Review: Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri (9781626725355)

After dinner, Tiger takes an extra plate of food to share with her monster. Monster had been under Tiger’s bed, but they soon became friends. Now they spend time together playing games until bedtime when Monster scares Tiger’s nightmares away. All of Tiger’s family thinks she has an imaginary friend, but Monster is real. Monster fights all sorts of nightmares away until she encounters one that is too big and scary to chase off. As Tiger starts to have nightmares, she realizes that the two of them will need to work together to get rid of this huge nightmare.

Tetri, a cartoonist, has written a captivating graphic novel that is just right for the picture-book set. The pacing is brisk with a concept that shines. There is plenty of humor on the pages that sets off the more dramatic parts of the story. The art is done in watercolors, adding a wonderful traditional feel to the book. One of the more delightful parts is when Monster battles one nightmare after another. The pace slows beautifully in this part and mimics epic battle montages in comic books.

A tale of friendship and teamwork, this is a great early graphic novel. Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by First Second.


Review: Pearl by Molly Idle

Pearl by Molly Idle

Pearl by Molly Idle (9780316465670)

The mermaids of the ocean took care of the waves, the reefs, kelp, and creatures. Pearl, a little mermaid,  thinks she is old enough to take care of something too. Her mother agrees and leads Pearl to the surface of the ocean and to a sandy beach. There she gives Pearl a single grain of sand to look after. Pearl is so disappointed. There she sits on a beach filled with sand with one grain to care for. She sinks to the bottom of the ocean and clenches the grain in her hand. Then she realizes that the grain of sand has started to glow. Pearl watches after the single grain of sand, day after day. It grows and grows, transforming from a grain of sand into something much more special.

Idle has created a luminescent book about the beauty of attention and care, of taking your time and doing a task well. One might expect Pearl to simply give up, but she doesn’t, even in her disappointment about her assignment. Even after readers realize that Pearl is creating a pearl, the book will surprise and delight with a final twist and a realization that things can be even bigger and more important than first thought, even a grain of sand.

The illustrations are so beautiful. Filled with so many different sea blues, the illustrations feature mermaids with glowing white hair, shaped into shell-like forms. The mermaids glow against the water, beautiful and magical.

A lovely addition to mermaid stories, this one is a gem. Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from library copy.


Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton (9780525580966)

Take a dazzling and frightening look at our potential future in this novel for teens. Told in six linked stories, the novel starts in the near future with a look at the moral medical questions of saving one twin by killing the other. Things only get more complicated from there with genetic modifications becoming more and more prevalent. Where does a human end and a cyborg begin? What happens when a modified human loses empathy but gains so much intelligence? What about cryogenics when it falls into the wrong hands? Can humans evolve so far that they appear to be another species entirely? Each story takes the reader farther from the present day and into a wild exploration of the depths of genetic modification taken to the logical extreme.

Dayton could have created six stand-alone stories but instead wisely chose to tie all of them together but not in an expected way. Instead of one of the main characters, it is a minor but majorly influential character who is in the background of all of the stories, making an appearance himself or just having his theories mentioned. He is a religious man who starts out believing that genetic modification is the work of the devil and creates demons but then has his own personal experience with death and genetics and finds a way to become the leading figure in promoting genetic modification.

Dayton keeps a firm hand on the politics of her world as well, setting one of her stories in Australia and another in Russia while the remainder take place in the United States. This global focus allows readers to see more deeply into the divided views on genetic modification and also to see more of the questions related to how far it is alright to take this. Each of Dayton’s stories is an ethical question wrapped in a taut and fascinating plot in a shared world.

Brilliant and timely, this novel for teens is remarkable in its ethical and open questions. Appropriate for ages 13-18.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Delacorte Press.


2018 Prime Minister’s Awards

The winners of the Australian Prime Minister’s Awards have been announced. They are some of the most prestigious of the Australian book awards and carry a large monetary prize as well. Here are the winners and short listed titles for the youth categories:



Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King



Feathers Figgy Takes the City

Feathers by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie
Figgy Takes the City by Tamsin Janu

Hark, It's me, Ruby Lee! Storm whale
Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! by Lisa Shanahan and Binny Talib
Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan and Jane Tanner



This is My Song

This is My Song by Richard Yaxley



Living on Hope Street My Lovely Frankie

Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren
My Lovely Frankie by Judith Clarke

Ruben - Bruce Whatley The Ones That Disappeared
Ruben by Bruce Whatley
The Ones that Disappeared by Zana Fraillon

This Week’s Tweets

Here are the items I shared on Twitter this week:

Giant Library #literature #books #reading #reader #art #drawing #illustration #booklovers #bookart #sofa #cat #librarylove #librarylovers


2018 Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Awards – State Library of Ohio

His bestselling book Guess How Much I Love You is only 400 words long but took six months to complete… –

Independent – Something for every bookworm: Top 50 children’s books of the year –

