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.

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Book review: Tiger vs. Nightmare, by Emily Tetri

Tetri, Emily. Tiger Vs. Nightmare. First Second, 2018. $17.99. 64p. ISBN 978-1-62672-535-5. Ages 6-10. P8Q8

“Monster is my friend,” Tiger tells her tiger parents in this graphic novel. Her parents think that Tiger is making up the monster, but Monster is real—playing with Tiger at night and scaring off all the nightmares so that Tiger can sleep peacefully. When Monster becomes afraid of her own nightmare, however, it is Tiger’s turn to protect her friend. Watercolors and pencil work in the panels and full-page spreads go from the warm yellows and oranges of daytime to the deep blues of night.

Verdict: This charming book presents multiple themes of friendship, victory over fears, cooperation, loyalty, and bravery. A bonus is that the parent Tiger calls “Dad” does most of the caregiving, and the gender of the other parent is unidentified. The nightmare monsters depicted might be a bit much, but the ending shows success at quashing them.

December 2018 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Peanut Butter’s First Day of School, by Terry Border

Border, Terry. Peanut Butter’s First Day of School. Penguin Young Readers, 2018. $14.99. ISBN 9781524784850. 32 pages. Ages 6-8. P7 Q6

It is common to feel anxiety about the first day of school. Peanut Butter is wondering what he should do to get ready for the first day of school, so he asks his friends for advice. Each of his friends has a different idea, but none of the ideas work for Peanut Butter.  On the first day of school, Peanut Butter spends the day with his friends. At the end of the day, they walk home together. If this is the first book you have read about Peanut Butter, you may enjoy the story and realistic food illustrations. However, if you have read Peanut Butter and Cupcake, you will be disappointed. The illustrations are repeated straight from Peanut Butter and Cupcake and Milk Goes to School.  This book is a Level 2 progressing reader.

Verdict: If you have not read Peanut Butter and Cupcake and Milk Goes to School, I recommend this book. The themes of friendship, celebrating individuality and including others along with the food illustrations will appeal to children. However, if you have read Border’s other books, the illustrations repeat and this volume is not worth purchasing. I was expecting new illustrations that matched the story.

June 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Mouse Loves Spring, by Lauren Thompson

Thompson, Lauren. Mouse Loves Spring. Illustrated by Buket Erdogan. (Ready to Read series). Simon Spotlight, 2018. $16.99. ISBN 9781534401853. Ages 2-5. P6 Q7

This Ready-to-Read book is designed for readers at the pre-level one reading level.  It was previously published, in 2005, as Mouse’s First Spring. We follow Mouse and Momma through their Springy environment as they identify various creatures. The type is quite large and easy to read. There is use of repetition in both vocabulary and sentence structure. The inclusion of several different punctuation marks is appreciated, as is the use of uncommon words. Particular words are put in bold lettering, maybe to encourage emphasis while reading aloud. Erdogan’s illustrations are friendly and don’t distract from the text.

Verdict: This is a successful beginning book for early readers. It checks all the boxes and is recommended for public libraries, Kindergarten, and Pre-K classrooms.

April 2018 review by Lillian Curanzy.

Book review: Peg + Cat: The Big Dog Problem, by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

Oxley, Jennifer and Billy Aronson. Peg + Cat: The Big Dog Problem. (Level 2 Reader)  Candlewick Entertainment, 2017. $4.99. ISBN 9780763697907. 42 Pages. Ages 5-8. P7 Q8

Follow Peg and Cat as they figure out how to mail five letters. Peg and Cat divide the five letters in many ways. On their way to mailing the letter, they encounter a problem…a BIG problem. Using math, drawing plans, and through trial and error, they figure out a way to mail their letters. Peg + Cat is based on the Emmy award-winning animated TV series that uses math skills to solve problems. It is a level 2 reader and great for the developing reader. The illustrations match the text and enhance the story.

Verdict: With four chapters, spacing between the words, and a nice mix of easy and challenging words, this book will be a great addition to any young children’s library. Not only will your child build his/her confidence reading he/she will also learn to manipulate numbers.

December 2017 review by Tami Harris

Book review: Firehouse!, by Mark Teague

Teague, Mark. Firehouse! (A StoryPlay book) Cartwheel Books, 2017. $5.99. ISBN 9781338181593. Unpaged. Ages 3-5. P7 Q8

Filled with colorful illustrations, Firehouse follows Edward on an adventure at the firehouse. As he visits with Judy, he washes the fire truck, there is a fire alarm drill and he gets to ride down the fire pole. At the end of the story, there is a real fire alarm and Edward gets to help out. Children who like fire trucks will love this action filled, bright colorful illustrations. The book is enhanced by a tiny mouse in a fire fighters outfit asking questions, such as, “Is the hat too big or too small for Edward? How can you tell?” For adults who like prompts on how to interact with children while they are reading, this is an excellent book. There are four creative activities at the end of the book. This book is in the StoryPlay series. Originally published May 1st 2010 by Orchard Books.

Verdict: This interactive book is a good addition to any young children’s library. Children will enjoy the adventures and learn more about firefighting at the same time.

December 2017 review by Tami Harris

Book review: Growing Up Pedro, by Matt Taveres

Taveres, Matt. Growing Up Pedro: How the Martinez Brothers Made It from the Dominican Republic All the Way to the Major Leagues. Candlewick Press, 2015. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-9311-4. 39 pages. Ages 6-12. P7Q6.

This book is a delightful picture book biography of baseball player Pedro Martinez. Pedro grows up in poverty in the Dominican Republic. The determination and hard work are details that support the biography yet the importance of family and relationships makes this book a home run.

Verdict: this is would make a good addition to an early reader collection.

May 2017 review by Penny McDermott.