A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper

A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper

A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper (InfoSoup)

Released February 9, 2016.

Every card has a special grown up job, except for Little Card and Long Card. There were cards who were price tags, others were office folders, others were postcards. So the two cards waited for their special letter to arrive. But on the day the letter arrived, the two cards collided and cards went everywhere. Little Card picked up a letter and read that he was going to be a birthday card! He got lots of training and found that he loved everything about being a birthday card. But one day when he got home, Long Card was there and told him there had been a mix up. She was the birthday card and he was a different type of card. It was too late to be trained again, so Little Card was sent off immediately to work at the library as a library card. He tried to use his birthday card training at his new job, but his loud singing wasn’t welcome. Little Card soon learned though what special things were available at the library and was thrilled in the end to know that he could be at the library more than once a year!

This clever take on libraries and having a library card is very nicely structured. The exuberance of Little Card makes the book read aloud well. Children will enjoy the pleasure of the birthday card part of the book, the loud singing, the cake, and the balloons. One might think that that would overshadow the more quiet library portion of the book, but the author made sure to make the library part just as appealing, so the result is that libraries are shown as being just as much fun and just as joyous as a birthday party. Hurrah!

The illustrations of the book are just as fun and buoyant as the story itself. Done in ink washes, pencil, pen and ink, and stamps, they were also colored digitally. They have a nice simplicity to them that will make this book easy to share with groups. The sprightly Little Card dances (literally) across the page and invites children to have a great time with the book and at the library.

A jaunty picture book about libraries, this book will be welcome for library tour groups as well as for introducing children to libraries as a place of fun. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from ARC received from Candlewick Press.

ABC Dream by Kim Krans

ABC Dream by Kim Krans

ABC Dream by Kim Krans (InfoSoup)

This wordless alphabet book is a wonderful mix of concept book and also guessing game. Each double-page spread is dedicated to one letter and filled with natural elements that demonstrate that letter being used. The detailed illustrations invite readers to look closely and explore what other items they can spot that start with that letter. Nicely, the book ends with a list for each letter so adults can help make sure all of the details are noticed. This alphabet book is a unique and wondrous book that invites whimsical dreaming even as young ones learn their alphabet.

The illustrations are the entirety of this book. They are a gorgeous mix of pen and ink fine lines and watercolor washes. This combines black and white detail with touches of color that enliven the pages. Each illustration is its own fine composition with colors that complement one another and invite you to lean in and look even closer.

One of the more unique alphabet books around, this picture book will delight adults and children alike. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Books for Young Readers.

Soar by Joan Bauer

Soar by Joan Bauer

Soar by Joan Bauer (InfoSoup)

Jeremiah loves baseball but due to his heart transplant, he isn’t allowed to run or play ball. When his father is asked to work in a baseball-crazed town for a couple of months, Jeremiah insists on going along rather than being left behind with his aunt. But all is not happy in Hillcrest as a scandal breaks out soon after Jeremiah and his father move to town. Jeremiah though knows that baseball can heal too, so he sets out to follow his dream of being a coach by trying to create a new middle school team. It’s up to one boy with lots of spirit to try to inspire an entire town to care again.

This is Bauer at her best. Her books are always readable and easily related to. Here that very accessible text allows Jeremiah to shine as a character. His spirit battles his health limitations, his ability to keep on trying and to stay positive is inspiring and refreshing to see. This is a book about living life filled with the sport that you adore, whether your body allows you to actually play or not. It’s also about not letting limitations define your life but your own will power and spirit to do that.

It’s also great to see a book about moving where an unusual kid manages to make friends quickly and be accepted by most others. Happily, Jeremiah is not shy or withdrawn, but his gregarious nature, coach quotes and willingness to talk directly to adults as equals makes him quite unique. Bauer writes with such understanding of her protagonist that the entire book gels around his personality and approach to life.

A strong elementary school read, this book will be loved by fans of baseball and those looking for just a great book to read or share. Appropriate for ages 8-11.

Reviewed from library copy.

Whatever Happened to My Sister by Simona Ciraolo

Whatever Happened to My Sister by Simona Ciraolo

Whatever Happened to My Sister by Simona Ciraolo (InfoSoup)

A little girl knows that something strange is happening to her older sister. She has gotten a lot taller lately and never wants to play any more. She doesn’t like pretty things and has become very secretive. She spends a lot of time in her room alone with the door shut. The little girl tries to seek out advice from her sister’s friends, but they all seem to be acting in a similar way. Her mom and dad are no help at all either. Then the little girl realizes that she misses her big sister so much and the way they used to be together. But maybe someone else feels that way sometimes too.

Ciraolo has created a funny and shining look at the transition from childhood to being a teenager. Told from the first-person perspective of the younger sister, the book reflects her confusion about the changes she sees in her older sister. Any child living with a tween or teen will relate to this book, laugh at the teens with their earbuds in, and also share in the feeling of being left behind. Throughout, Ciraolo honors the emotions of the child with a real tenderness.

The art is modern and dynamic with playful colors that surprise with some page turns. They beautifully convey the emotions, pages with loneliness are filled with gray while moments of connection are a glowing orange that jumps off the page.

A strong book about a moment in life that can be painful to process, this book shows how growing up can also be done side-by-side. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Flying Eye Books.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

Mmm, books and tea. <3:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Kate DiCamillo’s ‘Raymie Nightingale’ Is First Children’s Book Selected for One Book, One South

Little Robot receives Gryphon Award

Politics in picture books: big questions for the smallest readers

LIBRARIES
Committee OKs bill expanding library powers
The loss of libraries is another surefire way to entrench inequality
Windsor Public Library to create community hub to help homeless and those in poverty
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TEEN READS
30 Much Anticipated Young Adult Novels for the First Half of 2016

2016 AAAS/Subaru Science Books Prizes

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and Subaru presented the winners of the 2016 prizes for Excellence in Science Books. The prizes “recognize recently published works that are scientifically sound and foster an understanding and appreciation of science in readers of all ages.”

Here are the winners:

CHILDREN’S SCIENCE PICTURE BOOK

A Chicken Followed Me Home!: Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl

A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl by Robin Page

MIDDLE GRADES SCIENCE BOOK

22749736

The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery

YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE BOOK

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of de-Extinction

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro

HANDS-ON SCIENCE BOOK

A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens: Best Breeds, Creating a Home, Care and Handling, Outdoor Fun, Crafts and Treats

A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey