Professional Book Reviews!
Award-winning children’s book author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne offers book reviews to be published here, on Amazon and on Goodreads.
Email for more information: DHDunnebooks@gmail.com
Here is a collection of reviews I’ve written about other children’s books.
The Garden and the Glen by Elizabeth Moseley
This charming story opens with a beautiful, detailed description of the scene; a bright yellow house, a small vegetable garden and a tree covered by what seem to be unique yellow flowers. You will soon discover the tree was engulfed by many yellow butterflies with a specific assignment. What did they do? They chased animals or flowers out of the area because they were different.
Imagine how terrified the delicate blue butterfly felt when she was driven out of the garden by a gigantic group of angry yellow butterflies. The gentle blue butterfly flew frantically away from the garden and found sanctuary in the forest. The blue butterfly noticed all of the creatures in the forest were varied. One of her favorite new friends was a bright orange lily, who welcomed her. The furry brown squirrel, the family of deer, the frogs, the fish and every forest resident had one thing in common. They were all rejected by nasty swarm of the yellow butterflies.
A dilemma occurred when the lovely revered Butterfly Queen became ill. At first, no one knew how to cure her malady. But her respected physician discovered somewhere in the garden area there was a flower which contained a powerful medicine. Was the only problem finding the flower? No, the bossy butterfly planned to ruin everything by seizing power once the Butterfly Queen passed away.
The dainty blue butterfly showed exceptional courage in the story. But she wasn’t the only hero. You’ll cheer her on and delight in the solutions the animals create.
What were my favorite parts? I loved when the deer rolled acorns over to the brown squirrel so he could store them for the winter. Another endearing section was when the little squirrel had a mouthful of acorns when she tried to explain she’s been chased away by the yellow butterflies as well.
I highly recommend this enchanting children’s tale. Young readers will be captivated by the story from page one to the end. There is ample suspense to keep children eagerly turning pages to see what happens next. Not only that, but also, I loved the message the book conveys; we are all special and we should embrace our differences. In addition, readers will see the value of teamwork and how much the characters grew during the story. Finally, I’d like to compliment the beautiful, soft illustrations. They are extraordinary.
If you have already read the wonderful, rhyming book “We can do Anything: For Brave Little Kids”, the coloring book related to it is the perfect compliment. Even if you are not familiar with the book, your child can meet the characters in the 5 short stories, “The Shy Chameleon,” The Arrogant Toad,” “The Friendly Scorpion,” “The Forgiving Beaver, and the Curious Chick.” There are hours of fun and learning in this coloring book. Children and their families can read the back cover and learn about the corresponding book. The beautiful coloring book contains over 45 beautiful pages to color. I highly recommend it.
Review by children’s author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
We can do Anything: Stories for Brave Little Kids by Daniel Gershkovitz is a wonderful collection of stories for young readers. Not only will the endearing, rhyming tales entertain children, but each tale shares an important lesson of value for children and families. Additionally, there are wonderful games to improve skills like counting and observation abilities. There are plenty of activities included in the book to keep children engaged.
The first story is called The Shy Chameleon. You will see that the little chameleon is distressed because she thinks she is without talents. While she recognizes talents in her friends, she thinks there is nothing unusual about the way she can easily change colors to blend in with her surroundings. But one night a hungry fox snuck in to the barnyard, intending to eat the adorable bunny and unsuspecting hen. Who would save the day? Finally, the chameleon became a proud hero.
Next, children will meet an over confident toad who feels he’s far too important to play with slow, ordinary animals like turtles. Not only that, but the toad even teases the fish because they had no arms or legs. In spite of the toad’s unreasonable attitude, his friends warned him when a drought dried up the local pond. Does the rude toad change his behavior when he stares at the mud that was once the pond? This story reminds little ones to keep their minds open to different ideas. Great advice, don’t you think?
The Friendly Scorpion describes how unfair life can be when others have an idea that because you are a certain type of person, or animal, you always behave in a certain manner. Because scorpions have a deadly sting, the other animals ran in fear each time they encountered a baby scorpion who tried his best to be friendly. Naturally, the little scorpion was upset no matter whether he met a turtle or frog, or any other animal, they all felt it was far to dangerous to spend time with a scorpion. However, something happens to change their opinion when the scorpion intervenes in a situation and creates a positive outcome. Children will see it’s not wise to prejudge others, a valuable lesson indeed.
The Forgiving Beaver stars a friendly little beaver who wants to play with a young elk. However, the elk feels the little beaver could never keep up with such a strong, stately animal as an elk. The elk even remarked that the beaver had big teeth that stuck out. The Elk’s friends- the wolf, the raccoons and others in the group all laughed at the beaver’s request. When a powerful storm approached, the elk needed help, but all of his acquaintances refused to find a solution. Only the beaver had a brilliant idea to save the day.
The story called The Curious Chick involves a baby chick that wants to explore the world. During his adventure, he and his siblings anger an old, grumpy cat. Though the chicks didn’t intend to hurt the elderly feline when they tossed corn at him, they ended up infuriating the cat once he’s pelted with several pieces of corn. The young chicks told their mom how sorry they were for angering the cat and Mom listened patiently to their explanation.
Eventually, one of the chicks decides to explore the area at night, searching for someone who would show him affection. He gets into a dangerous predicament, but his mom races to his aid. The story illustrates to readers that even when you misbehave, your parents love and guide you through your trials.
