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Picture book reviews by librarians for everyone.
Updated: 18 min 18 sec ago

What Do You Do–When a Monster Says Boo? by Hope Vestergaard, illus. by Maggie Smith

Wed, 2014-11-05 00:01

Hope Vestergaard’s What Do You Do When a Monster Says Boo? is a wonderful book about sibling behavior, and a great model for older siblings.
Throughout the book, the “monster” does all sorts of bad things – pulling things, throwing hair, and yelling, to name a few. The book shows the best ways to handle little monsters, as well as some ways that aren’t so good.
When your monster is your little brother or sister it may be hard to keep your cool. What Do You Do When a Monster Says Boo? can show kids what it looks like to be patient with a hyper or misbehaving younger sibling.
Children of all ages will laugh at the monster acting silly, and parents will appreciate the suggestions for older siblings that the book gently provides.
This rhyming book has wonderful illustrations, and is a great choice to read to the whole family.

Check the WRL catalog for What Do You Do–When a Monster Says Boo?

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Possum Come a-Knockin’ by Nancy Van Laan, illus. by George Booth

Mon, 2014-11-03 00:01

Possum Come a-Knockin’ is a rhyming-text book that shows a family in the country going about their business when they get an unusual visitor.
Granny and Pappy, Ma and Pa, and Brother and Sis are all too wrapped up in their activities to notice someone knocking at the door, but Tom-cat, Coon-dawg, and the narrator (who calls herself “me”) all know something isn’t right. They all hear someone knock-knock-knocking on the door.
You’ll watch through the window as each member of the family goes on knittin’ and whittlin’ and cookin’ taters, until finally the pets cause such a ruckus that they go to investigate. But when they open the door, the mischievous possum is nowhere to be found!
This book, written by Nancy Van Laan, is fun to read aloud, and you and your children will laugh at the great illustrations. Grab a copy and have fun watching this zany family!

Check the WRL catalog for Possum Come a-Knockin’.

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Blackberry Banquet by Terry Pierce, illus. by Lisa Downey

Fri, 2014-10-31 00:05

Blackberry Banquet is a delightful treat for young summer readers. Perfect for expressive shared reading between adults and children, this story infuses elements of sequence, patterning, rhyme, and characterization, making it a great story for young readers.

Set in the forest, Blackberry Banquet tells the story of different animals that visit the blackberry bush to enjoy some fresh, sweet berries. A new animal and its accompanied sounds appear on each new page, and each page features an animal slightly bigger than the previous one until finally, a BEAR appears at the blackberry bush and frightens all of the animals away.

Besides writing a delightful story, the author has included non-fiction information on the back pages, including a recipe for blackberry ice-cream, a diagram to introduce food chains, and other factual information about the animals in the book.

This colorful book with bright, engaging illustrations by Lisa Downey reminds me of Jan Brett’s stories The Mitten and The Hat. To experience it for yourself, be sure to check out a copy of Blackberry Banquet!


Check the WRL catalog for Blackberry Banquet.

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Hillside Lullaby by Hope Vestergaard, illus. by Margie Moore

Wed, 2014-10-29 00:01

Looking for the perfect “good-night” book? Try Hillside Lullaby by Hope Vestergaard, a good night lullaby that is sure to evoke the sweetest dreams.
Hillside Lullaby tells the story of a “wild child not ready to close her eyes” and the mother who tucks her into bed. All around her, the animals outside are preparing for their night of slumber, too: the frogs, raccoon, deer, and rabbits.
Told in rhyme, Hillside Lullaby shows different views of mothers getting their children ready for bed. Children reading this book will be able to predict what animal’s bedtime routine is featured next, as each page reveals a small picture of the animal that will be detailed on the next pages. This picture book includes sweet, vibrant illustrations of the hillside and its creatures at night, making it impossible to fear the dark.
After all of the animals drift off to sleep, so too does the little girl “with the song of the hill in her head.”

Check the WRL catalog for Hillside Lullaby.

