Review: Little Chick and Mommy Cat by Marta Zafrilla

little chick and mommy cat

Little Chick and Mommy Cat by Marta Zafrilla, illustrated by Nora Hilb

Little Chick has been raised by Mommy Cat since she was still in an egg.  When Little Chick was very small, he thought that he was a cat too.  He tried to be a cat, but it didn’t work.  He couldn’t meow, or lick his paws or flick his tail.  His mother explained to him that he was not a cat, but a chick and his real mother was a hen. When the two of them would go out, others would stare at them because they were different.  His mother told him that it’s not bad to be different, what is bad is to want to be like everyone else.  His mother also made sure to give him time to be with other chicks by taking him to the Bird School so he could learn everything he needed to about being a chicken. The other chicks asked him all sorts of questions because his mother was so different from the others.  Little Chick though is happy to be part of his different but very loving family.

This picture book speaks directly to the issues of diversity and different types of families.  It will also be happily embraced by families who have adopted children, because it manages to explain clearly and with no hesitation the basic love and acceptance of diversity in adoptive families.  Small children will respond to the animal characters but easily also draw connections to themselves.

Zafrilla’s text is straight forward, tackling larger issues and bringing them to a level that small children will easily understand.  She builds an unlikely family and happily shows the love and attachment between a cat and a chick.  This is a book that is unlikely to be read as a straight animal story, because the connection to adoption is so clear.  That said, the clarity and honesty here is what makes it shine.

Hilb’s illustrations add a colorful touch to the story.  The colored pencil illustrations use delicate lines and soft colors to tell the story.  The feathers and fur beg to be petted with their textures. Hilb maintains the size difference throughout the story, further emphasizing the differences between the cat and her chick. 

This picture book focuses on diversity, love and the many forms it can come in.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Independent Publishers Group.

Review: Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson

bear says thanks

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

The Bear series by Karma Wilson continues to impress with its latest entry.  There are only a few children’s picture book series that have maintained the quality of both writing and illustration as this series has.  In this latest tale, Bear has an idea to create a big feast and invite his friends over to share.  The only problem is that Bear has nothing in his cupboard at all.  Mouse shows up with a pie to share, and Bear says “Thanks!”  Bear continues to fret that he has nothing to share when Hare pops by with a batch of muffins to share.  Badger then arrives with fish, Gopher and Mole bring warm honey nuts, and Owl, Raven and Wren have herbs for tea and pears to munch.  But with no food to offer at all, what in the world can Bear give his friends?

I’ve always enjoyed the rhythm of this series and the repetition that makes them ideal to read aloud to toddlers.  There is also a wonderful friendly warmth to the books, captured both by the colors of the illustrations and the story itself.  That same warmth is here, friends offering food and sharing time with one another with no expectations.  Chapman’s illustrations stay true to the series, offering pictures large enough to share with a group.

While this book is perfect for Thanksgiving story times, I’d also use it throughout the year when talking about sharing.  This is a bear’s den that any of us would love to crawl into and spend some time in no matter what time of year it is.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Margaret K. McElderry Books.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:


The Believer – Interview with Maurice Sendak

The Best New Middle-Grade Chapter Books Fall 2012:

Devon Corneal: Mesmerizing Non-Fiction Children’s Books #kidlit #bfyr

How ‘Black Beauty’ Changed The Way We See Horses : NPR

Inside the Caldecott with Steven Herb #kidlit #bfyr

Just in case you might need a reason to participate in the#SharpSchu book club head over to #nerdybookclub ASAP …

A Newbery Story by Karen Cushman « Nerdy Book Club #kidlit

Which children’s books show families with same-sex parents? | Children’s books | #kidlit


The League of Extraordinary Librarians: SLJ’s latest tech survey shows media specialists are leading the way –

Libraries Weather the Superstorm | American Libraries Magazine

Ten reasons why I love my library | Children’s books |


Another one bites the dust: Macmillan drops its printed dictionaries to go online only – The Next Web

Micah Baldwin, Graphicly And The Future Of Publishing: You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea | TechCrunch


Are your Twitter followers real? – Telegraph

The Best Social Media Advice You Never Hear

Facebook Admits Too Much Facebook Probably Isn’t Healthy | TechCrunch

Get Thee Onto Tumblr Before it’s Too Late

Is Facebook “broken on purpose” to sell promoted posts? | Ars Technica

One-Third of Google Employees Haven’t Posted to Google+ in Past Month [REPORT]


Apple’s Tablet Market Share Drops to 50.4 Percent [REPORT]

Are eReaders Doomed? How Our Tablet Love Affair Is Putting The eReader In Jeopardy


Cheryl Rainfield » Why We Need Diversity in YA Fiction

Could The Hunger Games get published today? #yalit

Missed World Fantasy Con? Get a wrap-up from the YA perspective on @enchantedinkpot #WFC2012

Stacked: So You Want to Read Contemporary YA?: A Flow Chart #yalit

Why criminals are the new vampires in YA fiction | Children’s books | #yalit

Yay! @EllenHopkinsYA signs for two more novels via @PWKidsBookshelf #YAlit (RT @CherylRainfield)