Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings3.5 Stars – 

Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings by Naseem HrabJosh Holinaty (Illustrations)

Published October 15th 2018 by Owlkids

As I grew up, I heard comments like “Don’t be such a baby” and “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” or even things like “Stop crying, boys don’t cry”. Well, these are all wrong. It is okay to cry, it is okay to show your emotions and it is okay to have emotions.

In Ira Crumbs Feels the Feelings, Ira is a boy who is not afraid to show how he is feeling. Ira and Malcolm are best buddies who have difficulty deciding whether to play hide and seek or tag. When other friends hear the word “tag,” they come running and off they go with Malcolm, leaving Ira alone. He is sad and everyone knows it. People try to cheer him up, but he just wants to feel the feelings. It wasn’t just that noone wanted to play Hide and Seek, but that he missed his bestie and wanted Malcolm back. When Malcolm comes back and finds Ira upset, they talk about it, joke about it and laugh together. Malcolm accepts that Ira was sad and that was okay.

Kids will enjoy this book, especially the fart jokes, but also to learn that it is okay to show your feelings. A fun story for those 5 to 8 year olds with a message. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Love Big2.5 Stars – 

Love Big by Kat Kronenberg

Published January 8th 2019 by Greenleaf Book Group Press

This book has two things going for it, great illustrations and some fun activities at the end.

Love Big is about learning that being kind to others is an easy thing to do and it will reap rewards. The story is set in the African Savanna, reminiscent of The Lion King. Baboon watches his friends who have become grumpy since the land became dry and they became hungry. Through random acts of kindness, the animals learn that they might be hungry, tired, thirsty but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be kind to their fellow animals. It makes for a better living environment. This is a great message, but it is done in a really cheesy way. I read a lot of children’s books and this one missed the mark just a bit.

The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast4 Stars – 

Little Doctor and the Fearless Beast by Gilmore

Expected publication: March 15th 2019 by Owlkids

This parable tells about a young girl who takes care of the biggest and vicious animals in her neighbourhood. When the meanest and most vicious crocodile comes to her for help, she wants to solve it, but it going to be difficult. With some ingenuity and daring, she is able to help the reptile. This is a retelling of the lion and the mouse. Of course you can also use this tale to talk about the environment and what happens when you are not careful with waste products. I really liked the illustrations. They are done in muted colours to show the tone of the story with great expression and emotion evident. A great book to use with students when teaching about parables, morals, lessons, character development etc. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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How to Catch a Bear Who Loves to Read4 Stars – 

How to Catch a Bear Who Loves to Read by Andrew Katz

Published November 6th 2018 by CrackBoom! Books

I really enjoyed this cute book about the love of reading. Julia lives in the forest and she wants to meet a bear. With the help of her forest friends (a skunk, a squirrel and a groundhog), she finally finds one, but they have a lot of fun and adventure prior to this. There is a farting contest, snacks of honey, blueberry picking, a stolen or missing book and following a trail of blue footprints until they find a little house in a tree, where the bear lives. She discovers that he loves to read and took her book because he found it abandoned. They share the story, hug it out and promise to read together again.

Julia, is determined and resourceful child, who loves living in the forest with her animal friends as well as loving to read. I loved the bear, who snuck into town and scavenged for books and that people in the town left them for him after they had read them. As a child, I loved to read and often read to my stuffed animals and dolls and that was what I was thinking of as I read this story. The illustrations are fun. They are colourful and vibrant, showing emotions on the faces of Julia and her animal friends. This is a cute, humorous, and enjoyable book that will hopefully inspire kids to read. A great book for a read aloud or independent reading in primary classrooms. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Yara and Her Mystery Tree3 Stars – 

Yara and Her Mystery Tree by Yossi LapidJoanna Pasek (Illustrator)

Expected publication: March 15th 2019

Yara is a young girl who lives with her mother in a rainforest. When she comes upon a rather sickly plant, she realizes that the other trees are blocking the sun and it will die. She and her mother transplant it where it can survive. It turns out that when Yara gets ill, her mystery plant has the medicinal properties to save her life. This book has an important message about saving the trees and plants around the world as many of them have value that we have not even discovered yet. All living things in the world deserve the opportunity to live and grow.

The illustrations are done in bright watercolors with a green wash. The story is told in rhyming couplets that are a bit clunky at times, but overall well done. I had a couple of issues while reading this story. I am not sure about the inclusion of the talking bird and ant. I don’t think they added to the story and actually made it more imaginary. Also as one reviewer stated, if this particular plant was not native to the area, then perhaps natural selection would have killed it as it could have been an invasive species. I am on the fence with this one. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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