Dog on a Frog? by Kes and Claire Gray

Dog on a Frog?

Dog on a Frog? by Kes and Claire Gray; illustrated by Jim Field. 2017. Published by Scholastic Press.

Brief summary: A feisty and bossy frog speaks up and no longer wants dogs to sit on frogs. Dogs will now sit on logs. He tells everyone that they are now going to be sitting on other things that are not the norm anymore and tells them if they do not like it, they will just have to do it.

Comments: Sequel to Frog on a Log?. Silly and funny rhyming pairs. I plan to share this with my kindergartners and first graders for rhyming text fun.

Buy here.

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen. 2017. Mixed media. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: One morning, a mouse is eaten by wolf and moans about his unexpected end as it sits in the beast’s belly. “Be quiet!” The mouse is surprised to find a duck in bed. They have breakfast together in which the rodent learns all about the duck’s life inside the belly of the wolf. The mouse asks if he can stay too where there is no worry. The duck agrees. They dance about causing the wolf’s tummy to hurt.  The duck suggests he knows how to cure his ache and lists a few supplies he would like the wolf to swallow. A hunter comes along and tries to shoot the wolf. Realizing their safe home is under attack, the goose and mouse come up with a plan scaring the hunter away. In return of saving his life, the wolf grants them a favor.

Comments: Has a fable feel. My favorite line is “I may have been swallowed,” says the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.” It made me think of what it would be like to live inside the belly of a beast that I was always being frightened by in my every day life.

Buy here.


Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott

Baabwaa & Wooliam

Baabwaa & Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott; illustrated by Melissa Sweet. 2017. Watercolor, gouache, and mixed media. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: Wooliam loves to read, and Baabwaa loves to knit. The two sheep enjoy spending the days with their favorite activity until one day, Wooliam suggests that the two friends go on an adventure. They leave their trailer and have a walkabout of the field not going past the stone wall. They are just finishing their lunch of grass when a third sheep approaches with a dirty wool coat. “Run!” said Wooliam. “It’s that Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing I’ve read about.” The wolf chases but then stops, curious about  what they had read about him. The sheep show him the book. After realizing the wolf cannot read, the sheep decide to teach him how to read and knit him a new coat. No good deed goes unpunished, but the three do arrive to harmony.

Comments: These two sheep decide to be kind and understanding to someone even though he has the reputation of eating them, has awful teeth,  and is constantly chasing them around the field. A different viewpoint of the Big Bad Wolf.

Buy here.

Comment Guidelines

I have the comment moderation turned on. Your comment will appear after it has been approved. Keep in mind that young readers may be reading about a picture book I reviewed, so I will not approve your comment if there is inappropriate language. Be kind; be polite. Think before you speak. No spam or ads. Because I am working as a library media specialist, it may take me a day to get back to my blog.

If you see that I made a typo or grammar error, please politely let me know. No need to be snarky. I  am fully aware that I have an attention span of a hummingbird and miss things when I proofread. 

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall; illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. 2017. Pencil, watercolor and collage, then colored digitally. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: Jabari finished his swimming lessons and passed his test. With confidence, Jabari excitedly tells his dad that he is going to now jump off the diving board. He goes over and stands in line allowing other children to go ahead of him as he watches how high up they go. He begins to climb and decides that he needs to do some stretching first. His father picks his son up, places him on his shoulders, and tells the boy that maybe tomorrow would be a better day. The father shares how sometimes  he is scared and what he does to overcome the fear. Jabari regains his courage and determination and goes back up that diving board, loving his new surprise.

Comments: The father is supportive of his son no matter if Jabari decides to dive or go home and try another day. The father does not push his son but stands back and lets  the boy decide what to do. The father wisely shares a little advice of how he  personally handles fear. I like that the father admits that sometimes he is afraid to do things too. I think THAT is important for children to hear. We all have fear.

Buy here.

Celebrating National Cat Day with 2017 Cat Picture Books, My Favorite Cats in Children’s Literature, and a Few Cat Books for Adults by Angela Ferraris

Our beloved Lorenzo who recently went to Rainbow Bridge.

I haven’t been able to post for almost a week. I somehow hurt my back putting away the groceries last Sunday.  Seriously. Putting. Away. The. Groceries.  After the doctor told me that I should not go back to work until Monday, I found myself thinking, Nah, I can go back tomorrow. I did not know what I was talking about and  was stunned by how much pain I was in and for how long. I missed a week of work which was very hard for someone like me who has the attention span of a hummingbird. So, I told myself, Okay. Look. Let’s just take this time and post all of those picture book reviews, do the book fair fliers, author visit preparations, and lesson plans for November. The problem with that plan was that I did not have a full understanding of how steroids, muscle relaxers, and Tylenol with Codeine could turn me into a mindless blob. I became a couch potato only able to concentrate on mindless binge watching  and the occasional walkabout in my own home. It is what it is I told myself trying to see if I could squat and pet the cat that kept going around my legs. Could not do it. He was not going to go on his hind legs either for pets on the head.

