HARRIET GETS CARRIED AWAY
Written and illustrated by Jessie Sima
(Simon & Schuster BYR; $17.99, Ages 4-8)
Harriet … oh, amazing and wonderful Harriet, the star of HARRIET GETS CARRIED AWAY along with her two incredible dads, will make readers all Sima fans if they aren’t already!
My students couldn’t get enough of this brilliant 48-page story … from Harriet’s desire to dress-up no matter what the occasion to her phenomenal imagination and charm, they were hooked.
Harriet is SO excited about her upcoming dress-up themed birthday party, and the task at hand is to venture into the city with her dads to buy party supplies since everything else has been taken care of. One stipulation: She’s asked not to “get carried away” when searching for birthday hats at the store. But in Harriet’s world getting carried away comes easy and she soon finds herself wandering off in her penguin costume with real life penguins. She becomes stranded on an iceberg and realizes she must make her way back to her dads at the store and find the party hats before it’s too late.
When her attempts at leaving the penguins don’t pan out, Harriet’s helped by an orca and some delightful pigeons. Harriet returns to her dads and has the best dress-up birthday party ever … with only ONE of her party attendees getting carried away!
This is one of those stories that will be requested numerous times since it provides a unique, yet fully relatable, experience for youngsters. The writing is quick to action and paced beautifully for children to silently take in every delicious illustration that accompanies the beautiful prose. My favorite moment is when a penguin tells Harriet to “lose the bow tie” she has proudly put on over her penguin costume. Instead, she adjusts her fabulous red bow tie and does things her own way.
Read HARRIET GETS CARRIED AWAY and delight in her message of inclusivity, imagination and pure joy
All interior artwork from Harriet Gets Carried Away by
Jessie Sima courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers ©2018.
Penguin and Pumpkin, (Bloomsbury, $14.99, Ages 0-5) by Salina Yoon, is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.
Look at this inviting cover. Don’t you just want to hug the little fella? And his signature scarf, this time in orange, is P R E C I OU S!
Moving the clocks back an hour, along with cooler evenings here in L.A. means fall has finally arrived, making it the perfect time to share an autumn-themed picture book.
Salina Yoon’s latest, Penguin and Pumpkin, featuring the popular character we all adore from her three previous picture books (Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation, and Penguin in Love), introduces readers to Pumpkin, Penguin’s fledgling younger brother. Eager for a change of scenery, Penguin is ready to explore, but Pumpkin’s simply too young to go. “I’m not a baby!” exclaims the fledgling, but when Grandpa puts in his two cents, it’s clear little Pumpkin is not going anywhere. So …
“Penguin, Bootsy, and their friends headed to the farm.”
Help your kids look out for the sleepy penguin who can’t keep his eyes open during ocean travel. Too cute! Once on land, it’s pumpkins galore for the gang as everyone chooses a favorite to bring home. Penguin, however, can’t stop thinking about his little brother as he sees the wonderful time his friends are having picking out pumpkins. Back home, “The fall explorers were excited to share their treasures from the farm.” But Pumpkin is nowhere to be found. Turns out he was making his own fun, but still really yearned to see fall.
With one beautiful surprise gesture orchestrated by his older brother, Pumpkin gets to experience fall in all its colorful glory. The book has a glow about it that feels like Thanksgiving time. Yoon’s bold illustrations, with their thick black outlines, seem to shout out to youngsters who read her books, “Copy me!” And they do! Yoon gets the most amazing fan art which demonstrates the appeal of her Penguin.
This simple story with its message of love for a special time of year, and for a sibling, will warm hearts and make penguin lovers out of children everywhere.
Here are links to other Salina Yoon books we’ve reviewed.
PENGUIN IN LOVE
PENGUIN AND PINECONE
WHERE’S ELLIE? A HIDE-AND-SEEK BOOK
PENGUIN IN PERIL, written and illustrated by Helen Hancocks, is reviewed by MaryAnne Locher.
Penguin in Peril written and illustrated by Helen Hancocks, Templar/Candlewick Press, 2014.
What’s black and white and read all over? The front page of the Daily News when a penguin is stolen from the city zoo!
Author-illustrator Helen Hancocks makes a big splash with her first children’s picture book, Penguin in Peril, (Templar/Candlewick Press, $15.99, Ages 3-7).
Three hungry cats sit around their kitchen table and devise a plan for the greatest fish caper ever!
All they needed was … a penguin.
