Picture Book Review: Over in the Woodland

Over in the Woodland by Nicole  Abreu
Over in the Woodland: A Mythological Counting Journey
by Nicole Abreu (Author),Shar Abreu (Author), Susanna Covelli (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

This picture book counts up mythical creatures in a magical fairyland as they dance and fly with their parents. Each family of fairies, griffins, centaurs, and trolls grows in size as we count from 1 to 10. The rhyming text is meant to be sung to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”.

Each mystical family is in their own element. The mermaids swim in cool water. The centaurs practice archery in a forest. The dragons fly through the clouds. The dwarves carve rock and stone. The mother or father teaches their children to work together and learn the magic ways of the woodland.

The illustrations are marvelous. The art is warm, rich, and vibrant. There are tiny details in the illustrations that make each scene come alive with magic: little dew drops on a leaf, the sparkle of a waterfall, the strands of hair or fur on the mythic creatures. Each little whisker is alive with energy and movement.
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: I’m NOT a Mouse!

I'm Not a Mouse! by Evgenia Golubeva
I’m Not a Mouse!
by Evgenia Golubeva

5 out of 5 stars

Olivia hates it when her mother nicknames her “Mouse”. She feels like she turns into a real mouse every time her mother says it. She turns into a mouse while holding balloons and floats away. She turns into a mouse while roller skating and she falls inside the moving skate. She turns into a mouse while playing soccer and almost gets stepped on by her teammates. But worst of all, her mother calls her “Mouse” in front of the family cat, and Olivia gets chased by the ravenous feline! Finally, she decides to put a stop to it, and refuses to answer to the nickname at all. But as she looks around at other parents who nickname their children, she begins to realize that “Mouse” isn’t such a bad nickname after all.

The cuteness factor is off the charts with this one! The story is hilarious and sweet, and so imaginative.

Continue reading

Picture Book Review: My Panda Sweater

My Panda Sweater by Gillies Baum
My Panda Sweater
by Gillies Baum

5 out of 5 stars

A little girl wears her lucky panda sweater everywhere all the time, but when it gets too small, she donates it to a charity shop. She thinks carefully about the stories behind our clothing and why we might love a particular clothing item. Maybe a friend gave us that scarf, or maybe a famous relative wore that jersey. One day she sees another girl wearing her old lucky panda sweater, and the two become friends.

I loved this book! It’s so poignant and sweet. The writing style is really smooth and polished, but with a simplicity that requires only a few words to express a meaningful point. I love how this book explores the stories behind our clothing and why we attach so many feelings to our apparel. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: From My Window

From My Window by Otavio Junior
From My Window
by Otavio Junior

2 out of 5 stars

A boy looks out his window in his Brazilian neighborhood and describes what he sees; his neighbors, fireflies at night, a rainbow, the sunrise. He and his friends play a telephone game, fly kites, play soccer, sing funk music, and carry their books to school.

This book was okay. I liked the story and the rich Brazilian culture, but I did not like the art style. It’s too busy and the people look weird. Their anatomy is distorted in strange ways, and they have very awkward poses in each scene. Each scene has a background full of color and details that overwhelm the page. My eye couldn’t rest on any one thing. A lot of the background details look like they are copy and pasted onto the scene. Every bird looks the same as the other birds, just copy and pasted and zoomed to be larger or smaller. On EVERY page. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: The More We Get Together

The More We Get Together by Celeste Cortright
The More We Get Together
by Celeste Cortright,  Betania Zacarias (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars

This book gives new verses to the song “The More We Get Together” following themes of environmentalism. There is a verse about biking to save fuel, recycling, helping those less fortunate, getting involved in the community, keeping a garden, and having a community potluck.

I really liked that the verse about activism depicts children writing a letter to share their ideas with their leaders. The lyrics say, “Cause your voice is my voice, and my voice is your voice. The more we come together, the stronger we’ll be.” If we are all free to express our different ideas in healthy and legal ways, we will truly be stronger like the song says.

The illustrations depict a lot of diverse people from all ages and races, working together as a team to make the world a cleaner and better place. I love the positive messages in this book!
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Cuddle Close, Little Koala

Cuddle Close, Little Koala by Danielle McLean
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
by Danielle McLean

5 out of 5 stars

Little Koala gets lost in the forest and searches for Mommy Koala at bedtime. All the other baby animals are snuggling in for a good night’s sleep with Mommy Wombat, Mommy Emu, and Mommy Platypus. When they try to soothe Little Koala with a hug or a lullaby, it just isn’t the same as a hug or lullaby from Mommy Koala.

This picture book is adorable! Cute Little Koala is so sweet, and she’s very polite to all the other animals mothers who try to sing to her or tell her a bedtime story. She says thank you, but thinks to herself that it isn’t the same as a lullaby or story from her own mother. The whole story is just lovely! Continue reading

Board Book Review: Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Sanja Rešček
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: And Other Favorite Bedtime Rhymes
by Sanja Rešček

5 out of 5 stars

This baby board book has over a dozen familiar bedtime rhymes, including “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”, “Jack Be Nimble”, “Wee Willie Winkie”, “Hush, Little Baby”, and “Diddle Diddle Dumpling.” There is one especially sweet poem that I had never heard before called “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear.” The teddy bear touches their nose, touches their toes, turns around, turns out the light, and says good night. It’s adorable!

The best thing about this book is the beautiful illustrations in soft pastel colors and a simple style. The drawings are so cute! I loved the designs of each little character snuggling in bed, sailing through the night sky, or being rocked to sleep by the moon. Continue reading