Frankenstein Doesn’t Wear Earmuffs! by John Loren

5 stars Children’s Halloween

Ah, mom!  This book is cute, funny, and definitely a keeper! I think everyone will be able to relate to something that happens to the little boy inside this book and it’ll make you smile.  This rhyming book is geared towards Halloween, but it should be read throughout the year because it’s so entertaining.

On the inside book cover, there’s a play-by-play of a young boy getting himself all dressed up for trick-or-treating as Frankenstein.  Ready to go, the narration begins with a dark, spooky night which I imagined, was what the young boy was imagining inside his head.  As he emerges out of the bathroom, to head out into the dark and stormy night, he hears, “HOLD IT!”

It’s his father and he’s holding a pair of his old, red galoshes.  Afraid of rain, dad wants him to wear them.  O.K.! Wearing the giant, floppy boots he tries again to leave, when, “HANG ON!” Only this time, it’s his mom. She’s holding not 1, but 3 items that she wants him to wear before he heads out the door because she’s concerned about the weather. O.K.! Frankenstein is starting to look really silly now in all this gear.  This exchange between the young boy and his parents continues, the young boy just wants to have a fun Halloween.

This is a super book. The illustrations are fantastic and I liked how they flash between the boy dressed-up as Frankenstein and Frankenstein, himself.  The rhyming works throughout the book and ending was great. 5 stars!!

Lift by Minh Le

4.75 stars Children’s Picture Book

Ha! This picture book is definitely a fun one and one you could have a good time with.  Iris got mad when things changed in her normal routine but then, she found a solution.  Little did she know that solution would lead her on magical journeys that began in her own bedroom. 

Iris loved to push the elevator buttons in the apartment building that she lived in with her family.  It always made her happy and she could count on it to cheer her up.  Whenever they needed to push one of the elevator buttons, Iris would step right up and DING, she’d push the correct button.     

She doesn’t know what happened that Thursday but once her family got inside the elevator to go up to their apartment, her little brother reached right over and pushed the elevator button before Iris had a chance.  WHAT!! Her brother was so proud and excited and her parents, well…. they had the same reaction.  Iris, she was mad! Then, on Friday when they left their apartment and again, got inside the elevator, her brother reached over and pushed the button AGAIN!  Oh, the look on Iris’ face!  I loved this part!!  She doesn’t hold back her anger, nope! What does she do? Yell? Scream? Iris reaches over and she pushes all the buttons and her family stops on all the floors.  This, my friend, I can see happening.  How does everyone on the elevator feel now?  I liked this part of the book as it shows through the text and the illustrations a lot about the characters.

When they finally reach the lobby, there’s a repair man fixing the other elevator. He’s currently replacing the elevator’s wall button and Iris notices when he throws the broken button in the trash can.  Ah!  Yep, Iris quickly grabs the broken elevator button and she shoves it into her coat pocket.  I liked how most of this activity is told without words. Following the text boxes, the illustrations tell the story.  Once home and safety behind her bedroom door, Iris takes the broken elevator button out of her pocket.  After grabbing some tape, she tapes it up on her wall.  She pushes the button (just for good measure)and starts to walks away when “DING!”

Don’t you love it?  I would love to read this to a child or to a classroom and see what they think is going to happen next because it’s time to turn the page and then, Iris has an amazing adventure.  Iris does return to her family’s apartment for just a bit and then, Iris is ready and we hear a DING!

I really loved this book and I have to get a copy of this.  I love how it opens up the avenue for discussions and possibilities.  I liked how Iris got angry and how she dealt with it, it was honest and representative of how some children might handle that situation, I think.  I wished her parents would have said something to her about her behavior, not a lecture but something to address it.  I thought her adventures were fun and entertaining and I think, children will like them too.  The illustrations in this book are fantastic. The detail and the colors really bring out the story.  It’s a mixture of a story book and wordless book as there were pages that didn’t have any words and you just had to follow the pictures to understand the storyline.  Iris’ feelings towards her brother were fitting and her actions at the end of the book were really sweet.  This is definitely a good book to read to the children in your life.  4.75 stars  

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Synder

5 stars Children’s picture book

How hilarious! I’m still laughing about this one! This counting picture book is so cute and fun! I don’t know where to begin on this review as there were many things that stood out in this book. I’ll begin by saying that I had to read this multiple times. Just reading it once doesn’t do this book justice, you have to stop and savor the illustrations. I compared the illustrations which made the book more hilarious. I’ll definitely have to get this one to read to my grandchildren.

