Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Abigail the whale

by Davide Cali
illustrations by Sonja Bougaeva
age range: 4 to 8 years old
Owlkids Publishing

Abigail hates to swim. She always tries to be the last in the line, because she knows what is coming. When she dives in her body, which she sees large, big, and heavy, makes a huge wave, and everybody starts saying "Abigail is a whale!". Oh, how she hates to swim!
Things changes the day her swimming teacher tells her that "we are what we think", and that if she wants to swim light, she has to think light. Abigail decides to give it a try, and actually when she thinks water she feels liquid, and she is not scared anymore when she thinks giant. Next Wednesday is time to try it in the pool. Can Abigail do it?

The story has an interesting approach to the topic of bullying. We don't have to accept what others say about us as the truth. It is much more important the way we feel about ourselves. Abigail is adorable, and she looks beautiful in these amazing illustrations. My 3 years old son wanted to look a thousand times to the picture of Abigail swimming underwater, and I can perfectly see why. It just makes you feel like swimming! Abigail learns what a great swimmer she can be when she just think that this is possible, and this is a wonderful message. She can also be a whale if she feels like splashing some naughty kids. :)

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Armstrong. The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

by Torben Kuhlmann
age range: 7 to 10 years old
NorthSouth Books

Armstrong is a little mouse who wanted to show the rest of the mice that the moon wasn't a ball of cheese. He works untiringly to understand the concepts involved in space travel, and after that in creating a safe rocket ship. Despite the obstacles Armstrong never gives up, until his dream comes true. 

This is a picture book for older kids who are independent readers. It can also work for reading aloud to some younger kids interested in the topic since the text is not extremely challenging, but in this case I see its length as an issue. In any case the quality of the book is worth a try. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful. The story is full of them, detailed and expressive. I also includes many rocket sketches that I really loved. I read Moletown by Kuhlmann some time ago, and I am still impressed by his talent as an illustrator. At the end of the book "A Short History of Space Travel" is included. A book to own. 5 stars.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Never follow a dinosaur

by Alex Latimer
age range: 4 years old and up
Peachtree Publishers

Joe and Sally found some strange footprints in the kitchen floor, and all the evidence points to a hungry, heavy, dancing and swimming dinosaur. They have worked very hard building a perfect dinosaur trap. Will it work?

Lovely story with lovely characters. They know the footprints were made by a dinosaur despite their father saying dinosaurs are extinct, and they are confident of being capable of catching it if they succeed in making the perfect trap. So when the unthinkable happens none of them are surprised. They knew it all along, didn't they? Wonderful illustrations and refreshing text make a funny story about curiosity, perseverance and imagination. 

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The green umbrella

by Jackie AzĂșa Kramer
illustrated by Maral Sassouni
age range: 3 years old and up
NorthSouth Books

Elephant loves his green umbrella. He perfectly remembers all the times it has sheltered him from the rain and from the sun, and also all the times he has pretended the umbrella was a sword, a baseball bat, or a balancing pole. But now hedgehog believes the umbrella is his boat. Cat believes it is his tent. And bear believes it is his flying machine. Elephant is sure they are wrong, but he doesn't mind to share his umbrella with them.

Delightful pictures illustrate this cute story about friendship and sharing. All the animals claim to own the green umbrella, but at the same time all of them are quick to share it. Gathered under the umbrella they drink tea, share stories, and build a strong friendship. Sweet story, beautiful message, excellent book. I will keep an eye for sure on future works by this author and this illustrator!

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Groundhog's runaway shadow

by David Biedrzycki
age range: 3 years old and up

Phil Groundhog used to think that having a shadow was cool. Shadow jumped with him, laughed with him, sang with him. But now that Phil grew up, he and Shadow don't seem to have too much in common anymore. Phil likes to eat dandelions, Shadow tacos. Phil like to spend his vacations in a local beach, Shadow wants to see the world. The worst is that sometimes Shadow embarrasses Phil in front of his friends. Why can't Shadow be like any other shadow? Phil has had enough. He is so angry he wished Shadow would go away. And Shadow went away. Phil feels so alone... Searching for Shadow around the world sounds scary, but Phil has to find him.

This book is so silly and funny! A serious and responsible groundhog trying to hold at bay his irreverent shadow makes a totally enjoyable read. It makes you want to play with your shadow again. The characters are lovable. The story is told with short sentences and few words, the illustrations playing an important role. A great read if you are looking to just have some fun.
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Superheroes don't wear glasses

by Jacqueline Waterhouse
illustrations by Gabi Carr
age range: 4 to 7 years old
Waterhouse Books

A few months ago we read and rated Princesses don't wear glasses. Superheroes don't wear glasses is a new book in the series, and it is also addressed to kids who are going through their usually hard first days wearing glasses. 

Alfie knows he needs to wear glasses. He has chosen a very cool pair, blue with silver sea creatures. But he still doesn't want to wear them. None of his friends wear glasses, and even most important, superheroes don't wear them. This changes when Alfie receives the visit of Jason, a pixie boy from the Land of Power, who leads him to an unforgettable adventure. Alfie not only will discover many things he was missing because of his short sight, but he will also meet Superhero Spectacus, the most coolest, strongest and powerful superhero who, of course, wears glasses. 

This book will talk to kids (not only boys) interested in superheros, and avid for look like one of them. The story will help to talk about the concerns a kid might have about wearing glasses, and ease the experience giving a different look on it. 

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The branch

by Mireille Messier
illustrated by Pierre Pratt
age range: 3 years old and up
Kids Can Press

It wasn't just a branch. It was her ship, a castle, her throne, her spy base. That's why when the branch falls during a heavy storm, the girl doesn't want to let it go. She wants to keep it for ever. Mom doesn't like the idea. Thankfully Mr. Frank, her next door neighbor, sees the branch's potential. Her branch can become something great after all. Together they work for a long time on the branch until it is ready to be again a ship, a castle, a throne, a spy base.

I liked many things about this story. I liked all the imagination involved in the girl's (screen free) games, and the love she has for those memories. I liked all the talk about potential, finding a new purpose for the branch, transform it in something great, new but still her branch. I liked the beautiful relationship that grows between her and Mr. Frank. I find cute and important to recognize what elderly people has to give to little kids. They have the time and knowledge to share, and this story, like others I have read recently such as Harry and Walter and Maggie McGillicuddy's eye for trouble, make a point of it. The illustrations are colorful and bright, and in them the branch never looks like just a branch. 

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Almost a full moon

by Hawksley Workman
illustrated by Jensine Eckwall
age range: 3 years old and up
Tundra Books - Penguin Random House Canada

It's a cold and wintry night. The almost full moon reflects in the snow making everything bright. A boy and his grandma are preparing soup in their cabin to fight the cold. There are sticks to pick, a fire to light, and vegetables to cut. Lots of soup are needed, since it is going to be shared with all the people they know, and all they don't.

This picture book is based on the lyrics of a Workman's song "Almost a Full Moon" from his holiday album with the same name. The rhymed text reads fluid and effortless, and the illustrations are delicate and cozy. Beautiful bedtime story.

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