Monday, April 23, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 21 Book Reviews

AFTER THE FALL by Dan Santat 

Have you ever wondered what happened to Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall? Well, wonder no more. Unsurprisingly, not all the parts went back together in the proper manner, leaving a few bumps and cracks. Understandably, Humpty Dumpty developed a fear of heights. Was he able to overcome his fear? You'll have to read the book to find out.

BUG IN A VACUUM by Melanie Watt

When a bug flies into a house, through an open door, it gets sucked into a vacuum. Determining that he is there for good, the bug goes through all five stages of grief - denial, bargaining, anger, despair and acceptance. After he has accepted his fate, that he will be stuck in the vacuum for the rest of his life, something happens. Will the bug be stuck forever, or will there be a way out?

Author Melanie Watt has taken a silly situation and turned it into a lesson about acceptance, making the story suspenseful and humorous at the same time.

DEAR SUBSTITUTE by Liz Garton Scanlon

I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but when I do, I will update this review list.

MADDI'S FRIDGE by Lois Brandt

Sofia's fridge is filled with lots of good things to eat - eggs and tortillas and cheese and jam and salsa and tofu. But, her friend Maddi's fridge is almost empty. Sofia feels bad that Maddi has so little to eat. Sofia wants to help her friend, but Maddi doesn't want Sofia to tell anybody about the lack of food. Can Sofia figure out a way to help her friend?

This is a great story that illustrates a very real need in this country. So many people have so little to eat and there are ways that people can help. The last page in the book is titled "Let's Help Friends Who Have Empty Refrigerators." The author lists six ideas for ways kids can help make sure everyone has food to eat. There is also a webpage address given when kids (and adults) can go to find out more about hunger organizations.


Monster wants to run for office. He wants to be president. But, monster can't seem to drum up any enthusiasm for his pet policies: First, he wants to extend the seasons. But potential voters don't really care about that. Then, he wants to make sure that every person has dessert for dinner. Potential voters don't really care about that, either. Monster is about to give up when he finds something else to campaign on. The local library is going to close. Monster campaigns on the idea that the library needs to remain open because education is so important. Will Monster be able to convince the voters to vote for him?

The illustrations are great, but the story is written in rhyme. The rhyme scheme seems just a bit off. I think the story would have been stronger if it hadn't been written in rhyme. However, it's a great story and a good lesson in civics. 

NEW SHOES by Susan Lynn Meyer

Ella Mae is used to getting hand-me-down shoes when her shoes wear out or she outgrows them. But, this time, there are no other shoes for her to wear. So, she and her mother head to Mr. Johnson's shoe store to buy a new pair. Ella Mae is excited until she finds out what it's like for a black girl to buy shoes in a store. Even though she was there first, she has to wait until the white customers are served first. Then, she is not even allowed to try on the shoes to make sure they fit.

Ella Mae is so disheartened by the whole incident that she decides to do something about it. She and her friend, Charlotte, go around the neighborhood collecting old shoes. They spend hours and hours cleaning them and making them as good as new. Then, they have a shoe sale where anyone in the neighborhood can come in buy shoes and be treated like real people. They are even allow to try on the shoes first.

This is a touching story, set in the South when segregation was running rampant. It makes the reader feel, to a certain extent, what it must have been like for a young black girl in that situation in that time in history.

SOPHIE'S SQUASH by Pat Zietlow Miller

When Sophie goes to the farmers' market, her parents let her pick out a squash. They expect to cook it, but Sophie wants to keep it. She names it Bernice and treats it like a little baby. But, when Bernice starts to change, how will Sophie handle it?

On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes.... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? 

THE DAY I BECAME A BIRD by Ingrid Chabbert Guridi

On his first day of school, a young boy falls in love with a girl named Sylvia. He thinks she's incredible, and he can't take his eyes off of her, but she doesn't even notice him. The boy is very sad about that until he discovers that Sylvia loves birds. So, the boy dresses up as a bird just to get Sylvia's attention. Of course, he is teased mercilessly for doing this, but will it be worth it in the end?

This is a short but touching story on the topic of love, when sometimes you just have to "follow your heart and spread your wings" and hope for the best.


The town of Strictville is suddenly overrun with puppies, hundreds of cute, adorable puppies. The townspeople have never seen puppies before and don't know what to do with them. And, the town is very "strict" when it comes to anything being cute or cuddly - that's downright criminal.

The townspeople want to get rid of the puppies. So, they throw sticks at them. Of course, the puppies love that and just bring the sticks back. Then the people try chasing the puppies. Of course, the puppies love that and join in the chase. And, let's face it, the puppies are soooooooooooo cute and sooooooooooo adorable.

What are the people to do? Will one little boy be able to save the day?


Pink is a raindrop that is having trouble falling from her cloud. She has to change her way of thinking and start believing in herself in order to do what she needs to do. The narrative includes lots of information about the water cycle and is a great introduction to the topic. There are extra hands-on activities at the end of the book, as well as a glossary, and both author and illustrator bios.


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?


I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but when I do, I will update this review list.


When the bunny family adopts a baby, they adopt a baby wolf and not a baby bunny. The parents are head over heels in love with their new baby, but little Dot is not too sure. She is always warning them of the dangers of having a wolf in the house. But, as Dot spends more time with her baby brother, she realizes he might not be so bad after all. When his life is in danger, will Dot be able to save the day?

This is a great take on the age-old subject of sibling rivalry.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 20 Book Reviews

BABY'S GOT THE BLUES by Carol Diggory Shields

So, you think babies have an easy life? Think again. This baby will show you that life as a baby isn't all that it seems to be.

First of all, if you're a baby, how are you supposed to tell someone you have a dirty diaper? Also, what if pizza or macaroni or beef stew look and smell delicious, but you can't eat any of them because you have no teeth? See, life ain't easy when you're a baby.

This delightful look at babyhood is made all the funnier with wonderful, rhyming, bluesy text and colorful, expressive illustrations.


Fiona is very busy today. She has a presentation to do with Felix for show-and-tell. They made a volcano that get to show off. Fiona is so busy getting ready for school she doesn't have time to go to the bathroom. She didn't get a chance to go when she got to school because the bus was late. When she asked to go to the bathroom during class, it was being used, so she went back to class.

By the time it was her and Felix's turn for show-and-tell, she really had to go. She had to go so badly that she had a "little accident" during the presentation. She was so embarrassed that she ran away and hid. He friend, Felix, said that it was no big deal, but Fiona wasn't convinced. What could make the humiliation go away?

In addition to providing a great little story that every little child can relate to, the end papers for the book provide pictorial directions for creating your own homemade volcano.

GREEN PANTS by Kenneth Kraegel

Jameson loves his green pants. In fact, the only color pants you will find in his wardrobe are green. With his green pants on, Jameson can do anything. And, he simply refuses to wear any pants that aren't green.

But, one day, he is asked to be in a wedding. He says "Yes" before he is told that he will have to wear a tuxedo - - with BLACK pants. Jameson really, really, really wants to be in the wedding, but he really, really, really doesn't want to wear black pants. But, if he wants to be in the wedding, he HAS to wear black pants.

It's his choice, and it's a tough one to make. What will Jameson decide?

I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN by Hélène Boudreau 

A young boy tries to stifle a yawn, but it gets away from him. His mom notices and whisks him off to bed. Problem is, he's not really all that tired. So, he has some advice for anyone who doesn't want to end up in bed.

* Stay away from huggable stuffed animals.
* Stay away from cozy pajamas.
* Avoid bedtime stories about sleepy animals.

All these things, and more, are sure to make you yawn and get you sent to bed. And, I'll bet you'll be yawning by the time you get to the end of this book, because like the book says, "Yawns are like colds. They spread." Nite, nite.

 JABARI JUMPS by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari has finished his swimming lessons and he has passed his swimming test. Now, he's ready for the diving board. He knows he's a great jumper, so he tells himself he's not scared at all. He gets in line to climb the ladder to the big board. When it's his turn he starts climbing, up and up and up. Then, he stops. His dad asks him if he's okay. He says he is, but he's just a bit tired. "Maybe you should climb down and take a tiny rest," his dad suggests. So, Jabari does just that.

