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.


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.

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.

Book review: Wild Orca: The Oldest Wisest Whale in the World, by Brenda Peterson, illustrated by Wendell Minor

Peterson, Brenda. Wild Orca: The Oldest Wisest Whale in the World. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Holt, 2018. $17.99. unp. ISBN 978-1-250-11069-5. Ages 5-8. P8Q8

The story of a disappearing species features the parents educating their daughter, Mia, about orcas as she follows the adventures of 105-year-old Granny, thought to be the world’s oldest orca. The clear language of the story includes the dangers to the species, ways that people try to care for a beached orca, and the hope that infant orcas may survive. Peterson’s end note explains that Granny has disappeared since she began writing the book and describes the capture of one of Granny’s pod in 1970 who still lives in a small cement tank in Florida despite attempts to rescue the orca. Gouache watercolors accompany the text that introduces a serious topic to young readers.

Verdict: Designed for younger readers, the book can lead to adults sharing the information in Kim Perez Valice’s The Orca Scientists to discuss factual information about the disappearing orcas.

Fall 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat, by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Kate Garchinsky

Pringle, Laurence. The Secret Life of the Little Brown Bat. Illus. by Kate Garchinsky. Boyds Mills, 2018. $17.95. unp. ISBN 978-1-62979-601-7. Ages 5-8. P9Q9

Pringle follows Otis from his infancy through his first flight through the night and into hibernation. The story about Otis is accompanied by bat facts including their homes, body structure, flying, feeding, and echolocation—ability to identify placement of objects through clicking sounds that echo back from their surroundings. The pastel and aqua crayons illustrations give views of the bats, including their toothy expressions, and what they see. End notes provide more detail about the species and a disease that destroyed over six million hibernating bats within ten years, 90 percent of little brown bats in North America.

Verdict: A lovely view of the subject is accompanied by carefully researched details and a charming story.

Fall 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Accident!, by Andrea Tsurumi

Tsurumi, Andrea. Accident! Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 978054494480. Unpaged. Ages 4-7. P7 Q7

Lola, an armadillo, spills juice on a chair, so she runs away from her mess and runs into everyone else’s. As each animal she encounters has an accident, she encourages them to run away to the library with her. Along the way they feel like they are the worst, using words such as, “whoops, oops, ruined, wrecked, spills, slips, fiasco, mayhem, big big trouble, and calamity.” Just when they make it to the library and feel that all is well, a huge catastrophe occurs and a bird speaks out the word “accident.” The bird instructs them to make the accident better. All the animals go back and apologize. This book models the various words one can use to apologize and the words others can use to accept apologies. Lola leaves the other animals’ messes and goes back and faces up to her own “accident.” She realizes it was a mistake, an oops, a boo-boo, it was an accident. I would not recommend this book as a real aloud because some of the pages are very busy and it might be hard for children to see all that is going on, however, it would be a great book to read one on one or in small groups. The vocabulary in this book is diverse and explores the various ways to express making mistakes.

Verdict: Making a mistake is not the end of the world. Emphasizing ways to ask for forgiveness and the fact that making a mistake does not mean one is bad, it just means one had an accident. The busyness of the book provides a lot for children to look at. They can spend hours looking at the book and still find something new each time. I recommend this book to help children realize it is okay to make mistakes.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: In-Between Things, by Priscilla Tey

Tey, Priscilla. In-Between Things. CandIewick Press, 2018. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 9780763689834. Ages 3-6. P7Q8

A scruffy gray cat, a lean hound dog, and a trio of white mice introduce children to the concept of neither here, nor there, but in-between.  Cheerful mixed media illustrations with points of bright orange, lemon yellow, and spring green pair with humorous verse descriptions of things in-between–chairs in a room, things under the floor, animals that are not one thing or another, but a combination of both.

Verdict: This cheerful concept book is the first picture book by illustrator/teacher, Priscilla Tey. The illustrations remind me of works by Stephen Gammell such as Song and Dance Man (Karen Ackerman), or The Relatives Came (by Cynthia Rylant).  I will keep an eye out for other works by this author/illustrator.  Highly recommended for kindergarten through elementary and public library collections.

November 2018 review by Jane Cothron.