Picture Book Review: Rabbit and Bear

Rabbit's Bad Habits by Julian Gough
Rabbit’s Bad Habits 
by Julian Gough (Author), Jim Field (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Bear is peacefully sleeping through the winter when she is awakened by a thief stealing her stockpile of food. She stumbles out of her cave into the snow, and decides that as long as she’s awake, she might as well build a snowman. The cranky Rabbit is determined to build a bigger, better snowman on the neighboring hill, but when the ravenous Wolf shows up, Rabbit’s plans take a dangerous turn when he can’t get back to his safe burrow.
Who stole all of Bear’s food? How will Rabbit get to safety? Who will win the snowman-building competition? And the most important question of all, can a Bear and Rabbit really become friends? Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Have I Ever Told You?

Have I Ever Told You? by Shani King
Have I Ever Told You? 
by Shani King, Anna Horvath (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book reminds each child that they are loved, that it’s okay to ask questions, that it’s important to do the right thing, and that they should always be respectful and kind.

I loved the text of this book, with its insightful statements about being inclusive and kind, about honest communication, and especially about love and family. It reminds the reader that it’s important to talk about the important things, and make sure that every child feels safe and loved and heard. I think this book will open good dialogue between children and adults, and provide opportunities for “teaching moments”, or maybe just provide a chance to listen to a child and hear what they want to say.

However, I did not always love the artwork.

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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: How to Trick the Tooth Fairy

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell
Jennifer Hansen Rolli (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Kaylee is a prankster who tries to trick the Tooth Fairy, but the Tooth Fairy has a few magical tricks of her own, and the two begin a prank war with disastrous results. Can Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy put an end to their endless pranks, become friends, and clean up the mess they’ve made?

The cuteness! The adorableness! The hilarity! I fell in love with this darling book the second I saw the glittery cover art. The illustrations are utterly delightful on every page, with cute little details that bring the story to life. Continue reading

Book Review: Martin’s Mice

Martin's Mice by Dick King-Smith
Martin’s Mice 
by Dick King-Smith

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This adorable story follows Martin, a farmyard cat who doesn’t want to eat mice. Instead, Martin begins keeping a pet mouse confined in a bathtub, until he learns just how awful it is to imprisoned as a pet.

I loved the delightful writing style with all the humor and silly situations that Martin goes through. Poor Martin is quite clueless when it comes to the workings of a farm, and forgets the proper place of each animal. This leads to a lot of ridiculously funny dialogue with various farm animals.
This would be a wonderful book to read aloud, with different voices for the cows, sheep, pigs, and ducks all around the farm.
I found the plot to be interesting and surprising, despite its simplicity and straightforward story-telling style. A very enjoyable read!

Picture Book Review: Is a Worry Worrying You?

Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff
Is a Worry Worrying You? 
by Ferida WolffHarriet May SavitzMarie Letourneau (Goodreads Author)(Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This is such a fun and hilarious book about dealing with anxiety and learning not to worry. I love how the more serious advice is interspersed with funny examples. The advice includes simple things like activities to take your mind off your worries, and encouragement to face your worry and see if it really makes sense.
The silly examples include things like, If you are worried about a hundred elephants coming over for tea, but you don’t have any teabags, then offer them lemonade instead!

The cute illustrations make the book so fun to read, and really enhance the advice given.
Above all, this book encourages children to talk about their anxiety with a friend, and share their worries with parents, so that those fears lose their power over you. Continue reading

Book Review: Peter Duck

Peter Duck by Arthur Ransome
5 out of 5 stars

The Swallows and Amazons are preparing for a peaceful sail down the Channel, with Captain Flint and their new Able-Seaman Peter Duck, when they are followed and attacked by real life pirates! The pirate captain, Black Jake, is determined to kidnap Peter Duck, who knows the location of a long-lost treasure, buried on Crab Island in the Caribbean Sea. Only the brave Swallows and Amazons, with all their sailing know-how, can bring their ship safely across the Atlantic to search for buried treasure with the evil pirates at their heels.

Just as wonderful reading it the second or third time! There is so much action and adventure, I couldn’t put it down! I love how the story guides you gradually from the everyday business of the ship into the fantastical plot twists, so that you barely notice that the story has taken a wild turn at the end. It all seems so perfectly plausible by the time you get there. Truly brilliant story-telling!

As always, I am completely in love with each and every character! The Walker family are so close to my heart, and the Amazon girls are deliciously full of moxie.
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Book Review: The Wish Stealers

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A cute little book about a middle-school girl, Griffin, who tries to return stolen wishes to their rightful owners before an evil curse catches up with her.

The plot is okay, but predictable and not exactly mind-blowing. The characters are good, but not really memorable. The writing is adequate, but nothing special.

I did like the theme about fighting off the evil inside of us, and not letting our anger or our circumstances turn us into a bad person. There’s some great little lessons about good and evil, light and darkness, as Griffin thinks carefully about what it means to embrace the right and reject the evil in our lives.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that both of Griffin’s parents are in the picture, talking to her, giving advice, showing up, and being a family. In so many books, children have no parents or only one parent or an absent parent, because it forces the protagonist to be more independent. It was lovely to see a normal healthy family that all get along, and support and love one another. It added so much depth to the plot and characters!

Book Review: The Little Red Wolf

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
The Little Red Wolf 
by Amélie Fléchais (Illustrator)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

What the hay kind of bedtime story is this?!?! The last line reads, “In his rage, misfortune struck. So sad and horrible, that he could never forgive himself.”
And that’s it! That’s the end. Everyone depressed and distraught forever. OMG, what is WRONG with this story?

The artwork is so lovely, so beautiful. Subtle colors and lines, pretty little details of forest flora and fauna. The beginning is whimsical and sweet as a little wolf travels through the forest to take a dead rabbit to his grandmother’s house. He follows a butterfly, and explores a little mousey hole, and stops to look at a beetle.

Then it gets gross.

First of all, dead rabbit in every scene, just laying there in the basket, being dead and all. Also, the little wolf gets hungry and decides to eat just one of the rabbit feet as a snack. Oh, yum. Dead bloody rabbit feet. Never mind the bones. Continue reading

Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!

Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.

While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.

The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading