Beach? Yes, Pizza? Yes

lorenzo

Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster by Claire Lordon

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: little bee books

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

For the first time, Lorenzo lobster eats pizza and like most who consume it, savors every bite. Enthusiastically he shares his experience with his friend and wants her to try pizza too but he hasn’t brought any of it with him so he decides to make pizza with her. Sadly Lorenzo can’t recall the ingredients. After much trial and error they give up making pizza. His friend comes across pizza on her own and also finds it irresistible. High contrasting colors in illustrations make details distinguishable. My Book Eyes can feel the sea air and smell the pizza now!

 

 

Green Pants

Green Pants

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

In this picture book, green pants are like good luck charms for the main character named Jameson. Unfortunately if he wants to be in his cousin’s wedding, he has to wear a black tuxedo. Jameson’s ability to compromise and find a solution that suits all (something that eventually most people will have to do in various situations) is well done. My Book Eyes loves the crush that Jameson has on his cousin’s fiancée and the humorous ending. Feelings are easily read in the illustrations.

A Letter to My Teacher by author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Nancy Carpenter

A Letter to My Teacher - image

A Letter to My Teacher by author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Nancy Carpenter

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

For those who work with children in groups whether it be at school, after school, camp or religious gatherings to name a few, this picture book’s message encourages those professionals to stay the course no matter how difficult the road can be at times. A young woman writes an endearing thank you letter to her second grade teacher as she is about to embark on her first career as a teacher. Obviously this young lady was the type of child that would make most group leaders/teachers scream at the top of their lungs when no one else was around or reconsider their career if too many children like her were in the group/class without having more adult assistance. The story never mentions whether the child has special needs or is just mischievous and/or immature however the child’s facial expressions and deeds allow the readers to make that decision for themselves. Likewise, depictions of this teacher’s professional composure, even during the most trying of times are remarkable. My Book Eyes got an intrinsically rewarding feeling and a welcome to the world of working with children after reading this book.

Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland

Caterpillar Dreams - image

Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland

Age Range: 4-8 years

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Henri, a caterpillar, desires to leave his little garden home and see the world outside of it by flying. As in real life, some of his friends do not support his dream while others encourage him with words and physical assistance. Ironically, after he reaches a hot air balloon which can allow him to achieve his goal, metamorphosis occurs and he gains the ability to fly without aid from anyone or anything. With as much independence as he now has, the first place he goes to is home. My Book Eyes liked how the theme of growing up and how nature and nurture work together are well represented in text and illustrations. The emotional illustrations are appealing.

 

Anywhere Farm

Anywhere Farm by author Phyllis Root and illustrator G. Brian Karas

Age Range: 2-5 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

A rhyming picture book about planting all types of plants anyplace that is available to you. The text increases knowledge in few words and answers the questions: What can you plant? Where can you plant? Who can visit the anywhere farm? What you need? My Book Eyes were nourished by illustrations of diverse characters building greener places in urban spaces and people working together to create a farmers’ market.

LEAPING LEMMINGS!

Leaping Lemmings! by author John Briggs and illustrator Nicola Slater

Age Range: 3 and up

Publisher: Sterling’s Children’s Books

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Picture book about a character named Larry, a lemming. What is a lemming? A new creature to learn about. My Book Eyes investigated and found that lemmings (briefly) are small rodents with short tails. This is an amusing fictional story about Larry who loves living life his way as opposed to the way other lemmings in his life are living. They are carbon copies of each other. Fed up with sameness, Larry leaves lemmings to be among other types of animals only to find that he needs to be around those who are genetically like him also. When Larry returns, he saves the other lemmings and they try differentiating themselves through outfits and activities. A fast read with irresistible illustrations. My Book Eyes highly recommends this book as it can generate discussions about culture, acceptance, being different and being the same.

