Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Max at Night
Author: Ed Vere
Publish Date: Sept 1, 2016
My Rating: Five Stars
Synopsis from GoodReads: “This is Max. Max is very sleepy. It’s way past Max’s bedtime. Max has drunk his milk. Max has brushed his teeth. Max has cleaned behind his ears. Now Max just needs to say goodnight…”
Max at Night is a lovely bedtime story about an adorable black kitten who wants to say goodnight to his favorite friends. He starts with his fish and then his favorite box. When he gets to the Moon’s turn she is nowhere to be found. Max needs to investigate and simply won’t go to bed before he says goodnight to the Moon. He heads outside and asks the Night if she has seen the Moon, but the Night is dark and quiet. (When I read this part the first time all I could think of what Melisandre in Game of Thrones keeps saying “The Night is Dark and full of Terrors”, I know, I’m twisted).
Alrighty then….back to your regular scheduled review….
Max has an idea. Maybe if he gets to a higher point in the sky he will be able to find the Moon. He climbs, and climbs and climbs up high. When is about to get upset and give up he calls out one last time. “Moooooooon where are you?” Luckily for him, the Moon was only hiding behind some clouds. The Moon whispers “Goodnight Max, and thank you for coming”. Satisfied with having found the Moon, Max sleepily heads back home.
A wonderful bedtime story especially for those getting rambunctious littles ones to settle in for the night and to follow all their nighttime routines. The illustrations are minimalistic but still colorful and vivid. I liked that the story promotes a sense of “read-a-long” and the repetitiveness of the words engages children as to what Max is doing or where he is going next. Adorable, cute and funny Max at Night is destined to become a bedtime favorite. I highly recommend this book to anyone with little ones from the ages of 2 and up, though I am sure a 1 yr old/infant would also enjoy looking at the book and hearing the readers voice as a way of soothing and getting ready for sleepytime.
Thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky and Ed Vere the opportunity to read this book in advance in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
Ed Vere has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. He is also a fine art painter and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. He lives in London.
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Herbie's Big Adventure by Jennie Poh
Published by Picture Window Books on August 1st 2016
Genres: Children's Books
Herbie is a little hedgehog who is perfectly happy at home with his mother. But one day Mommy tells Herbie that it's time to go exploring all by himself! Herbie is so not sure, but ready or not, a westerly wind sweeps Herbie into the wide world...and Herbie's Big Adventure begins! Little Herbie finds that he's braver than he thinks and even makes a friend before coming safely back home to Mommy."
Herbie’s Big Adventure is a charming story about a cute little hedgehog learning to be on his own. It starts with Herbie as just a little baby hedgehog and moves on to him getting bigger and being told by his Mama that the time had come for him to go out into the world and forge on his own. At first little Herbie is not quite sure he can do it all by himself and is scared. He misses his Mama and doesn’t know if he will be able to find anything to eat or his way back home. Herbie is determined though and with a little help from a snowbear, he is able to see his adventure to the end. The book is beautifully illustrated and I loved that the words in this story were “noisy” an awesome way to incorporate the senses.
You get words like “snuggled, burrowed, tickly, shivered, whirling are all wonderful action words that a reader could stop and demonstrate themselves or and take a moment to ask the young listener/s to give them an example of how they comprehend the words themselves. I also liked that the writing style was simple but still used words that would help expand a young readers’ vocabulary. There was the occasional fun sounding word like Wheeeee! Or Whoooosh! Or Crunch! All words that young readers will enjoy hearing and saying along with the story. The book begins in the late summer as Herbie is born, and proceeds forward through all the seasons ending in Spring, which is also a clever way to teach young readers about the seasons, and what usually happens during each. One of the main and most important lessons of the story is about growing up and facing one’s fears. It’s about knowing that there will always be a safe place to return to in your parents’ arms/home but that you need to be brave and conquer the world on your own too. I think this would be a perfect story to read to a young child who is starting either daycare or kindergarten for the first time, or even to an older child who is going through a big move. Everything about Herbie’s Big Adventure was lovely from start to finish and I would recommend it to parents, caregivers, teachers and all young readers between 2-6 years old.
Thank you so much to Netgalley, Picture Window Books at Capstone, and Jennie Poh for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Ooko by Esme Shapiro
Published by Tundra Books on July 5th 2016
Ooko has everything a fox could want: a stick, a leaf and a rock. Well, almost everything . . . Ooko wants someone to play with too! The foxes in town always seem to be playing with their two-legged friends, the Debbies. Maybe if he tries to look like the other foxes, one of the Debbies will play with him too. But when Ooko finally finds his very own Debbie, things don't turn out quite as he had expected! A quirky, funny, charmingly illustrated story about finding friendship and being true to yourself.
