Book review: I Just Like You, by Suzanne Bloom

Bloom, Suzanne. I Just Like You. Boyds Mills Press, 2018. $16.95. ISBN 9781629798783. Unpaged. Ages 3-6. P7 Q7

Acceptance of one who is different from oneself is important for children to learn. A diverse group of animals show how each animal can be different or the same and still like each other. Simple repetitious text drives the point. Adults can use this book to segway into what ways we are different and what ways we are the same. Illustrations show friendly animals interacting with each other. Children often think their friends have to be just like them. This book shows that they can like others even if they are different.

Verdict: I highly recommend this playful book that models liking each other. I will use this book in my character ed class.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

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Book review: Quiet, by Tomie dePaola

dePaola, Tomie. Quiet. Simon & Schuster, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481477543. Unpaged. Ages 4-6. P5 Q6

In a world where everyone is in a hurry, being still and quiet may be a foreign concept. A grandfather points out to his two grandchildren how everything is in such a hurry; bees, birds, a dog, a dragon fly, and trees waving leaves. He invites them to sit quietly with him on a bench. He points out birds resting in a tree, dog resting, frog sitting, and the dragon fly stopped. The girl observes that she can think when she is quiet, the boy can see when he is still. To be quiet and still is a special thing. The book felt a bit generic, since the characters are referred to as boy, girl, and grandfather. With simple text and large calm colored illustrations, this gentle book showing the importance of being still and quiet. Even though it shows a balance of busy and quiet, it emphasizes that being quiet is more important than being busy. In life, I feel that one needs to have a balance of both and both are equally important.

Verdict: I can see adults reading this book to children to show them the importance of being quiet and still, but I do not see children picking up this book on their own to read. I do not think this is a book that children will want to read over and over.  That being said, I feel this book would be valuable in a public library. An adult could use this book to lead into an activity where children see what they notice when they are quiet.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: School Bus Safety, by Becky Coyle, illustrated by juanbjuan oliver and Elmira Eskandari

Coyle, Becky. School Bus Safety. Illustrated by juanbjuan oliver and Elmira Eskandari. Flowerpot Press, 2018. $12.99. ISBN 9781486714308. Unpaged. Ages 5-8. P5 Q6

The bus can be a busy and loud place. This simple picture book uses rhyming text to teach children traffic safety rules in a fun and engaging way. Rules such as look before you cross, don’t walk toward the bus while it is pulling in, use hand rails, stay in seat while bus is moving, bags at your feet, quiet on the bus, exit one at a time give children specific examples of positive behavior on the bus. Children also are introduced to signs such as wait, stop, walk, don’t walk and go. A female sheriff waving out the window, portraying sheriffs as friendly, is an added bonus. I marked it down on quality because the picture of all the children on the bus has one person blowing a bubble with gum and one child eating an apple. They also show a boy with a paper airplane, which one can imagine may be thrown. These illustrations show unsafe behavior. In our school district, children are not allowed to eat or chew gum on the bus due to choking hazard. Illustrations show faces that are oversized compared to bodies. The word Screech spreads across the entire two pages, showing a car coming close to a child. In the Police in our School series. Includes a website for more information.

Verdict: Adults may use this book to teach children safe bus riding procedures. If this book is used, the reader should point out to children not to eat on the bus. I may use this book in my character ed class, but I will make sure to point out the illustration of the children eating and mention that we don’t eat on our buses. Other than that point, it is a great book, using specific examples to help children stay safe. It is designed to teach children rather than being a fun book that children will choose on their own to read for pleasure.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Construction Cat, by Barbara Odanaka, illustrations by Sydney Hanson

Odanaka, Barbara. Construction Cat. Illustrations by Sydney Hanson. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481490948. Unpaged. Ages 4-6. P7 Q7

Construction Cat, a mother cat, heads out to lead a crew of cats to build while Pa cat stays home and takes care of the kittens. The cats’ tails are high as they begin to build. Large colorful equipment and cute cats complement each other as the reader wonders what the cats are building. During the lunch break, Construction Cat reads a note from her family that was in her lunch, which is a nice personal touch that children may be able to relate to. In some places, the text is larger to emphasize a point. It shows children that women can work outside the home and men can take care of things relating to the home. The rhyming text makes this book a good read aloud.

Verdict: Children who like cats and construction will enjoy this story. Using cute characters, it teaches children that they can follow their hearts and not have to be confined to the role society may assign them due to their gender.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Small Walt and Mo the Tow, by Elizabeth Verdick, pictures by Marc Rosenthal

Verdick, Elizabeth. Small Walt and Mo the Tow. Pictures by Marc Rosenthal. “A Paula Wiseman Book.” Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481466608. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6 Q7

When a green car veers of the road and slides down a snowy embankment, landing in a ditch, Walt wants to rescue it. However, he is not able to do it alone. Gus, his driver, calls Mo and his driver Sue to help get the green car out of the ditch. Whimsical motor noises and repetitious texts make this story engaging. Characters including different ethnic groups along with a female as the tow truck’s driver makes this story inclusive. This is Small Walt and his driver, Gus’s second adventure. An eBook edition is available. Even though it is the second book in the series, it can stand alone. Readers will enjoy characters from the first book along with a few new characters, winter scenes, and retro illustrations.

Verdict: Verdick combines team work and perseverance to show children that we need others to help us at times. Children who like trucks will enjoy this book, however with the retro feel, it may not be as popular as other books.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: The Snow Lion, by Jim Helmore, illustrated by Richard Jones

Helmore, Jim. The Snow Lion. Illustrated by Richard Jones. Peachtree Publishers, 2018. $17.95. ISBN 9781682630488. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6 Q7

It is challenging to move to a new house and make new friends, especially if you are shy. When Caro explores her new house, she discovers a Snow Lion in the white walls. The Snow Lion is a perfect friend for shy Caro. The Snow Lion encourages Caro to play at the park. While Caro is at the park, she meets a boy named Bobby. As she meets new friends, the Snow Lion is there to encourage her. Her mother suggests Caro’s friends work together to paint the white walls. Caro wonders if painting the walls will make her Snow Lion disappear. Illustrations are in subdued muted color, which may not make it as popular as  books with brightly colored illustrations. The mixed media artwork illustrations start out dark as Cara’s car is heading toward her new house. The inside of the house is white, which sets the stage for the Snow Lion.

Verdict: Children who are shy will be comforted by the Snow Lion and the positive way he helps Caro find friends. Themes of friendship and courage permeate the sweet story. If a child is not shy and hasn’t had to move, they may not relate as much to the story.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Bear Can’t Sleep, by Karma Wilson, illustrations by Jane Chapman

Wilson, Karma. Bears Can’t Sleep. Jane Chapman. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481459730. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8 Q8

If you like the Bear book series you will enjoy Bears Can’t Sleep. Bear should be hibernating, but he can’t sleep. Bear’s friends try multiple things to help him fall asleep. Warm orange illustrations create a cozy feeling. This rhyming book emphasizes working together to help a friend. This book is a good addition to the other Bear books.

Verdict:  Children will relate to Bear not being able to sleep. Soft, cozy illustrations and repetitive text evoke a warm feeling in the reader and children will want to hear the story over and over. Perfect for bedtime reading.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.