Each of these stories is enchanting and the rhymes are perfectly created. I think children will treasure these tales and learn a great deal. The stories can be shared at bedtime, or anytime. The illustrations are bright and engaging. I found the stories enchanting and I liked the fact that the author carefully explains the moral of each tale at the end. I highly recommend these tales and I feel Mr. Gershovitz is a gifted author who offers children many chances to learn things, while having fun. My only minor criticism is that I think some of the vocabulary is too advanced for very young children. But I feel strongly that the stories will build self-esteem in children, which will help them meet whatever challenges they face.
Pickerton’s Jiggle by Riya Aarini
Pickerton was a cute little pig who was most concerned about cleanliness. He bathed every day and kept his house spotless. It’s definitely not what you’d expect from a pig, is it? The rhyming verse is cute, and the illustrations are colorful and interesting. One day, PIckerton gets very dirty. At first, he’s extremely upset, but he finds a creative way to solve his problem. I’d have enjoyed the story even more if the little pig had some interaction with others. Still, the story is cute and shows young readers a way to get their emotions under control when they are upset. Little ones may also learn they can change their attitude about things and become more relaxed.
The Painted Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees
Stargazer was a carousel pony. He loved having children enjoy their rides with him. But one day a little boy named Sebastian went on the ride and told Stargazer about real ponies and the adventures they had. Sebastian described ponies who roamed free and frolicked in the fields. This made Stargazer think his life was boring. He longed to be free. Sebastian explained how to become free of the carousel. From then on, the two friends had many adventures. It’s a well-written story, but short. In my opinion, children and families would enjoy it even more if bright, colorful illustrations were included and the story was longer.
Do not wish for a pet Ostrich by Sarina Siebenaler
“Do not wish for an Ostrich for a Pet” is a creative, fun tale about a little girl who searches for the right pet. She considers a dog, but she remembered dogs can chew your shoes into tiny pieces. How about a cat? One of her friends had one who slept all day. Finally, the young girl decided on an ostrich. Was that a good choice? What happened when she fed her pet many apples? He did seem to enjoy them, until they got stuck in his throat. She called the vet who advised her to feed the ostrich lots of butter to make the apples slide down her pet’s throat. What kind of adventure did the two of them have when she took her big bird out for a walk? It certainly was memorable. The rhymes were very good and I loved the big illustrations and the entertaining questions at the end to see how well children remembered the story. I highly recommend it.
Emerald the Mermaid by Mary K. Smith
“Emerald the Mermaid” is cute story about Emerald, a kind mermaid. She is bullied by other mermaids and animals in the kingdom. The other mermaids and dolphins were jealous of Emerald’s beauty and even her unique green hair. The message of the story is important, but I didn’t care for the wordy writing style, or the illustrations, which were unremarkable. In my view, very young children would not understand some of the words and would lose interest. Bigger, more engaging illustrations would have helped little ones to keep turning pages.
Easter with Snowman Paul by Yossi Lapid
“Easter with Snowman Paul” is another, amazing, and entertaining story featuring Snowman Paul and his friend, Dan. This time, Snowman Paul begs Miss Hen for one of her eggs so he can enter a egg coloring contest. At first, Dan couldn’t imagine entering a cracked egg in a contest. But Snowman Paul insisted the egg was special and would win. The story conveys important messages to children. Like with a little imagination, a lot can be accomplished. And things are not always the way they appear. What do you think happens next? It’s a wonderful story with perfect rhyming verse and bright, beautiful, illustrations. Children and their families are sure to love it. I highly recommend it.
Chickens Can’t Count (Silly Chickens) by E. B Adams
“Chickens Can’t Count (Silly Chickens)” is a humorous story about a chicken named Pecky who has quite a dilemma; her eggs keep disappearing. Pecky decides it would be helpful to count her eggs so she could keep track of them. But other members of the family-Roo, Fluffy, Gertrude and others, try convincing her that counting is not permitted. Pecky becomes so frazzled that she decides to move her family away. Still, her eggs keep disappearing. Who is taking them? What does Pecky do next? She tries diligently to solve her problem. Preschool and young children are likely to giggle when they read this story and see the creative illustrations. I enjoyed the story. My thoughts are a coloring page would have enhanced the story. Still, it is an entertaining tale.
Blank Space by Beth Bacon
“Blank Space “is a very creative book, sure to intrigue reluctant readers. A young student must write a journal about what he likes most about books and reading. The student comments that he doesn’t choose a book because of its cover, or title. What he loves most are the blank spaces, in places like the margins, or between the chapters. He feels that the blank spaces give him a chance to take a breath and enjoy the events of the book. The way the story is written is unique and I think it will interest children who are not fond of reading. It’s a great way to encourage children to use their imaginations. Also, I feel readers will cheer for the student when he finally makes his presentation to his class. At first, his classmates think his ideas are silly, but how do they feel at the end of his remarks?
Milo and Cat Right Before Sleep by Miro Tartan
“Milo and Cat Right Before Sleep” is a cute, funny story I think children will enjoy. The big, detailed, illustrations are beautiful. There are lots of suggestions on how to fall asleep that little ones will enjoy. Cat keeps encouraging Milo that they will find a solution to why he can’t sleep. For example, Milo tries wearing warm socks. He drinks a big cup of warm milk. He reads. Still, he is not sleepy. In the end, they forget to do one important thing, which might surprise the readers.I think young readers will find the story delightful. However, in my view, it’s perfect for younger children, maybe 5-8, although this depends on the reading level of the child, which varies. The story is well-written and very creative.
