Sunday, May 20, 2018

Not All It's Cracked Up To Be! Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Fairy Tales can come true,
It can happen to you!

At least that's what Thelma the Pony thinks.

Thelma felt forlorn.

You see, she wished with all her heart to be a unicorn.

Although Otis the Mule thinks the stocky little pony is perfect just the way she is, Thelma has bigger dreams. And one day it happened.

She saw it.
A carrot on the ground.

She tied it to her nose.

And without the wave of a fairy wand or a single bibbidy boppidy boo, Thelma is transformed. Upon her head is a spiraling, sparkly horn, her coat is pink, and her tail is long and silvery. She is a beautiful UNICORN.

And soon Thelma is living the glittery life of a celebrity idol. The fame of her beauty and charm spreads worldwide. Crowds follow wherever she goes. She has a worldwide fan base who greet her with banners that read

OMG! I đź’– YOU!

Thelma The Unicorn tours the world, making appearances before her adoring public, sailing the seven seas on her cruise ship, The Fairy Princess. Throngs await her at every port, swooning at her beauty and begging for her sparkly autograph. Fans await her everywhere, from early morn till midnight. It's great!

Until... it's NOT!

Thelma realizes that it's all a bit too much.

So much fame was kinda tricky, too.

You see, her fans were mad for her. They'd chase her everywhere she went.

It never ever stopped.

Thelma realizes that there's no escape from her fame. She's no longer herself; it's like her admirers own her! They are her FANS, so they feel entitled to follow her every move.

One dark night, she felt quite sad, this famous little pony.

She said, "I thought that I'd feel great..., but all I feel is lonely."

Heavy lies the head that wears the horn. Thelma finds it lonely at the top. There's only thing to do, and Thelma does it. Off comes the magic carrot, and Thelma the glamorous unicorn is no more. It's back to being an ordinary pudgy pony with good ol' Otis waiting to keep her company, in Aaron Blabey's little picture book parable of ditching the Disney delusion of fame, Thelma the Unicorn (Scholastic Press, 2018). Like Blabey's popular character Pig The Pug, Thelma longs for fame, but finds it folly, with artist Blabey providing a plenty of comic scenes along the way as Thelma flees her fans and returns to savor the simple life. Unlike the hopelessly self-absorbed Pig the Pug, though, Thelma emerges a reformed and more lovable character, and with her big smile and googly eyes intact, Thelma returns to her roots as artist Blabey's lovable illustrations poke fun at the glow of the glitterati.

Blabey's other books are Pig the Pug, Pig the Winner (Pig the Pug), Pig the Star (Pig the Pug), Pig the Fibber, and Pig the Elf (Pig the Pug). (See reviews here).

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fruit Basket Turn Over! Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet by Jessie Ford.


Bet you thought I 'd say APPLE! But both are fruits and both grow on trees.

Fruits can grow on vines, on bushes, and on trees.

BANANAS and COCONUTS both grow on trees, but one is long and a little soft, and the the other is round and veryhard.

RASPBERRIES grow on bushes, but GRAPES grow on vines, and both are soft and juicy when they are ripe.

And don't forget...

FIGS, fresh and delicious. Dried and nutritious.

From as exotic as JACKFRUIT or XIGUA, or as common as ORANGES and APPLES in the lunchbox, fruits are great foods for everyone, and Jessie Ford's Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet (Mrs. Peanuckle's Alphabet Library) (Macmillan, 2017) offers practice with the alphabet and a chance to get to know a wide variety of fruits, including TOMATOES, that very versatile fruit which often passes for a vegetable. Okay, it's not so sweet as most berries but essential for a savory sauce for spaghetti and pizza or to top a hamburger or hot dog.

For young abecedarians and young foodies alike, this little book does double duty, tempting youngsters to try a walk through the produce section to make up their own alphabet book of fruits. And, yes!APPLES count!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Getting to ZZZZZ! Sheep 101 by Robert Morris


Not this kid. He's counting sheep, with not a single yawn yet. Woolly Bully #100 has just sailed over the hurdle, when...


Sheep 101 fails to clear the rails. #102 barely makes it over sheep and railings. Sheesh! Night shifts stink!

"We've got a sheep down!" shouts the dispatcher.

While Sheep 101 is carted off by the Sheep EMR team, a substitute reports for duty.

"WAIT! Who are you?"

"I'm Sheep 103."

"But... you're a COW!"

"Yeah, they ran out of sheep, so they called me. I usually jump over the moon, so this fence should be a breeze!

