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.
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.
Collier, Kelly. Team Steve. (Steve the Horse series, #2) Kids Can Press, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9781771389327. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7 Q8
Is winning more important than relationships? Steve the horse has always won the yearly race. This year, instead of competing individually, the race is to be a relay race. Steve wants to be paired with fast animals, but his team is a turtle, a snail, and a duck. Steve coaches them on ways to be faster. On the day of the race, unexpected events play out, and Steve learns a valuable lesson. Illustrations in black line art with monochromatic olive color enhance the text, which is made up of various styles and fonts, spaced around the illustrations. Some of the texts and illustrations are in circles and soft squares on the pages. The illustrations add to the text, explaining concepts. This is the second book in the Steve the Horse series. This book can stand alone.
Verdict: Children want to be first and to win. Steve will help children realize there are things more important than winning. This book shows thinking about situations from others’ perspectives. I recommend this book for young children because it is both humorous and enlightening.
October 2018 review by Tami Harris.
Arnold, Marsha Diane. Waiting for Snow. Illustrated by Renata Liwska. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. $14.99. Unpaged. ISBN 9780544416871. Ages 4-6. P7Q8
In this sweet story, Badger is impatient for the snow to come. Hedgehog keeps trying to convince him that the snow will come when it’s time, but impatient Badger and his friends try everything they can think of to make the snow come- banging pots and pans to wake up the sky, throwing rocks to punch holes in the clouds, doing a snow dance… But nothing works, except waiting until it is time for the snow. The digitally colored illustrations are soft and cozy, and have a vintage feeling to them.
VERDICT: I liked the theme of patience in this book, and that you can’t rush nature. This will be a popular book with parents of young children who like to see the snow when it finally comes.
October 2018 review by Carol Schramm.
Bauer, Marion Dane. Winter Dance. Illustrated by Richard Jones. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. $16.99. Unpaged. ISBN 9780544313347. Ages 4-7. P7Q8.
As the snow begins to fall, Fox wonders what to do. A succession of forest animals (a turtle, bat, bear, squirrel, etc.) offer advice to Fox, but nothing is suitable until another fox comes along. Then we learn that what foxes do in the winter- dance! The artwork is quiet, textured and soft, and the muted palate contrasts the cold winter environment with the rich, warm red of the foxes’ fur.
VERDICT: This is a nice book to use when talking with children about how various animals survive cold winters, and would also make a nice bedtime story during the winter months.
October 2018 review by Carol Schramm.
Negrescolor, Joan. Animal City. Chronicle Books, 2018. $18.99. ISBN 9781452170299. Unp. Ages 3-7. P7 Q8
Animal City is an illustration-driven book with bold colors and geometric shapes on white pages. Nina visits her special place, an old city that has been taken back by the jungle and its animals, where she reads stories to the flamingos, monkeys, snakes, and jaguars—all living together peacefully. The concept of human cities slowly returning to the natural world is spooky and causes the reader to imagine what drove the humans from their home in the first place. The book delivers the impetus for a grander story despite its minimal text.
Verdict: Animal City’s wonderful illustrations are accompanied by minimal text and may spark many writing prompts for young creative writers or storytellers. I recommend it for school and public libraries.
October 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.
John, Jory. Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? Illustrated by Liz Climo. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9780735228542. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6Q6
Have you ever had an itch you just can’t reach? Then you will appreciate elephant’s predicament in this book. However, page after page, elephant is unsuccessful in finding help. Elephant seeks the help of many animals: turtle, crocodile, hippo, sloth, and they are all adorable, very colorful against the white page backdrop. However, as cute as they are, they are not too helpful. In the end elephant does find a solution using a porcupine. Elephant’s appreciation, or lack of, leaves porcupine in the same predicament.
Verdict: for the right audience this book can be funny. While not a good example of helping others and kindness, it can be used as teaching moment as to what could be done differently.
August 2018 review by Denyse Marsh.