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.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board Books and Pop-Ups Bonanza!

It’s time for the latest board book bonanza! These books are great for collections and for stocking stuffers: let’s take a look.

The Pop-Up Guide: Animals, by Maud Poulain/Illustrated by Peggy Nille, (Sept. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9791036345166

Ages 3-5

Twirl’s Pop-Up Guides are so much fun for toddlers and preschoolers. The fourth in this series is all about animals and their environments, with spotlights on nine areas: the African Savanna, the forest, the Far North, the rain forest, the backyard, the ocean, the desert, the river and the mountains. A brief factual paragraph gives kids introductory information to each area, and each spread folds out into a 3-D landscape. Animals are clearly labeled, as are environmental objects like pine cones, ice floes, and water lilies. The Pop-Up Guide are great ways to introduce new vocabulary and new ideas, with colorful illustration and sturdy pages that hold up to multiple reads. If you’re putting these into circulation, keep a reference copy on hand for storytimes. Great for a STEM storytime!

Pop-Up Topics: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, by Arnaud Roi, (Oct. 2022, Twirl Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9782408037512

Ages 3-5

Twirl has another pop-up series for young learners now! Pop-Up Topics has slightly more informational text and a more refined topic range for growing minds, while keeping the same exciting and eye-catching 3-D pop-ups that exploring fingers enjoy. Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric features includes 10 pop-up spreads on dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures with a short, informational paragraph on each, and at-a-glance statistics like region, size and weight, and time period. Fan favorites like Tyrannosaurus Rex Stegosaurus are here alongside the lesser-known Sarcosuchus, a prehistoric relative to the modern-day crocodile, and flying reptile Quetzalcoatlus. If your budget permits, pick up a back-up copy or two, or keep this in storytime reference; while sturdy, the flaps may not hold up to the beating that dino books take (at least, in my library!).

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Puppy, Illustrated by Michael Slack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205267

Ages 1-4

Happy Little Pets is an adorable new board book series from Chronicle! Combining pet care with learning, the books are a sweet introduction to having a pet. I Take Care of My Puppy has 15 interactive elements that let kids fill the puppy’s bowl, brush their fur, and trace their finger through a walk around the block. Moving parts, bold fonts, and a cheery, expressive puppy will appeal to readers. The final spread invites readers to take care of their own puppy for a week, with sliding panels to check off every day after they feed, walk, play, and take their puppy out for a potty run. It’s a great way to introduce responsibility into a conversation, and for preschoolers who may not have a pet, a chance to try a puppy on for size – accompany with a stuffed animal for a test run! Sliding panels can be a little fiddly with new books, but the pages are sturdy and will hold up.

 

Happy Little Pets: I Take Care of My Kitten, Illustrated by Michael Stack, (Jan. 2023, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781797205274

Ages 1-4

I Take Care of My Kitten is the companion to I Take Care of My Puppy, with an adorable black and white kitten that readers can name, feed, brush, and pet. There are 15 interactive elements for toddlers and preschoolers to explore, and they can spend a week caring for their own kitten (Can be a toy! Get creative!) and marking off their progress at the end of the book. Kids can learn about the responsibility involved in having a kitten, including cleaning the litter box and helping them find a scratching post to sharpen their claws. Kid-friendly artwork and sturdy panels engage readers from the get-go.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Big Bear, Little Fish, Great Friends

Big Bear and Little Fish, by Sandra Nickel/Illustrated by Il Sung Na, (Sept. 2022, Carolrhoda Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781728417172

Ages 4-8

Bear goes to a carnival hoping to win a giant teddy bear, but wins a goldfish instead. Worried that she is too big to play with, feed, or love the tiny fish, she stays as far away from it as possible, lamenting the fact that she’s saddled with this little fish instead of a big teddy bear. Fish helps Bear discover that the two are not so different after all. With a sweet look at relative size and ability, Big Bear and Little Fish is a story of looking past the surface and snap judgements to get to the heart of a situation. It’s a wise story of friendship and kindness that reads beautifully for a young audience and gives slightly older readers food for thought. Cartoon illustrations endear the animals to readers; cool shades of blue against a bright white background provide depth and texture; warm browns and golds on the animals add a warmth to the narrative. Sentences are brief and to the point, letting newly independent readers enjoy the book on their own or as part of a storytime. A good selection for storytime collections.

