Posted in Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads, Uncategorized

Just Between Us journals open up conversations between daughters, fathers, and mothers

Just Between Us: Father & Daughter – The original bestselling no-stress, no-rules journal, by Jonathan Jacobs & Sofie Jacobs, with Meredith Jacobs/Illustrated by Nate Padavick ,(Apr. 2023, Chronicle Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9781797216119

Ages 10+

Father-daughter team Jonathan Jacobs and Sofie Jacobs come together to tell some stories and provide thought-provoking prompts for dads and daughters to communicate. Suggested guidelines help set comfortable boundaries while encouraging open sharing, with pages set side to side for dads and daughters. There are fun prompts that call to mind those “how much do you know about me?” memes we’ve all done through e-mail and social media, and Free Spaces allow for journaling feelings, memories, or stream-of-consciousness writing. Fun illustrations encourage the writers to envision what they’d like to see about themselves on the front page of a newspaper or their social media pages. With Father’s Day coming up, this would be a great way to connect. Not suggested for a circulating collection, but a great suggestion to have in your pocket.



Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter – The original bestselling no-stress, no-rules journal, by Meredith Jacobs & Sofie Jacobs/Illustrated by Molly Baker, (Apr. 2023, Chronicle Books), $16.95, ISBN: 9781797222219

Ages 10+

Mother and daughter first collaborated on the Just Between Us journal over ten years ago; this revised edition allows for updated prompts and greater writing and creative space. Spaces like “a drawing of my dream outfit” let moms and daughters show their playful side, and “Things I would love for us to do together” breaks down the walls and allows for a wish list that mom and daughter can create together: and then act on it. I miss the playful illustrations that were in previous editions, but I appreciate the copious writing space to allow both writers to put their hopes, dreams, feelings, and ideas on paper. An excellent suggestion for summer journaling.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, Uncategorized

Big books for little ones: board books and more!

You know I love a board book bonanza, but I’ve got other interactive books to crow about, too! Let’s go right to it!

Ultimate Spotlight: Caring for Earth, by Sandra Laboucarie & Sarah Reynard/Illustrated by Julie Mercier, (March 2023, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9791036353239

Ages 4-6

Twirl’s Ultimate Spotlight series is such fun for pre-readers and emerging readers. Loaded with interactive devices like lift-the-flaps, pull tabs, and spinners, each book is like a little adventure. Caring for Earth, the newest book in the series, is a fun and informative look into conservation and preservation. Spreads on respecting nature, creating gardens, eco-friendly living inform grown-ups and children about the many easy ways we can take action to keep our Earth green: create and support a seed library; compost food waste; switch from liquid soap to bar soap, and take a healthy walk when you can! Spreads on gardening show readers the different layers helpful in creating a layered ecosystem. Translated from the original French, the verbiage runs smoothly and is easy to read to younger learners. Flaps and pulls are sturdy and hold up to use (but I always suggest keeping an extra in your reference collection if you want to hold one for storytime and STEM programming). A good addition to a very fun series.


Hello Hummingbirds: Read and play in the tree!, by Hannah Rogge/Illustrated by Emily Dove, (May 2023, Chronicle Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781797210094

Ages 2-4

This adorable book comes with two hummingbirds, attached to ribbons, that readers can use to swoop and play with the hummingbird narrator. A friendly hummingbird greets readers and takes them through a day in the life: swooping and flying, enjoying flower nectar, sheltering and building a nest. Quick, fun facts thread through the narrative, while the colorful artwork and playful fonts engage readers. The book stands up and pages open to become a tree. The pages are sturdy and the ribbons seem to hold up to extra tugging, making this a good storytime/playtime choice.

Let’s Go to Color Camp!: Beginning Baby, by Nicola Slater, (June 2023, Twirl Books), $12.99, ISBN: 9781797218724

Ages 0-3

The Beginning Baby friends return on a trip to Color Camp – and they need help identifying colors! Tabbed flaps with colors help children turn to a favorite color, or they can page through the story where they’re invited to identify colors in the camp surroundings as the Beginning Baby friends paint, eat lunch, go swimming, and enjoy a day at camp. The retro art and expressive, friendly animals are eye-catching, and the sturdy pages will hold up to multiple readings. Great for a read-aloud and quiet skill-building, this is a fun addition to a fun series.


Posted in Uncategorized

Minecraft Cookbook: Great for Teens!

Minecraft: Gather, Cook, Eat! Official Cookbook, by Tara Theoharis, (Apr. 2023, Insight Editions), $27.99, ISBN: 9781647228262

Ages 12+

This is the kind of cookbook I’d put right into my Teen nonfiction section. Over 40 recipes for all skill levels, organized into appetizers and snacks, entrees, desserts, and drinks, and with fun Minecraft-y names, accompanied by color photos and meal planning suggestions? Home run. Minecraft icons on every recipe give cooks difficulty levels and player types that inspired the dishes; Minecraft artwork runs throughout. A chart lets readers see at a glance which are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian. The dishes are fun and inventive, like Inventory Bread, a pull-apart bread that looks like different types of building blocks, or Nether Portal Rolls; cinnamon rolls with ube frosting to give the roll a deliciously purple sheen that matches Minecraft Purple. Recipes are detailed and easy to follow. Player Notes at the end allow for cooking or gaming notes as you cook. This should be a hit for Young Adult and New Adult cookbook collections.

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 Uncategorized

Happy Book Birthday to Tiny T. Rex and the Grand Ta-Da!

