Children’s Picture Book Review: Toshi’s Little Treasures

Children’s Picture Book Review: Toshi’s Little TreasuresToshi's Little Treasures by Nadine Robert, Aki
Published by Kids Can Press on April 5th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Pages: 32
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

In this appealing search-and-find informational picture book, readers join a little boy named Toshi as he and his grandmother explore six of their favorite places -- the riverbank, the town, the forest, the country, the park and the beach. At each location, Toshi finds treasures to add to his collection, from a dragonfly wing to a glittery rock to a guitar pick. Best of all, his grandmother always knows what everything is! Each scene is featured in a full-spread illustration, with lots of potential treasures labeled. Following that is an activity in which readers help Toshi identify his found treasures from each place by matching them to related items (for example, pink peony petals matching the peony plant, and a coin matching the coin purse). Answers at the back of the book reveal interesting facts about them all, adding context. The animals that Toshi and his grandmother encounter are also shown at the back of the book. Using an innovative technique that mixes fiction and nonfiction, this book is the perfect resource for life science lessons on habitats and the environment. It encourages observation skills, curiosity and critical thinking -- building blocks for studying science. This book would be a terrific inspiration for a trip around the neighborhood in which children can find, identify and draw treasures of their own. It could also be used as a starting point for storytelling, in which children imagine the story of a treasure -- Toshi's or their own -- before it was found.

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This book is about the special treasures Toshi finds when he goes for walks with his grandmother. It reminded me of my own walks with my grandmother and how I would ask her about the different things that I saw. It also reminded me of my nephews and how inquisitive they are, always picking up different things in the yard when we play with them outside. Toshi’s Little Treasure has lovely bright colors and so much to seek and find. You travel along with Toshi and his grandmother to the riverbank, the town, the country, the forest, the park and the beach.

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At each location, Toshi goes exploring with his grandmother and finds many different little treasures to add to his growing collection from a glittery rock, dog whistle, a partridge feather and so much more. This book is a great starting point to encouraging exploration of nature and different habitats as well as promoting being in nature. This is definitely a great book to inspire your own family to go on your own treasure hunting adventure. I loved that after each place you have a list of all the treasures that Toshi found and you have a matching “game” to see if you can match the different items you found to where they come from.

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I would have loved for the illustrations to have been a bit more detailed, but that is really just me being picky. At the back of the book, there is an answer key with all the matching answers, as well as some interesting and educational little tidbits of information about each item.I think this book would be a great addition to any family library. Be it used for exploring, or just as a “seek and find” reading activity it is sure to entertain and captivate young readers.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and enjoy this delightful book.

 

four-half-stars

YA ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

YA ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Darkest Corners by Kara ThomasThe Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Published by Delacorte on April 19th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-stars

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

WOW! The Darkest Corners was a fantastic mystery ride. Usually, I can figure out and put things together when I read most mystery novels, but the reveals of this book totally surprised me in the best way possible.

The Darkest Corners is well-plotted and perfectly paced. Kara Thomas does a great job building up to the climax of the book and establishing the background and relationships of the characters. Though it started off a bit slow, the story still “sucked” you in. The anticipation was like being on a rollercoaster – slowly climbing to the top, feeling every click of the chain pulling your cart higher and higher to the drop off point before you are set in free fall and come rushing back down and through all the loops and hills. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. There were plenty of times where I found myself holding me breath as the story unfolded. If I could have read it in one sitting I would have but unfortunately, there is a thing called life and responsibilities that kept me from just completely devouring this book in one swoop. There are many twists and turns, and the reveals in this book are INSANE and nothing like I was expecting.

I really liked that there was NO ROMANCE in this book, which is not very typical for most YA. There was a good amount of friendship in this book and that made me happy. Tessa and Callie’s friendship was my favorite of all the relationships in this book. I was glad that they were able to rekindle their friendship after years of drifting apart and having been through so much at such a younger age. Tessa was definitely my favorite character. Life hasn’t been easy for her, and she definitely had lots of struggles especially with her family. Tessa’s a fighter though and seemed like the kind of girl who would never take “no” for an answer, I respect that kind of drive and determination.

If you are looking for a thrilling mystery that will keep you guessing then I highly recommend you read this book. My mind was completely “blown” by the time the final reveal came and I am still processing what happened – it was that GOOD.

Thank you, Random House for providing me with this ARC copy of The Darkest Corner at ALAMW and I can’t wait to read the final finished copy, being released on April 19th, 2016.

karaAbout Kara Thomas

Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin’s Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

four-stars