Won Ton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw Book Review

Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw
Illustrations by Eugene Yelchin
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date: March 17, 2015

Won Ton has a happy life with his Boy, until...
Ears perk. Fur prickles. 
Belly low, I creep…peek…FREEZE!
My eyes full of Doom.

A new puppy arrives, and nothing will be the same.

This is a unique book, one that I'm sure young children may be able to enjoy, but will not understand on a certain level. It is also the third book I have read in the past month featuring Haiku, which makes me wonder what it is about this particular poetry form that draws in writers? At the risk of angering the poetry community, and with the hopes that someone will actually answer this question, I wonder if it isn't because it is one of the easier poetry forms? I mean, I am a terrible poet, but at least my Haikus make some sense. 

I can see this book fitting well in a literature/poetry class for middle school students, where poetry is being taught as a narrative form. It is simple, but easily desconstructable and therefore a great learning tool. As with any special format book like this too, there is the possibility that it may inspire a new generation of young poets, which I certainly hope is the case because as bad as I am at poetry, I appreciate it as an art form in itself. 

The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles Book Review

The Lost Planet (Chase Garrety #1) by Rachel Searles
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 28, 2014

Chase Garrety wakes up with no memory and a blaster wound to the back of his head. The only reason he knows his name is because the microchip that was implanted in his head was still functional enough to tell them who he was. At least the name part. But how did he wind up on a strange planet with a boy named Parker and his android? Why did he come here? Where did he come from? Most importantly, who wants him dead? The answers would be simpler if Parker wasn't treating the whole thing like some big space adventure, which is exactly what it turns into. This isn't some video game though, this is real life, and out in space, the stakes are high.

Oh amnesia. Although some people really love the amnesiac hero trope, too often this just feels like a gimmick. The amnesiac hero usually remembers some things, like how to speak English, but has forgotten everything including their own name. Either they remember somehow (or in this case are told it) or they make up their own nickname, which improbably has to do with their past. The hero usually has amazing fighting skills (think Jason Bourne) or they have some kind of superpower (like comic book hero Longshot). They quickly find their sidekick who will help them on their journey and often have dark and depressing pasts that they are not going to want to remember. Their amnesia is an easy way to get readers up to speed as they're being introduced to the world, while the character lives there and should otherwise know about it already. Tropes are not always bad, they bring a comfortability to storytelling, but it can lend itself to predictability as well.

Despite its predictable nature, I found this story to be very exciting with all the right adventure in all the right places. Chase isn't exactly an action-hero, but there is enough that happens around him to make up for it. The character that I never truly understood, the real mystery in my mind, is Parker. This boy who lives on a planet by himself with an android. A boy who is wickedly clever and is under the protection of a may who may or may not be a criminal mastermind. Being cut off from other people Parker shows little care or compassion for Chase although they do form a tenuous friendship by the end. The mystery surrounding Parker is almost as important as Chase's mystery, yet it wasn't answered in this first book.

As you may have noticed, this book is a little older, which is what happens when you stumble across a series that looks interesting and realize that you need to read the first book, even if it means not reading something brand new. In order to keep this blog relevant, I often struggle with myself over reading an older book versus a new book. My default is new because that is what people are looking for (I think. Tell me in the comments if you disagree). Yet, I own hundreds of books that I would love to re-read again. Perhaps this summer instead of doing graphic novels every Friday, I should write some reviews for some of my older books. It would give me a chance to re-read some of my favorites. Besides, reading books again, ones that I may not have read since I was a teenager, gives you a very different perspective.

Red by Jan de Kinder Book Review

Red by Jan de Kinder Book
Publisher: Eerdman's Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 9, 2015

What do you do when you see one of your classmates blushing on the playground? A little girl laughs along with her friends as the teasing goes too far. She is torn between sympathy and fear. How do we show compassion in a way that will not make you a target? And what do you do if you do become the target of a bully's anger?

What I loved about this story is that is that this isn't told from the perspective of the child being bullied, but rather the bystander. Often bullies focus on just one child, but bullies thrive off of public displays of cruelty and how does a child handle a situation when they are just a witness?

