Archive for August 24, 2018

Kalinka and Grakkle

Written and Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Who knew birds and monsters could be friends? Apparently, Kalinka knew. She does her best to help neighbor Grakkle clean his house, though it’s pretty clear he doesn’t want her help. He just wants to relax and soak his feet in pickle juice. She flits around, tidying as she goes, until Grakkle accidentally knocks her into the pickle juice. He obviously feels bad and does his best to revive her and clean her up. They can always enjoy a nap together.

Adorable action-packed illustrations accompany this unusual yet familiar story of the ultimate odd couple. Grakkle is especially expressive. The house is obviously a mess, but what’s a moster to do? Relaxing is important too.

Best as a read aloud, this cute book has a lot to say about getting along with those who are just a bit different. Often, we can find common ground without too much effort. It’s easy to imagine a group of first graders enjoying Kalinka’s misguided efforts and responding “Grakk! Grakk! Grakk!”

  • KalinkaTitle: Kalinka and Grakkle
  • Author/Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Picture Book, Fiction, Friendship, Compromise
  • ISBN: 978-1-68263=030-3

I Am the Rain

Written and Illustrated by John Paterson

With whimsical and lyrical text and vibrant illustrations, the author explores the water cycle. Water is personified and goes through more forms than the reader may have considered. It begins, “Sometimes I’m the rain cloud and sometimes I’m the rain” as a young girl watches out a window, immediately drawing in the reader. From waterfalls to ocean waves to mountain snows, this little book investigates them all. It also points out the importance water plays for life. From comets to Mars, water is everywhere.

Learning about the natural world is always a great pursuit, but this book makes it fun. And the reader might also learn a little from the poetic text. The explore more sections are extremely helpful in suggesting activities for further exploration.

  • I Am the RainTitle: I Am the Rain
  • Author/Illustrator: John Paterson
  • Published: Dawn Publications, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Picture Book, Nonfiction, Nature, Water Cycle
  • ISBN: 978-1-58469-616-2
  • Extra: Explore More – for Kids, Explore More – for Parents and Teachers, More Books about Water

The Tiptoeing Tiger

Written and Illustrated by Philippa Leathers

Nearly every kid can identify with the feeling of powerlessness because of their size and age. Little tiger sees how “sleek, silent, and totally terrifying” large tigers can be. He wants to be all that. So he practices. The boar can hear him a mile away and is not terrified. The elephant finds him much too small. The monkeys just laugh at him. When he sneaks up on a frog, he sees his reflection and finally scares someone – himself.

The illustrations show an adorable tiger cub in action – tiptoeing around and being as sneaky as possible. Small touches of humor add to the enjoyment – like the deer, bird, and mice who are not at all frightened. When big brother walks through, even the snakes scurry away.

This is probably most effective as a read aloud, so kids can sneak along with Little Tiger and discuss the positive things Little Tiger has going for him. Even as independent reading, it’s a lot of fun.

  • Tiptoeing TigerTitle: The Tiptoeing Tiger
  • Author/Illustrator: Philippa Leathers
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 2
  • Genre: Picture Book, Humor, On Being Small
  • SBN: 978-0-7636-8843-1

Izzy Gizmo

Written by Pip Jones
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

One great thing about this delightful new book is that the illustrations are at least as wonderful as the text. First graders can glean a lot from the story even without being able to read. And the words are amazing, playful, and rich.

Izzy (Izabelle) is a natural born inventor ala Rube Goldberg. She “ carried her tool bag wherever she went, in case she discovered a thing to be mended or a gadget to tweak to make it more splendid.” She builds wonderful contraptions, artfully illustrated, like Tea-Mendus and the Beard-Tastic, but none of them works quite as intended. When she witnesses a crow get injured, she does everything she can to help it fly again. She takes it to the vet and builds several artificial flying machines, all the while pilfering parts wherever she sees them. Through several attempts, she fails but keeps trying. Eventually, she prevails, only to find out she has work to do replacing the parts she pilfered.

The reader is guaranteed to have a smile on the face with every page. You can’t help but cheer for Izzy.

  • IzzyTitle: Izzy Gizmo
  • Author: Pip Jones
  • Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2018
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: 1 to 3
  • Genre: Fiction, Humor, Perseverance
  • ISBN: 978-1-68263-021-1

In the Snow

Written by Elizabeth Spurr
Illustrated by Manelle Oliphant

The text in the “In the Weather” series is simple enough for many first graders to read independently, but the lyrical rhyming also makes In the Snow fun for reading aloud with a group. The illustrations are also a treasure, of course.

A little girl, her mother, and her dog find a lot to keep them busy out on a winter day. They slide, draw in the snow, build a snowman, play on a sled, and make snow angels. It all looks like fun, and then it’s time to go.

Whether looking for creative activities or just a fun story, readers should enjoy In the Snow.

  • In the SnowTitle: In the Snow
  • Author: Elizabeth Spurr
  • Illustrator: Manelle Oliphant
  • Published: Peachtree Publishers, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 22 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK Up
  • Genre: Board Book, Weather
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-855-4