Archive for Author admin

Dilly Dally Daisy

Written and Illustrated by Mark Fearing

Getting out the door on time is a challenge for all of us, but especially for children engaged in playing. Mark Fearing uses lively, funny illustrations of Daisy as she is waylaid by activities as well as by her inability to make a decision.

As is natural, little episodes, like having a favorite shirt in the dirty clothes hamper can turn a day into a dismal disaster. Preschool, kindergarten, and grade one readers will giggle their way through pages even though, they recognize themselves in some situations.

Parents, and teachers can use this as a realistic and fun way to help children set a goal for themselves to be on time. Discussions about putting clothes out the night before or preparing a bag for piano lessons or swim lessons can follow each reading.

While this book would fit core curriculum standards for literacy, there are several basic life skills involved in getting to appointments on time that can relieve much family and personal stress whether it is on some educational standard list or not.

This is a good book that should be part of every child’s library collection where preschoolers visit.

Buy on Amazon

  • Dilly Dally DaisyTitle: Dilly Dally Daisy
  • Author/Illustrator: Mark Fearing
  • Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers/ Penguin, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-8037-4065-5
  • Genre: picture book fiction
  • Grade level: PreK to 1

Max the Brave

Written and Illustrated by Ed Vere

In this adorable picture book with equally adorable illustrations, first graders learn what it’s like to face your worst fears and to be brave in facing them. It all depends on what name you put on it.

For all his blustering, small kitten Max doesn’t know what he has gotten himself into by saying he will chase mice. He is young and cute and has never encountered a mouse. He’s so cute, he gets dressed up with bows. And he doesn’t want to be cute. He wants to be brave. He discovered: no mice in tin cans, flies are not mice, goldfish are not mice, birds are not mice, elephants are not mice, and even mice are not mice. At least, that’s what mice will tell you. Mice are monsters and monsters are mice. So, mice are scary and Max should chase monsters instead.

Whether read independently or as a read aloud bedtime book, kids will see that bravery (and chasing mice) is not always desirable. Assessing the situation, however, is always a good idea. Small kittens should avoid large teeth and even large sneezes. The illustrations, alone, are laugh out loud funny.

Order on Amazon

  • Max the BraveTitle: Max the Brave
  • Author/Illustrator: Ed Vere
  • Published: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, September 1, 2015
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Fiction, Humor
  • ISBN: 978-1-4926-1651-1

 

Papa Gave Me a Stick

Written by Janice Levy
Illustrated by Simone Shin

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Always. And the stick that Antonio’s papa gives him is certainly no exception. What Antonio really wants is a guitar (guitarra), but the best his papa can do is a stick with which to play. Antonio soon encounters a dog who needs help lighting a fire – to keep warm. His stick is perfect. The grateful dog brings him a tortilla. The tortilla saves a starving bird, who gives him a string. The string is used to pull a burro’s tooth. The burro’s blanket saves a drowning cat. The cat gives Antonio a ring he’d found. The ring proves to be the lost ring of a mariachi musician, who is about to get married. The man is so grateful, he gives Antonio the guitarra he wished for.

The illustrations are wonderful and in keeping with the lightheartedness of the story.

Mexican culture and language are highlighted in this delightfully simple story. First graders and older will love learning and pronouncing the Spanish words and delight in the lovely conclusion to the story.

Buy on Amazon

  • Papa Gave Me a StickTitle: Papa Gave Me a Stick
  • Author: Janice Levy
  • Illustrator: Simone Shin
  • Published: Star Bright Books, 2015
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 2
  • Genre: Fiction, Helping others, Language, Culture
  • ISBN: 978-1595723420
  • Extras: Glossary, Mariachi instruments

Such a Little Mouse

Written by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Staphanie Yue

Mice are so cute and friendly in picture books! This nameless little mouse that lives way out in the middle of the meadow under a clump of dandelions is great fun to follow on his daily travels. With little text, but great rhythm, we journey through the seasons watching him put away food for the winter.

Preschoolers and grade one readers will love the short phrases and sentences as well as the action of their new little friend. The repetition of the one, two, three things he does in the morning will help children practice counting and giggling.

