skip to Main Content
1-800-987-654 admin@totalwptheme.com

Show Me Happy by Kathryn Madeline Allen

SHOW ME HAPPY
Written by Kathryn Madeline Allen
Photographs by Eric Futran
(Albert Whitman & Company; $15.99, Ages 3-7)

ShowMeHappycvr

From the team that brought you A Kiss Means I Love You comes their latest, Show Me Happy. This photograph-rich, 24-page picture book with kids populating every page is the perfect introduction for little ones still learning “how to use their words.” Kids are picking up important early concepts and experiencing a range of emotions long before they have the language to express them so, by sharing books like Show Me Happy, we can help youngsters learn to communicate effectively.

Show Me Happy is actually more than just a book depicting emotions. With easy to interpret images that demonstrate actions such as a mom helping her son with measuring while cooking up a tasty treat (show me helping), an older boy handing a ball to a younger girl (show me giving), a little girl cutting the lawn with a toy mower (show me pushing), a boy cupping his mouth and yelling (show me NOISY), it’s a fun read-aloud with some subtle rhyme:

Show me pushing,
show me pulling,
show me sharing when we play.

Show me NOISY,
show me quiet,
show me putting things away.

This cheerful picture book would also be ideal to read with special needs children. Many kids on the Autism Spectrum, for example, may have difficulty identifying how they are feeling or what’s appropriate behavior in a certain situation. Furtran’s warm and inviting photos and Allen’s simple, upbeat text are both appealing and engaging. It sometimes feels as if the kids in the photos are smiling right at me! Books like Show Me Happy that are accessible to everyone, provide photographic examples that children can relate to making this picture book one your kids will certainly enjoy and one you’ll be happy to have on hand.

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk
with illustrations by Alexandria Neonakis
is reviewed by Hilary Taber.

Kulu_cover_snd1-300x236

When I first saw the cover of Sweetest Kulu (Inhabit Media, $16.95, Ages 0-6), I knew I was hooked. I said to a friend, “I think this is the dearest picture book cover I have ever seen!” I still think so! Of course I wondered what “Kulu” meant. The back of the book provided me with the information I needed.

Kulu is an Inuktitut endearment given to babies, and younger children. The author, Celina Kalluk, is Inuit and an acclaimed throat singer. Her book is as sweet as the sweetest Kulu pictured on the cover. This charming picture book is a gentle lullaby poem from a mother to her child. It tells the story of the day that artic animals from the surrounding region hear about the birth of Kulu, for the wind has spread the news about this remarkable baby.

“Melodies of Wind arrived, sharing stories of how the weather forms,
and telling you to always listen closely. Wise wind had learned your name,
charming Kulu, and invited the world to meet you.”

Each animal that comes to see Kulu bestows a gift upon the baby, much as the fairies in Sleeping Beauty bestowed a gift to the newborn girl. However, each gift beautifully reflects the tie between nature and this brand new arrival, this bundle of joy. One of my favorite pages shows the nobility of the Caribou juxtaposed with the small, sweetly sleeping Kulu on his back:

“Caribou choose patience for you, cutest Kulu. He gave you the ability
to look to the stars, so that you will always know where you are and
may gently lead the way.”

Such wonderful gifts are given by each animal that they far outweigh the gifts given to Sleeping Beauty of beauty and riches. Each gift connects the baby with the land, with the gift of believing in yourself, the ability to give love, the predisposition to help those in need, and so on until you know that Kulu will be guided by these lessons for life. Kulu, in being blessed by the wind and each animal, will always be a blessing to others along the path of life. I can’t think of a better way for a life to begin. Illustrator Alexandra Neonakis brings to life each scene with adorable, but also breathtaking illustrations that combine the sweetest Kulu with each animal who has come to visit.

Sweetest-kulu-spread.jpg

Interior artwork from Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk with illustrations by Alexandria Neonakis, Inhabit Media ©2014.