The Elephant who got Bullied by Daniel Gershkovitz
“The Elephant who got Bullied” is a wonderful, captivating and educational book for children. They will adore the bright, entertaining illustrations and the perfectly rhyming verse. As a bonus, they will enjoy the games at the end which will sharpen skills in areas like observation and counting. I highly recommend this book. As with the other books by Daniel Gershkovitz, this little gem encourages children, builds confidence, and reminds them how hurtful bullying can be.
Pinky Ponky Wants to go to the Moon by Nirosha Paramanathan
Pinky Ponky is a little girl with a big dream. She wants to fly to the moon! When Pinky has a big dream, sometimes she becomes very excited about it. But in this case, her friends kept discouraging her and she did have obstacles to overcome along the way. How would she get there? What if she got lost? How could she prepare for her trip? But Pinky kept thinking she could find a way if she believed in herself. She used positive affirmations to remind herself that she could help her dream come true, even when people, or friends, discourage her. I felt the story shared important messages about building confidence in your abilities and listening to your intuitions. I felt there were a couple of places where more editing was needed, but the story would still be fun and educational for children. Also, parents and teachers could find the questions and information at the end helpful in discussions.
Wheel Power by Sigal Adler
“Wheel Power:” is another endearing, adorable tale for preschoolers. In this story, little Wheely is by himself, without friends, or even a job. He tries to fit in. He hopes to fit on a bus, so he’d have an important job to do for the children. But he’s too small. He tried to fit on a boat, but was the wrong size. He applied for all sorts of jobs, but he was discouraged to have searched without success. Still, he was brave and never gave up in his quest to fit in. Finally, Wheely is thrilled to find just the right important job where he was appreciated and honored. It’s the perfect story for little ones because they’ll see how important it is to be yourself and have faith you will find the job and life meant for you. As always, the rhymes were perfectly presented and the illustrations are beautiful.
Millie’s Magic by Hilary Hawkes
“Millie’s Magic” is a lovely little tale for preschoolers and early readers. In the story, Millie searches high and low for a gift for her grandpa’s birthday. She decides to look for magic so she climbs mountains, floats on logs and looks in every area the little animal characters recommend. But despite her best efforts, Millie is disappointed not to find any magic to present to her grandfather. Finally, she asks grandpa for his thoughts about magic and he has a surprising response. Millie is delighted. I think the illustrations were adorable, perfectly suited for the story. Not only that, but the message it shares is important as well. The games at the end are a good way for young children to interact with the story.
Mozzi Presents: My Friends help People by Merav Gamliel Boschan
“Mozzi Presents: My Friends help People” is an interesting, educational series of stories about how many ways dogs can help improve peoples’ lives. For example, a dog named Mozzi helps his owner, Danny to overcome his fear of dogs. Slowly, Danny learns to trust Mozzi and they play together.
Amber and her service dog, Johnny, work well together because Johnny helps Amber with tasks she can’t do from a wheelchair. He makes life so much easier for Amber when he is able to get things for her and carry things for her.
A little boy named Ronnie has a speech impediment so he’s very shy. But Maple helps him to gain confidence and make friends.
Jack has a guide dog named Lola. She guides him every where he goes because he is blind. Lola makes sure that Jack is safe when he is crossing the street. She watches out for him everywhere they go.
Shelly goes to agility class with her friends Mozzi, Blackie, Arrow and Yvonne. They learn how to negotiate different obstacle courses quickly .
This is a good book for children because they learn various ways dogs can help people live better lives while they have fun together.
Pool Party (Dottie Dots the Cat books) by Ashley Madden
“Pool Party” is a cute story for preschool children. Dottie is a cat who loves swimming, but she is afraid her friends will laugh at her because cats aren’t known to enjoy the water. When Dottie’s friend, Andy, asks her to a pool party, Dottie is not sure she should accept. It’s a good story to introduce children to fear and how to overcome it, but I think the story would have been more enjoyable if Dottie showed her fears more. Still, little ones will like the big, bold illustrations and could understand the problem described in the book. It would be a good story to discuss with your very young children so they understand that fears can be overcome.
Review by children’s author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
The big Adventures of a Little Tree by Nadja Springer
“Big Adventures of a Little Tree: Tree Finds Friendship” is a cute tale about a tree who wants adventure. At first he tries hard to move his roots, but does not succeed. How will he reach his goal of exploring more of the neighborhood? Tree finds help from a group of birds who pull and tug on his branches to help him move. In his new location, Tree makes new friends and seems pleased. Children love him and they help him relocate when winter comes. The story has adorable illustrations to help keep little ones engaged. Also, it conveys important messages regarding friendship and dedication. Children will see that just because something hasn’t been tried, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. The rhyming text is well done and easy for children to understand.
I think the book would have been even more enjoyable if some outlines were included that children could color. Still, it is a fun and enjoyable, well-written tale I recommend.
Shadow and Friends Costume Party by S. Jackson, A. Raymond and M. Schmidt
As his name implies, Digger, the squirrel, specialized in digging. He loved digging around in Mr. Schmidt’s yard, especially near his favorite tree. Mr. Schmidt was careful to put fresh dirt around the tree every day and he even hid special treats like walnuts and peanuts in the dirt so Digger could search for them. One day, Digger found a treasure chest full of costumes.Digger learned about costumes from his Uncle Stubby. Together, they decided to invite all of the neighborhood animals to a costume party. The costumes were cute and creative. In fact, even Digger didn’t recognize his grandpa dressed in his costume. You’ll be surprised to find out which animal grandpa represented. The little animals made new friends as well. “Shadow and Friends Costume Party” is en entertaining tale sure to delight young children and their families. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
Ara the Star Engineer by Komal Singh Page:
Ara is a little girl who loves science computers. Young readers will discover lots of information in this book such as what is a googol? How do you define an algorithm? The book explains an algorithm is similar to a recipe. Readers will learn that if you want to solve a big problem, the first step is making a plan. Ara writes the steps she needs to follow when she wants to create an algorithm to count stars. Ara learns that computer experts communicate with their computers by using specific codes, or languages.
