Book review: I Like My Car, by Michael Robertson

Robertson, Michael. I Like My Car. Holiday House Publishing, 2018. $15.99. ISBN 9780823439515. Unpaged. Ages 4-6. P6 Q7

Full of colorful, large illustrations, and repetitious text, “I like my __ car.” Each page shows a whimsical animal in an oversized car. There is a large amount of space around the text so it stands out. Readers can look at the color of the car to help them decode the text if needed. Arrows on signs show the directions the cars are traveling. On the last page, all the cars and animal drivers are included. Glossy pages with many different colors makes reading fun. In the I like to read series.  Guided B reading level, which is K-1. End pages have colorful, cartoon type car related illustrations.

Vedict: For children who are learning to read and who like cars, this book is fun. Since the book is repetitious, adult readers may tire of the book quickly. It is meant for children as they are learning to read.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

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Book review: Peanut Butter’s First Day of School, by Terry Border

Border, Terry. Peanut Butter’s First Day of School. Penguin Young Readers, 2018. $14.99. ISBN 9781524784850. 32 pages. Ages 6-8. P7 Q6

It is common to feel anxiety about the first day of school. Peanut Butter is wondering what he should do to get ready for the first day of school, so he asks his friends for advice. Each of his friends has a different idea, but none of the ideas work for Peanut Butter.  On the first day of school, Peanut Butter spends the day with his friends. At the end of the day, they walk home together. If this is the first book you have read about Peanut Butter, you may enjoy the story and realistic food illustrations. However, if you have read Peanut Butter and Cupcake, you will be disappointed. The illustrations are repeated straight from Peanut Butter and Cupcake and Milk Goes to School.  This book is a Level 2 progressing reader.

Verdict: If you have not read Peanut Butter and Cupcake and Milk Goes to School, I recommend this book. The themes of friendship, celebrating individuality and including others along with the food illustrations will appeal to children. However, if you have read Border’s other books, the illustrations repeat and this volume is not worth purchasing. I was expecting new illustrations that matched the story.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: A First Book of the Sea, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton

Davies, Nicola. A First Book of the Sea. Illustrated by Emily Sutton. Candlewick Press, 2018. $22.00. ISBN 9780763698829. 107 pgs. Ages 3-7. P8Q8

This is a wonderful book about the sea for young readers. It covers many sea related topics, which are broken up into four main categories- Down by the Shore, Journeys, Under the Sea, and Wonders. Several spreads deal with the terrible problem of plastic pollution and its effects. Some of the text rhymes and some does not, but all of it is poetic and lovely, and full of good information too. The watercolor artwork is beautiful- there is a lot of contrast, gorgeous color and rich detail. I loved the spread with the various types of ship sails and the border of sailor’s knots, all labeled.

VERDICT: I think all libraries in our area should have this book. Elementary schools will find it useful in the classroom, and parents will love reading it to their young children.

November 2018 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: A Prickly Problem, by Jacqueline Kelly, illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer

Kelly, Jacqueline. A Prickly Problem. Illus. by Jennifer L. Meyer. [Calpurnia Tate Girl Vet series]. Holt, 2018. $15.99. 104p. ISBN 978-1-62779-875-4. Ages 7-9. P8Q9

The author of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a Newbery Honor Book, and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate has made her popular protagonist accessible to younger readers in the Girl Vet chapter book series. Set in Texas during the turn of the 20th century, Callie gets involved in a variety of adventures, in this case a problem with the beloved but rowdy family dog that won’t take “no” from a prickly porcupine. The veterinarian is available for the dog’s first encounter, but Callie is alone for the second.

Verdict: A fun, quick read about a highly likeable character who loves education and the grandfather who helps her find it on the family’s ranch. Black and white drawings add to the understanding. Other books in the series: Skunked!, Counting Sheep, and Who Gives a Hoot? 

April/May 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Little Tails on the Farm, by Frédéric Brrémaud, illustrated by Federico Bertolucci, translated by Mike Kennedy

Brrémaud, Frédéric. Little Tails on the Farm. [Little Tails Wildlife Adventures series]. Ill. by Federico Bertolucci. Trans. by Mike Kennedy. Cubhouse, 2017. $14.99. unp. ISBN 978-1-942367-53-6. Ages 3-6. P8Q8

The latest in this series leaves more exotic locations such as the forest, jungle, savannah, and prehistory to explore a farm. As in the earlier fun educational journeys, Chipper the puppy and Squizzo the chipmunk are depicted in cartoon strip antics above brightly colored realistic artwork showing the animals in the designated setting. The focus of the story is a search for milk, leading them to meet a variety of animals before a party and a ride home on a foal.

Verdict: The humor is light, and the characters cute. The animals featured include more exotic ones such as a peacock and ram, and fun facts about animals are provided at the end.

April/May 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Thank You, Mr. Panda/Gracias, Sr. Panda., by Steve Antony

Antony, Steve. Thank You, Mr. Panda/Gracias, Sr. Panda. Bilingual edition. “Mr. Panda series.” Scholastic Inc, 2018. $6.99. ISBN 9781338233438. Unpaged. Ages 3-5. P7 Q7

If you like Mr. Panda stories, you will enjoy Thank You, Mr. Panda. Panda has presents for all his friends. Unfortunately, his gifts are not quite right. His gift for mouse is a too big sweater, only seven socks for octopus, and a large pair of underwear for lemur.  A fun way for children to realize it’s not the gift, but the thought that counts. Illustrations show animals excited because they are getting a gift and then confused when the gift isn’t right. In the Mr. Panda series, the text is bilingual.

Verdict: Recommended for young children. Not only is this book humorous, children will learn another language as well as starting the discussion on what makes a gift special. Is it because it is what the child wants or because someone thought of them and bought them a gift. The bilingual text is short and easy to read. Children will stay engaged with the adventures of Panda and Lemur.

April 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Mouse Loves Spring, by Lauren Thompson

Thompson, Lauren. Mouse Loves Spring. Illustrated by Buket Erdogan. (Ready to Read series). Simon Spotlight, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9781534401853. Ages 2-5. P6 Q7

This Ready-to-Read book is designed for readers at the pre-level one reading level.  It was previously published, in 2005, as Mouse’s First Spring. We follow Mouse and Momma through their Springy environment as they identify various creatures. The type is quite large and easy to read. There is use of repetition in both vocabulary and sentence structure. The inclusion of several different punctuation marks is appreciated, as is the use of uncommon words. Particular words are put in bold lettering, maybe to encourage emphasis while reading aloud. Erdogan’s illustrations are friendly and don’t distract from the text.

Verdict: This is a successful beginning book for early readers. It checks all the boxes and is recommended for public libraries, Kindergarten, and Pre-K classrooms.

April 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.