Posted in Non-fiction, Non-Fiction

Crazy About Cats? You’ll love this book!

Crazy About Cats, by Owen Davey, (Sept. 2017, Flying Eye Books), $19.95, ISBN: 9781911171164

Recommended for readers 5-12

Smart About Sharks’ author-illustrator Owen Davey returns with a look at cats big and small in Crazy About Cats. The illustrated infographics give kids visuals to help them relate to age-appropriate scientific text.Did you know that the Fishing Cat has webbed paws to help it catch fish? Or that a Sand Cat’s furry paws help keep it from sinking into the desert sand?

The artwork is beautiful and bold, with just enough factoids throughout to keep feline fans happy. A nice add to nonfiction collections, especially ones that are heavy on animals.


Posted in Animal Fiction, Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Boo! Who’s biggest? Who’s bravest?

boo_1Boo!, by Ben Newman, (Apr. 2017, Nobrow), $12.99, ISBN: 9781911171058

Recommended for ages 3-6

A cute little mouse claims to be the bravest animal around, but he has no idea what’s coming up behind him… BOO! Each animal in Boo! is ready to brag about being the bravest, but there’s always a shadow lurking, waiting to pounce in the next spread in this fun cumulative story. This is a fun story about size and how being the biggest may not always mean being the bravest. It’s a fun, interactive read, giving kids the opportunity to call out when there’s a rising shadow that the current bravest animal doesn’t know about, and to yell, “BOO!” in each reveal. You can make animal noises, ask kids to predict what animal is in shadow, and what animal could be scarier as you progress.

There’s a nice rhythm to the story: animal states that he or she is the bravest; the opposite page shows a shadowy antagonist rising up behind the current star of the story, and the following spread features the jump scare reveal. Kids will love the suspense and the chance to be part of the story. Ben Newman’s retro art is fun and bright, with exaggerated scale and reactions for his characters. This is an especially great read-aloud, yell-along book for toddler and pre-k audiences! Fun endpapers show the progression of the scare chain.





Ben Newman is an award-winning illustrator who also works on the Professor Astro Cat children’s books with Dr. Dominic Walliman; also published by Nowbrow/Flying Eye Books. His website has a podcast, some great artwork and a trailer for Boo!, which is currently released in the UK.



Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Enter a dream world with Nightlights

nightlights_1Nightlights, by Lorena Alvarez, (March 2017, Nobrow), $18.95, ISBN: 9781910620137

Recommended for ages 9+

Sandy loves the stars that appear out of the darkness in her bedroom each night. She plays with them, catches them, creates wonderful dreams with them, and in the morning, creates drawings that cover her room. A new girl named Morfie shows up at Sandy’s strict Catholic school and befriends her, but she also starts showing up in Sandy’s dreams, demanding Sandy’s time and drawings. Sandy’s exhausted, but Morfie is always there, always asking her to draw for her.

Nightlights is an unexpected, beautiful graphic novel that looks at fear, insecurity, and creativity. The colorwork is stunning and the dream sequences are breathtaking. Lorena Alvarez’s imagination runs free on the pages of her novel, and she invites readers to join her for the ride.

Nightlights is a very good addition to graphic novel collections and has received a starred review from Kirkus. See more of Lorena Alvarez Gomez’s beautiful and colorful illustration at her website.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

A microraptor’s adventure; Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs

neffy_1Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs, by Joe Lillington, (Oct. 2016, Nobrow), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263895

Recommended for ages 4-10

Neffy the Microraptor is about to go for her first flight – but she doesn’t know what to do after she spreads her wings! Her brothers and sisters have flown ahead, and she needs to catch up! Join Neffy on her adventure, as she meets other dinosaurs and tries to figure out how to get airborne.

This is such a fun combination of fact and fiction. We have Neffy’s fictional story, where a young microraptor tries to learn how to fly and meets feathered dinosaurs along the way. Each dinosaur she encounters has a profile at the bottom of the page, where readers learn the dinosaur’s name and scientific name, size and weight, habitat, diet, family of dinosaurs it belongs to, geographic location and era in which the dinosaurs lived. An author’s note mentions that this isn’t supposed to be a linear book – eras are mixed and matched for fun and to introduce a number of feathered dinosaurs to readers.

Neffy is a good book for a wide range of readers. Kids love dinosaurs, and feathered dinosaurs are a fairly recent discovery, so it’s exciting to read. Younger readers will enjoy Neffy’s story and the bright, fun artwork. Older readers will also enjoy going a little deeper an learning more about these dinosaurs, thanks to the additional information on such dinos as the sinosauropteryx, troodon, and gallimimus. A spread at the end of the book shows readers the scale of a range of dinosaurs – and some humans!

neffy_6Image courtesy of Nobrow Press

Display this one with Brenda Z. Guiberson’s Feathered Dinosaurs, and show off some more feathered dinos at the American Museum of Natural History’s site. Older readers will get a kick out of the Time for Kids article, “Fuzzy, Was He?”, that discusses the T Rex’s feathered relatives.





Joe Lillington is a UK-based author and illustrator. Check out more of his illustration at his website.

Posted in Early Reader, Fantasy, Fiction, Fiction, Intermediate

Imelda and the Goblin King: This ain’t Labyrinth.

9781909263659_edb38Imelda and the Goblin King, by Briony May Smith (Oct. 2015, Nobrow), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263659

Recommended for ages 5-8

Imelda is a young girl living in an enchanted forest, surrounded by the local fairies she calls friends. But the awful Goblin King appears to kidnap the Fairy Queen, and the fairies ask Imelda for her help. Now, it’s up to Imelda to get rid of the Goblin King for good!