Beautiful, realistic watercolor pictures introduce children to the sights and neighbors in the meadow. Stephanie Yue’s cover in particular is fantastic. She not only shows the main character but clearly illustrates the title by placing this tiny mouse under some seemingly giant dandelions.

Literacy skills such as comparing and contrasting, sequential order, main idea and supporting details plus picture clues can easily be strengthened just by sharing the picture book and visiting about it. Librarians, teachers, parents, and most importantly, children will find this story charming over and over again.

Buy on Amazon

  • Such a Little MouseTitle:  Such a Little Mouse
  • Author: Alice Schertle
  • Illustrator: Staphanie Yue
  • Publisher: Orchard Books, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-545-64929-2
  • Genre: Picture Book Fiction
  • Grade level: PreK to 3

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo and Flo!

Written and Illustrated by Laurel Molk

Familiar rhymes and lots of good times make up this story about four delightful mice. Long o is the sound and catching various animals by the toe is the game. Problem is, not all of the animals even have toes. The mice are active, adventurous and set to fulfill their task.

Throughout the story, the littlest mouse wants to go along and have a part, but the bigger ones say, no.  Suddenly when the little one seems to be gone, maybe even swallowed by an alligator, the story takes an interesting turn.

Preschoolers as well as grade one readers and grade two readers will love repeating this story over and over for it humor as well as its rhymes. Teachers and parents can use this book to practice various literacy skills.

Everyone will hope Laurel is hard at work on another book about this crew!

Buy on Amazon

  • Eeny MeenyTitle:  Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo and Flo!
  • Author/Illustrator: Laurel Molk
  • Publisher: Viking/Penguin, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-670-01538-2
  • Genre: Picture Book
  • Grade level:  PreK Up

 

The Jinni on the Roof: A Ramadan Story

Written by Natasha Rafi
Illustrated by Abdul Malik Channa

Complete with a recipe for parathas, this story about an eight-year-old enjoying the best parts of Ramadan is a great introduction to the people and culture surrounding Islam. The whimsical illustrations help make this a kid-friendly story.

Little Raza can’t wait to have parathas, a sort of pancake or flatbread, for sehri, the morning meal eaten before the daily fast begins. He climbs to the roof and plays a trick on his grandmother’s cook, Amina, who is already hard at work in the dark morning hours. He knows that if he calls down the chimney, she can hear him. He frightens her into thinking she is talking to a jinni, a fiery creature mentioned in the Quran. Raza is quite pleased with himself until Amina gets Grandmother involved. The jig is up. Raza must help Amina until the end of Ramadan.

First graders will want this read aloud the first time so they can master the terms introduced and learn about the traditions of Muslims and their religion. After that, they will be able to read this again and again. Rafi explains all the traditions surrounding Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan festival.

Buy on Amazon

  • JinniTitle: The Jinni on the Roof: A Ramadan Story
  • Author: Natasha Rafi
  • Illustrator: Abdul Malik Channa
  • Published: Pamir LLC, 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 40 pages
  • Grade Level: Pre-K to 3
  • Genre: Fiction, culture, family
  • ISBN: 9780988864900

 

 

The Haunted Library: The Five O’Clock Ghost

Written by  Dori Hillestad Butler
Illustrated by  Aurore Damant

What happens to a ghost when its haunt gets torn down?  This is only of one the interesting questions readers will learn in this fourth book in the series of, The Haunted Library.

Parents or grandparents sharing these books will be reminded of Casper, the Friendly Ghost, as these ghosts and their “solid” friend go about solving mysteries together.

This particular mystery includes texting on phones by the teen-agers and operating an amateur radio by an elderly ham operator. Red herring clues will tantalize young readers as they try to predict the outcome.

Second grade readers and third grade readers will enjoy the story independently in most cases while first grade readers would love to have it read aloud to them. All the basic literacy skills can be strengthen using this book, with the exception of specific non-fiction text skills.

Children will have a great time getting to know these characters and watching as they invent and create their own ghost catching equipment.  The cartoon like sketches are funny while also being helpful in understanding the story. Lots of laughs in this one.

