Review: Eppie the Eleplant

eppie the elephantReview:

Eppie the Elephant (who was allergic to peanuts)

Author: Livingstone Crouse

Illustrator: Steve Brown

Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books, 2018

Eppie the Elephant is starting school and she’s got one major rule she won’t forget: NO PEANUTS. You see, Eppie is allergic to peanuts. She’s a bit worried about this allergy. She wonders if the other children will laugh at her or know that she is different. She does make friends, but the moment of truth comes at lunch time. Eppie is “pointed to a lone, distant seat.” Her friends are not aware of her allergy and bring things like pb&j sandwiches and bags of peanuts. So there she sits, all alone, singled out, and sad.

Spoiler: There is a nice ending to this story and honestly, I think it is very realistic. Most children are very accepting of their friends’ food allergies. Their parents, however, are another matter.

One of my children has a peanut allergy. I can still remember how my child, the lone one in the class, had to forgo all the wonderful birthday treats because they were not allergy-friendly. (I did send in some nut-free crackers for the teacher to keep on hand, but let’s be real. How can a cracker compare with a wonderfully frosted cupcake? Later, the school stopped allowing edible birthday treats.) When I worked in preschool, there were several students with peanut allergies. By my preschool days, we were inspecting snacks (there were some severe allergies) and any child who brought in anything with nuts had their snack confiscated and had to be content with Saltines. Yet there were always parents who would forget and not even check what they were sending. Daily.

I think this is a great book for sharing. The message is important, but told in a way that is not preachy. The illustrations are adorable. I just want to cuddle Eppie! And don’t forget to check out the end papers. It certainly gives a new picture of what life can be like with an allergy.


*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Plankton is Pushy


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Plankton Is Pushy

Author/Illustrator: Jonathan Fenske

Publisher: Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc. 2017

Source: Public Library

We all know people like Plankton. They just won’t leave you alone. They are perfect pests. Mr. Mussel, however, is a very patient mussel. He’s not going to say anything. Well, not much, anyway.

This is a very simple little picture book – not too busy in words or pictures. But readers and listeners will enjoy it’s message: it doesn’t always pay to be pushy!

Review: Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

love monster chocolate


Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

Author/Illustrator: Rachel Bright

Publisher: Farrar Strauss Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2015

Source: Public Library

The Love Monster is back and has a problem with which I can truly identify. He’s been given a box of chocolates. He thinks he should share them – but who wants to share their chocolates? There might not be enough or he might get stuck with the yucky coffee-flavored one. He is convinced it would be better to keep those chocolates – for the sake of everyone – all for himself.

I am sure a lot of people – young and old alike – are going to see themselves in this book. That’s what makes the Love Monster so especially lovable. He’s just like us! Fun illustrations and a true understanding of chocolates makes this Love Monster volume extra fun. Grab it for an enjoyable read – but don’t forget the box of chocolates to share!

Review: They Say Blue


They Say Blue

Author/Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018

Source: Public Library

In this new picture book by Jillian Tamaki, we get not only a new and unique way of exploring colors and their many variations, but also seasons.

The story begins on a sunny day with a beautiful blue sky. A young girl sitting on the beach notices the water is blue, too. At least for now. Jumping into the waves, she realizes the water is actually clear, which she can “toss… up into the air to make diamonds.” She begins to wonder about colors. She doesn’t need to crack the egg to know the yolk is orange and she knows her blood is red, even when she doesn’t see it.

As the yearly cycle moves on, the grass is golden and the sky changes to deep gray. It’s spring and rain is coming. It’s a sign of new things: a flower blooms, a tree grows its leaves. Summer means lots of activity, whether it be the insects that fly around the tree or children playing ball. Then fall arrives, and the tree loses its golden leaves. Winter comes – a time of white snows and dark, moody skies – and the tree rests.

As the book ends, we are brought once again to the sky. Only this time, it is not blue. As the girl and her mother watch out the window, they notice “the black crows that bob and chatter in the field outside.” The sky is no longer blue, but instead a sea of rich reds and oranges.

With its wonderfully poetic language and its vibrant colors, this book draws us in to nature’s cycles. We begin to think in specifics. They say the sky is blue, but that is not always the case. The grass and leaves are not always green. Each has many variations and Tamaki’s book helps open our eyes to these wonders.

Review: We Don’t Eat Our Classmates


We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

Author: Ryan T. Higgins

Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 2018

Source: Public Library

Penelope Rex is a young Tyrannosaurus Rex who is just about to start school. Her classmates are not other T. Rex youngsters. Nope, they are human children. And human children are delicious.

Penelope has a lot of trouble adjusting to school. She keeps swallowing (and having to spit back out) her classmates. The teacher is never very happy with Penelope when she snacks on her classmates and the classmates aren’t terribly happy with her either. It’s awfully hard for Penelope to make friends. She’s lonely at school. She just doesn’t know how to get the other children to like her; at least, not until Walter the Goldfish gives her a lesson in how to be a friend.

For fans of Ryan T. Higgins (Mother Bruce, Hotel Bruce, Bruce’s Big Move, and BE QUIET), We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is another winner to add to your library. Despite her difficulties in making friends (and plenty of real human children can have this problem, too!), Penelope really is pretty cute and lovable. She just needs a little help learning to understand the other person’s point of view.






