Think Big by author Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton
Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: July 12, 2012
In this rhyming picture book, text is short but exact and pairs beautifully with large stimulating illustrations about resourceful children. The youngsters’ artistic endeavors culminate into an impressive finale. Small success leading to a future career is a valuable message. My Book Eyes savored conversational details i.e. records and metronome to name a few.
Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars by author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Thyra Heder
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
A girl named Penny is invited to an outdoor sleepover. Unfortunately no pets are allowed so that means her beloved dog, Jelly, will have to stay behind. The inclusion of science (the stars) and engineering (creating replicas of Jelly to substitute for the real dog) is nicely woven into this story about a girl and her dog. Illustrations portray the strong attachment between Penny and Jelly. My Book Eyes enjoyed the satisfying ending.
BunnyBear by author Andrea J. Loney and illustrator Carmen Saldana
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Just because he’s a bear doesn’t mean that he likes to roar. Just because she’s a bunny doesn’t mean that she likes to be quiet. Attributes typically given to bears and bunnies are negated by two characters, BunnyBear and GrizzlyBun, in this picture book. Because they choose not to be stereotyped, they are initially ostracized by their communities. Watching strength in numbers increase from one isolated character to several characters who feel similarly sends a positive message that nobody is ever alone in their feelings and is delightful for My Book Eyes to read. The richly colored illustrations are attractive.
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 by Kenneth Kraegel
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
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
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.
Anywhere Farm by author Phyllis Root and illustrator G. Brian Karas
Age Range: 2-5 years
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! 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.