Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve

Mindful Book Reviews By Eve

Candlewick’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Animal Families: Snow 

By Nosy Crow

Illustrated by Jane Ormes

Ages 2-5 

This adorable, sturdy, lift-the-flap book is a fabulous entry into the varied animal families that live in snowy climates. The beautiful screen-printed artwork offers visual stimulation with unique textural approaches to represent fur, skin and the surrounding fauna. This book will capture the attention and imagination of babies and toddlers and is a great way for a big brother or sister to read aloud and learn along at the same time. The animal species chosen are unique and I am sure some of the names will be a surprise, even to adults. A fun book and a perfect accompaniment to the winter season. . 

Nosy Crow is a multi-award-winning, independent children’s publishing company that makes child-focused, parent-friendly children’s books for ages 0-12.

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Bake, Make & Learn to Cook Vegetarian

By David Atherton

Illustrated by Alice Bowsher

Ages 5-9

I started my own journey into vegetarianism when I was in highschool. I just decided I did not like to eat meat and I stopped. This was very early on in the realm of vegetarian cookbook options and certainly in dining options. I do love how we now find vegetarian options on every menu and the stigma of not eating meat is fading (ahhh I remember being in Italy in 1982 and learning the phrase “non mangio carne” much to their horror!). This book is a wonderful way to teach young people how to eat healthy without meat as part of the diet. There are tons of fun recipes from savory to sweet from all over the world and the accompanying pictures increase the accessibility of the directions. These recipes are easy to make and they taste delicious.  I made the Veggie Korma Bowls for my family and we gobbled them up and I am definitely going to try and make the amazing “show stopping” sandcastle cake. How fun is that for a beach themed birthday? I can see adding an apron and sets of measuring cups and spoons and voila, the perfect gift is created.

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Better Than We Found It

By Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

Ages 12+

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Christmas Street

by Jonathan Emmett

Illustrated By Ingela P. Arrhenius

Ages 2-5 

This  lift-the-flap  book is so creative and will inspire hours of play and learning. The book is full of fun and quirky rhymes that take the reader through the shops and to meet the people on Christmas Street, all the while learning the letters and sounds along the way. Each page spread features four flaps, one for each letter with a holiday-related, non-religious, definition. Together, they form a lilting, easy flowing ABC rhyme that carries throughout the book. But that’s not all! This book also folds out into a little village that can stand on its own, and includes a beautifully illustrated lively snow scene where the children can formulate their own story telling that will inspire hours of imaginative play. I can see getting lost in the dreamy pastel artwork by the author and illustrator, Ingela P. Arrhenius. This is a wonderful ABC book and would make a great gift for a budding reader! This clever design works both as a book and a toy to celebrate the holiday season and the alphabet. This will definitely be under the tree for my grandson!

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Illustrated by P. J. Lynch

 Ages 4-8

This is a beautiful book and a wonderful way to introduce one of America’s great poets to children. Reading this book aloud frequently will help commit this poem to memory and encourage the love of poetry in children (and adults!) Artist P.J. Lynch brings Robert Frost’s cherished poem to life with exquisitely detailed illustrations, evoking its iconic moments and wintry setting on the outskirts of a small village. The illustrations are breathtakingly lovely. They depict the failing light as evening encroaches as a man and his horse are journeying down a lonely road on a snowy evening. It is dark. It is cold. It is lonely. This book surpassed my expectations in its ethereal beauty. The muted green/blue tones to indicate the frigidness of deep winter make you feel like you are actually an outdoor onlooker to this scene. A part of it, yet somehow removed, like a bird high in a tree. On a side note, the poem is written in iambic tetrameter in the Rubaiyat stanza created by Edward FitzGerald, who adopted the style from Hakim Omar Khayyam, the 12th-century Persian poet and mathematician. “Iambic” means that each metrical foot contains two syllables, an unstressed one followed by a stressed one. “Tetrameter” means that each line contains four metrical feet. I love how poetry is artistic, linguistic and mathematical. It’s a beautiful package rolled into one. Just fabulous!

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday Funday: An Activity For Every Weekend of the Year

By Katherine Halligan

Illustrated by Jesús Verona

Ages 7-9

This book will be at the top of your new year’s intention list. An intention is something you set your attention on that you want to manifest in your life or some sort of guiding principle that you want to live by. This book’s intention is all about having fun, being creative and creating memories with your kids whether they be your own, in a classroom, kids you babysit for, grandkids… There are a wide range of ecologically focused arts & crafts activities including gardening, games and cooking ideas. I especially love the month-by-month idea of connecting these activities to the seasons, which is why it makes a perfect gift for a teacher, but of course, the activities can be adapted and done at any time of the year. This book is awesome as it promotes nature and healthy living and the illustrations are bright, diverse and evoke a vintage appeal with their big doe-eyes. All of the activities are accessible and look so much fun. I wish this book had been around when my son was young as I know he would have loved to follow it the whole year long. Like many kids, he was always looking for something to do (or I was always looking for something for us to do together, or for something I could bring into his classroom) and this book provides a plethora of great ideas for activities to inspire creativity. This is an extremely clever and accessible book of year-round activities that I cannot stop looking at. Each two-page layout is full of happy kids engaged in activity, and all the tiny details are just so eye-catching. I really love the diverse cast of characters and sweet little faces. 100% awesome! 

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Real Dada Mother Goose

By Jon Scieszka

Illustrated by Julia Rothman
Ages 7-10

Let me say it LOUD…I LOVE THIS BOOK! I was really taken by surprise with each turn of the page. This is a wacky wordsmith’s take on the classic nursery rhymes that we grew up with. The rhymes are very clever and hilarious, keeping the reader turning page after page always wondering what will come up next. The different styles used to represent the rhymes, include so many twists and turns, such as, a Madlib, morse code, different languages, musical notation and even the military alphabet will elicit laughter, bursts of imagination and increased creativity. Teachers will also love this amazing book as each page is a new teaching opportunity. I also love that the illustrations incorporate and expand upon the original drawings from Blanche Fisher Wright’s 1916 The Real Mother Goose. This helps to bring a lovely vintage essence to the rhymes. This book is laugh out loud funny and can be shared for yeast to come! My 21 year old language loving son will be receiving this under the Christmas tree-never too old for fun with linguistics.

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Celebrate Halloween with Candlewick Press!

With options ranging from silly to spooky, witches to ghosts, and magic to mystery, there’s something for everyone in these Halloween titles!

Picture Books and Board Books

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

by Flavia Z. Drago

Ages 3-7

Gustavo is shy, he is cautious, he is introverted, wary and shadowy. He is, of course, a ghost; not one who likes to scare, but instead one who is painfully shy. With Day of The Dead appeal, this book can be enjoyed everyday! The gorgeous mute-toned hues of the illustrations pair perfectly with this simple tale of feeling invisible. The story is so relatable as we all may experience shyness at some point, but many suffer from this all the time. This book canhelp someone who feels too afraid and it shows a way to be brave by taking baby steps and using positive affirmation which may help to take a giant step. The overlying message is about being true to oneself and also about how having a passion for the arts can give you strength. People need to be accepted for who they are and they might find other friends who feel the same way. I mean, the young monster, Alma (which by the way means soul in Spanish) who Gustavo wants so badly to be friends with stays invisible throughout the whole story. 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Leila, the Perfect Witch

By Flavia Z. Drago

Ages 3-7

*Also available in Spanish*

Sometimes it’s hard to let our masks down and be real, we may fear rejection if we are not perfect. This is a fun, Halloween themed, but good for all year reading, story of a witch who is used to being perfect who comes to realize she is loved just as she is. She learns it is always best to strive hard but winning isn’t everything and that ebing a good friend and letting your friends see your vulnerability is the best prize of all. I absolutely love the illustrations. All of the creatures are endearing and there is an amazing amount of detail that will hold attention for hours, while searching for and counting every frog, gingerbread man and pumpkin. The end pages offer fulfilling information about the characters, too. This is a whole lot of Halloween fun that teaches the true meaning of family and self love. My granddaughter will be receiving this very soon! 

In this charming picture book from the author-illustrator of Gustavo, The Shy Ghost, a witch who is spellbindingly good at everything discovers that baking is no piece of cake.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monsters Play… Counting!

By Flavia Z. Drago

Ages Baby-3

This is a fun and bright book about counting, senses and body parts with big liftable flaps that reveal silly, unscary monsters who have fun and fancy names. I especially like the great variety of actions and things to count with a fun last page layout to count from 1 to 10 and back again. Along with the rhyming text, the cute monsters will elicit giggles and will not only increase the ability to count but will also increase the ear for different languages and new sound making. This is sure to be a hit and I will be sending this to my grandson for Halloween! The perfect gift!  

