Posted in picture books

If there was ever a timely book… King of Boredom

King of Boredom, by Ilaria Guarducci, (Apr. 2020, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764359743

Ages 5-8

Pale, thin Ben is a kid who never enjoyed himself. His favorite color is light gray, he likes plain white pasta, he doesn’t really do a whole heck of a lot, and no matter what his parents do, he’s just bored. He pronounces himself the Supreme King of Boredom, locks himself in his room… and decides to make himself a throne. And if you make a throne, you should really have a castle, right? As the Supreme King of Boredom, Ben adds onto his empire, aided by a cardboard box, scissors, some buttons and thread, and the toys in his room. He even takes a lovely queen, who pledges to be bored with him forever. WAIT! Is that… a slight smile?

Who doesn’t have a King (or Queen) or Boredom at home these days? Ben is incredibly relatable to kids stuck indoors and BOOOOOOOORED, and those kids who just don’t know what to do to NOT be bored. The dramatic pronouncement of Supreme King of Boredom is all Ben needed to spark his creativity: he’s got a cardboard box, some supplies, and – whether he realizes it or not – a little bit of imagination. At once a fun book on making and a boredom buster, King of Boredom is a smart summer reading choice for kids who need a little push in the right direction. Colorful artwork, with a taciturn Ben in the center of it all, makes for a fun read. Grab some cardboard, some paper, tape, and glue, and see what you and your Boredom Royalty can create together.


Just to clarify, King of Boredom – as with most of the books I read and write about here – was provided to me for free by Schiffer in exchange for a review. I haven’t added this disclaimer in the past, but I want to make sure I’m FTC complaint, so I’ll be tacking a little boilerplate at the bottom of future reviews going forward. Thanks, all!


Posted in picture books

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Spiky, by Ilaria Guarducci

Spiky, by Ilaria Guarducci/Translated by Laura Watkinson,
(June 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542040433
Ages 4-8

If you haven’t checked out Ilaria Guarducci’s book, Spiky, now is the time. Originally published in Italian as Thorny, Spiky is one of the first titles published through Amazon’s imprint for kids’ books in translation, Amazon Crossing Kids. It’s the story of a bully who learns to become a little less… prickly, and open himself up to friendship, and it’s got some good entry points for a discussion.

Librarians! If anyone’s heading to ALA this year, Amazon is giving away copies of Spiky and the other Amazon Crossing Kids titles! Stop by Booth #1362 for a look at the giveaways and book signings!

Want a chance at winning your own copy of Spiky? Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway!

Ilaria Guarducci studied at Accademia Nemo, in Florence. She illustrated her first book, A Ride with Aliens, for Camelozampa in 2012. After that, she published with Fatatrac (Giunti Group) and several other Italian and foreign publishers. She has also written and illustrated Mr Moustache’s Amazing Machines, and Whatabore!, and her books are translated in eight languages.



Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Can friendship can make Spiky less prickly?

Spiky, by Ilaria Guarducci/Translated by Laura Watkinson, (June 2019, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542040433

Ages 4-8

Spiky is one of the new books from Amazon’s new imprint, Amazon Crossing Kids, publishing children’s books in translation. Originally published in Italian, Spiky tells the story of a rather prickly fellow named Spiky. He’s brown and covered with spikes, and he’s a big bully. His spikes keep everyone around him at arm’s length, and he just revels in being mean; he pulls the wings off butterflies, he puts birds in glass jars, and he pokes holes in snail shells, all for the sake of being mean. But one day, his spikes start falling out. Before he knows it, Spiky is now a big, pink, spikeless marshmallow who isn’t scary at all. How the tables have turned! Bernardo, a kind bunny, befriends Spiky and shows him how nice it is to be surrounded by friends, especially when there are no spikes to stand between them. Eventually, Spiky’s spikes come back and he begins to re-embrace the Bad Side, but his heart just isn’t in it anymore. Bernardo still sees his friend under all those spikes, and that kind gesture is all Spiky needs to realize that feeling good is pretty darn awesome.

Spiky is a sweet story about a bully who changes his ways and the difference having one good friend can make. Spiky is raised to be mean – the story even notes that his father sends him to “the best school for badness in the whole country” – giving readers a heads-up, particularly us grown-ups, that children learn what they live. Raised and encouraged to be mean, Spiky’s badness runs unchecked until he finds himself in a vulnerable position. From here, Bernardo the bunny comes in and nudges the story into a sweet one of redemption and friendship, leading Spiky down a very different, upbeat path by showing him kindness.

A cute story for storytime, and offers some good moments for discussion with preschoolers to second graders. Ilaria Guarducci’s Facebook page also offers some adorable Spiky artwork that you can have your kiddos easily create: get some brown (and pink) construction paper, a box of toothpicks, some glue, and voila!

See more of Ilaria Guarducci’s artwork at her blog.