Obviously, this is a rather simplistic way in which to deal with this issue, but it is a great jumping off point to create deeper discussion between parents and their children regarding a topic that all kids will have to deal with eventually. De Kinder's fantastic illustrations using charcoal, ink, pencil, acrylic, and collage are perfect for the story being told here. The red takes on a life of its own until it is almost covering the page.

Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead Book Review

Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead
Illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Sadie needs to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine, who lives completely alone and could use some company. Turns out, mailing an elephant would require an entire cart full of stamps and so they begin their quest to get the elephant to her Great-Aunt by all manner of transportation, be it airplane, train, or alligator.

I am completely going to spoil the ending here, because I feel it is important. Great-Aunt Josephine is not alone. She is surrounded by dozens of exotic animals that I can only guess Sadie has been sending to her. It is this twist that made the entire story endearing, because it showed the love that Sadie has for her Great-Aunt and her desire to see her happy and surrounded by the things she loves. This alone is a great message because kids inherently think that the world revolves around them. In a way, in their small limited understanding, it kind of does. Which is why I liked the idea of a kid so diligently thinking about someone else.

The journey is important too though, and I absolutely loved the ways in which Sadie tries to get her elephant delivered. The accompanying illustrations demand more than a quick look-see as there is often a lot going on in them beyond what is just in the text. I absolutely love when illustrations give us even more story beyond what is just written on the page and Cordell does it so well.

Prickly Jenny by Sibylle Delacroix Book Review

Prickly Jenny by Sibylle Delacroix
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Release Date: March 17, 2015

Jenny is a bundle of contradictions. She want to be left alone, but cries when her mom leaves. She doesn't want to wear her new dress, opting for her old T-shirt instead. And let's not even mention if you catch her smiling.

Every kid has one of those days. The day when they are just grumpy. Perhaps they just rolled out the wrong side of the bed, or they don't feel well, or they just can't bring themselves to smile. Some kids have these days more often than others. I have known a handful of grumpy kids in my life and the grumpiness can be taxing at times. I think most kids will be able to relate to Jenny, even if they have less prickly days than most. The format of the book is small, making it feel more intimate as it isn't really made to be shared with a large group like at a storytime. The illustrations are rather simple with a muted palette that I am seeing in a lot of books these days.

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart Book Review

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Mark has always dreamed of climbing Mount Rainier. A hard climb for sure and one that Mark may never get to do because he is sick. The kind of sick that doesn't get better. With the newest cancer diagnosis on his mind, Mark decides that if he is going to die, he is going to do it on his own terms. With his faithful dog by his side, Mark runs away, heading for the mountain. He is unsure if he will make it to the top alive, but is determined to die trying.

A combination of The Fault in Our Stars and Hatchet (loosely), this is another "cancer story", but for the middle grade set. It's serious. It's real. Some parents may try to shield their kids from something like this, but I think that the story fully embraces what it means to live and die in a way that is age appropriate. Like all characters, especially twelve-year-olds, Mark is deeply flawed. His desperation to fulfill a dream or die trying is coupled with the planning skills of a pre-teen. Sure, he brings enough money, but what about wandering around a strange city at night by yourself? He knew he had to leave, but didn't bother to check the weather. Despite his suicidal mission, Mark still doesn't want to be alone, dragging his poor dog along on a journey that Mark realizes at the end, may cost them both their lives.

I also felt very bad for Mark's best friend Jessie, who is left behind with the clues to his whereabouts. She knows where Mark is heading, but is torn between her loyalty as his best friend and the desire to protect him. Which isn't fair by the way. It isn't fair that Mark puts so much on another twelve-year-old who could (and does) blame herself for not telling. Sadly, this also left the character of Jessie feeling a bit flat, because only know her within the confines of Mark's cancer.