When dog spies the gate open, he goes for it and he escapes out of the yard. Dog thinks he’s being sneaky, going undetected, yet we spy cat, watching him out the window drinking her coffee. Dog jumps on the back of a trike which is driven by a poodle who has also escaped and now, we have “two dogs on a trike.” As we turn the page, this duo now jumps on a scooter being driven by another escaped dog which makes “three dogs on a scooter.” I loved watching the dog’s actions and their faces as they continued on their way. They were having the time of their life, even the dog wearing the lamp shade. It makes me laugh now, just thinking about it. The story gets even better because I haven’t mention who else is in the picture. Cat. Leaving her coffee and house slippers behind, Cat has been trailing the dog and all of his buddies since he left the yard. It was a hoot to see Cat, in her own various means of transportation secretly spying on the dogs as he makes his journey in various mode of transportation too.

Each step of dog’s journey, another dog is added until the count gets up to ten and then, the story reverses and it counts back down. It’s more than a counting book, it’s a fun adventure!

I loved the energy and creativity that was put into this book. I couldn’t help laughing at the dogs while they were on their journey and then, seeing cat who was spying on them, not that far away. When the book starts counting backwards, the reactions from the dogs have changed. Comparing the same numbers from counting up to counting down was entertaining and comical. I have to thank the author for leaving the ending of this book open. I really like it when an author sets up a book and then leaves something for the reader to ponder that’s not a huge cliffhanger.

I really enjoyed this book! I think children will love this book also. I can also think of many applications of how to build off this book at home or in the classroom. From having your child come up with their own numbers book based on this concept, to having your child finish the book where the author left off, to having a child use different modes of transportation or animals. This was a super book!!

Here is the author being a Special Guest Stay at Home Storytime Reader at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and reading Two Dogs on a Trike:

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry

5 stars Picture Book

Captain Swashby just wanted to retire all alone by his longtime friend: the one who he loved and who he felt knew him, the sea. Since he retired, the sea had provided everything he ever needed and Swashby enjoyed his quiet, sandy beachfront world until a granny and her granddaughter moved in next door. 

Swashby’s new neighbors were just being friendly but he didn’t want neighbors and he sure didn’t want them to be disturbing his current lifestyle. 

Swashby tried to communicate with these new arrivals by writing messages in the sand for them but the sea would find them and rewrite them for him. The water erasing each letter or word, so the neighbors would now read an altered message. Which, would make Swashby angry.  I enjoyed this funny and clever talent that the sea possessed.  Swashby had been so proud that the sea knew him and had taken good care of him over the years and even now, the sea was doing his writing.  What does that tell you, Swashby?  I wondered if Swashby feeling were because he was used to be being alone and he wanted to stay that way.    

I kept wondering what it would take to get him to lighten up and at least be nice to his new neighbors, when that something finally happened.  Captain Swashby at your service!  The ending of this book was perfect. 

This was a fun book to read.  Swashby was a person who liked to be alone, was content with the way things were.  He seemed happy until the neighbors moved in and then, he became crabby.  He didn’t want to talk to them, he didn’t treat them very nice, he complained, and he just wasn’t the same person anymore. Why was that?  Yet, the new neighbors were happy individuals who continued to be happy throughout the book.  The little girl was so full of life and she tried repeatedly to reach out to Swashby even though he wasn’t very nice to her. I liked how things worked out in the end, its like the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.”

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan Higgins

5 stars Children’s

I love Penelope because she’s more than a T-Rex. Penelope loves to go to school and the students in her class don’t treat her any different just because she’s a dinosaur.  Instead of playing cops-n-robbers, they play cops-n-dinosaurs so Penelope can play with them.  Penelope loves to read, play, and draw just like any other child plus Penelope has feelings just like they do too.  Penelope’s favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is, to rock-out on her guitar!

Penelope gets so excited when the teacher announces a talent show that she’s the first one to sign up. She had to walk past Walter the Goldfish to get to the signup sheet, now that’s a brave dinosaur.   Rehearsing over and over again at home, Penelope is ready for the big night when she can play on stage.

When they have a school rehearsal, Penelope freezes!  What!?! Penelope can’t move.  She can’t play her guitar.  What will happen on the night of the talent show when everyone comes to watch Penelope rock-out? 

Doubt has started to creep into Penelope.  She wonders about her ability to play.  How can she get the confidence she needs to play?  A cute book about this fantastic dinosaur and her classmates.   

Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

5 stars Children’s

What a fantastic uplifting book! Bernard is different, I mean really different.  He’s a bird with really long wings.  While all the other birds are learning how to fly, Bernard is grounded. He’s tried to fly but it didn’t work out.  He’s had a few friends who have encouraged him but things just haven’t worked out.  Eventually, everyone leaves him as they’re birds, as they fly off to find themselves new homes which leaves Bernard sad and then, I’m sad just thinking about him. 

