Picture Book Review: Emiline

Emiline by Kimberli Johnson
Emiline: Knight in Training 
by Kimberli Johnson

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book features Emiline, a little girl who is training to be a knight. She struggles with reading because she has dyslexia, but her teacher encourages her to do her best and rise to the challenge. When her fellow knights are in danger, Emiline is the only one who can lead the way to safety by reading the riddle on a magic door and opening the portal.

The story is simple and fun. The illustrations are soft and graceful. But I’m not particularly impressed.
The story is almost TOO simple. The illustrations are TOO soft. I would have liked a little more clarity in the artwork. And the plot needed some more depth. There’s a lot of “telling” instead of “showing”, and the dialogue could have been more polished.

It’s a lovely little book, and I enjoyed reading it. Emiline is completely adorable, and I admire her spunk.

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

Picture Book Review: Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears

Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears by Margaret Wise Brown
Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears 
by Margaret Wise BrownJulie Clay (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This sweet book is the perfect bedtime reading to lull children into sleep. With its repetitive prose and soft illustrations, it’s sure to have you yawning and ready for a good night’s sleep. As a sleepy big bear and a sleepy little bear prepare for bed, they snuggle under the covers, sing a gentle lullaby, and drift off to dreamland.

The soft and warm illustrations are delightful, with light colors and fuzzy brush strokes that invite the reader to give a little stretch and yawn a big yawn before crawling into bed.

I can’t wait to read this to my niece at bedtime. I actually makes me sleepy reading it myself! haha!

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

Picture Book Review: Count to 10 with a Mouse

Count To 10 With A Mouse by Margaret Wise Brown
Count To 10 With A Mouse 
by Margaret Wise Brown,  Kirsten Richards (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This adorable counting book follows a little mouse as he discovers how to count to ten. He is struggling to count up his fingers and toes, so he goes on an adventure through a hole in the pages of a book, and he finds wondrous things on every page that help him count. He meets fish, butterflies, cats, and crows, and counts them all.

The soft illustrations have beautiful detailed lines that show every little whisker and pawprint. The gorgeous colors will appeal to little children as they count up items on each page!

The poetry is whimsical and fun, and at the end of each page when the mouse climbs through to the next page, the same poetic line repeats. Toddlers love repetition, so this is the perfect book to read aloud with a child learning to count.  Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Amelia Harehart

Wild Bios by Courtney Acampora
Wild Bios: Amelia Harehart 
by Courtney Acampora,Maggie FischerBonnie Pang (Illustrations)
 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This board book introduces young readers to the famous Amelia Earhart, reimagined as a bunny.
The story describes her childhood in a “burrow” playing games with her sister and their dog “Furocious”. I especially enjoyed reading about how she built her own rollercoaster in her backyard, collected newspaper clippings of “furnominal” women to inspire “hareself”, and bought her first “hareplane” The Canary.

It’s so hilarious to read all the funny animal words included in the story, like “anybunny” and “hopstacle.” Those details in the writing are what make the book so special.

The illustrations are so adorable and bright! I really love the colorful lines and pleasant expressions of the characters. I also loved the charming details in the background of each page, like a little yellow canary bird that flies with Amelia as her copilot. Amelia looks brave and cheerful on every page, and her determination and spirit are celebrated throughout the book.
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Picture Book Review: Gorgeous Ruth

Gorgeous Ruth by Albert Chang
Gorgeous Ruth 
by Albert ChangCaroline Attia (Illustrations)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Ruth has a chipped tooth, and a chipped tea cup, but she doesn’t let it bother her, preferring instead to play and run on the beach.
This picture book has beautiful illustrations with billowing lines and colorful figures. I really loved the movement in the pictures, and how cute Ruth looks! She looks sweet and cheerful on every page. The sweeping wind and rushing waves are the perfect backdrop for the energetic Ruth, but I also enjoyed how peaceful the artwork is as Ruth lays down to sleep.

The one thing I did NOT enjoy was the actual story. It was not exactly clear what the relationship was between Ruth’s chipped tooth and the broken cup. Did she chip her tooth on the cup? Or is she just comparing her tooth to the cup?

The story is told in really terrible poetry. The meter is off. Some of the words don’t rhyme. I don’t know why people think children’s picture books should be in rhyme. It would be a much better story if they just told the story, instead of painfully attempting to rhyme “beach” with “feet”, and “sea” and “dream”. *cringe*
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Picture Book Review: William Sheepspeare

William Sheepspeare by Courtney Acampora
William Sheepspeare 
by Courtney AcamporaMaggie FischerZoe Perisco (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

“To baa or not to baa… That is the question.”

The cuteness factor in this board book is through the roof! Reimagining the life of William Shakespeare as a sheep, everything is transformed into animalistic phrases, words, and illustrations. William Sheepspeare writes “ram-ances” instead of “romances”, and “shearious” tragedies like “Lamblet, MacBleat, and Julius Fleecer”.

Introducing young children to the beautiful Globe Theater and Sheepspeare’s home in Stratford with his family (his “ewe, Anne Hoofaway” and three “lambs”), the simple story-telling is the perfect style for little readers to learn about this historical figure. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Frida Catlo

Frida Catlo by Courtney Acampora
Frida Catlo 
by Courtney AcamporaMaggie Fischer,  Lindsay Dale-Scott (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This adorable board book tells the story of Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican artist reimagined as a cat with nine lives. The simple story-telling is perfect for young little readers, and a wonderful way to introduce them to this well-known artist. The book includes Diego Rivera as a dog, making him “Doggo” Rivera, and animalistic versions of some of Frida’s most famous paintings.

The cartoon illustrations are full of vibrant colors and cute animals. The writing hilariously uses animal made-up words, like “purr-fect”, “furgotten”,”Meowxico”,”mewseum”, and “paw-traits” instead of portraits. Continue reading

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

Book Review: Fire and Forgiveness

Fire and Forgiveness by Martha Dunsky
Fire and Forgiveness: A Nun’s Truce with General Sherman 
by Martha Dunsky

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


In the midst of the American Civil War, two schoolgirls at the Ursuline Convent School for Girls are at war. Jane and Clara play pranks on each other and call one another names. Mother Superior Baptista Lynch urges the girls to reconcile, reminding them that everyone has good in them, but the girls find it difficult to forgive each other.
General Sherman’s army is marching into Columbia, South Carolina, and Mother Baptista writes to him to beg for protection for her school and convent. The cannons are firing on the city, and the Confederate Army retreats, leaving the city defenseless.
In the middle of so much violence, how can Jane and Clara learn to make the peace, when the adults are constantly at war?
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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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