Book review: The Snowflake Mistake, by Lou Treleaven and Maddie Frost (illustrator)

Treleaven, Lou. The Snowflake Mistake. Illustrator, Maddie Frost. UK version.  Maverick Arts Publishing, 2016. $19.07. ISBN 9781848862180. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7 Q7

The Snow Queen puts snowflakes through a machine, squish and crunch, to make perfect identical snowflakes. Young Princess Ellie would much rather play. The Snow Queen has business to do so she has Princess Ellie man the machine. The machine is broken! What can Princess Ellie do bring back the snow? With the help of her bird friends, Princess Ellie finds a solution. In the end, Princess Ellie realizes that when things do not go as planned, one can rely on their own creativity to improve the situation.  Whimsical winter scenes with blues purples and green create a cozy, warm feeling.  The text includes onomatopoeia in bold words adding a sense of action to the story. Includes a pattern on how to make snowflakes.

Verdict: It is okay to make mistakes, in fact, sometimes mistakes can make things better. Embracing creativity and support for thinking outside the box. The story leaves you feeling warm and inspired.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

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Book review: Mad, Mad Bear!, by Kimberly Gee

Gee, Kimberly. Mad, Mad Bear! Beach Lane Books, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481449717. Unpaged. Ages 3-5. P7 Q7

Bear gets mad because he has to leave the park first, then he gets an owie on the way home and has to leave his boots and favorite stick outside. He doesn’t feel it is fair and he gets mad! After he throws a tantrum, he takes a deep breath, has a snack and takes a nap. When Bear wakes up, he feels better. Simple text and large illustrations follow Bear as he goes through the process of getting mad and calming down. Some words are red and large, emphasizing them. Illustrations show Bear’s facial expressions, giving the listener clues to how Bear is feeling. The book is designed to be read to small children.

Verdict: If you have child who gets mad often, this book will provide some simple strategies and show that they can recover from their mad feelings. I recommend this book for small children and public libraries.

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: 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: 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.