When My Brother Gets Home by Tom Lichtenheld; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2020. Pencil, watercolor and colored pencil on Mi-Teintes paper. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A preschooler excitedly shares all of the wonderful adventures and playing she and her brother will do once he returns from school.
Comments: Super sweet book about a little girl waiting to play with her older brother. If only they could always stay like that…
Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich; illustrated by Zoey Abbott. 2017. Colored pencils. Published by Harper.
Brief summary: Twins Dax and Zoe do everything together. The night before school has them wondering what it will be like to be in different kindergarten rooms. Dax is a bit worried but changes his mind when they arrive to the school building and sees his new teacher. Zoe is now not so sure until she notices another girl with her exact backpack and makes friends with her. Both twins do several activities with new friends and enjoy their mornings. The two siblings meet and play together at recess. Dax slips something into Zoe’s pocket before going back inside that lets her know he has not forgotten her.
Comments: This would be a super book to read on the first day of school if you are a teacher with one of the twins in your class and equally good if you are a parent with twins going in separate classrooms. Making friends is easier for some students. Students also could relate if they are in a different class from a close friend. They may be comforted to know that they could also make new friends.
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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.
(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library.)
Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson; illustrated by Qin Leng. 2016.
Brief summary: Harry, who is 4 3/4 ths old is best friends with his neighbor, Walter, who is 92 1/2. They spend their days playing together until Harry has to move. Happily though, after a short time, they are reunited.
Comments: Sweet story about friendship with no age limitations. I would use this book when talking about friendships and the elderly.
Don’t Call Me Grandma by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. 2016. Mixed media of paper collage, pastels, and watercolors
Brief summary: A great grandaughter tries to understand why her Great Grandma Nell (who insists on being called Grandmother) never gives hugs, kisses or plays. This story portrays a grandmother who takes sips from a glass with a yellow liquid all day and is cranky. We are never really told of her life’s story of why she is void of affectionate towards her great grandchild who obviously loves the matriarch. The little girl gives a kiss to the sleeping woman even though she is scared of Great Grandmother Nell.
Comments: This could be used in a character study. Not all grandmothers are cuddly and bake cookies all day. The expressions on the old woman’s face are the best. Some children may understand about the liquid in the glass the women sips from all day. It is part of her character.