Wednesday, April 26, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #11

This is the last post for my reviews of books I read during ReFoReMo 2017. The last topic is Things
Kids Like/Do. I hope you have enjoyed my posts. Thanks for reading!


A little black girl, who is living during the time of segregation, dreams of what it would be like to be a ballerina. Her mom works for a dance studio as a seamstress. Sometimes the girl tries on the dance costumes and sometimes she watches the dancers from behind the curtains.

The little girl imitates what she sees the dancers doing and dreams of one day being one stage herself. She is mesmerized when she gets a chance to watch Janet Collins, the first African American ballerina who performed with the Metropolitan Opera.

HUG MACHINE by Scott Campbell

A little boy calls himself Hug Machine. He hugs everybody and everything, including mailboxes and trees.

But, will he hug prickly things?

This is a great book that kids will relate to, especially the "huggers".


An alligator might seem like a good thing to bring to school to share for a nature show-and-tell, but if you do it, you will probably wish you hadn't. Alligators are just way more trouble than they are worth.

A few facts about alligators are included in the text of this book, as the alligator is presented for show-and-tell. I think the author and publisher both missed a golden opportunity to make this book more curriculum-friendly by including additional information about alligators. Kids could then use the book just for fun (and it is a fun book!), or they could use the book as reference material about alligators.

Just a thought...


From the same author who wrote IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON'T! comes this delightful book. This time, the young girl wants to take her piano to the beach. Her mother allows her to do so, but she warns her to not lose it.

How can you lose a piano? you might ask. Well, it's like this: First you get it to the beach (which is no easy feat), then you have it sitting in the open where the bird make a mess on it, then you push it into the water to wash it off. Then, you guessed it: It floats away.

Does the little girl get the piano back?

I enjoyed this book, but the ending is just a bit off. I can't tell you the ending as that would give the story away, but let's just say that the mother's reaction just doesn't ring true.

Perhaps you won't agree....

LITTLE BABY BUTTERCUP by Linda Ashman

This is just a delightful book about a day in the life of a toddler. Mom and her baby go through a full day of eating and playing and helping and shopping and all the things moms and kids do together. The colorful, kid-friendly illustrations, coupled with the rhyming text, makes this a sure-to-be favorite for the younger set.

THE AIRPORT BOOK by Lisa Brown

A young boy takes the reader along as he embarks on a trip with his mom, dad and little sister. The boy and his family go to a big airport where there are lots of things to do and see. The boy tells the reader about what he is seeing and doing all along the way, from his house to the airport, onto the plane, into the destination airport and then on his way to his grandparents' house.

If you're a kid about to embark on an airplane for the first time, this is the book for you.  The author goes into detail about what to expect when you're a little kid going to a big airport to take a long flight on a big airplane. They've got that aspect well covered. But, I just wanted to point out that the story would be quite different if one were traveling in a small airplane in a small airport.

There were a couple of things about the book that I didn't really like. First of all, the parents tell each other to not forget "Monkey". No one is paying attention when the little girl packs Monkey into her big suitcase. All through the story, the little girl keeps crying for her monkey. She doesn't realize that she can't take the monkey with her on the plane when it is packed in her suitcase. No one really pays any attention to her. I thought that was a little sad. Yes, she is reunited with Monkey at the end of the trip, but I don't like the way that was handled.

Also, there was one place where the text seemed like it was missing a word. Here's the sentence: "You wait until your group is called then walk down the jetway." I think that sentence would be much stronger if it read: "You wait until your group is called and then you walk down the jetway." Just a thought...

But, I did like the way the book comes full circle with the beginning and the ending.

THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar

When Zack's sister, Gracie, becomes a pest, Zack goes to the Monstore to buy a scary monster, one that will keep her out of his room. That doesn't work, so he buys another one and another one. What can he do to scare his sister away?

A bit of rhyme, a bit of repetition, a bit of alliteration, and great illustrations all add up to a whole lot of fun.

VAMPIRINA BALLERINA by Anne Marie Pace

Even if you're a vampire,  you can be a ballerina. But you have to follow some simple rules: You have to practice, practice, practice and not give up, no matter what.

And because you're a vampire, you have to do things a bit differently: You need to take night classes, you should keep your mouth shut, and you must resist the temptation to show off by turning yourself into a bat.

Vampire or not, any little girl who dreams of being a ballerina can identify with Vampirina Ballerina.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #10

This post of book reviews for ReFoReMo 2017 is  about Rhyming Picture Books. Enjoy!

CIRCUS TRAIN by Jennifer Cole Judd 

This is a delightful little book about the circus. The easy-to-read sentences are very short. The concepts are simple. The text comes full circle as it starts with the line, "Circus trail spills over the hills" and ends with that same line.

The story is told in rhyme. It's very difficult to write in rhyme and do it well, but author Jennifer Cole Judd handles the task well. The bright illustrations by Melanie Matthews are an asset to this great little book.

IT'S ONLY STANLEY by Jon Agee

Stanley, the dog, is apparently a very noisy dog and a whiz at fixing things. Late at night, he wakes everyone up by howling at the moon. Then, he wakes everyone up again when he fixes the oil tank. Later still, he wakes everyone up again when he drains the tub, and other things.

This is a very cute story told in rhyme. It's very difficult to write in rhyme and do it well, but author Jon Agee does it brilliantly. Agee also does the delightful illustrations which perfectly set off the text of this wonderful picture book.

 
JAMBERRY by Bruce Degen  

This is a delightful book, filled with rhymes and word play about berries - blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. It was inspired by the author's memories of picking berries when he was a child.

The rhymes are wonderful. The illustrations are delightful. And the word play is magical. My favorite word is "razzametazzberry".

LITTLE BABY BUTTERCUP by Linda Ashman

This is just a delightful book about a day in the life of a toddler. Mom and her baby go through a full day of eating and playing and helping and shopping and all the things moms and kids do together. The colorful, kid-friendly illustrations, coupled with the rhyming text, makes this a sure-to-be favorite for the younger set.

NANETTE'S BAGUETTE by Mo Willems

"Today is the day Nanette won't soon forget." Nanette is sent to the bakery by herself for the very first time to get the day's baguette. But what happens when Nanette has the warm, wonderfully smelling baguette all to herself?

