Thursday, March 31, 2016


Flashlight - Lizi Boyd
by Lizi Boyd

A boy, a flashlight and the forest at night. That's all needed to start a great adventure. In this wordless story a little boy discovers the animals that make all these noises during the night. He is being observed by the animals too. And when the flashlight falls and the animals grab it, the interaction begins.
The art is beautiful, full of things to discover in the darkness. The illustrations really make you feel in the forest.
I would suggest to read it at night and with a flashlight!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Toby books


Toby and his family
Toby has a party
by Jozef Krivicka
illustrated by Marek Mertinko
age range: up to 5 years old

Happy Toby is a beautiful series for preschoolers. Toby is a sweet boy who, as any other little boy, looks for a happy childhood. The plot is simple, because the things that bring happiness to Toby are simple: a barbecue with his family and friends, a song played in the guitar, a nap in a homemade tent, a bike ride, a visit from his grandparents, spending time with his friends and pets, and this is probably the best thing about the stories. The rhymed prose is totally engaging.
The illustrations are amazing, funny and full of details to discover and enjoy. Even when you think the story has ended, there's one more picture of Sissy the kitty to make you laugh again. Mertinko is a talented illustrator.
I hope many more books will follow in this series!

I received this series from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Author's faves: Lisa Bakos

These are the five picture books Lisa Bakos, author or the beautiful rhymed story Too many Moose! chose for us. Three of them I read, and for them I added my own comments. I included the blurb in GoodReads for the other two. Enjoy!

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Miss Suzy's pleasant life in her house at the top of a oak tree is disrupted by six mean red squirrels who chase her away. She finds shelter in an old doll house, where she meets a group of tin soldiers, and this is the story of their friendship. Miss Suzy takes care of the soldiers during the winter, and they help her recover her house. This is beloved fifty years old classic, illustrated by the talented Arnold Lobel, and I am glad Lisa reminded me of it.
-Comment by Sandra-

Peggy by Anna Walker

Peggy has a very quite life in the farm. But one day the is flew away by the wind and ends in a big city. At first is nice to visit and learn about new things, but at some point she misses home... Will she know how to find her way back to it? Peggy discovers all the hints are in what she already knows. This is a cute story, and the illustrations done in ink are soft and beautiful.
-Comment by Sandra-

What do you do with an idea? by Kobi Yamada
illustrations by Mae Besom

What do you do with an idea? That's a very good question. One day you have an idea. You don't know exactly where it came from. At first you act as if it didn't exist, but if follows you. You worry about what other would think of it, and even give up on it. But then you realize you feel happy when you spend time with your idea, so you decide to feed it, and it grows, and grows, until it is part of everything. This is one of the best picture books I have read recently. Highly recommended for every one.
-Comment by Sandra-

Be nice to spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham

"When Billy left his pet spider, Helen, at the Zoo, the animals suddenly became happy and contented. The lions snoozed all day long, the elephants enjoyed their baths, and the zebras ate their hay in peace, all because Helen was spinning webs and catching flies.
But one day Helen's webs were swept away. The Keeper had the cages cleaned for the Mayor's inspection tour. Soon the flies were back again and the animals were miserable once more. But not for long...
Children will be fascinated and amused by the way Helen solved the problem and won a permanent place of honor for herself in the Zoo".
-From the GoodReads blurb-

How Joe the Bear and Sam the Mouse get together
by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

"The friendship of Joe the Bear and Sam the Mouse blossoms when they find something they both like to do"
-From the GoodReads blurb-

Thank you, Lisa!

Too many moose!

by Lisa Bakos
illustrated by Mark Chambers
age range: up to 6 years old

Martha did a lot of research before choosing a pet for herself, that's why it is not surprising at all the fact that she found the best pet ever: a moose! Having a moose is so much fun! They went to the movies, swung in the garden, and had some manicure. Martha felt so happy she decided to order more moose. The pool is so much fun with all these moose! What about ordering a few more? They ate spaghetti and baked muffins, so Martha thought "the more moose the merrier" and she ordered eve more moose!
And of course the obvious happened... Martha's house got crowded, dirty, noisy and messy. Maybe there is such thing as too many moose after all!

