Book review: Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Thimmesh, Catherine. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. HMH, 2000, 2018. Updated edition. $17.99. 106p. ISBN 978-1-328-77253-4. Ages 8-12. P8Q9

From the popularity of Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Cookie recipe in 1930 to Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen’s Roominate, a toy to encourage girls to build and use circuits, these 15 profiles of women innovators describe how they made lives better through their curiosity and creations. The seven additions to the 2000 version include women and girls’ innovations in solar, waste management, cyberbullying prevention, and drought while eight earlier inventor such as windshield wipers and Kevlar are retained.

Verdict: The lively style of illustrations by a Caldecott Honor winner and accessible format have been retained with the advantage of more diversity of subjects in ethnic background and age that reflect fast-growing technology during the 21st century. Recommended for middle-school libraries.

Fall 2018 review by Nel Ward.


Book review: The Toy Brother, by William Steig

Steig, William. The Toy Brother. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016. $18.99. ISBN 9780374300890. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P7Q7

This imaginative tale involves two brothers with opposite personalities. Yorick, the older brother, gets annoyed by the silly antics of his younger brother Charles, while Charles yearns for his brother to notice him. One day, as their parents prepare to leave for a faraway wedding, Father issues a rule: stay out of the lab. Father is an alchemist and has a lab full of enticing bottles and potions. The moment they are out of sight, Yorrick heads to the forbidden lab. Meanwhile, younger brother Charles is out hunting ladybugs, and soon he comes upon a miniature Yorick! Yorick has no choice but to allow his little brother to be in charge now. Charles has a grand time building his tiny brother a little house, making him little clothes and carrying him around in his pocket. When they finally work together to discover the antidote they realize how important having a brother can be. Re-released, originally published by Macmillan in 1996.

Verdict: this reminds me of an old fashioned fairy tale and would be a wonderful addition to the children’s library. It has challenging vocabulary which also makes it a good classroom book.

August 2018 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Duck Gets a Job, by Sonny Ross

Ross, Sonny. Duck Gets a Job. Templar Books, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9780763698966. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6Q7

Duck wants a job. Not sure what type of job to apply for, he takes the advice of his duck friends and gets a job in the big city as a professional. Duck soon realizes this is not the job for him. Duck does not like having to dress up, work in an office, or work on spreadsheets all day. So, he quits. This time, when Duck job hunts he looks for a job that better suits his interests. Duck finds a job as an artist and finds he now loves going to work. The mixed media illustrations are interesting, featuring mostly darker colors.

Verdict: The simple text makes this a good book for a young audience, while the little humorous details make it entertaining for the older ones. A good addition to the classroom with a message to follow your own path.

August 2018 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Fable Comics, various author/illustrators, edited by Chris Duffy.

Fable Comics. Edited by Chris Duffy. First Second, 2015. $19.99. ISBN 9781626721074. 124 pages. Ages 6+. P8 Q9

If you enjoy fables and comics, this is the book for you! There are twenty-eight fables illustrated in comic format by different cartoonists, which adds variety and interest. This book includes fables that are well known and some that are not well known. Illustrations vary greatly between the fables, making them more interesting. The cartoonists took liberties and some of the fables have a different endings from the classic tales. This book does not have to read straight through; one can pick and choose among the fables.

Verdict: I enjoyed the variety of cartoons and twists on the fables. It was interesting reading the fables as comics. Both young and old readers will enjoy this colorful comic book. I highly recommend this book for all libraries.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: I’m Sad, by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Black, Michael Ian. I’m Sad. Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481476270. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8 Q8

Have you ever been sad and you think you will be sad forever? A large pink flamingo is sad. A child and a potato engage in conversation with the flamingo, helping the flamingo realize that it is okay to feel sad. Together, they explore why sad things happen, what makes others happy, and if they will still be liked if they are sad. The large illustrations accurately show facial expressions, which adds to the simple text. The flamingo’s words are pink, the potato’s words are brown and the child’s words are blue.

Verdict: Children will relate to feeling sad and realize that it is okay to feel sad. Our worth is not tied into how we feel. This book can help adults explain sadness to children in a lighthearted way that gives the child acceptance of his or her feelings. I highly recommend this simple picture book.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Bubbles, by Kit Chase

Chase, Kit. Bubbles. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9780399545740. Unpaged. Ages 3-6. P7 Q7

Bubbles are fun and whimsical. Kangaroo loves to blow bubbles. She sees bubbles and follows them and finds Koala. Kangaroo tries to be friends with Koala, but Koala climbs a tree. They blow friendly bubbles together; the bubbles are big and small. It is a happy bubble party until the bubbles grow big and make a bubble monster. The bubble monster heads directly for Kangaroo. Koala feels brave and they work together to conquer the monster. The simple text along with the water color and ink illustrations work together to show the journey Kangaroo and Koala take to become friends. The facial expressions capture how Kangaroo and Koala are feeling. Children who may be shy will relate to Koala, who takes a while to warm up to Kangaroo.

Verdict:  This sweet story shows how friendships start and evolve. A great read aloud featuring friendship, working together, perseverance and sharing. I recommend this picture book for libraries for young children. I will be reading this book in my character ed class to help children explore and discuss the various feeling they have in friendship and how to work together to help each other.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Day at The Beach, by Tom Booth

Booth, Tom. Day at The Beach. Aladdin, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781534411050. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6 Q7

Every summer Gideon and his sister, Audrey make a sandcastle together. This year, Gideon plans to make a sandcastle by himself. His first castle gets squished by a ball, the next castle is smashed by a kite, the third castle is swept away by the tide, the fourth is a casualty of a passing shower, the fifth flies away with a strong breeze, and the sixth castle? His dog! Looking for a new place where nothing can interrupt him, he finally builds a beautiful castle that everyone loves. It is then that he notices his family building a castle together and he feels lonely. He joins his family and helps them finish their not perfect castle. Beach themed story of relationships being more important than perfection. The illustrations are colorful and match the text. The scenarios depicted in the story are realistic and could easily happen at the beach. Children who have tried to make a sandcastle and have been had various catastrophes can relate to this story. Children want to pull away from their families and make something that is great and their own, but in doing so, they may miss out on working together with others.

Verdict: A warmhearted story that emphasizes the importance of family and that things do not have to be perfect. I recommend this book for libraries serving young children.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.