With schools closed, my granddaughter is here each day for virtual/online learning. We read a few books each day and I am so behind on highlighting and reviewing them. Enjoy this group of stories, all provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley. My granddaughters comments or reactions are included where appropriate. The rating and opinions shared are our own.

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This House is a Home by Deborah Kerbel

Published March 15th 2021 by Owlkids Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Little Bunny loves their home, even when the world changes around them, their house stays the same. When developers (2 foxes) want to buy their house, Grandma Bunny says no. This doesn’t stop progress, and eventually their home is smack-dab in the middle of a multi-lane highway. As traffic rushes by day and night, Lily and her family begin to feel differently about their beloved home. It’s Little Bunny that sees what the future can be and how change doesn’t have to be frightening but can be a new adventure. The illustrations by Yong Ling Kang are wonderful. Colourfilled spreads with the most adorable bunny family invite readers to investigate what is happening with the family. I think my granddaughter enjoyed the illustrations more than the story itself. After reading this book, I went online to check out “Nailhouses” in China. It was quite interesting to see what this story was based on. This story has themes of adapting to change, resourcefulness and collaboration. This is a good story to use in a classroom when learning about Urban Sprawl and Environmental Encroachment. Even though this is a picture book with cute pictures, I really think it will be older children that will understand the concept.

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Out Into the Big, Wide Lake by Paul Harbridge, Josée Bisaillon (Illustrations)

Published May 18th 2021 by Tundra Books

4 Stars:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Out into the Big Wide Lake is a beautiful story about a sweet girl with Downs Syndrome. Kate is spending the summer with her grandparents and goes with them in the boat to make grocery deliveries. She meets neighbors and family, and learns the route, so she can help. When something happens and her grandfather is not able to deliver the groceries, Kate gets in the boat and does them herself. This is a story about facing your fears, gaining self-confidence, helping others and community. I read this one to my grandchildren without saying that Kate had Downs Syndrome, and they just talked about her as a girl, a friend, etc. I will say that unless you know ahead of time by reading the synopsis, you would not know that this young girl has Downs Syndrome. That is not a criticism, but you could easily read this story, like I did, and it would just be a great story about a young girl moving beyond her fears in a new and scary situation. The illustrations were wonderful. They were large, full of nature and the world. The faces show expression and are a bit whimsical. I can definitely see this book being used in a classroom where special needs children are part of the class to show acceptance and that they are able to do things we might not think they can.

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My Day With Gong Gong by by Sennah Yee, Elaine Chen (Illustrator)

Published September 8th 2020 by Annick Press

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

May’s mom drops her off to spend the day with her grandfather, Gong Gong. The thing is that May only knows a couple of words in Chinese and Gong Gong speaks very little English. How are they going to communicate? May is not happy at the beginning of this story, but as they learn other ways to communicate, they connect. This is a sweet book by Sennah Yee that shows a budding relationship between a Grandfather and Granddaughter. It was great to see that May was happy to spend more time with Gong Gong in the future. I loved the illustrations in this book. You see the neighbourhood of Chinatown, Gong Gong’s friends, the stores, restaurants etc. The emotions are shown on the faces and with their expressions. This is a heartwarming, intergenerational book. I read this with my grandchildren and my grandson compared it to his Nonetta speaking Italian sometimes, but they knew what each other meant by pointing or their faces. We enjoyed this one.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup by Carole Tremblay, Maureen Poignonec (Illustrations), Charles Simard (Translation)

Expected publication: October 12th 2021 by Orca Book Publishers

4 Stars:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lentil Soup was originally written in French, but I found the translation well done. This cute picture book features two brothers. When they sit down to eat some lentil soup, the younger one wants to know where it comes from. His older sibling gives him four multiple choice options. He then continues to ask questions as the soup is too hot to eat. He wants to know: What’s in the soup? Where does it come from? How does it grow? Why is it called that? and so on. His brother continues answering his questions with other questions and multiple choice answers. Eventually, the younger brother comes up with his own wild answers to his own questions. I like that the story is full of information about where food comes from and how it grows. The multiple choice responses provide an interaction between the reader and listener. There was also a lot of humour in both the text and the illustrations. The illustrations are cute and fun. This book has a bit of a graphic novel set up with speech bubbles. This is a great example of childhood curiosity and how to learn by asking questions. When you finish the story, you can even make your own lentil soup using the recipe at the back of the book. This book is available in both French and English. My grandchildren are in French Immersion, so after reading the English Version to them, I would like to get a copy of the French one as well.

Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose

Bailey the Bat and the Tangled Moose by Grant Lawrence, Noemie Gionet Landry (Illustrations)

Expected publication: September 14th 2021 by Orca Book Publishers

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bailey the Bat was a cute book with beautiful illustrations. Bailey and the other bats hunt insects at night and sleep in the day. Bailey can’t sleep and when he hears a cry or moan, he sets off to see if someone is in trouble. He finds a moose that needs help and even though Bailey knows he will be in trouble, he calls for his mom and other bats to help rescue the moose. This is an early reader story that I read aloud, then my grandson read it to is siblings. This was a well written story that built up nicely with a happy ending. There was adventure, some trouble and finally a group working together for an exciting end. I was a bit worried about Bailey sneaking out, but it is addressed in the story and Bailey had a consequence for his actions. We all enjoyed this story and it was quite tense at one point. We liked the illustrations, as they were fun and showed great expression. There are some good messages in this book about helping others, working together and of course listening to your parents. If this becomes a series, I look forward to seeing what other adventures Bailey gets up to.