Book review: The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Hale, Shannon and Dean Hale. The Princess in Black and the Bathtime Battle. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (Princess in Black series, book 7.) Candlewick Press, 2019. $14.99. ISBN 9781536202212. 89 pages. Ages 5-8. P8 Q8

Princess Magnolia smells a stinky smell! Princess Black comes to the rescue to get rid of the smell. Princess Black saves the day..or does she? Princess Snapdragon is trimming bushes when the stink blew into her garden. Princess Black appears and both of the princesses battle the smell. This goes on, with many more princesses getting involved until they come to the source of the stink. You will have to read the story to find out what is causing the smell and how they find a solution. The ending of the book is adorable!! Thick glossy pages, colorful illustrations with exaggerated facial expressions make this short chapter book engaging.

Verdict: With the theme of teamwork, girl power, perseverance and kindness, readers will be captivated from the beginning to the end of the book. Even though this is book 7 in the series, it is the first of the Princess in Black book that I have read. I will definitely read more in the series. I highly recommend this book for libraries for elementary aged readers.

December 2019 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: On the Night of the Shooting Star, by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Hest, Amy. On the Night of the Shooting Star. Illustrated by Jenni Desmond. Candlewick Press, 2017. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 978-0763691547. Ages 2-5. P9 Q9

This is an enchanting tale of two neighbors with a picket fence between them who have lived in their homes for a long time. They see one another, but hadn’t ever spoken. Then one night a wonderful event happens that they share, beginning a delightful friendship. The artwork is simple yet beautiful, creating the lovely story of these two neighbors.

VERDICT: This is a tale that needs to be read and enjoyed more than once. It has lessons of friendship that will delight young and old. Highly recommended.

December 2019 review by Lynne Wright.

Book review: On Snowden Mountain, by Jeri Watts

Watts, Jeri. On Snowden Mountain. Candlewick Press, 2019. 193 pgs. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-7636-9744-0. Gr. 7+. P8 Q8

Ellen loves her Baltimore school, the books, the subjects, all of it. In school she doesn’t have a lot of friends, they think she draws attention to herself as she always has the answer to the questions the teacher asks. When her father volunteers for active duty in World War II, just  as her mother has gone into another of her deep deep depressions, Ellen, out of options with no food or supervision, calls upon her distant Aunt Pearl for help.  Aunt Pearl takes Ellen and her mother to her remote home on Snowden Mountain, Virginia, a tiny city surrounded by trees and more trees. It is hard for Ellen to see the worth in this remote place without electricity or running water. This well written book deals with mental illness, child abuse, friendship, acceptance, and self discovery. Ellen learns that it is okay to be a young girl and accept the help that comes in many ways.

Verdict: The author writes with compassion of mental illness and with an understanding that the reader is able to connect to. The description of child abuse of one of the secondary characters was hard to deal with but when he finally stands up for himself I cheered.

October 2019 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: Now What?, by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Harris, Robie H. Now What? Illustrated by Chris Chatterton. Candlewick Press, 2019. Unpaged. $15.99. ISBN 9780763678289. Ages P6Q9

Let’s learn about shapes! Follow a cute little puppy on his journey to build the perfect bed for his afternoon nap using shapes. Catchy phrases and interesting pictures make learning about shape fun and exciting. After learning all about the different shapes the little puppy finally has the perfect bed made for a nice nap. Perfect for learning how different shapes such as triangles, squares an rectangles can all piece together to make one final shape. A nice rectangle bed. Very engaging and easy to understand even for the youngest of readers.

Verdict: This book makes learning fun and easy to follow. It would be a great book for the lower grades to help learn about shapes.

October 2019 review by Melissa Roberts.

Book review:The Boy Who Went to Mars, by Simon James

James, Simon.  The Boy Who Went to Mars. Candlewick Press, 2017. $16.99. ISBN 9780763695989. Unpaged. Ages 6-10. P7Q8.

When Stanley’s mother has to go away overnight for a short business trip, Stanley climbs in a box to voyage to Mars.  Upon the return to earth, a little Martian is exchanged for Stanley. The Martian explains that he doesn’t wash his hands, brush his teeth, or have a bedtime. All is working well for the little Martian until his best friend argues that he isn’t convinced with the Stanley replacement. The upset Martian responds by shoving and consequently has to spend the remainder of the morning at the principal’s office thinking about his behavior.

Verdict: the pen and watercolor illustrations complement the imaginative playing well.

May 2019 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: The Mouse Who Wasn’t Scared, by Petr Horăĉek

Horăĉek, Petr. The Mouse Who Wasn’t Scared. Candlewick Press, 2018. $15.99. ISBN 9780763698812. Unpaged. Ages 6-10. P8Q9

Little Mouse disregards Rabbit’s warning about playing in the woods and even asks the big scary wolf, bear, and moose to play.  However, all of these big scary animals respond with silence and indifference. Ultimately, Little Mouse locates a little house and creeps up to take a look.  There is a cute, fluffy kitten who asks the speechless Little Mouse to play. This sends Little Mouse all the way out of the woods back to Rabbit where she declares that it is not the big, scary animals that frighten her but the cute, fluffy ones that do!

Verdict: the illustrations are bright and complement the story well.

May 2019 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: The Poesy Ring: a Love Story, by Bob Graham

Graham, Bob. The Poesy Ring: a Love Story.  Candlewick Press, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-9884-3. Unpaged. Ages 5-10. P6Q7

Nearly two centuries ago a young woman throws a poesy ring inscribed with “Love never dies” into a meadow near the sea as she gallops off with her tears drying on her face.  The tale follows what happens to the ring, for this woman is never seen again. The ring is tossed with erosion and time and ultimately caught in a deer’s hoof and deposited in a meadow near the sea. More time passes before a magpie picks it up to only drop it into the depths of the ocean where it is swallowed by a fish that is caught by a fisherman who takes it to a pawn shop in New York City.  A couple who earn money performing in the subway purchase the ring in 1967 where it is inferred the ring is to this day. The quiet continuous passage of time is complemented well with the soft ink, watercolor, and pastels used in the illustrations.

Verdict: time and love are concepts that are difficult to understand yet represented in a manner to explore in this interesting tale.

May 2019 review by Penny McDermott.