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Sunday, November 19, 2023

Picture Book Pick: Ups and Downs: A Book of Emotions


Ups And Downs: A Book of Emotions 

by Mike Wohnoutka

Illustrations by the author 

Candlewick Press


32 pages

ISBN: 9781536227376

Ups and Downs allows young readers to see what emotions look like through gorgeous illustrations by the author. From lonely to hopeful and shy and awkward to friendly, children will recognize feelings they have and how to identify these feelings in other people. 

The illustrations bring each feeling to life as Wohnoutka deftly handles tough feelings like disappointment as well as happy feelings like curious and joyful. This is a must have book for read for every young child. Ups and Downs would make a lovely gift for young readers and their families. 

Highly, highly recommended. Ups and Downs will likely be in the running for children's book awards as Mike Wohnoutka is a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner, and this gem of a book deserves mass recognition. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Funny Picture Book Pick: Toby Tootles


Toby Tootles

by Stephanie Gibeault 

Illustrations by Mary Sullivan 

Sleeping Bear Press

32 pages 


ISBN: 9781534111790

Board Book Pick: Whose Prints?


Whose Prints?

by Kari Allen 

Illustrations by Kim Smith 

Little Simon

an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division 


20 pages 

ISBN: 9781665929592

If you buy one board book this year, make it Whose Prints? 

Whose Prints? has interactive die-cuts for toddlers to guess what animals left which prints before they turn the page and reveal the answer. Who is that scurrying? Slinking? Swooping? 

Woodland animals featured include fox, deer, an owl, mice, rabbits and even surprise footprints at the ending. Beautifully illustrated by Kim Smith, Whose Prints is bound to be a bedtime favorite. 

Highly, highly recommended 6 months and up. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Beautiful Picture Book Pick: Full Moon Pups


Full Moon Pups

by Liz Garton Scanlon

Illustrations by Chuck Groenink

G.P. Putnam's Sons

an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC


40 pages

ISBN: 9780525514558

Rhyming text with gorgeous illustratons by Chuck Groenink make Full Moon Pups a must have for every child's bookshelf. 

A litter of wolf pups are born just before a storm. Mama Wolf has to move her pups to higher ground and the wolf pack members pitch in and help her, each of them transporting a precious bundle. The pups grow and play, venturing outside to the wide wonders of the world. Soon, a new full moon lights the sky, but it'll take many full moons for the pups to become adults. 

The author's note and a page about phases of the moon is included. Readers are introduced to the Yellowstone Wolf Project and other sources for more information on wolves. 

Highly recommended. This is one BEAUTIFUL children's book! ages 3 and up. 

Picture Book Pick: Baller Ina


Baller Ina

by Liz Casal

Illustrations by the author

Alfred A. Knopf

an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Penguin Random House


40 pages

ISBN: 9780593567098

Baller Ina is for every child who plays sports or dances or dreams of joining any team. Ina has the dance moves, but her team doubts she can play basketball. She can't wait to prove them wrong. Step back, watch her fly! 

Rhyming text is fun to read aloud and kids will love Ina's courage and moxie. She is one determined athlete who knows if given the chance, she can lead her team to victory.  

A lovely, positive book about a determined dancer who won't back down, Baller Ina  proves herself as her team wins. Readers will cheer for Ina!

Highly recommended ages 3 and up. 

Whether she plays basketball or dances ballet, Ina soars with confidence and grace. Tahe play on the word "ballerina" to Baller Ina is genius! 

ISBN: 9780593567098

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Wordless Picture Book: Yellow Butterfly


Yellow Butterfly: A Story From Ukraine

by Okeksandr Shatokhin

Illustrations by the author

Red Comet Press


72 pages

ISBN: 978636550640


"Using the colors of his national flag, the Ukrainian author-illustrator of this wordless picture book paints a moving portrait of a young child whose hope for the future transforms a dark world of war into a bright blue sky where yellow butterflies flutter freely."The New York Times

“Using modest means, the author evokes the darkness of war and a vision of peace. Quite an achievement for a wordless picture book!” –Uri Shulevitz, Caldecott medal winner and author of the autobiography Chance: Escape from the Holocaust, Memories of a Refugee Childhood

My review: 

Yellow Butterfly is a wordless picture book that packs a punch! 