An amusing rhymed story, full of words beginning with m, and super funny illustrations. I would say if you enjoyed books like "If you give a mouse a cookie", you will probably have a good time reading this one to your little ones.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Rebecca's smile.

by Patrice Robinson

This is a touching story about a girl whose beloved aunt died. Despite the sad moment she is going through, with the help of her family she is trying to remember the things she loved about her aunt Rebecca, especially her smile, as a way of grieve in a healthy way.

I found this book a good trigger to talk to kids about a delicate topic as the loss of someone we love. I have seen other books where the death of grandparents is addressed, and I found interesting that Rebecca is actually a young person, so probably her death is less expected and more shocking.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I wonder

I Wonder: A Book for Children, Parents and Other Grownups - Jane Altman
A book for children, parents and other grown ups.
by Jane Altman
illustrated by Joan Chiverton

The first part of this book is a collection of poems, all beginning with "I wonder", and expressing with beautiful words and cadence many things a child would like to ask to different animals. The poems are really sweet, and we reread them a few times, since the their musicality is really enjoyable. This is the best part of the book without any doubt.
This part also includes a short story about some magic stones in a castle's wall. This magic is only see by children, though.

The second part counts with poems for parents and grow ups.

I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Manners are not for monkeys

Manners Are Not for Monkeys - Heather Tekavec, David Huyck
by Heather Tekavec
illustrated by David Huyck
age range: up to 6 years old

"When the old zookeeper moved the monkeys to a cage beside the picnic area, she didn't know the trouble it would cause." She certainly didn't have even a tiny idea... The monkeys started observing the kids, and learning their manners. Mother Monkey can't believe her eyes. Why are the monkeys chewing with their mouth closed, taking turns and tidying the cage? "Manners are not for monkeys! Try to behave like monkeys!" she yells.
One day it happened that a group of not very well behaved children visited the zoo, and they noticed right away the monkeys weren't behaving like they were supposed to. They started to show the monkeys how to swing, and screech, and scatter garbage all around... like monkeys. That's when the old zookeeper realized her terrible mistake. The children should be in the cage, and the monkeys outside!

The story is hilarious, and the illustrations totally added to the experience. Great option for a laugh-out-loud moment!

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The storybook knight

by Helen Docherty
illustrated by Thomas Docherty
age range: up to 6 years old.

"Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed.While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read". Here is the beginning of this beautiful picture book about Leo, who couldn't understand why knights must fight.
One day his parents send him to tame a scary dragon, armed with a shield and a sword. Leo loads lots of books too. In his way he crosses paths with a Griffin and a Troll, and both surrender to the storybooks smartly chosen by Leo, that have them as main characters.
Leo finally finds the Dragon, and he is fierce and enormous! It's true that Leo needs to read the dragons' storybook six times, but the Dragon not only quits fighting, he also helps to clean up all the mess he left in the town.

Such a cute story! The text in verse is totally enjoyable and the illustrations are absolutely lovely. Leo is the kind of character you fall in love with in the first page. What could be better than switch weapons for books? Surely a 5 stars!

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tanner wants to be cool

Cool Kind Kid, You Can be a "Cool Kind Kid" Picture Book Series-Book 1, Tanner Wants to be COOL! - Barbara Gilmour
Cool Kind Kid Series - Book 1
by Barbara Gilmour
illustrated by James J Dunn
age range: 3 years old and up

Tanner wants to be cool, but what is cool? Bullying and being mean and rude surely is not cool. Being nice, helpful, kind and polite is cool. Manners show us how to be cool, because respect for himself and others makes Tanner a really cool kind kid.

