Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Underpants humor is a win: I Made These Ants Some Underpants

I Made These Ants Some Underpants!, Derick Wilder/Illustrated by K-Fai Steele, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781797202167

Ages 3-5

When a kid gets a day-of-the-week underwear set from his mom, there’s only one thing to do with the lackluster gift: share the wealth! Gathering his art supplies, he gets to work making bright orange underwear to spread far and wide. From his sister, to a line of ants and a pirate. all the way to a robot and the monster under his bed, the boy makes underwear for everyone, but no one seems that thrilled… which brings him to his own hilarious conclusion. The rhyming story is a delight to read, and underwear-based stories are always a home run with my storytime kids. The watercolor, ink, and pencil artwork is cartoony and bold, with expressive characters to keep the joke rolling. Details in the child’s room clue readers in to the underwear recipients. Endpapers show the before-and-after of household items and the Underwear Rampage. Kids will delight in hearing this one again and again.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Storytime Reading: I Did See a Mammoth!

I Did See a Mammoth! by Alex Willmore, (March 2023, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684645114

Ages 3-6

An expedition heads to the Antarctic to see penguins, but one young explorer has their sights set on a greater prize: a mammoth! Sure enough, every time the party is otherwise occupied, a mammoth appears, but does the group believe the excited kiddo? You never know what could show up on a scientific expedition in this hilariously fun story that makes for a spirited readaloud. Colorful cartoon artwork and bold black fonts add to the child’s exasperation as they desperately attempt to call the others’ attention to the discovery of a lifetime. Back matter features some information on penguins and mammoths, and the chances of meeting one or the other. A great choice for a storytime – pair with Russell Ayto’s Henry and the Yeti for a doubly fun storytime.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Love is the muse in Maurice

Maurice, by Jessixa Bagley, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781797211732

Ages 5-8

Maurice is a canine concert musician-turned-busker, motivated by love in this moving tale about the ultimate inspiration. Introducing Maurice as a musician who once played to large music halls until “times and things changed. They always do”, Maurice now brings joy to everyone around him as a street musician. He lives a quiet, kind life and draws inspiration from the many birds who share his apartment: “Though his own joys were small, they were his whole world”. He has named them all; he speaks lovingly to all of them, and they inspire him. Sadly, as “the melody of life change[s] once more”, Maurice’s busking cup runs dry and he must let the birds go, leaving his heart empty. Bagley’s stunning gatefold spread shows the beauty the birds flying off into the sunset and the devastation on Maurice’s face as he watches them leave. Moving toward a resolution, we learn that “hearts remember” kindness. In concert, Maurice is surrounded in the darkness of the concert hall and alone under the spotlight; as a busker, he is bathed in warm colors, surrounded by other canines who delight in his music, really delivering the message that Maurice is motivated by love and sharing his gift. A good choice for collections.

Maurice received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

…and a reluctant wombat shall lead them: Wombat, the Reluctant Hero

Wombat, the Reluctant Hero, by Christian Trimmer/Illustrated by Rachel Gyan, (March 2023, Roaring Brook Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250788573

Ages 3-6

Inspired by the real-life events wrought by the devastating Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020, Wombat the Reluctant Hero is all about being a good – if sweetly curmudgeonly – friend. Wombat likes her home and her appearance organized and just so, but she can’t say that about her neighbors, who look all out of sorts. Wombat notices that their watering hole is running a little low, so she pulls on her gardening gear and digs down until she hits water, reluctantly accepting their thanks. When Koala shows up at her door in a panic one night, she discovers that the forest is on fire, and quickly moves to gather her neighbors into her fireproof burrow, giving them food and water as they ride out the fire. When they emerge from the burrow, they work together to rebuild their home. Gyan’s digital artwork is colorful and reflects her moods through facial expression and clothing; going from dusky rose coveralls at the beginning to warm tangerine coveralls to show her enthusiasm and hope. Trimmer’s storytelling gives readers some insight into Australia’s problems in 2019 and 2020, and notes from the author and illustrator provide deeper context.

A good way of explaining world events to younger children while also delivering messages of community and empathy. An excellent choice for collections.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Ode to a Bad Day: We’ve all got them!

