Review: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

count the monkeys

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

It is clear from the title that this book is about counting monkeys, and the title page explains that all one has to do is turn the page to do just that.  So here we go!  Wait.  1 King Cobra has scared off all of the monkeys.  Turn the page and 2 mongooses (or mongeese maybe?) have scared off the cobra but still no monkeys.  Keep turning pages and there are more animals that scare off the ones from the page before, but no monkeys at all.  The pattern is set until the 8 lumberjacks stick around for multiple pages.  And it will take something unusual to scare them off.  But even then, where are the monkeys?

Barnett has created another surprising picture book that turns a normal counting book merrily on its head.  He speaks directly to the reader, instructing them along the way on how to move the creatures off of the page, how to best turn the page, and explaining what just went wrong.  His silly approach to a counting book will find universal approval.

Cornell’s illustrations have a wonderful humor about them as well.  He takes Barnett’s vision and makes it colorful and bright.  All of the creatures have personality, from the crocodiles in vests and top hats to the self-satisfied wolves who clear out the grandmothers.  Each page has a twinkle to it that makes it fun to take a closer look at the pages.

Pure hilarity, this counting book is made to share out loud with a giggling group of preschoolers.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

siege and storm

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

After surviving annihilation in the Fold, Alina and Mal have fled their native country to disappear from the attention of the Darkling.  But their respite is short-lived when the Darkling discovers them and reveals the extent of his new powers.  He can now create entities from the darkness, creatures whose bites never heal and who kill quickly and mercilessly.  Alina still bears the neckpiece that the Darkling had forged and bound to her, but now the power is hers to wield.  Then she learns of two more objects of power, led to one by Mal’s tracking and the Darkling’s own desire to own both Alina and her Sun Summoner abilities.  Helped by an unlikely ally, Mal and Alina may have survived their first encounter with the Darkling, but soon hidden identities are revealed, one of them is welcomed as a saint, and Alina must come to terms with her own responsibility to save her country.

Bardugo’s second book in The Grisha series is just as riveting as the first.  She puts both Alina and Mal in trying circumstances, continually playing hope against fear and destiny against what can actually be accomplished.  These tensions in the book as well as Bardugo’s smooth but detailed writing style make for a book that cannot be put down. 

Bardugo continues to build upon the stunningly inventive world she has created.  New touches emerge, different parts of the world are revealed, and familiar characters are transformed.  My only complaint with the book is that it does have pacing issues in the middle.  While the moments of indecision by Alina are well drawn, they last too long and dull the brilliant pace of the rest of the book.

A strong addition and great second book in the series, this is a must-read for fans of the first book.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from library copy.

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:



Indigenous children’s books aim to preserve traditional language | Donnybrook-Bridgetown Mail #australia #kidlit

Thoughts on Newbery: The Age Problem | educating alice #kidlit

Top 10 Children’s Picture Books to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month #kidlit

The UK needs truly authentic children’s books – now | The Jewish Chronicle #kidlit #Jewish

What Are Children’s Books For? | The Nation #kidlit


A Reading App Raises a Question: What Does It Mean to Own a Book? : The New Yorker #ebooks

Jose Vasconcelos Library in Mexico City


20 Most Magnificent Places To Read Books

Libraries as Publishers | American Libraries Magazine #libraries

Strombo | Why Go To The Library? Here Are Some Great Reasons, In The Style Of Vintage Book Covers #libraries

When the Library Is Bigger Than the School | School Library Journal #libraries



Censoring Books in School Doesn’t Keep Teens From Learning About Rape | The Stir #yalit

The sequel to ‘The 5th Wave’ gets a title | Shelf Life #yalit

Talking With Rainbow Rowell About Censorship #yalit