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 posted last week’s #imwayr post a few days late, so I wanted to mention that I reviewed The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner. You can learn more about that new middle grade historical fiction series RIGHT HERE in case it is new to you.
This week I decided to have some fun reading different Why? picture books I rounded up from our local libraries. I’m also reviewing Help Wanted, Must Love Books by Janet Sumner Johnson and Courtney Dawson, which is being published TODAY. In any case, whether it’s a new book or an older title, I hope you find something to add to your reading list.
Help Wanted, Must Love Books
Janet Sumner Johnson
Courtney Dawson, illustrator
March 2, 2020
Young Shailey is in a rough situation. Her bedtime story reader is not working out, so she fires him. That is, she fires her dad! She creates a sign for the position and a number of fairytale characters apply, but none of them are quite what she needs. In the end, Shailey is in for a big surprise when the final applicant shows up and ends up being perfect for the job. In the end, we’re all reminded of the importance of prioritizing those we love and showing up when it matters most.
At the conclusion of the story, there are a couple pages of ADORABLE resumes from Pinocchio, Robin Hood, Tinkerbell, and The Frog Prince. So make sure to keep turning the page to enjoy the details from each applicant. This will be such a great book to read with your youngster at bedtime!
The sweet, soft artwork showcases many pastels and I loved exploring the details in each illustration. The page spread, below, comes from the ARC, so it may be altered in the final print. But I hoped to provide an example of the adorable art you can expect:
Thank you NetGalley and Capstone for sending me an advanced copy so I could provide an honest review.
February 11, 2020
Quill Tree Books
This is such a beautiful, heart strings book full of love, loss, vulnerability, and friendship. Annie Lee’s daddy died just a few months ago. He was never a planner because he lived in the moment. So Annie and her mother are left with only a tiny insurance policy while they can barely make ends meet. Annie Lee makes a new friend at school and their friendship blossoms into something quite beautiful. Annie begins sneaking away to the mall across town to take private piano lessons with an elderly gentleman willing to teach for free. But as so often is the case, secrets can damage so many people in their wake. I love that this story shares so much heartache, but also offers much-needed resolution. Just lovely!
Things You Save in a Fire
August 13, 2019
St. Martin’s Press
It was nice to squeeze some adult literature into my reading week with Things You Save in a Fire. The story was fast-paced and a nice mixture of firehouse and fire fighting information, facing past abuse, mother-daughter bonding, feminism, and yes, even romance. I enjoyed this one enough that I immediately put a hold on How to Walk Away.
Claire Keane, illustrator
October 1, 2019
In this story, a little girl helps a super villain uncover the root to his problems with one simple word: Why? Parts of this one are hysterical as we discover the villain has daddy issues. The book ends with a cute twist where the main character finally says something other than “Why?”
The illustrations were created digitally. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
August 13, 2019
Neal Porter Books
This is a sweet little picture book with bear and rabbit. Rabbit is full of “why?” questions and bear attempts to answer every one. Until one time when he says “I don’t know why. Sometimes I just don’t know why!” Children can look at each illustration and attempt to figure out what rabbit’s complete question would have been. Such a precious story with heart warming artwork.
The illustrations in this book were made using watercolors. I’ll provide one page spread as an example, below:
April 27, 2010
Balzer + Bray
This picture book has a mixture of happy, sad, and hilarious situations where a younger brother persists with so many “why?” questions. “Why do feet stink?” “Why doesn’t hair hurt when you cut it?” One of my favorite pages is where he asks “Why is it always your turn?” when it’s an illustration of his brother getting to use the TV remote. But on the mirror page he asks, “Why is it always my turn?” when the illustration shows him having to take the trash out. Very cute picture book and I really love the expressive pictures in this one.
I’ll provide one page spread as an example of the artwork in this picture book:
Tony Ross, illustrator
January 1, 1998
This picture book flips back and forth between narrative prose and graphic novel squares with speech bubbles. Young Lily asks “Why?” to almost everything that happens with her father. It’s incredibly annoying, but he continues to answer her every question. Then one day a space ship lands while they’re playing at the park and Lily successfully convinces the Thargon aliens that their plans to destroy earth is not in everyone’s best interest. She does this with one simple word: Why? With humorous crayon-like artwork, the funny little story ends with her father better appreciating his daughter’s curious nature.
I don’t think it was quite as common to share how picture book artwork was created back in the 90s, so I can’t be sure if it was drawn with crayons or just made to look like it. In any case, I’ll share one page spread as an example of what to expect, below:
To Be Read:
I’m still re-reading Scar Island aloud to my children (a good follow-up to Holes with unique boys’ detention centers). I also just got a copy of the picture book Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler to read this week. And as I mentioned last week, for the foreseeable future I will be reading and reviewing some adolescent/teen books my husband and I recently purchased to discuss with our teenagers in 2020. These books cover a wide span of topics ranging from social media to sex. I’m beginning with Peggy Orenstein’s Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. I also hope to finish New Kid by Jerry Craft. I’m really enjoying it, so far!
Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2020 – 63/200