Thursday, December 28, 2017


There are many types of dogs one can find at an animal shelter.  But did you ever see one that was as tall as a building and could belt out a loud roar?  In Anna Staniszewski’s story Dogosaurus Rex, Ben’s pet, Sadie, is everything and more, from sitting on command to rolling over, she is the perfect dog.  Some people in the community are a bit leery of her talents until a situation arises and she’s put to the test to make a performance of a lifetime.  

This humorous story will be enjoyed many times, and fans of Kevin Hawkes- the illustrator who brought The Library Lion to life- will not be disappointed with his latest work.  For ages 2-7 and of course, anyone who wants a dogosaurus as a pet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


In Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman with illustrations by Zachariah OHora, three small, adorably fuzzy, and sadly illiterate rodents evidently have yet to read the definitive book on lemmings, which CLEARLY states that lemmings do NOT jump off cliffs.

Aboard the S.S. Cliff (a barge which may or may not in fact be a large whale), First Mate Foxy, the very much literate arctic fox, is surprised by the revelations of his new leisure reading material, Everything About Lemmings. “Huh! Says here, lemmings don’t jump off cliffs,” he muses aloud.

Unfortunately, the three aforementioned local lemmings also suffer from selective hearing, in addition to being highly suggestible and terrible eavesdroppers. At the mention of “jump,” they immediately dive enthusiastically overboard, which in turn necessitates a quick rescue effort by Foxy. He takes the impressionable lemmings under his wing, gives them tiny hats as well as ridiculous, yet apt, names (“Jumper,” “Me Too,” and “Ditto”) in order to better scold them.

What follows is a hilarious tale of repeated dives, rescues, scoldings, and schoolings.

The author explains the inspiration for this picture book as a late discovery that lemmings don’t jump off cliffs, followed immediately by the thought: “‘OH NO! DID ANYONE TELL THE LEMMINGS?!’ So we made this book. You’re welcome, lemmings.” The author-illustrator duo previously collaborated to create the equally charming picture books Wolfie the Bunny (reviewed here) and Horrible Bear!

Ages 4+

Monday, December 18, 2017


Mango is such a unique name and this middle-schooler wears it with pride! Mango comes from a loving family and their bond is felt through and through. She’ll need to reach deep down within herself though when she is accused of some wrongdoing at school. It isn’t her BFF that sees her through. Instead, it is a new acquaintance that makes the difference, helping Mango see things in a different way.  

Fracaswell Hyman's story highlights a middle schooler’s dilemma of doing what’s right. Sure there are life’s challenges and school drama, but the love and support from her family in this story are memorable, and Mango’s courage to step up is admirable. Readers just might find Mango a friend they can turn to.  

For ages 9-12

Thursday, December 14, 2017


"When's my birthday? 
Where's my birthday? 
How many days until my birthday?"* 

So begins the jubilantly poetic picture-book salute to all things to all things birthday, When's My Birthday? written by Julie Fogliano (the poet behind the lovely When Green Becomes Tomatoes) and illustrated by Christian Robinson (the artist of the Newbery winner and Caldecott Honoree Last Stop on Market Street). The verse, related to us by an omniscient child narrator, espouses pure, unadulterated joy. All the whos, whats, whens, and hows are all covered here (no need for whys of course)--the prospective presents and party and cake are imagined and anticipated down to the last detail. The infectiously questioning refrain above is almost certain to be familiar to parents and caregivers everywhere, and this charming celebration of celebrations will inspire bliss and excitement when shared with toddlers through kindergartners looking forward to observing their own birthdays.  

*Just in case anyone is wondering, this reviewer's birthday is coming up at the end of this month. You know, for the record.   

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Hippo and his friends are going to enjoy a wonderful meal under the beautiful sunshine. When each friend presents a special treat, Hippo realizes that he has nothing to share. Oh no! He decides to excuse himself from the group to search for somethings special to eat. That’s when the adventure begins. Hippo is gone so long that his friends set out to search for their pal. Will their adventures end soon so that they can continue their special feast?  

From veteran children’s book writer Jonathan London, the story shows that friendship is strong no matter where you’re at and that getting together just makes everything better. Check out Duck and Hippo Lost and Found, with illustrations by Andrew Joyner.  

For ages 4-8

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Leo is terrified of the monster under his bed--and Under-The-Bed Fred really is under the bed. One night, when Leo can't hold it (you know what "it" is of course) in any longer and just has to go! He asks the monster to give him safe passage to the bathroom and when he's safely back in bed, seeing how easy it all was, he strikes up a friendly conversation with the monster, who now calls himself Fred.  

Desperate to bring something to class for show and tell, Leo decides to bring Fred to school. It all starts out well enough until his entire class runs out of the room terrified of Fred's many scary monster impressions. 

Pick up this fun beginning chapter book by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Colin Jack, to meet the not-so-scary Fred.   

For readers in 2nd- 3rd grades. 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017


Pete the Cat wants to have fun and dance. His moves are not always flawless, but who really gets it right the first time? With some encouragement from a wise friend, Pete the Cat decides to just get up and move.

From the creators of Pete the Cat, Kimberly & James Dean write another smash hit, Pete the Cat and the Cool Cat Boogie, that offers a celebration of your true self, talent, and abilities. For parents and teachers to share with children who can use a boost of Pete the Cat’s optimism and perseverance.

 For ages 2-8