The rest of the sheep must have signed on with Little Bo Peep for the day shift, because a motley crew of fleeceless critters appear one at a time to take a crack at the fence--PIG, singing WEE WEE WEE, a BLIND MOUSE who can't even find the fence, and who's this? HUMPTY DUMPTY?? Gimme a, er, break!

There's no rest for the sleepless in Robert Morris's sleepytime tale, Sheep 101 (Little, Brown and Company, 2018), with witty dialog by author Morris and comic illustrations by Leuyen Pham that fairly pelt the reader with the sight gags until sweet dreams set in. A wild and woolly fractured folk tale of a story, this one will send kids to sleep with a smile on their faces. As Publishers Weekly puts it, "It's practically guaranteed that readers will go giggling into that good night!"

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Meet the Scientists: Scientist, Scientist, What Do You See? A Scientific Parody by Chris Ferrie

Scientist, scientist, what do you see?

I see Marie Curie in her laboratory.

That's the easily-recognized image of Albert Einstein, pointing out his famous contemporary Marie Curie with her iconic beaker. and in Chris Ferrie's new board book for precocious tots, Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See? (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2018), there are plenty of pairs of notables from science and technology.

Chemist Ahard Zewail introduces Grace Hopper, Navy admiral and builder of early computers. Early wizard of electromagnetic energy, James Maxwell, introduces his own contemporary Ada Lovelace, Victorian mathemetician and creator of the calculator codes that led to twentieth century computers.

Maxwell, Maxwell, who do you see?

I see Ada Lovelace, making computer enquiry.

There are more scientists along the way, Allan Turing, co-cracker of the Nazi Enigma encoding machine, and Chien Shiung Wu, George Washington Carver, Anna Mani, and Katherine Johnson are also introduced. This book is one of the recent flurry of early childhood books presenting personalities and information about complex scientific subjects, such as Ferrie's earlier ABCs of Science (Baby University) Although little listeners will need to fill in their live's work in later reading, this newest by Ferrie gives youngsters a chance to meet a variety of scientists, male and female, from all over the globe.

Properly appreciating this little book presupposes some previous experience with Martin and Carle's perennial best seller, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? but even lacking that, the rhythmic question-and-answer format moves this list of science stars along splendidly. And even if preschoolers don't quite pick up on this artful parody, grownups reading these books aloud certainly will, especially if they've also read Ferrie's Goodnight Lab: A Scientific Parody (Baby University, Ferrie's earlier parody of Margaret Wise Brown's eternally best-selling Goodnight Moon. It's all in good fun for early childhood education, and that's got to be a good thing!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Like a Fish in Water...: Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby

It can be precise, like pouring the first cup of tea or picking out the first shoe.

It's a drum beat. Ba dum Ba dum Ba dum Ba dum.

It can come and go and you never notice it's there. Where did it go?

We can't see it or hold it, but we know when it comes and goes. We're stuck in it, but never in the same place in it.

It can hang heavy on our hands, but it sometimes slips away.

Yes, it's TIME, in Sarah Jacoby's new book, Forever or a Day (Chronicle Books, 2018), which teases the reader a bit about its subject, but slyly shows its hand on the frontispiece, which shows a newspaper delivery van whose side reads TIMES. In a child's-eye-view of times passing, we see a bus stop with time-pressed passengers checking their watches, an airline time table with flights ON TIME or LATE, and we see good times on vacation where the kids long to go back in time for a do-over.

"Can we stay longer?"

It's a question to which there is only one honest answer.

We've only got what we've got.

There are good times and bad times, but the best times are those shared with those we love best.

Artist Jacoby shows close-ups of intimate times or lovely panoramas of sea, sky, and land done in a wash of watercolored images, some clear, some slightly out of focus like time remembered. This is beautiful and thoughtful book that introduces to young children the concept of time as something that both can and can't be measured by a clock, something of which we are usually no more aware than the fish is aware he is in water. Even Einstein found it a good thing to think about, and when you have the time, this is a good book to share.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Expect the Unexpected! The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins et al

Esther was a little piglet.

She was rescued when she was six weeks old and arrived in a laundry basket.

She looked up at her dads with those eyes and that smile.

It was LOVE!

She was the littlest pet when she came to live in a small apartment that already had two dogs and two cats. But Esther was a good eater, and soon graduated from her basket to a cat bed. But she continued to grow--from cat beds to progressively bigger and bigger dog beds.

Her dads were confused.

