Monthly Archives: April 2013

This Is Not My Hat


Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen

“This Is Not My Hat” is a fun book to read.

In this book, a little fish steals a hat from a whale. The fish knows that stealing is bad. The fish thought the whale wouldn’t know he stole it because the whale was sleeping, but the whale woke up. The fish tells the crab that he’s hiding. The crab shows the whale where the fish is hiding, and the whale chases him and eats him.

This book would be good for kids five and up, and even little kids will love it. They will love it because of the story and the art. The lesson in the book is that stealing is bad. The artwork looks dark because it’s underwater, but it’s not scary.

Reviewed by Danny Viteri

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen


“Bobby is my special uncle. I don’t want him to get married.

 ImageChloe is a little guinea pig who has a wonderful relationship with her Uncle Bobby. Bobby and Chloe do everything together, until one day Bobby announces that he is getting married. Even though everybody else is really excited, Chloe is pouting. She thinks that Uncle Bobby won’t love her anymore once he gets married. But Uncle Bobby and his fiancée convince Chloe that she will ALWAYS be a special, important, unique part of their lives. Bobby asks Chloe to be their flower girl, and a reassured Chloe happily agrees.

            This beautifully illustrated story seems at first to be an obvious choice for any child going through a situation like Chloe’s, with a close relative getting married or having a child. However, this book has inspired as much controversy as it has comfort, because Uncle Bobby is marrying Jamie—another male guinea pig. The fact that the book features a nontraditional marriage upsets some parents, teachers, and literary associations. While it is important to keep in mind the religious, political, and social preferences of the children to whom you read this book, the story is a wonderful example of love that endures through transitions and cannot be replaced. 

ImageReviewed by Allison


And the dish ran away with the spoon….


This story starts out with the traditional nursery rhyme “hey diddle diddle” but then at the end of the rhyme the dish and the spoon run away and don’t come back! The rest of the characters don’t know what to do because they can’t dishbigread the story again the next night without them.  So they head out on an adventure to find their lost friend. The travel into the stories of many other traditional storybook characters on an epic journey. Will they be able to save the day? What happens to dish and spoon?

Kids will enjoy seeing something they know and are comfortable with (nursery rhymes) as part of a new spin off story that is created here.  It will also keep kids entertained and happy as they explore a new take on the old story. They will also love seeing some of the storybook characters they know well in a new story. What happens when the big bad wolf meets that cat and the fiddle? Will Jack be Nimble be able to save the day? Kids will love seeing these stories interact and come together! The colors of the pictures and the details are amazing and beautiful. They are vivid and colors engulf every part of each page. . This book would be great for kids ages 3-5 who loves traditional stories and love to laugh. It would go great in a classroom or at home, as long as the child has had some exposure to other books so that they can appreciate the irony and interwoven story in this one. Such a great treat to have on your bookshelf for a fun read.


– Janie

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?


This is the story of a little girl who asks her mom many questions about princesses. She wants to know if princesses are like everyone else. She asks if princesses follow the same rules, and even have the same quirks and flaws as she does. Her mom assures her that they do. In the end when she wants to know if princesses are like her, her mom encourages her to look inside and see that she is just who she is and that’s a princess.


In a world where little girls always want to be princesses and always want to be perfect, this book is a great lesson about individuality and embracing your flaws. It teaches little girls that they do not have to be perfect. They can have bad days, and they can make mistakes and be angry just like the girl in the book. It shows them that princesses are those who are true to themselves. It challenges the stereotype of princess that is so ingrained in the lives of young girls. This message is timeless for little kids, and coupled with the fun, sketched pictures and the easy rhymes, this is a great read for little ladies.  Parents and teachers could help little girls gain more from this book by discussing what makes the children unique themselves and emphasized how the girls do not have to be perfect or princesses. So buy this book for the unique little lady in your life.

Reviewed by Janie

If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay


This new release is the first book for author and artist, Elly MacKay.  Best known for her work with paper theater, MacKay makes a strong showing in the first book she has not only illustrated, but also written.  If You Hold a Seed is a tribute to the magic encapsulated in the smallest of seeds.  It follows a boy who plants a seed in the ground and starts to watch it throughout the seasons of sun, rain, cold, warmth, and waiting.  Each season finds the seed a little bigger and attracting a new creature to rest on it’s branches.  As the years pass and the child continues to wait on the growing tree, he also starts to grow rapidly himself.  At the close of the book, the child has grown into a man and the seed has grown into a large and strong tree.  The final illustration of the book depicts the man who planted the tree sitting with his own young son in the strong branches, presumably teaching him about the beauty and magic that the smallest seed can produce.

The illustrations are by far the strongest feature of this book.  MacKay originally entered the world of illustrations making tunnel books and focusing heavily on the effects that layers can have on a work of art.  The illustrations in If You Hold a Seed are also layered and complex.  The main character, the boy who plants the seed, is detailed and realistic, seeming to come straight from the pages of an old ‘I Spy’ book.  The addition of translucent layers, used in objects like umbrellas and the folds of a tent, makes the illustrations jump off the page in an almost three-dimensional fashion.  Not only is each page of this book beautiful, it is also extremely unique from most other illustrated books.  Children would be fascinated by this new medium that sets this book apart from the rest of the books they come in contact with.

hold a seed cover

This book would be wonderful to use in the classroom or at home, not only because of the illustrations, but also because of the message it conveys.  Wait, wait, and you will witness a simple kind of magic.  Especially in our world that puts such a heavy emphasis on instant gratification, this book tells the tale that not all things are best when received immediately.  Children will be fascinated by the illustrations, calmed by the rhythm and pacing, and taught or reminded through the underlying message.  A wonderful and unique addition to any bookshelf.

Reviewed by Sally Nichols

Axe Cop, by Malachai Nicolle


“Axe Cop” is an adventure comic book.

There are many, many stories of Axe Cop. Axe Cop is an adult superhero that fights crime and kills bad guys. The stories are numbered 1-8, and then there are new comics on the Axe Cop website.

The first story was my favorite. Axe Cop was a regular police officer that picked up an axe that he was walking by. That is how he became Axe Cop. He met Flute Cop in his office, and Flute Cop signed up to be a member of his team. During an adventure hunting dinosaurs, Flute Cop became Dinosaur Soldier. Chapter 2 is even longer, and the rest of the stories are really great even though they don’t always make sense.

Teenagers would like this book, and even ten-year-olds that would understand. They would like when Axe Cop answers questions in the book. Malachai Nicolle, the author, started writing the stories when he was five years old with the help of his big brother, who was 29. The book is great because it is created by the mind of a boy who is now eight years old.

Reviewed by Danny Viteri

Kids eating veggies- Little Pea


By Amy Krosse Rosenthal- Illustrated by Jen Corace

little pea


How many kids have to be bribed to eat their vegetables? Parents constantly have to bribe their kids to eat their vegetables. They hide them in food, they promise dessert, they threatened punishment. But kids still don’t seem to find eating their vegetables any fun. Well, that is not true for one little pea…



Little Pea is just like other kids. He loves to play and spend time with his little pea family. But unlike human kids, this little pea loves veggies! Sadly, little Pea’s parents tell him that he cannot have his dessert until he eats his dinner. But what is for dinner? Candy! Little pea cannot stand candy- Yuck!

“If you want to grow up to be a big, strong pea, you have to eat your candy” Papa Pea would say.


“If you don’t finish your candy then you can’t have dessert” Mama Pea would say.


Little Pea is determined to get his dessert, so he suffers through eating all 5 pieces of candy for dinner. And then to his pleasure, he gets his dessert.


What better for a little pea than spinach for dessert?


If you struggle to get your kids to eat their veggies, or have to bribe them with dessert, then this is the book for them. It will elicit laughs at the irony, and turns upside down the idea of eating well and what constitutes a treat and a healthy food. Help break food boundaries and entertain your own little peas with this wonderful book. Who knows, maybe you will inspire a kid to request spinach for dessert…

Creepy Carrots!


Written by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Something creepy has been happening to Jasper Rabbit ever since he started to eat the fat, crisp carrots in Crackenhopper Field. Jasper would return to the field all through out the day picking and eating as many carrots as he pleased, until they began to follow him. Jasper would see carrots in his bathroom, in his shed, and even in his room. He began to see creepy carrots everywhere! Although his parents tried to convince Jasper that there were no creepy carrots, he refused to believe otherwise. Jasper could not stand the creepiness any longer so he devised a plan to prevent the carrots from leaving the field.  He created a massive fence around the field and even built a moat around it just to be safe. Jasper’s plan had worked! The carrots could not escape and he no longer had the unsettling creepy feeling again. As for the carrots… their plan to be creepy had worked! They were safe in their field and Jasper would not return and eat them ever again.

As a Caldecott Honor, Creepy Carrots! will charm you with its originality and creepy illustrations.  The color contrasts throughout the story make it obvious for readers to spot those creepy, orange pops of color. The illustrations and funny colors make this book easy to enjoy and fun to read. Just remember not to upset the carrots because they may decide to be creepy.

Reviewed by Alexis Mayhall

Oldie But a Goodie – Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, by Ed Young


ImageIt is clear by simply flipping through this book why Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China, by Ed Young is a Caldecott winner.  Young tells Little Red Riding Hood in a way that will be fresh to most young American readers, but the illustrations are the best part: Young manages to insert the features of the wolf into the tranquil watercolor landscapes.  (see below)

In this telling, there are three little girls instead of one.  Their mother leaves them home alone for the night while she goes to visit their grandmother.  A hungry wolf overhears and, as soon as the mother is out of sight, knocks on the house, pretending to be the grandmother.  The girls are obviously confused, but are soon convinced that grandmother and mother simply missed each other on the road.  The wolf is clever: he blows out candles to keep himself hidden and explains his bushy tail and sharp nails by promising to weave baskets for the girls.  The oldest daughter guesses the wolf’s true identity, however, and lures him outside by describing the most delicious ginko nuts that will make the eater healthy and young.  The girls quickly scamper up the tree, but the wolf cannot follow.  They tell him that they’ll haul him up in a basket.  Gluttony clouding his judgement, the wolf agrees and the girls proceed to drop the wolf from higher and higher heights until he is dead. 

I like this version because the girls save themselves.  They are not reliant on a male rescuer in the form of a huntsman.  It is also fairly realistic, talking wolf aside.  He stays hidden in the dark instead of being unusually big-eyed and -eared.  No one has to be dramatically cut out of the wolf’s stomach, miraculously still alive.  All in all, this book is a deserving winner, entertaining and visually stunning.  Image


Make Way For Ducklings


Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey


As a child, Make Way For Ducklings was one of my favorite books.  I loved the story, the simple yet lifelike illustrations, but mostly (being from Boston) I loved going to the Public Garden and playing on the bronze duckling statues and feeding the ducks in the park peanuts.  In addition to being a remarkably talented award-winning author and illustrator, Robert McCloskey has the magical ability to write stories that intersect with the real lives of children.

I assumed that all children were raised to love this story but after talking with other students who work with children’s literature, I was surprised to find out that this was not the case.  While many of the locations and landmarks in this story will not be familiar to children from places other than Boston, this is still a classic story that all children will be able to love and appreciate.

The story begins with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard flying over Boston, looking for a place to settle and raise a family.  The ducks are pictured flying over the State House, exploring the Charles River, and ultimately settling down in the Public Garden along with their ducklings Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack.  Along the way, the Mallards befriend the Boston police force and become fixtures in the Public Garden for all Boston citizens to feed and observe.

This is a classic American animal story and a wonderful way for children to experience literature in real life.  McCloskey’s charcoal drawings appeal both to adults and children of all ages adn the story has sold over 2 million copies.  Families travelling to the Boston area should absolutely share this story with their children and, of course, plan a visit to the Boston Public Garden to pose for pictures on the infamous and beloved bronze duckling statues.



Reviewed by Emily Francis