This is one of those books that make you want to hug it to you, because it’s that good and true. If I had a child, I would want that child to have the blessings of a good character that Kulu receives. As an aunt, I wish these for my nephew for they make for a truly happy and fulfilling life. Children will love learning the names of each arctic animal. The magical, rhythmic language of the book will be a wonderful bridge between the activities of the day, helping children transition peacefully into their just-before-bed reading.

Sweetest Kulu would make an ideal present for a new baby in your life, and an excellent baby shower gift as well. The whole world seems to be in love with Kulu in this book, and I am too! Take the opportunity to purchase this book now if you have little ones to read to, and buy another to stash away for that baby shower you know you will be invited to! I will be buying one especially for my nephew, who is to me one of the sweetest children there ever was! I want him to learn these important lessons so that they will be a blessing to him all of his life, and guide him to true happiness.

Interested in more stories like Sweetest Kulu? Contact Inhabit Media or Birch Bark Books.

Epic Antics Mockumentary-Style

Yesterday I attended what has become an annual and much looked forward to event, the Mother/Daughter Book Party at Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in La Canada.

Seven super talented female authors attended and lots more moms and daughters.  I had a chance to sit down at each author’s table and learn more about the books they had written and I am delighted to be able to share that information with you.  If you’ve got a 3rd – 6th grader who loves to read, here are some great books to choose from. Today I’ll cover  San Luis Obispo author Robin Mellom’s middle grade novel.

tmb_240x240_bks_the_classroom_1423150635Mellom has penned a clever mockumentary in book form called The Classroom: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet-Epic Kid ($12.99,  DisneyHyperion, ages 9 and up), and it’s not just for girls. The title alone conjures humorous images but the illustrations by Stephen Gilpin really add the “you are there” quality that will bring a smile to every reader’s face. Mellom described the artwork as having a “Far Side” comic strip feeling, which it does, and which works perfectly considering the storyline.

Trevor is starting 7th grade and on his very first day he learns from his best friend Libby that he must find a date by day’s end for the dance that is just around the corner. If he doesn’t ask someone to the dance, all the girls he could invite would already have been asked spelling disaster for Trevor. Plus on top of all this, a film crew has come to the school and his every move will be captured up close and personal! This was not the 7th grade life he imagined and could it get any worse?

Kids will get a kick out of the way the book includes one funny antic after another. Also featured are “documentary-style” items found by the film makers to help paint a picture of Trevor such as drawings from Trevor’s notebook and an old yearbook picture. In a nutshell, if Trevor can just get through 7th grade until the big dance, things could turn out okay, even epic.

Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Of Polar Bears and Golden Flowers

bilde

Debbie Glade dreams of snow from her home in Miami as she reviews this wonderful, wintery picture book.

A Flower in the Snow ($16.99, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Ages 4 and up) by Tracey Corderoy is a story about two unlikely friends, an Inuit girl named Luna and a polar bear named Bear who discover an unlikely occurrence – a flower growing in the snow. Bear picks the golden flower to give to Luna, but when the flower dies and Luna gets sad, Bear sets out to find her a replacement. His journey, taking him near and far and also far too long, makes Luna miss him terribly. When he finally returns, together they learn the true meaning of friendship.

A Flower in the Snow teaches kids the valuable message that material gifts are not what friendship is all about, rather it is companionship and time spent together. The lovely watercolor illustrations by Sophie Allsopp are charming and beautifully capture the emotions of the story. This book would make a perfect holiday gift for a young child. After all, what child wouldn’t want to be best friends with a big, white, fluffy polar bear?

Both Sides of Bullying

The award-winning team of Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis tackles bullying from behind a bully’s eyes.

Each Kindness ($16.99, Nancy Paulson Books, ages 5-8), an exceptional children’s picture book written by Jacqueline Woodson with illustrations by E.B. Lewis, will touch you and your children in ways you hadn’t expected and that’s a good thing, a very good thing.

Asking us to walk in a bully’s shoes, in this case narrator Chloe’s, author Woodson takes us down a path of a child’s unkindness that is certain to strike a chord. How many of us have been in young Chloe’s position choosing not to befriend someone based on appearances only to regret that decision when it was too late? Can we imagine the pain the bullied child feels?

