Book review: If Animals Said I Love You, by Ann Whitford Paul, pictures by David Walker

Paul, Ann Whitford. If Animals Said I Love You. Pictures by David Walker. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780374306021. Unpaged. Ages 2-6. P7 Q8

How do animals say I love you? Every page features an animal, in its natural habitat, showing love in its own way. Gorillas pound a loud chest, whales shoot heart-shaped bubbles out as they spout, and lions tussle and tumble. The animals are large, some almost filling the page. Some animals are cousins, some siblings, some adult and infants. The author highlights onomatopoeia in large color type style. While it is a companion to the book If animals kissed good night, it can stand alone.

Verdict: A nice addition to any children’s library. The warm, rich colors with smiles on the animals’ faces will hold children’s interest. I can see children wanting to read this book over and over.

February 2018 review by Tami Harris.


Book review: Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability, by Shane Burcaw,

Burcaw, Shane. Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability. Photographs by Matt Carr. Roaring Book Press, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9781626727717. Unpaged. Ages 6-12. P7 Q8

Have you had questions about people who have disabilities, but don’t know how to ask? On the cover, Shaun invites the reader to “Go ahead, ask me”, which sets the tone for the whole book. Shane has written a book describing what he goes through, including what he likes to do and activities that are difficult for him. Shaun shows how much he has in common with others which makes him relatable. The questions on the pages are questions that people have asked him. In answering those questions, Shaun makes it evident that he is the same as others on the inside; it’s his body that makes things challenging for him. The questions are in white speaking bubbles on the pages with text and photographs supporting his answer. Photos of his family and ways they help him are included in the book. The detailed description of his wheelchair, likening the joystick to a video-game controller, make it interesting. Shaun adds humor to the book. The best advice that Shaun gives is to “not judge a book by its cover, so when you meet someone who looks different from you, it’s always best to treat them with kindness and respect. After all, that person may end up becoming one of your best friends.”  The author’s note at the end of the book explains spinal muscular atrophy and the impact it has on his life.

Verdict: This age appropriate book is a must have for elementary school libraries and public libraries. Shaun combines humor, family, photos of things he enjoys, to help answer questions one may have of people who have disabilities. He faces the awkward questions straightforwardly and doesn’t avoid them. One word to describe the book is inviting.

February 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: You’re All Kinds of Wonderful, by Nancy Tillman

Tillman, Nancy. You’re All Kinds of Wonderful. Feiwel and Friends, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9781250113764. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7 Q8

Inside of all of us lies treasures waiting to be discovered. We may think we want to be like others or that others have more interesting talents. Tilman emphasizes that we are born with our own bells and whistles to set us apart. Every page has a child and an animal interacting, exploring what treasures lie inside of you. You can practice and learn what works for you, but do not be discouraged if things don’t fit. This book opens the door to explore what lies inside of each of us. Another heartfelt loving book in the Nancy Tillman collection. It is a journey of finding out who you are and celebrating your strengths.

Verdict: Tillman not only helps us celebrate our differences, but also encourages us to try out different activities to find our passion, the things that makes our bells whistle. Thought provoking and lends to a discussion on what is lying inside your child or a child in your life. Even though this book is for younger children, older children will like it as well. An important book for every library.

February 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: I Love You For Miles And Miles, by Alison Goldberg, pictures by Mike Yamada

Goldberg, Alison. I Love You For Miles And Miles. Pictures by Mike Yamada. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9780374304430. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7 Q8

Do you ever want to express how much you love someone, but are lacking the words? A bear and cub go on a journey using trains, excavators, drills, cranes, and sailboats, to show the extent of how much the bear loves its cub. The lighthouse on the page with the tugboat, “guiding us home, day or night” shows how love can be tethering. The large, colorful illustrations of the mile-long train and the drill boring down to uncover mysteries add depth to the text. This book was inspired by the author’s children’s love for all things that go. The book evoked feelings of love and care.

Verdict: This book transforms love into action using “things that go”. Not only will children be captivated by the text and illustrations, they will feel the love you have for them. Libraries with elementary age children will benefit from this book.

February 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Love, by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

De La Peña, Matt. Love. Loren Long, illustrator. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781524740917. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7 Q8

Have do you tried to describe love, but were unsure of how to do it? Through lyrical text, De La Pena, focusing on family life, shows the obvious and not so obvious examples of love.  From birth, when you open your eyes and see your family looking at you, until you head out on your own, your life is full of love. We think of love as extraordinary actions, but love can also be found in small daily gestures. The illustrations on the page with “love that seems lost” are dark with empty boxes and drawers that are pulled open and empty.  There is also love overlooked, which is shown in the crease of a grandfather’s face. We are also love, which is represented by a face looking into a mirror. I like the colorful umbrellas as the loved ones wish a child luck as they head out on their own. On the next page, you realize you do not need luck because you’ll have love. The last page shows a shadow of a child with an umbrella that is not opened. YouTube has an introduction of the book from the author.

Verdict: A valuable book on the depth of love and the many ways love is demonstrated. Elementary aged libraries would benefit from this book.  This book is thought provoking and made me aware of the many places we can find love.

February 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Bizzy Mizz Lizzie, by David Shannon

Shannon, David. Bizzy Mizz Lizzie. The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9780545619431. Ages 3-6 . P7 Q8

Mizz Lizzie is the epitome of a busy bee. Between her lessons, school, Junior Honey Scouts, and friends, Mizz Lizzie has no time for rest. All Mizz Lizzie’s business may lead to some impromptu napping at a most inopportune time! Bizzy Mizz Lizzie expresses the importance of a work-life balance in order to prevent busy bee burn-out. The richly painted illustrations are substantial and have a lot of personality—just like Mizz Lizzie and her friends. Young children will enjoy the depth of color, and friendly bee faces in the illustrations. They may also identify with Mizz Lizzie, as children are becoming increasingly over-scheduled. I would recommend this book for personal/public library use.

Verdict: Bizzy Mizz Lizzy shares an important message of self-care and managing expectations. Its bright colors and quirky illustrations with grab young readers’ attentions.

February 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Good Night, Beautiful Moon

Good Night, Beautiful Moon. “As seen on Netflix.” Penguin Young Readers Licenses, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2017. $9.99. ISBN 9780515159158. Ages 3-5. P8 Q7

Oona, Baba, and friends are on a mission to witness their first-ever supermoon; but can they stay awake? This is a book adaptation of an animated television series, produced by Netflix, called Puffin Rock. The show is a mostly accurate depiction of the native marine and coastal wildlife of Ireland, their ecosystems, and daily life. The book is identical to one of the episodes (similarly titled, To See the Moon), both in story and illustration. It does, however, lack the auditory component that is important to the original format—this is not quite remedied by the sound words that accompany the dialogue in the book.

Verdict: Good Night, Beautiful Moon will be familiar to young readers who have seen the television show on which it is based. It is a great solution for limiting screen time, and young readers will appreciate familiar characters.

February 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.