A free educator kit on the Lerner Books website offers discussion questions and activities.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

My Dog, Hen embraces the chaos and joy of a new puppy

My Dog, Hen, by David Mackintosh, (Oct. 2022, Prestel Junior), $16.95, ISBN: 9783791375359

Ages 4-8

A boy and his family adopt a new pet and discover the fun – and the pandemonium – that a new puppy can bring. The family brings the Hen, a mixed breed dog, home and sets about making him as comfortable as possible, but all Hen wants to do is chew on everything: furniture, his bed and toys, even the “indestructible” toys that the boy buys from the pet store. Grandma arrives and sews a toy that even Hen can’t destroy, leading to a conversation about what’s considered disposable, from Dad’s mended socks to Hen himself: “Why should we get a brand new dog when Hen is as good as new to us?” “Why get new socks if Gran can make old ones as good as new?” High-contrast artwork incorporates negative space to make a visually interesting story, and Mackintosh’s simple and to-the-point storytelling, narrated by a child, delivers a thought-provoking message about the throwaway society we are turning around. A good purchase for storytime collections. Pair with Cary Fagan’s Little Blue Chair for a storytime with a message; encourage kids to craft with materials from other projects, whether they be scraps of fabric, old socks, and scraps of paper from previous projects.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Author Michelle Dumont’s doggone great reading list for National Dog Week

National Dog Week is this week, and author Michelle Dumont – whose book, Phoebe Cakes and Friends: An Alphabet Tail, publishes next week – has been lovely enough to provide a list of some of her favorite doggo books! This is a great list, fun to share with your kiddos and your pups alike. Watch this space for a post about Phoebe Cakes in the near future, too!

 

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Don’t Worry, Murray, by David Ezra Stein

We all have worries but dear adorable Murray has many worries. For children, like Murray, life’s little stressors can seem overwhelming. Learning with Murray makes everything less of a worry.

Recommended age: 4 to 8 years

 

Pig the Pug: Blabey, Aaron, Blabey, Aaron: 9781338112450: Amazon.com: Books

Pig The Pug, by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Pug does not like to share. I think we’ve all been there….

Stubborn Pig learns the lesson of sharing with his dear friend Trevor.  I’m especially fond of the illustrations. It’s difficult not to love a rotund stubborn bug-eyed pug.

Recommended age: 3 to 5 years

 

The Rainbow Bridge : A Visit to Pet Paradise (Paperback) - Walmart.com

The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit To Pet Paradise, by Adrian Raeside

Cross the Rainbow Bridge and enter a magical pet paradise where the sun always shines, and playtime never ends. This is a wonderful story for anyone who has experienced the loss of a beloved pet.

 

Amazon.com: MUTTS: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds: 9781733634175:  Pritchard, Olivia Grey: Books

Recommended age: 4 to 9 MUTTS: A Celebration of Mystery Mixed Breeds, by Olivia Grey Pritchard

“Excuse me, what breed is your dog?”

This book is for anyone who loves dogs. With each camera click, photographer Olivia Pritchard, captures the spirit of the “MUTT”.

MUTT in my opinion, should stand for Mysterious, Unique, Talented, Tail wager.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to animal rescues.

Recommended age: All ages

 

Phoebe Cakes and Friends, An Alphabet Tail, by Michelle Dumont

A is for Affenpinscher. Follow Phoebe on an A-to-Z tail wagging adventure.

Learning the alphabet with a tiny bulldog named Phoebe and all her furry friends has never been more entertaining.

This is the second book in the Phoebe Tails series. The first book, “Phoebe Cakes, A Mardi Gras Tail” follows Phoebe through the streets of New Orleans as she searches for a parade just for dogs. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the New Orleans Bulldog Rescue.

Recommended age: Baby to 6 years

More about Michelle Dumont:
Michelle Dumont lives in New Orleans with her family and four furry friends. A licensed Respiratory Therapist and Asthma Educator, she began writing following the advice of a friend. Like Phoebe, she loves long car rides, peanut butter and everything New Orleans.

Posted in Uncategorized

Books for Pet Lovers

It’s another roundup! This time, I’ve got books for pet lovers: large, small, stinky, all here!

