Florette by Anna Walker (9780544876835)
When Mae’s family moves to the city, they can’t bring their garden with them. All Mae has around her now are moving boxes and a brick courtyard. She fills the courtyard with chalk drawings of butterflies, grass, and more but it’s all washed away when it rains. She draws daisies, grass and apple trees on the boxes too, but they tip over and are moved away. Mae spots an open space out of her window and leads her mother there, but it’s all pebbles rather than green. On their way back, Mae discovers a florist shop with a window filled with green plants and even one poking out the door. She takes that little end of the plant and from it starts the garden that her family said she would have, just a different one than she expected.
This picture book looks at moving and change through the lens of green space and creating your own solutions for a problem. Mae is an inventive little girl, independent as she leads her mother through a new neighborhood and creative as she finds a solution where others might not see one. The watercolor illustrations show a tall gray city but also one with a river, trees and children waiting to play. Mae sees it as cold and unfriendly, but readers will see new possibilities too. A look at resilience and finding your own way, this picture book is a treat. Appropriate for ages 3-5. (Reviewed from library copy.)
I Got a Chicken for My Birthday by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Sarah Horne (9781512431308)
A little girl receives a chicken for her birthday instead of the amusement park tickets that she asked her Abuela Lola for multiple times. A chicken is better than some other gifts, like socks, but you have to feed a chicken. The girl looks forward to eating eggs from the chicken, but the chicken is far too busy to lay eggs. The chicken makes friends with the girl’s dog, cat and hamster and soon all of them are too busy as well working for the chicken. Other animals arrive and work too. The chicken invites Abuela Lola to visit and then reveals what she has been working on all this time. It’s a reveal that is much better than socks!
Told in first person by the girl, this picture book has a wonderful tone. Gehl has other characters speak using signs they hold in their wings, paws or hands to communicate. These little asides add a lot of context and add a lot of humor to the book. The illustrations are bright and delightfully zany, filled with patterns, colors and textures. A fresh look at chickens and birthdays, this picture book is a win. Appropriate for ages 3-5. (Reviewed from copy provided by Carolrhoda Books and Raab Associates.)
Old MacDonald Had a Boat by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban (9781452165059)
This second book about Old MacDonald’s extended adventures continues the fun. Once again Old MacDonald and Mrs. MacDonald are hard at work on their farm. They have their truck and look they have a new boat. But there’s a lot of work to do before it gets in the water. There are saws to buzz, hammers to bang, torches to blow, paint to roll and much more.
Verse after verse follows the format of the original song and children will love to participate in singing along. Nicely, Mrs. MacDonald uses the power tools with ease and all of the animals help too. The illustrations have a timeless appeal that suits the subject. There is plenty of fun and humor along the way as hammers miss and ski jumps are moved into position. A rousing new version of the beloved song that is perfect for summer days on the water. Appropriate for ages 2-4. (Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.)