When a new student, Maya, joins Chloe’s class and is seated beside her, Chloe turns toward the window, ignoring Maya’s friendly smile. Why? Simply because her clothes were tattered. Though Maya makes many gestures to become friends with Chloe and the other kids, they continue to whisper about her second-hand clothing and ostracize her, never once thinking how hurtful those actions might be.

One day, well into the school year the teacher, Ms. Albert, gives a seemingly simple yet ultimately powerful lesson using a bowl of water and a small stone dropped in. She explains how kindness works. “Every little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.”  Unfortunately for Chloe she realizes too late that she, like that tiny stone’s ripples, could have had a positive effect on another person. Maya does not return to school and that chance is lost forever.

Though Maya’s family circumstances are never clearly explained, this worked for me and perhaps is deliberate. Maya becomes symbolic of all those vulnerable children often targeted by bullies whether it be for financial reasons, a disability or just not having the right clothing. Between its lyrical text and the marvelously moving watercolors, Each Kindness provides an opportunity for parents and educators to broach the topic of bullying from both the perspective of the bully and the bullied.  This meaningful and moving book is a must-have that is certain to make a difference in many a youngster’s life.

Today’s reviewer is Ronna Mandel.

Middle Grade Mystery Liar & Spy Should Top Reading Lists

Author Kristen Kittscher reviews a middle grade novel for thinking kids.

If Rebecca Stead found it difficult to follow up her 2010 Newbery award winner, WHEN YOU REACH ME, you’d never know it. Her latest book, LIAR & SPY ($15.99, Random House Children’s Books, ages 9-12), is a stunningly well-crafted, moving story of friendship, trust, and nonconformity that’s sure to soar to the top of 2012 award lists, as well.

In the same spare, lyrical style that packed an emotional punch in When You Reach Me, Stead tells the story of Georges, a seventh grade boy adjusting to difficult new realities at home and school. His best friend has abandoned him for a cool crowd, bullies are targeting him, and he’s just moved out of the only home he’s ever known after his father lost his job. Georges finds some distraction from his troubles when he strikes up a friendship with his new neighbor and fellow twelve-year-old, Safer. An eccentric, coffee-drinking self-proclaimed “spy,” Safer enlists Georges’ help in hunting down the truth about their mysterious neighbor Mr. X, whom Safer suspects is a serial killer. While Georges does indeed get to the bottom of the mystery, in the process he discovers hard truths about himself and friendship.

LIAR & SPY is not for kids seeking an action-packed ride. It’s a gripping, poignant, and often funny book for kids who like to think. Its mystery slowly builds to a surprising climax and twist, but Stead focuses on delivering an emotionally satisfying resolution rather than a purely plot-based one. Her gift for exploring life’s larger questions in a way that’s accessible to kids without condescending to them makes this book an especially good pick for the classroom or a book club, as it’d undoubtedly spark great discussion about friendship, trust, lies, bullying and difference. WHEN YOU REACH ME fans need not worry about being disappointed by this magnificent follow up! 

Open Your Heart to Unlikely Friendships

Debbie Glade, who finds all animals to be fascinating, reviews this captivating book about unlikely friendships.

Part of a three-book series, Unlikely Friendships for Kids: The Dog and the Piglet and Four Other True Stories of Animal Friendships ($7.99, Workman, Ages 7 and up) is both heartwarming and informative. It’s the kind of book that while reading you find yourself expressing  a series of audible, “awwws” because it’s just that darling. Author Jennifer S. Holland is a science writer, who while scuba diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, discovered a fish swimming with a very different species of fish, an unlikely pair. This inspired her to seek out more stories about other animals from different species who became unlikely friends.

The photos in the book are so cute,your kids will love them. They will read five unique true stories about: a large dog and piglet from Germany; an orangutan and a cat who lived in a zoo; a hippo and a goat; a standard poodle and a white-tailed deer; and an iguana and a cat from NY City.  Each story is educational and lets readers into the hearts of the creatures featured in each story.