How many words can you come up with that rhyme with "baguette"? Mo Willems has a whole host of them that he skillfully uses in his rhyming text.

RHYMING DUST BUNNIES by Jan Thomas  

The Dust Bunnies, Ed, Ned, Ted and Bob, rhyme, all the time. Well, mostly.

When Ed asks, "What rhymes with car?", Ed, Ned and Ted say, "Far, jar and tar." Bob says, "Look!"

Of course the word "look" doesn't rhyme with the word "car". They try again. This time Ed asks, "What rhymes with bug? Bob's answer is, "Look out!"

What's going on? Why can't Bob rhyme?


This is not your typical "rhyming" book, but it sure is fun, with a great ending!

Monday, April 24, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #9

Today's topic for book reviews for ReFoReMo 2017 is Nonfiction.   


GIANT SQUID by Candice Fleming

Lyrical prose and amazing illustrations teach children about giant squids, one of the big mysteries of the ocean. Much is known about them, but so much is left to be learned.

The last four pages of the book are packed with information about giant squids, including a diagram with labeled parts. Also, two of the pages in the book unfold to reveal a giant squid illustration which is very striking.

I'M TRYING TO LOVE SPIDERS by Bethany Barton

Do you like spiders? I don't. I really, really, don't like spiders. I try to like spiders, but it's really hard to do.

This is a great book for anyone who doesn't like spiders (like myself). It's filled with wonderful illustrations and interesting facts and trivia about spiders.

The text is written with humor as the person who is "trying to love spiders" keeps smashing them and then apologizing for doing so. But, in the process, the person becomes a bit less squeamish and more appreciative of these 8-legged critters.

It can be difficult to love spiders, but when you think about how helpful they can be maybe you can come to love them, or at least, not be afraid of them.

The front and back matter of the book has drawings of a variety of different spiders. The illustrations throughout the book are colorful and expressive. Kids are sure to love them (the illustrations, if not the spiders)!

INFINITY AND ME by Kate Hosford

Have you ever stopped to think about what infinity is? Uma has. One night when she sits under the stars, she wonders how many stars there are. Are there an infinite number of stars?

She asks some people how they think of infinity. One person says it's just a number that keeps growing and growing. Another person thinks of it in terms of the symbol which she says looks like the number 8 turned over on its side to take a nap so it looks like a racetrack that you can drive around forever and ever. It seems like everybody has a different idea of what infinity is.

That's the beauty of the word and the concept. It can be thought of in many different ways. Author Kate Hosford does a great job of describing and defining the term without being boring, preachy or know-it-all. The illustrations by  Gabi Swiatkowska go perfectly with the text. The author also includes an Authors Note in the back of the book with some more thoughts and information about infinity.

This would be a great book to use in the classroom when discussing the concept of infinity.

MERKAT MAIL by Emily Gravett

When Sunny's house gets a bit crowded and things get a bit cozy, Sunny decides to go looking for a different place to live. He spends time with different relatives. Even though he is welcomed everywhere he goes, he can't find a place where he feels like he fits in. There's only one place where that happens. I'm sure you can guess where that is.

While we read about Sunny, we learn a bit about the different habitats of merkats. The text is enhanced with lift-the-flap postcards that Sunny writes to his family from the places he visits.


Isatou lives in Gambia. Her family and people in her village are very poor. When Isatou finds a plastic bag on the ground, she is grateful to have it because her basket is broken and can no longer be used. But, when the bag gets a hole in it, what is she to do with it? When her basket broke, she just threw it on the ground where it would rot back into the earth in a short time. But when she throws the used plastic bag on the ground, it stays there, for a very long time.

Over time, many more plastic bags end up on the ground. They they soon become a problem. The ground is covered with them. Goats who eat them die. They are just a mess. But, what can Isatou do about it?

This is a story about how people in a village figured out how to overcome a problem and turn it into something good. It's a great lesson for everyone.

The story is well-written and has some great repetition, and the story is based on real events. Author Miranda Paul uses some foreign words in the text. She provides a glossary of the words at the end of the book. She also provides an author's not about Gambria, West Africa.

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW by Kate Messner

As dad and child glide over the snow on their skis, where they see birds and animals going about their business, numerous other animals are living their lives deep beneath the snow where they can't be seen.

This is a lyrical look at the world under the ground, where life goes on unseen. An Author's Note at the end of the book provides additional information about animals who live above and below the ground.

RAINDROPS ROLL by April Pulley Sayre

Author April Pulley Sayre takes the reader on a lyrical and pictorial tour of raindrops. She incorporates the elements of lyrical prose, some rhyming text, and beautiful photographs to talk about raindrops. She has taken an otherwise ordinary event and turned it into something magical.

She includes an Authors Note at the back of the book that explains some of the science behind rain and raindrops.


A behind-the-scenes look at how the members of a philharmonic orchestra prepare for a concert. The author takes us from bath time, to actually getting dressed, to traveling to the auditorium, to getting ready for playing and then to the start of the concert.

The text and illustrations work well together to make what could otherwise being a rather boring ritual seem like fun for kids. I know kids will love all the talk about taking baths or showers and getting dried off and getting undergarments on. But, for me, I think the story/narration would have been just a good with a little less detail and description about that part. But, like I said, I'm sure kids will love it.

I love the last line of the book: "They are the members of the Philharmonic Orchestra, and their work is to play. Beautifully."

WATER IS WATER by Miranda Paul

This book takes a look at water and where it comes from. Author Miranda Paul uses delightful, lyrical verse to explain what water is and the many types of water that exist - ice, steam, rain, etc.

The book begins: "Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless...it heats up" (then you get steam). Steam then changes into clouds. Each type of water is illustrated with lyrical, rhyming verse and also illustrated with detailed, life-like pictures (by Jason Chin).

There are four pages in the back of the book called "More About Water." These pages include great reference material about different types of water, a chart showing that almost everything contains water, a map of the world showing water on the earth's surface, a paragraph about why water is important, a list of books for "Further Reading" and a "Select Bibliography."

This book would make a great addition to teaching and reference materials for students learning about the water cycle.

WHAT IN THE WORLD? by Nancy Raines Day

The book starts out: "What in the world comes one by one? A nose. A mouth. The moon. The sun?"

This format, with the words "What in the world" starts each stanza, with one stanza used for each of the numbers 1 through 10. Each stanza also rhymes.