Although the book is recommended for 5-7 y ear-old readers, I am not sure they would understand some of the vocabulary. But I feel it would be suitable for older readers and they would find the information beneficial. The Kindle version of the book had small print and illustrations, which make it slightly difficult to read. I thought the glossary at the end of the book was an excellent review of the information discussed in the book.
What’s the Worst that Could Happen? by Yewande Daniel-Ayoade
This is a story many children will understand because they have similar issues. Kayla is a shy little girl. She was afraid to approach the other children in her third grade class. How would they react? Every time she thought about speaking with the other girls, she was overcome with fear and didn’t take action. She didn’t face her fears, like her grandma advised. Grandma told Kayla to consider what the worst outcome would be. Finally, Kayla faced her fears and she was astounded at how her classmates reacted. I enjoyed this story and I’d recommend it. Children will see what can be done to overcome fears. Many opportunities may arise once you take the first step.
When I was growing up, my dad gave me exactly the same advice about imagining the worst that could happen. in my experience, it helped me face several situations and learn they weren’t as scary as I’d expected. The illustrations were wide and engaging as well.
How to Sleep with Cowardly Sheep by Sigal Adler
Do you have little ones who have trouble falling asleep? This new picture book “How to Sleep with Cowardly Sheep” can help them enjoy bedtime without fears. In the story, a little monster can’t sleep so he asks for his parents’ advice. They tell him the easiest solution is to count sheep. Thinking that would surely help, the monster expected to see dozens of fluffy sheep leaping about. But when the little monster saw them, the sheep were so afraid, they’d run off screaming. Naturally, the young monster was very sad because the monsters were so frightened. They never got to know him. Feeling discouraged, the monster spoke to his parents again. This time they said regular sheep were not the right fit. The little monster needed a special type of sheep to help him sleep soundly. I think little ones and their families will enjoy reading this story. The rhymes are fun and the pictures are bold and colorful. I recommend it highly.
Button Goes to the Doctor by Joyce Mitchell
“Button goes to the Doctor” is a cute story for preschool children, or early readers. When Button, the adorable puppy, visits the doctor he walks through the woods with his friend, who reminds him to bring his raincoat. She also tells Button to be careful when they cross the street on the way to Dr. Pig’s office. Dr. Pig is very welcoming and cheerful. At first, Button may have been nervous because he barked his answers to Dr. Pig’s questions. But eventually, he was comfortable with speaking with Dr. Pig. The doctor gives Button a cookie for his reward at the end of his visit. This little tale will help young children learn what to expect from a visit to the doctor.The story was short, with cute illustrations to keep little ones interested. I recommend this tale. It’s another wonderful story by Joyce Mitchell.
Cinderella Sarah by Karen Cossey
‘Cinderella Sarah” is a group of short stories for children. Some of them share helpful lessons, like not putting things off for another day. The first story in the collection was about a young girl named Sarah. It’s similar to “Cinderella.”Although the stories are short enough to share at bedtime, I think the vocabulary in most of the stories would be too advanced for a five-year-old. In addition, I felt the book could benefit from more editing. If there were illustrations for young readers, I feel they would have a connection with the characters.
Amelia the Mouse : Inventor Extraordinaire by J.W. Kohler
“Amelia the Mouse: Inventor Extraordinaire” is entertaining and encouraging. Readers will meet Amelia, a very cute, creative mouse who loves to invent things to help her friends. In the story, she meets Winston the rat, who uses a cane. Winston’s problem is the cane gets stuck in holes while he’s walking. He needs something to prevent that from happening. Amelia works diligently to come up with creative solutions. Some are not practical, but she perseveres until she finds just what Winston needs. The story was well-written and engaging. In my opinion, the print was a bit small, but regardless, it’s a good book that conveys a message to children that they should persevere. I think readers will enjoy it.
The Silent Shepherd by Patricia Moore
Patricia Moore’s story, “The Silent Shepherd” is a wonderful, enlightening children’s tale about a little boy named Aaron and his dad, who is a shepherd. Aaron was very sad that he couldn’t speak because he thought he’d never be able to help his dad. The young boy thought he was a disappointment to his father. An angel appeared to Aaron and is father, explaining that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. In the end, something remarkable occurs. This is a story of hope that I recommend. The reason I gave it four out of five stars was I felt the story would have been even more captivating if the characters showed their feelings more often to draw the readers into the story. I enjoyed the big, colorful illustrations. This story conveys an important message that children would likely enjoy and find beneficial.
Button Goes to Hollywood by Joyce Mitchell
In this endearing tale for preschoolers, “Button Goes to Hollywood” you’ll take the adventure with the little puppy, Button. What happens after he wins the talent show? Why did Button bounce around in the airplane? Little ones will see how star puppies get treated because Button gets a special haircut after he becomes a star. He wins a beautiful trophy. Reporters love interviewing the new sensation. Button loves the attention. He even seems comfortable walking on the red carpet! Take the adventure with Mr. Button, the Hollywood star. I recommend it for preschool children and beginning readers. I think they’ll love meeting Button and learning what happens when he becomes a star. It’s a cute story and a salute Joyce Mitchell for another charming tale.
