Children's Book List

Reviews of Children's Literature

Water is Water

Written By: Miranda Paul
Illustrated By: Jason Chin

Water is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle

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Summary: A spare, poetic picture book exploring the different phases of the water cycle in surprising and engaging ways.

Rating: 3 ***

Shows the different ways water is used and its many forms.

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Mesmerized

Written By: Mara Rockliff
Illustrated By: Iacopo Bruno

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

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Summary: Discover how Benjamin Franklin’s scientific method challenged a certain Dr. Mesmer’s mysterious powers in a whimsical look at a true moment in history.

Rating: 4 ****

A truly interesting story about an incident that showcases Benjamin Franklin’s keen sense and process of the scientific method. Rockliff writes in a tongue and cheek fashion, making fun of the story as she writes.

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Papa’s Backpack

By: James Christopher Carroll

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Papa’s Backpack

Summary:
Tells the story of the courtesies that help us each day.

Rating: 4 ****

Illustrations and rhyming text portray a bear cub who understands that because Papa is a soldier, he sometimes must go, but imagines what it would be like to stay near by riding in Papa’s backpack.

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Drum Dream Girl

Written By: Margarita Engle
Illustrated By: Rafael Lopez

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Summary:
Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba. Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.

Rating: 3 ***

Similar to Dr. Suess’ And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street. A boy tells his teacher all of the outlandish reasons he didn’t get to school on time.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

Written By: Davide Cali
Illustrated By: Benjamin Chaud

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

Summary:
A humorous story about imaginative excuses for being late to school.

Rating: 3 ***

Similar to Dr. Suess’ And to Think I saw it on Mulberry Street. A boy tells his teacher all of the outlandish reasons he didn’t get to school on time.

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Emily’s Blue Period

Written By: Cathleen Daly
Illustrated By: Lisa Brown

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Emily’s Blue Period

Summary: After her parents get divorced, Emily finds comfort in making and learning about art.

Rating: 3 ***

It’s a story about Picasso and divorce, but most importantly love.

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Go to Sleep, Little Farm

Written By: Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated By: Christopher Silas Neal

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Go to Sleep, Little Farm

Summary: The farm’s creatures prepare for night and rest.

Rating: 3 ***

There is a disconnect between the illustrations and the writing. Some pages work in perfect harmony telling a story of an animal and a girl at the same time, but other pages don’t so the story is fragmented. The text is also a little too complex for young children. For example: Then somewhere a secret curls in an ear, just as dreams flicker near…

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Any Questions?

By: Mary Louise Gay

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Any Questions

Summary: Answers many of the questions the author receives from children on writing, including where she gets her ideas, how she learned to draw, and how many books she can write in one day.

Rating: 4 ****

Gay frames a story in a story. In the first story, kids are asking her questions about her writing and books. In this story, she and the kids create a story about a giant.

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Findus Disappears!

By: Sven Nordqvist

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The Adventures of Pettson and Findus: Findus Disappears!

Summary: Farmer Pettson’s talking cat Findus disappears on the farm and runs into some mice and a badger before being rescued by Pettson.

Rating: 3 ***

A sweet story about a lonely farmer who adopts a cat and makes a friend for life.

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Knock Knock

Written By: Daniel Beaty
Illustrated By: Bryan Collier

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Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me

Summary: A boy wakes up one morning to find his father gone. At first, he feels lost. But his father has left him a letter filled with advice to guide him through the times he cannot be there.

Rating: 4 ****

This story offers a really unique perspective that is rarely seen in picture books about a loving father who disappears. Beaty leaves the reason unclear and has the father come back in the form of a letter, which is a little confusing. In his after note, he explains how the story is autobiographical and about his father who is incarcerated. The author’s note is more powerful than the story.

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