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Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen, illus. by David Small

Mon, 2014-10-27 00:02

Elsie’s Bird, a perfect read for young fans of historical fiction and/or for children who have recently relocated, tells the story of a young girl named Elsie from Boston. Elsie loves the sounds of Boston: the sounds of horses’ hooves clopping on the sidewalk, the sounds of the skip-rope songs she and her friends would sing, the sounds of fisherman, the sounds of birds, the sounds of the church bell. When Elsie’s Papa decides to move them out west to the Nebraska prairie after her mother dies, Elsie feels lonely and misses the sounds of the city.
Afraid of getting lost in the tall prairie grass, Elsie chooses to stay inside most of the time and comforts herself by singing songs to her canary, Timmy Tune. When Timmy Tune escapes, Elsie abandons her fear to search for him in the tall prairie grass and ends up making unexpected friendships.
Elsie’s Bird showcases the companionship that animals can offer to humans, especially to children, and encourages children to believe that they can overcome new and difficult situations. The illustrations by Caldecott award winner David Small will transport readers to a time long ago where they can “skip-rope” on the streets of Boston and overlook the vast prairie land of the west.
Jane Yolen’s creation is a great addition to studies of the past that even children today will be able to relate to.

Check the WRL catalog for Elsie’s Bird.

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How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon

Fri, 2014-10-24 00:01

Why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with a lemur is beyond me, but the young boy in How to Lose a Lemur certainly wants to get rid of the lemur friend he has accidentally acquired. You know what they say: “Once a lemur takes a liking to you, there is not much that can be done about it.”
But he tries! He travels on bike, by train, and over mountains to lose his lemur, but his lemur just follows right along! Once he realizes that he is lost and can’t get back home, it’s up to his lemur friend – the very friend he’s been trying to escape from – that can help him find his way back!
Perfect for a discussion about friendship, How to Lose a Lemur tells an imaginative story with engaging, collage-like illustrations. The text on each page is large enough for the youngest eyes, and many high-frequency words appear throughout the book, making it a perfect interactive read-aloud for emergent readers.
To enjoy an interactive read-aloud with your little ones, share this story with them soon!

Check the WRL catalog for How to Lose a Lemur.

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Celia by Christelle Vallat, illus. by Stephanie Augusseau

Wed, 2014-10-22 00:01

Celia is a listener. When the people in her town have worries, troubles, or sadness, they come to Celia, whisper their sorrows into her ear, and feel relieved. Happy. After Celia listens, they repay her with colorful seeds, which Celia later transforms into large, bright balloons, shining stars, and whimsical flowers. One day, a young boy named Julian loses his seed on his visit to Celia and cannot get rid of his sadness. But when Celia finds a lost seed in the grass, she knows who it belongs to and holds on to it until their paths cross again.
When I first saw this book written by Christelle Vallat, I was mesmerized by the eye-catching cover: a black and white stencil sketch of a plump lady with light pink cheeks holding out her hands to colorful circles in various sizes. This juxtaposition of bold color against black and white sketches brings depth to the illustrations, like red berries peeking out from the top of snow in the middle of a barren January. There are some pages that feature just a mere splash of color, but the color is so rich and adds remarkably beauty even to these pages.
The most compelling aspect of Celia, however, is the nurturing relationship that emerges between an elderly lady and a young child. There are many authors who showcase the positive impact elders can have on younger generations, and Ms. Vallat is no exception with her creation of Celia. Further, this story seems to convey that, with the help of others, people have the power to transform their troubles into something good: a positive, encourage message for all readers.
To enjoy the beautiful illustrations for yourself and to read the positive message within its pages, check out Celia to experience the magic!

Check the WRL catalog for Celia.

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Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, illus. Meilo So

Mon, 2014-10-20 00:01

Water Sings Blue, written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So, is the perfect seaside companion for a sunny day at the beach! Filled with ocean-themed poems and vivid watercolor illustrations, Water Sings Blue is sure to delight beach-lovers and budding poets alike!
Each page features a poem with accompanied watercolor illustrations that evoke the mood and colors of the sea. From shades of light blue swirls in the ocean to a mixture of gray, blue, and purple coloring the sky, Water Sings Blue is an aesthetic delight. Besides showcasing sky and sea, the illustrator also depicts whimsical sea creatures, such as multi-colored fish, sea turtles, and octopi.
Like the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves, the poems in this collection are told in a way that mimics the symphony of the ocean. Some poems, such as “What the Waves Say,” actually capture the “swell and sigh, otter lullaby” of the ocean; others are told from the perspectives of various ocean creatures and cannot help but cause readers to grin, like Frank Hermit, a seashell realtor operating in the depths of the sea. Still, some poems are quite metaphorical and compare marine animals with objects; in the case of “Jellyfish Kitchen,” a jellyfish is juxtaposed with a bundt cake!
Whether you share this book with your child all at once or take your time devouring the poems inside, be prepared to take a trip to the seashore with its myriad of descriptive poems and beautiful drawings.