Jabari keeps coming up with excuses for not jumping. His father tells him it's okay to feel a little scared. He says, "Sometimes, if I feel a little scared, I take a deep breath and tell myself I am ready." Jabari finally works up the courage to take the big jump the next day.

This is a great story that any kid can relate to. We all have fears; sometimes we just need a little extra encouragement to overcome them. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 19 Book Reviews

EACH KINDNESS by Jacqueline Woodson 

When a new girl comes to class, she is ignored by everyone. Try as she might, she can't get the kids in the class to accept her. No one seems to be bothered by this until the girl doesn't show up for class. Then the teacher presents a lesson about kindness.

The teacher dropped a small stone into a bowl of water. "This is what kindness does," the teacher says. "Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world." The students took turns telling the class what kind acts they had done. One little girl couldn't think of anything to say, so she remained silent.

This little girl is bothered by the idea that she didn't show any kindness towards the new girl. She wants so much for the new girl to come back so she can have a chance to be kind to her. But when the teacher announces the new girl moved away, this little girl realizes that it is too late to express any kindness to her.

This is a touching story, but I am troubled by two things in the storyline. First, didn't the teacher notice that the new girl was being left out? Why didn't the teacher do something about it by encouraging the kids to play with her. Why didn't the teacher provide this object lesson in kindness while they new girl was still in the class?

Also, the book ends with the idea that the other girl realizes that her chance to be nice to the new girl is "forever gone." Those are the last two lines in the book. I think the book should have ended with the idea that even though that chance was forever gone, the girl would have other chances to be kind and she could resolve to take advantage of them in the future.


Henry Brown was born a slave. When his master died, he was taken from his mother and "given" to the master's son. When he got older, he got married and had two children. One day, his wife and children were sold without any warning.

This, unfortunately, was common back in the days of slavery. But, what makes Henry's story different is what happened next. With the help of a white doctor named Dr. Smith, who was part of the Underground Railroad, Henry was able to escape his old life. He did this by being "mailed" in a crate. He traveled from Richmond, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a distance of 350 miles. The journey too, just over a full day, but he arrived safe and sound in his new home.

FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick

This wonderful book was written by Lindsay Mattick, the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn. Captain Colebourn, a vet, was on his way to tend to the soldier's horses during the war, when he came upon a man with a bear cub. The captain bought the cub and named her Winnipeg, calling her Winnie, for short. He trained her and she became the mascot for the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. When the troops were sent out to fight, Capt. Colebourn had to leave Winnie behind. He was in  England at the time, and he drove Winnie to the London Zoo, where she lived out the rest of her days.

She became a favorite attraction at the zoo. One day, little Christopher Robin Milne went to the zoo with his father. Christopher Robin fell in love with Winnie. He and the bear became great friends. Christopher Robin had a stuffed bear at home that he named Winnie-the-Pooh. His father, A.A. Milne, wrote great stories about the adventures of Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh and their friends in the Hundred Acre Woods.

Mattick writes the story in a refreshingly creative way. She begins by having a young boy curling up with mom while mom reads the story. The little boy keeps interrupting the mother as she reads, as children often do. In this manner, Mattick tells the story of how Winnie-the-Pooh became famous.


Lilly loves school. She loves everything about it. And, she loves her teacher, Mr. Slinger. She loves school and her teacher so much she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

That is until she brings her new purple plastic purse to school. Lilly loves her new purple plastic purse. It had three shiny quarters and a pair of glittery glasses in it. And, when you opened it, it played a jaunty tune. Lilly can't wait to show it off to her classmates. She is so impatient to do so, that she interrupts class. Mr. Slinger takes the purse from her and keeps it until after school. Lilly gets angry, very, very angry, and does something she regrets. How can she make things right?


Louise is a very adventurous chicken. Apparently, she never got the memo that chickens are supposed to stay on the farm and be contented with their lot. Louise is certainly not content to stay home and be safe on her farm.