 

Not That Pet!, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls/Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217766

Ages 2-5

Mabel is so excited: her family is letting her choose the family pet! Her first choice is a bit unorthodox – it’s an elephant – but hey, the elephant keeps the plants watered and pulls weeds, right? When the elephant seems to be a bit too big, the family asks her to make another choice. And another. And another. Mabel’s penchant for choosing unusual pets is upending her family in the most hilarious of ways: ants crawl into her dad’s pants, a snake gets a little too huggy, and skunk… well, you can guess what the skunk does. Can Mabel find a pet that’s going to fit in with her whole family? The hijinks are hilarious and Rosalind Beardshaw’s colorful, cartoony illustrations bring this family to big, colorful life as they try to acclimate to each new pet. The multi-generational, biracial family – Mabel’s mom is South Asian, her dad is white, and mom’s parents live with the family, as shown in a house cross-section. The story bounces humorously along, words in caps for emphasis; this will make a spectacular read-aloud. Mabel and her little brother have a sweet relationship, as he follows her through the book, engaging with each new pet she brings home. A good add to storytime collections.

 

 

Hat Cat, by Troy Wilson/Illustrated by Eve Coy, (Feb. 2022, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536213669

Ages 4-8

An elderly man visits the park to feed squirrels every day, and one day discovers that a kitten has taken up residence in his hat! He takes the kitten home, naming it Hat, and lavishes Hat with love and affection. He won’t let Hat outside to roam, though; he is afraid Hat won’t come back, and he’s afraid for the squirrels. But one day, the man doesn’t come home. A few days later, a woman and child arrive to take care of Hat, and an open door gives Hat the chance he’s waited for: he heads outside, but he doesn’t chase the squirrels and he doesn’t run away. He finds the Man’s hat, left on the bench, and he curls up to sleep in it. And when the Man finally comes back home, he, his caregivers, and Hat all sit together, outside, enjoying the day. Hat Cat is a moving story of friendship and companionship. Pencil and watercolor illustrations give a soft, gentle feel to the story, with the Man and Hat in their cozy book- and plant-filled home. When Hat realizes the Man is gone, the loneliness communicated is just heartbreaking: tiny Hat, standing against a door, the sun shining in, feels so big and empty, and the reunion between Hat and Man bring a warmth and coziness back to the story. The old man presents as white; the caregiver and her daughter are brown-skinned. Details like family photos on the wall give the old man a life beyond the confines of the book. A gorgeous book that evokes emotion.

 

Big Dog, Little Dog, by Sally Rippin/Illustrated by Lucinda Gifford, (March 2022, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684643837

Ages 3-6

A big dog learns about friendship in this adorable story, originally published in the UK in 2021. Big Dog has a good life with his male human, even if it feels a little lonely, from time to time. But things change when Big Dog’s human meets a lady, who has a Little Dog. The two humans move in together, and Big Dog is not thrilled about sharing his home with Little Dog, who interprets things like “Sit”, “Up”, and “Come” very differently. Big Dog has had the run of the house, and now Little Dog – who’s better behaved – seems to be stealing his thunder. Big Dog goes on a campaign of chaos to try framing Little Dog, but when he goes too far, he’s put out for the night; Little Dog refuses to go to sleep without Big Dog, and raises a ruckus indoors until the two are reunited, leading to a friendship between the former rivals. Little Dog calms some of Big Dog’s rebellious nature, and Big Dog teaches Little Dog that it’s okay to take a mud bath every now and then. Big Dog’s owner presents as white, Little Dog’s owner is brown-skinned. Endpapers show Big Dog running across a park in the opening spread, and being joined by Little Dog in the closing. The dogs are expressive from their faces to their active tails, and the illustrations show the amusing difference between Big Dog’s and Little Dog’s interpretations of commands like “UP!” (he lies on the couch; Little Dog jumps into his human’s arms) and “Walkies!” (he takes off, dragging his human being him; Little Dog walks alongside his human). Great for dog fans and kids with new siblings, Big Dog Little Dog shows kids that even the roughest of beginnings can lead to a sweet ending. Adorable for storytime reading.