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monsters Play… Peekaboo!

By Flavia Z. Drago

Ages Baby-3

This is a fun and bright Halloween book for babies with big liftable flaps that reveal silly, unscary monsters who have fun and fancy names. I especially like the onomatopoeia! Along with the rhyming text, the flap lifting will elicit giggles and will not only increase the ability to count but will also increase the ear for different languages and new sound making. This is sure to be a hit and I will be sending this to my grandson for Halloween! The perfect gift! 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Where’s Waldo? Spooky Spotlight Search

By Martin Handford

Ages 5-11 (and beyond)

Waldo is back in a made for Halloween special and although he gives a lot of tricks, they sure feel like treats when you solve them! This edition includes a Glow-In-The-Dark slider that reveals hidden in the dark pictures, only adding to the mind boggling fun. This book will last well through this holiday and into the ones for years to come. Every time you pick up a Waldo book, the search begins anew. Hours of fun! I love this book although it makes my eyes crisscross. All kidding aside, this book bolsters eye strength and concentration and has just the comfort appeal of our beloved Waldo, his striped clothes and the wonderful cast of characters.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Middle Grade

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City

By Kallie George; Illustrated By Brigitta Sif

Ages 7-9

Crimson, a sweet little witch, who is not afraid to be big, bright and splashy, teaches us all that it is ok to be different and through her bravery, she teaches everyone how to add some color, fun and definitely bows into their lives. Crimson is kind, refreshing and confident. The perfect role model for your budding witch…er

child. I love the funny word play tying it to the Big Apple. I still remember my first time shopping with my mom on 5th Avenue and going to Macys, Bloomingdales and FAO Schwartz. Parents will get a kick out of this too.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Healer and Witch

By Nancy Werlin

Ages 9 to 12

I thoroughly enjoyed this middle-grade historical fantasy book! The characters are well developed and show both their strengths and their weaknesses and allow us to make our own decisions about what is good and what is evil. There is enough intrigue and suspense that just pulled me along, page by page, which kept me interested and unable to put the book down. The thrill of adventure is high in the book but at the same time it keeps bringing you back to a sense of home and belonging. I love that the characters are allowed to explore their onus with a hint of what lies beneath the surface. Is witchcraft real, or just a heightened sense of understanding and perception? There is the mention of god in the story but it weaves in well with the duality of religious belief and the desire to understand oneself separate from the religion you were raised on. I hope this will not be the end to the adventures but instead an opening up to a whole new series of stories.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Revenge of ZomBert

By Kara LaReau

Ages 8-12

This is the blockbuster end (or is it?) to the Zombert Chronicles. In this thrilling episode we find the whole town of Lambert turning into food gobbling, credit card maxing, insatiable zombies and it is up to Bert & Mellie and of course, Zombert, to save them all. It truly had me on the edge of my seat. We meet some other characters that enhance the gentle fright of the book that will have hearts beating and a few sweaty palms. But of course, in the end, good prevails over evil and the book has a satisfying end that also leaves open a tiny smidge for episode number four. I enjoyed this whole series. Each book read smoothly and kept me engaged, plus who cannot fall into an adorable, loving zombie cat. It’s a great read any time of the year but will add a nice dose of fright during the Halloween season. Fun series and would make a great gift.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Search this page for my reviews of Rise of Zombert & Return Of Zombert

Celebrate Family!

These new Spring and Fall titles from Candlewick Press celebrate families, from babies to grandparents and everyone in between! Perfect for reading aloud, these tender titles are not to be missed.

Granny and Bean

By Karen Hesse

Ages 4 to 8

There is nothing like the bond between grandmother and grandchild. It is true-this relationship is what dreams are made of. A child raised to respect their elders will reap the benefits of their wisdom, kindness and will create special memories that they will hold onto until they too become a grandparent. This is a lovely story of shared love, happiness and enjoyment in sharing a blustery, rainy day together. Nothing will stop this duo from their plans and they find enjoyment in every moment of their experience and I love how it ends with a long standing tradition of sharing tea and that is something I can highly relate to in my own life with my own grandmother, mother, children and now grandchildren. There is something magical about that warm liquid and the tea set that is used. I adore these illustrations that highlight the story perfectly. The gritty paper evokes a sandy beach and the washed out colors and slightly blurred faces allow everyone to fall into the magic of the story. This is the perfect gift along with tea-to be shared for the ages! 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

I Am A Baby

By Bob Shea

Ages 2-5

An ode to the chaos of life with a baby, this book, told through the eyes of this new arrival, is a hilarious romp through the mayhem that one teeny tiny baby can actually create. The illustrations are adorable and funny and to the point with tired eyes and loopy smiles all around, all because one new baby has come rip-rolling into life. I think my favorite part is that when grandma comes to visit, she fixes everything. 3 cheers for grandparents and the help and love they bring! Really sweet book that would make a great baby shower gift. The text is simple and an older sibling might be able to read along as well. Sure to elicit giggles all around.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Mommy’s Hometown

By Hope Lim

Ages 3 to 7 

A treasured journey of mother and young son who go to visit her homeland of South Korea of which the child has heard countless tales. Here her stories of the past and the child’s imagination collide with the reality of the present day and although there is so much difference, there are still vestiges of the past present. Life cannot stand still, just as this boy used to be too young to travel, but now he is more conscious and aware and can make the trip to see his mother’s homeland with his own eyes.Change can be scary but it can also be wonderful and by finding moments of connection between then and now, this book reminds us of from whence we came and how to enjoy life in the present. This is a lovely story of family origins that we all can relate to. We can remember our own pasts, farther back than just our own lives and we can keep alive those images to keep us grounded in where we call home. The art work is lovely with its deep earthy jewel tones and evokes This is a beautiful book about culture, representation, and the deep bonds between mother and son and history and is a great book to have in libraries and schools. Representation matters!

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Well Done, Mommy Penguin

By Chris Haughton

Ages 3 to 7

I love the illustrations. They are so adorable and the soft blue overtone brings in a nice icy feel to the adventure. This book may be a bit scary at first, but mommy penguins’ bravery and ingenuity will have your little penguins cheering for her and and jumping for joy. And just like every good baby…they always want more! I love the onomatopoeia that accompanies the text which has a nice bit of repetition in it and children can jump in with the refrain “Well done, Mommy Penguin” making their own mommy beam with joy. A fun story of the love and strength of family and how mommies and daddies will do anything to get their babies what they need! Moms are heroes!

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Carlie Sorosiak’s Animal Stories

Picture Books

Books Aren’t For Eating

Illustrated by Manu Montoya

Ages 4-8

I love a good funny book with a great message hidden in its pages. Makes for good eating… er… I mean reading! What a fun book with a great dose of creativity. A great story about the joy of reading and the caring eye of a good motivator. The illustrations are very sweet with goats,  laughing faces, hopping bunnies, rainbows and books books books. This is a fun story about the amazing power that books have and that each reader can find their own unique style of reading. Never stop trying to find the right book for your child! 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Everywhere With You

Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Ages 4-8

With all the stories of animal rescues on the internet, this book arrives at the right time. I first have to mention the incredible illustrations. They are just gorgeous and tell the story without any words. I love all the details-each flower, each hidden picture, each adorable face & expression. This story is absolutely heartwarming! The story is a dream come true for a kind hearted girl and a puppy, across the fence, both who are looking for and find their “person”.  This is a beautiful story of love, friendship, kindness and the happy ending we all want to have. I understand their connection-built on trust and good snacks with a gigantic dose of “I got you”. Just love everything about this story-it is sweet and makes me feel good about life.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Middle Grade Novel

Always, Clementine

By Carlie Sorosiak

Ages 8-12

This book had me on the edge of my seat from the get go. It was truly a page turner! I love a good book about people caring about the treatment of animals and that more and more people are realizing that it is inhumane to use animals cruelly for our own gain. There are so many twists and turns to this book with a great smattering of chess knowledge that I feel like I am a better player just by reading it. You cannot but root for our dear little heroine-Wondermouse-Clementine nad her cohort-Hamlet! They are the real deal and make you believe that anything is possible and even the smallest sentient being can have feelings and intelligence. We must learn to respect animals. In that, we will learn to truly love ourselves. I love the understory of the family who rallies around these tiny mice. It’s a feel good story with only a tiny bit of tension that just keeps the story and your interest rolling right along.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

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New books for little ones from Candlewick Press

