Questions and Feelings About When Parents Separate by Dawn Hewitt

Questions and Feelings About When Parents Separate by Dawn Hewitt

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This was a beautiful book dealing with a difficult topic: when children’s parents separate, and how children are affected by it. It focused on the child’s point of view, and the questions or concerns they may feel when their parents are separating. It covered huge feelings that children may feel, such as abandonment, feeling it was their fault, and fear about where to live. There were prompts to ask the children how they felt at certain points in the book, and an exercise that could be completed at the end, along with more resources for children and parents. 

I would highly recommend this book for any child, not just those that are going through their parents separating. This book explained in such accurate detail the trials and tribulations a child may go through when their family is separating. Having any child read this will bring empathy to those who are experiencing a separation. The illustrations were beautiful as well. Each page depicted a different family going through various phases of separation. It was inclusive and showed children that any family can experience this. Overall, this book was beautifully done and I hope more people read it.

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill

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This book is about three misfits finding their place in the world. There is Sadie, a trapped princess, Amira, a runaway princess, and Butthead, a scared prince. After Amira rescues Sadie from her tower and finds Prince Butthead stuck in a tree, the three set off for adventure. During their journey they are met with a fierce villain who ends up being Sadie’s sister. She captures Amira in hopes that Sadie will come and she can turn her into a pig. Though Sadie is scared and emotional, she faces her sister to save Amira. Once Sadie’s sister has been dealt with, Sadie becomes queen, Prince Butthead becomes her advisor, and Amira becomes Captain. The book ends with a beautiful wedding between Amira and Sadie.

I would highly recommend this book for many reasons. First off, the illustrations are beautiful, Katie O’Neill is one of my favorite authors. The pictures are simple but soft, and pleasant to look at. Second, the story itself has many good lessons in it, including that it’s okay to be scared and emotional, it’s okay to find your own way, and it’s okay to stand up to family. It also beautifully shows a relationship between two girls blossom, and I think it was a wonderful way of introducing same-sex relationships.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

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This book is about a child and their father who lives in the countryside, going out into the woods on a cold and snowy night. The child explains that they were going owling. With each turn of the page, the child explained more about owling: how you must be quiet, and cold, and brave. The story was written as lusciously as the illustrations. In the end, they saw the owl, a big, beautiful, brown owl. Once it flew off, they headed home, satisfied by their owling experience.

I highly recommend this book, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Though the story was simple, the author put so much effort into making the reader feel like they were there with them, owling too. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath when the owl responded to the fathers calls. I only breathed again after the owl took off. The illustrations were gorgeous, especially the full page dedicated to the owl bathed in flashlight. This book was a great example of losing oneself in the story, and I could see any child falling in love with reading from this book.

Our World is Relative by Julia Sooy

Our World is Relative by Julia Sooy

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This book explained how our world is relative and nothing is set or fixed. The author gave great examples to illustrate this, such as a ruler is shorter in space, a clock ticks slower in space, and right and left is relative to you, as someone else’s left may be your right and vice versa. Each illustration was not only detailed in its design, but included actual measurements of things and the speed at which they move. It wasn’t overwhelming to see all the numbers, they were sprinkled into the book just right. The only thing that was a bit confusing was that the author didn’t give a definition of what relative means until the last page. 

I would recommend this book, but that would be mostly for the illustrations. The story itself is very short with little detail about what relative means or who invented it. I think overall it did a wonderful job of illustrating what the author was trying to say, that everything isn’t as it may seem, and we should be aware of that. The examples used were good for children to connect to, but I just felt there could’ve been more detail. Also, the fact that Albert Einstein and the definition of relative wasn’t mentioned until the end of the book was a missed opportunity. They should have been at the beginning of the book, so children could learn about relativity while reading.

Opposites, More Opposites, and A Few Differences by Richard Wilbur

Opposites, More Opposites, and A Few Differences by Richard Wilbur

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This book is a wonderful series of short, limerick poems about life and all its oddities. While it focused on opposites and differences, the things the author chose to focus on were delightfully random. The author reminds me of Shel Silverstein in the way he looks at the world. A great example of this is: “What’s the opposite of string? It’s gnitrs, which doesn’t mean a thing” (Wilbur, 2000). The author takes a seemingly ordinary word and turns it upside down and inside out to make an opposite out of it. It is so fun to read and it is never what the reader expects it to be.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone, not just children. This book really took me back to my poetry roots of Shel Silverstein in its quirkiness and dedication to being odd. Though the poems were short, they very clearly got the message across: remember to always look at life from every angle, not just the obvious ones. In some of the opposite poems, I thought I could guess where the author was going, but I was always wrong. The author always took a detour I wasn’t expecting, and I loved it. The book as a whole made me feel like a child again, and I hope everyone reads it at some point.

Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich

Nobody Hugs a Cactus by Carter Goodrich

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A little cactus named Hank thinks he doesn’t need anyone in his life, so he is mean and rude to everyone who comes near him. At some point a cowboy passes by and says that nobody will ever hug him because of how prickly he is to other people. Hank suddenly becomes very aware that nobody wants to hug him, and for the first time feels lonely. When a cup gets stuck on his face and Rosie the tumbleweed saves him, he decides to grow a flower for her. After a few days it’s ready, and when Rosie passes by again he gives her the flower. She’s so happy that she jumps into a hug! Hank and Rosie become stuck together but are happy about it.

I would recommend this book for anyone. I think it really shows children that having a bad mood is okay, but it can’t last forever. Soon, the bad mood starts to affect others and then yourself. Being able to feel a bad mood, and then let it wash away, is so important, and I feel this book shows that. I also love that it shows Rosie being nice even after Hank was mean to her. That also shows that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and to give everyone a second chance. If Rosie hadn’t saved Hank, he may have never gotten a hug. But because she decided to give him another chance they created a beautiful friendship.

Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth by Jane O'Connor

Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth by Jane O'Connor

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This book follows a young girl, Nancy Clancy, and her love of mystery. She and her best friend, Bree, run a little Detective Agency and look up to Nancy Drew. Throughout this book, there are several mysteries that arise for Nancy and Bree to solve. What was their friend, Rhonda, hiding from Nancy? Who stole Mr. Dudeny’s marble? Who ripped a page from Nancy’s favorite Nancy Drew book? And why was her sister so sick? All of these mysteries are solved in a wonderful, whimsical telling.

I would recommend this book for many reasons. For one, the plot isn’t immediately obvious, so it keeps the readers engaged throughout the story. Another reason is that the author introduces new, larger words for children to understand. There aren’t too many complicated words, and those that are introduced are given a simple explanation so readers will understand. While this is definitely a key point of the book that I enjoyed, I did feel the author overdid it a little bit. Near the middle of the book, I felt that every other page was introducing a new word, and that took away from the story a bit. Still, it was overall a wonderful book, and interesting to read.