"We thought she was supposed to be a mini-pig!" they said.

But when she looked up at the with those eyes and that smile, it was LOVE!

Esther ate everything she could find. She even broke the oven door--perhaps looking for dessert!

And Esther continued to grow. She outgrew the apartment, and they all moved to a small house. Esther got a single bed to sleep in, and then her own room with a double bed. But she outgrew that bed, too. By the time Esther hit 600 pounds plus, there was not enough space for anyone to sit in any room in the house. But when they looked at her, it was still--


So they loaded up everything, two dogs and two cats, and a now 650 pound pig and moved to a big farm, where there was plenty of space for a pig and other animals that needed rescuing, too. Even when Esther wandered off and was nabbed decimating a neighbor's apple tree,

When they looked at those eyes and that smile... it was LOVE.

Esther was part of the family, and families come in all shapes and sizes!

Following the success of their best-selling memoir, Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane adapted their story to picture book format, The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig (Little, Brown and Company, 2018), a salute to the unforeseen consequences of pet ownership, not to mention LOVE! With the gently humorous illustrations of Cori Doerrfeld and photos of the real Esther the Wonder Pig, kids will love the story of the wonderful expanding pig and its plea for rescue pet adoption as well at their Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. See more about Esther here

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Free Time! Paddington's Day Off by Michael Bond

One day Paddington went out for a walk.

He went to see Mr. Gruber, who owned a shop in the Portobello Road market.

"It is such a beautiful day! Let's take the day off," said Mr. Gruber.
Hanging a CLOSED sign on his shop door, Mr. Gruber invites Paddington's friends Jonathan and Judy along and with a picnic lunch packed, the four of them set off, Mr. Gruber providentially taking along his suitcase with a map, guidebook, and opera glasses inside. After all, one never knows what a day with Paddington will bring!

Soon the jolly expedition has trekked far from home and enters the park.

"What's that sound?" said Mr. Gruber suddenly.

It's a band in the bandstand in the center of the park. And appropriately, they are playing the "Surprise Symphony!" What could the surprise be? While Mr. Gruber and the children are setting out their picnic, Paddinton strolls up to the bandstand to find out. Seeing a small door marked Private under the stage, Paddington opens it and walks right through, but when it closes behind him, he finds he's locked inside. It's rather dark and most unpleasant under there, and Paddington wants out. He picks up an old broom and begins to knock on the ceiling, which is actually the floor of the stage where the band is playing.


The conductor jumped!

Mr. Gruber notices that the music doesn't sound just right, and he also notices that Paddington is missing! Could there be a connection between those two things?

It's not exactly the surprise that Joseph Haydn had written in the score when the conductor opens the trapdoor onstage and Paddington climbs up from underneath.

"Oh! It's a bear," he observes.

Well, that is a surprise, as the very composed conductor hands over his baton to Paddington Bear to complete the "Surprise Symphony." It's not your usual day in the park, but as in Michael Bond's Paddington's Day Off (I Can Read Level 1) (Harper, 2017) there's always something unexpected where the very unusual Peruvian bear named Paddington is concerned.

With a series of perpetually popular children's novels beginning in 1958 with A Bear Called Paddington, and ending in 2017 with Bond's last novel, Paddington's Finest Hour, with a long-running cartoon series and two full-length Paddington movies (the 2014 Paddington and the 2018 Paddington 2) and now an I-Can-Read series by the venerable author himself, it seems that even with the death of Michael Bond in 2017 at the age of 91, Paddington will be there for children who promise to "Please look after this bear" for a long, long time.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Someday.... When I Grow Up by Tim Minchin

sang the moppet in the red dress in the Broadway musical "Annie."

And now comes another strong-minded girl character, Matilda, from the Broadway play of the same name with much the same wishes for her future.

Matilda, the feisty creation of Roald Dahl in his eponymous children's fantasy novel, Matilda, is a young girl in an unenviable position, a pupil in a Kindergarten class run by an ill-concealed genuine witch, one who clearly hates children, especially spirited girls.

But possessed of the power of telekinesis, the doughty Matilda is not to be outdone by any teacher, and Tim Minchin's theme song tells it like it's going to be when Matilda reaches her majority!

When I grow up I will be
Tall enough to reach the branches I have to reach
To climb the trees
You get to climb,
When I grow up!