This is a delightful, lyrical, rhyming look at nature by the numbers.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #8

Language is the category for today's list of book reviews from ReFoReMo 2017.

A CHILD OF BOOKS by Oliver Jeffers

A little girl, who calls herself a child of books, sets sail across a sea of words. She goes to a little boy's house, and together they set off on an adventure into the wonderful world of storytelling.

This is one of the most unusual and delightful picture books I have ever read. The illustrations set this book apart from all others. The illustrations are comprised mostly of words, not just lines and squiggles comprising a thing, but a series of words, in blocks and swirls and ribbons, that illustrate the text. And, many of the words are from children's classics.

The lyrical text and the "wordy" illustrations work magically together to illustrate the power of words and of storytelling.

BARK, GEORGE by Jules Feiffer

George is having trouble barking. When his mom says, "Bark, George," he says, "Meow." When she tells him to bark again, he says, "Quack, quack" and then "oink" and then "moo."
                                
In frustration, George's mom takes him to the vet. The reason for George's strange noises is certainly improbable, but kids will find it fun and delightful. The ending is just perfect, too!

BE A FRIEND by Salina Yoon

Dennis doesn't talk. He acts everything out, like a mime. Not surprising, he doesn't fit in with the other kids. Things change one day, though, when he kicks an imaginary ball and someone returns it!

This is a great book, with delightful illustrations, about being different and about friendship.

BEST FRINTS IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE by Antoinette Portis

"Yelfred and Omak have been best frints since the were little blobbies." Thus begins this wonderful story about two alien creatures and their special friendship.

Author Antoenette Portis mixes real words and made-up ones to tell this delightful story - one any earth-child can relate to.

DU IZ TAK? by Carson Ellis

This is one of the most unique books I have ever seen. While the story is told mostly with pictures (the definition of a picture book), it is almost like the story has no words (there are some books that are nothing but pictures). But, this book does have words, sort of.

Are you confused? Author Carson Ellis took the concept of language and gave it a real twist. He invented his own words. Yes, you read that right. He made up words to tell the whole story. The effect is rather startling and daunting, as well as imaginative and freeing. If that sounds like a contradiction of terms, it's because it is a contradiction of terms.

The story is about a group of insects who come across a "green thing" in the ground. They ask, "Du iz tak (What is that?)? They watch it in wonder as it grows. When it gets big, they use a ladder and build a "tree fort" in the plant. But, since it is a plant in a garden, and they are insects, of course, there is a bird - a booby voobeck. But since it is a plant in a garden, its story also illustrates the circle of life, with the plant dying in the fall, the snow covering the ground in the winter, and new life popping up from the ground in the spring. New insects then come along and ask, "Du iz tak?"

HAVE YOU SEEN MY TRUMPET? by  

There's a bit of wordplay going on here as a little girl searches for her trumpet. But, she is not looking for a musical instrument, she is looking for something else. See if you can figure it out.

Questions are asked throughout the book, the first one being: Have you seen my trumpet? Each question is answered with clues contained in the last word of the question.

For instance, for the question "Who is blowing a dandelion?" The answer is a "lion". Notice the word "lion" is highlighted within the word "dandelion".

The next question is "Who is being selfish?" Can you figure out who is selfish and can you figure out what the trumpet is?

I YAM A DONKEY by Cece Bell

A very funny look at the craziness of language and grammar. It also highlights the need for both.

Donkey says, "I yam a donkey."

Yam says, "What did you say? I yam a donkey? The proper way to say this is, I am a donkey."

Thus begins a crazy mixed-up conversation between a donkey and a yam, with the yam trying to explain to the donkey the proper way to say things. Needless to say, the yam has a difficult time trying to explain the ins and outs of our crazy language. 

Then, some more of Yam's friends get involved in the conversation, which leads to a funny and unexpected ending.

MOO! by David LaRochelle

Can you write a story using just one word over and over again to tell your tale? Author David LaRochelle accomplishes this seemingly impossible task quite brilliantly. He uses the word "moo" over and over again in various ways to tell a story about a cow's misadventures. The result, with the wonderful illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka, is a funny book that kids will want to read over and over again!

  
When the animals from the zoo are sent to a restaurant (and the restaurant's regular food is sent to the zoo), a young diner ends up with a giraffe in his soup - - as well as an alligator, an elephant and a whole parade of different animals.

This is a great book of word play with a wild cast of characters.

THIS IS NOT A PICTURE BOOK! by Sergio Ruffier

A duckling finds a book lying on the ground. He picks it up and opens it. But, there are no pictures in the book, just words. "This is not a picture book!" he yells.

At first, he is not happy that there are no pictures in it. Then, a bookbug asks him, "Can you read it?"

"I'm not sure," the duckling says. But, when he looks closer he sees words that he knows. And, that makes him very happy.

I love the creativity of this book. The back matter gives a running synopsis for the book. The back matter starts like this: "One day, a little duckling was taking a walk, when he saw something red lying on the ground. 'A book! he said excitedly."

The actual text for that reads: "A book!" The story is told with the pictures.

But, the front matter also has a synopsis for the story, sort of. The front matter's synopsis mirrors the back matter's, except the letters of most of the words in the front matter are all mixed up. The front matter starts like this: "One day, a itllet nuickdlg was anigtk a wkla, nhwe he wsa itegmohsn erd myigl on the gonrdu. 'A book!' he said etyclxied."

Isn't that cool? Isn't that fun? What a great little book to celebrate the power of language and the written word!

RED SINGS FROM TREETOPS by Joyce Sidman

Beautiful, lyrical verse celebrates the colors of the seasons - spring, summer, fall, winter.

The book starts out with Spring. "In Spring, red sings from the treetops: cheer-cheer-cheer, each note dripping like a cherry into my ear."

What a wonderfully colorful (pun intended) way to describe how a redbird sings in the trees. The whole book is written like this. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #7

Today's post of book reviews from ReFoReMo 2017 covers the topic of Kids Being Kids.


AND TWO BOYS BOOED by Judith Viorst

"On the morning of the talent show, I was ready to sing my song." So begins this delightful tale of a
young boy who has entered his classroom's talent show. He is all geared up and ready to sing his song in front of the class because he has practiced "a billion times." But, when his turn comes, will he be able to go through with it?

