A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy; illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. 2021. Illustrations were created digitally. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Gabo wakes to a snow covered world and children playing outside on a sled. He wants to go out and join them but he does not have wool socks to keep his feet warm or boots to keep them waterproofed. He just moved from a hot climate and has not played in the snow before now. Mami comes up with substitutes of several layers of cotton socks and plastic bags tied over his shoes.
Gabo goes next door to ask Senor Ramos if he has a sled he could borrow. He does not but his granddaughter, Isa, is visiting and encourages Gabo to play since they are the same age. Gabo is too shy and goes to play with Misifu, a cat.
Gabo’s tia arrives with a plastic cafeteria tray for him to use as a sled. Isa comes over now and they slide up and down the snowy hill until dusk when they go inside and share dulce de leche together.
Comments: Such a sweet story about a shy boy who learned to adapt and have fun while making a new friend. Gabo is bilingual and can speak to many neighbors and is one of those people who can play with animals as well as other kids. Gabo is able to adjust to a new habitat and culture, intertwining both worlds.
*Although this book was released in early January, I did not receive it from the public library until March. I still want to share this even though the season has passed, as I think it is a touching and important story that teaches how to stay positive and move forward.
Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul; illustrated by Becky Cameron. 2021. Published by Philomel Books.
Brief summary: A thoughtful cat enjoys rectangle time with his boy and father and helps in any way he can to make it superb. He always sits in someone’s lap and scratches his face on the rectangle. Soon, he notices that there are two voices at rectangle time and decides to add his. As time goes by, he hears that rectangle time is now silent and only with the boy. The cat decides he will break the quietness.
Years pass. The cat sees how rectangle time is now with two again, but they are sitting in silence at opposite sides of the room. The cat pokes the boy to let him know he is still contributing with this special ritual. The cat believes it is an accident when the boy removes his helpful paw.
More time passes and the cat concludes the boy is not enjoying his rectangle time by himself on his bed, so the supportive cat sits on the rectangle. He gets dumped on the floor and realizes it was not an accident. The caring cat decides to re-position himself. Will this persistent feline ever find the right way again to share rectangle time?
Comments: Whenever we have story time in elementary school, we call it “circle time” when the children would gather around in sort of a circle and listen/participate with a read aloud. “Rectangle time” is such a cute name showing that story time is through the cat’s perspective and how it changes over the years as the boy grows older.
Definitely a good choice for library media specialists and teachers to share.
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scoot; illustrated by Sydney Smith. 2020. Watercolor, ink and gouache. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: A young boy wakes up and notices all of the words around him as he gets ready to go to school where he does not have a good day. His father picks him up after school noticing that his son is having a bad speech day. He takes the boy to the river where they walk in silence along the bank. His father hugs him and says, “See how that water moves? That’s how you speak.”
The boy looks at the river and sees how the water in the river goes slowly, quickly, bubbling, and in many other ways. He realizes how the river can go smoothly at times and also choppy just like how he sometimes speaks. He is able to understand the stuttering simile and goes to school the next day sharing with the class about his favorite place in the world…the river.
Comments: Speech teachers! Here is a superb book for you to share with a student who stutters. Lovely simile that could help students understand how they speak as well as their classmates’.
Touching explanation in the back from the author sharing his stuttering speech as a child and how he wrote this book based on his own life.
What’s Inside a Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature by Rachel Ignotofsky; illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky. 2021. Illustrations are created traditionally and with a computer. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Questions about flowers are answered with beautiful illustrations and clear informative text. The many labeled diagrams, dialog bubbles, and mixture of fonts and sizes make the picture book easy to read and understand. Young readers will learn about the flower’s seed, root, and blossom.
Comments: This is a nonfiction picture book fully illustrated from the top to the bottom of the page. The end pages are decorated with a variety of flowers. There is a “Sources” page in the back.
This is the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series. You may recognize Ignotofsky’s unique style in her Women in Series Collection.
Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey; illustrated by G. Brian Karas. 2021. Mixed media. Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.
Brief summary: Peter Easter Frog hops along the forest’s trail placing colored eggs in the grass and runs into a turtle with her Easter hat on. He invites her along his journey and comes across a cow. She joins the frog and turtle as they pass out more eggs and collect a dog and chipmunk to join them. They come across the Easter Bunny who is not happy with them doing his job. Peter Easter Frog gives the Easter Bunny an egg; the first time anyone ever gave the rabbit one. He decides they could all help him deliver the colored eggs.
Comments: This is sweet book with nice pastel illustrations.
This book reminds me of the Easter song we sang in elementary school (“Here Comes Peter Cottontail”) probably because the first line in the book and in the song are very similar. Here is one version of the song:
How to Catch a Clover Thief by Elise Parsley; illustrated by Elise Parsley. 2021. Digitally drawn, painted in Adobe Photoshop. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A wild boar named Roy is waiting for his clover patch to bloom. He warns his gopher neighbor, Jarvis, to not steal his clover. Jarvis assures him that he would never steal the yummy white blossoms and gives Roy a clover recipe book to read while the boar waits. Roy decides to go out and get some of the ingredients for a recipe and discovers upon his return that his clover patch is smaller.
Jarvis visits Roy the next day and asks what is the matter. Roy points out that there is a clover thief! Roy explains that he needs to stand guard of his clover and tells the gopher to go away. The gopher offers him a campsite book to help Roy stay there and guard. The wild boar reads the book and starts to put up a tent and build a campfire only to discover that his clover patch is smaller again.
Jarvis continues to give Roy various books while the clover patch gets smaller and smaller. Roy decides he is going to the library to get a book to figure out how to catch the clover thief. Will his invention work?
Comments: Young readers will enjoy the secret and mystery of who is the clover thief. Laugh out loud fun!
I like how the character reads to find answers and eventually, goes to the library to find the perfect book to catch the thief.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho; illustrated by Dung Ho. 2021. Digitally illustrated(Adobe Photoshop). Published by HarperCollins.
Brief summary: A young girl notices the different type of eyes she and her group of friends have and is aware that hers “kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea”. Her Asian eyes are like her mother’s as they laugh together. The girl then notices that her Amah’s eyes are like hers and just like her mother’s. The girl knows her Amah’s eyes when she tells stories of long ago. Mei-Mei, her younger sister, has eyes just like they do. She notices her little sister’s eyes when they play.
The young girl realizes that her eyes are like her ancestors’ and now.
Comments: The young girl experiences self awareness of her eyes and her family’s.
Beautiful yellow flowers on the end pages. Large bright illustrations. Beautiful.
The metaphor of her eyes kissing in the corners is ssssoooo precious!