I Am a Baby

By Bob Shea

ages 2-5

An ode to the chaos of life with a baby, this book, told through the eyes of this new arrival, is a hilarious romp through the mayhem that one teeny tiny baby can actually create. The illustrations are adorable and funny and to the point with tired eyes and loopy smiles all around, all because one new baby has come rip-rolling into life. I think my favorite part is that when grandma comes to visit, she fixes everything. 3 cheers for grandparents and the help and love they bring! Really sweet book that would make a great baby shower gift. The text is simple and an older sibling might be able to read along as well. Sure to elicit giggles all around.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Splash! By Leslie Patricelli

ages 0-3

The perfect companion for a day at the seashore, these absolutely adorable infants come splish- splashing out for the day at the beach with their families. These are lovely diverse illustrations that show babies being babies the best way they know how, with giggles, smiles, sun, surf and sand and ending with the crowning glory of dripping, sticky ice cream. A day that dreams are made from! I like that this story depicts two dads bringing their families together at the beach and is a lovely representation of friendship and one love. This is a beach book at its best, that will actually help your child learn how to prepare themselves for safe summer fun.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

SET SAIL WITH CANDLEWICK PRESS

Old Wood Boat

Written & illustrated by Nikki McClure

Ages 4-8

High seas adventure awaits in this gorgeously illustrated story of an old wooden boat, at first left only with memories of the sea but then reborn and it sets sail once again. I love the message of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle that is at the heart of this book that is overlaid with messages of kindness, love and family. Each hand-cut paper illustration offers information about sea-life, ocean-life and the colors and textures evoke the sea and endless sky. The end pages flow like the sea and the minute details bring each two-page spread alive with elements of life and love with the sea.I love the great underwater scenes, the texture of wind, the waves, and seas of green. The story is cozy and has a safe feeling with the moon watching from above and the sea all around. I love that this book is both fiction and nonfiction and there is a great page of sailor talk at the back which will delight all sea-dogs young and old. This book will delight both young and old thalassophiles! 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Here’s a fun video of Nikki McClure creating her art in her studio

Fantasy, Adventure and Folklore from Candlewick Press!

A Dragon Lives Here

Author and Illustrator: Annette LeBlanc Cate

Ages 7-10

This is a really well written story that just keeps the pages turning. I loved the fairy tale within a fairy tale aspect and how the past story weaved its way into the present one. The cast of characters are charming, down to earth and quirky. They are likable and interesting and I want more! The pencil-scratch illustrations bring to mind classic stories such as Phantom Toll Booth, Harriet The Spy and Charlotte’s Web. A totally charming story about friendship, forgiveness, kindness and curiosity with a good dose of humor added in. This is a fun adventure in and out of the depths of a castle, in and out of a murky moat and also in and out of fantasy. Just a really fun read that makes a great out-loud share and a solo reader. This is a truly magical story that will delight the whole family. 

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Healer and Witch

Author: Nancy Werlin

Ages 9 to 12

I thoroughly enjoyed this middle-grade historical fantasy book! The characters are well developed and show both their strengths and their weaknesses and allow us to make our own decisions about what is good and what is evil. There is enough intrigue and suspense that just pulled me along, page by page, which kept me interested and unable to put the book down. The thrill of adventure is high in the book but at the same time it keeps bringing you back to a sense of home and belonging. I love that the characters are allowed to explore their onus with a hint of what lies beneath the surface. Is witchcraft real, or just a heightened sense of understanding and perception? There is the mention of god in the story but it weaves in well with the duality of religious belief and the desire to understand oneself separate from the religion you were raised on. I hope this will not be the end to the adventures but instead an opening up to a whole new series of stories.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

The World of Emily Windsnap: Emily’s Big Discovery

Author: Liz Kessler

Illustrator: Joanie Stone

Ages 6 to 9

A new tail for Emily Windsnap has sprouted! Her ability to swim to the deepest depths of the ocean, being free in a world that is for the most part alien to us, is what dreams are made of! The book is about bravery, self-discovery and friendship. The illustrations of Emily and her new found friend, surrounded by all the ocean’s bubbles are so charming. The story moves along well and is perfect for the young reader to dive into! This is a great kick off to a whole new set of oceanic adventures for Emily to swish her way into. BTW: Everyone needs to learn to swim! It’s a life saving ability.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Spring Picture Books from Candlewick Press

Chirp!

by Mary Murphy

Ages 2-5

The cover art with its cheery blue bird atop a fiery sun immediately pulls you into this authentic and endearing book. With its simple words and bright illustrations, I adored the great representation of the varied onomatopoeia of each bird’s call and their uniqueness yet harmonious resonance. This book resoundingly offers the affirmations “Be brave! Be yourself! Be harmonious!” This is also a great dance along with a storybook that can have kids bouncing, twittering, marching and coo-coo-cooing. I really love the bright color palette juxtaposed with the bold balck highlights. Really makes them pop and engage the eyes.

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Oceanarium

by Loveday Trinick; illustrated by Teagan White

Ages 8-12

To say that Oceanarium, the newest installment of the ‘Welcome to the Museum’ series,  is magnificent (ages 8-12) would not be doing it justice. My eyes popped wide open just by looking at the eye-catching cover art. This book is truly a work of art. Each page offers stunning ocean & marine life illustrations which are paired perfectly with the expert text, each one offering insight and illustration about the wide and deep beautiful oceans that are so important to our own lives. 

Oceanarium is a fascinating dive into the deepest depths of the ocean with incredible illustrations of sea creatures (some our own eyes will never see) plus scientific facts pertaining to the earth’s most significant feature. Written by a marine biologist and illustrated by a true naturalist, this book is stunning and would be a great coffee table book, a gift for a budding scientist and specifically in every school’s library. It is listed as for ages 8-12 but I feel it has a much wider berth than that. This bog book offers hours of visual exploration plus the accompanying text will expand knowledge and peak interests.This book leaves no stone, shell or flipper unturned. It is a giant pearl of a STEM book!

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022!

Sumo Joe 

by Mia Wenjen; Illustrated by Nat Iwata

Ages: 4-7

Sumo Joe is good natured fun! I love the adorable cast of characters who demonstrate the art of Sumo. The book shows how love, support and cooperation work. You can see the love & respect you can see in their eyes and even when faced with a bit of adversity, they know how to make it work. Good lessons cleverly hidden inside this fun and educational story. The book has a nice non-fiction element by peppering authentic Japanese  words  throughout the text and great reference pages in the back full of explanations for curious minds! I learned not only the physical traits of Sumo, but also what it represents in the history of the artform. I can imagine jumping around with a bunch of kids, using this book as a tool for getting them moving and stretching! May is Physical Fitness month, so a great idea would be to add this book to a lineup of  diverse styles of exercise as an on-going activity through-out  the  month. Win-win/education and exercise together make learning more fun! 

I was gifted this book through the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2022 (1/28/22), which is in its 9th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those books into the hands of young readers and educators. MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves. Read the Mission & History HERE. #Readyourworld #miawenjen #sumojoe #diversity #childrensbook #picturebook #kidlit

A SPECIAL BOOK REVIEW: ART OF PROTEST

ART OF PROTEST: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution

by De Nichols

illustrated by Diana Dagadity, Molly Mendoza, Olivia Twist, Saddo and Diego Becas

Ages 10 and up

View book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbahaEHujdg&t=3s

Follow author De Nichols on Instagram: @de_nichols

I absolutely love this book! It gives a strong voice to art and draws you right in from the get-go with it’s interactive elements, gorgeous color palette, excellent fonts reminiscent of the powerful protests of the 60’s and the eye-catching graphics. This book empowers you to create-out loud-and proud! I learned so much about the historical aspects of using art in protest and then also how to apply it to the social movements of today. This book makes you want to be involved and free to express your voice in so many unique ways that are much more accessible than words alone. Protest expression is for everybody! Art is accessible and vastly “readable” by more than just words and above all, you do not need to be an artist to express yourself artistically. It is evident that there is an urgent call for everyone to get involved and art allows you to reach beyond words to express yourself honestly. Art is the history, the present and future of protest. Art is for the young and the very old. Art surpasses boundaries and invites everyone in to be a part of it. This “how to” book is not only a guide to protest art but it offers hope and the belief that our communal voice can and will make a difference in uniting the world. Start creating the change that is needed for a better world for all humankind.  

