Professional Book Reviews

Award-winning children’s book author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne offers book reviews to be published here, on Amazon and on Goodreads.

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Book Reviews

Here is a collection of reviews I’ve written about other children’s books.

The Garden and the Glen by Elizabeth Moseley New Release!

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.

Amelia the Mouse : Inventor Extraordinaire by J.W. Kohle

“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.

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

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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:

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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 wellbeing. 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.

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 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.

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