Hancocks could have used the stereotypical raccoon for her three masked thieves sneaking into the zoo and kidnapping the unsuspecting penguin, but she likes to draw cats, and cats in striped sweaters and masks are laugh-out-loud funny.
Everything was going along swimmingly, except the cats didn’t speak penguin, the penguin felt he was in peril, and the cats discovered that a penguin is surprisingly good at hiding in plain sight as they chase him throughout the city. Habit-clad nuns and waiters in coats and tails make convenient camouflage for a penguin. Our little tuxedo-clad friend finds his way back to the zoo just in time for a fishy supper. The cats however don’t fare quite as well though they do manage to make the front page of the paper when they’re put behind bars!
I loved the illustrations done in mixed media, the bright pops of red, green, and yellow, and the artful use of black and white, so necessary to the story. Hancocks’ use of background characters who are seen throughout the book is brilliant. She’s truly tapped into a child’s imagination with this story. What a wonderful debut!
Once Upon a Memory
Keep This Picture Book Close to Your Heart
Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden with illustrations by Renata Liwska, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013.
Once Upon a Memory, written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Renata Liwska (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.00; eBook, $9.99, Ages 3-6) is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey.
I fell head over heels in love with this book from my first glance at the cover – the entire cover – so flip this book over after you have studied the image above. A little bear watches a feather dangling from a squirrel’s fishing pole, thus introducing the book’s first charming line: “Does a feather remember it once was … a bird?”
Gentle rhyming couplets draw the reader through a wondrous, daydreaming journey that touches upon memory as well as natural and philosophical transitions. Although that sounds rather high-falutin, the book is perfectly pitched to young readers as well as the young at heart, pushing at the edges of natural curiosity and whimsy. “Does a chair remember it once was … a tree?”
The illustrations are soft, lovely and endearing. Liwska’s details carry a tender repeating theme throughout the book, bearing the images from the “before” question to the “after” answer in captivating ways. Splashes of warm, rusty reds and nutty browns enhance the rich images perfectly sized to reflect the tiny kernel of the initial question on the left page to the broad imagining of its answer on the right.
Are you still curious about the back cover? Here it has become night, and our friend the little bear is now jotting his thoughts into a journal by the light of a firefly cloud. What do you suppose he is writing?
Back cover art Copyright © 2013 Renata Liwska, Once Upon a Memory written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Renata Liwska, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
This is a quiet, cozy read perfect for the child whose pockets are filled with pebbles, feathers and other curious treasures. It is a lovely poem for little ones who often ask Why? How? and What if? Once Upon a Memory is a wonderful springboard for capturing snippets of childhood musings within the delightful journey of its pages.
– Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher and received no other compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Looking for Love in All The Ice Places
Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon, Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013.
Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon (Walker Books for Young Readers, $14.99; eBook $6.99, Ages 3-6), is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey.
The adventures of penguins and puffins will warm your heart in this cozy, kooky story about a perfect pair of thoughtful friends. Fans of Yoon’s Penguin series (Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation) will cheer with delight to read her newest yarn, spinning Penguin’s tale across oceans, ice floes and mountain tops.
When Penguin isn’t knitting, he is usually discovering curious objects and exploring faraway lands. In this adventure, he finds a lost mitten on the ice, but cannot find its owner. He stitches up a new mate, but offers it to a chilled puffin. Then Penguin and his friend Bootsy begin giving away warm knitwear to various cold creatures until they run out of yarn. The puffins hatch a clever plan, leaving Penguin and Bootsy to follow a wooly trail of adventure.
Yoon’s simple text is perfect for the youngest listeners to follow. She blends short dialogue and humorous asides into the bright images. Parents could read these aloud as desired, thus breaking up the story narrative with a lighthearted tone.
Interior image from Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon,
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013.
The cuddly penguins and huggable arctic critters are thickly outlined in black with bold colored accents. The genius of Yoon’s illustration is the tiny clues and themes woven seamlessly throughout. The penguins’ yarn swirls across the page in sweet heart-shaped loops: Bootsy in purple and green, Penguin in orange and yellow. They float out to sea, singing a silly shanty, atop a heart-shaped ice floe. Finally, a cover image reappears on the last page in a simple, satisfying argyle pattern that symbolically ties up every loose end.
If you have yet to discover the cozy charms of these friendship tales, I recommend that you scoop up the entire trio of Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation (read Ronna’s review in the April 2013 issue of L.A. Parent here) and definitely this newest heart-warming delight, Penguin in Love.
– Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher and received no other compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own. Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”