What is great about this book is that it teaches kids we don’t have to be alike to get along and that friendships, when they work well, don’t really need a rhyme or reason. They just work, and it’s a beautiful thing. They also learn a little bit about the habits of each animal and there’s a nice list of different species in the back of the book as well as a word and phrase list.

Any book that teaches kids compassion, that they can get along with others and be open to branch out into unknown territories is a wonderful book. I recommend checking out the other two titles in this series. What a lovely gift this set would make!

Ride ‘Em Cowgirl

WHEN BEING SECOND BEST MAKES YOU A WINNER

Every Cowgirl Loves A Rodeo by Rebecca Janni and illustrated by Lynne Avril ($16.99, Dial Books for Young Readers, ages 3-5) is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

I reckon everybody loves a county fair especially if you’re wild about winning a blue-ribbon like cowgirl Nellie Sue. Making her third picture book appearance, Nellie’s aimin’ to have herself a rip roarin’ time by entering Beauty, her ‘two-wheeled’ horse into the Bike Rodeo. And while Nellie Sue and her friends Anna and A.J. may pretend their bicycles are horses, a bike competition can be just as challenging.

Whether you’re a first time participant or a champion rider like A.J., it pays to have practiced beforehand. The three friends partake in all the festivities a county fair can offer including a pie-eating contest, a ring toss, a giant slide and feeding animals. When the time arrives to start the race, Nellie saddles up on Beauty and gives the ride of a lifetime. Certain to clinch first place Nellie Sue waits in the wings while watching A.J. take his turn. Soon a prize goat breaks free from his pen threatening to wreck havoc as he makes tracks for A.J.’s bike. Rather than watch her friend fall or fail because of one rogue goat, Nellie Sue runs after the creature to reign him in. In an unexpected turn of events, A.J. manages to finish the race and clinch first place leaving Nellie Sue to take second with a red ribbon. Always the good sportsman, Nellie Sue doesn’t despair as she’s all about keeping it ‘fair at the fair.’ This colorful, fast-paced children’s book conveys a meaningful message about honesty and caring being the biggest prizes of the day.

One Wedding and a Meltdown

Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz by Sarah Webb ($6.99, Candlewick, ages 11 and up) is a quick-paced, light reading “romp” through the 13- year-old Dubliner Amy Green’s fall school year.  As this is Ireland, the school structure is different, but the same girl clicks and teen dreams are all there. Filled with zany characters, Dublin-ese teen lingo (Fun and Funny!) and a positive view of contemporary family structures – Amy has strong bonds with devoted, divorced parents, half-siblings, and supportive cousin role models and godmothers.  She has tricky relationships to build with both of her parents’ significant others.  Webb provides an enticing glimpse at Paris as Amy and company travel there on a surprise shopping trip for Amy’s bride-to-be mother (hence, the title) for Amy’s mother.  The quaint Parisian side streets, delicious boulangerie aromas and alluring fashion boutiques are all there for the tasting!  Bridesmaid Blitz is a series that any tween thru teen would love to explore! Start with Bridesmaid Blitz or one of Webb’s funky “Ask Amy” titles in the series – Boy Trouble or Summer Secrets.

Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz was reviewed by guest reviewer Dr. Juli Barry from Los Angeles. Dr. Barry has her PhD in 20th century American fiction.

Meet a Children’s Author Who Loves Words, Sunshine and Anything Delicious!

I selected this post to be featured on Book Review Blogs. Please visit the site and vote for my blog!

Ronna Mandel discusses the love of words and language with San Francisco Bay Area debut author Sandra V. Feder.

Whoever said there are no new ideas has not spent time blogging about kids’ books!

