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.
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.
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.
Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland
Age Range: 4-8 years
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 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.