Picture Book Review: Willow the Wildcat

Willow the Wildcat by Lynne Rickards
Willow the Wildcat
by Lynne Rickards, Kirsteen Harris-Jones (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars


Two wildcat kittens follow their mother through a Scottish forest, learning to hunt for fish and mice. Their home den collapses, and the wildcat family must search for a new hole. The kitten siblings are getting into mischief, and squabbling and fighting the whole way. After escaping from a hungry kite and a grumpy pine marten, they finally find the perfect home and the kittens learn to work as a team instead of fighting all the time.

This cute picture book has lovely illustrations of beautiful Scottish countryside, as the wildcats travel through forests, across a flowing burn, into a meadow of grass, and find an old castle ruin. The illustrations use soft colors with sunshine on every page! I loved the art style and the way the illustrations added depth to the story by adding details and expression. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The Phoenix of Persia

The Phoenix of Persia by Sally Pomme Clayton
The Phoenix of Persia
by Sally Pomme Clayton, Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars


Prince Zal is left for dead when he is a baby, and the magnificient Phoenix raises him with her own little chicks in her nest atop the mountain. She teaches him art, science, poetry, music, and history as well as how to survive in the wild. He grows up to find his true parents in the end.

I liked this traditional story from Iran with its message about the sanctity of all human life. The story is told with strong writing and vivid words.

I liked the art style of the illustrations with bold strokes and bright colors, but I didn’t like the faces of the characters. Their eyes are distorted, and their mouths are crooked, giving them a creepy look! The rest of the artwork is lovely, but all the people have weird faces. Continue reading

Board Book Review: Hey Diddle Diddle!

Hey Diddle Diddle! by Emma Schmid
Hey Diddle Diddle!
by Emma Schmid (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars


This board book takes the rhyme of “hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle” to a whole new level, with new verses, new characters, and beautiful die-cut openings for the moon as it goes from a crescent moon to a full moon. After the cat and the fiddle, comes the rat and the rattle, the toad and the trumpet, the pig and the piano, and the chimp and cello, until a full band of animals are playing music as the cow jumps over the moon.

The silly illustrations add to the charm of the text with funny characters, colorful scenes, and a crazy dish and spoon dancing around. On each page the characters do something different as the new animal plays on their instrument. They skateboard, hula hoop, eat watermelon and icecream, iceskate, and hop aboard a train at the end. Continue reading

Board Book Review: Wheels at Work: City

Wheels at Work by Child's Play
Wheels at Work: City
by Child’s Play, Cocoretto (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

The delivery truck is ready to deliver some groceries. The school bus picks up the children. The city park truck delivers some trees to be planted. The train stops to pick up passengers. And the recycling truck picks up the recycling.

Each page begins with an illustration of the closed truck or bus, then when the reader lifts the flap it reveals the truck opened up making a delivery or picking up. This is an excellent way to get children guessing what comes next, and to test their memory. The flaps make this a really special book! Continue reading

Board Book Review: Wake Up, Let’s Play!

Wake Up, Let's Play! by Marit Törnqvist
Wake Up, Let’s Play!
by Marit Törnqvist

5 out of 5 stars

Two children wake up and decide to play a whole bunch of imaginative games. They play birthday party, sand castles, stormy seas in the bathtub, chefs and restaurant, busy towns with cars and trains, snowmen, and artists. As the two children pretend and imagine each game, their two trusty stuffed animals, a zebra and a penguin, are by their side in every scene.

It was fun looking for the details in each illustration, watching for the stuffed animals in the background, and delighting in all the special little objects they use to play. There are boats and rubber duckies for the bath, toy trains and cars for the busy town roads, and grass and leaves served on the plates at the imaginary restaurant. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: My Mama

My Mama by Annemarie van Haeringen
My Mama
by Annemarie van Haeringen

4 out of 5 stars

A little elephant child describes all the ways his mama plays with him, helps him, and guides him. But he describes it all wrong! He says that his mama loves to play cars with him, and he likes for HER to tidy away the toys afterward. He “helps” his mama with the grocery shopping, but eats an entire bag of chips behind her back! He has to push his mama on the swings, so SHE can go higher and higher. He says that HE is the one always in charge, as he rides his mama like a pretend horse galloping around the room. The illustrations prove that the little elephant child is mistaken, and the cheeky text has a silly charm.

