LEAPING LEMMINGS!

Leaping Lemmings 2

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 2

 

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 2

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Hank’s Big Day The story of a bug by Evan Kuhlman, illustrated by Chuck Groenink

Age Range: 3-7 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: September 13, 2016

This picture book is about a slice of life for a pill bug named Hank and his friendship with a little girl who pretends to be Amelia Earhart on this particular day. A long shot illustration alerts the reader that Hank lives close to the little girl’s yard where they meet. My Book Eyes inspected details of Hank’s outdoor world through close ups of his activities, scenery and other bugs that he encounters such as a beetle, ant, grasshopper, cricket and worm as Hank journey’s to the area of the yard where the little girl is playing.  After they travel around the yard together and have a snack, Hank returns home. The message of looking both ways before crossing is cleverly included and could lead to further discussion as well as a discussion about women aviators.

 

Where Do Pants Go? By Rebecca Van Slyke, illustrated by Chris Robertson

Age Range: 3-12 years

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

This picture book is about getting dressed. It asks where each article of clothing goes beginning with underwear and sequentially and repetitively continues to jacket. The text is to the point yet silliness included make young children laugh. My Book Eyes eagerly turned pages to find answers to questions. Questions make this a page turner. Illustrations are bright and warmhearted. The payoff for getting dressed? Going out to play!

 

Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Age Group: 5-8 years

Publisher: First Second

Publication Date: May 10, 2016

This graph novel also includes two-page spreads. An amusing story about a red panda and a hippo that leave a dilapidated zoo in search of a better life on the outside. They try various occupations in order to survive. My Book Eyes applauds the plethora of careers introduced to this age group. Bankers, plumbers and art restorers are not as common in children’s books as other occupations are. While red panda and hippo aren’t great at every career, especially red panda, they both find their niches and give back to their community.

 

 

 

 

More Children’s Books for Fall

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

Age Range: 5-8 years

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

A young boy searches for the meaning of poetry for six days after he sees a sign about poetry reading in a city park. On the seventh day he gives his poetry reading which is a culmination of what his animal friends have shared with him. The story takes place in the fall. My Book Eyes widened upon viewing the high contrasting collage images created for this picture book. The author/illustrator uses child friendly poses and actions that are relatable to this age group i.e. feeding a dog, trailing a hand in a pond, lying on a boulder, running, climbing a tree, and squatting under a slide.

 

Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze by Maureen Wright illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Age Range: 3-5 years

Publisher:  Two Lions

Publication Date: September 1, 2011

The audience will enjoy this rhyming picture book about a struggle between the autumn breeze and a bear to determine which one causes leaves and apples to fall off trees and geese to fly away. Is it the breeze or the bear’s sneeze? My Book Eyes giggled at the personification, showing various expressions, for the breeze. A silent rabbit accompanies, helps and often mimics bear’s actions throughout the story. The word ACHOO is repetitive and will allow the audience to complete the phrase if the storyteller asks which makes this book fun.

 

Wonderfall by Michael Hall

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher:   Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

The author/illustrator of this picture book dropped ful and added fall to create 14 new words that are titles of these poems. Some examples are: Thankfall, Frightfall and Beautifall. Each poem is about something associated with autumn i.e. animal migration, Halloween, going back to school to name a few. My Book Eyes enthusiastically looked forward to reading each new word and poem. The illustrations use many shapes that are familiar to children.  Included in the back of the book is a discussion about how animals and a tree survive through winter.

 

We Harvest Pumpkins in Fall by Rebecca Felix

Age Range: 5 – 7 years

Publisher:   Cherry Lake Publishing

Publication Date: January 1, 2013

This is a nonfiction easy reader about pumpkins which includes table of contents, index and glossary. An additional book, website and suggestions for other activities are listed in the back of the book. The photographs are close ups for easy view. Large print size and repetitive words make this a great book for children learning to read. Each page contains no more than 3 sentences so the story isn’t overwhelming. Some of the photographs include questions to increase knowledge and awareness. My Book Eyes noticed diverse children throughout the book which allows various readers to view children like them in printed materials.

 

Colors of Fall by Laura Purdie Salas

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher:   Capstone Press

Publication Date:  January 2, 2011

This nonfiction book uses photographs to show many colors of fall which include: yellow, red, blue, purple, brown, gold, orange, black, pink, white, green and gray. My Book Eyes learned about purple chrysanthemums blooming in late fall which is not commonly seen in children’s books about fall. For younger readers, the pictures tell the story and for older readers detailed facts are included on each page. Glossary, index, read more and internet sites are also included.

 

My Leaf Book by Monica Wellington

Age Range: 3 – 5 years

Publisher:   Dial Books

Publication Date:  September 1, 2015

This picture book is about different types of leaves including how to identify them by their colors, shapes, lobes, teeth and vein patterns. The author/illustrator uses assorted illustration techniques to show her leaves which make them interesting to My Book Eyes. She offers a listing of leaf projects for the reader to do including making a leaf book, leaf rubbings and leaf prints.

 

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher:  Beach Lane Books

Publication Date:  April 26, 2016

This rhyming picture book is done in mixed media collage. It’s about fish that can be created by any child using any materials that are at his or her disposal. Here, they are created on a rainy day. This time of the year is good for collecting colorful leaves for the rain fish that can be made at home and/or school. My Book Eyes were pleased to horizontally scan the huge oblong fish.

 

Miss Smith and the Haunted Library by Michael Garland

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher:  Puffin Books; Reprint edition

Publication Date:  August 16, 2012

A cool looking teacher takes her class to the library for spooky stories in this picture book. As the librarian reads to them frightening classic characters come to life i.e. Headless Horseman, Dracula, Frankenstein etc. Students are scared until the gathering turns into a party. The problem: getting the library back to normal before the senior book club comes in and gets spooked. The author/ illustrator includes a guide to finding titles and authors of the books that include the frightening characters. The illumination and terrifying expressions made My Book Eyes suddenly pop open. A must read for Halloween.

First blog post

For many people autumn represents new beginnings. Since children’s books have been such a big part of my life, I decided to start this season by sharing my opinions about books that catch My Book Eyes. 

The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry illustrated by Sanja Rescek

Age Range: 2-4 years

Publisher: Little Simon: Board book edition

Publication Date: August 5, 2014

This book reads to the tune of the Itsy Bitsy Spider. It is a rhyming story about the adventures of a small pumpkin on Halloween night.Text is large print and illustrations are bright and colorful. There are just enough details on each page for this age group. My Book Eyes highly recommend reading this book.

 

Pumpkin Day! (Step into Reading) by Candice Ransom illustrated by Erika Meza

Age Range: 6-8 years

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: July 28, 2015

This rhyming early reader begins with a family going on a pumpkin picking trip and ends with pumpkin carving and placing  jack o’lanterns on the porch. If the reader has difficulty reading the text, the illustrations do a great job of telling the story. My Book Eyes liked viewing goats and different colored peppers in the illustrations. They are not as commonly seen in children’s books as other animals and vegetables.