Matilda the Musical (billed as "By the Brilliantly BATTY Roald Dahl :) won multiple Oliviers and five Tony Awards, had a near five-year run at the Schubert Theater, and is still on the boards on a world tour, so composer-lyricist Tim Minchin's just published jolly picture book, When I Grow Up (Scholastic Books, 2018), based on the play's anthem, is a fine choice for introducing preschoolers to the classic fantasy novel and to the movie and Broadway musical. Author-illustrator Steve Anthony (creator of Please, Mr. Panda (A Board Book) and other popular picture books, (reviews here) provides the dancing, frolicking kids of the cast and the lead player Matilda, who is the anti-Peter Pan of musical theater, determined that she will grow up in charge of herself and take charge of the world besides.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

CRIB READY! Baby Animals (Indestructibles) by Stephen Lomp



Appealing puppies, kittens, elephant calves, ducklings, koala joeys, and turtle hatchlings--what little one could resist? With lively baby animals, portrayed in bright colors and playing under the watchful eyes of their parents, this little book comes with instant appeal for infants and toddlers.

But Steven Lomp's Indestructibles: Baby Animals (Workman Press, 2017) also represents one of the biggest advances in book publishing since Gutenberg first cranked up his printing press--a "crib ready" book that proclaims itself as rip-proof, chewable, non-toxic, and 100% washable. Book-loving parents who have cringed at what happens to the best-made of baby board books--used as chewing rings, tossed and ripped and dipped in the potty, and otherwise beaten up by babies who love them to pieces--will rejoice at the new Indestructibles series, even advertised as "dishwasher safe!"

With quite a variety of topics in this new series, such as Amy Pixton's Indestructibles: Baby Night-Night Kate Merritt's Indestructibles: Love You, Baby and Lomps' Indestructibles: Things That Go!,, these very inexpensive and indestructible books for the very youngest are a great choice for new parents and a boon to daycare centers where daily sanitizing for playthings is a major issue. Baby books that are the best thing since sliced bread? Maybe!

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Different Strokes: Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino

One day, Morris' biggest brother announced, "We've run out of food!"

"Then we must dig even FURTHER!" his second biggest brother declared. The rest of the brothers agreed.

Except for Morris. "I have an IDEA!" he said.

Little Morris, nattily attired in a suit, bow tie, and fedora, is not like his sturdy, hard-hatted brothers. He figures that if what you've been doing isn't working, doing more of it may not be the way to go.

While the burly brothers dig down deeper, Morris screws up his courage and decides to try digging up.

It's a breakthrough!

Above ground, Morris discovers flowers, sunshine, birds--and plenty of food!

He had never smelled anything so sweet, or felt so at peace!

And then he tasted what he thought was a particularly beautiful blackberry.

OOPS. Short-sighted Morris has chomped down on the nose of a fox. But before the fox can chomp down on him, a wolf appears with intentions of doing the same to the fox.

"Hey, pipsqueak!" growled the wolf.

Thinking fast, Morris shoves the fox down into his tunnel and feigns total ignorance of the fox's whereabouts. Morris's help wins over the fox, and when the wolf moves on, he helps Morris gather some mole-pleasing foods and drop them down his tunnel to land right in the mole family's larder, where his empty-handed big brothers finally have some respect for Morris' offbeat ideas.

Dan Yaccarino's Morris Mole (Harper, 2017) is a jolly story of the little mole who could, the oddball little brother who at last wins his right to speak up. It's a popular premise (especially with younger siblings), and Yaccarino's charming illustrations, setting off the contrast between Morris and his husky brothers and below and above ground, almost tell the story apart from the text. Says Publishers Weekly, "Yaccarino’s crisp, retro graphics exude energy and humor while emphasizing the rewards that can come with trusting one’s instincts."

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Taking Pen In Hand.... A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson

"Dear Teacher,

Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I am writing a letter.

I hope you remember me... I wore a bright yellow raincoat and a dark, stormy frown--because for me, school meant sitting still and listening, two things I wasn't much good at."

Her teacher probably does remember her.

She's one of those "exasperating" students, the one who blurts out odd stuff without raising her hand, gets lost on field trips, gets wet and dirty at recess, and with calculated silliness sabotages silent reading time, the one who loudly begs to take care of the class mice for the Thanksgiving holidays, where they become her cat's dinner instead.

But in her letter, the girl recalls the way her teacher seems to understand, calling her an intrepid explorer, enlisting her love for mud in digging the "first ever" second-grade garden, and getting her to enjoy reading with a book about a famous woman explorer who was "just like her." And by the end of the year the girl realizes how much she has learned and those things she will never forget.