One of things I don't understand is why his parents didn't try to make this happen for Mark. It's not like him wanting to climb this mountain was that huge of a secret. He and his grandfather talked about it a lot. I know his parents are a bit protective, but this is one of those Make-a-Wish kind of things, where the kids says hey, I want to climb Mount Rainier and someone finds a way of making it happen. In a way where the kid won't die trying. When there isn't a snowstorm or some such. There is a moral dilemma in these pages too, because this is basically a book about a suicidal pre-teen. Although I really enjoyed the book, I think one of the reasons I liked it was because it made me think, it made me consider myself in the same situation, and led to places that are both dark and beautiful in the same breath.

Side note: I texted a friend when I began this book because it was set in her hometown of Wenatchee, WA. Or at least, it was in the beginning. She was rather shocked that any story would begin there and I have promised to send her my copy when I finished so she can see for herself.

Mustache Baby Meets His Match by Bridget Heos Book Review

Mustache Baby Meets His Match by Bridget Heos
Illustrations by Joy Ang
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: March 3, 2015

It's the clash of the hipster babies. Baby Billy, a.k.a. Mustache Baby is feeling a bit out of sorts because the other new baby in town, Javier and his impressive board. As each baby tries to prove their manliness, it seems like friendship is the farthest thing on their mind, but we all know that facial hair unites...eventually.

Even with the first book, I thought this book was absolutely ridiculous. Which is the point, of course. The story works because it is so bizarre. Mustache Baby's mustache curls into a bad guy mustache when he is misbehaving. His mustache has a personality. As it turns out, so does Beard Baby. As much as these two kids may have the facial hair of a grown man, they are definitely still babies and that is why kids and adults alike will like this series.

Also, can we talk about the hipster birthday party potential for this one? You know those parties where they have mustaches on a stick and on cupcakes. Add in this set of books and you can now convince your friends that it really is a party for kids and not self-indulgent hipster fantasy.

*Although there is a lot of hipster snark in this review, it is meant in good fun and should be in no way, taken offensively.

Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray Book Review

Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray
Illustrations by Kenard Pak
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Flowers are calling to all the animals of the forest, "Drink me!"—but it’s the pollinators who feast on their nectar. In rhyming poetic form and with luminous artwork, this book shows us the marvel of natural cooperation between plants, animals, and insects as they each play their part in the forest's cycle of life. 

This is an absolutely beautiful book to look at. Kenard Pak has illustrated three books now that I have absolutely loved, The Dinner That Cooked Itself, Have You Heard the Nesting Bird, and now this. Each spread is full beautiful imagery, a feast for the eyes, full of so much detail that the eye wants to rest on each page, soaking it in. The text is a mix of poetry and information, making the book an interesting dichotomy of nature picture book and non-fiction. It threw me off a bit in the beginning, but once I got the hang of it I didn't mind so much. 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali Book Review

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali
Illustrations by Benjamin Chaud
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: March 3, 2015

It begins with giant ants stealing breakfast. From their the excuses devolve into evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, and giant blobs. But none of these are the real reason why this kid is late.

It's the classic story of excuses. Just like the-dog-ate-my-homework these tales prove to be more and more preposterous and for the young reader they are left wondering how much of it is true. The text alone is not terribly exciting, with a basic storyline that has been done a thousand times. What I enjoyed are the retro illustrations that reminded me of the books my mother used to read us from the 60s and 70s. I do wish the format of the book had been a bit larger though, typical picture book size, because it would have been great to see the illustrations in a way that didn't feel so compressed. The book had a bit of surreal feeling to it due to the illustrations, I only wish the text itself evoked the same feeling.


Unusual Chickens For the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones Book Review

Unusual Chickens For the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones
Illustrations by Katie Kath
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12, 2015

Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown does not feel at home on the farm her family has inherited. Not only does her family know very little about running a farm, but they are also the only brown family in the area. Farm life begins to get more interesting though when Sophie discovers a hen that can move objects with her little chicken brain. Yes, she has a chicken that can use the force. It turns out that her great-uncle has more than one exceptional chicken. One can disappear. Another runs so fast that she can't catch it. Determined to take care of her unusual flock, Sophie learns how to feed her chickens, collect eggs, and even how to show them. That will be difficult though, because there is a woman in town who may just be trying to steal her chickens.