This is a story any child will be able to relate to. We have all had stage fright at some time in our lives. It's good for a child to know that other children might feel the same way they do.

The text is full of wonderful repetition that keeps the story flowing and that kids will love. As an added bonus, some of the pages have flaps the reader can lift for additional illustrations.

 
Just how do dinosaurs say good night? Do they go act like human children and through the usual bedtime antics of wanting another story, throwing a fit or demanding more play time? You'll have to read the book to find out.

The text is written in rhyme, which works well with this book, as do the child-friendly illustrations.




SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN by Chris Haughton 

Four friends get together - three of them (the bigger ones) have nets, one (the littlest one) doesn't. They have a plan to catch a bird. But, their plan doesn't work very well.

The littlest one comes up with his own plan to catch a bird. Will it work?



SPARKY! by Jenny Offill

A little girl wants a pet. She asks for a bird or a bunny or a trained seal. Mom said no for all those. But, Mom said she could have a pet that didn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.

So, the little girl does some research at the library and discovered that a sloth, lives in trees, eats leaves, and is known as the laziest animal on the planet, might fit the bill.

She gets the sloth and puts him in a tree. She doesn't have to do much more than that. The sloth is the perfect pet, isn't he? Maybe not.

This is a great book, but I think the author (and the publisher) passed up a great opportunity to use this book as a learning tool. They could they have educated kids about the sloth's habitat and the dangers of having wild animals for pets. This could have been accomplished with some author notes in the back of the book.  With the exception of a small section of text in the story, there is no more information about the sloth.

THE FORGETFUL KNIGHT by Michele Robinson

When a little boy tells the story of becoming a knight, he keeps forgetting the little details: Did he carry a sandwich - or a sword? Did he fight a cat - or a dragon? It's hard to say when you're "the forgetful knight".


The story is written in rhyme which is difficult to do and do it well, but author Michelle Robinson has no problems with it. The cartoonish illustrations by Fred Blunt work perfectly with the text.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #6

I'm including two categories in this post of book reviews for books read during ReFoReMo 2017. They are Imagination/Perception and Just For Fun.

Imagination/Perception


A PERFECTLY MESSED UP STORY by Patrick McDonnell

Louie is a character in this book. This is Louie's story. It starts out: "Once upon a time, little Louie
went skipping merrily along. Tra la la la la," he sang. On the third page of the book Louie encounters something gooey and smelling and sweet. It's a blob of jelly that has landed on a page in HIS book. Then, a blob of peanut butter lands on the page. Then, a dribble of orange juice lands on the page.

Louie starts getting upset because someone is messing with HIS story. He's upset because he says books are important and they need to be respected. He wants to finish his story, but he keeps getting interrupted. Will Louie make it to the end of his story? Will anyone care?

This is perfectly fun little story that illustrates the idea that books are to be read and loved and that sometimes they can get messed up along the way - but that's okay!

INFINITY AND ME by Kate Hosford

Have you ever stopped to think about what infinity is? Uma has. One night when she sits under the stars, she wonders how many stars there are. Are there an infinite number of stars?

She asks some people how they think of infinity. One person says it's just a number that keeps growing and growing. Another person thinks of it in terms of the symbol which she says looks like the number 8 turned over on its side to take a nap so that it looks like a racetrack you can drive around forever and ever. It seems like everybody has a different idea of what infinity is.

That's the beauty of the word and the concept. It can be thought of in many different ways. Author Kate Hosford does a great job of describing and defining the term without being boring, preachy or know-it-all. The illustrations by  Gabi Swiatkowska go perfectly with the text. The author also includes an Authors Note in the back of the book with some more thoughts and information about infinity.

This would be a great book to use in the classroom when discussing the concept of infinity.
THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel

They ALL saw a cat: a child, a dog, a fox, a fish, a mouse, a bee, a bird, a flea, a snake, a skunk, a
worm, and a bat. But, each one saw the cat a bit differently.


This is a great book about perception and imagination. We can each see the same thing, but we probably won't see it the same way.

Just For Fun

DIARY OF A FLY by Doreen Cronin

From the author of MEMOIRS OF A GOLDFISH comes DIARY OF A FLY. The fly writes several entries in his diary, starting on June 1 and ending August 2. During this time, the reader is not only entertained by the antics of the fly, but the reader also gets a chance to learn more about flies. For instance, did you know that a fly beats its wings 200 times per second? This, and other facts and trivia, are included in this delightful look into the life of a fly.
 
FLIGHT SCHOOL by Lita Judge

Penguin has the "soul of an eagle" but the body of a penguin. He feels he is destined to fly. So he enrolls in flight school. The results are silly and as expected,  until Flamingo comes up with a idea for helping penguin soar.

MEMOIRS OF A GOLDFISH by Devin Scillian

A goldfish start out in a bowl by himself. It's boring, but at least he has the place to himself. Then, things are gradually added to the bowl: a bubble maker, plants, a crab and a snail. The goldfish is running out of room and privacy. But what can he do about it?

The story starts out:

Day One
I swam around my bowl.

Day Two
I swam around my bowl. Twice.

The bubble maker arrives on Day Four and other things are added after that.

Author Devin Scillian takes a funny and creative look at the life of a goldfish. It's quite delightful, especially with the wonderful illustrations by Tim Bowers.

MEET THE DULLARDS by Sara Pennypacker

Things are dull, very, very dull, in the Dullard house. The food is bland, the furnishings are minimal, and there's nothing to do there. The place is dull. Drab. Boring. And that's just the way Mom and Dad like it.

But, the Dullard children - Blanda, Borely and Little Dud - have other ideas. They just want to be kids, but the parents want them to be dull - just like their parents.

Who will win this battle?

I loved this story. It has a most unexpected subject, dullness, that author Sara Pennypacker, manages to elevate to new heights. The illustrations by Daniel Salmieri are dull and delightful to the extreme.

Enjoy!
  
MY LUCKY DAY by Keiko Kasza

When a pig shows up unexpectedly at a fox's door, the fox thinks it's his lucky day. He doesn't have to go out and hunt for dinner because a perfect dinner arrived right at his door. The fox, of course, intends to eat the pig. The pig, of course, has very different ideas.

Read this delightful story, full of wonderful repetitions and great illustrations, and watch a pig out-fox a fox.