Ode to a Bad Day, by Chelsea Lin Wallace/Illustrated by Hyewon Yum, (Apr. 2023, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781797210803

Ages 5-8

Related in a series of dramatic odes to the minor aggravations that make up a difficult day, Ode to a Bad Day puts a humorous, relatable spin on the moments that can push any kid – or adult, let’s be honest – to the edge. From the beginning of a Bad Morning (“All I see is gray ahead. / Can’t I stay inside my bed?”) that gets worse when there’s “Too Much Milk in My Cereal”, the slings and arrows of “Getting Dressed”, and being “Late Again”, through the trials of weathering the “Line Cutter” and discovering the “Missing Pudding Cup” at lunch, all the way through to the optimistic hope for tomorrow: “A day where fish are oopsy-free! A day where lines are led by me!” Soft pencil and watercolor artwork present an amusing, dramatic heroine in a tutu skirt, leggings, and green shirt; her facial expressions and body language are immediately recognizable to readers as she contorts and glares her way through each hurdle. Endpapers show the star of the show and various animals from her day in an aggrieved series of moves.

Hilariously adorable, this is a perfect rhyming accompaniment to Judith Viorst’s classic, Alexander the the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day. A good addition to your storytime collections; great for a full readaloud or for short odes to enhance a storytime.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Harold the Iceberg Melts Down is all about anxiety and climate change

Harold the Iceberg Melts Down, by Lisa Wyzlic/Illustrated by Rebecca Syracuse, (March 2023, Feiwel & Friends), $18.99, ISBN: 9781250830623

Ages 3-6

Harold is a head of iceberg lettuce with a bit of an anxiety problem, which he calms by watching documentaries. He watches a documentary on icebergs and climate change, though, and that sets off a series of worries: He’s melting! Can he slow it down? How can he survive longer? His friends lead him through some calming exercises in an attempt to calm him and finally help him understand that he has a head of iceberg lettuce, not an iceberg. Relieved that he isn’t melting, Harold now discovers a new worry: climate change! This time, though, Harold has the tools to help him calm down and take action. A delightful read with cartoon art produce, Harold speaks to children’s anxiety and fear while teaching self-soothing techniques and empowering them with ways that they can be part of positive change. Back matter includes helpful ways to “cool down” and tips on combating climate change. Endpapers show a colorful spread of food labels. Narration moves between an omniscient narrator and speech bubbles to denote conversations between characters. All in all, a fun readaloud for kids and a good choice for collections. Download a free activity kit and coloring pages to enhance a storytime.


Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Great storytime fun: Watch Out for the Lion!

Watch Out for the Lion!, by Brooke Hartman/Illustrated by Anna Süβbauer, (Feb. 2023, Page Street Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781645676287

Ages 4-7

Interactive storytime fun and a silly narrator (that’s you) make Watch Out for the Lion! just too much fun. There’s a lion prowling within the book, and the narrator is very nervous! Warning readers to keep an eye out, the narrator provides a helpful picture pointing out how to spot a lion. Following spreads feature a “brushy bristly tail”; “curvy claws”‘, “twitchy ears”, and more, but is it the lion… or a slightly less intimidating animal? Camouflaged illustration invites readers to guess along with the reader, and laugh out loud at the reveals. Final endpapers and the cover underneath the book jacket show the lion and a lion cub, giving more context to the story. Bold, colorful digital illustrations and bright, large fonts make this an easy readaloud; bring your best dramatic skills to the reading and let your Kiddos be part of the story. An excellent choice for collections. Pair with readalouds like Bill Cotter’s Don’t Touch This Book! or Jory John’s I Will Chomp You!

Watch Out for the Lion! has a starred review from School Library Journal. Download an activity guide here!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: Detectives, Nightmare Bugs, Fetching Cats, Cities, and Geraldine!

I know, it’s been a month. Crazy, right? It’s one of those moments when you just don’t realize how fast time goes until you realize… well, how fast time goes. But let’s jump right back in, since I’ve got a stack of books to talk about and some cool library programs to share. Let’s start with the books. Here’s a round-up.

