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

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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Book Review: Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures

Don't Mess With Me by Paul Erickson
Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures 
by Paul EricksonAndrew Martinez (Photographs)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book tells all about the venomous creatures of the sea, with beautiful photographs of each type of fish, coral, and worm. Each page has wonderful explanations of how the creatures feed on their prey, how they deliver their venom to their victims, and how they protect themselves from other predators.

The information is interesting and memorable, but uses many big words and technical terms that children might find too heavy for enjoyable reading.
I loved the colorful photographs, and curious facts about each animal, and I found it very informative and impressive.  Continue reading

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: Mother Earth’s Lullaby

Mother Earth's Lullaby by Terry Pierce
Mother Earth’s Lullaby: A Song for Endangered Animals 
by Terry Pierce (Author), Carol Hyer (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This bedtime story shows various endangered animals and their babies/chicks/cubs settling down for the night, and snuggling in, ready for sleep. Each animal is shown in their native habitat and briefly described in rhyme.
The beautiful illustrations are delicate and cozy with soft colors and little details in the background. It’s the perfect book for reading before bed with little ones! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: If DaVinci Painted a Dinosaur

If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur by Amy Newbold
If da Vinci Painted a Dinosaur 
by Amy Newbold (Author), Greg Newbold (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This hilarious book poses the question, What would it look like if various famous artists had painted dinosaurs? The results are dancing ballerina dinosaurs in the style of Degas, Dino Noodle Soup a la Andy Warhol, a Frida Kahlo dinosaur, dinos in Mary Cassatt’s garden, jazz band dinosaurs in Aaron Douglas’ style, and of course, the incomparable Dino Mona Lisa!

Throughout the story, a little hamster/gerbil artist appears on each page with a paintbrush, chalk, crayon, or scissors in hand… um… paw. He guides us through the various art styles, and discovers a new friend at the end of the book. His expressions are so cute, and he adds a little flair to the story!
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Picture Book Review: Monster, Monster, Who Are You?

Monster, Monster, Who Are You? by Alexander Vanags
Monster, Monster, Who Are You? 
by Alexander Vanags, Nina Gvozdeva (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
This adorable book introduces a whole group of monsters, each with their own unique look and their own favorite hobby. On each page, we ask the monster, “Who are you?” and they respond in rhyme to tell us about their wings or their tail or fur, and something that they are doing. Continue reading

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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