Review: The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His A B C’s (the Hard Way)

little red cat

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The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His A B C’s (the Hard Way)

Author/Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell

Publisher: Little Brown and Company, 2017

Source: Public Library

Do you remember the game I Am Going on a Vacation? The first player starts, “I am going on a vacation and I am bringing an apple.” The second player then takes their turn and adds something to bring that starts with a ‘b’. “I am going on a vacation and I am bringing an apple and a banana.” You go back and forth, remembering all the items brought until you get through the alphabet. (When I worked in elementary school, I used to play a variation of this to remember all the students’ names when we all first met!) Anyway, the point is that The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His A B C’s (the Hard Way) begins in a similar way. The cat runs out his door and away from his home to be confronted by an alligator, who is then joined by a bear, and a chicken, and a dragon, and an egg. The animals continue on their adventure, meeting all kinds of obstacles: fire (from the dragon), ice, mountainous terrain, a long wait in the restroom line…

If you are tired of boring A B C books that just show pictures of alphabetically arranged items, this adventurous – and hilarious – book will be a refreshing change of pace. There are several ways you could use this book in an interactive reading style. You could simply check out the pictures and see what is going on. You could tell it like a story. Or you could use it like the I Am Going on a Vacation game and see how much you and your listener can remember. Any way you read this book, it will provide a wonderful new way to experience the A B C’s.



Review: Bizzy Mizz Lizzie

bizzy mizz lizzieReview:

Bizzy Mizz Lizzie

Author/Illustrator: David Shannon

Publisher: The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2017

Source: Public Library

Lizzie is a very busy little bee. She goes to school. She takes all kinds of extra lessons – music, acting, art, and dance. She’s involved in sports and scouts. Lizzie does everything.

Everything, that is, except relax. She has a reason for it. It is her goal to one day meet the Queen and prove she is the best little bee she can be.

Bizzy Mizz Lizzy is a darling little bee. Her story reminds us (parents, too!) that sometimes we are the best we can be when we take some time to do nothing. Yes, once in a while we don’t have to do everything. Or anything. We can relax. Our kids can sit home and entertain themselves. Without electronics. (I can hear some of you gasping now, but they can manage not to be plugged in for a little bit.)

The illustrations are pretty colorful. Readers familiar with David Shannon’s other books will be familiar with his style and know that his pictures are just as entertaining as the story.

Review: The Lost Picnic

the lost picnicReview:

The Lost Picnic

Author/Illustrator: b.b. cronin

Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017

Source: Public Library

Grandad is taking his grandchildren for a picnic – isn’t that a nice idea for summer? – and he has strapped the basket full of goodies to the roof of his car. As they make their journey to a wonderful picnic area, there are many sights to see. They watch for signs, they look around a beautiful park, they take some pictures. Alas! They do not notice that the picnic basket is not as tightly strapped shut as it should be!

Will listeners realize that the picnic lunch is being merrily sprinkled out along the ride? In this Seek-and-Find book, they will have to be looking carefully at the illustrations. There is much to see and discover on each page. Don’t worry if they don’t realize what is happening at first. When the family arrives, everyone will discover what has been going on and luckily they’ll get another chance to find the lost items.

For those who like books like Where’s Waldo, this is a nice challenge. Keep your eyes peeled! Even though this is a picture book, they are not overly easy.

Review: How to Trick the Tooth Fairy


How to Trick the Tooth Fairy

Author: Erin Danielle Russell

Illustrator: Jennifer Hansen Rolli

Publisher: Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2018

Source: ARC

Kaylee is a sassy, little prank princess-in-training. She is always pulling pranks. As much as she’d like to be the best prankster around, she’s not (at least, not yet). The Tooth Fairy is the true princess of pranks. And let’s just say that when the two meet, all hell breaks loose. Which makes this book an incredibly fun read. The two tricksters are continually trying to outdo each other and the results- well, let’s just say things get a bit messy.

For all the wild shenanigans, the illustrations are done in surprisingly muted tones. The pictures certainly convey a lot of magical mischief, but action is used to express this rather than color.

My one hope for readers of this book: I hope the listeners don’t lose a tooth too close to the reading. Otherwise, you might get more of a surprise than you bargain for.

Pranksters unite!


Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review: An Atlas of Imaginary Places


An Atlas of Imaginary Places

Author: Mia Cassany

Illustrator: Ana de Lima

Publisher: Prestel Publishing Ltd., 2018 (English edition)

Source: ARC

An Atlas of Imaginary Places takes the reader to the most amazing dream world. Animals change their coats whenever anyone sneezes. A lady giant lives in the sea and she makes paper boats which she fills with beautiful aromas. When these paper boats sink, they create small, unusually shaped islands. And these islands are magical, too. They are places where it rains fish, you can climb the tallest lighthouse, and use your finger to draw a new galaxy. Mountains grow upside down. But don’t worry; if you fall off you land among the clouds. Volcanos spew multi-colored bubble gum. There is even a City of Butterflies.

The illustrations are as magical as the text. The colors are soft and muted, and the drawings of all these wonderful things will just light up your imagination. I particularly like the two illustrations with black backgrounds: the lighthouse fantasy and the City of Butterflies.

Perhaps as you read this book aloud to your young listeners, you can create new ideas for this universe that rests halfway between dream and reality.



*Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.