Children’s Book Reviews, Vol. 5

Our Children’s staff keep current on all the new children’s book releases. And, to help each other out, they write short reviews of new titles to share with each other. Now, we want to share them with you! All of these titles are staff approved and available in the Clevnet catalog. Happy Reading! Read past reviews here:

Miss Sam, Eastlake

Oh, Olive! – by Lian Cho ★★★★★

Olive’s parents are esteemed artists, and Olive is destined to follow in their footsteps. However, she doesn’t seem to have any desire to paint the same way her parents or teachers want her to. Instead, her art is full of wild color and life; and in the end her classmates – and even her parents – acknowledge that her art is truly unique and amazing. This is an inspiring story for preschoolers (and, frankly, anyone else) about being yourself and embracing your own talents. This book would be fantastic paired with titles like The Dot or Ish by Peter Reynolds.

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In a Cave – by Heather Ferranti Kinser ★★★★★

This rhyming picture book is the perfect preschool primer about caves. As a family is exploring a cave, they identify many of the features that can be found, including rock formations and various forms of life. The illustrations are simple yet realistic, allowing readers to experience the cave on each page. A great activity to go along with this book would be to create a scavenger hunt where kids can look for creatures and formations.

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Finn’s Little Fibs – by Tom Percival ★★★★★

When Finn accidentally breaks his grandmother’s clock, he tells a lie by blaming someone else. This causes a little blob of guilt to appear; and the more fibs he tells, the more blobs he has around him. What can he do to remedy the situation? Tell the truth, of course! This is a great picture book to share with preschoolers, possibly paired with Snake’s Big Mistake by Sarah Kurpiel.

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Miss Rachael, Willowick

Problem Solved! by Jan Thomas ★★★★

Rabbit is having a dilemma. He cannot even hop in his room because it is such a mess. Porcupine Pete hears Rabbit calling for help and comes to see if he can solve his problem. He tells Rabbit that he can fold all his shirts and feed them to the goldfish. Then, he will take all his blocks and flush them down the toilet. Rabbit hurries to put all his clothes and toys back where they belong. Before he realizes it, his room is clean, and his problem is solved.

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Ready for Kindergarten! by Bethany V. Freitas ★★★★★

A beautiful story about all the amazing things that kids can learn in kindergarten. If you enjoy making beautiful messes, you are ready for kindergarten. If you know your ABC’s and all the beautiful colors in the world, then you are ready for kindergarten. Any child will feel the excitement of all the fun things they will learn and do once they are in kindergarten.

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What My Daddy Loves by Raissa Figueroa ★★★★★

This is a beautiful story about all the wonderful things a father and daughter can experience together. They share so many great moments together such as playing outside together and being able to experience the beauty of nature. They can study together and create music together. All the beautiful moments that a father and daughter can share together are illustrated in this book.

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Miss Jennifer, Eastlake Library

Sometimes I Kaploom by Rachel Vail ★★★★

Katie is a really brave kid. She can do things like hide for a long time during hide and seek and not get too scared, she can climb high, she can try bites of good-for-you food, and most of the time she can hold in the tears and not grab her mother’s legs when she drops her off at school, but some days she goes KAPLOOM. When she’s upset, faces come close to hers and say things but she can’t hear them, she feels like she’s made of sparks, and even when her Mother tells her she always comes back, she needs her Mother to sit down with her and hold her and help her remember that you can be brave AND sad, be brave AND cry and be brave and scared. And even when you’re kaplooming, you’re still brave because you’re trying. The author’s note talks about when her son went to nursery school, and he used to cry every day at drop off and that it takes courage to name your feelings and feel them. You don’t have to hold in your tears to be brave. Kids are still being brave even if they are having big emotions.

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The Mermaid With No Tail by Jessica Long ★★★★★

Tatiana is a beautiful mermaid but she was missing her tail fins. The other mermaids wouldn’t play with her and ran away when they saw her. Her favorite thing was to watch the Mermaid Games, a swimming competition. She imagined herself swimming with them and told her sea turtle parents that she was going to win the mermaid games one day. The other racers told her that she’d never be able to compete without her tail fins. Tatiana was determined and sought out an old shark coach to help her learn to swim with her arms, and she didn’t need her fins after all. She pushed herself day after day until it was once again time for the Mermaid Games and she won! She didn’t need to be like anyone else but herself. Hard work and determination were what she needed. This is such a great story with a beautiful lesson.

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Flat Cat by Tara Lazar ★★★★★

Flat Cat is such a fun story! Flat Cat could stray and roam anywhere he pleased because he blended right in. But one day, he was taking a nap in the laundry and got put in the washing machine! When he came out of the dryer he wasn’t flat anymore, he was an adorable puffy fuzzy wuzzy kitty and couldn’t do any of the things he loved when he was flat. He tried EVERYTHING to get back to his former flat self but it wasn’t until he met Aunt Harriet and she squeezed him, and hugged him and then SAT on him, that he started to get flat again. Except, he didn’t know if he wanted to be flat again because he actually liked being warm and cozy with Aunt Harriet. He knew what he needed to do, he put himself back into the washer and dryer until he was cute and cuddly again. But if he ever wanted to be flat again, he knew just what to do. Can you guess? Get Aunt Harriet to sit on him! This would definitely get a giggle out of everyone!

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Miss Danielle, Willoughby Hills

When Little Owl met Little Rabbit by Przemyslaw Wechterowicz ★★★★

A beautifully illustrated book about Little Owl who lives at the top of the tree and Little Rabbit who lives at the bottom. They long to play together but their timelines just never match up until one evening under a giant full moon. It is a very sweet story about unlikely friends and embracing our differences.

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The Moon Remembers by E.B. Goodale ★★★

A great gift for new babies, this book reminds us that the moon was and is always there to remember when we were all babies. Baby dinosaurs, baby rabbits, baby tomatoes; the moon was always there! It is beautifully illustrated but feels more as a gift book rather than as a story.

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Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh! by Mo Willems ★★★★★

A continuation of the classic Mo Willems and the Pigeon stories. Always funny and always cute! This time, the Pigeon wants to drive Santa’s sleigh, but Santa told us not to let him! Will you give in to the Pigeon and let him take it out for a spin? You SNOW you want to!

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Miss Cara, Willoughby

Call Me Adnan by Reem Faruqi ★★★★★

This novel in verse tells the story of Adnan’s family and his quest to the championships for table tennis. We meet his friends and immediate and extended family, who are all very close, even if they drive each other crazy at times. When a horrible accident happens when the family is traveling, Adnan must grapple with guilt and grief. This is a touching tribute to the strength of family to pull together when bad things happen. I would highly recommend to tweens and up – to understand what friends might be going through after the loss of a loved one, or to someone who has lost a loved one.

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Cape by Kevin Johnson ★★★★★

This is a heartbreakingly beautiful account of a child putting on a cape to have the strength to say goodbye to a loved one. He tries desperately to not remember anything but can’t help it. He tries everything to keep from remembering, but eventually he remembers all of the good times and finds hope in the memories. This would be a perfect book for a child who has lost a parent or close adult relative. It’s an emotional book, but well written and beautiful illustrations pair perfectly with the text.

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Nesting Dolls by Vanessa Brantley-Newton ★★★★★

Anyiaka wants to be just like her sister and other members of her family but doesn’t see herself in any of them. She feels like she can’t get things right until her grandmother shows her pictures of older relatives and points out what features she inherited from them. With the love of family, Anyiaka can see that family is like the nesting dolls her artist Grandmother makes, where it’s not always what it seems on the outside. The story celebrates the Gullah Geechee culture and language with how the grandmother speaks, and the author note at the back shares about the author’s family history, which is like the family in the story. A sweet reminder that we’re all connected to our loved ones, even when it’s hard to see.

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Miss Khin, Eastlake

Alligators, Alligators by Eve Bunting ★★★

A very cute story about a boy who plays the flute so beautifully that even the alligators in the swamp are dancing. A sly man steals the flute, thinking the flute has the power to tame the animals. But in the end, he finds out that it is the boy who has magical power over animals not the flute. The illustrations are beautiful.

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Welcome to Dinosaur School by Rose Cobden ★★★★

A cute story about the first day of school for a little Dino named Jewel, who is nervous to go to school at first. A teacher shows the dinos around the school, and Jewel makes a new friend, Roary. They sit together in the classroom, eat together during lunchtime, and play together in the playground too, which helps Jewel forget her nervousness. She ends up liking school. The cute illustrations of the little dinos and the rhyming words make the picture book fun for children.

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Rock Your Mocs by Laurel Goodluck ★★★★

A picture book is about the celebration of Rock Your Mocs Day, wearing the moccasins across Indigenous Nations. The beautiful handmade moccasins are the footwear Indigenous people wear with pride. They are work of arts made with deer, elk, moose, or seal skins. The vibrant pictures of children from different tribes and mocs are beautiful.

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Miss Diane, Willowick

In the Night Garden by Carin Berger ★★★★

In lyrical prose, Berger describes all the sights and sounds in the night garden, including fireflies, moonflowers, a fox family, and an owl. A black cat appears in many of the superb collage spreads, which are created with ledger paper, ticket stubs, and other recycled papers. The double spread of the fiery harvest moon shown behind a leafy tree is stunning! The song of the crickets, bullfrogs and owl are cleverly depicted with music paper. As the story moves inside, a little girl is already yawning in her bed, and the cat joins her. A sweet bedtime story.

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New Friend: One Book, Two Stories by Lucy Menzies ★★★★

This book tells two stories in a split-page format. Mae’s story is on the left side. Mae is a black Muslim girl who is very excited to meet “the new kid” She’s even written him a letter, complete with an illustration. Joe’s story on the right is about a little blond boy who lives with his father. They are seen in their apartment surrounded by boxes, proving that Joe is indeed “the new kid.” He misses his old friends and worries about making friends at his new school. Mae takes a time-out from looking for the new kid and runs right into him when she goes down the slide! She gives him her letter, and the two kids make a new friend. Each story can be read separately, or they can be read together (the page numbers match up in the middle). A great story to share with a class before a new student arrives.

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Red Jacket by Bob Holt ★★★★★

Bob, a downcast and depressed seagull comes upon a songbird wearing a red jacket. The songbird offers the jacket to Bob, saying, “I no longer need it.” Bob, feeling ‘swanky and stylish,’ becomes outgoing and helpful. He loses the jacket when a giant wave sweeps over him. His many friends help him find it, but he realizes that his friends like him even without the flashy jacket. When he comes upon a downcast turtle, he offers to give it to him, because “he no longer needs it.” Not only has Bob paid it forward, but he’s also become more outgoing and confident. Delightful!

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