The author's note on the back of the book is full of hope, promise and peace: "My book is about faith, hope, and the belief that after the war, after our victory, life will go on, everything will be restored, and we will live in a new peaceful Ukraine. The memories of those who died in this war will help us heal. And yellow butterflies will flutter freely in free Ukraine." --Oleksandr Shatokhin

A stark story of war told in bold, strong, threatening black illustrations with barbed wire, bombs and explosions, yet in the midst of the danger and peril, hope emerges. Children play, and butterflies come back. First a few, then an explosion of yellow wings dance across full page spreads. A young girl is followed by "wings" of butterflies here.

Yellow Butterfly is the best example of a wordless picture book I've ever seen. This picture book is a glory to hold and behold. Children will love telling the story their own way, using the pictures to guide them. As black and gray give in to yellow and blue, the story is filled with hope for a better world. 

Yellow Butterfly is a must have, must read. Don't miss this picture book. It is likely to win many awards. 

Highly recommended ages 4 and up. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Two Homes Are Just Right! Mabel's Topsy-Turvy Homes


Mabel's Topsy-Turvy Homes

by Candy Wellins

Illustrated by Jess Rose 

Beaming Books

an imprint of 1517 Media


32 pages

ISBN: 9781506482866

Mabel has not one but two homes: one is with her mother and one is with her father. Her bedroom is upstairs in one house and downstairs in the other. Both houses are fun but different. Sometimes she has pancakes for breakfast, sometimes she doesn't. 

It's Mabel's turn to take the Izzy, the class pet iguana home for the weekend. The other kids have taken Izzy fun places, but Mabel takes Izzy to her two houses which turns out to be two very fun places. Although Mabel spends time in each house, she likes that they're different. Two homes means two bedrooms to decorate! 

Two homes equals "double the fun." Mabel finds happiness in knowing her place in two places and accepting that it's her new life. For any child who switches houses for visitation/custody, Mabel's Topsy Turvy Homes celebrates having two homes and two people who love and care for their child.

Highly recommended ages 3 and up. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Picture Book Pick: Too Much! An Overwhelming Day


Too Much: An Overwhelming Day

by Jolene Gutierrez

Illustrations by Angel Chang

Abrams Appleseed

An Imprint of Abrams 


32 pages 

ISBN; 9781419764264

Finally, a picture book about sensory overload and how children (and adults) can cope with overwhelming days! 

Too Much! An Overwhelming Day is a true gem. Rhyming text with heartfelt illustrations by Angel Chang brings this character, a young girl who is experiencing TOO MUCH!, to life. Loud noises, bright lights, itchy fabrics, too many people, too much noise can cause sensory overload and overwhelm and cause the person to experience panic. 

The girl learns how to calm down using "quiet time, dark place, soft shirt,,,not itchy, not tight." Taking a break from the cacophony of a normal day is necessary for children with sensory processing issues and those who are on the spectrum. Bonus pages include "Note to Caregivers and Educators," "Sensory Overload," and pages defining sensory systems and how to create a sensory "diet." 

Masterful storytelling make this picture book a true winner! Highly recommended for all educators and children of all ages.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Picture Book Pick: Bábo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day


Bábo: A Tel of Armenian Rug-Washing Dayby Astrid Kamalyan

Illustrated by Aniat Semirdzhyan



32 pages

ISBN: 9781623543587

Lively, lovely and full of laughs, Babo: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day is a sure hit!

Bábo enlists the children help her in cleaning all of gorgeous Armenian rugs in their household. They roll up and carry the rugs to the front of the house where they "soak, soap and wash the rugs." For the kids, it's not a chore, it's a celebration. In fact, the kids wait all year for a sunny day in June to wash and play in the water and soap. The suds and water become rain and snowflakes. The children scrub and scrub. Then it's time to SLIDE. 

The rugs are turned over and washed on the underside and are perfect until...the famly dog chases a rooster across the rugs! Then the chickens get loose, and it's a party. Once the kids catch the birds, they rewash the rugs and set them on benches to dry. Now it's time for a snack. Babo (Grandmother) and her pastries feel like a warm hug. The memories of rug-cleaning day are a treat for all readers to experience. 

