Roly Poly by Mem Fox

4 stars Children’s Picture Book

What a cute story!  Roly Poly is living a terrific life with his mom and dad.  He has everything he has ever wanted.  Then, one day a stranger appears in his bed and now, this stranger invades his space ALL THE TIME!

I liked how innocent Roly Poly’s little brother Monty was.  He followed Roly Poly around, it seemed as though, Monty just wanted to be with his big brother.  Roly Poly didn’t see it that way though and he was rather annoyed, until one day Monty needed his help.   Roly Poly tried to ignore Monty’s again (like he’d been doing) but he just couldn’t and well, the ending is really sweet.

It’s a delightful book and I think most kids will really like it and I think it’s a great book for families.  I did wonder about why little Monty was sharing a bed with Roly Poly. Would older children question this same thing (cribs, beds, etc.)? Then again, all families do some things differently and perhaps this is just something this family does.The illustrations were fun and I enjoyed looking at all the details that were put into some of them. The text is bold and easy to read.  Would make a good read aloud. 

Spencer's New Pet by Jessie Sima

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

I loved this book!  Absolutely loved this wordless book! I don’t usually love wordless, picture books so much but this one won my heart.

It’s told like a silent movie which opens up with Part 1: The Pet.  It begins with a boy and a dog. The illustrations are black-and-white except for the dog which is portrayed as a red, balloon dog.  The boy is so happy to have the dog!  We see him walking out the circus tent with his dog on the end of a string.  He teaches the dog tricks and goes to the vet. In Part ll: The Park, the boy takes his dog to the park where the boy realizes that his dog is fragile and might get popped! Oh no! He tries to hold onto his dog but……later, we see the boy chasing him throughout the park. 

In Part lll: The Party, the duo is still running through the park and they run into a kid’s birthday party being held in the park.  I’m holding my breath as he chases his dog through the festivities.  What happens in the end, I can’t tell you, I won’t tell you!  Please don’t peak at the ending for it will spoil the whole fun of the book.  It was wonderful, truly magnificent book, I thought!  High praises for this wordless, picture book!   5 stars

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy

5 stars Nonfiction Children’s

One man’s mission helps millions.  This nonfiction book speaks volume on so many levels.  Aaron wanted to preserve his grandmother’s books which started a mission that ended up saving over a million books. He united individuals, he helped save a language, he showed what one person can do, he is bringing back a language, and he is helping people connect.

Aaron couldn’t forget how his grandmother’s journey from Eastern Europe to the U.S. ended. The few treasured possessions that she had carried with her, were now gone yet Aaron wondered about her. His college studies would draw him closer to his grandmother’s past as he realized that he needed to learn a new language to read books for one of his classes.  Finding Yiddish books were difficult so Aaron returned to his hometown where he stumbled upon his first stack of Yiddish book which started his collection.  I thought it was interesting that the Rabbi was going to bury the books (which is a sign of respect) before Aaron arrived.

Aaron began graduate school in Canada and soon his apartment was flooded with donations of Yiddish books.  He transported all the books back to Massachusetts and he didn’t give up even after talking to some important people in the Yiddish community.

I like how there are Yiddish words in the text with a glossary in the back of the book to help you figure out the meaning.  The illustrations were well done and compliment the informative and interesting text.

Don’t forget to read the afterword and note from the author, the illustrator’s note which are included at the back of the book also.  He also included (at the back of the book) a few sites if you want more information on this topic.

Aaron’s energy, ambition, and compassionate is felt through this book both in words and in the illustrations.  It’s inspiring to see how one individual can make such a difference in the world. This book is really fantastic and should be read. I highly recommend it! 5 stars

Snack Attack! by Terry Border

4 stars Children’s

I liked it but it didn’t wow me, like I thought and hoped it would. I liked how the three snacks played together but wasn’t it smart Cookie who found the note? I thought it was interesting how Cheese Doodle came up with the interesting ideas and Pretzel was the scared one. Cookie was still the smart one who kept telling Cheese Doodle how his ideas wouldn’t work and then, what happens at the end? Oh, Smart Cookie….I’m sorry

I thought it was a cute story but maybe I’m reading more into the story than I need to be. The pictures were fun and I do hope there is another book that follows this one, as I need to know what happens next.

The Space Walk by Brian Biggs

3 stars Children’s

This book was different. I guess I expected more than what I got from this book.

I liked the color contrast between the inside of the spaceship and space. The inside of the spaceship is a light gray and space is bright and colorful. The idea behind the story is great. I liked the ideas of being out in space, the idea of aliens or unknown beings in space, making friends with other beings, and taking pictures in space.

I wasn’t a fan of the drawings of space nor of the colors of the planets. They looked too cartoonish or like bouncy balls. I thought the depth of the story could have been deeper, or the author could have elaborated on a few of the items that he touched on. I also wasn’t a fan of all the wordless pages in the middle, as I thought there were a lot of them.

This was a children’s book about Randolph taking a spacewalk. Clearing the walk with Ground Control, Randolph must do a few things before taking his walk out in space. When Randolph finally makes his way outside the spaceship, what does he see? This spacewalk is one that Randolph will remember. When he makes his way back into the spaceship, Randolph asks Ground Control if he can take another walk tomorrow.

Deep in the Ocean by Lucie Brunelliere

5 stars Children’s

Above is the soundtrack for the book. Listen to the soundtrack as you read the book – that is pretty sweet.

The illustrations are stunning in this oversized board book. You can’t help but stop reading the text and marvel at the bright colorful world in the ocean. I don’t really care who is in the submarine or what it’s doing deep in the ocean, it’s the colorful fish and ocean life that’s portrayed in this book that has captured my attention.

After looking and reading this book over and over again, I have to wonder who would read this book. I am hoping many people don’t overlook it because it’s a board book and associate that with being a baby book because they would be missing out. The text in this book is far from being a baby book as the language is deep and not your typical baby language. Words such as cuttlefish, trench, vampire squid, abyss, paradise, and anemone are not typical language found in these types of books. The book will definitely catch the eye of a baby as it is bright and has lots of contrasting colors. The text is geared more towards a reader and/or the parent.

It’s a beautiful book that takes you under the ocean as you travel along side a submarine as it makes its way through the water. You will see an abundance of fishes, coral and other water plants as you turn the pages. The text explains exactly what you see from beluga whales, to sea butterflies, to lantern fish, to a huge blue whale, to dolphins, just to give you a few examples. As you read, try to find the items. I think you will find more items than the text describes. The illustrations are not cartoonish nor are they realistic photos but they provide enough detail to look realistic.

I think this would make a great book for families with children of different ages, as it would provide the text for older readers and the illustrations for everyone to enjoy. It would be a great read aloud as the illustrations are fantastic and the text is educational and enough to get children involved. Also, this would be a great book for a child to grow into. A wonderful book for the whole family.

The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet

5 stars Children’s

These books are very popular at our library but I have never read one before. Bill Peet writes a whole series of these books and I found this one and purchased it as a gift. Of course, I had to read it before I wrapped it and now, I can see why he’s a popular author.

This is a longer children’s story but it wasn’t drawn out and boring but it kept my attention as there was a pattern to the story. I liked that as I read, I was predicting what would happen next, and as I got closer to the end, I was predicting what would happen and then, what happened was not what I expected at all! The ending was great and left a smile on my face but it was NOT what I expected, at all. The story also had a moral which, if you read with/to your child, is something else you can talk to your child about.

I also liked the illustrations in this book. I feel that they go with the feel of the text, as they’re not bright and bold illustrations but rather a nice, soft hue of colors. This book was copyrighted in 1972, but that doesn’t date the story or make the story less important.

