love the simple yet striking illustrations, and the bright colors. I love the sweetly imaginative dialogue and storylines.

I can imagine reading this aloud to a child and having so much fun together! Continue reading