Do it Again: Otra Vez by Ana Morris
“Do it Again/Otra Vez” is full of fun and learning for young children and their families. I loved the vivid illustrations, as well as the fact that the book is written in English and Spanish so if you are learning Spanish, you can check those sentences against the English translation. In the story, little Amy spends the night with her Auntie and Uncle. She eagerly watches a football game, while searching for her cousin. Amy loves being tossed into the air by her Uncle Dale. She giggles when her uncle talks like Donald Duck. It’s an entertaining and educational story for children and adults. I admire Ms. Morris’ many talents.I highly recommend her remarkable story.
Chickie and the Great Barnyard Benefit:by Bee Urabazo
Chickie and the Great Barnyard Benefit is an adorable tale you won’t want to miss. When a baby chick named Chickie finds a home on Stagecoach Lane, he meets some new animal friends. Chickie’s friends suffer during a big storm so they plan a benefit show to help the victims. What happens when nasty Derek Lambcelot acts like he’s the only one who has talent? What if the talent show is a failure? Chickie wants to perform in the show, but will he be laughed off the stage?
I loved the story itself and the beautiful ending. The illustrations were beautiful and there is plenty of suspense throughout the book.
This is a wonderful tale for parents and families. Children will adore it and they will benefit from learning about developing your talents, coping with varied personalities, and overcoming obstacles. I give it my highest recommendation.
The Power of Gratitude by Leibny Hope:
Have you ever wondered what gratitude means and why it’s important? This book explains why gratitude is a feeling that can transform your life. For example, you will see how being grateful can improve your social life by helping you connect with people. You will learn how gratefulness can help you in many situations.
Did you know the hypothalamus is the part of your brain that controls many of your body’s functions such as sleep, appetite, and growth? Psychologists believe when you feel unhappy, stress and depression will dominate your life. Who wants to spend your precious life feeling sad? Are you aware that gratitude can work like a natural antidepressant by releasing two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin? Neurotransmitters are your brain’s chemical messengers. When you feel appreciative of the wonderful things and people in your life, it will brighten every aspect of your existence.
Feeling grateful can also improve not only your mental status but also your physical well-being. In fact, feeling appreciative can help prevent such ailments as high blood pressure and other heart problems. Feeling fulfilled can improve your immune system as well.
This book explains how to focus on the things you’ve neglected, like the beauty of nature. Do you remember being a child who loved the wonder of flowers and butterflies? This book will show you how to appreciate these things again and why it’s important to your life.
What are some of the other benefits of this book? You will learn new skills to help you incorporate gratefulness in your daily living. For instance, how do you write a thank-you note and why is it important? Will it only benefit you, or the recipient as well? How can you be the proper role model for your children so they learn the importance of being thankful for your blessings? The chapter on raising children to look for the positive aspects of life was one of my favorite parts of the book because children are our future.
There are simple exercises you can do daily and track how they change your attitude about your life. This step by step plan can easily be added to your routine.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it most beneficial. I will be implementing some of the suggestions in my own life. This book will help you to cope when unfortunate events occur in your life, and treasure the gleeful times more than you imagined. I give The Power of Gratitude my highest recommendation.
Abc Alphabet Animals at Bedtime by Aaron Adams
The ABC Alphabet Animals at bedtime is a cute story with big, bright, appealing illustrations. I liked some of the verses more than others and the story may be slightly less appealing because preschool children may not be familiar with some of the animal characters. Still, it’s an enjoyable adventure and very young children can learn the alphabet more easily with this book. They will chuckle at some of the bedtime outfits the animals wear. I thought the illustrations were very cute and creative.
Where Dragons Fly by Hannah Sparks
“Where Dragons Fly” is an enjoyable tale for early chapter book readers. Ethan is a lonely little boy who doesn’t make friends easily. He’s generally lonely during the time when his dad is working. But one day dad brings home a pair of glass dragons with magical powers. When Ethan holds them, he is transported to an amazing place called Steorra. While visiting there, Ethan meets a penguin, and a mischievous fairy. He revels in all sorts of adventures with his new friends in Steorra.
In between trips to Steorra, Ethan meets his neighbor, Amelia. Like Ethan, she is not accepted by other children. But she and Ethan travel to Steorra together and develop a friendship. They find things in common and they understand each other’s feelings. I think children will enjoy this story and relate to the characters. It does have illustrations which are detailed and well done, but I feel that color pictures would have made the pictures more engaging for children. Regardless, it’s a fun tale with a great deal to offer young readers.
Who Wants to Play With Little Mouse? by Jana Buchmann
One day Little Mouse is lonely so he decides to explore his neighborhood and enjoy his adventures. He expected to play with some of his friends. But things didn’t go as planned. For example, when he sees the ants scampering through the grass, he tried to capture their attention, but they don’t notice him. Unfortunately, the spiders enjoying their web in the sunlight don’t notice him either Each book has a number corresponding to the number of little creatures on the page so little ones can practice counting from one to ten. Not only that, but they can also count backwards. The pictures are entertaining and the rhymes are cute. It seems the book should be interactive with music, but in order to enjoy the music, I think you need to purchase something to go along with the book. That is the reason I didn’t give it a 5-star rating. Still, it’s a fun book for very young children.
Lily Lemon Blossom by Barbara Miller:
I thought the illustrations were engaging and the rhyming verse was cute, but the story was lacking. The author describes Lily’s room and how she spends her day with her cat, Josephine, but there isn’t much action or any conflict involved. In my view, the story would be improved if Lily had a problem to solve, along with action to engage young readers. I liked the fact that the book mentioned Lily liked keeping her room clean, which is a good message for little ones.
