Monthly Archives: February 2012

Only a Witch Can Fly


Only a Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo is a sweet book for children with some rhyming and repetition.  It tells the tale of a little girl who wants to fly, even though only witches can fly.

The text is written in such a way that it almost suggests a sing-song or poem style reading.  In fact, the format is an old French poetry style called sestina.

“The dark night around you fills with Fly, fly
and bright yellow moonlight shines down.
Cat, by your side, purrs a gentle Bye, bye
and Owl stares up at a star, so far.”

The muted color palette and unique linoleum-block illustrations add a vintage look to this story.  The heavy use of black gives it an appropriately spooky feel.

The main character tries over and over again to fly, getting up on her broom but never quite getting off the ground!


This simple story about persistence and following your dreams is touching and beautiful, and can definitely be enjoyed by children and adults alike!

Happy Reading!

Elmer and the Kangaroo


This fabulous installment to the Elmer series brought back sweet memories of reading the original book as a child. Written by David McKee, the Elmer series centers around a brightly-colored patchwork elephant who must learn that being different is not bad and that there is power in laughter.

In this story, Elmer and friends come across a kangaroo who cannot jump very well. Every time he jumps, he falls over!

What’s worse, there is a jumping contest the next day. What will Kangaroo do? He says he can bounce, but thinks jumping is much too hard. Elmer tries to come up with a solution.

At the competition, with Elmer’s help, Kangaroo tries to think about bouncing, not jumping. Competition is tough; does he win?

Read this whimsical book to find out! The colorful illustrations will delight young readers and the sweet story may teach them a lesson about accepting others and learning to be confident.

You can purchase this book here:

Happy Reading!


I Want My Hat Back: By Jon Klassen



I Want My Hat Back is an adorable tale of a bear whose hat has gone missing.  The story is told strictly through dialogue between the bear and other animals he encounters on his search for his beloved hat. This story tells a tale of determination and perseverance when something is important you and to never give up looking.

Though the dialogue is simplistic, it fits the roles and purposes of the animal characters in this book perfectly. The different colored and repetitive dialogue makes it easy for kids to participate in the reading process. This picture book is filled with humor, both in the words and illustrations, that will be loved by both kids and adults.

Will the bear ever find his hat?

Follow him on this adventure and see if he is able to get his prized position back.

Happy reading and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!


Animal Tongues


Animal Tongues by Dawn Cusick

is a fun way to learn about different animals! From this book you can find out how crocodiles can live in salt water or the types of foods all kinds of animals like to munch on. But, of course, this book mostly talks about TONGUES! Who has the looooongest? Who has a one that is attached to the bottom of the mouth? And who has one with permanent sunburn? This book is great because it introduces facts that anybody can pull out during

, or just to sound really smart in a conversation. Everybody who reads the book will learn something new and have a good chuckle while reading about all the silly, but strategic, ways an animal uses their tongue. Teachers can use it to supplement any science lesson involving animals including ways animals protect themselves, survive in different conditions, and find things to eat. With the “test it out” activities scattered throughout the book, parents can easily bring science into their households. This book made me say huh, and ooooooh, and aaaaaaaaaaaah, and hahahaha on every single page!

Enjoy your day, read a book! ~Ali

Ruby in Her Own Time


Ruby in Her Own Time by Jonathan Emmett

This is a great book for young children. It tells a story of a little duck named Ruby and what her life is like growing up. Her siblings learn how to play, eat, swim, and fly a little bit sooner than Ruby does. The father duck is concerned about Ruby, but the mother ducks knows that Ruby will develop “in her own time.” 

The phrase, “In her own time” is repeated throughout the picture book. It teaches children about patience and understanding

This would be a great book to use in a school setting to teach about diversity in the classroom and equity. Not only is this book accessible to young readers, it’s perfect for older students and adults! This is one of my FAVORITE children’s books!

Happy Reading!


I Am Different! Can You Find Me?


I am Different! Can You Find Me?
by Manjula Padmanabman
ISBN: 978-1-57091-640-3

This wonderful new book by Manjula Padmahabman celebrates the differences that make us all special and unique! Each page focuses on a different language that is spoken somewhere around the world. These languages include well known ones, such as English, French, or Spanish, to ones that even I hadn’t heard of!

Each page of the book focuses on a different language. It gives a short background on where the language is spoken, how many people speak it, and what it is often used for, such as books or music. For some of the languages, it also offers words we commonly use in English that are derived from that language. For languages where there aren’t words kids would know, it teaches you how to say something in that language, such as counting from 1 to 5 or listing the colors of the rainbow.

Another great part of this book are the illustrations. Each page has a theme, and repeated images that all appear to be the same on first glance. For example, one page has a bunch of cats, another has colorful eggs, and another one has pictures of kites. While all of the images in the illustrations look the same, there is actuallyone on each page that is just a little bit different. Children will have a great time trying to find the one thing that is different on each page, while also learning a bit more about different languages from around the world!