Check the WRL catalog for Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems.

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Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Fri, 2014-10-17 00:03

Emily Arnold McCully’s Caldecott Medal-winning Mirette on the High Wire is an enchanting story perfect for holding the attention of an older audience. Mirette works in her mother’s boardinghouse where one day the retired high-wire walker Bellini comes to stay with them. After Mirette sees him walking on the clothesline, she decides to try it too, in spite of Bellini’s protesting. Then she overhears some other guests saying that Bellini is really “the great Bellini” who once fried an omelet on a wire in the middle of Niagara Falls and crossed a flaming wire, blindfolded, over Naples. When Mirette asks Bellini why he stopped high-wire walking, he says that fear on the wire never leaves someone. But he can’t stand disappointing Mirette, so he concocts a plan to conquer his fear. And it turns out that Mirette may be the very thing he needs to overcome his fear of the wire for good.
This rich, detailed story is a perfect elementary school read that will introduce kids to the exciting world of high-wire walkers. Above all, Mirette on the High Wire is a book about determination and conquering fear.

Check the WRL catalog for Mirette on the High Wire.

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Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger

Wed, 2014-10-15 00:01

Wodney Wat has a problem: his name is really Rodney Rat, but he can’t pronounce his r’s. All the kids at school tease him while he tells them that another name for bunny is “wabbit” and that “a twain twavels on twain twacks.” But things start to change for Wodney the day Camilla Capubara, the biggest, meanest, smartest rodent of all comes to school. All day long she steps on tails, knocks people over, and tramples the whole class on the way to recess. When Wodney gets chosen to lead a game of Simon Says, he is terrified of what Camilla will do to him. But Camilla doesn’t understand that Wodney can’t pronounce his r’s… So for instance, when Wodney says to “wake the leaves,” everyone else grabs a rake, but Camilla grabs a leaf and yells, “Wake up!” Wodney realizes that he might just be able to use this advantage to get rid of Camilla altogether…
This hilarious read is great for large groups. Preschoolers and elementary kids will appreciate the frequent wordplay. Hooway for Wodney Wat is a great read for anyone who has ever felt insecure about something, and teaches an important lesson about respect and self-acceptance.

Check the WRL catalog for Hooway for Wodney Wat.

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Bats At the Beach by Brian Lies

Mon, 2014-10-13 00:01

Have you ever wondered what bats do at night, while all the humans are in bed? Bats at the Beach has an answer! In this enchanting, beautifully-illustrated story by Brian Lies, readers enter a world where, while everyone else is sound asleep, bats have fun at the beach. Read about how bats need their “moon-tan lotion” and how they love to eat “salted ‘skeeters” and toast “bug-mallows.” The illustrations add details to this unique bat world, as bats make kites by tying strings to themselves and chat upside-down at the “snack bar”: a ceiling where all the tasty bugs gravitate toward the light bulb. The illustrations also demonstrate how the bats don’t let their small size get in the way of having fun–they make swords out of straws and use food containers as boats. Since the illustrations are so intricate, this book is better for a one-on-one read, and while the bright, glossy pictures should captivate any audience, older readers will best appreciate the bat-related humor.

Check the WRL catalog for Bats At the Beach.

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Don’t Wake Up Mama! by Eileen Christelow

Fri, 2014-10-10 00:01

Eileen Christelow’s famous five little monkeys wake up early to bake Mama a birthday cake. They keep reminding each other, “Sh-h-h! Don’t wake up Mama!” But they soon have to deal with one noisy disaster after the next: somebody sneezes, one little monkey slips on spilled oil, the cake even burns and sets off the fire alarm! Will the monkeys’ crazy antics wake up Mama and spoil the surprise? Also, a surprise twist at the end makes the story even more fun!
Kids and parents alike will delight in seeing kids who are eager to help around the house, but who don’t always yield the best results. Preschoolers will benefit from the frequent repetition in the story, and the monkeys’ shenanigans and the frequent sound effects make this book great for a story time setting.