This book should be  in every library, art room and bookshelf of every activist! I highly recommend this and cannot wait to get started on my own artistic expression of protest! 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

More Fall 2021 Picture Books From Candlewick Press

Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country

by Atinuke

illustrated by Mouni Feddag

Ages 7-10

Wowza! This book has it all! This travel book takes you all over the vast continent of Africa, from A to Z sharing the geography, peoples, animals, history, resources, and cultural diversity. Each country (yes, Africa is made up of 54 countries!) is accompanied by beautiful illustrations and bits of information about anything from food to hairstyles to industry to the flora and fauna of each region. There are even snippets of local languages which I find absolutely thrilling! This book aims to both fascinate and educate and it delivers 100%! This book will take the young readers on an adventure of a lifetime and will give young adventurers the opportunity to dive into the deepest recess of Africa, opening up a whole new world, answering questions and creating new ones. I adore the detailed illustrations. They bring so much life to the flow of this non-fiction book that has a very comfortable way in which it delivers it’s information-it is a  non-fiction book that reads like fiction. It’s just engrossing for adults and children alike. This book is both the perfect gift for your own little knowledge craver and also, your school’s library, as it should be available as a resource.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Baby, Sleepy Baby

by Atinuke

illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Ages 2-5

I have found my new favorite bedtime story. This book is just so endearing with its lyrical poetic flow and the adorable illustrations of this loving family and their dear, dear, chubby faced, curly haired baby, each one taking their turn, to soothe and rock the sleepy baby towards sleep. The illustrations are gorgeous with their soft, luminous colors. This book exudes love, family, joy, the feeling of security wrapped up in loved ones arms as well as wrapped in the embrace of the world through the wind, clouds, stars, and moon as they too wrap the babe in a loving embrace as it drifts off to dreamland. This is the perfect book for the new family and I especially appreciate the diverse images of family as a way for everyone to feel included and seen. Love is what makes and keeps a family together. That’s a good and strong message to start out life with.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

¡Mambo Mucho Mambo! The Dance That Crossed Color Lines

by Dean Robbins

illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Ages 7-9

¡Also available in Spanish!

This book literally dances right off the pages-you can just feel the jazzy jumping, the snappy grooves and the jivey wailing. This book hits home with the frightening reality of racism but it also offers a beautiful ray of hope, that people can and will come together in peace and harmony, especially when there is music and dance involved, two things that cross all color/race/religion/region lines. This book allows us to see where we have been and how this is still a current issue in today’s world but it is a positive telling of a story like Romeo and Juliet, two souls, who crossed their lines in the same, to meet, meld and change the world in their own way, little by little. I love all the dance action words and the bringing to life the true story of these star crossed lovers.  This book is the perfect book for a course on diversity education and for your favorite dancer. This book is a guiding example that if we listen to the music inside us, we will create harmony. Love that this uses real people and shares historical facts of musicians and of the time, but it is an introduction to racism that will hopefully lead to questions and discussions about never going back to the way it was and to move forward in peace.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small

Jess Wade

illustrated by Melissa Castrillón

Ages 6-9

From the get go, I loved the bright yellow molecular end pages and the grainy feel of the paper. THis book lets you know that you might be small but just like everything else you are made up of things much smaller than you and that you are also a small part of a much larger thing such as a family, school, city, world, universe. I loved the scratchy pencil art and the beautiful hues of blue highlighted by reds, yellows and green. So detailed and pleasing to the eyes! I love all the tiny details-I could just play doll house in my head for hours in the first two page spread. This book is non-fiction at its most inviting. There is a great use of scientific vocabulary to inspire learning and research. It is written very creatively-a non-fiction book that reads like fiction-easy to follow and so much knowledge that just slides right in.This book includes the past-present-future of nanoscience and will inspire your budding scientist to dream big…er…or small as it may be!  

Candlewick Press sent me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Festive Reads and Holiday Gift Guide Suggestions from Candlewick Press

Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook

Fun and Healthy Recipes for Young Cooks

by David Atherto

illustrated by Rachel Stubbs

Ages 5-9

**Creator Video**

This is a gorgeously presented cookbook that will have the young chef grabbing their apron and measuring cups to immediately get started creating these delicious, healthy dishes. The illustrations are sweet and delightfully detailed and I love the diverse cast of characters represented. The recipes are very appealing and often very cute too! Who can say no to crunch Hedgehog Potatoes or Christmas Cookie baubles to hang on the tree! The recipes are wholesome goodness and are presented in a simple way including illustrations to make the process even more accessible. This book will encourage food exploration and will be so satisfying and fun to prepare and then eat. This is the perfect family gift for the budding chef…or even the pickiest eater. You never know what will tip the scales and a new food will become a favorite. This will definitely be under the tree for my granddaughter. Bon appetit!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Colossus: The World’s Most Amazing Feats of Engineering

by Colin Hynson

illustrated by Giulia Lombardo

Ages 8-12

I was immediately drawn in by the real yet artistically rendered architectural wonders that you are offered snippets of on the front cover of the beautiful Big Picture Press presentation of awe inspiring, Wow-after-Wow illustration of the world’s most amazing feats of engineering offering great representation of wonders from around the world, some natural, some man-made and the added aside-facts add great details on each project ‘s  materials used and the building method employed. Fabulous book for the budding engineer. Another great STEAM book! I especially loved the section  of “How’d they do that” which will create curiosity and questions and the belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it-the sky’s no longer the limit! Fabulous fold-out (wow more paper art!) timeline brings engineering into perspective and offers a great jumping off point for further study. Great coffee table book!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Donkey Called Mistletoe

by Helen Peters

illustrated by Ellie Snowdon

Ages 7-9

This is a very sweet book series with two very thoughtful children at its heart. I love this latest book in the Jasmine Green Rescues series that offers on one level a heartwarming tale of multigenerational friendship and holiday spirit but also one about the human-animal bond which is a mutually beneficial one between people and animals that isleads to the health and well-being of both. This is at heart an All Creatures Great and Small for the young reader. This book is full of warm-fuzzies as well as a good dose of elbow grease. These kids do not back down from a challenge but all though not always by taking the most direct route, they take on every task with a sense of pride, the willingness to work hard and how showing kindness is the greatest reward one can experience. These thoughtful kids will go the extra mile. This is a really happy story about how honest hard work done with caring, compassion and loving kindness. I like the fun illustrated map at the front and the ones that move the story along and give life to the characters, and how the story gracefully opens questions about the feelings associated with loss of a beloved pet and the emotions and the actions of others. 

This is a lovely new tale for the Christmas season and will warm the heart of any animal lover! I like the varied vocabulary used but still kept the story moving smoothly and it was very engaging.  

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

My First Pop-Up Mythological Monsters: 15 Incredible Pops-Ups

by Owen Davey

Ages 3-7

I love the gorgeous vibrant illustrations with a great bright color palette that really brings these fantastical creatures to life. Each page is eye-catching and I loved turning the pages slowly to allow each pop-up to unfold. The cuts and folds are simple yet so creatively combined and I also loved being able to flatten the page out fully to see how the folds were constructed to all for the pop. If you move the pages slowly you can create a wave-like pattern that allows wings to flap, bodies to slither and those that just leap right out at you. I loved the varied mythological monsters from around the world adding a nice education on shared lore. Very cute. Love the idea of giving a paper-cut book for the young engineer! This is a great STEAM book!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Princess in Black

 by Dean Hale & Shannon Hale

 illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Ages 5-8

I was on the lookout for a book series for my granddaughter with a powerful and sweet young female protagnist and knew I had found it when I discovered The Princess in Black! What a fun and fanciful series just right for the budding reader who likes to toe the edge of conformity. Sure pink is way cool….but black is sleek, daring and mysterious…just right for a new age superhero…maybe she is a new age Power Puff Girl…Dahlia? How awesome is that! The illustrations just pop off the pages with their bright colors, sharp lines and adorably cute expressions, keeping the focus on the  childlike enjoyment of the discovery of one’s own strengths and talents. There is mystery and suspense, a large amount of bravado and a whole bunch of laughs from a protagonist who is empowered by her experiences and accepts all that she is! She is not afraid to be…The Princess In Black! This series is perfect for the young reader.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

