Archive for October 30, 2017

How Does My Home Work?

Written by Chris Butterworth
Illustrated by Lucia Gaggliotti

Even very young children have a rudimentary understanding of the way things work. You flip a switch and a light comes on. You turn a faucet handle and you get water to drink. You turn a knob on the stove and you can cook.

This clever new book goes a little deeper so that kids can better understand what really makes these things work. The author presents topics without being didactic and keeps the readers entertained too. The pages on electricity include many of the current and alternative sources for the energy. Illustrations skillfully include simple diagrams of electrical grids and numerous examples of how electricity is used. The pages on water are very detailed in showing how we get clean water. The illustrations even show readers how toilets and faucets work. Natural gas production is skillfully explored, but the author doesn’t go into its consumption as much.

This would be great in a classroom for kids to explore the world around them or as a sidelight to a safety or conservation unit. Kids can identify how many things depend on electricity, water, or natural gas.

  • How Does My Home WorkTitle: How Does My Home Work?
  • Author: Chris Butterworth
  • Illustrator:  Lucia Gaggliotti
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska                                                     
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: K to 3
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Everyday Items
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-9594-1


Written by Julia Denos
Illustrated by E.B. Goodale

Windows provides a new and unique way to view the world around us. As kids learns about their environment, their view is necessarily limited by what they can see and what they’re told. This simple story shows them how they can gather information from even that limited view.

A young child heads out to walk a dog as dusk/sunset sets in over a neighborhood. Lights come on as people continue their daily routines. A raccoon starts its nightly foraging. One apartment hosts a party. A mother cares for an infant. A bodega is open. A barber shop is closed. Two windows are connected by a tin can telephone. There are dancers, players, exercisers, readers, cooks, and fish. There are dreamers, huggers, and pets. And some windows are dark or abandoned. But the best window is at home.

Sparse text describes the walk, while detailed illustrations gives it life. Even the end papers and dust cover add detail to the world. The dust cover has a special patina where the glass for the windows would be.

Recommended as a read aloud so child and adult can discuss all the many details and speculate on what else they might see on a walk.

  • WindowsTitle: Windows
  • Author: Julia Denos
  • Illustrator: E.B. Goodale
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 2
  • Genre: Fiction
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-9035-9

Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!

Written by Kyle Mewburn
Illustrated by Ali Teo & John O’Reilly

Universal issue that may or may not be a real issue. Everyone can identify and sympathize with Andy. In fact, this story is originally from New Zealand.

Andy has a problem. His Auntie Elsie visits. Often. And she insists on kissing him twice on each cheek as a greeting. He tries to duck the kisses, but she gets him every time. He hides under the bed. She lures him out with a truck. He hides in the chicken coop. She lures him out by talking about the chickens. He hides in a tree. She can climb. The real problem comes when Auntie Elsie doesn’t. Hiding from her has become such a part of his routine that Andy is at a loss when she doesn’t show up. She’s broken her leg and needs time to heal. When she finally does come back, he’s so happy to see her that he does the kissing.

Adorable mixed media illustrations complete the hilarity of this cute book in its current reprinting. Perfect for reading aloud or as independent reading.

  • Kiss! Kiss!Title: Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!
  • Author: Kyle Mewburn
  • Illustrators: Ali Teo & John O’Reilly
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 20
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 1
  • Genre: Fiction, Humor, Family
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-759-5

Lion vs. Rabbit

Written and Illustrated by Alex Latimer

When is a rabbit not a rabbit? When it’s ten rabbits!

Lion is mean to everyone. But no one wants to tell him to cut it out. Bear loses a boxing match to him. Moose loses a sword fight. Tiger loses at arm wrestling. Rabbit shows up and finds the contests he can win at. Rabbit is better at marshmallow eating, quizzes, hopping, art, and running. But Rabbit is using a trick. What is he doing? Lion becomes very, very nice.

Cartoon-like illustrations add to the hilarity, and many clues – written and visual – help the reader figure out how Rabbit beats Lion. On many pages, an extra pair of rabbit ears appear away from the action. And the brainy rabbit is the only one wearing glasses.

Kids will recognize all of lion’s antics in what he does to the other animals: wedgies, silly notes, stealing lunch money. Great little book about bullying without the violence. Warning: Lots of humor here

  • Lion vs RabbitTitle: Lion vs. Rabbit
  • Author/Illustrator: Alex Latimer
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Fiction, Humor
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-898-1

Giant Pants

Written and Illustrated by Mark Fearing

Silly, fun, and hilarious, this new read aloud explores what to do when you can’t find your pants. Getting dressed in the morning, Belbum, a giant, is unable to find his only pair of pants. He looks everywhere – his bedroom, his kitchen, and his backyard. Angry and frustrated, he sets out to seek help from his friends. A cyclops offers a toga. Not a good idea. A gnome offers his extra pair. Not stretchy enough. A unicorn is not much help either. So Belbum heads for the village, pantsless. The townsfolk are terrified, but the tailor makes him a new pair and some spares. He leaves the extras with his friends, just in case. Arriving back home, he naturally finds his old pants.

Lively illustrations show not only the giant’s embarrassment but also the reactions of his friends and the townspeople. The feel is that of a fairy tale. Includes gorgeous end papers with a complete map of the giant’s world.

Best as an amusing bedtime story with interaction between child and adult or in a group setting.

  • Giant PantsTitle: Giant Pants
  • Author/Illustrator: Mark Fearing
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 40 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 2
  • Genre: Fiction, Friendship
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8984-1