First, "she left the henhouse and went to sea..." She enjoyed being on board a ship until it was overrun by pirates and she was captured. The pirates wanted to eat her. Luckily, a huge storm came along and sank the ship Louise was on. She managed to escape by "clinging to a piece of timber." Seven days after being tossed into the waters, Louise spotted dry land. She "used her wings to paddle" herself to shore. From there, she "hopped all the way back to the farm."

When she got back home, one of the other hens asked her where she had been. "Oh, here and there," said Louise. She then went back to the henhouse, climbed into her nest and went to sleep. She was content to be back on the farm, for a short while, until the need for adventure struck again.

Louise goes on three adventures. Each time, her life is put into danger. Each time, she escapes and makes her way back home. The book is divided into four "chapters"; the first three tell the tales about Louise's adventures. In the last chapter, Louise tells her harrowing story about her escapades to all the hens, giving them a chance to experience the adventures with her.


"There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President. One of the good things is that the President lives in a big whit house called the White House...One of the bad things is that the President always has to be dressed up." The text goes on to describe how McKinley dressed in a "frock coat, vest pin-striped trousers, stiff white shirt, black satin tie, gloves, a top hat, and a red carnation in his buttonhole every day."

The book is filled with tidbits and trivia about our country's first 42 presidents. The current president is not mentioned in this book.

THAT BOOK WOMAN by Heather Henson

Before the days of the modern book mobile, libraries found ways to get books to the people who needed them the most. One way was by horseback. A group of mostly women delivered books every two weeks by horseback to people who lived in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky. They were called, appropriately, the Pack Horse Librarians. The initiative was started in the 1930s by President Roosevelt as part of his WPA, Works Progress Administration.

This story takes a fictional look at how lives were transformed by books. In this story, Cal lives in the mountains with his family. He doesn't know how to read and sees no need to learn. He can't understand why anyone would travel miles on horseback to deliver books - at no charge - to people like him and his family. When the librarian drops off a load of books and says they are free to read, Cal is taken aback. But, he doesn't know how to read and he still doesn't see any sense in learning. When the weather turns nasty and it's time for the librarian to come back, he's sure she won't come because of the letter. But she comes, and because she does, he has to wonder what is so special about the books that would make someone to do that. He understands when he asks his sister to teach him to read.

This is a touching story and it is told in a "hillbilly" vernacular that takes a bit of getting used to, but it lends the story an air of authenticity.


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.

Monday, March 26, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 18 Book Reviews

NOTE: Several other books were suggested for today's lesson, but our library doesn't have copies of them, so I haven't read them. If I get a chance to read them, I will update this review list.

BELLY BUTTON BOOK by Sandra Boynton

Short, rhyming text, color illustrations, and the subject matter of hippo belly buttons make this a delightfully silly board book for babies.

COLOR ZOO by Lois Ehlert 
Lois Ehlert combines bright, vibrant colors, cut-outs and geometric shapes to create a one-of-a-kind book about colors, shapes, and animals. The geometric cut-outs are done in such a way as to illustrate the faces of nine different animals, using 10 different shapes and 16 different colors. This is sure to be a book that your young one will want to look at again and again.


Wake up ladybug,
look what’s here?
Spring brings red,
march and cheer. 

So begins this book about nature and the colors associated with spring - red ladybugs on red tulips, yellow bumblebees on yellow daffodils, etc. Two rotating wheels at the end of the book make this interactive as well as delightful.

PEEK-A-BOO FARM by Joyce Wan 

"With a curly tail,
I am pink and short.
I play in the mud
and go, "Oink, oink, oink."

Guess who? The reader then pulls a flap down to uncover the animal's face, along with this text: "Peek-a-boo! Pig."

So begins this delightful little book about farm animals. There are seven animals in all featured in this book. Each one starts with a rhyming description on one side of the page, with the flap on the other side of the page.

This is sure to become a favorite for little ones.