An Animal Poem for Each Day of the Year

illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

edited by Fiona Waters

Ages 3-7

This book is so impressive and it belongs on your coffee table, but the pages will be creased and worn and the edges turned during the many times the poems are read-reread-marked with a turned edge for easier finding the next time. It’s so beautiful but not only from its front cover grabbing eyes of a tiger burning bright, each gorgeously illustrated 2-page spread binding together the poems onse pages,  the sheer bulk of it (it weighs a tad over 4.5 pounds!) but in its content too. This collection of animal poems—one for every day of the year is filled with old favorites and new discoveries! This book has so many possible applications: sharing with a child at home, in school, memorization, discovering new likes. The possibilities are endless for this fabulous poem anthology.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Clement C. Moore

illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Ages 3-7

These dream-like illustrations bring a beautifully artistic twist to the telling of Clement Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The story emerges from the blue-hued pages and it is fun to search for creatively hidden objects within the darkened scenes. I loved the addition of the red tints when Santa arrives; somehow that just adds even a little more magic to the story and to the kind jolly Santa and his bulging sack of toys and joy! This is one to share year after year, generation after generation, retelling the age old story with these creative dreamy illustrations.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Where Snow Angels Go

by Maggie O’Farrell

illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

Ages 7-10

**Book Trailer**

A beautiful winter-season inspired fairy tale. This story illuminates the glory of imagination and creates a modern-day telling of a mystical protector paired with gorgeously detailed illustrations. I love the poetic descriptions of the sky, the weather, the sensation of being touched by something icy cold. The illustrations are fantastic, switching between fully rendered pages, doodles in the margins and what seems to be a wide-lined notebook. I adore this modern day fairy tale-it makes me believe in magic!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Where’s Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search

by Martin Handford

Ages 5-9

**Book Trailer**

Waldo is back in a made for Christmas special search. This edition includes a Glow-In-The-Dark slider that reveals hidden in the dark pictures, only adding to the mind boggling fun. I love this gimmick. It adds an innovative challenge to the quest. This book requires a lot of patience but I just could not give up until I had found every Waldo, Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard and Odlaw, each hidden object and the truly mind boggling “Santa carrying a sack full of toys” in every scene. A must have for every Waldo fan, young and old! Here is a link to an introductory video for the book. Check it out for yourself! 

This book would make a perfect gift for the holidays.This book will last well through this holiday and into the ones for years to come. Every time you pick up a Waldo book, the search begins anew. Hours of fun! I love this book although it makes my eyes crisscross. All kidding aside, this book bolsters eye strength and concentration and has just the comfort appeal of our beloved Waldo, his striped clothes and the wonderful cast of characters. Waldo is timeless! 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

New Fall Picture Books from Candlewick Press

Ada and the Galaxies

by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv

illustrated by Susana Chapman

Ages 4-6

**Follow MIT Kids Press on Twitter and Instagram!**

This is a gorgeous STEAM book that layers actual photographs taken from the Hubble telescope with beautiful ink & watercolor illustrations that weave scientific facts with a charming story of one child’s experiences with the natural world around them. From the craggy coastline and tiny sea creatures to the burst of a million tiny lights in the sky, we follow the story from land to sky and back again. I love the authentic facts delivered in a simple way that add scientific accuracy to this charming tale of a child who loves nature, her family and especially the dream of what the galaxies hold. This is the perfect story for the budding scientist or to get one interested in the vast possibilities of life and variety of dreams that surround us. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

How to Have a Birthday

by Mary Lyn Ray

illustrated by Cindy Derby

Ages 4-8

This book illustrates the limitlessness of the human spirit. You are a gift on the day you are born, both to yourself and to the world. It’s like you have been let in on one of the most fantastic secrets ever. The celebration of birth is not about gifts, parties or surprises, it is just about you and your day. That alone is enough to make it special. The day celebrates the uniqueness of each and every child-each and every being. Unwrap the day that is special to you to start a whole new year full of new possibilities of just being you. I love the sweet and whimsical illustrations that are filled with hidden treasures and flights of fancy. This is the perfect gift for new and expectant parents and for children or adults honoring a special birthday. This is a celebration of being born that can be shared with all ages.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

We Are One

How the World Adds Up

by Susan Hood

illustrated by Linda Yan

Ages 3-7

If I could say I had a favorite new book, then this one would be it! I find this book truly fascinating and endearing. It makes me feel whole! The simple rhymes flow comfortably through the sweet meanings of what it means to be one part of a whole-that a whole is singular but when dissected it is made up of many parts. You are a sum of all your parts, a community is a sum of all its parts, the universe is a sum of everything. This makes me feel larger than life! This is a philosophy book for the very young but can be enjoyed by all ages. I adore the added facts that just enrich the knowledge and will fascinate children as they grow and will lead to them asking more and more questions. This book is a gem! One is one, yet one is many, many many. The illustrations are adorable and the last few pages just made my heart grow bigger and bigger. We are one! This book is a giver, a keeper. Buy it today..buy two because you will not want to give up your copy.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

When We Say Black Lives Matter

by Maxine Beneba Clarke

ages 6-9   

**Book Trailer**

Black Lives matter is a cry heard across the world and touches each and everyone of us. This book puts simple meaning behind this deep cry of our time and connects it to the earlier cry of the Civil Rights movement from the 60’s. It lovingly shares the view of one family but really it is the family of the world and illustrates the weight we must bear to enlighten all to the history and struggle of the black people in a safe and encouraging way to offer hope for a brighter future. The words are both spiritual and realistic and the strong words are highlighted to add emphasis to help with learning and add power to the prose. The truth is frightening but this book offers hope and builds courage by creating an ally-ship. I adore the water color pencils on the textured paper illustrations in deep rich jewel tones that bring back the palette of the 60’s and remind me of stained glass windows. The variety of browns just show how deep “black” really is. This book is for every child as we move forward to a brighter future that will not only not repeat the past but will change the future for the better. This book lovingly offers hope and I adore it’s hard hitting but sensitive presentation.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Halloween KidLit Books from Candlewick Press

Twitchy Witchty Itch

by Priscilla Tey

Ages 4-8

Fun, fantastical lyrical tongue twisters matched with  exquisitely detailed illustrations. The linguistic gymnastic of reading this book aloud will have everyone zipping and zooming, dusting and brooming, kabooshing and kabooming! I love the unique menagerie of creatures that inhabit the pages, there are bugs and mice and lizards and an adorable little monkey. I love the vibrating illustrations, twitching and switching and glitching and flickering. I love the flow of onomatopoeia that has the overlying message of being yourself and to accept all others as you do yourself. Home is truly the most “bewitchingly” perfect place to be! 

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Rise of Zombert

by Kara LaReau

illustrated by Ryan Andrews

Ages 8-12

The book is 100% a page turner! It is full of intrigue and each character is so well rounded and full of depth. You just fall in love immediately with the possible zombie cat because he is so, um, very cat-like in a weird zombie-like fashion. I love how the two main characters have such a strong friendship that even when they face adversity, they are able to use communication to problem solve, compassion even when faced with bullies and they have strong self esteem, allowing them to be secure in who they are and to stand up for what they think is right. These kids are real, down to earth, curious, determined and sometimes they are even a little bit sneaky, but through it all they are dedicated animal lovers and all around good kids. I love the fiery intensity of this first episode of a fast paced, slightly spooky mystery series! I’m thrilled book number two is now available as this voracious reader needs another book! Yum ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaa!

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Return of ZomBert 

by Kara LaReau

illustrated by Ryan Andrews

Ages 8-12

Things just got a whole lot spookier. The suspense really amped up in the second edition of Zombert’s story.  It truly had me on the edge of my seat and I just could not stop reading, the suspense was literally killing me! Above all, the two heroes never give up. They are not afraid to stand up for themselves and are willing to let down their guard to at the same time, be open and caring individuals. They are willing to try new things, meet new people, find goodness even in a difficult situation while at the same time it is kind of like a modern day Harriet The Spy, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, with two kids, digging into find traces and clues to solve their mystery. I am waiting with white knuckles for episode number three to be dropped.

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Cat With The Crooked Tail: A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers

Story by Once Upon A Dance; Illustrated by Olha Tkachenko; Dance Along with Ballerina Konora.

This book is both a teaching aide as well as a beautifully illustrated picture book. I love this creative take on storytelling. The dancer is lovely and just exudes kindness and grace, plus the accompanying illustrations are just endearing with a sense of realism and movement pouncing right off the page. The story is about good friends and learning to love who you are while at the same time never being afraid to try something new and to work hard to get results. Very cute addition to this wonderful series.