The Upside Down Detective Agency, by Ellie Hattie/Illustrated by Brendan Kearney, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644148

Ages 4-8

Welcome to Super Sleuth HQ! Meet Stella and Stan, two crime-solving sloths who may look similar but who have different personalities that will help readers tell them apart. A famous race car driver gives them a big case, and they need help from the reader to solve it! With interactive prompts and visual clues throughout, this fun book combines an entertaining story with a seek-and-find activity to keep readers engaged and sharpening their observation and problem-solving skills. A variety of colorful landscapes take readers to a race car garage, a lavish mansion, and a race track; friendly anthropomorphic animals stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and the villain sports a monocle. Endpapers show Stella, Stan, and the key to the mystery. I’d love to see Stella and Stan solve mysteries in different locales!

There are some fun seek and find worksheets available through TeachersPayTeachers, for an extension activity. This springtime sheet from Casey Wiggins is great for younger readers; The Speech Owl has an 18-card set to create a fun inferencing game.

The Nightmare Bug, by Hillary Daecher/Illustrated by Angie Hohenadel, (Sept. 2022, Schiffer Kids), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764364310

Ages 4-8

A child learns to confront their nightmare in this rhyming story. Every time the child is in the middle of a wonderful dream, the Nightmare Bug shows up and ruins it! Mom lets her little one in on a secret: she used to have a Nightmare Bug, too, but she learned how to conquer it: with a hug. As the child goes back to sleep, they take two stuffed friends in for company and wait for the Bug to show up. Black backgrounds set the nighttime tone for the story, allowing bold, colorful artwork to pop off and emphasize surrealist dreamscapes; Hohenadel plays with negative space, letting the inky Nightmare Bug form as a planet or a wrapped piece of candy. Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy keeping an eye out for the bug; invite them to let you know when he’s near! Daecher tells a soothing bedtime story and teaches a valuable “hurt people hurt people” lesson by showing readers that the best way to defeat a fear is not only to confront it, but embrace it. A good choice for collections dealing with bedtime fears.

Want a good extension activity? Have construction paper around and invite kids to create their Nightmare Bugs. Use black construction paper and scissors for bigger kids, or colorful construction paper and crayons for littler creators. Try giving the kids some chalk and let them create surrealist, dreamlike creations.


Fetch Cat, Fetch!, by Charles Ghigna/Illustrated by Michelle Hazelwood Hyde, (Sept. 2022, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764364600

Ages 4-7

Father Goose is at it again with this hilarious story about a little girl trying to teach her cat some new tricks… and the cat, who just wants to nap. Told in 3-word repetitive phrases: “Here, Cat. Here!”; “Speak, Cat. Speak!”, and “Dance, Cat. Dance!”, an adorable little girl attempts to get her cat to jump rope, climb a treehouse, take part in a tea party, and a number of other laugh-out-loud scenarios. Hazelwood Hyde’s illustration captures the spirit of the story, showing an enthusiastic child and a poker-faced cat determined to ignore her. Families with pets will likely see themselves in this story, especially when the little girl, tired from a day of playing with her reluctant companion, gives Cat the one command she expects him to follow, with amusing results. The girl’s dramatic body language communicates the frustration of a playmate who won’t join the game, and the cat’s determination to remain at rest will appeal not only to families with pets, but for every parent who’s wondered when their Kiddo’s battery will run down. An adorable story that makes for an amusing readaloud and a great choice for emerging readers to try on their own.

Visit Charles Ghigna’s website for more information about his books.




If You Were a City, by Kyo Maclear/Illustrated by Francesca Sanna, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781452155197

Ages 3-6

A delightful celebration of cities and how they form – and are formed by – the people who live in them, this rhyming exploration invites readers to imagine what they would be like if they were a city. Colorful, vibrant illustrations show a variety of city settings with a diverse group of citizens at work and play, and each city has its own personality: “shiny, glassy, sleek and tall”; “wooden, squat, and nicely small”; a library shows a group of readers dreaming of cities that come from the mouth of a storyteller, and an explorer discovers Central American-looking pyramids in a “lost city”. The cities thrive with action, their societies interacting peacefully together. Verses prompt readers to consider the neighbors we share our space with, “leav[ing] them room for nest and lair”, a brown-skinned girl holding a fox safely in her outstretched hand as a monkey swings on her foot. As the story moves toward a close we see children creating their cities, using their own bodies to connect the pieces: arms connected to become a bridge; holding up a platform with buildings; covering a roof (maybe a library?) with a book. An uplifting, hopeful vision of who we can become. Endpapers feature a series of snowglobes with cities inside. An excellent storytime choice and a great STEAM storytime book: invite readers to create their own cities with blocks, construction paper, and soft toys.


