Follow That Bee!: A First Book of Bees in the City by Scot Ritchie; illustrated by Scot Ritchie. 2019. Artwork is done digitally. Published by Kids Can Press.
Brief Summary: Mr. Cardinal keeps beehives in his backyard in the city. He invites Martin and his friends over to the backyard where they learn what bees need to thrive. They help plant a variety of flowers that bees like and learn how pollinators move pollen around. The children learn about how natural honeycomb is made and the ones Mr. Cardinal has in his yard. One of the children gets stung by a bee and is shown how to take out the barbed stinger. They are told what happens to the bee. The students are shown how to wear protective gear and smoke the bees to get the honey to sell at the farmer’s market.
Comments: Great bee basics with many nonfiction text features such as a map, labeled diagrams, bold words, and pictures with captions. The back of the book includes directions of how to make a bee bath and a “words to know” section.
The narrative was on the left side with two paged layouts.
I thought it was funny how calm the child was when Mr. Cardinal took the stinger out of foot. I’m sure young readers will share about their experiences with bee stings.
Sign Off by Stephen Savage; illustrated by Stephen Savage. 2019. Published by Beach Lane Books.
Brief summary: This is a wordless book that takes the reader around town looking at street signs when someone is looking and then what happens when no one is around. The figures go off the signs and end up together to create another day of living on the signs.
Comments: So clever. I will never be able to look at a road sign in the same way after reading this book! The illustrations are of two page layouts with large, bold colored illustrations. There is a note on the copyright page explaining that the signs in the book(many we see in our neighborhoods) were mainly created by Cook and Shanosky Associates(graphic artists).
I would use this book at the beginning of the school year and talk about the signs we see around the school. Why do we need these signs? Students could create their own signs on paper or online.
My Heart by Corinna Luyken; illustrated by Corinna Luyken. 2019. Water-based inks and pencil. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A young child shares in lyrical prose how her heart feels differently in various instances. Sometimes, it feels open; sometimes closed. No matter how it is on a certain day, she accepts it with love.
Comments: The simple wording has complex meanings that could spark a conversation of how one feels on various days or in certain situations. I would use this as a read aloud when someone’s feelings are hurt or having a bad day. This book gave several visual examples of the emotions one may have which I believe a child could relate to and figure out what is being felt.
This book’s theme explores how to accept how your heart if feeling and to remember it can be different tomorrow.
There are only three colors used: yellow, black, and white.
My Papi has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero; illustrated by Zeke Pena. 2019. Mix of hand-painted watercolor texture. Published by Kokila.
Brief summary: Daisy Ramona loves it when her Papi comes home from work to take his daughter on a motorcycle trip through their neighborhood. Daisy points out all of the highlights injecting many of the Spanish words for those special places in her life. They are disappointed to see that one of their favorite places has gone out of business. They continue waving to neighbors including her grandparents as they head to the job site where her father has been helping to build a new house. They turn to drive back home to find her brother and Mami are waiting to share a surprise that completes the ride.
Comments: This book is based on the author’s own bike rides with her father when he came home from work, and they would drove around Corona, California. The illustrator was able to successfully caption the love and admiration of the daughter towards her father, the colors and characters of the neighborhood, and the fun they had driving around on the motorcycle. Beautifully done!
Camp Tiger by Susan Choi; illustrated by John Rocco. 2019. Watercolor sketch, wash pencil, and added the color digitally. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Brief summary: A young boy and his family go on vacation right before school starts back up. His brother will be in fourth, and he will be in first. He does not want to be in first grade and hopes the annual camping trip at Mountain Pond never ends. All the usual animals are there. He finds a single red leaf on the forest’s ground foreshadowing that change is coming.
As they set up their tent, the entire family stops as an orange tiger walks out of the brush and talks to them. The family sets up a tent for the tiger where it goes to sleep. The boy goes in and lies down next to the tiger and talks to him. The tiger hangs out with the family the entire time. The tiger leaves without saying good-bye. The boy is sad and worries about it as the family drives home with a falling of orange leaves from the trees sprinkling the top of the car.
Comments: I think this would be a great read aloud for teachers, school librarians, and parents to their kindergartner going into first grade or whenever a child has to take the next life step. The illustrations are wonderful with earth tones and the brilliance of the tiger’s markings.
Under My Hijab by Hena Khan; illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel. 2019. Adobe Photoshop. Published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Brief summary: A young girl shares how six different women in her life wear their hijab according to their own preferences. She observes how the headscarf is worn in different styles and considers how she would like to wear her hijab one day that would match her personality too.
Comments: I learned that Hijab is singular and plural. There is an “About the Hijab” section in the back that explained that a Muslim female may choose to wear the hijab or not depending on her interpretation of Islamic religious requirements. The headscarf is often taken off at home. Girls don’t wear the hijab daily until adolescence, so that could be why the young girl in the book is considering how other women in her community wear theirs.
I think I would share this book by bringing in my mother’s lace scarf that she and the other women use to wear on their heads when they went to Mass in the early 1960s. She did not wear it any other time and would always have it in her pocketbook.
The illustrations are bright and colorful especially the eye catching cover.
My Fourth of July by Jerry Spinelli; illustrated by Larry Day. 2019. Pencil, pen, and ink with watercolor and gouache. Published by Holiday House.
Brief summary: A young boy wakes up by the Fourth of July parade going by his house and runs out in his pajamas to join it. He comes back home and goes into the kitchen to see his father and mother getting ready for the picnic. They load up their red wagon and go down the street to the park to join other neighbors. There are activities all day that he enjoys every Independence Day. The night comes and the boy and his dog fall asleep in the wagon awaking later to fireworks. Everyone heads home walking up the streets to their houses.
Comments: Love this book! Both author and illustrator perfectly capture the celebration of the fourth with the traditional activities, the excitement, and all the neighbors coming together to celebrate this special day. There is a dominance of red, white, and blue colors that help set the mood of the book. Positive vibe. My favorite part was the two page layout of the town’s people sleepily returning home at the end of the fun-filled day.
Although the description on Amazon says this is a nostalgic book of the holiday, I found that not to be necessarily true. With the exception of the train, my town celebrates the 4th just like this. I felt that this book represents so many small towns in America on July 4th.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison. 2019. Art is digitally created. Published by Kokila.
Brief summary: Zuri wants a special hairstyle for a special day and tries several with the help of her loving father until he finds one she likes. Her mom arrives home in time to see the final creation in which they take a selfie together to remember.
Comments: Cute and whimsical story of how a father does not give up with getting his little girl’s hair the way she wants it. I personally can’t remember when my father ever did that!
I would read this and other hair picture books (A Mighty Girl has a good list: I Love My Hair: 18 Books About Mighty Girls and Their Hair)and pair them with Rapunzel and variants of the fairy tale from other countries.
I am going to have to temporarily pause my brief picture book reviews until July 2019 when I will launch a new and improved site.
I will still maintain my Facebook and Twitter accounts in which I will share current library, book, and reading related news and humor.
Thank you so much for following me. See you again in July!
Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by April Pulley Sayre. 2018. Photography. Published by Greenwillow Books.
Brief summary: This beautiful rhyming love letter thanking the earth of all its wonderful life and land is illustrated with superb nature photos capturing the awesomeness of the planet.
Comments: This book could be shared at Thanksgiving with a discussion of what each child is thankful for that the earth gives us. It could also be shared on Earth Day. Topnotch photography as in her other books Raindrops Roll, Best in Snow, and Fall of Fall.
There is A Note From the Author in back.