Thank you to the author for sending  me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

May Picture Books & Board Books from Candlewick Press

ABC Cats: An Alpha-Cat Book

by Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by Isabella Kung

Ages 2-5

A they’re Adorable, B they’re so beautiful, C they are cute, cuddly and cat-tastic! Could these kitties be any cuter? I doubt it! With their wide doe-eyes and beautiful fluffy coats, you can practically hear them purring right through the pages! This is an adorable ABC book that uses unique adjectives and cat-chy rhymes to describe each adorable kitten. The kittens are perfectly placed in, on and under each letter and their charm just exudes off the pages. I love the chunky board book that is purr-fect for little hands. Especially great for the cat lovers, but the book surpasses that limitation and is truly a wonderful ABC book for all. This is a great gift when matched with the 123 Cats by the same author & illustrator. The creativity of both jumps right off the pages and into your lap with exciting new words matched with adorable fur babies. This book is paw-some and paw-sitively adorable!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

123 Cats: A Cat Counting Book

by Lesléa Newman

Illustrated by Isabella Kung

Ages 2-5

123… you got me! Love this adorable counting kitty book made just right for tiny hands. The delicate touch of Isabella King’s sweet, stretchy, fur-babies paired with the unique counting sequence of author Lesléa Newman will have the youngest child very quickly making this their favorite book and possibly one that they will read on their own very quickly I love the counting sequence and cat-chy that could, as children grow older, go in reverse as a subtraction sequence (hmmmm maybe an idea for the amazing author/illustrator team?). This is a great gift when matched with the ABC Cats by the same author & illustrator. The creativity of both jumps right off the pages and into your lap with exciting new words matched with adorable fur babies. This book is paw-some and paw-sitively adorable!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Atticus Caticus

by Sarah Maizes

illustrated by Kara Kramer

Ages 3-7

Atticus Caticus is spectaculous! Such a joyful book where the rockin’ rollin’ rhyme-flow is peppered with onomatopoeia and is paired purrfectly with the adorable protagonist who romps, rolls and prowls through every page. The illustrations are fun and vibrant, and come alive with bright splashes of color and child-like scribbles. I just adore the facial expressions of Atticus who is truly an amazing Cat(icus)! Anyone who has ever watched a cat stretch, yawn and do the things that cat’s just do, will get it. Atticus is so likeable. This book is fun and full of new words and cat-chy phrases that will have everyone wanting to rush out and find their own Atticus! Atticus is the sweetest pussy-caticus sure to endear all hepcats!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas

by Elizabeth Shreeve

illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Ages 6-9

What a way to bring science to life! This book is presented with such care to bring forth how life began, filled with an impressive vocabulary that ties the authenticity of the facts to the awe inspiring illustrations. I love the organization of the book in timeline form. It helps to keep the facts in order and to follow the growth of life from the ocean to land and back again-Always changing. Always evolving. The variety of images and facts that are provided in these pages will attract not only the eyes of the young and curious but of the old and curious too. I couldn’t put it down. This is a book of survival and determination to thrive. It is a perfect gift for anyone who is curious and loves amazing illustrations of water creaties, bugs and land animals. This is a fabulous STEAM book. I highly recommend it.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Boy Who Knew Nothing

by James Thorp

illustrated by Angus MacKinnon

Ages 3-7

When I saw the cover of this book, I just had to have it. The pinks, the blues, the superbly surreal characters create such a gorgeous presentation! In some ways it brings to mind the illustrations of The Yellow Submarine. The colors and hues presented on each page harken a nostalgic feel while at the same time being utterly modern. The story of this child’s quest brought forth by curiosity and determination to discover answers is told through ingenious lilting rhymes and I really had no idea how the story was going to end.  The book teaches about courage to be oneself, to not be afraid to not know and be determined to find the answers you seek and about bravery, self-esteem and a good dose of creative imagination and problem solving techniques. I love this book. The illustrations alone will have me coming back to it over and over again. I love the message; I love the prose; I love the illustrations. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wild is the Wind

by Grahame Baker-Smith

Ages 4-8

This book is a perfect pairing of poetic prose and scientific facts about weather, seasons, migration all while following the journey of the Swifts, birds that are remnants of millenia gone by. The prose and the illustrations flow smoothly and each page draws forth a sense of the many different winds and how the mighty and the small experience them. This book will kindle imagination and is full of mystery-each 2-page spread-with hidden images within the swirling wind & clouds. The colors are gorgeous and I really loved this interpretation of wind. It leaves a lasting effect and right now, I am drawn to listen to the wind outside my house-the door is rattling, the chimes are trilling and a cool bite is rushing in through my open windows. Love this book. It is poetry and it is fact. Perfect pairing of the two!

Thank you to Candlewick press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Nature Themed Picture Books for Earth Day and Beyond

Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer

by Aneta Frantiska Holasova

Ages 7-10

This fascinating book all about the ins and outs of bee keeping is packed into a very creative story about an adorable bear named Bruno. The whole book has the feeling of honey with its golden yellow hues. I love how carefully this book is laid out, season to season, step-by-step and it is so informative and interesting. The illustrations lend a charming folk art-style to this delightful book. I am looking forward to making the delicious special recipe for homemade honey-gingerbread cookies. This book is for the budding apicologist, the backyard beekeeper as well as anyone who just has apiarian interest. I highly recommend this book to bring an understanding of nature’s small wonders and how we can live in harmony with the important creatures that inhabit our world.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum

by Gaya Ester; illustrated by Ronda Pattison

Big Picture Press

Ages 8-12

Fungarium is a fun-tastic frolic through the endless field of fungi! This amazingly detailed book will capture the imagination of budding fungi fans and may help to create the next generation of mushroom hunters! The text offers just enough in-depth precise information to be able to expand a young scientist’s mind, but the artwork is what really brings this book alive. The illustrations are fascinating, with some fungi looking like sea creatures while others look like eyeballs. This book is superbly brought together and belongs on every STEAM shelf. It must be included in art book sections too as the drawings are worthy of hanging in a museum and offer hours of exploration. This irresistible, oversized introduction to fungi is a beautiful coffee table book that children and adults will enjoy exploring. I cannot wait to share this with my mushroom loving friends! Some are to eat and some are definitely not, but the plethora of well laid out information along with the gorgeous illustrations offer an immersive exquisitely illustrated trip to the fungal kingdom. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics

by Marc Martin

Ages 4-8

This book is gorgeous! The colors, the facts, the hidden animals…The first 2-page spread draws you into the world of an animal that has adapted to its surroundings and uses camouflage as a way of blending in with the scenery, to hide not just from the human eye but from other animals whether predator or prey. The second 2-page spread brings that animal into its natural habitat and create a wonderful ad quite tricky i-Spy with a simple game of hide and seek, where the reader must find each camouflaged creature hidden throughout the picture. It is magical and fun and wonderfully educational. It will open the eyes of budding naturalist, conservationists and Eco-warriors creating love and understanding for these magical creatures and places. This is a welcome science book for the young that will grow with the child with its eye-opening facts and magnificent illustrations. I know I will be drawn back to this book time and time again!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sheepish (Wolf Under Cover)

by Helen Yoon

Ages 3-7


You think you know the story, but you don’t! Little children will hoot with laughter at the wolf hiding in plain sight in his silly sheep-skin costume, spotting his very noticeable face amongst all the fluffy woolly real sheep. In the wolf’s mind he would like to eat the sheep, but through interaction with the sheep, he learns about being a team member (even if the team looks totally different than you), how to be kind (and to be accepted for who you are) and how to be able to learn and grow from interactions with others (especially those who do not look like you!) This is a very sweet book with a delightful, heart-warming twist ending. I love how the simple text is enhanced by the illustrations, using images and expressions to fill in the story. Very sweet!Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thank you to candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Zonia’s Rain Forest

by Juana Martinez-Neal

Ages 4-8

Author/illustrator interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFTe9urgMaU

Zonia, an Asháninka girl, lives a peaceful life in the Amazon rainforest in touch with the nature that surrounds her, so much so that she can hear/feel/sense its cry for help. The book is a mix of the sweetness of a child’s pure heart and the resounding “wake-up” message that we, just like Zonia, must pay attention to what nature tells us. We must nurture the growth of green and wildlife just like we need to feed and take care of ourselves. The paperbag-like background color of each page (the paper is actually made from banana bark…so cool!) is the perfect backdrop for the lush greens of the forest and its flora, the electric blue of a butterfly that flits through each two-page spread and the sunny yellow of Zonia’s dress as they each just jump off the page and draw you back into the security of this magical place. I really enjoyed the last few pages of the book which are dedicated to a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rainforest and its wildlife. This book will grow with your child and will help to peak their interest in the vast world around them and the many ways that they can be of service to the planet, especially when armed with knowledge.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Reading is an Adventure! New Picture Books from Candlewick

Ella’s Night Lights by Lucy Fleming

Ages 3-7

A charming story of an adorable doe-eyed woodland creatures, bugs, crawlers and one very special pixie named Ella, who is a gatherer and sharer of light always making things clearer and brighter. The book has an ultra cozy feel and is a perfect read aloud before bedtime, offering up a reminder that we are all important and that each one of us carries a special light within us. It is so important to kindle our own inner flame so that we can be more kind, more giving and able to share our light even more. The animal friends all come together in support and show what true friendship is all about. The story has strong messages of friendship, positivity and support and the need for self-awareness. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

