Tag Archives: children’s

Enzon Races in the Rain

Enzo Races in the Rain! Book Cover Enzo Races in the Rain!
Garth Stein
Juvenile Fiction
October 7, 2014

[Enzo Races in the Rain!; TR 9780062295330] New York Times bestseller Garth Stein's picture book debut about the lovable dog Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain is a heartwarming tale of coming home. Fans of Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan and Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond will delight in Enzo's unforgettable personality and funny antics. Enzo the puppy's action-packed adventure begins when he makes the journey from the farm to the city (bark twice for faster!), discovers just how big the world is, and finds the family that was meant to be his. Life on the farm is pretty quiet—except when he races the cars that come down the barn road. Because Enzo is fast. He knows he's different from other dogs. But people never understand Enzo when he barks, and it drives him crazy! Then one day Enzo meets a little girl named Zoë and her father, Denny, and everything changes. R. W. Alley's fantastic illustrations bring the beloved Enzo to life as he learns to adapt to life in his new home and discovers just what it means to become a family.



I loved “Enzo Races in the Rain.”  The illustrations are fun and the story is fleshed out enough that it will make a good story time choice or bedtime story for older kids.  The illustrations will keep all but the youngest involved.  It’s also nice to read about Enzo without sobbing at the end!

Yak and Dove

Yak and Dove Book Cover Yak and Dove
Kyo Maclear, Esme Shapiro
Juvenile Fiction
Tundra Books (NY)
September 19, 2017

Sometimes the unlikeliest friends form the greatest friendships. A funny, charming picture book from a dynamic duo.

Friends Yak and Dove are complete opposites. Yak is large and Dove is small. Yak has fur and Dove has feathers. Yak is polite. Dove is ill-mannered. Yak likes quiet. Dove likes noise. One day as Yak and Dove list their differences they come to the conclusion that maybe they aren't meant to be friends. In the hope of finding a new best friend, Yak holds auditions. But when a small feathered contestant sings Yak's favorite song, the two begin to think that maybe they are alike after all . . .

Yak and Dove whimsically captures the highs and lows of friendship through the three interconnected tales of two very different friends.



“Yak and Dove” may be my new favorite children’s book ever.  The story of friendship, both the ups and downs, is beautiful.  The artwork is stunning.  It’s the type of work that I want to hang all over the house.  This is sure to be a classic and I encourage anyone with children in their lives (or without) to pick up a copy.  I’ll be picking up several.

Five (hundred) enthusiastic stars!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Mom and Mum Are Getting Married

Mom and Mum are Getting Married! Book Cover Mom and Mum are Getting Married!
Ken Setterington, Alice Priestley
Juvenile Fiction
January 1, 2004

Rosie is surprised to find her Mom dancing alone in the living room, but when Mom announces, “Your Mum and I are getting married!” they can’t wait to start planning the big day. Friends and family come together for a celebration of love.



It’s so wonderful to see a book about same-sex marriage that presents it to children as absolutely nothing other than a regular wedding… which it is.  There are no judgmental family members and it’s a regular party after the simple wedding.  Be aware that it is a bit wordy for a picture book so take that in consideration for your child’s attention span.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Bronze and Sunflower

Bronze and Sunflower Book Cover Bronze and Sunflower
Cao Wenxuan
Juvenile Fiction
Candlewick Press
March 14, 2017

Originally translated: United Kingdom: Walker Books UK, 2015.



While meant for children, “Bronze and Sunflower” is a beautifully written book about the cultural revolution in China during the 1960s-70s that any age group can enjoy and learn from.  The culture becomes alive, helped by the fact that it is translated into English.  Everything rings true and authentic.  I wish there were more books this good about other cultures.  Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow Book Cover The Bone Sparrow
Zana Fraillon
November 1, 2016

"Indispensable."-Booklist (starred review)

Subhi is a refugee. He was born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, and the center is the only world he knows. But every night, the faraway whales sing to him, the birds tell him their stories, and the magical Night Sea from his mother's stories brings him gifts. As Subhi grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of the fences that contain him. Until one night, it seems to do just that.

Subhi sees a scruffy girl on the other side of the wire mesh, a girl named Jimmie, who appears with a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, Jimmie asks Subhi to unravel her family's love songs and tragedies that are penned there.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort-and maybe even freedom-as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before and made choices that could change everything.



There are not enough stars to give “The Bone Sparrow.”  Even a thousand would be insufficient.

Subhi, the main character, is a child born inside an Australian detention camp to a Burmese refugee.  The way the story progresses is a work of art, with the reader taking the journey with Subhi as he grows to realize the only world he has ever known is not at all normal or fair.  It’s a painful path to take with him.  There are occasional chapters written in third person about the life of Jimmie, a girl from the outside.  She provides both her own story and a way to see the contrast of what people think goes on and what actually happens inside of the camps.

