Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!
I mentioned in a previous #imwayr post that we lost our border collie back in early October. It was difficult to put her down and we didn’t think we were ready to commit to a new fur baby. However, last week we made the decision to foster a sweet puppy. We said she would have a home for the holidays and that we would just see how it goes while the dog rescue tries to find her a home. Her name is Cocoa and she’s actually pretty chill for being a chihuahua. And she’s SUCH a cuddler! We’re going to give it a couple weeks before deciding on whether to fully adopt, but after just five days with her the kids are pretty ga-ga. Anyway, here we are with Cocoa, in all our bedhead glory, on Christmas morning:
Thank you for visiting today! I’m publishing this post later than I ever have before, due to Christmas events. So I’m just going to do super short reviews of my reading this week. As always, I hope any late visitors will find something of interest to add to your reading wish list!
Hazel’s Theory of Evolution
Lisa Jenn Bigelow
October 8, 2019
You know what? This book was way more EVERYTHING than I expected. I realize it is classified as middle grade literature, but I would say it’s intended for older middle graders as well as the YA crowd. There’s just a little language (ex: damn) and some younger kids may be all giggly in a class read aloud where the word “teets” keeps being mentioned (they live on a goat farm where goats are milked regularly). One of Hazel’s moms has experienced two miscarriages and so there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty when the family discovers she’s pregnant again near the beginning of the book. I don’t want to say too much about the storyline, but Hazel is figuring out who her friends really are while also discovering what it is to be a good friend to someone new. The story has Jewish, transgender, and queer rep AND Hazel loves science, so there’s a lot of STEM strewn throughout. This may be my final 5-star rating for 2019 — really enjoyed it!
The Speed of Falling Objects
Nancy Richardson Fischer
October 1, 2019
Danny Warren has been raised by her single mother for most of her life. In this story, her absentee TV star father reaches out to ask for her to go on a trip with him to help while he films another documentary. Danny quickly learns that a teen movie star will be going along, but his presence is not what it appears to be. The main story is kickstarted when their airplane crashes in the middle of the Amazon forest. Everyone who made it out of the crash alive must band together to survive countless dangers. But uniting means trusting. Can they get out of this mess alive?
I loved Fischer’s When Elephants Fly, so I was quite eager to read this one. It was very engaging and so hard to put down. There was one incident near that end that I found highly unlikely, but it didn’t ruin the story — just made me wish I’d read this one in a book group so that I could talk it out. Anyway, I’d give this one 4-stars and I’ll continue to keep my eye on Nancy Richardson Fischer!
Marty Rhodes Figley
Marty Kelley, illustrator
September 1, 2016
Sleeping Bear Press
Santa is preparing for a long ride on Christmas Eve. Alas, he cannot find his red Christmas underwear!! He looks everywhere without luck, but eventually Rudolph and the Reindeer Crew come to his aid. This one is sure to have young children giggling as Santa scrambles to get dressed!
I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the artwork in this book:
Marcin Piwowarski, illustrator
May 7, 2019
Julian’s little brother, Clancy, learns very quickly that he needs to call dibs on anything he wants. He calls dibs on his parent’s bed, but that’s when things start to go crazy. Clancy calls dibs on a bakery, on an airplane, and even on NASA when he ends up blasting off into space. This leaves Julian happy, having all his parent’s attention again. But eventually he must go into outer space to meet aliens and find his brother. This story is really “out there” if you know what I mean! 🙂
The illustration for this book were created with Photoshop, Painter, and Procreate. I’ll provide one example, below:
Holly Hatam, illustrator
April 23, 2019
In the same spirit of Amy Rosenthal’s Dear Girl, this picture book companion shares so many of the important things to remember, to do, and to experience during boyhood. ❤ The bright and ever changing artwork in this book was created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:
Small in the City
September 3, 2019
Neal Porter Books
The young child in this book is “small in the city.” And cities can be dark and loud and scary, so the book showcases a number of scenarios and offers advice on how to find your way. While the snowstorm appears to rage until the very end, the reader is left with a hopeful feeling — there’s always safety at home. Contemplative is the best word to describe this book. It will provide meaningful discussion after the last page. The artwork was created using ink, watercolor, and a bit of gouache. I’ll provide on page spread as an example of what to expect, below:
Matthew A. Cherry
Vashti Harrison, illustrator
May 14, 2019
What an adorable picture book. Years ago, I once ran a hair blog with my oldest daughter. She was about 5 years old and we tried to share two hair styles a week. It was an opportunity for me to experiment and for us to document our hair journey. We would have LOVED to read and share this book with our hair blog readers back then!! In the story, a young girl named Zuri has wild hair with a mind of its own. But today, Zuri wants her hair to look perfect. Her father tries several ideas out and after a number of trials and errors, they eventually figure it out, together. So precious!! The adorable artwork really brings this one to life. The illustrations were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
AWARDS: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2019)
January 22, 2019
This is a cute little dragon story with a play on words. The dragon in the story is afraid of the knight. While the boy, Georgie, is afraid of the night. Together they attempt to resolve one another’s fears. And after their adventure, we’re met with a sweet, happy ending. The artwork was rendered with brush, pen, and ink on cotton rag paper and then colored digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
This nonfiction picture book will be especially wonderful for a child expecting a new sibling. Each page spread features a new month in the growth of a baby in utero. The back matter includes 5 extra pages of more detailed information, including a selected bibliography. How did I not know Jason Chin was the illustrator for this book?! WOW – the artwork is absolutely lovely! The illustrations were created with watercolor and gouache on paper. I’ll provide one example below:
AWARDS: Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2019)
To Be Read:
I have no idea what to place, here. Ever since the weekend we’ve had constant family activities and I’ve had practically NO time to read. We’ve been busy watching movies, playing games, cooking/baking, going to the movie theater, attending the ballet, etc. But I do hope to read a few more picture books in my pile and I plan to finally review I, Cosmo some time later this week. I also started listening to The 12th Candle last week, so it would be great to get to finish that one!