Little Elliott Fall Friends

4.5 stars Children’s

I’m in love with this little elephant and his mouse friend. This story is simple but their friendship warms my heart. Little Elliott and Mouse love living in the city but sometimes it gets to be too much, so the decide they need to get away. The two jump on a bus and head to the country where they can enjoy everything the country has to offer.

I liked how the two friends realized that they needed to get away and they chose somewhere, where they could just relax and enjoy themselves and each other. I loved how everyone accepted the two friends in the country and how the two friends fit right into the countryside. The illustrations were wonderful and bright and captured the energy of the book. 4.5 stars

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

5 stars Children’s

Ahhhh, the ending of this book is just super. I don’t really think you need to read these books in order to enjoy them, as I feel each book in this series is super, all on their own. I do recommend that you look, I mean really look at the illustrations on each page as they really do compliment the story. In this story, two turtles come across a cowboy hat and they each try it on. Right off, you notice that these turtle look identical, so when they each slip on the hat, it looks great on both of them.

They realize they need to do something different now, as there is only one hat and two individuals who would like to own the hat. I liked how the friends tried to do different things to take their minds off the hat and how they acted towards each other after they discovered the problem they were having. Super cute story with simple text that I really enjoyed.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

5 stars Children’s

Ha! Now that was a hoot! I loved how confident little fish was during the whole book. He sure was full of himself and his abilities. He actually stole a hat from a bigger fish and then, wore it upon his head. He then, justified his actions, leaving us readers having to decide which side of the argument you wanted to believe. Did you believe what little fish was telling you? Did little fish have all the correct information? Super cute book that even little children will like when they’re old enough to follow a story.

Merry Christmas, Little Elliott by Mike Curato

4 stars Children’s

So where do you find the Christmas Spirit? Where can someone discover that good feeling you get about Christmas? This is the question that Little Elliott must answer as he searches with his friend Mouse, after their visit with Santa didn’t produce the results that he wanted.

As the two friends try different seasonal activities, Little Elliott struggles to find his Christmas Spirit and he begins to lose hope. When a misplaced envelope finds its way to Little Elliott, he takes it upon himself to deliver the envelope to the right person. This action is the beginning of their adventure as Little Elliott discovers what he was missing. This is a cute story with beautiful, colorful illustrations.

Dinosaur Countdown by Nicholas Oldland

3.5 stars Children’s

I liked how straight-forward this book was. It wasn’t busy, filled with unnecessary things or words, it stated the facts and that was it. This book counts down from ten to one and then on the final page, the author reminds us that, yes dinosaurs are extinct.

Each number is given a two-page spread and on those two pages you get a specific dinosaur, the number (1-10) and you get the number written our in words and you an adjective for that dinosaur . So, for 9: it reads 9 nine lazing deinosuchus and includes 9 of them on the page in their various shades of color. What? I don’t know what a deinosuchus is? But, I bet a few children do. There were included in this book, dinosaurs that I knew too. Now, I like dinosaurs but some of these dinosaurs have names that I haven’t heard before. At the back of the book, the author has included how to pronounce some of the dinosaur names, which does help.

It was an okay book but I think the pronunciations would have helped me more, if they were on the page with the dinosaur. I also didn’t care for the illustrations as they didn’t match the language of the book. I did like the added adjectives in the book and again, the simplicity of the book , I enjoyed. 3.5 stars

Up The Creek by Nicholas Oldland

5 star Children’s Picture Book

I think we all can relate to this book, even as adults.  Our dear friends bear, moose, and beaver are spending the day in the great outdoors but instead of listening to nature, they’re bickering.  Fighting over just about everything, as they spend the day canoeing together. 

I laughed as the friends ended up going around in circles, as they tipped their boat and as they encountered some scary waters but these three just couldn’t get along even after each struggle.  There were other adventures that these three had while on their canoeing trip and I smile just thinking of them.  The illustrations in this book are terrific as they work so well with the text.  This is a entertaining book yet it’s also one that has some important lessons tucked inside it.  

One Wild Christmas by Nicholas Oldland

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

We catch up with our dear friends bear, moose, and beaver in this sweet book, as they are celebrating their favorite holiday, Christmas.  As the friends get ready to celebrate, they learn a few important lessons about each other and about life.

I adore Nicholas’ books.  There is something about the characters, the lessons that they teach, and the way the illustrations bring everything together that makes these books special to me.  Using these three different animals, they each have their own special talents and characteristics which play an important role in the books. Each book teaches subtle lessons about life as the story unfolds.  These books are gems.