PEEK-A MOO by Nina Laden

Although the titles are similar, this book is quite different than the PEEK-A-BOO FARM one. This one has cut-outs throughout the pages. The title of the book is PEEK-A MOO! and the cover is cut out to show a pair of eyes. When the page is turned, a cow's face is revealed. The next cut-out shows a field of red with some green leaves. Turning the page reveals a tomato. Each cut-out is in the same shape in the same place, but each one reveals something completely different. There is a rhyme scheme, also, as the first text says "Peek a boo." The next one (for the tomato) says "Peek a grew."

This is another book that is sure to become a favorite for little ones.


This is a great book to teach little ones about where other babies live, like a baby bird and a baby deer. Each double-page spread asks a question, i.e, "Where is the baby bunny's home?" Then the reader lifts the flap to discover the answer. In this case, the answer is, "In the burrow."

The colorful illustrations, fun laps, and interactive play are sure to make this book a favorite.

Friday, March 23, 2018

ReFoReMo 2018 Day 17 Book Reviews

RADIANT CHILD by Javaka Steptoe

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat became well-known for his collage-style paintings during the 1980s. But, before he found fame and glory, he spent his time creating art. His mother is a big influence on, and supporter of, his love for art. She brings him art books to read and look at, gets down on the floor and draws with him, takes him to art exhibits, and shows him that art is all around him.

Jean-Michel decides to pursue his dream of being an artist. He leaves home when he is a teenager and goes to New York City. During the day, he stays with friends. At night, he roams the streets and sprays graffiti and writes poetry on downtown walls. Rather than get into trouble, his work catches the attention of the art galleries, when he is invited to have a show. He then goes on to become a well-known artist.

Author Javaka Steptoe includes some additional information at the back of the book about Jean-Michel.

THE BOOK OF MISTAKES by Corinna Luyken 

This is a wonderfully creative way for an illustrator to show how artwork can take on a life of its own. She starts with a head that has two eyes, one bigger than the other. That was a mistake. So, she tries to correct her mistake by making the smaller eye bigger, but she makes it too big, so she adds a pair of glasses. The neck and arms are drawn next. When the neck ends up looking too long, she adds a high lace collar. And, so it continues, as we see how the artist can change a mistake into a great finished drawing.
BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace

Ernie Barnes loved art from his childhood all the way through until his death. His mother nurtured his love for drawing and artwork, and his father nurtured his love for music. He didn't try out for his high school football team, but the football coach noticed his physique, and recruited him to the team, where he became a star player. From there, he went on to play in the American football League.

But Ernie's real love was art. When he wasn't actually on the field playing, he would sit on the sidelines and sketch what was happening on the field. He didn't really want to play football, but as a young black man in the segregated South, he didn't think he could make a living with his artwork.

After the last game of the 1964 season, Ernie quick the game. He didn't have any money, but he had an idea. Over the years he had produced dozens of drawings and paintings, many of them football-related. He decided to pitch his idea at a meeting for the owners of the AFL. He told them he wanted to "become the Official Artist for the American Football League." And, he did. His paintings now hang in museums in such places as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC.

SAM & EVA by Debbie Ridpath Ohi  

Sam starts drawing a picture of a velociraptor on the wall. Eva wants to draw, too, but Sam doesn't want her to join him. The two "battle" it out with markers, each drawing something to counteract what the other drew. Eva draws a marmot to balance out Sam's velociraptor. Sam doesn't like the marmot, so he has his velociraptor try to eat the marmot. Eva draws a big friend to protect the marmot. And, so it continues until Eva gets frustrated and doesn't want to draw anymore. Sam discovers it might not be so much fun to draw by himself.


Joseph Cornell became known for his ability to turn ordinary objects into wonderful creations. Author Candace Fleming tells Cornell's story by showing the reader how he started collecting things when he was a young boy. His motto was, "If I like it, I keep it."

He liked many, many different things, and they kept piling up. When they would no longer fit into his room, he was given space in the barn for his collections. After the collection grew and grew and grew, he started putting some of the things together to create new things. After a while, he had a whole new collection. He then opened the barn to show his family what he had done. That led to his career as an artist.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

ReFoReMo Day 16 Book Reviews

BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

Alex receives a book for his birthday called "Birthday Bunny." Alex thinks the book he received is silly and sappy. He uses a pencil and turns the birthday bunny story into a story called "Battle Bunny." He crosses out words and letters from the text and fills them in with his own text. He also draws cartoon sketches to illustrate his new story.