 

 

We Love You, Magoo, by Briony Stewart, (March 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684643646

Ages 2-6

A lovable cartoon pup has his own ideas about what a dog should do in this giggle-worthy rhyming look at a dog’s life. Alternating spreads show Magoo contemplating what he thinks he should be doing – chowing down on bacon and eggs at the breakfast table, taking the car wheel, chewing a bunch of toys – and what he should be doing, like eating kibble from his bowl, sitting in his dog house, or playing with a tennis ball. Spreads fall into a question and answer format, making it easy for kids to chime in with the repetitive answer, “No, Magoo. This is for you”. Magoo’s facial expressions and body language are adorably played for laughs, and the sweet ending will melt hearts. The bold, bright artwork and big, black fonts make this an excellent readaloud choice that will get little ones gleefully taking part in your storytime. Originally published in Australia in 2020, We Love You, Magoo is new to U.S. shores and has a companion book, Where Are You, Magoo? that I hope makes its way here.

Author-illustrator Briony Stewart’s webpage has more information about her books, including the Magoo books.

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, picture books, Preschool Reads

Another Holiday Gift Guide!

Last minute shoppers, I feel you. I AM you. Last minute 2021 book budget shoppers, I got you, too. Spent your 2021 dollars? No problem; these books are set to keep your readers happy next year, too.

The Secret of the Magic Pearl, by Elisa Sabatinelli/Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno/Translated by Christopher Turner, (Oct. 2021, Red Comet Press), $21.99, ISBN: 9781636550060

Ages 7-11

New kid on the block Red Comet Press has been hitting home runs this year! The Secret of the Magic Pearl is a magical story for kids who love picture books, newly independent readers who are ready to take on denser material, and chapter book readers alike. Hector is a boy living with his family in an Italian coastal town. He wants to be a deep-sea diver like his father, and his family organizes underwater expeditions for tourists. But Amedeo Limonta, a man who “lost his sailor’s soul and betrayed the sea”, forces Hector’s family out of business so that he can continue on his obsession: to find a legendary Pearl and sell it. Hector, determined to save his family and his connection to the sea, has to figure out a way to throw a wrench into Amedeo’s plans.

Originally published in Italian in 2019, this book is gorgeous. The story is about love of family and a passion for the sea. First-person narrator Hector immediately warms readers with his voice, full of fun details and emotion. The artwork is simply beautiful, bringing a sense of movement and wonder. Together, the words and artwork make for a breathtaking fantasy that readers will return to time and again. Red Comet has been great about creating activity kits for their books, too; download one for The Secret of the Magic Pearl here.

The Secret of the Magic Pearl has starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly.

 

Guitars (Made by Hand series), by Patricia Lakin, (Nov. 2021, Aladdin), $17.99, ISBN: 9781481448352

Ages 8-12

The Made by Hand series by Patricia Lakin is a great nonfiction series to have available to your middle graders and middle schoolers. The newest, Guitars, is a great introduction to the art and science of guitar music, including a history of the instrument, the science behind how electric and acoustic guitars work, and a tour through luthier (a maker of string instruments!) Meredith Coloma’s custom guitar-making workshop. Color photos detail the step-by-step process of making both electric and acoustic guitars, and there’s a fun and easy STEM challenge for kids to learn how sound travels over string (we used to call it a tin can telephone). A timeline, list of guitar greats, a glossary and further resources make this a must-have for music collections and for kids with an interest in science or music.

Do I have a program in mind for this? Glad you asked! PBS Kids has a great DIY Guitar activity here, and all the materials are available in the home! The Michigan Children’s Hospital has a similar DIY here, using a tissue box instead of a cereal box. Get the band together and jam at Christmas!

 

My Christmas Wish for You, by Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar, (Oct. 2021, Chronicle Books), $14.99, ISBN: 9781452184364

Ages 3-7

A sweet poem about Christmas and good wishes to last the whole year long, My Christmas Wish for You is the latest book from Happiness Is… creators and spouses Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar. This poem works for children and adults alike, and is full of goodwill and cheer; reading it, you can’t help but feel warm inside, with couplets like “Friends joined together in goodwill and song, / a welcome to others… the sense you belong”, and “Mugs of hot chocolate for tummies’ delight, / breathing like dragons to warm up the night”. Whimsical illustrations show a variety of people and pets celebrating the Christmas season as hearts and stars abound. It’s a great little gift book, and a wonderful way to bring the chaos of Christmas Day to a close, as we all look hopefully toward a new year.