The Jungle Crew by Emma Scott:
“The Jungle Crew” is a cute story. I enjoyed the rhymes, as well as the message. In the beginning, the Lion was sad and lonely without any friends. Other animals where afraid when they saw his size and his sharp teeth. The Lion meets a sad hippo who is also lonely. At first, the lion thinks the Hippo is odd because she is pink and fat. But he decides she is fun so she becomes his pal. Along the way, the lion meets other animals that join his crew such as a giraffe, a comical toucan, an elephant, a zebra and a monkey. The lion discovers each of his new friends has their own assets and personality. The message is an important one for little ones to learn. In my opinion, the story would be even more fun if with more action. Although the illustrations are cute, they might have shown each animal’s personality a bit more.
Marvin the Very Tall Bear by T. A. Unwin:
Marvin was a very tall fellow. Because of his size he could see the whole town and he could reach most anything when he wanted to take it off the shelves. But Marvin decided he’d rather be average size so he wished for that with all of his might. One morning he woke up and his wish came true. At first, he was pleased when his dream came true. But he missed some of the things he did before and he didn’t like being exactly like the other bears. The message is a good one for young children, but the story seemed to end abruptly and I felt the pictures could have been more prominent.
Bubsimouse Visits Grandma and Grandpa by Siegfried Freudenfels:
Bubsimouse takes a trip with his grandma and Grandpa. His grandparents are good examples for him. They find ways to amuse him on their journey and grandpa gives Bubsi a special gift to use on the trek. The family spends time at a castle. Bubsi learns about a legend connected to the castle. He also enjoys the paddle boat trip, even though his boat got stuck in the sand and needed some creative solutions to free it. The illustrations were cute, but a bit small. There were also some mistakes in punctuation. I felt there were a couple of places in teh story where Bubsi could have showed his emotions more when exciting things happened. But the story was still enjoyable and should be entertaining for young readers.
Hopper and the Roller Coaster by Amy Best:
“Hopper and the Rollercoaster” is a cute story about a bunny named Hopper who has many friends,but also one big fear. Hopper is afraid of rollercoasters so he makes all kinds of excuses when his friends want to visit the new amusement park in his neighborhood. He goes to great lengths not to show his pals that he is afraid of that particular ride. But eventually, he has no choice but to face his fear when his friend, Shannon, invites him to her party. Something unexpected happened and Hopper overcomes his fear and becomes a hero.
The story has a good message for young readers because it shows them bravery doesn’t mean not being afraid, but facing your fears. I think young readers will enjoy the story and the illustrations. Toddlers would probably not understand some of the vocabulary, though. It would be a good book for children in early elementary grades.
Bell’s Big Move by Tom Shay Zapien and Matt Wiewel:
“Bell’s Big Move” is a cute story about a little girl named Sophia and her dog, Bell. Sophia and her little dog do everything together. For example, Sophia loves taking Bell to the grooming place so the groomers can make Bell look especially adorable. But Sophia and her puppy are sad when they move away. Naturally, they miss their friends. And even the weather is different from their old location. But soon after moving to the new town, Sophia and Bell make a new friend named Andrew, who takes them around town and introduces them to friendly people. Everyone welcomes Andrews new friends both Sophia and Bell feel more comfortable in their new home. The story will help young children feel more comfortable if they are preparing to move. The illustrations are well done and i feel children will enjoy the pictures as well as the story. The book is advertised as interactive when you read it aloud, but you need to purchase something else in order for that to work.
The Golden Life of Sally Sunflower by Imani Ariana Grant:
“The Golden Life of Sally Sunflower” is educational and entertaining. The bright illustrations are appropriate for the story. Young readers will learn how to care for a seedling. Why is water important to Sally Sunflower? What is pollination? Why does Sally change her position when the sunlight changes? What is pollination and why is it important to Sally?There is a great deal of helpful information that readers will enjoy in this book. I also enjoyed the “Fun Facts” at the end and the chart you can use to track the growth of your plant if you decide to grow one. Highly recommended.
Mio the Blue and Orange Cat: Mio’s Snow Day by Samir Saachi:
“Mio’ the blue and Orange Cat: Mio’s Snow Day,” was a cute story with bright illustrations that would engage very young children. In the book, Mio, the kitten loves snow and he wishes for a snow day so he can play in it. .Finally, his mom wakes him up early because it snowed during the night. Of course, Mio is thrilled. He asks his mom to help him build a snowman. They create a cute snowman together. Mio collects stones, and twigs to build his eyes and whiskers. He even adds ears and a tail to his snowman. That was creative of Mio, don’t you think? What was lacking in the story was editing to fix the punctuation errors. Also, I think adding some outlines for little ones to color would have made the book even more fun.
Cassidy and the Rainy River Rescue by Keeley Chace:
“Cassidy and the Rainy River Rescue” is a cute story for very young readers. Cassidy is a small pony, who is polite to a fault. When she tried to help her canine friend, Ranger, round up the cows, Cassidy called one ‘Ma’am.” That made me giggle. Although that particular cow didn’t obey Cassidy, something else happened that allowed Cassidy to be a hero. Children will see how everyone has different talents and it’s good to work together. I love the illustrations, but the book didn’t seem to be interactive,as stated. Also, I felt that the readers would identify more with “Cassidy’s girl” more if she had a name. Still, the story is one little children will enjoy.
