I had a few visits with the grandchildren before we went back into partial lockdown and used some of that time to read together. We enjoyed it and found a few new favourites. All these books were provided through Netgalley upon request. The ratings and opinions shared are ours.
The Littlest Yak by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was an adorable picture book that my grandchildren and I loved. This is a story about Gertie, a small yak, who feels like she can’t do anything because she is so small. Of course the lesson is that being small doesn’t mean you can’t do anything, in fact, there are things only little ones can do. I loved the illustrations in this book. Over the years, there have been a lot of stories about little guys doing great things, think The Littlest Engine. What I loved about this one was the choice of a yak as well as the snowy setting, perfect as we head into the winter. The rhyming text had a great cadence which made this one a great read aloud. My grandkids enjoyed the story and the eye catching, cartoonish illustrations. One they asked to be read again, that means it was a hit. We also had a short discussion after about Gertie and being small. One I definitely recommend to schools, families and public libraries.
Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees by Russ Willms
My granddaughter loved this story, but I don’t think she totally understood the message. Larry is an elephant who wants to live in a tree. When Larry moves into a big bushy tree in the middle of the wide-open field, Bird, Squirrel and Monkey who already live there do not want him. They are not very nice and actually throw nuts at him and peck at his head. Larry does not back down, he wants to live in that tree. Then, something happens and Larry saves the day. All the animals change their tune and welcome Larry. We talked about the animals being mean to Larry and that just because he was different didn’t mean that he didn’t have the right to live in the tree. She kept saying he was too big to live in the tree, but by the end of the story, she understood that the animals should let him stay. My grandson and I talked a bit about accepting others that are different, but he didn’t really equate it to Larry either. It was a fun story and they enjoyed it and recited parts with me, but I’m not sure if kids will get the message without a lot of discussion.
Tom’s Special Thanksgiving by Tom Matkovic, Illustrated by Justin Borrero
Tom the turkey is enjoying his day on the farm. He knows it is his special day, but he can’t remember why. It’s Thanksgiving and visits all his friends on the farm, but they are ignoring him. When he meets up with a rat who tells him that it is Thanksgiving and he is probably going to be the main course, his tune quickly changes and he tried to hide. The farmer tries to get him to come back to the farm and has to chase him high and low through the area. Turns out his special day is really his birthday and they have a surprise birthday party for him. My grandkids thought this was a fun story. Of course we eat turkey every Thanksgiving, so they were worried for Tom until they found out what his special day was really all about. We loved the illustrations in this story. They were large, fun and full of colour. I loved the expressions on the faces of the various animals. A simple, fun and happy Thanksgiving story that the grandkids enjoyed.
The Nut That Fell From the Tree by Sangeeta Bhadra, Illustrated by France Cormier
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I always enjoy repetitive songs and stories and this one fit the bill perfectly. Telling the story of how an acorn becomes an oak tree in the manner of This is the House That Jack Built, or the song The Green Grass Grew All Around, this was a lot of fun. My grandkids and I were repeating the story together as it progressed. This story starts with Jill in her little tree house in an oak. When an acorn falls from the tree, the journey begins. There was some fun and silly happenings all put together in an amusing and delightful story. The illustrations by France Cormier are well done and add to the enjoyment of the story. A picture book that is entertaining, yet readers are able to learn from it as well. I definitely recommend this one to families, schools and libraries.
Pirate Nell’s Tale to Tell by Helen Docherty, Illustrated by Thomas Docherty
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Nell loved reading about pirates, and she really wanted to be one. Her wish finally comes true and she is working on a ship under Captain Gnash. Now Captain Gnash is not very smart and when Nell tries to help him using what she knows from her trusty almanac he is not happy. Books do not belong on his ship! When Nell finds a bottle floating in the sea that has a treasure map in it, Captain Gnash confiscates it and heads his ship off to find the treasure. Unfortunately, there is one disaster after another. It is Nell’s knowledge and trusty almanac that saved the day. The ending has an awesome twist that I loved. The story is written in rhyme with a wonderful cadence that makes it a great read aloud. Thomas Docherty does an amazing job with the illustrations. They are inviting, large, colourful and full of detail. We spent a lot of time looking at them and talking about what they contain. They added much to this wonderful story with a great message. We, the grandkids and I, enjoyed this one a lot. I definitely recommend it to everyone.