This Is Not a Valentine by author Carter Higgins and illustrator Lucy Ruth Cummins
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
In this picture book, it appears as if a girl gives out valentines to her peers at school. One of the students has a crush on the girl and thinks of inexpensive and thoughtful things to give her in return. MY BOOK EYES enjoyed reading a sweet story that embraces everyday school experiences i.e. markers that don’t work. The illustrations are appealing and large enough to see details. The book’s size makes it easy to carry around.
Malaika’s Winter Carnival by author Nadia L. Hohn and illustrator Irene Luxbacher
Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
In this picture book, a young girl named Malaika shows resilience when her mother marries, not only giving her a stepfather and stepsister to live with but also thrusting her into a new country with a culture much different from the one she has lived in. My Book Eyes loves details from the text and illustrations that beautifully depict cultural differences. A very relatable story. In some ways all of us have experienced the sentiment of loss for people, places or things due to circumstances beyond our control and have learned to adapt.
Step Right Up by author Donna Janell Bowman and illustrator Daniel Minter
Age Range: 7 – 12 years
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Publication Date: October 15, 2016
This picture book is a biography about a man named William Key who was born a slave in Tennessee. Because of his gentle manner when working with and healing horses, he became known as Doc. He desired to race horses. Unfortunately, his colt, Jim, was not a race horse but a smart horse. Jim learned to spell, write and count among many other things and traveled around the country with Doc entertaining a variety of people. My Book Eyes marveled at Doc’s numerous successes despite living in a skeptical and adverse society. The afterword adds a detailed account of Doc’s life, including assisting slaves’ escapes along the Underground Railroad. The photographs add to the readers knowledge about what life was like in William Keys’ days. The illustrator’s illustrations add emotion and help tell the story.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland by authors Richard B. Smith and Felix Bernard and illustrator Tim Hopgood
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
This picture book’s text is the words to the song Walking in a Winter Wonderland. No matter how many times My Book Eyes heard various artists sing this song or listened to the tune as a jingle for a commercial, when it was time for a singalong the words “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” were belted out while the remaining lyrics were reduced to a hum. In this version of the song, some words have changed to make the book more appealing to a children’s audience. This book features the words in big bold text with illustrations that show a family enjoying the snow.
Hibernation Station by author Michelle Meadows and illustrator Kurt Cyrus
Age Range: 3 – 8 years
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
This rhyming picture book involves animals taking a journey via a log train to destination hibernation. Children will easily relate to problems the characters encounter on the trip including overcrowding, hunger, and fear to name a few. My Book Eyes likes the large text and illustrations which are easily seen from a distance. There are many additional details for the storyteller to ask children about or for independent readers to discover as well as an author’s note about degrees of hibernation which make this book an asset to any book collection.
Sweets and Treats by author Toni Trent Parker and illustrator Earl Anderson
Age Range: 3 and up
Publication Date: September 1, 2002
A rhyming picture book showing eight children (including the one on the cover) dressed up for Halloween. The photographs are close-up and characters are easily discernible. A quick read and perfect accompaniment to other Halloween activities that My Book Eyes would include at a young children’s holiday party.
Grandma’s Tiny House by author JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrator Priscilla Burris
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
This rhyming counting picture book cooks up a lot of love and togetherness when a large gathering outgrows the space in grandma’s home such that guests cannot eat and socialize comfortably. The solution is a simple one that many children will be able to relate to if not in their house perhaps in someone else’s. Mouth watering dishes are deliciously depicted and can encourage conversations about different foods that people like to eat. My Book Eyes adored the busy scenes giving readers much to absorb.
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.