Reading About Relationships

I Will Love You Anyway by author Mick Inkpen and illustrator Chloe Inkpen

Age Range: 3-8 years

Publisher: Aladdin

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

Picture book with a lone saucer eyed dog on its cover. He’s cute with tinges of mischief in his eyeballs. My Book Eyes were immediately attracted to the book which is about a boy and his perky dog. The pet has many shortcomings i.e. he doesn’t follow commands, digs the sofa and runs away several times to name a few. Despite them all, there is mutual affection between the two. Because the dog is unruly, the boy’s parents want the dog to leave their home. While the boy and his dog hear adult dialogue, no adults are pictured in the book. The dog runs away again, this time in a storm and gets lost. Emotions prompt the family to find the dog and he remains with the boy. The wide eyed characters will melt readers’ hearts. The text rhymes and could be used when teaching poetry.

 

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose

Age Range: 3-6 years

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

This picture book features Mr. Peanuts, a squirrel, who is getting ready for Cousin Squirrel to visit. Chores and activities that these two characters are photographed doing made My Book Eyes burst into laughter repeatedly. Photographs are vibrant and remarkable. At the back of the book the author/illustrator gives Ten Tips For Photographing Wildlife as well as a Q&A with Nancy Rose. Superbly done.

My Book Eyes enjoyed The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose so much that The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story by Nancy Rose was also read. It too is a wonderful book.

 

The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story by Nancy Rose

Age Range: 2-5 Years

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

In this picture book, Mr. Peanuts returns and is looking for someone to spend time with. At the library, he meets another squirrel named Rosie and the two spend the rest of the day together at the park. The day culminates with dinner for two. The scenes are adorable and relatable to the human experience. My Book Eyes feasted on the lifelike props. A must read.

 

 

 

Bundle Up and Read

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre

Age Range: 3-8 years

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Publication Date: October 11, 2016

Picture book illustrated with photographs of snow related scenes. Close-ups and distant shots clearly show details. Text rhymes. This book has sparse but descriptive words on pages for younger readers. For older knowledge seekers, detailed scientific explanations in the section called Secrets of Snow are in the rear of the book. A compilation of books to further investigate information about snow is included. My Book Eyes glided across pages, absorbing the visual imagery and soaking in the facts.

 

A Poem for Peter by author Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Age Range: 7-10 years

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: November 1, 2016

This book is a biography about Ezra Jack Keats from his birth in Brooklyn through his children’s book career and the creation of A Snowy Day. The illustrations help tell the story of a struggling family and the rise of an author/illustrator who broke barriers in children’s books. Included in the rear of the book are Ezra’s Legacy, Keats the Collage Poet and a list of Books Written by and Illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. An enlightening read for My Book Eyes.

 

I Love Snow by author Zetta Elliott and illustrator Purple Wong

Age Range: 4 – 7 years

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: August 16, 2015

This picture book celebrates joys and pitfalls of snow through children’s eyes. While youngsters love to make a snowman, sled etc. They also realize that it is difficult to see when blizzarding snow blows in faces not to mention the dirty slush that it turns into etc.  In the end, the good times outweigh the bad and the children continue to love snow. My Book Eyes liked reading about children acknowledging the negative as well as the positive side of snow. The illustrations are attractive.

 

Little Penguins by author Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Christian Robinson

Age Range: 3-7 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Picture book about five penguins enjoying a day of snow. They come home with mom penguin, put on their pajamas, eat warm cookies then sleep soundly in their beds. Only one to six words are displayed on a page which makes this a fast read. Large illustrations and vibrant colors. My Book Eyes think this is a good winter bedtime story for young children. The book can also be used to identify colors and other creatures shown in this cold habitat.

 

Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

A picture book about shapes, movement and creation. A mouse uses words such as slide, bounce, roll, slither, flip, march, leap, scoot, fly, twirl and hop to direct shapes into assuming certain positions until they form a monkey. The mouse crashes into the monkey and what a surprise My Book Eyes got when the shapes try to find their places and a different animal forms! Colors and patterns are visually stimulating. Can be used as a springboard for creating animals from shapes with children.

 

My Turn! by Laura Rankin

Age Range: 2 – 5 years

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: November 8, 2016

A picture book that begins inside the front cover ends inside the back cover. Pammy and Wyatt are neighbors and best friends. Pammy is more assertive and makes sure she gets her turn when playing at the expense of Wyatt who often is cast as Pammy’s helper. When Wyatt protests and leaves her, she joins her older brother shooting hoops. When Pammy never gets her turn, she realizes how Wyatt feels. Pammy rejoins Wyatt and gives him his turn. My Book Eyes believes this lesson is well depicted in emotional illustrations and text.