Monday, April 17, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #5

Today's topic for my reviews of books read during ReFoReMo 2017 is Friendship.


BE A FRIEND by Salina Yoon

Dennis doesn't talk. He acts everything out, like a mime. Not surprising, he doesn't fit in with the other kids. Things change one day, though, when he kicks an imaginary ball and someone returns it!

This is a great book, with delightful illustrations, about being different and about friendship.

BEST FRINTS IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE by Antoinette Portis

"Yelfred and Omak have been best frints since the were little blobbies." Thus begins this wonderful story about two alien creatures and their special friendship.

Author Antoenette Portis mixes real words and made-up ones to tell this delightful story - one any earth-child can relate to.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS by Adam Rubin

If you want to make friends with a dragon, just feed him tacos - lots of them. But, don't give him any hot salsa. Warning: If you do, you will be sorry. You'll see.

This is a delightfully funny book about making friends.

EGG by Kevin Henkes

The story starts out with four eggs. Three of them crack and little birds are hatched. The fourth one doesn't hatch with the others. The little birds wait and wait and wait, until finally the egg hatches. But what hatches out of the egg is not a bird.

What will the birds do? Will they abandon this creature?

I love the illustrations for this book. They are so simple and yet they convey so much.

This is a great story about friendship and acceptance.

IDA, ALWAYS by Caron Lewis

Two polar bears, Ida and Gus, lived at the zoo in New York Central Park. They had a special friendship. Wherever Gus was, Ida was there, always.

Until she wasn't. Ida got sick and passed away. Then Gus had to cope with the loss of his best friend.

This is a warm, touching tale, based on the true story of Ida and Gus. The beautiful, lyrical prose is strongly complimented by the wonderful, expressive illustrations. This is a great book that touches on two important themes - friendship and death.

I LOVE CAKE! by Tammi Sauer

Moose loves cake! Moose really loves cake! Moose really, really loves cake! So when Moose goes to Rabbit's party, along with Porcupine, all Moose can think about is CAKE. And, when Moose eats the whole cake, all by himself, in one big bite, he ruins Rabbit's party.

What can Moose do to make things right?

This is a delightful book about friendship.

LEO: A GHOST STORY by Mac Barnett

Leo was a ghost. He lived alone in a big house until a family moved in. He liked having the family there. He liked it so much he made mint tea and honey toast for them. That spooked them because they couldn't see him, they could only see the tea and toast on the table. They didn't want a ghost in the house, so Leo moved out.

He went to the city where he used to live. Would he be able to find a home there?

LITTLE ELLIOT BIG CITY by Mike Curato

Elliot is a little elephant who lives by himself in a big city. He manages things by himself - mostly.

One day he meets someone smaller than him who needs help. Elliot helps out and that makes him feel very big. And, he makes a new friend, and that makes him very happy.


A ball comes bouncing into a little mouse's house, waking him up. What happens next results in a lively romp through the alphabet.

This is a different kind, and a delightful kind, of alphabet book. The text is very minimal. The story is told mostly with words starting with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet, with very little text added to that. The illustrations really tell the story, as they should in a picture book.

SCRAWNY CAT by Phyllis Root

The scrawny cat used to have an owner and a home, but now he's all alone, cold, skinny and lonely.

When he runs away from a dog, he jumps into a docked boat for cover. It storms. The boat is washed out to sea with the cat inside.

What will happen now? Will the scrawny cat be lost forever or will he find  a forever home?

STICK AND STONE by Beth Ferry

Stick and Stone forge an unlikely friendship. But they become great buddies, a real team. When Pinecone bullies Stone, Stick "sticks" up for him. But, when Stick gets into trouble, will Stone be able to help?

This is a great story told with minimal text and in rhyming. It's very difficult to write in rhyme and do it well, but author Beth Ferry does it brilliantly. The delightful illustrations by Tom Lichetenheld add to the simplicity of this wonderful picture book.



Goat thinks he's doing okay until Unicorn moves in. Everything Goat can do, Unicorn can do better.

But Unicorn discovers there are some things that Goat can do that he, Unicorn, can't do.

Can the two manage to become friends?


The brightly colored illustrations greatly enhance the text of this picture book.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #4

The category for this post of book reviews I wrote for ReFoReMo 2017 is Different Themes. I've included the "theme" for each book in parenthesis.

AND TWO BOYS BOOED by Judith Voirst (being brave)

"On the morning of the talent show, I was ready to sing my song." So begins this delightful tale of a young boy who has entered his classroom's talent show. He is all geared up and ready to sing his song in front of the class because he has practiced "a billion times." But, when his turn comes, will he be able to go through with it?

This is a story any child will be able to relate to. We have all had stage fright at some time in our lives. It's good for a child to know that other children might feel the same way they do.

The text is full of wonderful repetition that keeps the story flowing and that kids will love. As an added bonus, some of the pages have flaps the reader can lift for additional illustrations.

BUNNYBEAR by Andrea J. Loney (Transgender)

Bunnybear looks like a bear, but he feels all soft and fluffy inside, like a bunny. So, he calls himself Bunnybear.

The bears don't understand him and make fun of him. He doesn't fit in with the bunnies, either.

Then, he meets Grizzlybun, a bunny who looks like a bunny but who feels like a bear inside. Needless to say, the two become friends.

But, there is more to the story...

For the most part, I liked the story. The subject was handled in a sensitive manner. But, I was not satisfied with the ending.

CAT KNIT by Jacob Grant (Accepting change and being open to new ideas)

When Girl brings home Yarn, Cat and Yarn become best friends. They play together and have great fun.

Then Girl takes Yarn away and changes him into something else.

At first, Cat doesn't like what Yarn has become, and then he realizes the new Yarn might be okay after all.

Minimal text and great illustrations help convey the importance of accepting change and being open to new ideas.

DON'T CROSS THE LINE! by Isabel Minhos Martins (challenging authority)

The General has given an order. No one is to cross the line! Period! Why? Because the General said so and the guard on the border line always follows the General's orders without question.

The right-hand page of the book is reserved for the General. It MUST be kept blank. But, more and more people are crowding up to the line. What happens when a little boy loses his ball and it goes over the line? Will the guard let him go get it?