Ooko is a very adorable little fox, and even though he has a stick, a leaf and a rock, he is lonely. Ooko decides he needs to find a friend and sets off looking. Ooko gets excited when he finds what looks like another fox playing with a little girl (who he thinks is a 2 legged furless fox). He tries to walk over so that he can play with them but they run away and the little girl’s mother calls out to her “ Debbie, Watch out!”.
Ooko now thinks all 2 legged furless foxes are called Debbie and he wants his very own. Ooko thinks that debbies don’t like him the way he is, so he tries really had to change his appearance to look more like the other foxes aka dogs around him. Eventually, a short sighted lady mistakes him for her puppy Ruthie. The lady gives him a bath, dresses him in an itchy wool sweater and takes him for a walk. Ooko is starting to realize that debbies don’t play very fun games after all. While out on a walk he comes upon a racoon name Oomi. Oomi loves to play with sticks just like Ooko does and together they set off to play. Ooko realized that he doesn’t need to change anything about himself in order to have a friend to play with.
I fell in love with this book during ALAMW this past January. While at the Tundra Books booth, one of the representatives pointed it out to me. When it became available on NetGalley I just had to read it in full. The illustrations are whimsical, colorful and quirky. The story is simple enough for younger readers to handle sitting through, yet cute and entertaining enough for older readers too. The message at the end of the story is a really good one too. Ooko was precious and I felt so bad for him when he was sad and lonely. Young readers (and older readers too) are sure to delight in the loveliness of the artwork and have plenty to look at while reading.
The moral of the story is to be true to yourself, and not to worry that by doing so you won’t find any friends. Out there somewhere is someone that will like you just the way you are, without any need to change yourself and who likes to play “sticks” or “leaf” or “rock” just as much as you do. I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it as a good book to read out loud either at story time, bedtime or whenever a story is requested or needed.
Thank you NetGalley and Tundra Books for the opportunity to read this book prior to publishing in exchange for an honest review.
The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
Published by Kids Can Press on August 1st 2015
Kikko sets out after her father with a forgotten pie for Grandma. When she arrives at a strange house in the wintry woods, a peek in the window reveals that the footprints Kikko had been following did not belong to her father at all, but to a bear in a long coat and hat! Alice in Wonderland meets Little Red Riding Hood in this charmed tale.
When I first saw the cover for A Tea Party in The Woods I thought…”must read…there is a bunny wearing a yellow coat”. I also love tea parties…so obviously this seemed like a win-win for me as a reader. Luckily NetGalley approved my request and I was able to explore the story further. It turned out to be quite a delightful and whimsical journey.
A Tea Party in the Woods is the story of a little girl named Kikko and her journey through the snow covered woods to bring her grandmother a pie. Her father has already set off and she must hurry to try to catch up to him. Unfortunately, she stumbles and crushes the box with the pie inside. Kikko is devastated but this turns out to be a happy accident because she soon comes upon a house filled with furry animals having a tea party. Kikko joins in on the celebration and with the generosity of all the animals she now has various pieces of cake to bring with her. As she sets off to grandmother’s house the animals accompany her in a makeshift musical parade.
The book’s concept reminded me a bit of Little Red Riding Hood, minus the hungry wolf. I thought the artwork to be beautifully done, and a great use of light and shade. Though mainly done in charcoal, there are splashes of color (mainly red and yellow and orange) that bring your attention to exactly where you should be looking. I also thought that the minimalistic color choices were a good way to depict the “bleakness” of what winter can be like. While reading this story I couldn’t help but imagine how some of the illustrations are a bit “dark” and with the right twist of the mind you could think something far more sinister could be afoot…(i.E. The animals all turn on Kikko and eat her for the main course). However, A Tea Party in The Woods is definitely a children’s book, and the author and artist made sure to not leave too much room for the mind of the child to wonder to such dark thoughts (though if you were like me as a child…I probably would have anyway).
A Tea Party In The Woods was originally published in Japan in 2010 and I am very happy that it has been so flawlessly translated into English. I am most definitely going to add the finished copy to my library and I recommend that you give this one a chance, it feels like it could be a classic and children will enjoy reading it over and over again. It was stunning, with just the right amount of weird and whimsy to fill my heart with joy.
Thank you to NetGalley, and Kids Can Press for providing me an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Toshi's Little Treasures by Nadine Robert, Aki
Published by Kids Can Press on April 5th 2016
Genres: Children's Picture Book
Buy on Amazon
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.
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.
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.
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.