The story begins with a tiny ant who had climbed up a blade of jungle grass so he could view the river. When the wind blew, that tiny ant was sent flying off into the rushing water. Luckily, before he was dragged further downstream, he spied a tree limb that was sticking straight out of the middle of the river. Ant grabbed a branch of that limb and climbed onto it. Safe for now, Ant was still stuck in the middle of the river. A mud turtle was walking along the shore and when Ant called out to him, he stopped. Ant asked Mr. Hardshell kindly, if he would swim out to give him a lift back to dry land. Mr. Hardshell explained to Ant that he had just been in the water. He then continued, if he helped everyone who needed him, he wouldn’t have any time to relax and with that, he trotted along.

Oh, Mr. Hardshell, if only you would have taken the time. The motion is now set for the book, as this mud turtle trots off to sun himself on a warm rock. Unfortunately, his day doesn’t go so well either. Now, Ant and Mr. Hardshell are experiencing difficult predicaments, I wonder who is next?

I’m going to have to read some of the other ones in this series. I picked up a good one.

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

5 stars Children’s

This is a cute color and counting story for young readers. I liked how you followed along in dog’s day as bright spots of colors appear on his white coat of fur. I also like the language this children’s book uses. Combining colors and counting, children are learning while also reading a cute story.

Dog is white with one black spot on his left ear. During his day, he travels around and spots appear on his fur as accidents occur around him. A bee buzzes by and swish a drop of yellow pollen falls on him, a splat of red jam from his owner’s breakfast table lands on him, and dog even steps on an orange juice container and it splurts a patch of orange on him. These are just a few examples from the book but don’t you just love everything that is happening here? The use of color, the counting, and the word language. The author uses great visual language and doesn’t use the word dropped or fell but uses splurts, splat, and swish.

I really like this book, it looks like a simple book but it’s very educational.

Monster’s Come Out Tonight by Frederick Glasser

5 Stars Children’s

I really like flap books. Call me a kid-at-heart but I like lifting a tab and seeing what is underneath it. I have an Elmo book that the tabs are pretty well used up but it’s a keeper as my 6-year-old granddaughter still loves to look at it. This Halloween flap book is one that I am going to have to purchase as I am loving it!

There are monsters that are ready to go out Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and they’ll be coming out of their own special places in this book. Skeletons will be coming out their coffins, witches will be coming out of houses, and ghosts will be coming out from behind bookcases but this is just a few of the monsters in this board book.

This is a rhyming board book that each monster has their own 2-page spread. As a young mummy gets ready for the night, he has to place the key in the sarcophagus and as I pull the tab, I find more mummies ready to head out with him for the night.

There’s so much to love about this book. The illustrations are bright, colorful and there’s plenty to look at on each page. The tabs are easy to pull and find. The monsters are not scary but they’re identical to the ones on cover of the book. The book’s text makes sense and the rhymes work. There are a lot of pages in the book so it’s worth the money and who says that this book is only for Halloween. This is one book I am purchasing.

Shhh! I’m Reading by John Kelly

3 stars Children’s

This was a cute, oversized, children’s book with very busy illustrations. The illustrations alone are worth checking this book out. From pirates, to penguins, to an octopus named Flabulon, this book’s illustrations are fun to look at and admire. The story I thought was just okay, as I wished Bella would have acted differently.

The book centers around a wet and windy Sunday afternoon. Bella normally plays with her toys on Sundays but today, Bella is absorbed into reading her book. One-by-one her toys approach her to ask if she is ready to play their normal Sunday activities with her but each time, she tells them that she can’t play today as she is reading. Bella gets more annoyed and angrier as the toys approach her.

The illustrations show the amazing time that Bella has with each of the toys, as they each reminisce playing with her, as they talk with her about playing. Bella though, continues to read her book. The toys then gather in the corner by her bookshelf, taking five and trying to be quiet as Bella commanded them to do, just waiting for her to be finished. Why she couldn’t read out-loud to them or be nicer to them, I don’t know but I thought she was rather rude and mean to them.

So, what will happen when she’s done reading? Will her toys want to play with her then? You’ll be surprised.