Friday, January 6, 2017

Wolfie & Fly

by Cary Fagan
illustrations by Zoe Si
age range: 7 to 10 years old
Tundra Books

Renata Wolfman likes only facts, to wear every day the same kind of clothes, and above all to spend time by herself. This is why she is called Wolfie at school. She doesn't have friends, and she does not understand why she would want to have one. Having friends requires "cooperation", "compromise", and "respecting other people's opinions", and Renata is perfectly fine with her own opinions. One afternoon, while building a huge submarine with a fridge box, Renata hears a desperate knock in the door, and when she opens it Livingston Flott is there, asking to go inside right away, since he is running away from his brother. Livingston is not only her neighbor. He also attends the same school as Renata, where he is called Fly for annoying people buzzing.  Renata expects Livinsgton to leave quickly, but when he sees her submarine, there is no way to make him go. Renata is not sure how but a few moments later they are both inside the submarine, packed with food supplies, traveling underwater. And to Renata's surprise... she is actually enjoying it!

Splendid beginning for a series! Renata is so lovable in her own way, and Livingston is such a cute character. The text is uncomplicated and full of humor. I loved all the imaginations involved in their adventure. The illustrations are a great complement to the story. I am already looking forward to more Wolfie and Fly's adventures.

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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Animals do, too!

by Etta Kaner
illustrations by Marilyn Faucher
age range: 4 years old and up
Kids Can Press

Kids love to pretend they are animals, and roar, walk on four legs, or move they arms like flying. For this reason I find the idea of this book incredibly interesting. Animals sometimes "act like kids", since they also dance, play tag or leapfrog, have piggyback rides. For each of these examples there is an explanation for this behavior. Grey Tree Frogs, for example, blow bubbles to build a nest on trees above water where they lay their eggs, allowing the tadpole to fall into the water when they hatch.

The illustrations are colorful and bright, and help to compare kids and animals doing the same activity. I liked that the kids are shown in different spaces, like a park, beach or their home, and accompanied by their family and friends. Each animal is also portrayed in its environment and surrounded by their own. Beautiful picture book. 

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The year of the garden

by Andrea Cheng
illustrated by Patrice Barton
age range: 6 to 9 years old
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The year of the garden is a prequel to The year of the book and the Anna Wang Series. In this novel Anna meets Laura who, like her, has just moved into the neighborhood. They like each other right away, but sometimes it is not that easy to be friends. Even being the same age and prospect of attending the same school at the end of the summer is not always enough. They like to do different things, and have different personalities. Sometimes the different cultural background plays its part too. But they learn to focus in what they have in common, and the importance to know more about each other to better understand their interests, fears and dreams. Making a garden and saving a little bunny prove to be amazing plans to do together. 

This short novel was a pleasure to read. The story is sweet, with lovely characters. It not only is funny, but it has simple facts about seeds, flowers, soil, bunnies, Chinese food and festivities, soccer, and specially friendship, and how some difficulties don't mean it is impossible. Friendship is something we build while growing in the process. And it's worth it. There are many cute illustrations along the pages, which make the layout of the book beautiful. Looking forward to read the rest of the series!

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