Check the WRL catalog for Don’t Wake Up Mama!

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Moira’s Birthday by Robert Munsch, art by Michael Martchenko

Wed, 2014-10-08 00:01

Robert Munsch has created another laugh-out-loud adventure that kids of all ages will love. Moira can’t wait for her birthday, and is so excited for her party that she wants to invite everyone in grades one through six, and kindergarten. But her parents say, “That’s crazy!” and that she can only invite six kids. But everyone at school who hasn’t been invited begs her to let them come too, and Moira just can’t say no to anyone…
So sure enough, on the day of her party, everyone in grades one through six, plus kindergarten, shows up at her house. At first it seems like a disaster–when Moira tries to order two-hundred pizzas and birthday cakes, everyone tells her, “THAT’S CRAZY!” Plus, after the fiasco is finally over, she ends up with way too many presents and food. Now Moira has to figure out a way to get rid of everything.
While the story’s crazy antics will hold the attention of all age levels, the book’s repetitive style will benefit younger readers with counting practice. Everything about this book is lively, from the all-caps quotations to the illustrations that show all the chaos that Moira’s party creates, making Moira’s Birthday a fun large-group read.

Check the WRL catalog for Moira’s Birthday.

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Finklehopper Frog Cheers by Irene Livingston, illus. by Brian Lies

Mon, 2014-10-06 00:01

Finklehopper Frog can’t wait to go on a picnic…until he starts to worry that people there will bully him and grab his special pork-pie hat. Fortunately, Finklehopper decides to face his fear. He learns a lot of valuable lessons about teamwork and how to treat others along the way. When bullies make fun of his hat, his friend Ruby Rabbit responds with kindness, and the bullies back down. Later, when Ruby comes in second place to Sue Kangaroo in the big race and starts crying, Finklehopper finds a way to remind everyone about what it means to be a good sport.
This book’s bright illustrations and simple, rhyming prose make it great for a group out-loud read. Finklehopper Frog Cheers is a great story for preschoolers because it reminds readers that when people are kind and play fair, everyone can win.

Check the WRL catalog for Finklehopper Frog Cheers.

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Do Like a Duck Does by Judy Hindley, illus. by Ivan Bates

Fri, 2014-10-03 00:01

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, is it really a duck? Author Judy Hindley has created an endearing story about the lives of ducks. A momma duck and her ducklings are off on a fun day of duck-y things. Suddenly a stranger who claims to be just like them greets them and he makes every effort to prove it to the duck family. The momma’s suspicions are raised; however, she gives this stranger several chances to show that he is truly a genuine duck. As their day unfolds, the strangers eating habits, interests, and even quacks don’t quite add up and his true intentions are discovered. Momma duck has a wonderful solution to prove once and for all that he is not a duck and sends the stranger on his way with the comfort of knowing she had known the truth the whole time.
This light-hearted story has beautiful, large illustrations with bright colors that will keep the interest of even the littlest reader. Another wonderful quality of this book is its use of onomatopoeia. Every action the ducks take or sound they make, a child can easily mimic. This adds an energetic and interactive aspect to the story. This is perfect for any size group story sharing for a younger age bracket. So, get ready to have a room of little ducklings as you bring the story of Do Like a Duck Does to life.

Check the WRL catalog for Do Like a Duck Does.

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The Ghost of Greyfriar’s Bobby by Ruth Brown

Wed, 2014-10-01 00:01

Take a journey back into the history of one of Scotland’s oldest cities in an interpretation of a classic Edinburgh ghost story. Author and illustrator, Ruth Brown, takes this old tale and updates it for a younger and more modern audience in an original way, just as she has done with many other British tales. The characters of the story, Tom and Becky, are tourists who are experiencing the ghost story for the first time right along with the readers. While sightseeing, they come across an interesting statue of a dog that sparks an adventure. They learn of companionship and loyalty as the tale of a dog and his master is told to them.
The framing of the story in this book is what is special. Children reading this story will be able to relate closely to the characters and appreciate the tale within the story just as Tom and Becky do. The structure of this story is more appropriate for slightly older children since a non-linear literary structure is being used. However, the illustrations and the content of the story are perfect for large-group sharing or personal reading. The truly fun fact about this book, though, is that children who read it will have a shared piece of history with anyone who has ever told a version of the legend of Greyfriar’s Bobby. The tale within the story is one that the reader can take and share with many others after they have finished the book.