Talon Connected by Gigi Sedlmayer:
Gigi Sedlmayer has written another remarkable tale about Matica and her family. Matica adores her family, her friends, and her amazing condor birds. She and the birds have an incredible connection. They keep astounding the Indians, and even Matica’s parents, and younger brother with their understanding and wisdom. Will the “You know who” capture Talon, Tima, or Tamo? Readers of every age will keep turning the pages, eager to see what happens next. In this story, we are reminded “We are all connected.” Those are wise words, don’t you think? This is a heartwarming, engaging tale with many words of wisdom. I highly recommend it. Congratulations, Gigi on completing another remarkable story. Thank you for sharing your gift with so many others.
Princesses Don’t Have Sticky Hair:
” Princesses Don’ t have Sticky Hair” is an endearing tale for young children. The illustrations are well done, colorful and engaging. Small children will giggle when they see that princesses normally don’t have sticky hair, or other problems, but what are the exceptions? Do spider webs make a princesses hair sticky? How are marshmallows roasted in the book? Little folks will smile at the various situations depicted in this book. I thought the illustrations were delightful and engaging. The story seemed a bit short, but still entertaining.
Popcorn Behind the Bush by Grace Lajoy Henderson:
“Popcorn Behind the Bush” is an entertaining tale. Gracie’s grandma calls to ask if she received a tin of popcorn in the mail. At first, Gracie doesn’t see the popcorn by the front door, but the mail carrier left a note saying that the popcorn was delivered. Gracie was puzzled. Why was the word “bush” on the note? Her mom thought maybe there was a bush in the mailbox. Her dad had a different idea. And Gracie’s brother thought perhaps the popcorn was growing on a bush in their yard. Finally, Gracie solves the problem and discovers the popcorn. I thought the answers her family gave were fun. The story will keep readers wondering what happened to the popcorn. Also, the questions at the end will help readers discover how well they recall the events of the story.
The Bugville Critters Have a Surprise Party:
“Have a Surprise Party -A Bugville Pictures Picture Book” has colorful illustrations. In the story Lass Lady Bug and her friends Buster Bee, Cat Caterpillar, Barry Beetle and other members of her family prepare for a surprise party for Lass’s dad because he was just re-elected as mayor of Bugville. Lass’s job was to lick the envelopes and insert the invitations. Some of her friends get tangled in streamers and everyone is amused. Lass narrates the story but her insect friends don’t show emotions. I feel the story would have been more interesting with more action and emotion from the characters. Also, the print was gray instead of black so it was somewhat difficult to read against some of the background colors. Still, Lass and her friends were helpful when they all worked to make the party a success so it showed the value of teamwork.
Fairyville Adventures-Tasha’s Wish by Simone Cannon:
“Fairyville Adventures: Tasha’s Wish” conveyed a message that children will relate to; siblings are not perfect but what if they weren’t here at all? Tasha got very irritated with her little brother because he broke many of her toys. She failed to see the good parts of having a brother until later in the tale. Although the message is helpful to children, there were editing/formatting issues which detracted from the book. I felt that the story would have been more memorable if Tasha was encouraged to change her behavior. Other valuable life lessons could have been incorporated into the story. However, the illustrations were good.
Anna Finds a new Home: Anna Banana by Sigal Adler:
“Anna Banana: Anna Finds a new Home” is delightful. I loved the rhymes , and illustrations. In this cute tale, Anna Banana needs a new home. She packs up and shops for just the right residence. At first Anna lived inside a banana and she found it quite crowded. There was barely room for a plant and a ball. Then Anna tries living in an orange. It was much more comfy and it even had a window. Still, it wasn’t exactly to her liking. How about an onion? Anna tried it, but it was rather smelly and she had to use nose plugs; definitely not her perfect house. After that, Anna thought a carrot might be perfect. But she found it hardly had room for her belongings. Anna searched for a very long time. Just as she was becoming discouraged, she found the perfect residence.
Young children will adore this endearing tale. Not only will they smile, but at the end there are educational questions about various fruits and veggies and why they are important to you. Highly recommended.
Shep Dreams of Home by Jason Matthews:
“Shep Dreams of a Home” is sweet, with a happy ending, but I felt the plot could have been developed more and that the story would have been more enjoyable for young children if it had illustrations. The story itself was quite short, but but there wasn’t much detail or action so children would feel more connected to Shep. Also, it seemed a bit odd to me that someone who broke into the house to eat food was welcomed to a gathering they had. Couldn’t some type of consequence be introduced for that action? Nevertheless, the book did have some happy moments to share, like when Shep found a happy home.
El Abecedario Artistco de Maya by Maya Litwack:
El abecedario artístico de Maya: Maya’s Artistic Spanish Alphabet” is an endearing tale with illustrations created by a 5 year-old. The dedication and other comments are written in Spanish, but translated to English in case readers are not fluent in Spanish. I thought the illustrations were cute and engaging. Little ones will learn new words in Spanish while they explore this book. I have no doubt that children and their families will treasure this book. They will love reading it over and over again. Highly recommended. Kudos to Maya and her mom.
Aiden McGee Gets a Case of the “Actuallys” by Aaron McGinley:
“Aiden McGee gets a case of the Actuallys” is an entertaining tale children will enjoy and learn important things from. In addition, I think young readers or listeners will relate to the story. Aiden is a bright little fellow who wants to be sure that statements his classmates make are absolutely true. For example, he would correct them if they used the word “turtle” instead of “tortoise.” Aiden thought that the children were wrong if they didn’t say precisely the right thing. At first he didn’t understand why even his favorite teacher remarked that Aiden was “Splitting hairs.” Aiden decided to ask his mom, a doctor, about the expression “splitting hairs” and what it meant. His mom explained it clearly so she and Aiden could make a plan to help remedy the situation. Aiden discovered a formula he could think about before he said anything. There were three questions he practiced asking himself. With practice, Aiden learned to think about other people’s feelings before expressing his opinion. It’s a valuable thing to learn. The story is fun to read and I think children will find it helpful as well. The illustrations were nice. My only criticism is that the print is small and difficult to read in places. Regardless, I recommend this book.
