#blogbookaday: Escargot

21 Jan

29102801.jpgSummary:  “Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things:

1. To be your favorite animal.
2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book.

But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there’s a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you!—he discovers that it’s not so bad after all” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: With his distinct voice, adorable French outfit and his staunch stand on no carrots, kids will love Escargot! All Escargot wants is a nice salad, with croutons and a light vinaigrette and absolutely no carrots – it’s a long way across the table to the salad bowl, but there’s just enough time to really get to know Escargot and have a little fun. This is a great story for kids who are having trouble trying new food on their plate, or a little shy about new experiences. And if you have a particularly horrible French accent – all the better!

Personal Reaction: I really enjoyed this story with a unexpected star – a snail! Escargot is sassy, knows what he wants, but is also willing to try something new (which is a great lesson for all kids)! I really loved Escargot’s very French outfit, his French words and how the author breaks down the fourth wall to interact with the readers. The illustrations are absolutely adorable with watercolor washes of reds, blues, yellows and greens – perfect for a summer picnic. This is the perfect story to talk with kids about new experiences and be brave enough to try something new!

Title: Escargot
Author: Dashka Slater
Illustrator: Sydney Hanson
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 11, 2017


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

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36 Titles with Strong Female Characters

20 Jan

strong female characters.png

Since today is the Women’s March in cities across the country, I thought it would be fun to highlight just a few strong female characters in books from picture books to YA titles. Hopefully you’ll find something new you’ll want to read! Enjoy!

  1. My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry, illustrated by Mike Litwin
  2. Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  3. Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
  4. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
  5. Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
  6. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  7. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  8. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  9. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon
  10. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  11. Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith
  12. Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford, illustrated by Valorie Fisher
  13. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
  14. Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
  15. Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
  16. Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake
  17. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Louis Darling
  18. Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated Brian Selznick
  19. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  20. One Crazy Summer  by Rita Williams-Garcia
  21. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  22. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
  23.  Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

  24. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods
  25. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  26. The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan

  27. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

  28. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

  29. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  30. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

  31. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  32. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  33. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
  34. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

  35. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

  36. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

#blogbookaday: Blue Sky White Stars

20 Jan

31626023.jpgSummary:  “Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread, sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson, depicts a stirring tableau, from the view of the Statue of Library at Ellis Island to civil rights marchers shoulder to shoulder, to a spacecraft at Cape Canaveral blasting off. This book is an ode to America then and now, from sea to shining sea.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: A beautiful tribute to the American Flag, our history, people and landscapes that make America uniquely beautiful. Regardless of where you stand in this charged political environment, this book filled with sparse, yet strong text and images that are absolutely breathtaking is a book that needs to find its way into everyone’s home, school and library. This book celebrates where America has come from, since the 1700s to the rich tapestry that has been woven together as immigrants have traveled across thousands of miles to make this country their home bringing their own unique cultures, religions, and beliefs, sharing them with the others who call America home. This was my co-worker’s top choice for our Mock Caldecott and I can see why. But what’s even more surprising is that with a bunch of 1st-4th graders who sifted through 20+ titles, they chose this as their choice as well. And for that, I can say I have faith in the next generation.

Personal Reaction: It’s amazing the kind of power words hold. Sarvinder Naberhaus evokes such strong feelings in so few words – a talent so few people have. This book is sparse in text, but so full of meaning and the images do an amazing job comparing the text on each spread. I’m a huge fan of Kadir Nelson’s artwork, he is an extremely talented artist and his oil paintings are just so rich and realistic. I can’t imagine this text paired with any other art – it was the perfect choice. A mini-history lesson about our country and our flag, this would be the perfect picture book to share in a social studies or history class with older children and a perfect read aloud for younger children.

Title: Blue Sky White Stars
Author: Sarvinder Naberhaus
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

#blogbookaday: Bagel In Love

19 Jan

35100549.jpgSummary:  “Bagel loved to dance. It made him happier than a birthday cake! And more than anything, he wants a partner who will spin and swirl, tap and twirl with him in the dance contest. But Pretzel sniffs that he doesn’t cut the mustard, Croissant thinks his moves are stale, and Doughnut’s eyes just glaze over. Can a cute cupcake save the day for our would-be Fred Éclair? Witty and pun-filled, this picture book really takes the cake.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: There have been a host of children’s books in the past few years focused around anthropomorphous food – and I  love it! This story if filled with puns that made me smile and laugh throughout the text. I did feel as though it had a fairly abrupt ending as the author tried to add too much to the end – the dance contest, introducing a new character, falling in love, etc. I really enjoyed the illustrations with great characters to dress up and obviously lots of pink and purple. Plus, if you’ve got a little one who loves glitter – the cover and the last page definitely sparkle.

Personal Reaction: I loved the puns and the cute illustrations, but in a world filled with really great breakfast food books, this one didn’t stand out as much as I had hoped. Never the less, I think kids will enjoy the illustrations and might inspire some to get in the kitchen to create their own dancing cupcakes!

Title: Bagel In Love
        Author: Natasha Wing
Illustrator: Helen Dardik
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 2, 2018


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

A Rambler Steals Home (and My Heart)

19 Jan

24680250.jpgSynopsis: Derby Christmas Clark is a rambler – she travels around the country selling Christmas trees and hot cocoa in the winter and hot dogs and sweet potato fries in the summer with her father and brother in their RV. Derby loves summertime because it means parking in one spot – a small town called Ridge Creek where she spends her days at the creak, hanging out with her best friend, watching the Rockskippers’ baseball games and getting grease stains in the food truck.

But this year, sadness plagues the small town after the death of a well-loved townsperson. Derby learns what it means to be a friend, how to help those she loves and a few secrets along the way.

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