Journal

One Minute PB Review - Bunny's Book Club

Bunnies. Adorable. Bunny's Book Club. Doubly Adorable. You'll love Annie Silvestro's debut picture book, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. I laughed out loud several times with this one - particularly when the animals are squeezing through the book return.

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Bunny loved books.

He'd loved them ever since he first heard the lady with the red glasses reading aloud outside the library.

As he listened, Bunny imagined himself climbing mountains...

captaining a ship...ruling a kingdom.

Bunny and his friends discover the wonders of the library. But what will happen when they're discovered by the librarian? 

Favorite Line: One by one, the animals stuffed themselves inside the library. (Bear caused a bit of a delay.). They scattered about, sniffing the stacks, pawing over pages.

Favorite Illustration: Final scene of all the animals enjoying the first official selection for Bunny's Book Club...with cupcakes.

One Minute PB Review - The Bear Report

This is one of my new favorites by Thyra Heder, mixing fiction and nonfiction elements in a fresh and adorable way. A girl grumpily finishes her "bear report" homework when suddenly, a polar bear appears in her family room. The bear takes her to the arctic to show her what bears are really like.

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Bear: I also like music.

Sophie: Music?

Bear: Whale music.

Sophie: Whaled don't make music!

Bear: Sure they do!

Sophie learns all about bears in a playful dialogue with her bear friend. Eventually, she saves the day, getting them back to shore with a ride on a whale.

Favorite Line: That was fantastic, Sophie. When did you learn to speak whale? Today!

Favorite Illustration: All of them! If I had to choose, then the same spread as the favorite line above - with the two friends looking up at the sky together.

One-Minute PB Review - The Little Reindeer

A new holiday book, The Little Reindeer, is gorgeously illustrated by Nicola Killen. The book is adorned with window and doorway cut-outs and metallic inlays. 

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It was Christmas Eve and Ollie had just gone to sleep when

jingle, jingle, jingle

she woke again with a start.

What was that sound?

An adorable little girl dressed in her reindeer suit is ready for Christmas. But one of Santa's reindeer has lost his collar, calling to Ollie in the wind. 

Favorite Line: She wondered if they would go for a ride through the forest, but to her surprise...they soared up into the night sky, leaving the trees far below!

Favorite Illustration: Ollie with her sled, discovering the collar with silver bells.

One-Minute PB Review - When Spring Comes

When Spring Comes, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, is a sweet season book filled with blue skies, flowers and kittens.

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Before Spring comes, the trees look like black sticks against the sky.

But if you wait, Spring will bring leaves and blossoms.

Pretty painted pictures adorn this poetic book about all the lovely things (and not so lovely things) Spring brings. Do you like mud? Do you like puddles? I hope you like umbrellas.

Favorite line: There will be buds and bees and boots and bubbles. There will be worms and wings and wind and wheels.

Favorite illustration: The three kittens waiting for summer.

One-Minute PB Review - Bitty Bot

Bitty Bot is an adorable, fresh take on a going to bed book. Written by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Tad Carpenter, this book follows a little robot and his space adventures.

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In a busy robot town,

bots begin to power down -

all except for Bitty Bot.

Feeling sleepy? Maybe not.

McCanna's rhyme is masterful, the words are playful, and the tone is perfect for getting your little bots ready for dreamland.

Favorite line: "Kiss your papas, hug your mamas. Activate your bot pajamas."

Favorite illustration: Bitty Bot tucked into bed with an alien stuffy.

Valentines Are For...
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Valentines Are For…

by Michelle Howell Miller

 

Valentines are for moms ready with tissues, soup, and hugs on icky, sick days.

Valentines are for dads who throw and catch and throw and catch for hours and hours, even in sleet.

Valentines are for siblings who look up to you with hope and trust, even if you don’t always have the answers.

Valentines are for puppies that lick happy tears and heartsick tears.

Valentines are for aunts who listen and make you feel like you are the only niece on the planet.

Valentines are for uncles who promise to keep the class bully away at your birthday party.

Valentines are for grandparents who make fantastic forts for sleepovers.

Valentines are for neighbors who help you battle the humongous, hairy spider.

Valentines are for the saxophone player and the street artist and the garbage man who make the world beautiful.

Valentines are for teachers who quiz you on your math facts instead of sleeping in…

For boys who stand up for you…

And for girls who stand by you.

