THINK BIG

Think Big

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.

Slumber Party Anyone?

Penny and Jelly

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.

 

Don’t Stereotype Me!

bunnybear

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.

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.