Here is the newest group of reviews about books that I read with or to my grandchildren. I will also share their responses to these books. All of them were provided through Netgalley. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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4.5 Stars:

Aya and Papaya Find Happiness by MQ

Published November 14th 2018 by Troubador Publishing

Aya and Papaya Find Happiness is a cute book for preschool or kindergarten children. Aya wakes up one morning and realizes that she is not happy. She doesn’t know why and tries to figure it out. She and her doll Papaya, search high and low, talk to her siblings and parents, but can’t figure out where here happiness has gone. She finally retraces her steps from the last time she remembers being happy and discovers that it was always there, but buried inside her.

This is a simple story with an important message, happiness must come from within, you can’t expect others to make you happy. It is the same with other emotions, you determine how you feel about something. This is not to say that children can’t have emotions of anger or sadness based upon what is happening around them, but that only we can control those emotions or change them. I read this with my grandchildren. My granddaughter (three) enjoyed the story and thought Aya and Papaya were fun. She enjoyed the illustrations a lot and talked about them. She did not grasp the emotion part. My grandson, who is five, immediately wanted to talk about when he feels sad and what he can do to make himself happy again. Based on this observation, I would recommend that this story would be best understood by children 4 and up.

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AYA and PAPAYA Meet the Big Little Creatures4 Stars:

Aya and Papaya Meet the Big Little Creatures by MQ

Published February 6th 2019 by Matador

This is the second Aya and Papaya story I read with my grandchildren. I have to say the best thing about these books is the illustrations. They are large, vibrant and fun for children. My three year old granddaughter loved talking about the pictures, especially the bugs. This story brings Aya and her friend Sammy face-to-face with garden creatures. The imagination of children is front and centre with small bugs becoming giants that scared them. The message in this book is about fear and not letting it get the best of you, especially if it means missing out on something you really want to do. I love that they showed Sammy and his doll Bamboo as a normal part of childhood. There are still many people who think that boys shouldn’t play with dolls. There is an additional message in the story about treating nature with respect which is also an important reminder for both adults and children. Both my grandchildren enjoyed this story and we talked about letting bugs live and that they are probably more afraid of us than we are of them.

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412143324 Stars:

Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki

Published April 2nd 2019 by Kids Can Press

In our world today, it is very common for grandparents to live far away from their grandchildren. This is a story of love, teaching, sharing and memories between generations. Mayumi lives far away from her grandfather. Even though he is in Japan and she in North America, he creates a garden for her made of stones, gravel, rocks, and shrubs in his yard. When she visits, they work in the garden, share time and silence. When Ojiichan gets too old to take care of his home and garden, Mayumi needs to come up with a way to remember both Ojiichan and her garden.

This was a beautiful, quiet, picture book. The bonds between grandparents and grandchildren is depicted in a very strong and important way. I loved how this story showed the importance of quiet reflection and just being with someone you love. It also teaches the beauty of nature, taking care of it and sharing it. Of course the idea of aging and change is depicted in a beautiful way. We will all get older and children will have to deal with aging relatives, this book shows that change and aging is okay and a natural part of life. My grandson was quiet and reflective when I read him this story. He liked it, but didn’t talk a lot about it. I think this would be a great addition to a family library, especially if there is an aging relative.

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414232275 Stars:

The Silence Slips In by Alison HughesNinon Pelletier (Illustrator)

Published March 5th 2019 by Orca Book Publishers

The Silence Slips In is a quiet book. In our noisy world, it is important we find quiet to help us align ourselves and reflect on our day. This was a great book to read to my grandson. He has issues with noisy places, in fact when he started school, he had to wear noise dampening headphones to cope. This story is all about finding the quiet in our world. Alison Hughes takes us on a journey of a little girl learning where silence can be found in natural places. There can be silence at night when it’s dark, after a party or even when it is snowing lightly. I love how there is a character to associate with quiet. The book uses a white fluffy creature throughout the book that children can identify or picture when looking for quiet.

The prose is beautiful. It has a wonderful flow and cadence that is perfectly partnered with the illustrations. They are soft and serene and colours are used to evoke certain feelings and emotions. This would make an ideal bedtime book to slowly soothe little ones into the right frame of mind for relaxing into sleep. I recommend this book to any families or schools, especially if you have sensitive children who need to know it is okay to be quiet and/or to show those noisy rambunctious children that it is important to have quiet time to reflect and refresh. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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345698064 Stars:

Looking for Splasher by Nancy Walker

Published March 9th 2017 by Trafford Publishing

Splasher, a Tasmanian devil, is missing. After playing hide and seek, his siblings can’t find him. All the other Australian native animals go looking for him. They all go looking in their own habitats, where they would find their own food, which is not a big help in finding Splasher. Eventually he is found.

We enjoyed the story and learned a bit about native animals in Australia which was fun and interesting. I did explain to my grandson that the illustrations were made so the animals looked cute and that they did not really look like the ones in the book, which had me searching online to show both of them what the real animals looked like. We also talked about being lost and what they should do if they were, of course Graham informed me that Splasher wasn’t lost, he was hiding and they just couldn’t find him. This is a cute story that can be used to learn about animals in Australia as well as the whole idea of being lost. We liked it. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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406224745 Stars:

Kahlo’s Koalas: The Great Artists Counting Book by Grace Helmer

Published April 9th 2019 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

I really loved this book and so did my granddaughter. The arts, appreciation of it as well as the opportunity to express yourself through art is extremely important in a developing mind. To introduce young children to various styles of art while learning to count and about different animals is a win for them. This book has beautiful illustrations in the style of famous artists such as Frieda Kahlo, Roy Lichtenstein, and Vincent Van Gogh to name a few. I love the text in this book as well. It is written in alliteration form using the artist’s name that is being demonstrated, such as Matisse Monkeys.

Even though this is a board book, I recommend it to parents and teachers of preschool, kindergarten and primary aged children. It would definitely work in an art lesson showing different styles in a fun and different way.

I hope some of these books might tempt you to read them to the little ones in your life.

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