Good day or bad Day I Love you Anyway! by Sigal Adler:
“Good day or bad day I love you Anyway” is a fun book. It’s perfect to remind young readers and preschoolers that their parents will love them even if they have a grumpy, grouchy, tiring day. In the story Monster wakes up and everything seems to go wrong. He gets milk on his shirt, but Mom has a new one ready. His mom worries about being late for work so everyone rushes around trying to prevent another mishap. In the end, Monster is sorry that he wasn’t polite toward his mom. But, like most moms, she understood that we all have challenging days now and then. But Mom will love you through it all. I think that’s such an important message; maybe the best ever. I highly recommend this story. It told in entertaining rhyming verses and the illustrations are bright and engaging. No doubt it will be a huge success. Little ones and their families are sure to love it.
Serafina Soars by Alma Hammond:
“Serafina Soars” is a cute book with bright, engaging illustrations. In this story, readers will meet Serafina, a shy Eurasian Eagle Owl. They’ll find out why she has very good hearing and what helps her fly long distances. Serafina is very shy by nature. When a rude donkey makes unkind comments, Serafina’s confidence is shaken. But she meets some turtle doves who help rebuild her confidence. Little by little she begins exploring the world around her. During the story Serafina meets animals who help her overcome her shyness. I liked the extra educational section at the end of the book which explains more about Flamenco Dancers, Turtle Doves, White Storks and other places Serafina visited during her travels. My opinion is that the story ended a bit abruptly. Regardless, story will help children who need to overcome shyness or build confidence.
The Story of the Lost Bear, Two Suns by Natalie P. Gump:
“”The Story of the Lost Bear, Two Suns: The Way to Equality is Through the Heart” is a cute story with an important message that we are all different. Though the moral is an important one, I felt it was repetitive. Many times during the story, the same message was repeated. I think it would have been more enjoyable and engaging if some of the characters had something else to share. The illustrations were alright, but not big and colorful. In addition, the print was small and difficult to read. I feel that the tale was somewhat boring, although it did have a happy ending. Considering all of these factors, my rating is three stars.
Little Miss History Travels to Independence Hall by Barbara A. Mojica:
Children will adore this new book where Little Miss History takes them to Independence Hall. They will learn all sorts of interesting facts. For example, did you know Independence Hall was originally called the Pennsylvania State House? How did the members of the Continental Congress protect their privacy? How did the children of Philadelphia celebrate the historical events of that era? They did something amazing and you’ll certainly be impressed when you find out what they did. This book is a must-have for middle-grade readers. They should all learn about the remarkable founding of this nation and the obstacles the colonists overcame. I loved this book and I know children will enjoy it from cover to cover and they will be well educated about the important events that shaped our nation’s founding. Highly recommended.
A day With Moo: A best Friend Book by Kerry McQuaide
A Day with Moo: A best Friend Book” is cute and entertaining. In the story, young readers or preschoolers will see that Midge and her little toy cow, Moo have been together since Midge was a newborn. They love doing things together. I liked the illustrations, especially the one where Midge was playing doctor and covered Moo with band aids. They do get into a bit of mischief together. The story is a good example of what being a friend involves. Another of my favorite parts was when Midge promised “It would be her turn to eat all of the peas tomorrow.” I think very young children will enjoy this tale.
The Magic Pencil by Arnie Lightening
This is a cute story with illustrations similar to ones a child would create. In the story, six-year-old Noah is often bored until his uncle presents him with a magic pencil. What makes this exciting? Once Noah draws a picture and signs it, the characters in the picture come to life. That allows Noah to have adventures with a Kracken monster and pirates. Young children will be entertained in this story and the creative ways Noah solves the different scenarios in the tale. Although the story was entertaining, I felt it was a bit wordy. Still, children will enjoy this tale.
Superpotamus by Ruth Paul
“Superpotamus” is a cute, rhyming tale about a hippo who loves being helpful. He’s always dressed in his special cape so he’s ready to take action at any moment someone needs assistance. Superpotamus would watch over his town and fly into action when he saw someone in need. The problem was, no one seemed to appreciate his efforts. Worse yet, when the big fellow saw a fireworks display, he worked hard to extinguish the flames, but everyone in town ridiculed him because he spoiled their fireworks celebration. Eventually, a huge catastrophe occurs and Superpotamus becomes the hero everyone appreciates. The rhymes are cute and there are some helpful lessons for the little ones. I felt the illustrations were blurry and not well-defined. But the story itself is cute and enjoyable for young children.
Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm by D. G. Priya
“Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm” is interesting, and educational. The story involves Matthew, his family and his service dog, Merlin. It’s a creative tale that solves various problems in a logical way. Merlin occasionally has problems with becoming distracted when he’s trying to help Matthew. He feels his most important job is please Matthew, his favorite human. Just when Merlin worries that he has failed in his mission, he ends up being a hero. I liked the glossary at the end of the book, which will help readers understand words they may know. The pencil drawings are well done, but I’d prefer them to be bigger. Children will have the opportunity to learn more about STEM, problem solving and algorithms while reading this story.