Valentines are for all those who make your heart grow bigger.

Michelle Howell Miller
One-Minute PB Review - Alabama Spitfire

Finally out on shelves in bookstores everywhere is writer Bethany Hegedus and illustrator Erin McGuire's Alabama Spitfire, The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. It's the inspiring true story of a scrappy tomboy who grew up to write one of the most beloved books of the twentieth century. 

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The red soil of Monroeville, Alabama, is as rocky as the state's past. But born in that same soil are the roots of the girl who grew up to write "the book of the twentieth century."

Nelle Harper Lee entered this world on April 28, 1926. From the get-go she was a spitfire.

There are many teaching opportunities for children in Nelle's story. The spitfire, rebel girl showing grit to follow her dreams. The way of the world in Nelle's hometown and throughout the country, where separate was not equal. Young Nelle fighting injustice - saving her friend Tru from the bullies. And an older Nelle, fighting for a life of her own design. 

Favorite Line: Nelle, the girl who fought playground injustice, was at it again - publishing a book where a small town and its people struggled with what was wrong and what was right - and where ski color didn't automatically make one guilty.

 

One-Minute PB Review - Raisin the Littlest Cow

Could Raisin be any cuter? Raisin, The Littlest Cow, has become one of our family's favorites.

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Raisin was the littlest cow in the herd. She liked it that way.

The bigger cows cooed and nuzzled her, and on movie night, they even helped her see over the fence. 

Raisin adored movies. She was perfectly content.

There's a list of things Raisin likes. And a list of things Raisin didn't like. The one thing she didn't like most of all. Change. A very relatable topic for kids, who have to deal with, and often grumble about, change on a daily basis.

When change comes, Raisin does not take it well. But she eventually comes around...

Favorite Line: Change comes, as change often does.

Favorite Illustration: Raisin and her brother Raindrop, playing and giggling in the rain.

 

 

 

One-Minute PB Review - A Unicorn Named Sparkle

The ad said "Unicorn, 25 cents." I love this first line of Amy Young's A Unicorn Named Sparkle. Anyone know child who would NOT want a unicorn? Alas, he was not quite what she expected...

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He had spots.

His ears were too long.

He smelled funny. Oh, and he had fleas.

Lucy put a flower necklace on him. He ate it.

She put a tutu on him. He ate that too.

This is a classic story of not always getting what you want, but being happy with what you have. The illustrations are adorable. I particularly love the expressions of the little girl as she deals with disappointment of her new pet. I can see this one being read again and again...

Favorite Line: Lucy yelled, "WAAAAAAIT!" Sparkle bleated, "BAAAAHH!"

 

Michelle Howell Miller
One-Minute PB Review - If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed

Everyone knows putting your monster to bed can be difficult. You'll want to do everything you can to avoid a monster meltdown. If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed, written by Denise Vega and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora, is a super fun going to bed book.

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Don't do the Monster Stomp.

Your monster will wiggle his waggle, flick his fur, and clench his claws, and the next thing you know he'll be shaking his bristly bottom and won't want to stop.

And you'll be shaking your un-bristly bottom, so it will be a big bottom-shaking, waggle-wigging, fur-flicking, claw-clenching Monster-Kid Stomp, which will last all night. Save the Monster Stomp for daytime fun.

The narrator's voice is kid-friendly and entertaining to read. The illustrations are colorful (particularly with a rainbow-colored monster on nearly every page) and adorable.

Favorite Line: TIME FOR BED! Who hates those words more than anything? That's right. Your monster.

Warning: This one might be a little too rowdy for a going to bed book for younger kids. It made our family want to dance...

One-Minute PB Review - LOVE

There is so much to love about LOVE, written by Matt De La Pena and Illustrated by Loren Long. 

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In the beginning there is light

and two wide-eyed figures standing

near the foot of your bed,

and the sound of their voices is love.

 

Matt's lyrical text about what love is - even the kind that is often overlooked, or staring you in the mirror - is moving in and of itself. With diversity on every page, something seldom seen in picture books (though that is slowly, slowly changing), there is a relatable refrain and imagery for every child.

The artwork is truly stunning - the colors nearly pop out of the pages. This is a whole new look for Loren Long's art, for those of you familiar with his adorable Otis books.

LOVE is a story that will be read again, and again, and again. Just how picture books should be...