 

A Donkey Called Mistletoe (Jasmine Green Rescues), by Helen Peters/Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon, (Sept. 2021, Walker Books US), $6.99, ISBN: 9781536222463

Ages 7-10

This is one of my favorite more recent intermediate series. Jasmine Green is an aspiring vet who, with her best friend, Tom, rescue all sorts of animals they discover around Jasmine’s Oak Tree Farm. Luckily for the two friends, Jasmine’s mom is an actual veterinarian and her dad is a farmer, so they can learn from the pros! In this outing, Jasmine and Tom learn that their neighbor is moving to an assisted-care facility and is rehoming his animals, including his donkey, Mistletoe. Jasmine, stricken by the thought of Mistletoe moving far away, impulsively offers to adopt him and keep him at Oak Tree Farm, but her little brother, Manu, proves to be a challenge: Mom isn’t sure Manu will be safe around Mistletoe, and vice versa! But Jasmine is not giving up on Mistletoe, and when a Christmas play needs an extra donkey, she knows exactly what to do. These stories are such feel-good stories, balanced by realistic moments that remind kids that animals need special care by professionals. Previous books have touched on orphaned and abandoned animals and reckless pet ownership, and this story, centered on an elderly man going into assisted care and worrying about finding homes for his animals, reminds kids once again that pets of any kind are a commitment. Black and white illustrations throughout give deeper texture to the narrative, and a quiz on donkeys invites readers to test their knowledge. I will always love this series, and am happy to booktalk them to my animal-loving readers.

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board books make great stocking stuffers!

They’re portable, they’re sturdy, they fit in a stocking as easily as they do a purse or a toddler’s hands: board books are great gifts!

The Sun Shines on the Sea, by Michael Slack, (Sept. 2021, Candlewick Press), $9.99, ISBN: 9781536215694

Ages 3-5

The gentlest way to introduce the concept of the food chain to preschoolers, The Sun Shines on the Sea is a lift-the-flap board book that lets the flaps do the talking. While the sun shines on the sea, phytoplankton grow, and hungry krill snack on the phytoplankton as they soak up the sun, and that’s where the flaps take over: the story makes reference to a predator moving, swirling, and gliding past, and flaps reveal what’s in their bellies: “A shoal of fish swirls around the krill”, and a flap reveals a krill in a fish’s tummy. The story is factual, easy to understand, and begins and ends with the sun shining on the sea. The digital artwork is colorful, the sea life are kid-friendly, and the flaps are sturdy.

If you’re using this in an underwater story time, this is a great time to sing “Slippery Fish” and use some flannels. I really like this recycled cardboard aquarium craft, and you can easily make it a grab and go. Don’t have a cheese box? Trim some cardboard from cereal boxes, glue into a circle, and back it with construction paper.

 

Where’s Brian’s Bottom? A Veeeerrrry Long Fold-Out Book, by Rob Jones, (Oct. 2021, Pavilion), $9.95, ISBN: 9781843654667

Ages 0-3

Weiner dog fans will love this hilarious fold-out book. Brian is a dachshund who can’t find his bottom! Readers can help him as they unfold the book to search through five rooms, meeting a variety of Brian’s acquaintances to help with the search. The concertina book folds out into over 6 feet of Brian, and takes readers through different rooms of the house, his body streeeeetching along the way. Kids can identify different rooms, animals, and sounds, and repetitive questions invites readers to chime in. The endpaper at the front of the book features a wall of framed photos – Brian, naturally, takes up two frames – with animals that readers will meet during the course of the story. Each side that folds out tells a different story: one takes place during the day, one at night, with different events that you can invite readers to tell you about. The bold, cartoon artwork is eye-catching, and readers will love discovering something new with every turn of the flap. Absolute fun.

Where is Brian’s Bottom? is the first in a board book concertina series from Pavilion; I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.

 

 

 

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth, by Emily Haynes & Sanjay Patel, (Aug. 2021, Chronicle Books), $8.99, ISBN: 9781797212524

Ages 3-5

I was so excited to see a board book release for one of my favorite picture books, Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth! The story of how Hindu god Ganesha and the poet Vyasa create the great epic, The Mahabharata, translates beautifully to board book. The illustrations are colorful, vibrant, and eye-catching; the storytelling pace works in this format, and the author’s note at the end explains the story behind the story: how Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth isn’t a literal retelling of the classic legend, but more of a kid-friendly reimagining that kids can relate to, like breaking a tooth on a jawbreaker sweet and learning to channel a meltdown into something more productive.