Being a city kid, what little I know about chickens could be summed up on one hand. Of course, as city chicken raising is becoming popular, I know a few people who have them in their backyards. (one of them will be receiving this book as a present) What I loved about this book was that it had all the trappings of a good story with some learning mixed in that never felt didactic. Throughout the story, Sophie is learning about how to feed her chickens and how much, to harvest the eggs, how to house them. She receives lessons from the person who originally owned her unusual chickens. Yet, the story is really about the fact that there is a chicken thief on the loose who is desperately trying to steal Sophie's extraordinary chickens. And I won't tell you the end, but I was very pleased with the outcome. With quick pacing, an interesting unique topic, a force-wielding chicken, and cute illustrations, this book is perfect for those who do and don't have chickens in their lives.

Float by Daniel Miyares Book Review

Float by Daniel Miyares
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9, 2015

This week I babysat my niece and nephews, the oldest of which is in love with wordless picture books. "Remember, Aunt Venus," he said when I brought him a new Amelia Bedelia book. "Remember that book we made up our own story? I want to read that kind of book." And so, during our outing, we went to the bookstore and "read" through the various wordless picture books that we could find. I wish this one was available now, because I have a feelings it would have been the one we walked away with it.

The story is simple, a little boy and his paper boat that gets away from him. But as I have learned, these books, in the hands of a five-year-old become something entirely different and wonderful. In a School Library Journal article from last year, Bob Staake states that wordless picture books are a pulling back, "It's the child telling the story." For a child who can't quite read on his own yet, the ability to tell their own story and to be given permission by the author to do so, is an important tool for a new reader.

Beautifully drawn, Float joins a great list of wordless picture books.

Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt Book Review

Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt
Illustrations by Rob Dunlavey
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 3, 2015

One, two, three crows in a tree, bedecked in red scarves and hungry as can be. So begins this delightful, rhyming counting book who soon have a bigger problem than hunger--a cat.

This is a fantastic read-aloud book although not strictly a counting book. The rhythm matched with the lively illustrations on a simple color palette of red, white, and black made for an engaging read. I also see a lot of storytime potential with this one. Having done storytimes for years, I consider a good storytime book to be one that not only reads well aloud, but where I can also think of crafts to accompany the story. Making little striped scarves for crows on paper would be simple. If you wanted to get fancy (as I did sometimes) I imagine there are a few ways to make life size scarves for children as well.

All in all, a solid picture book, that may not necessarily teach counting, but is a great read aloud.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman Book Review

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
Illustrations by Zachariah O'Hara
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 17, 2015

Found on their doorstep, the Bunny family has adopted a wolf son. Dot, their daughter, is the only one who realizes that Wolfie can--and very well might--eat them all up! She tries to warn her parents, but they won't listen. And how far is Dot willing to go to protect Wolfie, the brother who could eat them?

Again, one of those stories about a new sibling where the other child doesn't like the new addition. As I have said before, I have a nephew who went through this very thing, but I still question sometimes the wisdom of introducing such a book to a child's vocabulary if they aren't already experiences these feelings.

That said, I did absolutely love this book. I love that Wolfie is dressed in a bunny costume, like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. Dot's fears are not completely unfounded either. Wolfie is a wolf. There is no question that he is. None of this magical stuff where in the end it turns out the wolf was really a rabbit all along and that was how the other child saw them. No, Wolfie could very well gobble them all up. But he won't, because this is his family and he loves them and while he is still young, he needs them to protect him too. Dot finds herself rescuing Wolfie and discovers that despite there being some danger, she loves her adopted brother.

Even though Wolfie is essentially adopted, I definitely would not read this book to adopted children. Adoption friendly it is not. After all, it shows Wolfie putting on a costume in order to look more like his family. As a new brother/new sister issues book however, it works. Or perhaps it can simply be read as a funny story about family and belonging.

Honey by Sarah Weeks Book Review

Honey by Sarah Weeks
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 27, 2015

For a girl like Melody and a dog like Mo, life can be both sticky and sweet. Melody has lived in Royal, Indiana for forever. Her mother died when she was a baby, so it is just her and her father. But then she overhears a conversation in the middle of the night where he calls someone Honey. Now, Melody is desperate to discover who her father is secretly in love with. As with any mystery though, sometimes the things we uncover are not always so pleasant.