Buy on Amazon

  • Haunted LibraryTitle: The Haunted Library: The Five O’Clock Ghost
  • Author:  Dori Hillestad Butler
  • Illustrator:  Aurore Damant
  • Publisher: Grosset Dunlap/Penguin, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-448-46248-6
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Grade level: 1 to 3

Midnight: True Story of Loyalty in World War I

Written by Mark Greenwood
Illustrated by Frané Lessac

War brings many unexpected victims, including animals taken to war to do jobs humans are unable to do. In this true tale from World War I, the reader learns about a horse who went to war with her owner, Guy Haydon. She was born on a ranch in New South Wales, Australia. Of course, horses can’t go to all the places where battles rage, so Midnight was separated from her master for a time during the battle of Gallipoli. When they were reunited, they helped lead the Beersheba charge, part of the campaign to take Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire. When both Midnight and Guy go down from a single bullet, they stay together until help comes. Lessac’s lively and colorful illustrations add to the story and help give the feeling of being there.

First grade readers will learn about World War I, ranches in Australia, and the jobs that horses do. The book is a candidate for reading aloud to generate further discussion. Literacy skills will be enhanced when kids want to find out what happened to Midnight. The author includes notes about the Haydon ranch and about the charge at Beersheba for further learning.

Buy on Amazon

  • MidnightTitle: Midnight: A True Story of Loyalty in World War I
  • Author: Mark Greenwood
  • Illustrator: Frané Lessac
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2015
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: Pre-K to 3
  • Genre: Nonfiction, animals, war
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-7466-3
  • Extras: Author’s Note, The Charge at Beersheba

Caterina and the Best Beach Day

Written and Illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono

Sunscreen, lunch, books, umbrellas, yep, planning for a beach day takes lots of preparation as readers will see in this new adventure about Caterina and Leo.  This contemporary, realistic story clearly shows how people go to the beach with differing expectations. Caterina has lots of plans. Poor Leo, only has one strong desire, to see a whale.

Colorful, busy illustrations provide plenty of clues for readers about what kinds of things to pack for a day at the beach while also providing lots of laughs.

While Caterina is busy getting situated, making lunch and later building a sand castle, Leo keeps looking and looking for his whale. He even heads off on his own to search.

The scant text is engaging and independently readable for grade two readers, however, younger children will love to have this book read aloud over and over. One particular literacy skill strengthened in this book is picture clues. Core curriculum standards will be met for elementary grades studying seasons, and the geography of the coastlines of the world.

Spending time with Caterina and Leo will leave a smile on a reader’s face and a daydream about days at the beach.

Buy on Amazon

  • CaterinaTitle:  Caterina and the Best Beach Day
  • Author/Illustrator: Erin Eitter Kono
  • Publisher: Dial/Penguin, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-8037-4131-7
  • Genre: Realistic Picture Book
  • Grade level: Pre-K to 3

 

Bunny Roo, I Love You

Written by Melissa Marr
Illustrated by Teagan White

Bunny Roo, I Love You, is a beautiful, non-rhyming picture book that reads like a series of riddles. It starts off, “when I met you,” and uses descriptive terms like small and trembling, but moves on to things like howling, whimpering, and yawning. The soft water-colored illustrations show an animal as it is guessed.

Each page offers an individualized cause and effect common with the particular animal. For instance, when the narrator thinks it might be a thirsty kitten, because of the whimper, milk is offered. The use of the second person throughout is a good ploy for involving even the youngest reader. Obviously, this is about identifying the baby. It is reminiscent of Eastman’s, Are You My Mother, but in the opposite direction.

It is a fantastic read aloud for parents, teachers of preschoolers and librarians, but also a great example of the literacy skills of cause and effect, parts to whole and sequence of events. Beginning readers will enjoy following the clues on their own as well as guessing each animal and then studying its habitat in the illustrations.

Buy on Amazon

  • Bunny RooTitle:  Bunny Roo, I Love You
  • Author: Melissa Marr
  • Illustrator: Teagan White
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulson, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-399-16742-3
  • Genre: fiction picture book
  • Grade level: PreK to 3
« Older Entries Recent Entries »