One evening Bernard hears something that changes his life forever.  Bernard discovers that the noise is someone who is more heartbroken than he is.  Wanting to help, Bernard wraps his long wings around the sobbing orangutan and gives him a huge hug. This hug is a huge success for the both of them.  

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was great that Bernard tried to come up with solutions to his issue and that he became emotional during this time.  We can’t deny our feelings and Bernard definitely felt many emotions coming to terms with his gift.  I loved that Bernard went out of his way to find the source of the noise when he heard it and that he did what came nature to him, when he saw that it was the orangutan. The ending was fantastic and it left a huge smile on my face. I need this book!  It reminded me of the book, Donna O’Neeshuck Was Chased by Some Cows which I have loved for years.  

Little Fox and the Wild Imagination by Jorma Taccone

5 stars Children’s

I think Little Fox showed his father, Poppa Fox that he also some great imagination in this cute picture book by Jorma Taccone.  I had to laugh as I read this book as I could totally relate to how Poppa Fox felt. As a parent, or just a human being, you feel like you’re doing the right thing, having fun and then bam, you’re thinking aww, what just happened?

I thought it was sweet when Poppa Fox played pretend with Little Fox on their way home from school.  Having a rough day at school, Little Fox needed something to make him happy again and his father was doing just that.  Using father’s imagination, the two of them, pretended to be race cars as they raced off to the bus stop.  As the night wore on, this game of pretend continued, only now Little Fox was getting more involved. What started out as a fun, friendly game was now turning violent, messy and involved, leaving Poppa Fox picking up the pieces.  

I liked how the book progressed from a fun friendly game to an intense involved event. I think the illustrations fit perfectly with the text as you could see this transformation and the drama unfolded right before your eyes.  The text fonts were great too as they varied in sizes, shapes and colors depending on the situation.  I enjoyed Poppa Fox patience as he handled the situation with his son, Little Fox.  I had to laugh when Little Fox wanted his father to read to him 5,000 books before he went to bed.  Now, wouldn’t that be a nice library for a child to have in their house?  There is some violence in the book as they play pretend, so you may want to consider this, if that bothers you but it is pretend.  I thought this was a fun, entertaining read and I highly recommend it. 

There’s a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

5 stars Children’s

This is another interactive book by Tom Fletcher but instead of you completing a variety of tasks, you will actually be manipulating this book.  Why would you do such a thing?  You have to get this cute, little monster out of the book, before he totally destroys it.  This monster is ripping and eating the pages in the book! 

Shake it! Spin it! Make some noise!  Wiggle the book!  These are just some of the actions you will be doing to the book to try to get this monster to leave.  The monster seems to be losing his balance and later, he looks to be falling around as you try your other tactics on him.  He’s very stubborn. With simple illustrations, the facial expressions on little monster were great.

This is a fun entertaining book and I can see kids really getting into it.  Be ready for some exciting times while reading this one. I thought the ending was really cute and this book is definitely “a keeper.”

There’s an Elf in Your Book by Tom Fletcher

4 stars Children’s

This is an interactive book so get ready!  Do you want to be on Santa’s Nice List and get presents? Of course, most individuals would say yes!  If you’re one of them, whatever you do, don’t be tricked by Elf and do something naughty.  If you pass the test and end up on Santa’s Nice List, at the end of the book, you get an Official Nice List Certificate.  

Inside this book, Elf will be asking you complete a few tasks. Some of these activities will be cute and some will be “naughty.”  From blowing a Christmas Kiss (nice), to repeating a comment that Elf says that includes the word butt (naughty), Elf will give you a handful of instructions that he’d like you to follow.

I think kids would enjoy this book and I think that reading it to a group of kids, the reaction would be even better.  I don’t know how well the rereading of this book would be overtime as I feel the novelty of it would wear off. Perhaps if you only read it during the holiday season, it would continue to be a great read.  

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

5 stars Children’s

Henry, everything must be done in moderation!

What a cute book! It was an accident really, the way this all started. Henry wasn’t paying attention when he took his first bite, it was one single word out of a book. Henry enjoyed it so much that he continued eating words until eventually, he was eating whole books! Henry got so good at eating books that instead of taking the books apart, Henry was swallowing the books whole! This part made me smile as I thought Henry must be related to the, “I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ….” as Henry was beginning to swallow some pretty big books!

This new talent that Henry had discovered was also beneficial for him too. He discovered a reward for all this eating and this is where he should have had some self-control! Henry should have enjoyed his new life and it’s perks but nope, Henry had to shoot for the stars.

Another great story by Oliver Jeffers!