 

Before I Leave by Jessica Bagley

Age Range: 5 – 7 years

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

A picture book. When the cover is opened, the two main characters, Aaron the anteater and Zelda the hedgehog are pictured playing together in spring, fall and winter. The reader quickly finds out that Zelda is moving away. For one last time they play together and Zelda reveals her feelings about moving. The illustrations take advantage of the physical traits of both animals to create humor and warmth. My Book Eyes felt both characters’ sadness and happiness as well as Zelda’s strength as she adjusts to starting anew elsewhere.

 

 

 

This is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: May 10, 2016

A picture book about a girl who has a homemade dollhouse and a big imagination. Her friend Sophie also has a dollhouse however Sophie’s dollhouse is store bought with many traditional dollhouse items in it. When the girl with the cardboard dollhouse visits Sophie, Sophie doesn’t want to create imaginary scenarios with her toys so the reality based play quickly becomes boring and the girls go outside and swing on Sophie’s swing set. The girl with the homemade dollhouse doesn’t want Sophie to visit and see that her dollhouse is not “perfect” like Sophie’s is but Sophie’s visit can’t be stopped. My Book Eyes were surprised when both girls enjoy the imaginary adventures that they create together. The illustrations are large enough to see in a group. A superb book to use to discuss feelings, friendship, and playing together.

 

The Wish Tree by author Kyo Maclear and illustrator Chris Turnham

Age Range: 2 – 5 years

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: September 27, 2016

A picture book about a boy named Charles and his toboggan named Boggan. Charles and Boggan go through the woods searching for a wish tree. What they don’t realize is that they become wish trees for animals that need help along the way. After Charles and Boggan help several animals, Charles gets tired and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the animals have prepared a meal for him to enjoy with them.  My Book Eyes smiled to see that even Boggan has a seat at the table.  With warmth, the story touches the wish tree in all of us. The wintry scenes show habitats of a variety of animals.

 

The Christmas Boot by author Lisa Wheeler and illustrator Jerry Pinkney

Age Group: 4-8 years

Publisher: Dial Books

Publication Date: October 18, 2016

A picture book. One Christmas morning, a poor woman named Hannah Greyweather finds a much needed boot while gathering wood in the snow covered forest. The magical boot brings Hannah another boot and afterwards we see that she can enjoy the outdoors. After her wish for mittens comes true she wonders if she can have grander things like a fancy home and a feast. Shortly after the latter two arrive, Santa visits asking for a lost boot which Hannah gladly returns. With the boot gone, everything that magically appeared disappears. Santa, being the person that he is, leaves Hannah a pair of mittens, boots and a puppy for company. My Book Eyes likes the way the illustrator portrays Hannah’s contrasting expressions and stamina before and after she finds the boot. Hannah’s hat and coat colors resemble those that a child would wear therefore making the story more relatable to children. A beautiful story that can be used to generate a discussion about wants and needs. A book for all and a viewpoint about those who may not have elaborate holiday celebrations.

 

The Night Before My Dance Recital by author Natasha Wing and illustrator Amy Wummer

Age Range: 3-5 years

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

This rhyming picture book reads to the tune of Twas The Night Before Christmas. We follow a young girl starting from her dance rehearsal the day before through her dance recital. The illustrations show details like the young girl being too nervous to eat breakfast. The text uses details not often discussed in children’s picture books i.e. using bobby pins and hairspray to set the dancer’s bun. My Book Eyes chuckled when the dancer makes a mistake in her dance routine yet can continue successfully to the end. The emotions of the characters are well depicted throughout the story.

 

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes by author/illustrator James Dean and author Kimberly Dean

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

This rhyming picture book is a mystery about ten gradually missing cupcakes that are made by Pete and Gus. The cupcakes sit on a windowsill for a party that will begin at 3 PM. Pete guesses that the culprits are animal friends who he encounters however each of them have alibis. Clues lead to the wrongdoer who redeems himself by making cupcakes for everyone. My Book Eyes noticed high contrasting colors and large illustrations which are easily seen in a group. This book could lead to a discussion/debate about consequences for actions and forgiveness.

