Review: Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang

Is Mommy by Victoria Chang

Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang, illustrated by Marla Frazee (InfoSoup)

Told in a question and answer format, this picture book embraces the different ways that toddlers view their mothers. The book asks if their mother is tall or short. Short! Is she nice or mean, well the book shows her both ways and why the toddler sees her as mean. The same for pretty and ugly, which is how she seems when she wakes up in the morning. The book goes on to say mommy is boring and old too. But the children love her just the same.

Seeing the reviews on GoodReads, this book is clearly not for everyone. It reminds me of a reverse take on the Russian folktale about the lost little girl who tells everyone she is the daughter of the most beautiful woman in the village and it turns out to be a homely old woman that the little girl sees as the most lovely of all. Here the children also have reasons for saying something negative about their mother. Take it as a lesson in toddler honesty and not personally and it’s a very funny read with a little bit of sass thrown in.

Frazee’s illustrations add to the merriment on the page where the children clearly know they are being naughty with what they are saying, but also delight in it too. You can almost hear the giggles and see the sparkling eyes.

Silly toddler fun, this picture book will end with lots of laughs and hugs for parents with a big sense of humor. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

Review: Amazing Places by Lee Bennett Ho

Amazing Places by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Amazing Places selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet and Christy Hale (InfoSoup)

This collection of fourteen poems celebrate various places throughout the United States. The poems celebrate moments spent in these places, from a visit to Chinatown in San Francisco to camping in the Denali National Forest. Each area has its own flavor, captured both in words and in the rich illustrations that accompany each poem. There is a dynamic mix of nature and man-made places that take the reader on a journey that will inspire future visits and exploration.

The poets included in this anthology are exceptional and include Nikki Grimes, John Bruchac, Janet S. Wong, Alma Flor Ada, J. Patrick Lewis, and Prince Redcloud. The diversity of these authors is exceptional and their voices weave together into a rich tapestry that remind all readers that this is what our nation is all about. The beauty of these different perspectives on these beloved parts of our nation adds yet another layer to the effectiveness of these poems. More information on each place is offered at the end of the book.

The illustrations are rich and filled with diversity too. Some images evoke nature and the movement of water and wind while others are filled with fine lines that create very realistic and detailed images. People of different races filled the pages, none of them placed in the more stereotypical settings but instead diversity is expanded as children explore museums and sites from different backgrounds than their own.

Chock full of diversity on a variety of levels, this book embraces the rich tapestry of America. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from e-galley received from Edelweiss and Lee & Low Books Inc.