Most of us grownups would like to write our old teachers a letter--the great ones, the good ones, the ones that did they best they could, and even the not-so-good ones--those who showed us the way to be (and the way not to be) along the way. Deborah Hopkinson's epistolary picture book, A Letter to My Teacher (Schwartz and Wade, 2017) takes us adults back to second grade and perhaps gives current primary students a little insight into what their teachers are trying to do to reach and teach all their students. Nancy Carpenter's illustrations are sensitive and low-key, matching the tone of the text. This is another fine book to read at the end of the year, along with Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (see review here). Says Kirkus Reviews, "A valuable lesson in empathy, internalized and paid forward."

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A Bear WHERE? A Bear Sat on My Porch Today by Jane Yolen

A bear sat on my porch today....
And didn't go away.

What should I do? Boo! Shoo!
Okay, okay; you can stay.

It's hard to say no to a bear who won't go.

So with a warning not to scare her mommy, the girl decides she can work around a bear in their rocking chair. But then there's another interloper...

A squirrel sat on my porch today... Shaggy and gray....

What can she say? It's a critter invasion. The bear and squirrel seem to be there to stay and are joined by a stinky skunk who stays to spray!

A 'possum and then a raccoon come to play and opt to stay. At least they're small. But then a moose arrives to stay, demanding more than one meal per day!

The porch began to shift and sway!

With their new digs in danger of collapse, the critters rally to shore up their new home away from home. Bear and moose show that they care, and the skunk proves handy with a hammer, in Jane Yolen's newest, A Bear Sat on My Porch Today (Handprint/Chronicle, 2018). Jane Yolen does BEARS with the best of them (viz., her Bear Snores On (The Bear Books) series.)  Yolen uses her way with a rhyme this time in a cumulative tale in the form of The House that Jack Built that rollicks along to a rousing conclusion portrayed by artist Rilla Alexander in an ebullient four-page gatefold in which a good time is had by all at a most memorable porch party.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Mother and Child: The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin



The first time alone with a new baby is the time a parent realizes the enormity of what it means. There a whole new person there, with unknown possibilities, a future yet unforeseeable, with so many possibilities, a personality that they must begin to know. They look at each other and both see someone important. And as the child grows, the parents go along also, showing the child the world.  And they know...


There is much to wish for the new child–-kindness, cleverness, the strength to stand up for the good, the capacity to love and to enjoy life. In Emily Winfield Martin’s (Random House), this little book is the way to greet the new one with hopes and wishes and warnings for what lies ahead, set out in a bright four-page gatefold spread of the many things children do as they grow. And the parent cannot help thinking about all the millions of steps and sights and joys the child will take and see and feel in the time together that lies ahead. This little best-seller is a wonderful alternative to a card and/or baby gift to the new mother and child.

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Summit Fever! Ascent (A Peak Marcello Adventure) by Roland Smith

We moved quickly, as Zopa suggested, without a word between us. At the eleventh flag, there was a deafening roar. "Run!" Josh shouted.

You can't outrun an avalanche. Josh grabbed me by the shoulder and turned me into the wall of snow and ice. "Climb it! Swim up!" he shouted.

The white wall smacked into me.


Peak Marcello hadn't exactly planned to summit Myanmar's formidable peak, Hkakabo Razi. This trip was supposed to be just an exotic vacation hike through Myanmar's tangled rain forest with his adventuring companions Nick and Alessia and guide Ethan.

But that hike is no walk in the park. Leeches, worms that borrow under the skin, and clouds of mosquitoes are just small nuisances compared to huge venomous snakes and a murderous guide whose pack elephant erupts in a killer rage from time to time,  a guide who cuts the rope bridges over gorges and who gets himself murdered, stranding them in the midst of nowhere; but when Nick suffers a severe concussion and Alessia goes along on the airlift to Yangon, Peak's jaunt through the jungle seems to be at an end.

But when the mysterious monk Zopa turns up with climbing gear and his two trusty Sherpa strongmen, Peak can't resist the old climber's suggestion that they try to climb Hkakabo's 19,250 foot summit. And at their first rest camp, Peak discovers that his father, Josh Wood, who has just completed the "Seven Summits" challenge ending in Everest, is also scaling Hkakabo Razi with a photography team. Peak has had almost no contact with his father throughout his life, and he neither trusts nor admires Josh, except for his mountaineering skills. But having come this far, he decides to go on with the climb. Peak manages to dig himself out of a sudden avalanche with his lucky spoon in his pocket, and when he recovers, he decides to go on with the ascent to the summit.

