Book review: Sail Away Dragon, by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil

Joosse, Barbara. Sail Away Dragon. illus. Randy Cecil. Candlewick Press, 2017. unp. $15.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-7313-0. Gr. K+. P9 Q8

This is the third book that the author Joose has written about the adventures of girl and the dragon. I have not read the other books but this one I loved. Girl and dragon both have the same dream which starts a new adventure for them. Dragon becomes a boat and he the girl sail away to “Far-Est Far Away.” On the journey they meet many different friends who join them on their journey.  The text itself is lyrical and funny as girl and dragon sail away for a year and day and has a whimsical tone as well. The illustrations are done in oils with a foggy misty feel, almost as if it this were a dream.

Verdict: This is an adventure that will draw the reader in. I have reread it many times.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.


Book review: Can I tell you a secret?, by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Kang, Anna. Can I tell you a secret? Illus. Christopher Weyant. Harper, 2016. unp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-06-239684-6. Gr.K+. P8 Q8

A bright green frog engages the reader with a big “PSSST!” “Yes, You.” He hates to bother the reader but he needs help and he needs to speak to someone about his secret, “I can’t swim. I’m afraid of the water.” This is a great problem that frog has had since he was a “tadpole.” He has managed his problem through some very quick thinking. Though you never see the character who frog is speaking to you see the advice that is given. That advice, to talk to his parents. Frog does and finds out they have known all along and want to help. It is a big splash into the water with his friends that ends poor frog’s fear of water. He invites the reader to come back tomorrow. The artist, Weyan, used watercolor and ink to show how frog overcomes his fear of water. I laughed at some of frog’s quick thinking moments that kept him out of the water.

Verdict: Young children may have things that really frighten them. This book is one that could be used in a lesson to talk about their fears.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Antoinette, by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson

DiPucchio, Kelly. Antoinette. illus. Christian Robinson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. unp. $17.99,. ISBN: 978-1-4814-5783-5. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Antoinette is the only poodle in a family of male bulldogs. She thinks that her brothers all have talent but not her. She laments this difficulty to her mother who knows that Antoinette’s talent is going to be “special, something very special.” A play day in the park is where Antoinette meets Gaston, a bulldog in a family of poodles. They all play together when someone notices that a puppy is missing. All of Antoinette’s brothers use their special skills to try and find the missing puppy. However, It is Antoinette’s special gift of “of a twitch in her nose” that takes her around Paris to save her friend, Ooh-La-La, from a dreadful fall. The story ends when Antoinette and Gaston take their own family to the park to play. It is here that they see a statue of the brave Antoinette who save the day. The illustrations are rendered in acrylic paint and show what life in a busy city, Paris, France is like for a lost puppy.

Verdict:  This would be a great read aloud that will have students wanting to have it read again and again. It is the sequel to the book Gaston.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Little Elliot, Big Fun, by Mike Curato

Curato, Mike. Little Elliot Big Fun. Henry Holt and Company, 2018. unp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9827-3. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Young children face difficulties each day, some even when it is supposed to be a fun day. Elliot and his best friend Mouse face just such a day. Elliot is excited about going to an amusement park with Mouse, his BFF, he just didn’t know how frightening it can be. The water ride, Elliot can’t swim. The fast rotating wheel will cause Elliot to get to dizzy and he could fall. When offered a red balloon, Elliot is thrilled, till he sees the grinning clown behind the balloon. Frightened, he runs, getting into many difficult situations. When Elliot can run no more he stops under a boardwalk close to the ocean, where Mouse finally finds him. Elliot calms down and Mouse finds a ride that is not fast or scary and Elliot discovers that the rides can be fun. The friendship of the two is further cemented when they both agree that the best part of the day “was spending time with you.” The illustrations are pencil on paper drawings that were digitally colored and showcase the friends’ trip. There is one double page fold out illustration that shows Elliot and Mouse enjoying a ride together.

Verdict: Sharing this book with young children who have never been to an amusement park can help them be better prepared for what they might find. This is the third book featuring  Elliot and Mouse.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Now!, by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Tim Warnes

Corderoy, Tracey. Now! Illus. Tim Warnes. Little Tiger Tales, 2016. unp. $16.99. ISBN: 978-1-68010-033-4. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Otto, a tiny rhinoceros, wants instant gratification. He does not want to wait for anything; he wants it “NOW!” Otto’s, parents meet each of his tantrums in a very calm manner as they teach Otto how to wait. The excitement of a planned vacation has Otto packing ten days before the trip which makes the waiting even harder. The day finally arrives and they are set to leave when Otto can’t find his favorite toy, a stuffed Tiger. Otto gets a taste of his own medicine when his parents start to complain about having to wait. The illustrations are very large and colorful and fit the text perfectly.

Verdict: This book could help younger children who don’t have the patience to wait for things. I can see this book used as a read aloud and the incidents being discussed with the class.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book, text by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Hegarty, Patricia. Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book. illus. Britta Teckentrup. Doubleday Press, 2016. unp. $14.99. ISBN: 978-1-5247-1526-7. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

A bee flies through the flowers collecting and redepositing pollen as it goes. The bee disappears as there are so many flowers that one bee cannot do it alone. The bee arrives at the hive with the message and bees then fly to the flowers, to help finish the job. The simple rhyming text takes the reader through the process of how bees help pollinate our earth. This peek-through book lets the reader see behind and ahead to where the bee is going. The illustrations are of flowers in both the wild and a garden setting.

Verdict: A wonderful book to use in teaching about bees and the process of pollination. The bee is one of our world’s most important species in nature.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria, by John Grandits, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin

Grandits, John. Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the Cafeteria. illus. Michael Allen Austin. Clarion Books, 2017. 32 pgs. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-544-69951-9. Gr. 1+. P8 Q8

Kyle’s mother did not have time to fix his lunch before the bus arrives. Ginny, sits close to Kyle and tries to give him the dos and don’ts of school life. When she finds out about his lunch she gasps  and tells him seven rules about how to conduct yourself in the cafeteria. Kyle breaks every rule and when he sees Ginny later on the bus he tells her about rule number 8. Rule 8: never ever listen to Ginny’s rules. Instead, enjoy your lunch. Cafeteria food is very good. The illustrations are hilarious as Kyle breaks every one of Ginny’s rules for conduct in the cafeteria. Kyle survives and eats his lunch.

Verdict: I would read this book aloud to students who are going to eating in the cafeteria. It was so much fun to read.  I know younger students will enjoy it too.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.