I missed petting my cats and one in particular, Lorenzo, our old kitty who recently passed. He would have been sleeping beside me day and night. We think he was about 18-19 years old. It’s hard to tell with a rescue cat. When he was good, he was very good; but when he was bad…Well, we still have his tooth marks on the furniture and book corners. I dedicate this blog in remembrance of him on National Cat Day.

Some New 2017 Cat Picture Books

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Edward Hemingway. Pencil, ink, and digital media. 2017. Published by Two Lions.

Brief summary: Mr. Fuzzbuster and Lily have been together since they were both tots sharing life events throughout the years. Mr. Fuzzbuster is concerned with the additional pets (Fish, Frog, Bird, and Dog) and that he may no longer be Lily’s favorite. He writes her a note asking what pet is the favorite. Lily walks through the house telling how each of her pets are her favorite in a certain category. Mr. Fuzzbuster gets the favoritism he seeks but then wonders…

Comments: Mr. Fuzzbuster is a true cat–always wanting to be the center of attention.

Buy here.Big Cat, Little Cat

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; illustrated by Elisha Cooper. 2017. Black and white illustrations. Published by Roaring Brook Press.

Brief summary: There is a white cat living alone in a house until a black kitten arrives learning all about how to live the house through the white cat’s teachings. The black cat grows to be the same size as his new friend. They spend many years together until the white cat gets older and does not come back. Then one day, a white kitten joins the black cat who shows the new kitten how to live in the house.

Comments: This cat picture book continues in the mind of the reader. The life cycle. This would be a good story for the school counselor to read when a student’s pet dies. One could share this book to help explain death and dying and how we go on.

Buy here.

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz, and Amy Shrodes; illustrated by SueCornelison. 2017. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Kunkush, a beautiful white cat, and his family must leave Iraq to find a safe place to live. Sura and her four daughters and son  pay smugglers to get them out of the country only being permitted to take food and water. Kunkush is concealed in a basket. The cat stays hidden as they go to one country to another. They arrive in Greece and must all get on a small rubber boat. Once they land though the frightened cat flees into the woods. After searching for hours, the family has to leave. Two volunteers, Amy and Ashley, notice a white cat living with a colony of cats on the island and take it to the vet to get help and cleaned up. They rename him Dias. Amy keeps the cat in her apartment. The two volunteers are determined to find the owner and put up a Facebook page. Amy’s time in Lesbos has ended. She takes Dias back to Germany where some of the refugees traveled. A British couple keep him. Soon Dias is found by his family who are living in Norway. Doug, a photographer, take Dias to Norway to reunite the cat with his family.

Comments: This is a story that can be shared with students by showing the cat’s journey on Google maps and learning about countries the family traveled through on their journey.  Refugees and immigrants can be discussed. What causes someone to flee their country? How would you feel only being able to take food and water with you? This story could be used to discuss feelings. How do you think Sura felt when her husband was killed and she had to flee? What did she think was going to happen to her and her family? How did the family feel while being smuggled? What about when they could not find Kunkush? How did they feel when they were reunited in Norway? There are  photos  of the cat and map of his journey. This is a  picture book that could have several discussions and lessons not only with elementary schoolers but for older students as well. Warning: Kunkush dies in 2016 from a feline virus.

Buy here.

Caring For Your Lion

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Troy Cummings. 2017. Artworks was created digitally.  Published by Sterling Children’s Books.

Brief summary: A boy has been waiting for almost a month for his new kitty to arrive. He has all of the pet supplies ready. The pet delivery truck arrives with a giant wooden crate with a note on it. “Congratulations on your new lion! We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those.” There is an instruction sheet of ludicrous fourteen steps to follow.

Comments: Be sure to look the front end pages where the story begins. Troy Cummings’ hilarious 50s/60s cartoon style brings the story alive with one humorous step to the next. I would use this book as a writing exercise. Students could think of a wild animal that they would receive in the mail and what steps they would need to take to care for it. Drawings could be included.

Buy here.

The Lost Kitten

The Lost Kitten by Lee Sakai; illustrated by  Komako Sakai. 2017(translation).  Arylic colors and oil pencils. Published by Gecko Press.

Brief summary: Hina and her mother open the front door to find a sickly kitten with a mama cat and her other kittens standing aside. The mother cat meows and nods her head as to ask for them to take care of her baby before leaving. Hina’s mother agrees to keep the kitten and brings it inside. She gently wipes the goo from the kitten’s eyes explaining to her daughter that they will take it to the vet tomorrow to make sure the little feline is okay. Hina learns how to take care of the tiny kitten as it explores the house. Her mother must go to buy cat food leaving Hina with her sleeping Grandmother. Hina tries to come up with a name for the new family addition and realizes the kitten is no longer in her sight. She  searches all over the house becoming very upset recalling the time she was lost in a store and wanted her mother. She felt the little kitten must have felt the same way and must be found immediately. Not seeing it anywhere inside, Hina concludes the kitten must have slipped outside when her mother left to go for food. The girl opens the closet door and starts to put on her coat when she looks down finding the kitten on the bottom of the closet floor safe and sleeping. The little girl begins to cry relieved to have found her new lost baby. Her mother comes home learning Hina has come up with the name for the newest member of the family.