One of my favorite things about writing on Good Reads With Ronna is getting to meet first time authors and I did just that in Larchmont Village one Saturday earlier this month, when I sat down to speak with Sandra V. Feder, author of Daisy’s Perfect Word from Kids Can Press. After spending a delightful time discussing our mutual love of language, I can honestly say I would read anything Sandra wrote because her enthusiasm was not only contagious, but refreshing and totally genuine! Find out more about Sandra on her website, www.sandravfeder.com. There’s also some information about how parents can continue the discussion about words with their children after they read Daisy’s Perfect Word.  Sandra’s also included useful information for teachers and librarians about how to use the book in a school setting. 

Daisy is a girl who loves words.  She compiles lists of words, and using the right words for the right situations makes all the difference in the world to her. Her best friend Emma appreciates Daisy’s love of language and they both adore Miss Goldner, their teacher. What happens when Daisy and Emma learn that Miss Goldner is going to get married? Will Daisy be able to find just the perfect present that will have meaning for Miss Goldner long after her wedding day?  Daisy is determined to give a gift that will bring smiles to her teacher while being both unique and something money cannot buy. Share the delight that Feder’s wonderful words can bring by reading a copy of Daisy’s Perfect Word today!

When did the seed of this story begin growing?

The seed began growing from watching my own children and other people’s children have fun with language.  I think a lot of kids go through a phase of experimenting with words. They like the way some of the words feel in their mouth. One of my daughters went through a phase of using the word actually a lot.  For example she would say, “actually, mother, I’d like some orange juice,” because it made her sound more grown up than the usual kid language.  And I noticed a lot of other children having fun learning new words and putting words together, so the idea of a character that enjoyed words and language was born.

Is this an early reader/chapter book or an MG (middle grade) novel? I ask because the different categories can be confusing for parents.  So what is it exactly and what age group do you see it for?

I see it for ages 7-10 and it’s called, by me
and the publisher, an early chapter book.
It is not an MG novel, which tends to
be a bit older and to deal with more
mature themes. The early chapter book
is not a first reader. It does have some
bigger words than kids might find in
a first reader.  Mine has 11 short chapters.
It’s meant for kids ages 7-10 but also is a fun
book for parents to read with their kids when
they are 5 or 6 years-old.
There’s nothing in it that is not age-appropriate.

It’s a nice read. Kids will feel good about themselves after they complete it. It’s nothing too daunting at first glance.

Yes, and the type is a little bigger, and there are a lot of illustrations, more illustrations than typical MG chapter books.  There are fun, big illustrations in almost every chapter and then lots of smaller ones as you go along.

And the illustrations were good, too. I really like them. You were lucky.

I am so grateful that the publisher paired me with a wonderful Canadian illustrator, Susan Mitchell. She really created the world that I imagined, and she did it so beautifully. I am very grateful. 

The cover, with the purple polka dots, is simply perfect.  It’s appealing.

That’s the art director from Kids Can Press, who did the cover design.  They are a terrific Canadian publishing group.  They are one of the top places to go for early chapter books. They are really interested in this market right now. They put so much care and love into Daisy’s Perfect Word. You can tell by the way it looks and how it was put together. They really did a beautiful job.

So were you a lot like Daisy growing up?

That’s a good question. I definitely have curly hair! I have always enjoyed words and language. I was interested in becoming a children’s book author from about age 9. And the reason is that I had a wonderful elementary school librarian who not only loved introducing us to books but also would bring authors to the school to talk to us. I think when you are a kid and you meet somebody who has created this world that you love and enjoy so much, it’s a magical thing.  And I thought, wouldn’t that be about the most wonderful thing in the world to create a world and characters that children would love? And so it was always a part of me, that seed, and I ended up going into journalism as a career and was a newspaper reporter for many years.   I had the opportunity to work as a news assistant for the New York Times in Washington, D.C. when I got out of college.  And when you write for The New York Times you really do see the power words have.  This was something that always resonated with me, and I finally have the opportunity to bring that passion of mine to a new generation.

Is this your first book?

It’s my first book, and it’s a series so there will be at least four Daisy books and they all have to do with how we use words and language.  In Book 2, Daisy discovers alliteration and has fun putting words together in new ways and in Book 3 she’s going to discover poetry. And Book 4, I haven’t decided on yet, but it will be something fun having to do with words.