Geraldine and the Rainbow Machine, by Sol Regwan/Illustrated by Denise Muzzio, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Books), $16.99, ISBN; 9780764364396

Ages 4-8

One of my favorite tinkerers is back! In Geraldine’s fourth adventure, she works to create harmony among her classmates when a new friend arrives at school. Hamid arrives from Pakistan and Geraldine immediately befriends him, but not everyone is as kind or welcoming. Frustrated by insensitive playground antics, Geraldine tinkers up a rainbow machine to show her classmates that everyone has something interesting about them; and when you combine the colors of the rainbow, they all blend together. There are lovely moments of kindness here, from Geraldine gently relocating a spider family taking up residence in one of her bowls to her statement regarding the Rainbow Machine: “When you spin it really fast, the colors all blend together. I think it shows that our differences don’t matter”. The class, delighted at Geraldine’s hands-on device, enjoys their differences and their similarities, and celebrates their uniqueness. Endpapers display a rainbow coming from what looks like one of Geraldine’s journals, the Rainbow Machine sketch laid open for readers. Regwan manages to keep the STEM/STEAM theme of the Geraldine series while delivering heartfelt story about acceptance and friendship. A good book to consider for SEL collections.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: Heart Strings, Hedgehogs, and the Moon

Heart String, by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, (Dec. 2022, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452181653

Ages 3-6

A string connects us all together: parents and children; neighbors and friends, we are all connected to one another and our world through this Heart String. Written as an ode to connection, Boynton-Hughes loving, gentle voice could be a teacher reading to their classroom, a parent to a child, or a friend to another. The repetitive phrase, “My heart is tied to yours” brings home the lovely sentiment that we are all together: “Across the garden, across the street, over the city and through the trees”; sharing emotions like joy and sorrow, no matter how near or far; our hearts are tied to each other as we work, play, learn and live. It’s a comforting thought that dispels anxiety and fear; we are part of a family, a neighborhood, a community, a world. Endpapers show a variety of people from all walks of life interacting and engaging with one another. Pencil and watercolor illustrations are soft, gently colorful, conveying a message of warmth and hope, with a warm, glowing string that goes from one person to the next as they work together in neighborhoods; console one another in times of grief; enjoy tea parties, and celebrate being together. A delightful readaloud for storytime collections.

For a fun post-storytime activity, print out some person templates and get some yarn. Ask families to decorate them and use the yarn to connect them. Who are they connecting to?



Hedgehog and the Art Show, by Özge Bahar Sunar/Illustrated by Ceyhun Sen, (Oct. 2022, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764364617

Ages 4-7

Little Hedgehog is all set to start school, but has an accident the day before. His little fingers need to be bandaged up, but the teacher has announced that there will be a class art show! Little Hedgehog cannot write… with his fingers! He refuses to miss out on his first big art show, and finds ways to create his art using his quills and some leaves! In fact, his creativity inspires his friends to create their own original artwork, making the art show even more exciting. A sweet story of ingenuity and determination that inspires readers to think outside the box, Hedgehog and the Art Show lends itself to a great readaloud, especially for Kindergarten and first graders. Sentences are brief but expand on the basics, adding more details. Sen’s illustrations are textured, with swirling backgrounds and shades of greens, browns, and oranges.

Add this one to your art storytimes, and have plenty of mixed materials to create with for an after-story activity.