This sweet book has soft illustrations and a simple story. There isn’t a linear plot, but little snippets of scenes between mother and son. At the end, the mother elephant tucks her son into bed and a peaceful little elephant gazes up at the stars. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Ten Little Farm Friends

Ten Little Farm Friends by Jonathan Litton
Ten Little Farm Friends
by Jonathan Litton (Author), Samantha Meredith (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

As we countdown from 10 to 1, each little farm animal finds their mother in the barn, at the pond, in the stable, or in the fields, and rejoins their family in their own home after playing with their friends. At the end, only rooster is left, and he calls out to his animal friends to join all together again!

The text rhymes and has a lilting rhythm that I enjoyed reading aloud! I really like the pleasant writing style, and it would be a joy to read with a child. It’s a fun way to teach children to count, and to teach about farm animals and scenery. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink by Andrée Poulin
Tickled Pink: How Friendship Washes the World with Color
by Andrée Poulin, Lucile Danis Drouot (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Filippo, the pink flamingo, wants to play with some other animals, but they won’t let him because they say pink is for babies, pink gives them a headache, and pink doesn’t mix with their colors. Filippo goes home to his family, who encourage him and remind him of all the beautiful things in the world that are pink. A shy lemur approaches Filippo to make friends, and Filippo learns that friendship can bloom anywhere and you can be accepted just the way you are.

This sweet book has such a great message about acceptance, but it’s told in such a fun and entertaining way that it doesn’t feel preachy at all. Filippo is an adorable main character, and I loved going on this emotional journey with him. His flamingo family are wonderful at encouraging him and pointing out how great his color is.
Pink strawberry icecream, cotton candy, sunsets, roses, and a dozen other things are mentioned as having a lovely pink color. His family prove to Filippo that his color is beautiful and he is worthy of having good friends. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Princess Jill Never Sits Still

Princess Jill Never Sits Still by Margarita Del Mazo
Princess Jill Never Sits Still
by Margarita Del Mazo

5 out of 5 stars

Princess Jill is so full of energy that she cannot sit still. She runs through the garden, jumps on the beds, plays with her food, bangs on pots and pans to make music, and climbs all over her royal throne without ever sitting in it. The wise men and witches and sorcerers give her potions and try making her wear iron boots, but nothing keeps the princess still for longer than a moment. When a neighboring kingdom bring their little prince to make friends with the princess, the king and queen don’t know what to do! But the foreign prince has a secret of his own that might just make them all friends.

This picture book is hilarious and full of fun! The poor king and queen have no idea what to do with their unmanageable princess, and the princess just grins and happily speeds along from scene to scene. This story is perfect for children who have a lot of energy and find it difficult to keep still! It sends a positive message that having a lot of energy is a good thing, but you need to focus that energy in good ways. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Max and Xam

Max and Xam by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar
Max and Xam
by Ariane Hofmann-Maniyar

5 out of 5 stars

Max and Xam are the best of friends, until one day their friendship is ruined by a big fight. Max decides to make some new friends out of rocks and tree limbs and some paint for their faces. Xam makes some new friends out of old tires and umbrellas and milk cartoons with buttons for eyes. But the made-up friends just aren’t the same as a real friend. You can’t have a tea party with a rock, or say good night to a broom. Max and Xam decide to repair their friendship, and find a way to reconcile.

This picture book is hilarious and sweet! The two characters are so imaginative in the way they create various “friends” out of materials around their house and garden, painting faces onto old bottles, rocks, boxes, and even cardboard toilet paper rolls. The text is just right for little readers with a simple story told in a few vivid words. Continue reading