Comments: This book was originally printed in Japan in 2015. The unique illustrations of  Komako Sakai stand out with this book through her soft and muted brushstrokes and black pencil. I could not find a lot of information about this author and illustrator but hope to have more books translated in the future.

Buy here.

Popular Cats in Children’s Literature

These are some of the cat books that are always circulating in my elementary library. Some are rarely in, and some cause a lot of arguing when they are in. I have to take out the big dice on my desk and see which child rolls the highest.

Pete the Cat  Splat the Cat

Bad Kitty

Kitten's First Full Moon

The Cat in the Hat

Puss in Boots

Mr. Pusskins

Rotten Ralph


I Must Have Bobo!

Cat the Cat, Who is That?

Cat Novels for Adults

I rarely have any time now to read fiction with cat characters, but there are several I have enjoyed.  I hear some of the older teachers talking about what they are going to do when they retire from teaching. I just smile inside. Librarians never retire from books. There are several interesting cat mystery books that I would like to read. These are two cat mystery series that I have started:

Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series

The Cat Who...

The Cat Who…series

I am ending with THE KITTY: Who Rescued Me After I Rescued Him by a new author, Shawn P. Flynn, who discovers for the first time what it is like to be loved by a cat and to love a cat. I wish him the best with his new kitty.

The Kitty Who Rescued Me After I Rescued Him

I am Peace: a Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde

I am Peace

I am Peace: a Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2017. Ink, gouache, watercolor and tea. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: A child  is worrying about what could happen or what happened in the past, causing the mind and body to go unbalanced. The child learns to stop, be in the present, and allows the mind to relax by being mindful of what can be done now. By using all the senses, saying out loud positive self-talk,  and feeling the breath of  this moment, peace is eventually accomplished.

Comments: I think this would be a nice holiday gift for those children and adults who need to just relax and be kind to themselves while in a busy life. There is an author’s note telling how to have mindfulness and being fully in the present moment. There is also a guided meditation section in the back focusing on how to be mindful of our breathing. I am Yoga ,also by Susan Verde, go hand-in-hand with this book.

Buy here.

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark

The Library Book

The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink. 2017. Illustrations done digitally and in pencil. Published by Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: A young girl goes to the library on a rainy Saturday morning and discovers several  favorite characters and stories inside as she walks throughout the library looking for library books to check out.

Comments: Love that Tom Chapin’s song is now in book form. The illustrations are full and colorful and make the song come alive as the child walks through the library seeing children book characters around her. The library is full of fun and imagination as she decides what books to check out. This is  definitely a great choice to have in any library collection.

Buy here. 

Little i by Michael Hall

Little i

Little i by Michael Hall; illustrated by Michael Hall. 2017. Digitally combined collages of painted and cut paper. Published by Greenwillow Books.

Brief summary: Little i’s dot fell off, rolled down a hill, over a cliff and into the sea. Little i swims across the sea to an island where he discovers !s, *s, and ,s. He finds the dot but is confused of why it does not fit anymore and goes home without it to tell his alphabet friends how the journey has changed the letter.

Comments: So stinking cute! The ending is adorable. I plan to pause a lot while reading this book to my students to make sure they  see how the letters are on the page and get the little puns and play on words and punctuation. The letters spell out their words and conversations several times as well, so I suggest that the young reader is able to see the pages.

Buy here.

I Know Numbers! by Taro Gomi

I Know Numbers!

I Know Numbers! by Taro Gomi; illustrated by Taro Gomi. 2017. English translation from Japanese in 2017 with chronicle Books.

Brief summary: This books shows all of the places and ways we see numbers in our daily lives including what those numbers mean.

Comments: I liked how this could help very young children to think about numbers that they see around them that perhaps they did not notice before.

Buy here.

Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long

Give Me Back My Book!

Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long. 2017. Digitally illustrated. Published by Chronicle Books.

Brief summary: Redd and Bloo argue over who is the owner of a green colored book. Bloo believes the book Redd is reading is actually his. They discover evidence indicating it actually does belong to one of them. Bookworm comes out of her hole in the middle of their arguing  and steals the book from the two. She hides in her hole out of the reach of the two friends.  Redd and Bloo decide after trying to get the book back from Bookworm and failing to make a better book to entice Bookworm to trade. She does and the two run off to read their book together until another argument occurs.

Comments: I believe that this book will do well in any elementary school library where fighting over books  happens daily.  This book could be read to students to teach how to share a book.

Buy here.