Mending the Moon, by Emma Pearl/Illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, (Nov. 2022, Page Street Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781645675600

Ages 4-8

One night, the moon shines so big and so brightly that it becomes to heavy to hold itself up and tumbles down, shattering as it crashes into our world. A girl named Luna witnesses the fall, and, horrified, wakes her grandfather. Grandfather gravely worries about the Earth without a moon, and the two set about collecting the pieces to mend the moon, aided by a group of forest animals. A gorgeously illustrated story with the fantastic feel of a legend, Mending the Moon will delight readers and get a workout as a storytime favorite. Breathtaking illustration shows a cadre of animals working side-by-side with Luna and Poppy; a purple and blue-tinged white backgrounds bring the moon’s cool beauty to the pages, and vibrantly colored animals and people alike are cartoony and kid-friendly. There is magic in every turn of the page as readers will wait breathlessly to find out whether or not the moon will make it back to the sky. Endpapers show a cool, crisp night with moths fluttering around the moon’s light, and Poppy and Luna’s cabin atop a mountain. Mending the Moon is a lovely starting point to talk about legend, STEM (moon concepts!), and the larger idea of working with nature to keep our world safe.



It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Meet The Princess Inside!

It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day, and I’m thrilled to be a reviewer once again! I’m starting off this fantastic day of kidlit with a bilingual Spanish and English book by Dr. Nafeesah Allen: The Princess Inside.

The Princess Inside / La princesa en tu interior, by Dr. Nafeesah Allen, (Aug. 2022, Independently Published),
$12.99, ISBN: 979-8985038743
Ages 4-7

A child gazes into a mirror, seeing a princess inside – but she would rather wear overalls and sneakers than a gown and a crown! A rhyming story that takes aim at the role of clothes in gender identity and the conventional image of a princess, Dr. Allen writes empowering phrases like, “It doesn’t really matter what you wear. / The princess inside you is always there. No importa cuál sea tu atuendo.
/ La princesa estará allí, adentro” and “When you storm a building and
save the day… / That’s the princess inside showing you the way. Es tu princesa
interior quien te guía. Cuando entras en un edificio para salvar vidas…”. Clothes don’t make the princess, a can-do attitude and a willingness to change the world do. Uncluttered, colorful illustration and easy-to-read English and Spanish text make this a good readaloud to inspire and empower.


***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Multicultural Children’s Book Day so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (

🏅 Super Platinum Sponsor: Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

🏅 Platinum SponsorsLanguage Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages

🏅 Gold Sponsors: Interlink Books, Publisher Spotlight

🏅 Silver Sponsors: Cardinal Rule Press Lee & Low, Barefoot BooksKimberly Gordon Biddle

🏅 Bronze Sponsors: Vivian KirkfieldPatrice McLaurin Quarto GroupCarole P. RomanStar Bright Books,, Redfin Canada, Bay Equity Home Loans,, Title Forward

Poster Artist:  Lisa Wee


Classroom Kit Poster: Led Bradshaw

MCBD 2023 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Authors: Sivan HongAmanda Hsiung-BlodgettJosh Funk Stephanie M. WildmanGwen JacksonDiana HuangAfsaneh MoradianKathleen BurkinshawEugenia ChuJacqueline JulesAlejandra DomenzainGaia CornwallRuth SpiroEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoTonya Duncan EllisKiyanda and Benjamin Young/Twin Powers BooksKimberly Lee Tameka Fryer BrownTalia Aikens-NuñezMarcia Argueta MickelsonKerry O’Malley CerraJennie LiuHeather Murphy CappsDiane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John CoyIrene Latham and Charles WatersMaritza M MejiaLois PetrenJ.C. Kato and J.C.²CultureGrooveLindsey Rowe ParkerRed Comet PressShifa Saltagi SafadiNancy Tupper LingDeborah AcioAsha HagoodPriya KumariChris SingletonPadma VenkatramanTeresa RobesonValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena PublishingMartha Seif SimpsonRochelle MelanderAlva SachsMoni Ritchie HadleyGea MeijeringFrances Díaz EvansMichael GenhartAngela H. DaleCourtney KellyQueenbe MonyeiJamia WilsonCharnaie GordonDebbie Ridpath OhiDebbie ZapataJacquetta Nammar FeldmanNatasha Yim, Tracy T. Agnelli, Kitty Feld, Anna Maria DiDio, Ko Kim, Shachi Kaushik

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2023 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

📌 FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

📌 Register for the MCBD Read Your World Virtual Party

Join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, at 9 pm EST for the 10th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Read Your World Virtual Party!

This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.

We will be giving away a 10-Book Bundle during the virtual party plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **

Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, and connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. We look forward to seeing you all on January 26, 2023, at our virtual party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter