Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Small/Indie Spotlight!

It’s been a while since we had a Small Press/Indie author spotlight, so let’s dig in.

Just Like Magic, by Victor D.O. Santos/Illustrated by Iryana Kazakova, (Jan. 2022, Linguacious LLC), $13.99, ISBN: 9781649621184

Ages 4-7

Nico is a young platypus who gets bullied by the other animals in Animalandia, until he meets a Genie who offers to help him be brave, but as Nico finds his voice and learns to stand up for himself, we wonder: what is the genie’s real gift?

A gentle story about tapping into one’s inner strength for kids, with colorful cartoon art illustration.

 

Treasure Hunt (Grandma’s Closet #4), by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (March 2021, Look Under Rocks), $12.99, ISBN: 9781954519022

Ages 4-7

Carrie is back and she’s still discovering things in Grandma’s closet in the fourth installment of Lois Wickstrom’s Grandma’s Closet series. This time, Carrie finds a box of dowsing rods, which she uses to find something valuable. The rods tell her where to go, with the promise of finding helpful things, including a sewer line leak that could pose a big problem if it were discovered later on! The dowsing rods lead Carrie to the best find of all – but you’ll have to read it to find out for yourself. A fun story in a cute series, The Treasure is an additional purchase suggestion. Visit Lois Wickstrom’s website for more about her series.

 

You are You, by Cassidy Burke/Illustrated by David Gnass, (Aug. 2021, Mascot Books), $14.95, ISBN: 978-1-64543-231-9

Ages 4-7

Tackling a complex and scary issue, You Are You tackles childhood mental health and bullying. Pennelope the giraffe loves going to school and playing with her friends at recess until the morning where her “friends” make fun of her laugh. Their unkind words and actions hurt Pennelope, who goes home and stays in bed, turning their words over and over in her head. Her friend Phoenix reaches out, sending her an encouraging note that lets her know she isn’t alone. Pennelope returns to school, learning to tune out the mean kids and celebrate her support system. Back matter includes “Challenge Letters” to parents, friends, teachers, and the world at large, raising suicide awareness and encouraging readers to know that they are not alone. Colorful cartoon animals add a light to a potentially dark subject, and the story gets its point across in a way that younger readers will understand and appreciate.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Self-publishing/Indie publishing spotlight!

I’ve got some more self-published and indie publishing books to crow about today!

 

Magic Wanda (Grandma’s Closet #3), by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (Nov. 2020, Look Under Rocks), $12.99, ISBN: 978-0916176792

Ages 4-7

Lois Wickstrom followed up her 2019 story, Carrie’s Flight, with another fun fantasy about a little girl named Carrie, her grandmother, and some magical flowers. Carrie discovers a box with “Wandas” written on it, so she opens it: there are flowers in the box, but what’s a Wanda? She videochats Grandma, who tells her that the flowers are Magic Wandas, and can help her get ready for her mother’s party. The flowers – named Rose, Lily, and Daisy – come to life and play with Carrie, turning into anything she wishes for. Will she be ready for her mom’s party in time if she keeps playing with the Wandas? A fun little fantasy for preschoolers and kindergartners. There’s a positive, playful relationship between Carrie and her grandmother, and I like the use of videochat to show the two staying in touch. Grandma always seems to have some magical fun up her sleeve, which adds to the enjoyment and might even prompt a child or two to see their grandparents a little differently: after all, who knows what magic they have to share? Soft pastel illustrations add to the gentle magic of the story, and fonts play with words to add interest.

 

 

Dinopotamus Solves a Mystery, by Lois Wickstrom, (Dec. 2020, Look Under Rocks), $12.99, ISBN: 978-0916176884

Ages 3-7

Dinopotamus is a friendly dinosaur-hippopotamus hybrid that likes to sleep in the classroom where he spends his day. He notices that he always gets the warm spot in the room, but when he decides to let the chilly students have his spot the next day, because they’re chilly, the spot isn’t warm anymore. Why is it always warm where Dinopotamus sleeps? This fun little STEM-based mystery looks at the science behind heat and energy. Dinopotamus Solves a Mystery is one of five Dinopotamus books by Lois Wickstrom.

Education.com has a heat transfer activity that’s a good place to start when explaining heat transfer; the activity is suggested for 2nd graders, but you can demonstrate it for younger ages.

 

 

 

Hannah’s Two Homes, by Melodie Tegay, (May 2018), $7.99, ISBN: 978-1641334747

Ages 3-5

Hannah is a 5-year-old girl whose parents are divorced and remarried. In simple, easy-to-understand sentences, Hannah describes her life with her parents and her “extra daddy” and “extra mommy”, her younger siblings, pets, and family holidays. Her Christian mother and Jewish father celebrate holidays like Passover and Easter, Christmas and Hanukkah, in their homes with Hannah; the whole family come together to celebrate Hannah’s birthday. Hannah knows that she’s always loved, no matter who’s house she’s living in. A good beginning for younger readers to understand what it means when parents divorce: that there’s always a place for them, that sometimes, parents will marry other people and have other children, but that they are always loved. Addressing fears and concerns with a comforting “I’ve been there” voice in Hannah, Hannah’s Two Homes is a good additional purchase for collections.