I now have 18 books on my shortlist. Yikes! We’re only allowed to have 5-7 by the end of round 1. This is going to be so hard!
Are you ready for more mini-reviews? Here we go!
Midnight Madness at the Zoo by Sherryn Craig (ages 3-5)
This book is cute. The animals at the zoo play basketball late at night when everyone has left the zoo. It’s a counting to 10 books, but it also includes a lot of basketball vocabulary. There’s a dictionary at the end as well as some STEM activities. The rhyming stanzas in this book were very awkward at times. I had difficulty reading it. Sometimes there were too many syllables, sometimes not enough.
Norbert’s Big Dream by Lori Degman (ages 4-6)
Norbert the pig dreams about swimming across the English Channel, so he trains hard everyday. When he’s finally ready, he cannot find it, so his friends help by labeling a stream “Norbert’s Channel.” They hide and watch him swim. He feels like a champion, but instead of going back to being a normal pig, he dreams a new dream. This book is cute and inspiring.
The Messy Book by Maudie Powell-Tuck (ages 3-6)
When Cat makes a mess, she tries everything she can to get rid of it without actually cleaning it up. Finally Dog gets her to clean up. Honestly, this book kind of stressed me out. I don’t like messes. Kids will probably find it amusing, but it was a little confusing and too chaotic for me.
King Baby by Kate Beaton (ages 2-5)
This book is clever. It’s written from the perspective of a baby. He’s the king. He brings people joy and they serve him. When he gets frustrated that his “subjects” don’t bring him what he wants, he learns to crawl, then walk and talk and run. Soon he is a big boy, and he isn’t the king anymore. When Queen Baby comes along, she is the new ruler. With simple text and great illustrations, many families will relate to this book.
Your Alien Returns by Tammi Sauer (ages 3-6)
The little boy in this story has a friend alien who comes to take him on an amazing adventure. The day is filled with fun things for friends to do together, and when something goes wrong, the alien shows compassion and helps the boy move on. It’s a sweet friendship story with some fun alien things thrown into the mix.
The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright (ages 4-8)
This book didn’t follow the path I was hoping it would. A little mouse wants to be more like the loud, outgoing lion. He decides to ask the lion to teach him to roar. I love the line that says, “But if you want things to change, you first have to change you.” So true. Sadly, the lion doesn’t teach him to roar. Instead the lion is afraid of mice and shows he has some “mouse” inside. They become friends, but the resolution feel short for me.
You Belong Here by M.H. Clark (ages 3-8)
This book is almost like a song. The text changes on the “refrain” pages when it shifts from talking about different animals and where they belong to addressing the listening (the child) as it describes how he/she belongs with the parent. I could see this also being a book that parents might buy as a gift for their child when he/she graduates from high school.
How to Be a Hero by Florence Parry Heide (ages 5-8)
Gideon wants to be a hero. He contemplates the heroes from the stories he loves and realizes that they didn’t really do anything. They were just in the right place at the right time. He gets to be a hero at the end, but it’s not for any reason you’d expect, and there’s someone else who is the true hero who is unrecognized. It’s an odd ending, but it could spark good discussion with children.
Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones (ages 4-6)
A baby wren watches the other animals with their amazing gifts – flying, swimming, swinging by their tails, and she wonders what she can do that’s wonderful. And then she composes and sings a song about the beauty of the world, and she finds her voice and her gift. It’s a sweet story.
Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton (ages 4-8)
Errol plays with his teddy bear, Thomas, everyday. But one day Thomas is sad. He doesn’t want to go to the park to play and nothing cheers him up. He finally tells Errol that he wants to be a girl teddy named Tilly. Errol accepts this without questions as does Errol’s friend, Ava. It’s a great book to start talking to kids about transgender people.
Feathers for Peacock by Jacqueline Jules (ages 4-6)
This book is an original tale about how birds, and especially peacocks, got their feathers. It’s a cute story about generosity. It’s not very scientific – it talks about hiberating birds and featherless birds, but it’s color and fun. I enjoyed the message and the style of writing.
The Bear Who Wasn’t There by Oren Lavie (ages 5-9)
This book is so strange. And really long. It starts with an itch that scratches itself against a tree and grows bigger and bigger until it becomes a bear. The bear doesn’t know who he is, but he finds a note in his pocket with 3 clues. He sets off to discover if he is really himself. I don’t even know what else to say. It was too weird for me. I didn’t really understand what was supposed to be happening, and there were SO. MANY. WORDS. This book was not for me.
Have you read any of these books? Which would you like to read first?
On the blog last year…