The premise of this series is that the best way of fighting bullying is preventing it. Training healthy social skills we break the incivility-bullying-violence circle. In other words, it's natural to keep watching that our kids are not being bullied, but it's also our responsibility to be sure we are not raising bullies.
This material was especially thought for schools, summer camps, etc, and includes music and suggested activities. However, it's not exclusive for groups, and it would do a great read for any kid at home.

I received this book from the author via Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Simon in the land of chalk drawings

Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings: Four Stories That Inspired the TV Series! (Dover Children's Classics) - Edward McLachlan
Four stories that inspired the TV series
by Edward McLachlan
age range: 3 to 5 years old

Every time Simon draws something with his chalks, his creation ends in the Land of Chalk Drawings. Simon discovers this fantastic land one morning on his way to school, when one stick boy he had drawn asks him to cross to the other side of the fence where his own drawings need some help. Once Simon is on the other side, the black and white picture turns colorful, and full of animals, trees, flowers, kids, a train, the sun, and even Simon's teacher.
This is the pattern in the stories. Simon draws in his board, and then he is called to fix some kind of problem or situation he has created with his new drawing. Unfinished drawings want to be completed. The drawings are being drilled non stop by Simon's soldiers. A dinosaur is terrifying everyone. Or the drawings are curious about this new object in the land, that happens to be the rocket Simon drew the night before. Simon always fixes the problem using his chalk, and resume his way to school after having some fun in the Land of Chalk Drawings.

The drawings are cute and the stories are funny. I would recommend to read the stories as four different picture books, since the repetition of the pattern could weaken the effect. But I'm sure that reading them in different moments would make a entertaining reading.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sign up here. A story about friendship.

Sign Up Here: A story about friendship (I'm a Great Little Kid) - Kathryn Cole, Qin Leng
by Kathryn Cole
illustrated by Qin Leng
age range: 6 to 10 years old

The kids at school seems to always find a reason for not allowing Dee-Dee to join their clubs. She can't join the Walking Club because she walks with a crutch. She can't join the Strong-arm Wrestling Club because she is a girl. She can't join the Pet-sitters Club because she doesn't own a pet. That seems very wrong. Friends are supposed to include you, not to leave you out.
Then is when the idea came to her. She invited her friends to join Friendship. Friendship is not a club, and it's for everyone. All that matters is to care, show respect, include others, be loyal, be kind, be giving, play fair.

Another great book in this series, this time emphasizing in the importance of care about other people's feelings, and how much better is to include instead of reject. Friendship should be healthy, if it is not healthy is not friendship neither.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rosie the raven

Rosie the Raven - Helga Bansch
by Helga Bansch
age range: 3 to 5 years old

There are 5 eggs in the raven's nest, and from one of them hatches out Rosie, a beautiful little girl.
Rosie loves be under her parents wings. She eats worms, flies and snails. She is happy and feels loved by her raven family. She only notices she's different because all the gossip other birds are doing. No beak, no feathers, no wings. She really wants to be like her siblings, so she tries everything she can think of, until she realizes how silly she is acting.
Migration time comes, and since Rosie can't fly, her parents practice to carry her in their backs. When they are ready, everybody heads to the south. Rosie loves their new home. She knows she is different, but that's not a bad thing. She can collect food too, and now she has a frog friend who promises to teach her to swim. Rosie feels she belongs.

I found the story a little weird at the beginning, with a girl hatching from a raven egg, but I quickly fell in love with Rosie and the ravens. I liked the message of acceptance behind the words of this story. Rosie and the ravens focus in what they have in common, and not in their differences, and the first thing they have in common is that they love each other. Rosie's differences look a lot like a disability at the beginning. She is in a nest placed in a high tree, and her family is getting ready to migrate, and of course Rosie can't fly. But her family finds a solution, because they love her. And at the end, Rosie not only finds out she is able to do things raven can do, like collect food, but she also can do things they can't, like swim. 
Beautiful story, and great illustrations too.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.