Everybody has a Samantha in their life as a classmate, a snooty know-it-all kind of girl or boy in many cases. Do you recommend ignoring girls like that as Daisy did quite successfully?

Sometimes Daisy doesn’t like to be around Samantha because of the way Samantha talks and the words Samantha chooses. Samantha uses words such as “Stop!” “Follow me” and “Mine.” I think it’s an interesting lesson for kids to think about the language they use and how other kids hear them.  So I wanted to include this character, Samantha, who uses words in a way that isn’t the way that Daisy likes using words. Daisy doesn’t want to have Samantha’s words stuck in her head. She wants to have happier, more pleasant words in her head.  

Daisy is a good role model for girls and is empowering. I like the story because it’s not about purchasing anything. It had nothing to do with electronics. It just had to do with what came inside from Daisy as a person.

Thank you for recognizing that!

Daisy spends a good portion of the book searching for the right gift for her favorite teacher Miss Goldner. And then she decides it’s got to be the perfect word, something Miss Goldner will always remember. What is your perfect word?

One of my favorite words is sunshine because I think sunshine is both something we need in our lives, and I think there are people who spread sunshine, like Daisy. And I really appreciate those people in my own life. I’ve also always loved the word delicious because I have a sweet tooth like Daisy, and I also like the word delicious because I think when you apply it to children it’s cute: “What a delicious little baby!”

Daisy and her best friend Emma are really sweet girls, what do you think are the qualities that make them so appealing?

I think that they are girls who value each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I think Emma appreciates Daisy’s fondness for words and Daisy appreciates Emma’s kindness and her sense of fun.  They share a lot together. To me what I like about the friendship is that I don’t see them as having the same personality, I see them as having complementary personalities. And as the series goes along, we’ll see different things in their relationship that come up where they diverge a little bit on at least one thing. Daisy wants to do it one way and Emma, who is equally strong, says, “this is what I want.”   I think they complement and balance one another.

Talking about Daisy’s love of words – as a writer you had to come up with this story that grew out of your love of words, yet I wonder, who has the better imagination, you or Daisy?

I like to think we both have good imaginations!

I thought Daisy coming up with the idea of a gift in the form of a word and Samantha even approving was huge!

I think it does happen that writers have a concept for a story, which for me was this idea of playing with words and language, but then you need a real storyline to go with it.  So I came up with idea of Daisy wanting to give her teacher a gift and then making that gift a word.   That’s what moves the story forward. And I also, as you mentioned, wanted something that wasn’t about going out and buying but was something that a child, any child, could come up with. It’s been so wonderful to see the reactions of children to the book; one little girl in Canada wrote a review in the National Post and she said that she loves that Daisy likes making up words because she likes making up words, too.  And she included one of her favorite made up words. We made a little book trailer for Daisy’s Perfect Word and went out and asked children, “What’s your favorite word?” and basically, without missing a beat, every child came up with a word.  Some had a particular reason they liked the word, and some just said, “I like the way it sounds.” The video trailer is on my website.  I think the idea of having fun with words really does touch a chord with children.

You mentioned earlier that you had written right out of college for The NYT.  Do you have a full time job, Sandra?

I am committed now to writing children’s books.  I am very excited about this new phase for me and feel very fortunate that Kids Can has put their faith in me for four books. As a new children’s book author, to have a series is really exciting and fun.  Once I started expanding the Daisy story and really getting to know Daisy in her world, I felt there were so many great places that I could continue to go with her. And the fact that Kids Can saw that as well and believed in me and Daisy is really wonderful.  I am also working on some other children’s book projects that I hope will come to fruition.

Will you go on tour?

Right now it’s meeting interviewers like you when I am in a particular city or over the phone, and I’m doing a lot of speaking around the Bay Area where I live, as well as school visits. 

 

Thank you so much Sandra for sharing your time, experience and love of the English language.  I cannot wait to read more of your wonderful words! It’s been belotzi (my son’s made up word for fantastic) spending time with you and learning about Daisy’s Perfect Word.