The book is written for middle graders and does an excellent job of presenting very difficult subjects at an appropriate reading level without sugar-coating any of the horror.  I believe any age group ten and up should read “The Bone Sparrow,” but the fact that children can learn from the lessons contained within it gives me hope for the future of humanity.

Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Violence, Abuse

Breaking Cat News

Breaking Cat News Book Cover Breaking Cat News
Georgia Dunn
Andrews McMeel Publishing
May 10, 2016

This just in: Three adorable house cats are reporting the most hilarious breaking news! Based on author/illustrator Georgia Dunn’s real life pets, Elvis, Lupin, and Puck strap on neckties and pick up microphones to provide the most up-to-date relevant news stories (at least according to them).

Cats reporting on the news that matters to cats with stories such as The Vacuum Cleaner Is Back!, The Woman Is Cooking Bacon!, and The Ceiling Cats Are Everywhere Tonight! Cynical, no nonsense Elvis and shy, sweet, sensitive Puck are the reporter kitties in the field, while the adventurous jokester Lupin serves as anchor cat. Together they break headlines on the food bowl, new plants, mysterious red dots, strange cats in the yard, and all the daily happenings in their home.



Oh how I loved “Breaking Cat News.”  I still have a smile on my face just thinking about it and am going to buy a physical copy the next time I am in a bookstore.  Any cat lover is sure to see their own cats in the news team, and it will make a perfect gift for anyone in your life that needs some cheering up.  It’s also appropriate for children and is sure to get everyone laughing together.  Highly recommended!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Little Chickies

Little Chickies Book Cover Little Chickies
Susie Jaramillo
April 1, 2016
Board Book
25 pages

"Los Pollitos Dicen," or "Little Chickies Squeal" is one of the most popular songs in the Spanish speaking world, akin to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in English. This English adaptation of the song is as catchy and lyrical as the Spanish version and sure to engage new audiences not familiar with the original song. The song is an homage to the demanding nature of babies and the unconditional love, care, and warmth given to them by their mommies.



“Little Chickies” is an adorable board book that introduces Spanish or English, depending on the child’s native language, in a simple and easily accessible way.  The story is told in both languages, one following the other, with the same illustrations in each version, allowing children to easily see the connections.  On top of that, there is a download available of the story being read.  Very cute and inventive!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Almost A Full Moon

Almost a Full Moon Book Cover Almost a Full Moon
Hawksley Workman
Songs, English
Tundra Books (NY)
September 6, 2016

Almost a Full Moon is a warm-hearted story of family, community, food and home. A boy and his grandmother host a gathering in their small cabin in the middle of winter. Friends travel from near and far, and some new friends even turn up. The walls of the cabin are elastic and the soup pot bottomless; all are welcome. Based on the lyrics of Hawksley Workman's song from his holiday album Almost a Full Moon, this book evokes both the cold and the coziness of a winter's night: crisp clean air, sparkling snow, the light of the moon, welcoming windows, glowing candles, family and friends. The spare text is beautifully complemented with the rich illustrations of Jensine Eckwall, a new talent to Tundra. She brings beauty and a hint of magic to Workman's evocative lyrics; together, they create a world and a night that will enchant readers of all ages.



The story and the pictures in “Almost a Full Moon” were cute, but somehow they didn’t seem to mix together in just the right way.  It’s still a nice little book.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Ooko Book Cover Ooko
Esme Shapiro
Penguin Random House Canada
July 5, 2016

Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected!
A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.



“Ooko” is an adorable picture book about a fox learning the beauty of just being yourself.  The simple wording and quirky illustrations will keep children both young and old entertained.  I found myself laughing out loud at Ooko’s sense of humor and little bit of sass.  Highly recommended!

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah Book Cover Yitzi and the Giant Menorah
Richard Ungar
Tundra Books (NY)
September 6, 2016

On the eve of Hanukkah, the People of Chelm have received a special gift from the Mayor of Lublin. A giant menorah in which they place in the square for all the admire. Every night, the villagers meet to watch the lighting of a candle on the menorah. And every night, the villagers ponder What is the most fitting way to thank the Mayor of Lublin?

The villagers come up with idea after idea, but their gift never quite reaches the Mayor. What will they do? Finally, on the last night of Hanukkah, Yitzi has an idea to orchestrate the surprise thank you gift.



“Yitzi and the Giant Menorah” is absolutely gorgeous.  The illustrations may be my favorites that I have ever found in a children’s book.  It’s filled with color, and the pages can also be seen as a “hide and seek” type game to find objects contained on all of the pages.  The story is also beautiful and engaging.

It’s a whimsical story that focuses on many of the traditions of Hanukkah.  Books for Jewish children can sometimes be difficult to find.  However, it’s also a good book for those who aren’t Jewish!  Churches can use it to teach Old Testament traditions, and anyone can use it to expand cultural awareness.  An added bonus is a short summary of how Hanukkah came to be on the last page.

I’m going to be buying several copies as gifts for all ages this coming holiday season.  I only wish I could frame the artwork without needing to destroy a book.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.