This is a great book. It covers the question of power and authority. When is power and authority good? When and how is it abused? That might sound like a weighty topic for kids, but the text and the illustrations work perfectly together to illustrate the point that not all rules are good rules and that sometimes rules are made to be broken.

EGG by Kevin Henkes (being different)

The story starts out with four eggs. Three of them crack and little birds are hatched. The fourth one doesn't hatch with the others. The little birds wait and wait and wait, until finally the egg hatches. But what hatches out of the egg is not a bird.

What will the birds do? Will they abandon this creature?

I love the illustrations for this book. They are so simple and yet they convey so much.

This is a great story about friendship and acceptance.

GRANDDAD'S ISLAND by Benji Davies (death)

Syd loves his granddad, who lives in a house behind his house. He visits Granddad often. One day, when Syd visits, Granddad shows him a secret door in the attic. The door opens to reveal a boat. Syd and Granddad set sail on the waters. They come to a beautiful island which Granddad loves. Granddad loves it so much, he tells Syd he wants to stay there, by himself, forever. Syd then has to tell his granddad good-bye, and sail back home by himself.
                         
This is a very sweet story about a difficult subject, that of dying and death and carrying on after a loved one is gone. I think it's handled in a way that children will relate to.

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET by Matt de la Pena (seeing beauty around us)

After church, a little boy takes a bus ride with his Nana. He sees problems all long the way, but Nana shows him that there is beauty all around us.

This is a lovely look at the world from a different perspective, one that finds hope and love and beauty where there seems to be none.

MOTHER BRUCE by Ryan T. Higgins (parenting)

Bruce, the bear, likes eggs. He eats them every day. One day he comes across a recipe that calls for hard-boiled goose eggs. Before he can boil the eggs, he has to collect some wood for the stove. When he returns, he finds that the eggs have hatched. Bruce is the first thing that the newly-hatched goslings see, so they call him "Mama" and follow him everywhere.

As you can imagine, it's quite a sight, and quite a funny situation to a bear being an adoptive parent to four baby goslings.

THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE by Oliver Jeffers (being afraid of a broken heart)

A little girl's heart is broken when her grandfather dies. To protect her heart, she takes it out of her body and puts it in a bottle for safe keeping. She wears her heart as a pendant.

This seems to be an effective way to keep her heart from breaking again, but over the years, the pendant becomes heavier and heavier and the burden greater.

When the little girl, who has now grown to be a woman, meets another little girl who needs someone special in her life, will the woman be brave enough to take her heart out of the bottle and try to love again?

THE PRINCESS AND THE PONY by Kate Beaton (not getting exactly what you asked for)

Princess Pinecone wants a horse for her birthday, and not just any horse. It needs to be big and strong and fit for a warrior princess.

Well, Pinecone gets a horse, but it doesn't quite measure up to her standards of what a horse should be. But, maybe, it will be all right after all. Maybe....

THE ROOSTER WHO WOULD NOT BE QUIET! by Carmen Agra Deedy (persistence and bravery)

Once there was a village where everyone made noise. It became so noisy that it drove everyone crazy. The villagers didn't know what to do, so they fired their mayor. That didn't help any, so they held an election for a new mayor.

The man they elected promised to make the village quiet again. And, he did. It is very, very quiet for seven years until a very noisy rooster comes along and stirs things up.

The mayor is at his wit's end trying to make the rooster be quiet. Will he succeed or will the rooster change the village?

This is a great story about persistence and bravery.

THOSE SHOES by Maribeth Boelts (poverty)

A young boy wants a specific pair of shoes. They are black high tops with two white stripes. Many of his friends have these shoes, and he wants them, too. But, Grandma says she doesn't have money for new shoes because he needs new boots for the winter.

When the boy's shoes fall apart one day at school, the principal gives him a pair of new shoes, ones with a little kid logo on the sides. They are not the shoes he wants but they are the only pair the principal has to offer that fit him. He hates the shoes, but he takes them anyway.

When Grandma sees his new shoes and realizes how much he hates them, she takes him to the shoe store to check out the shoes he wants. When she sees price tag of the shoes, she realizes she can't afford them.

Will the young boy ever get the shoes he wants? Will it matter if he does or he doesn't?

This book touches on many topics such as poverty, peer pressure and friendship. It's a great book for every kid to read, whether they can afford to buy "those shoes" or not.

WORM LOVES WORM by J. J. Austrian (gay marriage)

Two worms want to get married. But, as they discover, there are certain things that need to be done in a certain way. As Cricket says, "That's the way it's always been done."

Worm and Worm need a best beetle (says their friend, Beetle) and brides bees (says their friends, the Bees). They also need rings (says Cricket) and a band to dance to (says Beetle)  and a cake and a top hat (say the Bees).

When Worm says we don't have any fingers for the rings, Cricket suggests wearing them as belts. When Beetle suggests dancing to a band, one Worm says they have no legs, but the other Worm says they can just wiggle in the dirt. When the Bees suggest they need a cake and a top hat, the Worms say they have no heads for hats and they eat only dirt so they don't need a cake. Spider says he can attach the hats to their bodies with his sticky web and he will eat the cake.

Everything gets worked out until it comes time to decide who will wear the brides' dress and who will wear the tux.

Both Worms say they can wear either one. But, Cricket says, "Wait. That's isn't how it's always been done." And one Worm replies, "Then we'll just change how it's done."

As you probably guessed, the theme is gay marriage. The conflict is with the way things have "always been done" and they way things need to be changed to accommodate those who don't fit the norm.

XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex (unrequited love)

It's not unusual for authors to incorporate letters into a story's narrative. For instance, a writer might include a letter written by a mother to a daughter or from a business acquaintance. Using love letters is also a popular literary device. But, until now, I thought that was confined to adult literature.

Author Adam Rex has changed all that by composing a book of letters between an ox and a gazelle. The ox is enamored by the gazelle, but the gazelle doesn't return the ox's feelings. What results is a series of letters between the two with Ox professing his admiration for Gazelle. It's a delightful way to write a book. Wish I had thought of it!

ZEN SOCKS by Jon J. Muth (life lessons)

Molly and Leo, and their cat, Moss, live across the street from Mr. Stillwater, a panda bear. Mr. Stillwater is very wise and teaches the children much about life.

He teaches Molly patience and teaches Leo about right and wrong and teaches both of them about the value of doing little things in an effort to solve a big problem.

