Picture Book Review: Rooftop Garden

Rooftop Garden by Danna Smith

Rooftop Garden
by Danna Smith (Author), Pati Aguilera (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

A group of neighbors decide to plant a rooftop garden. They plant the seeds, water them, and weed. They encourage pollinators like butterflies and bees, but they gently remove the pesky bugs and snails. Finally they can harvest their crop of vegetables and have a big feast!

I liked the illustrations, and I especially appreciated that the neighbors are from all types of ethnicities and ages. On each page, we see them all working together to build their garden. The art style is simple and attractive with bright colors.

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Picture Book Reviews: What Goes Inside? and Parts of a Whole

What Goes Inside? by Magda Garguláková

What Goes Inside? (Neatly Organized Things)
by Magda Garguláková, Federico Bonifacini (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

A dog named Bruno invites the reader to explore what goes inside various containers and places. We look inside a fridge, a washing machine, and a toolbox. We explore items in a classroom, a gym, and a camper. We even take a look inside an Inuit igloo!

I think my favorite places to look inside were the artist’s suitcase and the rock band’s van, because I am a musician and my brother is an artist. I also really loved looking inside a book of fairy tales and identifying Snow White, Cinderella, and other fairy tale characters!

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Picture Book Review: Amazing Plants of the World

Amazing Plants of the World by Štěpánka Sekaninová

Amazing Plants of the World
by Štěpánka Sekaninová

4 out of 5 stars

The mysterious botanist, Dr. Carnation, gives us a tour of his secluded gardens, where weird and wild plants are growing. We see carnivorous plants and stinky flowers. There are strange shapes in the blossoms and fungi. We learn about orchids that look like flies or babies or dancing girls.

Unfortunately there is also a “naked man orchid” with a little appendage hanging down. I found that in poor taste for a children’s book. Even if it is a flower common to the Mediterranean, that doesn’t mean it should be included in a children’s picture book. The text says, “Luckily they are unashamed of their nakedness. Quite the opposite.” I guess it’s supposed to be cute or funny, but I found it to be very inappropriate.

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Picture Book Review: Georgie Dupree Classroom Confidence

Georgie Dupree by Ceece Kelley

Georgie Dupree: Classroom Confidence
by Ceece Kelley

5 out of 5 stars

Georgie is a little nervous about her first day at a new school. Her neighborhood friends are in a different class. What if she can’t make any new friends? But Georgie sees a girl with pink shoes and asks to be her friend, and by the end of the day Georgie has three new friends. Georgie makes up a dance and teaches it to her new friends at school. Even the stuck-up kids want to learn Georgie’s new dance. Georgie learns to be confident and keep trying, even when she feels nervous or anxious. Each day is new opportunity to learn and be kind!

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Picture Book Review: Dear Mama’s Loving Arms

Dear Mama's Loving Arms by Ceece Kelley

Dear Mama’s Loving Arms
by Ceece Kelley, Sawyer Cloud (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

A baby and his mother spend the day together. She sings a special song to him, “Who loves Baby the most? Who hugs Baby the most? Who kisses Baby the most? Your Dear Mama – that who.” They laugh and play together until it is time for lunch and a nap. The baby cries, but the mama’s soothing ways lull the baby to sleep. The baby dreams that he and his mother are having adventures together.

This is such a sweet book! You can feel the love and affection on every page. The story is told from the baby’s point of view, as he reacts to his mother’s loving presence. His whole world revolves around her and the way she cares for him in each moment.

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Picture Book Review: This is the Boat that Ben Built

This Is the Boat That Ben Built by Jen Lynn Bailey

This Is the Boat That Ben Built
by Jen Lynn Bailey (Goodreads Author), Maggie Zeng (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Ben goes an adventure down the river in his boat. His mother and dog follow a path on land, walking along the shore and waving hello. Ben observes animals and fish along the river. He examines a loon with his magnifying glass. He catches a fish and releases it later. He captures butterflies and fireflies in a jar.

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Picture Book Review: Hello, Dark

Hello, Dark by Wai Mei Wong

Hello, Dark
by Wai Mei Wong, Tamara Campeau (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars

A little boy manages his fear of the dark by pretending that the dark is a person he can befriend. He remembers that the dark does good things, like allowing wild animals such as owls and foxes to sneak around safely at night. The boy enjoys seeing the moon and stars shining in the dark. The boy and the dark listen to soothing music together. They play shadow games, and practice mindful breathing to stay calm. The boy sleeps peacefully, knowing that the dark is his friend.

This sweet book is perfect for any little children (or adults!) who are afraid of the dark. The story teaches ways to reframe your negative thoughts into something positive. I loved that it includes things like slow breathing and listening to music to help yourself stay calm.

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Picture Book Review: Rainy Days

Rainy Days by Deborah Kerbel

Rainy Days
by Deborah Kerbel (Goodreads Author), Miki Sato (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Children play outdoors in the rain, or stay indoors if there is thunder and lightning. They rescue worms from the sidewalks, and sail little paper boats in the streams created by the rain. The children make “rainy soup” in buckets, and even paint with mud. As long as they have their rainboots, coats, and umbrellas, they can have fun in the rain!

The mixed-media art style is absolutely phenomenal. The bright colors are attractive, and every page is so beautiful! I love that you can see the different layers in the artwork. You can almost feel the texture of the tissue paper, cardboard, and fabric on the page. My favorite things are the little beads that look like raindrops! There are so many tiny details in each scene that I could spend several minutes looking at each page. I am literally in awe of this gorgeous art!

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Board Book Review: Baby Cakes

Baby Cakes by Theo Heras

Baby Cakes
by Theo Heras, Renné Benoit (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

In the board book, children are trying to bake little cakes, but the kitty keeps getting in the way! They get out all the ingredients, and mix the salt, flour, and baking powder. Kitty tries to spill the flour! They add butter and sugar. Maybe a little sugar gets on their hands and they eat it. The eggs are accidentally broken on the floor, and kitty licks up some of the egg! The children mix in the milk and vanilla, and the cakes are ready to bake. They add a delicious frosting and it’s time for tea!

This is such a cute little book! The text is very simple and short, just right for tiny readers. The whole book has such a soothing and calming atmosphere, and the antics of the kitty are so hilarious!

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Picture Book Reviews: Pumpkin and Me (English and Spanish Editions)

Pumpkin and Me by Alicia Acosta

Pumpkin and Me
by Alicia Acosta, Mercè Galí (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

When Pumpkin (the family dog) dies, a little girl is feeling very sad. A dark cloud seems to follow her around. She must have gotten soap in her eyes, because she can’t stop crying. A mean octopus appears to be squeezing her heart so much that it hurts all the time. Her family tell her that it is normal to feel grief and sadness when you lose something you loved. The little girl has a dream about her dog, Pumpkin, visiting her. In the dream, Pumpkin chases away the dark cloud and licks away her tears. Pumpkin barks so loud that the octopus is scared away. The little girl realizes that the memory of Pumpkin will be something she will always carry with her.

This is such a sweet and thoughtful book about grief. Emotions can be overwhelming, and this book is a gentle way to open up a conversation about grief. The story is tender and insightful, and is sure to soothe any little readers who might be dealing with some big emotions.

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