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
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
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
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.