Friday, July 13, 2018

Children's Book Roundup (8)

I love reading year round with my kids, but there's something special about reading a book together over the summer. We love chapter books, but we have been enjoying a lot of picture books lately. Here are my thoughts on the latest:

A House in the Sky and Other Uncommon Homes by Steve Jenkins - If you have a non-fiction lover at home, they will appreciate this beautifully illustrated book all about where different animals live. It covers turtles, beavers, kangaroos, and more. My youngest appreciated the pictures of the animals and seeing their homes, whereas my oldest was able to fully comprehend more of the details on the page that feature the different animal homes and the characteristics of each one.  This book quickly became a favorite in our house. 

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems - Will we ever tire of Mo Willems? Probably not. This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious! It's about Pigeon who wants a cookie just like little duckling. He can't understand why the duck always gets things, yet he doesn't. 

I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien - This is such a timely and important read. I loved sharing it with my oldest son. The story features three immigrants that are new to their American school. They must learn the English language, how to write/read, and make new friends, etc. This book feels like its ripped right from the headlines and because of that, I felt like it was a powerful read.  It teaches little ones empathy towards any new students in class and especially those that may come from other countries. Teachers will definitely want to snag a copy for their classroom libraries.  

Hansel and Gretel by Jane Ray - This is one of my favorite fairy tales, but this version was a little weird. For starters, the illustrations were a little strange and did not really enhance the story. Also, there were some major inconsistencies in the text. The story refers to a character as their mother one minute and then their step-mother the next.  I'd look elsewhere for a version of this classic tale.

The Loathsome Dragon by David Wiesner - This is a gorgeous retelling of a traditional English tale and I absolutely loved the illustrations.  If you love fairy tales, definitely give this picture book a try as it has everything I love about fairy tales: a brave knight, castles, enchantresses, dragons, suspense, and more. My only gripe is that the female in the story often needs rescuing, which I guess is a reflection of the traditional genre.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue by Robert Burleigh - This picture book is based on a real-life story of a whale caught in a fishing net and the people that helped him to escape in order to avoid an untimely death.  My sons love sea animals, so we really enjoyed this story. It also became something they could reference when the same thing happened to a whale off the NJ coast this past week.  I love that this book is more than a survival story in that it talks about humpback whales at the end of the book, which is great for curious little minds. 

Sophie's Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli - This was a strange picture book, but in a good way if you can follow me. It's about Sophie, a spider, who makes beautiful creations. One day she makes a most important creation as well as her final masterpiece for a very special occasion.   It's a quirky type of tale, but one that I felt was really heartfelt. I am not sure my sons appreciated it as much as me though.  

Life by Cynthia Rylant - I feel like the world needs more picture books like this. Although the big message may have been lost on my boys, I still appreciated this book and I felt like it spoke to me. Don't you love when picture books do that? It's about how tough life can be, but there's always something to be happy about - something to love. It's a stunning book and definitely a good one to share with little ones as it leads to much discussion and gives us all some hope. 

Woof: A Love Story by Sarah Weeks - This is a cute story about a dog who loves a cat, but the cat can't understand the dog's barking as he tries to profess his love. Essentially, it's a story about the power of love and although it's a little strange, I liked the overall message. It would be a cute one to share on Valentine's Day.

What picture books have you been reading? What are some of your favorites? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I am doing a whole dragon theme this summer with my youngest and so I will have to add The Loathsome Dragon to our TBR list.

    1. Definitely! It's a good one! Thanks for visiting, Sara!


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