Check the WRL catalog for The Ghost of Greyfriar’s Bobby.

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No Dogs Allowed by Linda Ashman, illus. by Kristin Sorra

Mon, 2014-09-29 00:01

Author Linda Ashman used a real life experience as an inspiration for this story about acceptance. Ashman approaches the telling of this tale in a creative way with few words and wonderful illustrations. The readers are introduced to Alberto, a café owner, who is picky about his customers. After several attempts to specify the type of customer he wishes to have at his restaurant, he realizes he has excluded almost everyone. It is through a child’s bright idea that Alberto learns that he must accept and appreciate all in his community. Once he lifts the limitations, his business booms and all the characters demonstrate the happiness that can be found when everyone comes together.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” could not be more fitting for such a beautifully illustrated tale. This unique approach to a children’s book makes it special and exciting to read. The book creates an interactive opportunity for the reader, which allows them to take in the story at his or her own pace and add their own flavor. It is ideal for small group story sharing or in a one-on-one setting where everyone’s voice can be heard and every detail on the page can be seen. No Dogs Allowed is a wonderful book for many age groups as young children have the opportunity to work on identification skills and older children can stretch their imagination by adding their own words to the story. Children will love this take on such a great universal life lesson!

Check the WRL catalog for No Dogs Allowed.

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Yoko Finds Her Way by Rosemary Wells

Fri, 2014-09-26 00:01

Yoko Finds Her Way stars two human-like cats: Yoko and Yoko’s mama. Yoko and her mama are flying to Japan, and the book shows all of the adventures they go through on the way to and inside the airport. First, Yoko must pack and await the big day ahead. Next they are on their way to the airport and mama can’t read the signs and she almost goes the wrong way—twice! Once they make it inside the airport they go through security and finally to their terminal: Gate 54 with Big Wave airlines. Yoko goes to the restroom and goes out the wrong door to the wrong airline and searches for her mama.
In the meantime, Mama goes to look for Yoko in the restroom and also goes out the wrong door! Once she also asks for help from a pilot and flight attendant, they are reunited once again at Gate 54. “’Mama! cried Yoko. ‘My little Cherry Blossom!’ shouted Yoko’s mama.” Once they are together again they finally board their plane and are on their way to Japan! The illustrations are colorful and quaint. This is a good read for all ages.

Check the WRL catalog for Yoko Finds Her Way.

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Charlie and the New Baby by Ree Drummond, illus. by Diane DeGroat

Wed, 2014-09-24 00:05

Charlie and the New Baby is told from the point of view of the basset hound, Charlie, and tells all about his life as a Ranch Dog. Charlie lives a very luxurious life on the ranch until someone unfamiliar comes into the house to take over his bed, his blanket, and even his own people. “Hey! That’s my blanket! I’ve always loved that blanket,” Charlie cries. It appears that the “intruder” is a small newborn calf, Abigail. Charlie wonders if he can help comfort her, but his mama and the kids are doing a fantastic job of caring to the calf. Even though Abigail gets to sleep in Charlie’s bed and Charlie gets the floor for the night, Charlie is still loved by his mama and the kids unconditionally, and soon Abigail gets to reunite with her own mama on the ranch. In addition to lovable animal characters, this book has very vivid and realistic illustrations that can capture any child’s attention.

Check the WRL catalog for Charlie and the New Baby.

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Maggi and Milo by Juli Brenning, illus. by Priscilla Burris

Mon, 2014-09-22 00:01

Maggi and Milo is an action-packed book that follows Maggi and her best friend, a border collie named Milo, on their adventure to go frog hunting! Maggi receives a package from Grandma with frog hunting supplies, but when Maggi and Milo make it to a pond, there are no signs of any frogs. Not only are there no frogs, but soon there’s no Milo! “’Milo!’ called Maggi. He wasn’t there. Maggi tried very hard not to think about losing Milo or being alone.”
Is Milo really gone for good? Will the frogs return? Find out these answers and enjoy Burris’ beautiful pictures. The illustrations in this book are colorful and engaging for any child. Maggi and Milo is recommended for dog lovers of all ages.

Check the WRL catalog for Maggi and Milo.

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