Last weekend, I had my grandchildren over for a couple of days. We did a lot of reading together and I am reviewing 6 of them. Of course, I have included their thoughts and comments within the reviews, where applicable. All of these books were provided through Netgalley upon request. The rating and opinions shared are our own.
We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Mary Hogan Wilcox, Lynn Munsinger (Illustrator)
Published August 4th 2020 by Charlesbridge Publishing
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We’re Going on a Pumpkin Hunt by Mary Hogan Wilcox is a fun Halloween/Autumn picture book based on the song, “Going on a Bear Hunt”. I read this one with my grandkids and they both enjoyed it. Six animals set off into the night to find a big pumpkin. Along the way the deal with bugs, climb a hill, traverse tall grass, a tree and a river, until they reach the spooky pumpkin patch. Constantly reassuring each other that they are not afraid, they are brave and face all that they encounter. Of course, there is a happy and fun ending. Illustrations by Lynn Munsinger are a great addition to this book. They are vibrant and detailed with the animals have wonderful facial expressions. They are even wearing adorable costumes. The first time we read this one, I read it and answered the kids’ questions, the second time, we tried singing it using the echo method. This was a quick and fun book that I know we will read again. I will be purchasing a copy of this one for our home library and I recommend it to schools, especially primary class libraries.
The Fish Who Found the Sea by Alan W. Watts, Khoa Le (Illustrator)
Published July 14th 2020 by Sounds True (first published September 1944)
2 Stars: ⭐⭐
I was not familiar with Alan W. Watts, and was not aware that this story was originally published back in 1944. This release features beautiful illustrations by Khoa Le. The illustrations interested my grandchildren and we talked about them a lot, however, the text did not. I do believe that this is a wonderful message, but the book is not relatable to young children. The story of this fish getting caught up in thinking about all the things that he does automatically, can be confusing to young children. I do not recommend this one.
Selfie by Sandy Horsley
Published September 1st 2020 by Capstone Editions
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I always enjoy stories that point out the dangers of too much social media and technology. In this story Sylvie the Squirrel is obsessed with taking Selfies. She is so obsessed, that she misses what is happening around her. I loved that her friends were there for her, showing that being with your friends is more important. I am lucky that my grandkids are not obsessed with phones and pictures. I know that will probably change when they get older, so planting the seed early might help. After reading this one and enjoying it, I read it to them again and we talked about the problems with Sylvie not appreciating her friends that were there physically instead of taking pictures of herself. We also talked about people who are constantly on their phones instead of talking to each other and doing things together. A wonderful message for everyone, including parents who might be reading this one to their little ones. I also think this would be a good book to read to primary students while doing a character development and friendship theme.
Hot Pot Night! by Vincent Chen
Published September 8th 2020 by Charlesbridge Publishing
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We loved this short, wonderful story. A young Chinese American boy invites his neighbours to join them in a meal. Everyone contributes something to the Hot Pot, helps to prepare it, enjoys eating it and then they all clean up together. What a great multi-cultural story about community, cooperation, friendship and sharing. We loved the illustrations that were large, vibrant and full of action and emotion. The text was done in speech bubbles which we also talked about because that was a different style for my grandkids. The words were short and easy to read, so after I read it to them, my grandson read it to his sister and me. A great book for a preschool classroom and for primary students who are learning to read.
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason, Byron Eggenschwiler
Published September 1st 2020 by Tundra Books
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is another adorable Halloween Story. Ghosts are sheets, right? Well, this little ghost is a quilt, a patchwork quilt which makes him different from his family and friends. He can’t keep up with his friends and he will never fit in, so he thinks. The other ghosts tease him and call him “Scrappy”. But, on Halloween, he has something happen that would only happen because he is a quilt. There are several wonderful messages in this book. Of course the obvious one is about teasing and bullying, which my grandson picked up on right away. Then we talked about how everyone is different and that is okay. It is important to be ourselves and learn what we are good at, and not try to be like everyone else. I loved the illustrations with the little ghost being colourful, while the others all blend into the background. The illustrations are wonderful, with small details that add to the story. My granddaughter, who is younger, just enjoyed the story and loved the little ghost. She immediately wrapped herself up in the quilt on her bed. Another winner for our Halloween library.
Mom Marries Mum! by Ken Setterington, Alice Priestley
Published September 8th 2020 by Second Story Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is a very simple board book for young children. There is not a lot happening in this story, it is all about the excitement of a wedding and the celebration. Who is going to be there? What are they going to do? What will they wear? Just a sweet story about a same sex couple getting married with not fuss, no issues, just love and wonderful celebration. I read this to my grandchildren, but they are a bit too old for this one. They listened and talked a bit about weddings they have gone to and the fact that they didn’t get to blow bubbles, but that was about it. This would be a great story to read to little ones who will be involved in a wedding, no matter whose it happens to be.