The Proper Way To Meet a Hedgehog by Paul Janeczko

The Proper Way To Meet a Hedgehog by Paul Janeczko

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This book is a series of poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko. Each poem has a different author, but they all rhyme in a wonderful limerick way. The poems themselves are whimsical, and cover topics such as scaring monsters away, taking care of trees, and of course, properly meeting hedgehogs. Each poem is matched with a wonderful illustration that perfectly depicts what the poem is discussing. The poems themselves aren’t too long but give enough information to create a clear image.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, especially children. The topics are all magical and whimsical, letting children’s imagination run free. The illustrations are beautifully done, with so much color and style to them. The poems themselves are pretty easy to understand and straight forward, but still fun to read. The authors all made sure that they were relevant to what children are experiencing, such as swinging on a swing, making snow angels, and seeing fireworks. The limerick to each poem made for easy and enjoyable reading, and in my opinion this would be a great storytime book to read to any and all children. Overall a really great book that anyone can enjoy.

The House Baba Built by Ed Young

The House Baba Built by Ed Young

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This book gives an overview of one family’s time in Shanghai, China, when there was a war going on. The Great Depression was in full gear, and China was beginning to be affected by it. The story follows a boy (the author) and his family as they try and live a good, safe, and healthy life through all the turmoil of the time. The father, Baba, was an engineer, and struck a deal with a landowner to create and build a large house with a pool. The story follows the author and his family through the seasons, sharing little stories here and there about their life. In one story, the author and his brothers trained crickets to fight. In another story, the author’s sisters steals seconds of dinner and blames her brother. It is a beautiful story of the little moments in life that we tend to forget.

I would not recommend this book for children, mostly because I can see them losing interest quickly. The pictures aren’t bright or colorful, they’re more artistic and remind me of a collage. While the stories are very sweet and fun to listen to, the book itself is rather long. I would recommend this for older readers though, and even adults, as it is a beautiful story to read.

Ten Rules of The Birthday Wish by Beth Ferry

Ten Rules of The Birthday Wish by Beth Ferry

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There are ten rules that must absolutely be followed when making a birthday wish. Those rules are depicted here in this book. There are rules that we all know of, such as making the wish and keeping it secret, but there are rules that maybe we hadn’t thought of, such as having a party, making a cake to share, and celebrating when it’s possible. This book was so inclusive, not only letting humans know how to celebrate a birthday, but animals as well. So many animals were mentioned in the book from insects, to camels, to sea urchins. Nobody was left out when making this book, and there was an exception to each rule to include everyone’s differences. 

I would highly recommend this book, for so many reasons. First of all, the illustrations are well drawn, cute, and depict what is going on in the funniest way possible. Second, the story is adorable, and joy-filled. Who doesn’t like talking about their birthday? The rules are pretty simplistic to follow and open to interpretation. Which leads to my next point, the fact that the book was so inclusive. I know it was referring to animals in the book, but letting the reader know that these rules aren’t hard and fast and have exceptions was wonderful. It lets everyone know who is reading it that no matter the differences, anyone can celebrate a birthday and make a magical birthday wish. Such a sweet book.

Summer Green to Autumn Gold by Mia Posada

Summer Green to Autumn Gold by Mia Posada

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This wonderfully colorful book depicted the life cycle of the leaves in the trees. It explained what cells and chloroplasts are, and even chlorophyll. It went on to describe the life cycle of the leaves and how when it becomes fall, the chlorophyll stops producing, since the tree’s life cycle is ending. The leaves change color because the chlorophyll has stopped producing the color green, and eventually in the winter the trees sleep. In the spring, new buds start to sprout, all filled with new chlorophyll, and the cycle begins again. 

I would highly recommend for anyone to read, as it is a great introduction to the seasons and how trees are affected by them. Learning about chloroplasts and chlorophyll was so fun, and the author made it easily digestible. The illustrations were beautiful too, especially the pages filled with various types of leaves. On each page, the text of the book would change colors or highlight colors to match what it was trying to say, which was very helpful. Overall a wonderful book about the seasons and the tree

Sea Sirens: A Trot and Cap'n Bill Adventure by Amy Chu

Sea Sirens: A Trot and Cap'n Bill Adventure by Amy Chu

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“He wasn’t trying to save ANYONE. He’s just a cat!”

Trot, a young girl living off of Huntington Beach, California, loves nothing more than spending the day surfing with her cat, Cap’n Bill. While surfing during a storm Trot crashes into a wave, and almost loses her faithful companion, Cap’n Bill. As she dives into the water to save him, she is met face to face with mer-people, sirens! The sirens take Trot and Cap’n Bill back to their kingdom. While a festival begins, Trot’s grandfather shows up! He followed Trot and Cap’n Bill to the siren kingdom. But his dementia causes the sirens kingdom and a neighboring kingdom to almost come to war. How will Trot handle this predicament? 

I feel mixed about this book, like it was missing substance. I wanted to like it, the illustrations were luscious and beautiful, but the story needed some work. The relationship between Trot and Cap’n Bill seemed off, like the author was trying to make them seem close but it wasn’t landing right. The sirens themselves seemed overall bland and stereotypical, having predictable reactions to a human in their midst and dealing with enemy kingdoms. Overall, the story felt rushed and like it was missing details. The graphics are beautiful though.

Sad Underwear: And Other Complications by Judith Viorst

Sad Underwear: And Other Complications by Judith Viorst

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This book is broken up into sections, and each section has poems about it. For example, there is a section about moms and dad’s that reflect the day-to-day life of living with adults, and there is a section about questions, where the poems are about questions children may ask. The author did an excellent job in creating poems that children could relate to. In some of the works, the author talks about who decided that roses are flowers and dandelions are weeds, or who decided that burping was rude. In another example, the author talks about things that shouldn’t exist, such as getting cavities and liver for supper. All of these poems expertly give a look into the world of children. There are no existential topics such as death or love, but rather topics that actually affect children and their day to day life. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone, not just children. Again, I really felt like the author got inspiration from Shel Silverstein. The poems were tailored to children and their everyday life, I felt like a child again reading them. They aren’t overbearing or sad, they merely discuss the inconveniences children experience. Who doesn’t wish they could talk about their mother’s infamous cooking skills, or having to apologize when they didn’t mean it? These are things children are learning about and living through, and it really does an excellent job of connecting with children on their level. Overall a wonderfully written book, with beautiful, minimal illustrations to complete it.

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein

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These series of poems follow the main character, Runny Babbit, through his life in the woods with his family. They talk about all his adventures, from needing a new coat, to hugging and kissing a hedgehog. Each line has two words that have switched the first few letters, making the poems difficult but fun to read. Some words are easier to guess what they should mean, and others are more difficult. It really makes you slow down and read the poem thoroughly to understand what the author is trying to say. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, not just children. First off, the illustrations are so unique and adorable, they perfectly picture what I would expect a “peedy grig” (greedy pig) to look like. I found the most fascinating thing about this book was that even though the letters had been switched around to make these weird words, the author managed to keep the rhyme! It was so interesting to read a poem that seemingly made little to no sense and still have everything rhyme so well. The poems themselves were light and silly, making it an easy read full of laughter. I’m a bit biased about this since I love Shel Silverstein, but I’ve never read this book and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.