You Either Are or You Are Not

I’m Not ($15.99, Schwartz & Wade Books, ages 4-8) by Pam Smallcomb and illustrated by Robert Weinstock, though not new, is just such an original picture book. The title alone was enough to convince me to read on and your kids will want to as well!

Filled with wonderful descriptions and whimsical artwork, I’m Not simply IS … terrific, I mean!

To quote the narrator talking about her best friend,

“If Evelyn was a book, you’d read her all night under the covers to see what happened next. (Possibly my favorite line, but there are just so many!)

“Most of the time, I’m not.

This beautiful story so perfectly portrays two friends and the harmony of their friendship. One, Evelyn, is a wild and crazy gal who is lots of things her friend the narrator is not, and all of these are positive attributes to be admired. Does that make the narrator any less special? Of course not! At the same time there is so much that Evelyn admires about her friend who, though not as freewheeling as Evelyn, has so much going for her. While Evelyn claims to be “stinky at spelling,” her friend is not. Surprise, surprise, Evelyn’s also afraid of the dark  and lousy at baking, but can appreciate the great qualities her friend has. Together with what they bring to the relationship, there’s a nice kind of balance.  Isn’t that what enduring friendship is all about?

I adore this book with so few words but all so deftly chosen. Between the humorous illustrations and the homage to friendship, respect, admiration and mutual understanding, this book is everything a great picture book should be. And am I glad I read it? I am! I am!

I’m Not was reviewed by Ronna Mandel who dedicates this review to her colleague Debbie Glade who is everything Ronna is not and that is just how she likes it!

Making New Friends From a Hanukkah Mishap

Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap written by Deborah Bodin Cohen and illustrated by Shahar Kober ($17.95 hardcover, $7.95 paperback; Kar-Ben, ages 5-9) was reviewed by Ronna Mandel in the December issue of L.A. Parent.

Engineer Ari is trying to get from Jerusalem to Jaffa, Israel, to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with friends Jessie and Nathaniel. He’s bringing dreidels, a hanukkiah, a bottle of oil, a bag of Turkish coins and some sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts; a glossary in the front of the book offers more handy definitions), and children he meets on the way to the station chat about the story behind the holiday.

On board the train Ari can almost taste Nathaniel’s potato latkes and hear Jessie singing the Hanukkah blessings, but he will have to wait. Coming around a bend, Ari spots a camel relaxing on the tracks and must make an emergency stop, causing his caboose to derail.

Kalil, a Bedouin with long robes and a shepherd’s staff, comes to help Ari remove the stubborn camel. As the sun sets and the two men wait in a desert tent for help to arrive, Ari misses the chance to celebrate Hanukkah’s first night with his old friends, but is blessed to share the Festival of Lights with a new one.

While there may be a mishap, it turns out that everything about Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap is just right!

Four-Footed And Fabulous

Today’s guest reviewer is Julia, a 12-year -old-San Gabriel Valley girl in the 7th grade. She enjoys reading, swimming, hanging out with her friends, and playing with her precious dog. She’d like to be a fiction writer one day and writes fabulous creative stories of her own.

9781402238888-mThe Doggy Divas: Roxy’s Rules (Sourcebooks, $6.99, ages 9-12) by Lauren Brown is about two girls, Roxy and Liz, best friends forever, who get into a huge fight because Roxy accidentally kissed Matt whom Liz likes. Now Roxy has been kicked out of Liz’s group of friends and she has no one else to hang out with, until she meets Kim and Georgia. Together they start a dog-walking business. Once Liz has heard of this new venture she tries to end it, but ends up getting busted by Matt. In all this, somehow Roxy loses Liz’s dog Little Roxy and if Roxy doesn’t find the pooch in time Liz will shut down the business. However there is happy, very cute and romatic ending which I won’t reveal or I’ll spoil it all for you! I would love to read more by this author because this book had a hook which grabbed my attention and I couldn’t put it down. I would recommend this book to people who like friendship, romance, and drama. Hopefully there is a sequel!

Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: