Kids Book Reviews

Look
Woodcock, Fiona
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Ooh! While this book is about the trip a brother and sister make to the zoo, it’s also about words with the letter pair OO. It’s cool. It encourages you to look at balloons, kangaroos, and more, just look!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Book Review: Chihuawolf
Ganny, Charlee
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This is a cute book about a chihuahua that wants to become a werewolf to impress the dog he loves. Paco is brave but diminutive, with the heart of a lion. His small stature keeps him from being a proper suitor for his love, an Afghan hound. Determined to win her love, he goes on an adventure, looking for a werewolf. But when his love gets dognapped, Paco and his friends spring into action to save her. Along the way, Paco learns that it's not size that matters, but what is in his heart.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
The Favorite Daughter
Say, Allen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is amazing and empowering! It is a great children's book about how to have pride in your culture. Good book for girls and boys! A must read!

Reviewer's Name: Aisha
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Medina, Meg
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears just won the esteemed Newbery Award last month. Merci is a new sixth grader attending a private school. Her Cuban family lives in three small houses that sit in a row. Grandparents, aunt, twin nephews, mom, dad and brother are part of Merci's daily life for better or for worse. Merci's schoolmates, however, are mostly mean to her, maybe because Merci does not come from the same affluent neighborhoods with pools and parks galore. Merci Suárez Changes Gears is a gentle story of how Merci's sweet family and school intersect, all while Merci is growing and changing. In fact, Merci's household is changing quickly and somehow Merci has to learn to change gears to keep up.

Reviewer's Name: Betty
The Rough Patch
Lies, Brian
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Evan and his dog did everything together. They shared many adventures and created a beautiful garden, but when the dog passes away Evan is devastated. The Rough Patch, by author/illustrator Brian Lies, would be a wonderful place to begin a discussion about death and grief with young children. Children and adults will identify with Evan and how he works through his sorrow. This beautifully written and illustrated picture book for ages 3 - 10 is a 2018 Caldecott Honor winner.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Awards:
Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale
Lloyd-Jones, Sally
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

My boys and I loved reading this book over and over. The story line begins with Doreen the fish heading off on an adventure to visit a family member. She ends up where she wanted but there were many unusual adventures along the way. We laughed at the cleverness of the author's story and enjoyed learning some of the alphabet that was hidden the illustrations. The pictures really enhanced the story and the kids interacted with the story as we read. It was delightful!

Reviewer's Name: Julie
Hello Lighthouse
Blackall, Sophie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

From the cutaway of the inside of a lighthouse to the rescue of shipwrecked sailors, Hello Lighthouse, a beautifully designed book by Sophie Blackall, is sure to fascinate children and the adults who read to them! Intriguing illustrations and information illuminate the daily life of lighthouses and their keepers. Hello Lighthouse is the 2019 Caldecott Medal winner. It is just right for repetitive readings for children ages 4 - 10.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Awards:
The Patchwork Bike
Clarke, Maxine
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Mom is fed up with her rambunctious kids but somehow she silently supports their active play as they build a bike out of junk and proceed to ride it up and down, all around and even through the house. Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Than Rudd is a vivacious celebration of childhood play. The illustrations are created with paint on a cardboard box and the texture and motion they create is the perfect complement to the sparse but active text. Take a look at the end papers to see how a stroke of paint can create vibrant motion. This is a fun read for kids 3 – 7.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Awards:
Meet Yasmin!
Faruqi, Saadia
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and Hatem Aly, is an innovative pick for readers age 5 - 8. It is chock-full of colorful illustrations that support the simple but intriguing text. This early chapter book tells the tale of spunky, creative Yasmin and her family as they move through everyday situations. The familiar settings will help young readers decipher new or difficult words as they read. The back matter of the book contains a page of discussion questions, a glossary of Urdu words, information on Pakistan, crafts to explore and a recipe for a yummy drink.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Awards:
Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon
Slade, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the book, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Suzanne Slade and Thomas Gonzalez have created a gorgeous non-fiction book about Project Apollo and all the people who made the moon landing possible. Lush illustrations combine with informative free verse in this book for children age 10 - 14. There are photos, a selected bibliography, and website list in the back of the book.

Reviewer's Name: Barbara
Awards:
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree
Bernstrom, Daniel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Talk books are fun and easy to use. Great for literacy!

Reviewer's Name: Aisha
Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

You know, it’s difficult to review a book that already highlights its flaws in the text itself. Part of me wonders if the reviews from the second book in the series were bad enough to warrant this kind of meta self-awareness. In the end, while Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia does take the time to address these weaknesses in its story and characters, it still doesn’t excuse the fact that they’re in there in the first place. These winking soliloquies seem to gloss over the fact that the book knows what’s wrong with it, but instead decides to gloss over it with self-reference instead of fixing the root of the problems themselves.

By this point in the series, I have come to terms with its middle-grade silliness and occasional bathroom humor. I loved the rule-breaking first book in the series, only to become annoyed by this constant fourth-wall breaking that happened in book two. By book three—this book—I finally came to terms with the fact that I’m not the target audience for this book, despite how well-written it is and how intricately its fantasy world has been created.

Perhaps due to my acceptance of this series for what it is, I felt the plot and character development were better in this part of the series—even if it did seem to trend toward “after school special” territory more often than not. Not only did we get to see more of Alcatraz’s parents (although, not nearly enough in my opinion), there was a lot more world-building that helped to flesh out this strange land introduced in previous volumes. Plus, the character who was a former librarian was (and is) probably my favorite character in the series right now.

More of the same self-aware silliness from Brandon Sanderson, I give Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin W.
Genres:
Covered in Water
Lawrence, Ellen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

If you’re looking for a good introduction to the study of water, this may
be the book for you. You’ll learn about the water on earth – salt &
fresh. You’ll learn where our water comes from and why it’s limited, how
rivers are formed, and frozen water. You’ll also learn about the water
cycle. Try the experiment at the end of the book and resolve to use water
wisely.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Over on the Farm
Berkes, Marianne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Over on the Farm can be sung to the traditional tune “Over in the
Meadow.” Through it, children can learn language, counting, and movement.
The activities at the end of the book help children interact with the farm
in a variety of ways. Information provided teaches about the various animals
mentioned.

Reviewer's Name: Carol
My Little Gifts: A Book of Sharing
Witek, Jo
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

There are so many different ways to give. This interactive book - with flaps
to open on each page - explores many of them. It also talks about sharing,
sibling rivalry, and collaboration. Learn about the importance of giving and
receiving gifts from the heart!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO
Buckley, Danielle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Does your child love LEGO? This book offers a variety of ways to
build on their interest to inspire learning. From simple math activities and
reading readiness to complicated STEM challenges, this book has something for
learners of all ages!

Reviewer's Name: Carol
Genres:
King of the Wind
Henry, Marguerite McCallum
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The book, King of the Wind, is a lovely story about a horse and his master. The connection between Sham, the horse, and Agba, a boy, is focused upon during the book, and the author certainly created something special.

The characters are decently developed, but the connections between characters are much better. The setting of the book is also quite unique and fits well with the story. It's more than just a classic horse story. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone, as it's a pretty quick read and a great book.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Sounder
Armstrong, William H.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, Sounder, is a great read. While it is a short read, it packs a powerful punch. The only reason I could really no like the book was that it does get to a be a cliche "dog story" at times. The characters are pretty well developed, and the story does get very dark. The multiple ongoing conflicts also captivate the reader. While its sort-of a children's book, the book also does have some cool underlying themes that the reader can pick out.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone, as its quick and phenomenal read.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
The One and Only Ivan
Applegate, Katherine Castelao
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate is about a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives at a mall and video arcade told from his perspective.
Ivan has other animal friends that include an old elephant named Stella who is sick and in pain. He goes through a lot of things with his friends but he still wants to go somewhere with other gorillas because he thinks he is the only gorilla he will ever know. The mall almost closes until a new baby elephant arrives. At the mall the elephants are mistreated and Ivan and Stella don't like that another elephant will be hurt. Time goes on until Stella becomes very sick. The mall downplays her illness until she can no longer do the tricks, so doctors come to help Stella get better. In the end all the animals including Ivan go to a zoo where they are treated better and are with other animals.

I would recommend this book. It is very heartwarming but at the same time sad. I cried multiple times while reading "The One and Only Ivan". I chose to read this book because I read it before in third grade and wanted to read it again. Obviously, I could not relate to the characters who were animals. The ending is surprising and the book isn't predictable.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
Genres:
Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Hische, Jessica
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This beautifully hand-lettered book encourages kids to be adventurous,
strong, smart, curious, creative, confident, and brave. It also persuades
them to keep trying and not to worry if they haven’t been able to
accomplish all of those things today. They can realize that they don’t
have to be all of those things, but they can try their best.

Reviewer's Name: Carol

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