A glossary, author's note and a page titled "About Armenian Carpet-Weaving Tradition" helps readers understand the importance family, living off the land by pickling and preserving summer's bounty of herbs and fruits and washing (playing) the rugs that have been passed down for generations. 

What a wonderful love letter to Armenia and family! A treasure of a read. Colorful illustrations capture the joy of childhood and the fun melee of dirty dog paws and loose chickens.

Ages 3 and up. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023


Rainbow Shopping

by Qing Zhuang
Illustrations by the author 
Holiday House
40 pages
ISBN: 9780823449774

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Picture Book Pick: Boop!


Boop! by Bea Birdsong

Illustrations by Linzie Hunter

Harper Collins Children's Books


32 pages

ISBN: 9780063214804

Boop! is a fun read aloud for kids who love dogs (and who doesn't?). A dog's snoot is his nose, and everyone knows, "Snoots need boops," a gentle tap that lets the dog know you're their pal. There are snoots everywhere that need boops! 

Illustrations of small dogs, big dogs, dog park dogs,  even fancy dogs will keep kids laughing at the dogs' antics. The fun text will make littles giggle. Who wants a boop?

Highly recommended for any home that loves pets and those who wish they had a snoot to boop. 

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Picture Book Pick: The Light Within You


The Light Within You

by Namita Moolani Mehra

Illustrations by Kamala Nair

Published by Two Lions


40 pages

ISBN: 9781542039123

Diya is excited to be traveling to India for Diwali, the Festival of Lights and she can't wait to see her Nani and spend time with her. 

Once in India, Diya feels at home. She goes to the bazaar (market) with her grandmother to shop for the  ingredients they need to make all the foods. They make coconut laddoos and Diya thinks she might make some of them when she gets home to share with her classmates. 

Diya confides in Nani that school is sometimes hard and she doesn't fit it, and Nani tells her that when things are tough, she should draw power from her inner light. The Festival of Lights is a magical time and "hundreds of diyas it up the night." It is a wonderful time and Nani sends her love and magic words home with Diya. As long as Diya remembers her inner light, she will shine. 

A lovely book celebrating The Festival of Lights and the love of a girl and her grandmother. ages 2 and up. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Picture Book PIck: A Bear, A Bee and a Honey Tree


A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree 

by Daniel Bermstrom
Illustrations by Brandon James Scott
published by Hippo Park
40 pages
ISBN: 9781662640087

A hungry bear, a scent of sweet honey and a hive of outraged bees entangle in this epic battle. Bear just wants food. He is cute, quirkly, clumsy and highly lovable. The bees have other ideas: he's an intruder in their home! How dare this bear steal from them? 

Brilliant yet sparse text sets the mood right away. And the illustrations! This picture book is the most perfectly illustrated book this year. The illustrations are spot on with the text and the story, capturing every subtle nuance of the the bear and the bees. The choices of color depict the golden-ness of the honey so well a reader can almost taste it. 

A great choice for a read-aloud. Don't you dare read this one silently. A Bear, a Bee and a Honey Tree is likely the picture book that sets the bar for perfect storytelling and art that enhances it. 

Highly, highly recommended ages 3 and up. This book will be a childhood favorite. 

Picture Book Pick: Simon and the Better Bone


Simon and the Better Bone

by Corey R. Tabor
Illustrations by the author 
Balzer + Bray
40 pages
ISBN: 9780063275553

Simon is excited to see a dog just like him when he visits the pond. The dog has a bone just like his, but better! Simon wonders how he can get the other dog's bone. The dog seems to know all Simon's tricks. He is copying Simon. Children will realize Simon is staring at his own reflection and giggle at his doggy antics.

With a nod to Aesop's fable "The Dog and His Reflection," Tabor captures little rascally Simon on every page. The book opens and reads vertically, making this book format stand out from all other picture books this year. Innovative design will capture the hearts of child readers and picture book judging panels. Expect to see Simon and the Better Bone awarded this year! Kudos to Corey R. Tabor. 

Ages 3 and up. A cute, fun, heartwarming tale about a dog learning about himself, the world and others. 
Highly, highly recommended.