Tiny T. Rex and the Grand Ta-Da!, by Jonathan Stutzman/Illustrated by Jay Fleck, (Apr. 2023, Chronicle Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9781452184883

Ages 3-5

Tiny T. Rex and best friend Pointy, face a series of challenges when they enter a talent show. The two work on figuring out their strengths, ultimately deciding to put on a magic show like their hero The Amazing Presto. As the two work the kinks out of their act, they sweetly build each other up with positive self-talk, and readers will get big laughs out of the humorous moments where they practice on their friends. When Pointy comes down with a case of stage fright, Tiny T. Rex has her friend’s back. Adorable characters, bright colors, and an hilarious marriage between Stutzman’s story and Fleck’s illustrations are a home run for readers. With strong themes of friendship, planning, and practice, Tiny T. Rex makes for perfect storytime reading. If you haven’t already pre-ordered this, make sure you add this to your collections.

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 Uncategorized

COVID, Round 2…

Hi, all. Having Covid the second time around is every bit as miserable as the first, but today I can sit upright and actually type without feeling like I’ve run a marathon. So I wanted to post this bit to explain why I disappeared again, and to let you know that I’ve got a lot of books to talk about. And I will; I’ll start posting again in the next day or two, once I’ve got a few posts scheduled so I don’t fade again. Until then, thanks for sticking around. I do appreciate every one of you, from the readers who love and respect kidlit as much as I do, to the authors, illustrators, publishers, and publicists who trust me with their work. Thanks so much.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Jessie: Queen of the Road by Lindsay Ward

Lindsay Ward is back with another great story about women, vehicles, and their roles in history. Take a look at Jessie: Queen of the Road!

Jessie: Queen of the Road, by Lindsay Ward, (Jan. 2023, Two Lions)
$17.99, ISBN: 9781542034227
Ages 4-8

Beginning in the early twentieth century, Jessie is a young motorcycle – the only female motorcycle – riding down New York’s Riverside Drive, shrugging off the gasps of “unladylike!” and “Impossible!” Her determination and drive (pun intentional) lead her to accomplishments like summiting Pike’s Peak and crossing the United States, but she’s still turned down for World War I service: she’s still female. No problem! Meeting other female motorcycles, she goes on long rides and performs in stunt shows until an injury sidelines her. A group of Rosie the Riveter-like women put her back together, and this time, she’s accepted for service in World War II, carrying secret messages and classified documents. After a lifetime of service, Jessie is free to drive wherever she wants, knowing she’s made her place in history.

Inspired by adventuring women like Bessie Stringfield and the Van Buren Sisters, Jessie embraces women’s role in motoring history, embodying the women who laughed off claims of being “unladylike” and went joy riding on bicycles (it was a scandal!) or – GASP – motorcycles.  Ward’s voice, told from Jessie’s point of view, is determined, steady, and strong, with the repetitive phrase “Fast and strong, I won’t be slowed! In rain for shine, I’ll forge my road” sending a positive, powerful message to readers. Mixed media illustrations move from color illustration to black and white photos, giving readers a sense of history; Ward beautifully captures the time shift from the 1910s to post-War America, the wonders of a cross-country road trip, and the excitement of a stunt show. Back matter includes an author’s note, a timeline of women and riding, and more resources for further reading.

I can’t wait to see what other vehicles are waiting to tell Lindsay Ward their stories.


“A spunky tribute to early twentieth-century female adventurers.” —Booklist

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Rosie: Stronger than Steel, Between the Lines, This Book Is Gray, Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives with her family in Peninsula, Ohio. Learn more about her online at

Twitter: @lindsaymward
Instagram: lindsaymward

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Survival and Triumph: Finding Fire

Finding Fire, by Logan S. Kline, (Sept. 2022, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536213027

Ages 4-8

This almost completely wordless picture book is set in a prehistoric society where rain has just put out the family fire. A young boy volunteers for the quest, thus beginning a tale of survival, friendship, and triumph as he braves a hostile landscape to find the precious fire his family needs to survive. Striking mixed-media illustrations carry the story forward: the family, in a bleak cave, standing over the extinguished fire; the red-haired boy, standing in the sunlight, his hair a beacon as he ventures forth, sleeping in trees to escape predators, fording rivers and saving a life. The artwork is stunning, each spread coming to life under the reader’s eye. A gorgeous story that begs to be shared, and an essential purchase. Keep an eye on this one during awards time.

Finding Fire has a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Posted in Uncategorized

An Atlas of Dogs: Worldwide Walkies!

An Atlas of Dogs, by Frances Evans/Illustrated by Kelsey Heaton, (Oct. 2022, Lonely Planet Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781838694463

Ages 6-8

Lonely Planet Kids puts out quality nonfiction! I liked the Lonely Planet travel guides when I’d plan family trips, and I love how they’ve expanded to include kids’ learning into their worldview; they publish everything from first words language guides to guides on dinosaurs, atlases, and… Dogs! Atlas of Dogs takes readers on a walk around the world to meet all sorts of dog breeds. Colorful artwork shows people and dogs living and playing together, and full-spread maps show where dogs live across North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Additional spreads group dogs and fast facts under headings like “Terrific Terriers”, “Super-Hounds”, and “Wild Dogs”. “Pooch Profiles” give readers information about a breed’s country of origin, size, coast, and personality; breed illustrations are labeled to point out details. Endpapers show a bevy of dogs in silhouette. With a glossary and an index, this is an excellent choice for collections and for dog lovers.