My Red Hat by Rachel Stubbs

Ages 3-7

This bountiful, beautiful, brilliant red hat is a veritable melting pot of creativity that dances between practical possibilities and wild, fantastical ones seen through the eyes of a young child and their grandparent. The hat is part history, as it contains the stories from days gone by as well as of the current moment, now that it will be the child’s, ready to be brimming with all the new stories that will fill it. I love the sweet, intergenerational friendship that allows the grandparent the opportunity to share a stylish, representation of who he is as a way to create connection between the past and the present, basically telling the grandchild to dream as big as possible, because all the while, they will be protected by the love of their grandparent. With very simple lines, the illustrations convey a huge amount of expression and depth. Very nice!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

No Buddy Like A Book by poet Allan Wolf

Illustrated by Brianne Farley

Ages 4-8

This book will spark the love of linguistics in the very young! With an easy flowing cadence peppered with fun and creative  words and rhymes this book heralds the necessity of books in learning, knowledge and above all creativity. Books unlock our imaginations so that we can fully embody what we are reading, making it our own, therefore embedding it into our knowledge and our ability to dream big. This is a beautifully illustrated STEAM book: science technology engineering, art and math objects delightfully portrayed on every page. The cast of characters is adorable and diverse, each one with a sense of individuality and uniqueness. This book celebrates the importance of imagination and creativity in mental and emotional growth. Very great affirming book for the very young. Perfect too read aloud to increase interest in a budding reader. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Over the Shop by Jonarno Lawson

Illustrated by Qin Leng

Ages 3-7

I love this wordless picture book! The storyline is easy to follow and the illustrations totally enliven the story. As the story progresses, I just love how much light and color creeps in. Through simple color, postural and expression changes, the story, which starts out somber and washed out with muted hues becomes bright, lively and fresh. Where there were once scowls and frowns, there are now smiles and colorful flowers abloom. Everywhere there are glimmers of hope and vision, showing that putting effort and dedication into life will grow something very beautiful in its place. In this story, the effort and dedication ends up growing a family and community. What could be more beautiful than that?!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Best Place In The World by Petr Horáček

The age old tale of thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence when in reality, there is no place like home. All of the animal’s are full of expression and life and I love the visual textures of their fur, feathers and wings, and the crayon scratch style coloring is truly endearing. This includes the tree bark, the flower petals and the water in the sea. A really lovely book through both words and art. The bunny brings to heart, the rabbits from the ever popular Guess How Much I Love You? Books-just so cute and snuggly! I love that the bunny has to see for itself what is most important to it . It feels safe to venture out and explore and is allowed to come to its own conclusion., eventually choosing the love of (extended) family above all.  

This is a book about animal deviesoty and how families can include many different “species”. Sweet all around! 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own. 

The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter

Illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring

Ages 3-7

This book about a small, sensitive child who feels rejected when his expectations are not met, just exudes warmth and wisdom and is a great introduction into putting love into a broader perspective. Love can mean so many things and can be expressed in so many ways: verbally, physically and symbolically. Dimitri, the little boy, is not able to see the love that surrounds him, but with gentle, loving guidance, his eyes are opened to see and feel the many expressions of love that surround him. The adorable illustrations follow the story perfectly and you can just sense the characters warmth and inner wisdom in their tiny gestures, sweet facial gestures and especially when they jumble all together, supporting and loving each other, at the end of the book. This is a story that shows the benefit of self acceptance and confidence and shows how secure attachment helps kids thrive!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Purple Puffy Coat by Maribeth Boelts

Illustrated by Danial Duncan

Ages 3-7

Sometimes our love for friend’s gets mixed in with our feelings for ourselves and through these blurred lines, we navigate close friendships and how to show our love and caring and how to recognize where the line between ourselves and our friends lie. With all heart and good wishes, Beetle showers his best friend, Stick Bug, with a bright and loud expression of his love and friendship but he does not realize that this loud statement is too much for his quiet, more introverted friend. But their friendship is rock solid and with free moments to catch his breath and look inside, Beetle does the right thing and in the end, the two create an even stronger bond of friendship, one that rises out of selflessness. It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and accepting, and even encouraging, the differences in ourselves and others, with a little bit of buggy humor thrown in. And it’s ok that Beetle is too big and bold at first, because the two friends figure out the perfect solution for each of their personalities. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for this title. All opinions expressed are my own.

Eli’s New Clothes by Kerri Mullen

The charming, bright and inviting characters just jump right off the beautifully presented hardcover cover and invite you into their story. They are so life-like and you can just feel their warmth beckoning you in. Above all, this is an authentic way to invite a total acceptance of everyone for who they are as you should accept it in yourself. This book encourages acceptance, self-expression and kindness and begs us all to embrace our uniqueness and that in everyone else. The large print makes the book that much more accessible and the story is well developed and offers a clear path to how to be a good, loving kind person. It offers this through a fun approach by blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, with the dolls talking on the brunt of the work and the child’s imagination, taking on the rest. 

This is a lovely story, it compels you to read each page and I can just feel the heartfeltness behind it and I know many, many people will relate to this. I highly recommend this book to create a more beautiful world filled with love  and one that embraces each of us for our own uniqueness. 

The author sent me this book. All opinions expressed are my own. 

#authorsofinstagram #bookstagram #kidlit #weneeddiversebooks #indieauthors #selfpublished #childrensbooks #kidsbooks #kidsbookstagram #diversebooks #lgbtq #transkids #transgender #transisbeautiful

Please check out the author Kerri Mullen on Instagram and Facebook:@KerriMullen.Author. 

http://kerri-mullen-author.mozello.com/

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021

In conjunction with the Multicultural Children’s Book Day event 2021, I was gifted Let’s Celebrate Navratri! (Nine Nights of Dancing & Fun) (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 5) Written by Ajanta Chakraborti & Vivek Kumar; Editor: Janelle Diller

This book is very inviting and the presentation is very global in its approach. The cover is bright and the illustrations are both adorable and offer authentic cultural representation which leads to wanting to open the book to find out more. For the young reader, this book is geared for them to understand the scope of the beautiful cultural diversity of India. Plus, the characters are kind, respectful and eager to learn, so they are very good role models. The book is simple yet full of pertinent information. It shares the stories behind this celebration plus how it is celebrated today through many different parts of India. I loved learning all the names and how to pronounce them, of foods, clothings pieces, family members and sharing this eye-opening piece about another culture and how it draws parallels to other celebrations of light throughout the world. So many different ways to celebrate the dispelling of darkness by light and dance all over this wonderful world. I was impressed by how much information was shared and just loved the endearing illustrations that just brought the celebration to life. It is fun that the book (plus it’s series) has a YouTube channel named Cultural Groove connected to it and I liked hearing this story being read by Miss Ajanta herself! https://youtu.be/nCiwGHWp90k With this story, this book helps to create a connection to and respect for the beauty of the diverse stories that populate our world. 

I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. All opinions expressed are my own. 

#readyourworld #MayaNeelBooks #RaiseMulticulturalKids #CultureGrooveBooks

In conjunction with the Multicultural Children’s Book Day event 2021, I was gifted My Sister, Alicia May Written by Nancy Tupper Ling; Illustrated by Shennen Bersani (Pleasant St. Press)

When I received this book to review for Multicultural Book Day 2020, I immediately wrote to the author to tell her what a sweet and wonderful book she had written. It just made me feel good and happy to read this story. It is so real, down-to-earth and full of kindness and just shows how a strong sense of being can open you up to a positive focus on life.This is the honest account through the eyes of one child whose older sister has Down Syndrome and she does a beautiful job of sharing her experiences with her and how she comes to a greater sense of self through their connection. We need more books like this, in every library, school and home just to show the pure beauty of the diversity of each life, each family-yet through all our uniqueness it too binds us together when we share our experiences and create a much broader and open sense of normal. The illustrations lovingly portray for us the life for these sisters-you can see their similarities in their faces and gestures. Life is life and it is not always easy but if you can be grateful and appreciative of your life you can spread this joy to others as well as being satisfied and at peace in your skin. I highly recommend this beautiful heartfelt story. 

I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. All opinions expressed are my own. 

