Children’s Book Reviews, Vol. 7

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:

Click on the book titles or cover images to place holds.

Miss Jackie, Willoughby 

A Few Beautiful Minutes: Experiencing a Solar Eclipse by Kate Allen Fox     ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book A Few Beautiful Minutes: Experiencing a Solar Eclipse by Kate Allen Fox    

The reader is taken on a beautiful, poetic journey of the different stages of a total solar eclipse. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. While the total solar eclipse lasts only for “a few beautiful minutes,” the extraordinary and lasting connection it leaves on humans and nature is unforgettable. This non-fiction book is a must read for children of all ages since parts of North America, including Northeast Ohio will be experiencing a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. The book also includes the importance of viewing a total solar eclipse safely and instructions on how to build a sun viewer.  

See You Someday Soon by Pat Zietlow Miller            ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book See You Someday Soon by Pat Zietlow Miller

A heartfelt picture book from a child’s point of view expressing ways to connect to a loved one who lives far away. The childlike illustrations that include die-cut components on the pages offer glimpses of the characters’ faces as you read. The hope is to see one another “someday soon,” but letters, phone calls, and video chats will have to do until then. The child expresses imaginative ways to visit their loved one by a rocket or a catapult. A great story for all ages, especially if you are missing someone near or far.  

Miss Danielle, Willoughby Hills  

Vamos! Let’s Go Read! by Raul the Third          ⭐⭐

Cover image for the book Vamos! Let’s Go Read! by Raul the Third

Little Lobo and his friends are excited for a festival at their favorite place—the library! It has so much to do and see. You can even meet a Lucha Libre! The illustrations are classic ‘Vamos!’ and are full of pizzaz. I felt like the book went on a little long though and would best suit an older child. 

Flat Cat by Tara Lazar          ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book Flat Cat by Tara Lazar  

Flat Cat was born flat. He was not squashed by a car or waffle iron. He was always flat and he liked it. Until one day he was sleeping in the underwear and put in the washer. He came out fluffy, round and CUTE. This story tells the tale of how flat cat changed his mind about being flat and found the best of both worlds. 

Miss Khin, Eastlake 

My Bollywood Dream by Avani Dwivedi           ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book My Bollywood Dream by Avani Dwivedi

A delightful story about a young girl and her family who go to see a Bollywood movie one Friday night in Mumbai. As she goes to the movie theater, she imagines everything around her as it is in a Bollywood movie. At the theater, she is enjoying the smell of spicy samosas, the swirls of colorful saris, and joyful music and dancing. The illustrations are very colorful and beautiful. 

Grumpy New Year by Katrina Moore              ⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book Grumpy New Year by Katrina Moore  

The story is about a Chinese girl going back to China to celebrate Chinese lunar New Year with her grandpa. She arrives in China 8 days before the New Year’s Day and together they bound before the big day. Children can learn about Chinese food, Chinese culture and even a couple Chinese words throughout the book. The illustrations are lovely. 

Miss Sam, Eastlake 

The Three Little Mittens  by Linda Bailey           ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book The Three Little Mittens  by Linda Bailey  

We’ve all got mittens & socks that are missing their match, but is that such a bad thing? This adorable and important picture book is about accepting differences and enjoying the things that make us unique. A fun activity for the preschoolers enjoying this book would be to design their own pairs of mittens, then exchanging one of their mittens with a friend’s. 

Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!  by Sandra Boynton         ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book Woo Hoo! You're Doing Great!  by Sandra Boynton  

This rhyming picture book is the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling blue, and it reminds everyone that kind words of encouragement are important, especially to ourselves. Share this in a storytime on kindness, feelings, making mistakes, etc.; and be sure to leave time for kids to share their own encouraging words. 

Miss Rachael, Willowick 

When I Smile: a Book of Kindness by Jo Witek          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book When I Smile: a Book of Kindness by Jo Witek 

There are so many kinds of smiles and so many reasons to smile in life.  This story describes moments like seeing a good friend that inspires such a big smile that it is like a giant upside-down rainbow.  Then, there are times when a small smile is appropriate like when passing people on the street just to spread a little kindness in the world.  There are many opportunities to share a smile with others to inspire joy and kindness in our world. 

Love Comes First by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book Love Comes First by Jenna Bush Hager & Barbara Pierce Bush

This is a true story of sisters who love each other very much and enjoy spending time together.  They make a wish on a star for their family to grow, and they promise to always care for them and love them always.  Even if they are different, they promise to love them and watch over them always.  They promise to be there whether times are the best or worst.  Their promise is put to the test when they discover the new babies in their family cannot do all the things that they can do.  However, they realize that our hearts will grow bigger, as our families grow! 

Miss Ruth, Willowick 

Laolao’s Dumplings by Dane Liu       ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book Laolao’s Dumplings by Dane Liu

Laolao is the Chinese word for grandmother.  Millie likes to help her grandmother make dumplings which are made from fresh ingredients bought from the vendors in Chinatown. Laolao’s health changes as the months go by and she is not able to make the dumplings. When Millie and her parents visit Chinatown to get the ingredients to make the dumplings the vendors miss seeing Laolao and give Millie some special gifts for her.  Millie and her parents make the dumplings and take them to Laolao’s home where they enjoy eating them together.  

Five Little Chicks by Lily Murray         ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book Five Little Chicks by Lily Murray

This is a lift the flap book.  It might be better one on one instead of in a group setting.  The story begins with the mother and her five chicks who go off exploring.  She calls them back but one by one they disappear.  Children will enjoy lifting the decorated flaps to find the chicks and other animals. All the chicks come back at the end of the story for a treat and they surprise their mother with flowers. It has nice bright colorful illustrations. 

Miss Diane, Willowick 

Little Red by Will Hillenbrand        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book Little Red by Will Hillenbrand

I LOVE this book! Reminiscent of Katy and the Big Snow, Little Red and his driver (Katie) help a rainbow of vehicles in Tiny Town: Purple Delivery Van with a dead battery, Blue Calliope Car with a headlight out, Green Fire Truck that’s stuck, Yellow Popcorn wagon (flat tire), Orange Utility Truck (out of gas), and Shiny Silver Sleigh with a broken hitch (observant kids will spot Santa) There are lots of repetitive phrases that children will love to help with: the snow came down, down, down; the tree went up, up, up! Little Red and Katie make their delivery just in time: the town Christmas Tree (although Christmas is never mentioned in the text). All the vehicles arrive in time for the tree lighting. HOORAY! 

Runaway Pond by Nancy Price Graff           ⭐⭐⭐

Cover image for the book Runaway Pond by Nancy Price Graff

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, this book tells the true story of Long Pond, which was the center of a village for many years. The water was cold and clear, and the villagers’ lives revolved around it, fishing, swimming, and watering their livestock. One fall, rain fell day after day, until the pond rose and the dam washed away. Spencer Chamberlain, yearly winner of the village footrace, runs over five miles to warn people living below the village. Although the pond was gone for good, a marsh took its place, giving new generations of children someplace new to explore.

Miss Jennifer, Eastlake 

Cinderella And A Mouse Called Fred by Deborah Hopkinson         ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image of the book Cinderella And A Mouse Called Fred by Deborah Hopkinson   

In this retelling of the classic tale of Cinderella, we start out with a little mouse which she named Fred. Ella’s very grouchy fairy godmother turns him into a horse to pull her carriage. Ella has a terrible time at the ball, her glass slippers hurt her feet and the prince said he hated dirt even though Ella’s favorite thing in life is gardening. When the prince arrives looking for the wearer of the glass slipper Ella hides and decides that she will control her own fate, thank you very much. Ella goes off to find her own happy ending and she doesn’t need a fairy godmother or prince.  

Cranky by Phuc Tran           ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image for the book Cranky by Phuc Tran  

Ever wake up in the morning and you’re just cranky? Well Cranky the crane is having one of those days and it’s not helping that everyone keeps asking him what’s wrong. He just doesn’t want to talk about it. You can’t help but fall in love with the illustration style of Phuc Tran as we follow Cranky through his day. He becomes even crankier when they tell him to cheer up, or keep trying to talk to him when he doesn’t want to talk, and feeling left out when he wants to be alone. He finally blows a gasket when they won’t leave him alone about coming to a party to celebrate finishing their big project and he yells at them that he’s too cranky to hear their words right now, even if they were just trying to help. They agree to let Cranky be and for him to call them when he’s ready. Cranky stops and thinks about his day and realizes he’s feeling a bit less cranky and he’s ready to talk to his friends. They just cared about him and wanted to help, they’re all part of a team and what Cranky feels affects them too. He still wasn’t ready to talk about what made him feel cranky, but he knew what DIDN’T make him cranky, and that was having friends that cared about him.  

Miss Cara, Willoughby 

Veo, Veo, I See You by Lulu Delacre        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image of the book Veo, Veo, I See You by Lulu Delacre 

Marisol’s mother is a cook at a restaurant that must close due to the pandemic. While looking out their window, and on their way to deliver food to family, Marisol and her brother play “veo, veo” – “I see, I see” – as they learn from their mom about essential workers. They learn about folks who still have to work – in healthcare, food production and at food pantries – and Marisol decides to create a big thank you note that she hangs in their windows for the essential workers to see that they are not forgotten. This book will be good to use with preschoolers to help them learn about what happened during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Cover image of the book The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Hector lives in Cuba with his mom and brother while his father has been exiled to the United States after disagreeing with the government about how things are in Cuba. Hector must keep his mom’s plans to leave Cuba a secret, even from his best friends, Teo and Isabel, and from his Abuela, who works for the Cuban government. What follows is the family’s experience with the Mariel Boatlift, in which many immigrants left Cuba for the US in 1980. Hector must learn about loyalty to family, friends who are like family, and family who puts the Cuban government first, all while facing the normal issues of growing up. This would be an excellent choice for a discussion with elementary students to talk about their own family history as well as learn about this part of Cuba’s history that intersects with US history. 

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