Another winner from Nobrow! This debut by Briony May Smith is a fun fairy tale with a strong female main character and eye-catching, bright art that fills each spread with movement and interest. The Goblin King is suitably dour and fierce looking, and his little minions look just as distasteful. Imelda is a great fairy tale heroine, rosy-cheeked and pink-dressed, but she’s no passive princess locked in a tower, waiting for a prince – she’s got a plan to turn the Goblin King into a worm, and she enlists the fairies to do it.

I also love the great fairy tale font. It’s very bold, with emphasis on the “stomps” and exclamations of “Goblin King!” It’s a different font that makes the story as interesting for a reader as it does for the audience in a read-aloud.

A fun fairy tale for school-age kids, this one will be a fun addition to collections where fairy tales do well. I’d pair this one with Kate Beaton’s Princess and the Pony for a read-aloud on princesses who can save themselves, thank you very much. Put this on a shelf with Luke Pearson’s Hilda series, too – the kids will love it.




Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads, Uncategorized

Clap, Clap! Fun with sounds!

9781909263826_20b2fClap, Clap!, by Madalena Matoso (March 2016, Nobrow), $14.95, ISBN: 9781909263826

Recommended for ages 2-5

This is a perfect read-aloud book. It’s a book about sounds, where YOU make the sound. Clang along with a pair of symbols, flap your butterfly wings, or give a huge hand clap! Bright and bold colors and characters invite kids to sizzle, bong, and woof along with them throughout the book.

Clap, Clap! is an interactive book that works great for toddlers or young, school-age kids. Get them up, get them moving, and talk about all the great sounds they can make! Just like it says on the back of the book: “Help tell a story of noise and sound—no batteries required, just your hands on each side of the cover.”

I love the books coming out of Nobrow – the designs are so bright, eye-catching, and just make you feel good. Younger kids will love these books; I can’t wait to get them all over my library. Add this to your storytime shelf!

Madalena Matoso is part of the Planeta Tangerina illustration and graphic design collective. You can see more about Clap there, and watch a little video!
Posted in Early Reader

Do You Hear What I Hear? Vintage Art helps create a symphony!

9781909263857_e3d21Do You Hear What I Hear?, by Helen Borten (May 2016, Flying Eye Books/Nobrow), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263857

Recommended for ages 4-8

A companion to Ms. Borten’s Do You See What I See?, Do You Hear What I Hear?, also published in 1959, introduces children to the effects different sounds can have on them.

“Loud sounds make can me feel fierce as a lion and as explosive as a firecracker. The sound of the circus fills me with excitement. I hear animals roaring, music blaring, people shouting, hands clapping, peanut shells cracking, and balloons bursting.”

Accompanied by her beautiful artwork, these images have texture that help kids unpack the sensations described in the text. The frenetic atmosphere of the circus is captured in the many lines stabbing the spread; the cords holding up the big top and the trapeze wires; the motion of the swinging trapeze artist and the balloons, and the animals walking across the pages.



Originally published in 1959, Mr. Borten’s beautiful, vintage artwork adds texture to the basics: lines, color, and shape, whether it’s by adding swirls to an ocean full of fish or wispy, thin spider webs above the thick bars of a lion’s cage. Ms. Borten artwork and evocative text inspires children to see the world around them “as a great big painting, full of lines and shapes and colors, to look at and enjoy”.

This is a great book to read out loud, then talk about the different sounds and feelings kids associate with them. I know the sizzle of a grill makes me think of summer, and I can feel the warmth on my skin and taste the tart lemonade just thinking about it, and the scent of a box of crayons makes me feel excited, like I’m ready for the first day of school all over again. Have kids draw what different sounds make them think of, or describe them. I’ll be adding this book to  my family storytime rotation for sure.

Do You Hear What I Hear? isn’t out until May, but take a look at some more of the beautiful art from the book, and pre-order from Amazon. Check out the publisher’s website for more picture books, and take a look at some of the outstanding artwork from Do You Hear What I Hear, below.



Posted in Preschool Reads

Tough Guys Have Feelings, Too: An exploration of feelings

toughguys_1Tough Guys Have Feelings, Too, by Keith Negley (Nov. 2015, Nobrow Ltd.), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263666

Recommended for ages 3-6

Everybody’s got feelings – even ninjas, superheroes, and daddies! They’re allowed to feel sad, disappointed, and even embarrassed. Keith Negley uses strong, male figures – usually stereotyped as stoic, “walk it off” types – to help kids understand that feelings are perfectly natural, normal, and not something to be ashamed of. What you feel is what you feel, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Ninjas cry when they argue with their friends. Cowboys are embarrassed when they fall off their horses. Wrestlers are nervous before a big match. Most importantly, daddies are proud to show how much they love their children. This book is phenomenal for taking male stereotypes and giving them powerful feelings – feelings that young kids will recognize in themselves, and hopefully, be encouraged to share. Tough Guys Have Feelings Too is a great read-aloud book, with its bright colors, bold shapes, and larger-than-life figures; it opens up the doors to discussions that parents can have with their children, teachers and educators can have with their students, and it allows kids to develop the tools to express their feelings to one another, too. There’s also an opportunity for a cause-and-effect lesson here, illustrating how events can influence our feelings, or how our own actions and feelings affect others.
I can’t wait to get this on my shelves and get it into storytime rotation. Get this one into your collections!

Author Keith Negley will be taking part in some reading events in the NYC area to promote the book in the next few weeks. Check out his schedule on Tumblr.