Publisher Chronicle has a Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth activity kit, with a coloring sheet and fill-in-the-blank epic poem.

 

 

Dog’s First Baby, by Natalie Nelson, (Oct. 2021, Quirk Books), $9.99, ISBN: 9781683692799

Ages 2-5

Told from a dog’s point of view, Dog’s First Baby is a board book with a fun spin on things as a family dog discovers someone new joining the household: a baby. Dog isn’t sure whether or not to be thrilled with this latest development, as baby’s front paws pull his ears and hurt; with time, though Dog sees that maybe the two aren’t so different after all: they both howl; they both like to play tug-of-war; they both enjoy a good stretch, and baby sure likes to share food, and, as Dog says, “I admire this”. A great book for new parents who may be getting ready or are in the early stages of introducing a new baby and a dog, Dog’s First Baby embraces the chaos of those early months: Baby dropping food all over the floor (which Dog happily cleans up); Baby and Dog howling and wailing together; Baby attempting to ride Dog; Baby and Dog making messes together. The book also captures those moments that are worth every mess: Baby asleep on Dog’s flank; the two sitting in a chair together, and Dog’s quiet presence whenever Baby is near, whether they’re walking together or sleeping in the same room. Deep, rich colors and textured lighter colors make this a beautiful book to look through.

Quirk and Natalie Nelson have a companion book, Cat’s First Baby, coming in March 2022. I can’t wait! In the meantime, this is a perfect storytime book and gift book. There’s a free, downloadable activity kit available, too.

Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Frankie and Amelia is a great buddy story

Frankie and Amelia, by Cammie McGovern, (Oct. 2021, HarperCollins), $16.99, ISBN: 9780062463326

Ages 8-12

Franklin is a cat who ends up separated from his family. He finds a temporary home with a family, where he meets a dog named Chester, a service dog to a boy with autism named Gus. But Gus’s dad is allergic to Franklin, so he ends up with one of Gus’s classmates, a girl named Amelia, who loves cats, and who really needs a good friend.

Frankie and Amelia is a the companion book to Chester and Gus (2017), but you don’t need to have read it to enjoy Frankie and Amelia. It’s a gentle story about found families, inclusion, and autism, particularly how it’s often missed in girls. The story is narrated by Franklin, who grows as a character as the story progresses and he learns more about and becomes more sensitive to his adopted humans, Gus and Amelia. Chester, a seasoned seizure response dog, is Franklin’s guide into this new world and provides an incredible amount of information to readers on autism and the sensitivity that companion animals provide to their charges. Cammie McGovern, the parent of a child with autism, writes with an understanding and sensitivity to the topic, and creates characters that are kind, realistic, and lovable. By exploring the relationship between pets and people, she’s able to give readers a new understanding of autism, how people with autism are often perceived by others, and how autism presents differently in boys and girls.

A must-have for your shelves.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Mr. Watson’s Chickens is shooby-doo, wonky-pow, bawka-bawka in da chow-chow!

Mr. Watson’s Chickens, by Jarrett Dapier/Illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi, (Oct. 2021, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452177144

Ages 3-6

Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson are a happy couple who share their lives and their home with a couple of dogs, a few cats, and a handful of chickens. But Mr. Watson just loves his chickens so much, and acquires more and more, until he’s got 456 chickens! The chickens are everywhere and into everything, and one chicken, Aunt Agnes, has a habit of making up her own song that she sings all the time. Mr. Nelson loves Mr. Watson, but something has to give. Mr. Watson loves his chickens, but he loves Mr. Nelson more, so together, they decide to give the chickens away to loving homes at the county fair… but the chickens escape, and chaotic hilarity ensues! An hilarious Where’s Waldo-type spread invites kids to help find a missing chicken, and Aunt Agnes’s favorite song makes for an extra-fun interactive readaloud. Mr. Watson’s Chickens features an LGBTQ+ couple in a sweet story of love and chickens, and a richy diverse cast of characters throughout the story. Perfect for storytime reading, with a fun chick and egg peekaboo craft for after the story’s done.