I must say I liked this book. The story is well-written and the use of a story within a story is a bit unusual and I like that, too. I also like the lessons that are learned. And, the illustrations are wonderful.


But, I also must say that I think the author did too much in one book. This doesn't feel so much like a picture book to me as it does a chapter book that was written in picture book form. I certainly breaks the mold of the trend towards short picture books.

Friday, April 14, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #3

Today's installment of book reviews for books I read during ReFoReMo 2017 covers two categories: Culture and Fractured Fairytales.

Culture


In this version of GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS, Goldilocks is called Goldy Luck and she is Chinese. Her parents send her to the neighbor's house, the Chans with a plate of turnip cakes for the Chinese New Year.

The Chans, who are panda bears, aren't home. Their door is unlocked, so Goldy goes into their house and makes herself at home, eating Little Chan's bowl of congee, breaking his rocking chair, and falling asleep in his bed. Will the Chan's forgive her?

Author Natasha Yim includes three pages at the end of the book with an Author's Note about the Chinese New Year, a explanation of the Chinese Zodiac and a recipe for Turnip Cakes.


This is the story of Little Red Riding Hood with a Mexican flair. Little Red's Aunt Rosie is covered in spots. She is in need of some special Spot Medicine. Little Red is sent to Aunt Rosie's house to deliver the much-needed meds.

Little Red must venture through the jungle to get to Aunt Rosie's house. Along the way, she meets some friendly creatures, such as giraffes and monkeys. She hitches a short ride on an elephant's back. But, she also comes face to face with a hungry lion.

The lion wants to know where Little Red is going. When she tells him her destination, he takes off through the jungle. She then meets him again at Aunt Rosie's house, where he has stuffed Aunt Rosie in the cupboard. Little Red is smart and knows what is going on. She decides to trick the lion to make him learn a lesson about being mean.

LITTLE ROJA RIDING HOOD by Susan Middleton Elya

This is the "classic" story of Little Red Riding Hood told from a Mexican perspective. Little Red Riding Hood is called Little "Roja" Riding Hood because "roja" means red in Spanish.

The story is basically the same as the original, except for the ending. However, in this version many English words have been substituted for their Spanish counterparts, such as "Roja" for "Red", "Abuela" for "Grandma" and "capa" for "cape". Also in this version, Little Roja Riding Hood saves Abuela (Grandma) herself without the need for the woodcutter. Also, after the wolf is banished, Little Roja helps Abuela install a new security system to keep her safe in the future.


The story is also written in rhyme.

Fractured Fairytales


I'll bet you think you already know the true story of THE 3 LITTLE PIGS. Think again. The story you're familiar with was told by the little pigs. The Wolf, who really isn't big or bad, tells the TRUE story of how things went down in this funny and creative book.

Author Jon Scieszka sure had some fun with this one. The story takes on whole new dimensions when it's told from the Wolf's point of view. The Wolf claims that it all started with a sneeze and a cup of sugar.

Read the story and be the judge. Is the Wolf telling the truth?


Very Little Red Riding Hood is not to be confused with Little Red Riding Hood. Very Little Red Riding Hood is different. For starters, when she leaves her house to visit "Gramma's" she says, ""Bye, bye Mummy." Little Red  Riding Hood didn't do that. And, when Little Red Riding Hood meets the Wolf, she calls him "Foxie" and gives him a big hug. Little Red Riding Hood didn't do that.

And, so it goes. Very Little Red Riding Hood tells a completely different story, one I am sure you will enjoy.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

READING FOR RESEARCH MONTH BOOK REVIEWS - Post #2

Here is the next category of book reviews for books I read during ReFoReMo2017. This time the subject is Biographies. 


Author Amy Novesky seamlessly weaves words in her telling of the "Woven Life" of Louise Bourgeois.

Louise came from a family of people who restored tapestries. Louise learned the craft, but she is best known for her sculptures which were created from wood, steel and rubber.

An Author's Note is included with additional information about Louise.


Narrative text tells the story of Helen Keller's life. But, author Doreen Rappaport weaves in quotes from Helen herself that help illustrate and illuminate the storyline.

Both an Author's Note and an Illustrator's Note are included at the end of the book, along with a list of Important Dates relevant to Helen's life, and a list of Selected Research Sources. The end papers at the back of the book show the alphabet in sign language.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent her whole life protesting in one form or another. It started when she was just a young girl and her mother objected to the idea that girls should just get married and have families. Ruth's mother took her to the library where Ruth discovered a wealth of books about women, women who had done things other than just getting married and having families. That inspired Ruth to do something different with her life.

She went to college at a time when most women didn't. She met her future husband at college, and they decided when they graduated they would both go to law school. And, they did. They got married, and they had a family, but Ruth didn't just stay home and take care of the babies.

Ruth stood up for things she believed in - equality for everyone. President Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court in 1993, and she became the first Jewish woman on that court.

The author includes three pages at the end of the book with additional information about Ruth and her life.

JUST BEING AUBREY by Margaret Cardillo

Author Margaret Cardillo gives youngsters a picture-book style glimpse into the life of one of America's most beloved actresses, Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey wanted to be a ballerina, but that was just not to be. Still, she loved to practice dancing.

During WWII, her family had to go into hiding in Holland. When the war ended, Audrey and her mother went to London. That's where she decided to try acting. After playing a few small parts, she caught the attention of Collette, a famous French writer, who was looking for an actress to play the lead role in Gigi.

Audrey moved to New York to play the part on Broadway, and the rest is history. America fell in love with this beautiful, talented and very kind actress. In her later years, she became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

Cardillo includes a section at the back of the book called "Author's Notes" and illustrator Julia Denos has one called "Illustrator's Notes" which give the reader more insight into how and why the book was written and illustrated.


Author Robert Burleigh tells the story of Henrietta Leavitt, a woman astronomer.

Henrietta loved the stars and wanted to study them. She was one of only a handful of women in her astronomy class in college. When she graduated, she got a job at an observatory.

She wanted to study the stars through the huge telescope then, but instead was relegated to a small, stuffy room where she and the other female employees spent countless hours studying photographs of the stars. Their job was to take measurements and to record their findings.