“The magic really comes to life.” Stack Overflow: Get Into the Holiday Spirit With These 7 Picture Books via

Moms start companies to fill demand for Spanish-language children’s books

NYPL’s 2018 Best Books for Kids

School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels | 2018

The Story Of Barefoot Books And Its Mission To Nurture Young Readers

This is the most important lesson to teach your child if you want them to succeed

Understanding Immigration and the Refugee Experience through Picture Books


Appreciating the ‘powerful good’ of the public library

Denver Public Library nixes overdue fines to increase visits

Should Book Choices Be Private? Harold Washington Library Patron Calls For Change


14 Young Adult Authors Reveal Their Favorite YA Books Of The Year

BookRiot – 5 Hugely Underrated Diverse YA Fantasy Books

BookRiot – The Best Queer Books of 2018

Bustle – These Are The 25 YA Books From 2018 That Every Bustle Reader Should Pick Up

In Love With Teen Lit: Remembering The ‘Paperback Crush’ Of The ’80s And ’90s

NYPL’s 2018 Best Books for Teens

Paste’s 30 Best Young Adult Novels of 2018

Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts to Be Adapted for Television

Review: Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora (9780316431248)

When Omu makes her thick red stew in her apartment, its delicious smell brings people to her door to discover what she is cooking. One by one, she feeds each of them some of her stew. There is the little boy, the police officer, the hotdog vendor, and many more. By the time Omu has given each of them a bowl, her large pot of stew is empty and there isn’t any left for her own dinner! Someone once again knocks on her door and it is all of the people she fed that day offering their own thanks and food to share with her.

Mora writes with the feel of a traditional tale. On just the first page, there is a cadence that feels immediately familiar and warm. Details are shared in just the right way, then the repetition kicks in, linking this even more with a traditional folktale. Mora has crafted the book with collage pages that combine different mediums. The stew itself is always red and often flowered. The smell wafts across the page in a swath of light-colored haze. Meanwhile, the vibrant urban community is brought to life and abuzz with energy.

A top read-aloud of the year, this picture book should be shared just like red stew. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.


Review: Lovely Beasts by Kate Gardner

Lovely Beasts by Kate Gardner

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth by Kate Gardner, illustrated by Heidi Smith (9780062741615)

This nonfiction picture book takes a brief look at a series of different animals and shows an unexpected side to each of them. Fierce gorillas are actually wonderful parents caring deeply and well for their offspring. Fanged wolves when looked at more closely are all about being friends with one another and connecting through their howls. The feared shark is an important part of its ecosystem and food cycle. The porcupine is less about throwing quills and much more about being a shy herbivore. Each animal is labeled with a false impression and then with a turn of the page the more detailed truth of the animal is shared.

Gardner has carefully selected animals that are perceived as something they are not. She wisely shares a mix of features of the animal and corrective facts that offset the false perception. The text is brief enough to make this book a great read aloud to share when exploring animal life. The book ends with a group of female pack leaders of different types and then shows all of the animals in the book together.

The illustrations are particularly lovely. Done in subtle colors and fine lines, the fur of the animals is almost touchable. Each animal is shown both singly on a simple blank background and then again in their habitat.

A beautiful and fresh look at some of the most misunderstood animals in the world. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Winners

The winners of the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced. Here are the youth and teen winners:


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas



Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi



Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli



Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas



The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan


Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (9780062866561)

In the year after the 9/11 attack, Shirin starts yet another new school. At 16, she is in high school and is the only girl in her new school who wears a hijab. Shirin knows what she is in for and comes to school every day braced for both full-faced insults and microaggressions. She tends to ignore everyone, taking advantage of the way her hijab can hide her earbuds so that she can listen to music even in class. But even though she is determined to ignore everyone, people still enter her life. Part of it is her brother starting a breakdancing club that Shirin joins. And then there is Ocean, a white boy who wants to get to know Shirin and can see past her headwear to really see her as a person. But Shirin knows what the world is like and how it will turn against them both if they pursue their feelings for one another. Could the risk be worth it?

Mafi, known for her Shatter Me series, turns to realism and romance in this new book. Her writing is interesting because to make this work for white readers, she has to talk directly about the microaggressions that Shiring experiences and then also about how that makes Shirin feel. Her writing works beautifully and her directness is a strength. Part way through the book, the drama builds alongside the romance into a terrifying mix of love and xenophobia.

The anger of Shirin creates a strong and remarkable heroine. There is no way to read this book without deeply relating to Shirin and her experiences, that includes understanding her fierce defensiveness and rage at the world. Shirin is truly the center of the novel which is a great mix of breakdancing, romance, anger, and defiance. Her relationship with her family is complicated and honest, as is her first romantic relationship. It’s all complicated and wonderfully so.

A fierce heroine faces racism alongside romance in this gripping novel for teens. Appropriate for ages 13-17.

Reviewed from library copy.