Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Book Review: 'Tiny's Big Adventure' by Martin Waddell

✰✰✰✰✰ Tiny Mouse has never been to the wheat field before, but his sister, Katy Mouse, has. Together they scamper to the field. There are so many things Tiny has never seen before, but Katy knows what everything is. The two siblings are having a grand adventure, until Tiny gets lost amongst the stalks of wheat. What's this here? What's that over there? Suddenly everything seems scary. Luckily, it's Katy Mouse to the rescue.

The Bottom Line: This tiny tale of big adventure is a winner. Lawrence's detailed engravings are stunning and engaging. Little ones will have as much fun looking at the illustrations as they will listening to the story. The large print makes it easy to read for beginning readers. Highly recommended for children in grades Pre-K – 1 and for storytime.

Details: Tiny's Big Adventure written by Martin Waddell & illustrated by John Lawrence. Hardcover picture book published by Candlewick Press in 2004. 32 p. ISBN: 0-7636-2170-6 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Book Review: 'Gifts of the Heart' by Patricia Polacco

✰✰✰✰ A family is spending one last holiday on the farm after their Gramma has died. With their mother working, their Grampa needs a little help looking after the kids. Kay Lamity arrives at their doorstep just in time. An eccentric and wise housekeeper, Kay sets the children straight when they have doubts about Santa.

When the children don't have enough money to purchase Christmas presents, Kay teaches them about the two types of presents: some you purchase and others come from the heart. With a little help from Kay, the children make gifts from the farm that everyone will treasure for a very long time.

The Bottom Line: This heartwarming tale of a family love and simple gifts is a treasure. The text and images harken back to a nostalgic time. Recommended holiday reading for kids ages 7 – 10.

Details: Gifts of the Heart written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco. Hardcover picture book published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2013. 40 p. ISBN: 978-0-399-16094-3 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: 'Little Bunny Finds Christmas' by Pirkko Vainio

✰✰✰✰ When four excited chickadees announce that it's Christmas, Little Bunny wonders what Christmas is. Before Little Bunny can ask the birds, they have already flown away. So Little Bunny sets out in search of the meaning Christmas. Along the way a deer, a wolf, an owl, and a bear join the journey. When they finally find the place, they discover that Christmas was everything they hoped for and more.

The Bottom Line: This modern retelling of the Christmas story is beautifully illustrated in soft wintry hues. With repeating phrases, the story builds as Little Bunny and his animal friends search for the meaning of Christmas. This highly recommended tale will quickly become a holiday favorite for little ones ages 3 – 7.

Details: Little Bunny Finds Christmas written & illustrated by Pirkko Vainio. Hardcover picture book published by NorthSouth in 2008. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-7358-2221-4 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: 'Santasaurus' by Niamh Sharkey

✰✰✰½ Three little dinosaurs just can't wait for Christmas. Ollie wants a dinobot. Molly wants a dinocycle. And Milo wants to meet Santasaurus and fly in his sleigh. On Christmas Eve everyone falls asleep in anticipation. Everyone, that is, except, Milo. In the dark, he hears something. Could it be sleigh bells? Milo creeps downstairs to find a big surprise waiting for him. Can you guess what it is? Check out this cute holiday tale and find out.

The Bottom Line: Illustrated in bright cheery oil paintings, Santasaurus is a colorful, holiday treat for little ones fond of dinosaurs. Enthusiastically recommended for seasonal story time or bedtime reading for kids ages 3 – 7.

Details: Santasaurus written & illustrated by Niamh Sharkey. Hardcover picture book published by Candlewick Press in 2004. 32 p. ISBN: 0-7636-2671-6 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Review: 'Emily's Christmas Gifts' by Cindy Post Senning & Peggy Post

✰✰✰½ Emily loves everything about Christmas. She especially loves getting presents. Now that she's older, she loves giving presents too. There are lots of awesome presents you can wrap in pretty paper, but Emily knows there are other gifts too. Gifts of kindness, caring, sharing, and helping don't cost anything, and everyone is happy to receive them. As the holiday approaches, Emily's help and consideration are just what  everyone needs including Santa.

The Bottom Line: This humorously illustrated picture book shows kids that sometimes the best gifts are free. The authors present a fun approach to holiday etiquette that is appropriate for school or library storytime for kids ages 4 – 8. It includes a note to parents at the end about instilling good manners in your child during the holidays, and while this book is seasonal, the ideas for good manners can be used throughout the year.


Details: Emily's Christmas Gifts written by Cindy Post Senning & Peggy Post & illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. Hardcover picture book published by Collins in 2008. 32 p. ISBN: 978-0-06-111703-9

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review: 'Reindeer Christmas' by Mark Kimball Moulton

✰✰✰✰ With Christmas just around the corner, two children and their grandma set out to feed the forest animals. In the winter storm they spot something shimmering, and they come across a cold and weary deer. As they help him into their warm home, the deer's magical powers seem to fade. However, Gram isn't worried. She knows that with food and rest, the deer will be fine, and she's right. By morning the deer is gone. When Christmas arrives the children are in for a big surprise. Santa notices everything, and he leaves a special gift for the children who helped a very special reindeer.

The Bottom Line: This heartwarming tale about helping others demonstrates that good things come to those who do good deeds. Soft watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations add a homespun charm to this gentle wintry tale. Enthusiastically recommended for kids in grades Pre-K - 1.

Details: Reindeer Christmas written by Mark Kimball Moulton & illustrated by Karen Hillard Good. Hardcover picture book published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (A Paula Wiseman Book) in 2008. 40 p. ISBN: 978-1-4169-6108-6 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Book Review: 'The Year Without a Santa Claus' by Phyllis McGinley

✰✰✰½ Everyone needs a little vacation now and then, including Santa Claus. After delivering presents year after year, Santa is cranky and tired. He suddenly takes time off from giving.

As the other children cry, a little boy leads an effort to give presents to Santa Claus to lift his spirits. Soon gifts arrive from around the world to give Santa a Merry Christmas from the children. Overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, it's a sentiment Santa will never forget. And to this day Santa Claus continues to visit children on Christmas Eve.

The Bottom Line: The Year Without a Santa Claus was originally published in 1956. The classic text has been refreshed with colorful and lively illustrations in gouache by artist John Manders. Now a new generation of kids can enjoy this classic tale. Recommended seasonal reading for kids ages 6 – 9.

Details: The Year Without a Santa Claus written by Phyllis McGinley & illustrated by John Manders. Hardcover picture book published by Marshall Cavendish Children in 2010. 40 p. ISBN: 978-0-7614-5799-2