Here's a small sampling of how the story has been changed. Here is the original story: "Birthday Bunny made himself his favorite breakfast: carrot juice and a bowl of Carrot Crispies. 'My birthday is the most special day of the year because I get super birthday present from all my friends.'"

Here's how Alex has changed the original story: "Battle Bunny made himself his favorite breakfast: brain juice and a bowl of Greasy Guts. 'My birthday is the most special day of the year because I get super birthday powers over all my enemies.'"

The story continues in this matter throughout.

I must say this is one of the most creative ways I've ever seen a story told. It's like two stories in one. You can almost see Alex scratching out words and writing in his own to make the story go the way he wants. It's delightful fun.


This book has no words but it certainly tells a story. The wonderfully expressive illustrations by Molly Idle, along with some interactive flaps along the way, tell the story of Flora as she makes friends with a flamingo.

I DON'T LIKE KOALA by Sean Ferrell 

Adam's parents got him a stuffed koala bear. Adam doesn't like it. He thinks it is creepy. He tries to get rid of it, but somehow, the bear keeps turning back up. He tries everything he can think of because he just doesn't like koala. Will anything happen to change his mind?

PRESS HERE by Hervé Tullet 

What a delightful book. On the first page is a yellow dot, just like the one on the cover. The reader is instructed to "Press here and turn the page." Of course, young children will press the yellow dot and then turn the page. When they do....they'll find a page with two yellow dots. They'll wonder how that happened and they will be anxious to keep going and find out what happens next.

Like I said, what a delightful book. I can see kids asking to go through this book time and time again.


It's time for bed, but the little ninjas are not tired. They're slipping and sliding and swinging out of bed. Can Daddy and the sensei get them to settle down?

This is an adorable counting book. Instead of going from 10 little ninjas to 9 little ninjas to 8 little ninjas, etc., author Miranda Paul has changed things up a bit. After the first little ninja gets tucked into bed, then their are 9 little astronauts and then 8 little race car drivers, etc.

Kids will enjoy the many different antics of these boisterous kiddies as mom and dad tried to get them all into bed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

ReFoReMo Day 15 Book Reviews


Mei Mei spends the morning with Grandpa (Gong Gong). Grandpa is practicing his Tai Chi. Mei Mei wants to learn. Grandpa shows her some basic moves. She struggles some with the moves, but she doesn't give up. She manages to make them work her way.

When they're done with Tai Chi, Mei Mei suggests they do Yoga together. Mei Mei show Grandpa some basic moves. Grandpa struggles some with the moves, but he doesn't give up. He manages to make them work for him.

Together, they have a wonderful morning, spending time together and sharing their interests. This is a touching story of how the young can teach the old and the old can teach the young.

At the end of the boo, author Sylvia Liu includes instructions for the for Tai Chi and the four Yoga positions mentioned in the text. She also adds a list of Author's Sources for additional reading.

BAGEL IN LOVE by Natasha Wing

Fancy-stepping Bagel loves to dance. It makes him "happier than a birthday cake." He wants to enter the Cherry Jubilee, a couples only dance contest, but he can't find a dance partner. Pretzel won't dance with him because she says his moves "don't cut the mustard." Croissant says his steps "are stale." Doughnut's eyes just glazed over when he asked her to dance. Will Bagel be able to find a dance partner in time.

This is such a clever book, filled with sweet puns and sugary-sweet illustrations. They make the perfect recipe for a book that totally takes the cake.

BE KIND by Pat Zietlow Miller

A little girl is at school when her classmate, Tanisha, spills grape juice on her dress. Everyone else in the class laughs, but not this little girl. Her mother has taught her to be kind. So she tells Tanisha that purple is her favorite color. She thought that would make Tanisha feel better, but it didn't.