#downsyndrome #downsyndromeawareness #readyourworld

New Picture Books from Candlewick Press for 2020

Miss Mingo and the 100th Day of School by Jamie Harper

This brightly colored STEM picture book will keep kids counting along with Miss Mingo, the graceful flamengo star of the book, and her lovely menagerie of students. I really appreciated the scientific facts that accompany each student’s 100 and the added mathematic concepts in the  text is a win-win. So much to contemplate and to keep young minds engaged. The book also exemplifies compassion, friendship, diversity, exercise, mindfulness, stress reduction, and emotional control. Both readers and educators will be inspired by this joyful and creative way to celebrate this 100 Day mile-stone! Ages 4-8

Mr. Brown’s Bad Day by Lou Peacock; Illustrated by Alison Friend

Mr. Brown’s fun and friendly tiger face jumps right out at you and invites you into a chase to retrieve a briefcase that holds something very near and dear to him (be sure to pay attention to the few little jokes on the front cover.) What is in that case? This silly series of events offers just the right amount of tension and release to keep mind’s engaged and bellies laughing. Love diverse wildlife that makes up the cast of cute and animated characters. There’s a good dose of silly and light hearted fun and I appreciate the message that even grown-ups might have something to snuggle and feel comforted by. This is a lovely, simple way to take care of the self by paying attention to one’s own emotional well being. I would add this also to the category of good self image. It is a wonderful thing to stay in touch with one’s winner child. Ages 2-5

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these titles. All opinions expressed are my won.

Everyday Mindfulness: 108 Simple Practices To Empower Yourself And Transform Your Life by Melissa Steginus

This book was a pleasant surprise! I was not sure what to expect but when I received it I was thrilled at the straightforward approach and the accessibility of the exercises. The practices are geared to pull you out of any rut, misdirection or distraction that you are experiencing and offer simple ways for you to reexamine your trajectory. 

This book needed to be followed and I realized that I knew a number of people who might also benefit from this journey. It inspired me to start a Facebook group so they could join in, follow the exercises within a supportive environment and notice how mindfulness can be slipped into the day, into the things we already do. The directions are easy to follow and allow you the freedom to join in as much or as little as you want. It is your journey while at the same time a group journey. I am loving the experience. In case you’d like to join in, search on Facebook for: 108 Days of Everyday Mindfulness.

I love the accessibility of this book. It is simple, practical and engaging. It opens the door to deepening mindful attention and intention as mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement, in the service of self-understanding and inner wisdom. This book offers 108 ways to support this journey. I highly recommend it. 

Thank you to TCK Publishing for sharing this book with me. All opinions expressed are my own.

Here is the link to the book:

Everyday Mindfulness – Melissa Steginus

Here is our website link:

TCK Publishing – Book Publisher and Marketing Company for Readers

And here is the author’s website:

www.melissasteginus.com

#mindfulness #mindfulactivities #everydaymindfulness #empoerment #transformation #simple #mindfulpractice

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Holiday Favorites & Gift Books From Candlewick Press

My Favorite Color: I Can Only Pick One? by Aaron Becker

I learned early on that when asking children what their favorite color is, it can be as fleeting as the seasons. Today it’s yellow and sunny, then blue and free, then green like the sea, then pink and sparkly, then purple and dreamy, then red and fiery…that is the beauty of color…it is in the eye of the beholder. What you see as green, I may see as blue; colors create a deep sense of connection  and individuality. This book is absolutely gorgeous and uses a very unique presentation for color exploration. Using colorful grids of small squares with varied translucent inserts and painted squares, the colors shift and transition through each speed. I am fascinated by the way color and light are played with in this creatively-designed board book. The text is simple, but the color play and discussion possibilities with this board book are endless. This is a must-add to your gift list! (Ages 4-8)

2. See the Cat Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

This book is a hoot! Poor puppy cannot seem to get the narrator to realize it’s a dog, not a cat and the funny faces, hilarious expressions and all-over silliness will keep the beginning reader laughing out loud. The stories each have the right amount of build up to keep the reader turning page after page and with the final story ending with a sense of positivity, this trio of stories is sure to leave the reader with a smile. I love the large comical dog and his unpredictable stories. This is a great addition to the beginning readers library and will surely be under the tree for my granddaughter! 

3. Anatomicum Welcome to the Museum Curated by Jennifer Z. Paxton & illustrated by Katy Wiedemann

Stop what you are doing right now and get this book. I mean it! I cannot put it down! This is hands down one of the best STEAM books I have seen; I only wish it had been made 15 years ago so I could buy it for my son when he was young. But no bother….he loves it now (he’s 19!). This is a pictural trip through the human body from the outside to deep inside. It shows how a human works and has just the right amount of detail to be thorough but not overwhelming. The illustrations are gorgeously detailed and offer a peek into the wonderful world right inside our own beings. Every time I open to a new page, I am drawn into a whole new system and I can freely explore the human body in a way I have never been able to do so before! Love it! (Ages 8-12 and beyond)

4. The Language of the Universe A Visual Exploration of Mathematics by Colin Stuart; Illustrated by Ximo Abadia

I cannot get enough of this giant sized picture book dedicated to the exploration of mathematics. So often we just see math as numbers and it often scares people if they cannot grasp its concepts, but this book creates a whole new paradigm for math. By using illustrations, it breaks down math facts into appealing math nuggets and shows how math is part of the world around us. There is math in everything and if you can see this, math then becomes less frightening and so much more enjoyable. One way I taught my son about math in everyday life was by looking out the window while we were driving somewhere, choosing an item such as a flag or a wreath and then counting, sorting and guesstimating distances the whole car trip. It kept him engaged and showed him how math is all around and can be applied to everything. You do not need to be a mathematician to love math…even a knitter uses math! This is a great book to introduce math as a topic everyone can love. The 1950’s color palette of the illustrations is truly lovely! (Ages 8-12 and beyond)

5. One of a Kind A Story About Sorting and Classifying by Neil Packer

This is a book I would have definitely bought for my son when he was young. Through carefully collected pictures, this book categorizes everything from family trees, musical instruments, transportation and even how to make categories of categories. This book is the organizer and list makers dream. The illustrations have a fun, vintage feel and the simple narrative highlights the groups. THis book is perfect for the budding scientist, interior decorator or personal organizer. So much fun! (Ages 7-10)

6. Lost in the Imagination A Journey Through Nine Worlds in Nine Nights by Hiawyn Oram; illustrated by David Wyatt

One of the first graphic adventure puzzle video games I ever played was Myst. The object of the game was to solve puzzles and travel to four worlds. This book has the feel of this adventure. I love the notebook style of information taking and the illustrative details of the 9 worlds will offer hours of free creative exploration into the fantastical worlds. This book is mystical and magical and is an open ended invitation to dream big (or small if you happen to be in Lilliput, the miniature world). This is the perfect gift for anyone who is willing to look beyond the physical world and instead dig deep into their imagination. Dream worlds come to life in this book which will inspire creativity leading to hours of imaginative play. A picture book aimed at the older child (and what adult isn’t an “older child” in disguise?) is a magical offering to help keep their inner child alive. (Ages 8-12 and beyond)

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Kitten Called Holly by Helen Peters; illustrated by Ellie Snowdon (ages 7-9)

This was a very well written children’s chapter book that has a real-life feel. The family is relatable and the kids are a wonderful representation of people who are caring, kind and wholesome but do at times make the wrong choices. The family dynamics are good and problems are able to be solved with careful thought. I appreciate the main element of kindness to animals and how good friends can do more together than just play video games. This is a bit like All Creatures Great and Small for the young generation. A great primer for a child who might be interested in a career in animal care but above all, I felt the flow of anticipation and resolution kept the story very interesting. I see it is part of the Jasmine Rescue Series and I can see this being a great gift for an avid lover of animals. The accompanying sweet pencil drawings by Ellie Snowden add the perfect element to the story and present the characters in a very pleasing light. The addition of a holiday element adds a nice festive backdrop to this story. 

Peppa Pig and the Day of Giving Thanks by Candlewick Entertainment (ages 2-5)Peppa and her diverse cast of characters are back just in time for Thanksgiving, yet this book will fit in perfectly anytime of the year. Gratitude is something to practice everyday and by taking a moment to slow down to appreciate the little things in life, especially when a rainy day ends with a rainbow  although in this case, it ends with a giant mud-hole, is positively the essence of being thankful. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder! Additionally, the book jacket reverses to reveal a ready-to-color poster. This book is bright and cheery and will warm the hearts of Peppa fans all over the world. I recommend this book as a fun way to remember to stop and smell the roses and as a life lesson in learning that disappointment can change to happiness in just a blink of an eye.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

2 thoughts on “Mindful Book Reviews By Eve

  1. What a nice review! Thank you for posting it for MCBD! – BiculturalMama.com

    Like

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