It was mind-numbing work, but Henrietta persisted. After months of studying photos and recording measurements, she noticed a pattern. Her work allowed astronomers to learn more about the universe, dispelling the notion that the Milky Way Galaxy was the only one out there.

The author includes three pages at the end of the book that provide extra information about stars, about Henrietta, and about the science of astronomy.


Lizzie Murphy grew up at a time when girls were supposed to act like young ladies and do girl stuff. Problem was, Lizzie liked baseball. A lot.  Her brother Henry played for a little league team. Lizzie wasn't allowed on the team, but Henry practiced his moves with her. Lizzie learned how to throw, catch and hit a ball as good as, if not better than, any boy in the neighborhood.

She wanted to be on the team. At first, the boys wouldn't let her, but they let her be the "bat girl". Then, one day, the team showed up to play but no one had a ball with them - except Lizzie. Lizzie made them a deal: they could use her ball if she was allowed to play. They gave in, completely expecting her to be a lousy player, but she showed them she knew a thing or two about the game.

Lizzie made a name for herself in baseball. She went on to be the first woman to play in a major league exhibition game and the first person to play on the both National and American leagues' all-star teams.

Emily Arnold McCully does a great job of telling Lizzie's story. McCully does this with lively text and wonderful illustrations that she did herself. She also includes an Author's Note at the end of the book with additional information about Lizzie.


Author Duncan Tonatiuh tells the true story of one family's fight to end segregation. The story takes place in Westminster, CA. The city has a very nice school where Mr. Mendez takes her children to enroll. But, because of their name and their appearance, they are forced to go to the school for Mexican children. The regular school is clean and bright and well-equipped with excellent teachers. The school for Mexican children is crowded and dirty. It doesn't even have any playground equipment and the teachers don't really care about the children's education.

Mr. Mendez is so upset with the way his children are treated, he takes the school district to court for discrimination. He wins the initial battle, but the school board appeals the verdict. He wins the battle the second time around and his children are finally allowed  to go to the regular school.

Tonatiuh not only wrote the story, he also did the illustrations. Although I enjoyed reading the book, I didn't really like the illustrations. The people just look odd in them. But, the story is still a good one.  And, there is an Author's Note at the end of the book with additional information about segregation, some photos of Sylvia, a Glossary of terms used throughout the text, as well as a Bibliography and an Index.


This is a picture book biography of Paul Erdos, an Hungarian with an insatiable appetite for math and numbers. First he learned how to count. Then he learned how to manipulate numbers in ways no one had done before.

A story about a mathematician could be quite boring. But author Deborah Heiligman writes with captivating prose to make the text interesting. The illustrations by LeUyen Pham are perfect for the text. And, whenever a number is mentioned in the text, like the number 4, it is printed in extra large print and in color to make it stand out from the rest of the text. This is done throughout the book. It adds visual interest to the text itself.

The author includes A Note From the Author in the back of the book, giving the reader some insight into how and why she wrote this story. There is also A Note From the Illustrator giving the reader information about what illustrations were used on the pages and why.

THE RIGHT WORD: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jennifer Fisher Bryant

Peter Roget loved books and words and he loved lists. He made all kinds of lists about all kinds of things. He started witing his first book when he was only eight years old. On the cover of the book he wrote: "Peter, Mark, Roget. His Book."

In the book, he wrote many lists. The first list he made was of the Latin words he had learned. Beside each Latin word, he wrote its English meaning. Peter kept adding new lists to his book, lists like "The Four Elements," "Of the Weather," and "In the Garden."

Peter went to medical school and became a doctor, but he still kept up with his lists. He eventually went on to have his lists published and to create what we now know as Roget's Thesaurus. Thesaurus is the Greek word for "treasure house." Peter's lists really were treasures for all to share.

This is a wonderful book. The text is very well-written and very informative. The illustrations are delightful with their use of letters and words. Both an Author's Note and an Illustrator's Note are included at the end of the book, along with a Bibliography, a list of books For Further Reading and a list of Sources used.

THE TREE LADY by H. Joseph Hopkins

Katherine Olivia Sessions grew up in Northern California where there are lots of trees. She loved the trees. She loved them so much she was the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science.

After she graduated, she got a job as a teacher and a school principal in San Diego. San Diego is in the desert. When Katherine arrived, there were some houses but very few trees. She really missed the trees from old home and she wanted trees in her new home. She did a lot of research to learn what types of trees would grow in the desert. Then she sent for seeds and started a nursery of desert-loving trees. She sold her trees to others who wanted them and she donated thousands of them to the city, particularly to Balboa Park. She became known as the Mother of Balboa Park.

Author H. Joseph Hopkins does a great job of telling the story of this interesting woman. And, the illustrations by Jill McElmurry (interesting that her last name has the name of a tree in it, don't you think?) add interest to the tale. The author includes a page at the back of the book called Author's Note with additional information about Katherine.


Author Cynthia Levinson tells the often overlooked story of the Children's March, a civil rights protest march that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in May of 1963. More than 3,000 children were arrested for protesting, and Audrey Faye Hendricks was one of them. She spent a week behind bars in a juvenile detention facility. It was a terrible week for her but she never regretted her decision to participate in the event.

Levinson includes an Author's Note at the end of the book with more information about Hendricks, as well as a timeline of events relating to the Civil Rights Movement. One of Hendricks' favorite foods was Hot Rolls Baptized in Butter. A recipe for the roll is also included.


Elizabeth Blackwell was a brave and curious girl who had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and adventure. She was a talented musician as well as a gifted athlete.

She had no intention of becoming a doctor, because frankly, blood made her queasy and she couldn't tolerate being around people who were sick. She didn't even like people fussing around her when she wasn't feeling well. But when Elizabeth's friend, Mary Donaldson, got sick, Elizabeth went to visit her. Mary said she would have preferred to be attended to by a female physician, but at that time in history, there were no female doctors. Mary told Elizabeth that she, Elizabeth, had the brains and spunk to be a doctor and that she should do so.

The notion seemed a bit far-fetched to Elizabeth at first, but the more she thought about it, the more she liked it. On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth graduated from medical school at the top of her class and became the first woman doctor in America.


Author Tanya Lee Stone makes Elizabeth's story come alive with engaging text and lots of action. The illustrations by Marjorie Priceman do much to enhance the text. An Author's Text at the end of the book provides additional information about Elizabeth.