During art class, while the little girl is painting a bunch of violets, she's thinking about what it really means to be kind. Is it giving cooking to your neighbor who lives alone? Is it giving your brother the shoes you've outgrown? It is helping with the laundry?

The little girl realizes these are all ways to be kind. She also realizes she can't undo Tanisha's paint mess on her dress, but she can paint a pretty picture for her because they both like purple. And, maybe it will make Tanisha feel a little better. She also realizes that what she can do to be kind are just small things. But, if everyone does something small to be kind, then "together, they could grow into something big."

GASTON by Kelly DiPucchio

Gaston has three sisters, but he doesn't look anything like them. They and his mother all look like poodles, but Gaston looks like a bull dog. Despite the way he looks, Gaston has been taught to mind his manners like any well-bred poodle would.

One day when Gaston's mother takes her brood to the park, they meet a mother with four children, all of which look like bull dogs, except for one, Antoinette. Antoinette looks like a poodle. But, she has been raised with her bull dog brothers so she has the manners of a bull dog, which are a far cry from those of the dainty poodles.

When the two mother dogs meet in the park, and they notice that each of them has a child that looks more like the other mother, they realize that some how the babies were switched: the poodle mom raised one of the bull dog pups and the bull dog mom raised one of the poodle pups. The moms decide to switch the pups so they can be with their real mothers. The decision looks like the right one, but is it?


A young girl takes a walk through the woods and to town during a late summer morning, noticing things along the way. She says "Hello" to the trees and the foxes and the blue jays and other things in the woods. Each return her greeting and tell how they are preparing for the upcoming winter. In town she says hello to the breezy wind. It answers by telling her it's time to bring out "thick sweaters and scarves."

When she returns to her house, she says, "Goodbye, summer." The next day she says, "Hello, autumn."


What should you do if your monster refuses to go to bed? "Don't ask your parents for help. They know a lot about putting kids to bed, but nothing about putting monsters to bed. It's not their fault; they're just not good at it." In order to know what to do, you are advised to read this book.

Here are some things you should NOT do:

* Do not bring in your dog to cuddle. That will cause a problem between your dog and your monster.
* Don't do the Monster Stomp. The Monster Stomp should be reserved for daytime fun.
* Don't let you monster count sheep...because he will want to eat them.

In order to get your monster to go to bed, you should follow the six steps outlined in this book. I'm not going to tell you what they are; you will have to read the book and find out for yourself.

MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell

Mira loved to draw, paint and color. She turned blank pieces of paper into colorful art. Then she gave away her artwork to people she met around her neighborhood. She even posted some of her art on the walls around her.

One day, she met an artist who said he painted on walls. He invited her to join him to paint a mural. As they painted, more people joined in. Soon, the whole neighborhood was involved and the gray walls around Mira's neighborhood were filled with color and life.

Mira is a fictional character but the story is based on the real-life events of Rafael and Candice Lopez who transformed the East Village in Sand Diego, California from a drab landscape into a vibrant, colorful one.

The book is illustrated by Rafael Lopez, the artist mentioned in the end of the book.


Yoomi and her two siblings are at Grandma's house for lunch. Yoomi loves the seaweed, anchovies, egg omelet, and bean sprouts Grandma gives her to eat. But she refuses to eat her kimchi. She says it is stinky and spicy. Her siblings eat theirs and then taunt her by calling her a baby because she would eat hers.

After lunch, her siblings won't let her play with them because the game they are playing is "not for babies." Yoomi doesn't want to be treated like a baby, but she really, really doesn't link kimchi. What can she do?

The end papers of the book are filled with pictures of Korean foods. There is a page in the back of the book that explains what kimchi. There is also a recipe for Kimchi Pancakes readers might like to try.

ROSCO VS. THE BABY by Lindsay Ward

Rosco was "the heavyweight champ of 17 Parkwood Avenue...." until the baby came to live. Now, Rosco has to compete with a cute, cuddly baby for attention, and Rosco is losing the fight. Rosco and the baby sparred with each other for months, with the baby always winning the fight. Until one day, when they are both very tired, they curl up together to sleep. They discover they like being together.

All is well until....the twins come along!