In this story, as the friends get ready for Christmas, they realize that they are missing an important piece of their Christmas together.  Quickly, the trio rushes out into the forest.  After looking at other options, bear spots the perfect tree! This tree is exactly what they are looking for! Bear’s friends agree, and beaver gets ready to do his job. Wait! Bear doesn’t want to have beaver chew down the tree.  Beaver can’t chew down this tree! Beaver and moose know the tree must come down so they can take it home but bear says, no.  What are the three friends going to do about this beautiful tree if they can’t agree.

I enjoyed how the friends worked together and how bear solved the problem.  I thought it was sweet how the friends all enjoyed bear’s solution.  The illustrations are colorful, fun, and cute to look at.  I also like the physical size of this book as I feel that they are a good fit for smaller hands and they’re perfect for lap sharing.   A great children’s picture book.   

Together We Grow by Susan Vaught

5 stars Picture Book

The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  I like how the animals are realistically draw and their facial expressions are fun.  What wonderful messages this book expresses.

There is a large barn where a variety of animals are safely tucked away during a rain storm.  Snuggled inside, all the animals feel safe and secure.  As the lightening scatters overhead and the rain pours down, a family of foxes is left outside.  Discovering a light in the barn, the adult fox glances into the broken barn window as the barn animals stare up at her, their eyes wide.  A fox!  Some of the animals feel threaten by this predator and the message they send, is not friendly.    

As the fox moves away from the window and returns to the family, the barn door is opened. Why?  Good question.  Who exactly opened the door, that is another great feature that I liked about this book.  A beautiful illustration awaits me as I turned the next page.

The other animals watch from afar, as the brave animal approaches the fox.  There is a line that separates them, a line that can be crossed if they are brave enough and ready to cross. 

I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book.  It’s a beautiful book!  There were some strong messages in this book which could be applied to many situations in our own daily lives.  The text and language that the author uses, was dynamic.  Short, simple sentences composed of familiar words mixed with some more challenging words (dapple, prevails, gash, asunder).  I’m going to have to pick up a copy of this one, I think my grandchildren will enjoy it.

I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

5 stars Picture Book

This is a cute story about a friendship between a squirrel and a bear.  They do everything together and the two of them seem to think that size doesn’t matter until one day it does.  Squirrel has had enough!  After bear has sunk the boat, thrown him off the seesaw, blown his house apart, and squashed him too many times, Squirrel needs his space.  He tells Bear, “I think I need to be on my own. If you don’t mind?”…….There’s bearly any room.”

I liked the way Squirrel approached Bear on this matter and the look that Bear gave his friend, it made me smile.  Squirrel thinks he’ll be happier without Bear and he is, for just a short while and then, he isn’t.  But what can Squirrel do now?

It’s a super sweet book and it reminds you that not every relationship is perfect. That you have to work through things in a friendship.  A great book to give, one to share with your children, or even one to add to your library.  The illustrations are adorable, the text bright and easy to read.  An all-around great book.

Lenny the Lobster Can’t Stay For Dinner by Finn Buckley

5 stars Children’s

This is a cute book and I liked how the book was written, by a father and son team when the son was seven.  How cute is that? The story is written with two different endings and the reader gets to decide which ending they want to read. I liked the simplicity of the book yet, if you know nothing about eating lobster, I think you will have a hard time understanding the book.  It’s a fun story and I enjoyed it.

The story is about a lobster named Lenny who is thrilled to be invited to a dinner party.  Lenny, makes the perfect dinner guest, as when dressing for the party, he gets all snazzy and he brings gifts for everyone he thinks might be attending.

Arriving at the party, everyone is excited to see Lenny, perhaps too excited (you have to see the illustrations- they were hilarious!). They even offered Lenny a gift, which he was not expecting. At this point, Lenny should be questioning exacting what kind of party this is.  His gift can actually take on different meanings. Is Lenny optimistic or doesn’t he understand?  This begins the twist in the story. 

Before you go any further in Lenny’s story, you have to decide whether Lenny should stay or leave the dinner party.  Should he stay for the rest of the evening or should he turn around and walk out the door?

I, my friends, had Lenny walking out the door!  These people do not look very friendly towards poor Lenny, and he was really looking for a good time at this party.  To have Lenny leave the party, I had to move forward in the book to a different page.  How fun is this?  If I had chosen to have Lenny stay at the party, I would have just continued reading.

I liked how this book all came together.  It was a fun read and I really enjoyed the illustrations.  I thought the language was entertaining and children will enjoy it.  I like how there were only two options and I can see how this book would give children the idea of creating their own books based n this idea.  I think children who understand about lobsters will enjoy this book.