Book review: The Whopper by Rebecca Ashdown

Ashdown, Rebecca.  The Whopper. Templar Books, 2015. $16.99. ISBN 9780763692919. Unpaged. Ages 5-10. P7 Q7.

Percy tells a lie about a sweater that his grandmother makes him, so a “whopper” monster haunts and takes over Percy’s life until he tells the truth.  He apologizes and writes a letter to his grandmother. It has a funny ending. The endpapers show the fur of the monster.

Verdict: It is a fun book with cute illustrations that will engage readers with a message about telling the truth.  It is a great addition to a library and a good read aloud for younger children to have the discussion about little lies getting bigger.

June 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.


Book review: One Hundred Bones, by Yuval Zommer

Zommer, Yuval. One hundred bones. Templar Books, 2016. Unp. $16.99. ISBN:978-0-7636-8183-8. Gr.2. P9 Q8

zommer-one-hundred-bonesEveryone wants to be accepted and wants to belong, that goes for dogs as well. Scruff is a dog who wants to be accepted but no matter what he does, it’s always wrong. Finding a pile of hundreds of bones, he invites other dogs to help him dig them up. The dogs decide the bones need to go to someone who will know what they are and ride around the city on the bus until they find a professor. The bones are “amazing” and the professor collects them and puts a dinosaur together. Scruff is awarded a medal for the find and he also gains a place where he is accepted, the professor’s home. The illustrations are fun as the Scruff the dog earns a home and acceptance.

Verdict: A great book to use in a unit on friendship and acceptance.

November 2016 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: The Wonder, by Faye Hanson

Hanson, Faye. The Wonder. Templar Books, 2014 (US edition 2015). $16.99. ISBN 9780763679576. Unpaged. Ages 3-7. P8Q8

hanson-wonderThe boy in the book goes through his day with his head in the clouds, wondering about things. He’s continually told to pay attention, to wake up, to stop daydreaming. That is, until he goes to his art class and is told to use his imagination, and is praised for his beautiful ideas. I love that the author talks about how important imagination is, and we see that this is some people’s strength. The artwork is gorgeous. A lot of it is in brown and sepia tones, with soft shading and whimsical characters. The pieces from the boy’s imagination are in brighter colors, and become brighter and more wonderful as the book progresses and he uses his imagination more and more. VERDICT: This is a great book for young readers, and should make a good readaloud- it will appeal to the dreamers out there.

January 2017 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: Winter’s Child, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith

McAllister, Angela. Illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith. Winter’s Child. Templar Books. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-7964-4. Unp. Ages 4-8. P8 Q9

McAllister Winters ChildThe illustrations are beautiful and picturesque. I thought the picture on the front cover of the boy was haunting. Tom enjoys playing in the snow with the little boy. But Tom, his mother and Nana are having a hard time staying warm this winter. They only have four logs left and Tom decides that he is too old for skis so he chops them up for firewood. Every day he has to chop up another one of this play things to provide firewood for his family. Every day Tom goes out to play with the little boy. In the end we find out the reason winter is so long is because the little boy was winter’s child and winter could not end till Winter and his child are asleep.   The last pages are a beautiful spring scene. This is a wonderful fairy tale with beautiful pictures.

December 2015 review by Melinda Dye.

Book review: Snow, by Sam Usher

Usher, Sam. Snow. Templar Books, 2014. $16.99. ISBN 9780763679583. Unpaged. Ages 3-7. P8Q8.

Usher SnowIt snowed! And Sam can’t wait to get outside to play with his friends. But, Granddad is really slowwwww… By the time they make it outside, all of Sam’s friends are already there. So are all the neighborhood cats, dogs, and zoo animals! But Sam and his grandfather have a terrific time, and later agree that some things are worth waiting for. I’m not sure that last point will sink in for Sam, though, the next time Granddad is so slow. I think this will be a popular book with kids this fall and winter. Everyone has anticipated something like the first snow, and knows how hard it is to be patient!

December 2015 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: The Sea Tiger, by Victoria Turnbull

Turnbull, Victoria. The Sea Tiger. Templar Books, 2014. $16.99. ISBN 9780763679866. Unpaged. Ages 3-7. P7Q8.

Turnbull Sea TigerThis beautiful picturebook is about friendship, and how sometimes we need to let others in to help us grow. The Sea Tiger is the Oscar Merboy’s only friend, and they have magical adventures together under the sea. The Sea Tiger realizes, though, that to help Oscar’s world expand, they need to include some others in their lives. The bittersweet feeling of this lesson is wonderfully conveyed by the lush, soft, magical colored pencil illustrations. This is Turnbull’s first picturebook. I hope to see more of her work very soon.

December 2015 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: Troll and the Oliver, by Adam Stower

Stower, Adam. Troll and the Oliver. Templar Books, 2015. ISBN 978-0-7636-7956-9. 30 pgs. Ages 2-6. P8/Q8.

Stower Troll and the OliverI love the cover of this book because there are cut outs which will capture the attention of children.  There is also a half page in the middle of the book where the troll pops out of the half page.  The troll is trying to catch the little boy Oliver and finally Oliver makes a cake and they are happy as friends.  There may be some confusion as the story refers to the little boy as an “Oliver”.  The end papers at the back of the book have a recipe from Trolliver’s Cookbook for Troll Cupcakes.  The pictures are cute and will help little children get over fears of trolls and monsters. 

October 2015 review by Melinda Dye.