 

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

Age Group: 4-8 years

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

A picture book that mostly rhymes with the characters name, Nanette, who is a frog. The setting, a French Village, is immediately displayed in a 2 page spread at the beginning of the book. Nanette’s duty is to purchase a baguette by herself from the bakery. While there are distractions along the way, Nanette stays the course. She lacks impulse control so the baguette never gets to her house. Unfortunately a second baguette doesn’t get home either. The author shows how scrumptious the baguette is by using sensory words i.e. warm, smells, tastes and the “krack” of the crust. Nanette’s emotional experience is a visual feast for My Book Eyes.  This is a very humorous story.

 

In Plain Sight by author Richard Jackson and illustrator Jerry Pinkney

Age Group: 4-7 years

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

This picture book depicts the relationship between a granddaughter and her grandfather who happens to be in a wheelchair. Everyday when Sophie visits grandpa, three generations live in a brownstone, grandpa asks her to find something that he had and can’t seem to find i.e. a lemon drop, rubberband etc. She always finds the objects.  The illustrations are cozy and exuberate warmth. My Book Eyes perused pages filled with intricate details that beckon the storyteller to ask listeners questions about the setting and characters both inside and outside the home. This book could also lead to discussions about elderly people  and people with disabilities.

 

Some Pets by author Angela Diterlizzi and illustrator Brendan Wenzel

Age Range: 4-8 years

Publisher: Beach Lane Books

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

A rhyming picture book about a pet show that takes place in a city park. All of the lines of the story include the words, some pets which is helpful for those learning to read. My Book Eyes detected cultural diversity in the children illustrated. Many different animals are included in this book. In the back, the reader can find What’s That Pet?! which identifies the animals names and if the animal is not a pet.

 

Bring Me A Rock! By Daniel Miyares

Age Group: 4-8 years

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 7, 2016

A picture book. King grasshopper wants a tall throne built of large rocks. The large insects can carry large rocks on their backs. When a small insect brings a pebble, he gets a nasty rejection. Because rocks have uneven surfaces, the throne slants. As some as the king is on the throne, it topples, leaving him hanging off the side. The little bug saves the day with his pebble. My Book Eyes examined each happy character in this satisfying ending.

 

Before Morning by author Joyce Sidman and illustrator Beth Krommes

Age Group: 4-7 years

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

A picture book that relies heavily on pictures and less on words however text that is included is meaningful. A snowstorm gives a busy pilot mother time to spend with her family much to the desire of her daughter. My Book Eyes surveyed the sequence of events from rushing to get to work before the storm to the crippling effects of the snowstorm to the carefree glistening snow filled play day and the comfort of cupcakes and hot chocolate. While the story centers on the mother’s occupation, a father is also present. It is pleasing to see family members taking on different roles.

 

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown

Age Group: 5-7 years

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: May 10, 2016

The title says most of it. This picture book tells the story of a family of four leaving their home to travel to see relates via airplane. The story begins in the front end papers where the family’s city home is depicted and ends in the back end papers with the family enjoying warmer weather on a beach. Many details are given pictorially and textually throughout. My Book Eyes read this book several times and found new details each time. The book resembles an actual airport experience including often seeing the same characters that will be on the flight over and over again occupying themselves in different ways.

 

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by author Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrator Sean Qualls

Age Group: 4-8 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: January 6, 2015

This picture book is about a boy, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born with part of his right leg missing in Ghana, Africa. Despite hardships of loosing family members, poverty, society’s negative views about people with disabilities, Emmanuel perseveres. He learned to ride a bike with the use of one leg to pedal. He rides across Ghana and proves that disability doesn’t mean inability. My Book Eyes found the illustrations to be emotionally moving and the text laden with information. This book could lead to a discussion about inclusion.

 

Animal Spots and Stripes by Britta Teckentrup

Age Group: 2-4 years

Publisher: Chronicle Books. Ltf edition

Publication Date: February 22, 2012

A lift the flap book. Includes a variety of living creatures that either have stripes or spots with the exception of one chameleon that has both stripes and spots. My book eyes observed beautifully colored illustrations. This book can be included in a discussion about patterns.