Children and adults will enjoy this book for its educational value, as well as for its unique, colorful illustrations. Also, as an added bonus, when you purchase this book part of the proceeds will be donated to The Global Fund for Children! Not only does this book serve as a learning tool for children, it also helps children around the world! This new book is a must have for any classroom teacher or parent’s bookshelf.

Happy Reading! 😀


The Unruly Queen


In her newest book,The Unruly Queenauthor and illustrator Emily S. Redmond invites you into the world of Minerva von Vyle, “a thoroughly spoiled and impossible child!”

Minerva is a pushy, demanding, and out of control! She throws tantrums, won’t go to sleep when asked, and demands candy…for dinner!

In fact, she has already sent 52 nannies running and screaming from her house!

However, when the 53rd nanny comes… she crowns Miverva the Unruly Queen!

“A queen?” shrieked Minerva. “How perfect for me! I’m practically royal, as I’m sure you can see! I already have real diamonds and a private chauffeur, and I don’t have an issue with wearing real fur!”

Nanny  is quick to explain to Minerva, however, just what kind of place she will rule over…

 “But what sort of a queen lives with beasts in a cave?!”

The sort,” Nanny answered, “who never behaves.”

 What choice does Minerva have but to behave?!

Emily S. Redmond’s rhymes and detailed artwork, beautifully created with pen, ink, and water color, portray Minerva’s terrorizing personality and Nanny’s calm demeanor in a way that would entice any child and make them think twice before acting out ever again!

This book would be great to read out loud to children, as the rhymes really add to the book. The pictures also enhance the words, as the vibrant colors and ominous shadows draw you into the wonderful story!

To learn more about the author and illustrator (including information on her other fantastic creations) click here.

Happy Reading!


The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is one of those classic children’s books where you hear the name and say, “Oh! I love that book!”

 In case you forgot the plot, here’s an overview:

The story is about a beautiful Rainbow Fish. His dazzling, silver scales glittering in the water are the envy of all the sea. He is the most beautiful fish in the ocean.

However, the Rainbow Fish’s beauty has gotten to his head and when a small blue fish asks to have a single scale, the Rainbow Fish patronizes the fish for asking such a ridiclious question. Word of the Rainbow Fish’s rudeness spreads to the rest of the sea and soon, no one will play with him; even though he is the most beautiful fish in the water, now “he is the loneliest fish in the entire ocean.”

When he is swimming around the ocean all by himself, the Rainbow Fish comes across a mysterious octopus. The octopus tells his that the only way he will ever be happy again is to share his scales with all the other fishes.

The Rainbow Fish finally shares one scale, his smallest scale, with the Little Blue Fish…seeing the Little Blue Fish happily playing with the glittering scale, the Rainbow Fish is overcome with joy.

“The Rainbow Fish shared his scales left and right. And the more he gave away, the more delighted he became. When the water around him filled with glimmering scales, he at last felt at home among the other fish.”

He shares all of his scales until he only has one glittering scale left; though he is no longer the most beautiful fish in the ocean, he is now the happiest fish in all of the sea.

This is such a great story! It had beautiful illustrations and a lovely story- perfect to share with any little readers!

Keep on Reading!


Man Gave Names to All The Animals by Bob Dylan!


If you read the title and were wondering if this author was named after the legendary singer you would be incorrect. That is because the author IS the legendary singer Bob Dylan… sort of. There is a note to the reader on the first page of the book from the illustrator describing how he was influenced by Bob Dylan’s song “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” and drew a marvelous picture book from it.

The actual words in the story are quite repetitive and very simple, as on every other page a chorus of sorts is stated:
“Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning,
Man gave names to all the animals,
In the beginning, long time ago.”

Between these choruses there are cute descriptions of animals and how they got their names from humans. While the writing may not be revolutionary, since it was originally a song it flows well and is fun.

The real treats in this picture book come from the incredible illustrations. Rather than just showing the animals that Bob Dylan is describing, illustrator Tim Arnosky, crafts beautiful landscapes with tons of animals all around. It is easy to overlook certain animals because there are just so many. In all, there are over 170 animals depicted in the book.

However Arnosky’s attention to detail really stands out and his use of acrylic paint really brings the animals to life. The illustrations are fascinating, elegant, and original and are really what make this children’s book special. I think all of you would greatly enjoy it and it even comes with a copy of the original Bob Dylan recording of the song. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Dan Prager

Bonus: Link to Jason Mraz’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names to All the Animals:”

Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell


Me…Jane, written by “Mutts” comic strip artist Patrick McDonnell, is a wonderful story whose main character is based upon chimpanzee expert and anthropologist Jane Goodall.

This beautifully drawn picture book follows the adventures of Jane and her toy chimpanzee Jubilee, who she takes everywhere she goes.

Jane loves playing outside, especially if it’s with Jubilee.

Jane has many adventures and solves mysteries with Jubilee.

Jane dreams of a day when she can live among the animals in the wilderness.

Me…Jane is a wonderful, Tarzan-like story that will make any child’s dream of a time when he or she can live in the wild with animals more vivid and possible.

The pictures are simply drawn with very attractive colors that will attract children of all ages.

Not only is it a fun story for children, but as it is based on a real person, it will get children interested in non-fiction as well.