This meme was started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her grandchildren, a mother who loved to read to and with her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me. If you love children’s books, or have a favourite from your childhood, join us in introducing them to a new generation of readers.
Today I am reviewing five picture books that I read to my grandchildren. They are appropriate for toddlers to primary grades. Comments from the kids are included, as well as any types of discussions or activities that we may have had. These books were all provided by the publisher through Netgalley. The ratings and opinions shared are our own.
Barnaby by Andrea Curtis, Kass Reich (Illustrator)
Published April 15th 2021 by Owlkids Books
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Barnaby is a blue budgie who is living the life. He has a lovely cage with a jingly bell, plenty to eat, and an owner who loves him. He loves to sit on her shoulder for cuddles. When she brings home a canary as a friend for Barnaby, he is not happy. When his owner doesn’t get rid of this “friend” despite, Barnaby throwing tantrums, he decides to leave and escapes out of an open window. He enjoys his freedom flying wherever he wants, but soon becomes hungry and wants to go home. He runs into some sparrows, who although drab in Barnaby’s eyes, they take him in. They show him where to find food and water and show him how to search for his home. When he finally find his home, he brings a big red berry to the canary, just like the ones the sparrows shared with him. He finally accepts this new friend. This is a sweet story about acceptance of another. For children this could be a new sibling, a new neighbour or classmate that moves into their playgroup or “steals” their BFF. It also has that “grass is always greener” message as well. The illustrations are large, showing emotion with their soft and muted colours. My grandchildren and I talked about this and how did it feel when a new brother or sister came home with mommy and daddy. Of course they were sure they weren’t upset at all, but I know better. A story I recommend.
Early One Morning by Lawrence Schimel, Elīna Brasliņa (Illustrations)
Expected publication: September 14th 2021 by Orca Book Publishers
3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐
I read this book to my two youngest grandchildren and they liked it. It was a cute book to read after they finished their breakfast. The illustrations were cute, a bit quirky and brightly coloured. It showed what to do when you get up before the rest of the family, which my granddaughter often does. He got himself and his cat some breakfast, which could be an issue as this book is geared to toddlers. I liked the depiction of a non-traditional family with two moms, shown in a normal family setting. There wasn’t a lot to the story, but enough for the youngest one to enjoy.
Published May 18th 2021 by Zonderkidz
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fiona the famous Hippo, has her own books and this one is all about helping a friend. When Fiona realizes that she has not heard her friend, Matilda the Kookaburra’s laugh all day, she knows something must be making her sad. Matilda gets the other zoo animals together to ask them to help cheer her up. They tried all kinds of things to make her laugh, but nothing. Then they found a box that said “Lost & Found” full of things. They dressed up and laughed at themselves. They headed back over the Matilda and when she put on something from the box, she finally got her laugh back. This was a great story about friendship, caring, imagination and joy. We also talked a bit about animals, zoos, keeping away from wild animals etc. I also found a video made by the Cincinnati Zoo with one of their zookeepers reading the story and we listened to it as well. The noise of the kookaburra laugh at the end was great and the kids listened to it several times. The illustrations were wonderful. Lots of colour, action and emotion were portrayed in the humorous pictures. I recommend this book to families and schools to share about friendship and caring.
Larry Gets Lost in the Library by Eric Ode and John Skewes
Expected publication: August 3rd 2021 by Little Bigfoot
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Larry is a cute dog who loves going on vacation with his owner, Pete. They are spending the summer at Pete’s grandmother’s farm. When the bookmobile stops by, Pete is soon busy looking at the books. He doesn’t realize when Larry sneaks onto the bookmobile looking for a snack, and when it leaves, poor Larry is trapped in the bookmobile. He ends up in the city alone, eventually in the library. He wanders all around the library seeing the librarians and all the books. Will this little pup find his way back to his best friend? This was a cute story that my granddaughter really enjoyed. First, she didn’t know about bookmobiles so we talked about them. Then she thought it was funny that Larry was in the library and no one seemed to notice him. We talked about what she would do if her dog was missing, and how they would find him. We enjoyed the story and all the wonderful illustrations. Of course I loved the idea of a story that had a young boy so enthralled by books that he didn’t see what was going on around him. Apparently Larry Gets Lost is a a series, so we will see what else we can find. I recommend this one.
The Chicken Who Loved Books by Angela Elwell Hunt, Marrieta Gel
Published July 26th 2018 by Hunt Haven Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Henry is a young boy who loves to read. Every day he brings books to the chicken coop and reads to them. Little Red and the other chickens all love when Henry visits and reads to them. One day, Henry does not bring a book, but a video game. He basically ignores the chickens over several day. They need to let Henry know they want him to read to them. What they do next is quite a hoot. I read this to my granddaughter when we had sleepover and she loved it. I do recommend you not read this one before bed, because she was “bawking” all over the place when I was trying to calm her down. I really liked the idea that Henry loved reading but got sidetracked by a video game. It took the chickens to send a message, but Henry realizes that reading is important and a great way to spend time with another person, or in this case chicken. The story was cute and the illustrations were also well done. They added to the story and my granddaughter loved them. I do recommend this one.