Weather worsens when they are a thousand feet below the summit, with rising temperatures that make the ice weak and the atmosphere foggy. Zopa and the Sherpas go ahead to place the protection pins, leaving Peak with his father to cross a glacier. Then things go downhill fast.

I fell over the edge while I was clipping into the rope. Josh's hand reached out and grabbed me by the wrist. The only thing between me and death was his strength.

Peak remembers what his mother has said about Josh. "At the end of your rope, there is no one better. Unfortunately, he doesn't pay much attention until you're dangling."

Peak is dangling.

"Let me go," I said. "No use in us both going over."

"I'm not letting you die alone," said Josh. "Try! Save me!"

It's again a cliffhanger in Roland Smith's forthcoming third book in series, Ascent (A Peak Marcello Adventure) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018). For fans of flat-out wild adventures in far places, it's hard to beat Smith's Peak Marcello Adventures, written with world-wide settings and fast and furious extreme survival scenes. Author Smith, however, doesn't totally neglect the other valleys and peaks in adolescence, working in relationships with his concerned mother, his difficult father, his independent girlfriend Alessia, and his own internal conflict over competing with a father who is a celebrity climber. With this one, it seems clear that Peak has much to learn about himself and more mountains yet to climb.

Previous books in this series are Peak (A Peak Marcello Adventure) and The Edge (A Peak Marcello Adventure) (see review here).

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Nothing Is Impossible! Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

Little Mae was a dreamer.

One day Mae was working on an assignment for school about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She told her mother she wanted to see Earth.

"This is Earth, Mae," her mother said.

"I know, but I want to see earth from out there," she said, pointing to the sky.

Her mom told Mae that to do that, she would have to be an astronaut.

"You can do it. If you dream it, if you believe it, and work hard for it, nothing is impossible."

From that day, Mae dreamed of going into space. On Halloween, she went out dressed in her homemade astronaut costume. She read every book she could find about astronauts and space travel. She told everyone that she was going to be an astronaut. Sometimes the other kids laughed when she said that. Her dad assured her that she would find a way to realize her dreams, but not everyone was so hopeful. Knowing how hard it would be to be selected to be an astronaut, particularly for an African American female, one well-meaning teacher tried to let her down easy.

"Are you sure you wouldn't want to be a nurse? That would be a good profession for you."

But her mom said, "I hope you didn't believe her. Follow your dream!"

And Mae did. She studied hard. She got a degree in chemical engineering, a medical degree, and served in the Peace Corps. Then she applied to be an astronaut. And the rest is history.

Mae Jemison went on to be the first African American woman to become an astronaut. She dreamed it, she believed it, and she worked for it, and in 1992 she saw Earth from space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

Written to inspire young readers, Roda Ahmed's Mae Among the Stars (Harper, 2018) centers on the childhood experiences of young Mae Jemison, whose abilities and determination allowed her to realize her dreams. Stasia Burrington's illustrations are soft and stylized to appeal to young children with their rounded shapes and watercolored palette, while the author includes an informational afterword which provides details which make this primary-grade biography a source for primary grade biography book reports. In a starred review Kirkus writes, "An enchanting, inspirational account of Jemison’s early life that illustrates the importance of encouraging and supporting children’s dreams."

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

WHAM! Sweet Dreams, Supergirl by Michael Dahl




And that's just her daily duties of getting up for school, dashing through her schoolwork and crashing through her homework. By nightfall she's weary, but wired from her tasks of being good. It's time for some sweet dreams, sweetheart! And in those dreams...?

With a FWOOSH! and a Boom! in her nightime life Supergirl is on the job in the metropolis doing great deeds until they are done and it's time for the sun.

And somewhere there’s a little supergirl ready to face the adventures of another day, too. There are challenges for her as she rises with the sun and faces what comes.

It takes courage and bravery, but this little would-be supergirl is on the job, in Michael Dahl's Sweet Dreams, Supergirl (DC Super Heroes) (DC Comics, 2018). In this companion book to DC Comics’ Good Morning, Superman! (DC Super Heroes) young heroines grow their skills and knowledge to face whatever the day brings. This little Supergirl gives young girls their own superhero to admire and emulate as their soar through each day and imagine their own daring deeds to dream of when they say goodnight. Author Michael Dahl knows his super heroes, (see reviews here) and illustrator Omar Lozano knows just the couture for a young caped crusader of the female persuasion.