Meanwhile, a dog named Mo is new to Royal. He doesn't remember much from his puppy days, but he has always had a dream about a little girl with blond hair. It's not that he doesn't love his current owner, but this girl, he is sure, will change everything.

As is popular these days, this is one of those cutesy small town books with characters named things like Teeny and Bee Bee. The small town of Royal, Indiana could easily be set in the 1960s with children riding their bikes long distances (without the police being called) and hair salons shaped like bee hives. However, unlike other books with the same conceit, Honey felt a bit more realistic even if a bit old-fashioned.

Melody is a very interesting and fun character and there is a lot packed into this small book. Melody is not your girly girly, although her younger neighbor Teeny is. She isn't the kind of girl who does her hair (she has been cutting her own for years) nor is she the kind of girl who paints her fingernails. Which is why her visiting the Bee Hive, a new nail and hair salon in town, is a big deal. Also, Melody is enamoured with the idea of having a mother. The connection to her own mother is so slight, especially since her father never talks about her, so Melody has a bit of a mother vacuum in her life. The secondary characters are less drawn out, but with only 160 pages, I don't think that would have been feasible and convincing.

The mystery, if it can be called that, is rather transparent, but it didn't lesson the emotional impact in the end. I may have even teared up a bit over the inevitable reunion of two characters. All in all, a well-drawn bridger book about family, belonging, need, and misunderstandings that it both sticky and sweet.

The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat Book Review

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat 
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 8, 2014

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

This happens to me every year. Every year the books that end up winning awards are the ones that I have not read. Of course, there are far too many books out there for me to read them all, but it does make one wonder whether the kinds of books I like just don't win awards. Ever. As a self-professed rookie when it comes to art and illustration, (this means that although I appreciate art, I don't have enough knowledge to critique it) I find the Caldecott to be both the most interesting and confusing award. Particularly this year since a young adult graphic novel won the Caldecott Medal. I thought this category was for picture books? But then again, there was Hugo Cabret a few years back.

Beekle is definitely beautiful to look at. Santat's illustrations have always been spot on in my opinion, reminding me of the Pixar/Disney cartoons of the past decade. But I couldn't tell you why this book was chosen instead of the ones that got the Medal or even ones not nominated. In my mind Rules of Summer, The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, Beautiful Moon, and Edward Hopper Paints His World were just as beautiful and just as deserving. This is not to say that those who won weren't deserving, but rather to point out my own lack of understanding and knowledge in this area. I have no idea what the criteria is for winning or even being nominated. All I can say is the picture book format is one of my favorite art forms. I am just as enthralled by the intricacies of Rembrandt as I am by the simplicity of Mo Willems. 

A Violin for Elva by Mary Lyn Ray Book Review

A Violin for Elva by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrations by Tricia Tusa
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Elva wants a violin, but her parents say no. So she pretends to play, rehearsing for invisible recitals. She imagines herself playing on a stage, performing all the beautiful music. Yet, she never learns. As the years march by, Elva keeps promising herself that she will learn, but then doesn't. Until one day, she decides to learn. At first Elva tries to teach herself, but soon she finds herself a teacher and even though most of the students are young, Elva is proud of herself as she learns how to play, fulfilling her childhood dream.

Although I absolutely love the message that one is never too old to pursue a dream, as a violinist, I found this story incredibly sad. Parents, please please please, if your child wants to learn to play an instrument, try to find a way. My parents were just scraping by, but they found a way for me to rent a violin and take lessons at an affordable price. I begged them for two years to let me play and eventually they gave in. As an adult, I have had a few students over the years and I have to be honest, learning the violin is extremely difficult and even more so for a grown-up. I've never had an adult student progress beyond simple songs, which is as frustrating to me as it is to them. Elva, sadly will never play the music she dreams of playing (unless she is secretly extremely gifted), which is a shame because she probably would have been a talented musician if her parents had let her play.

All in all, I don't think this book is for children. If it was, Elva would have begged and begged and eventually someone would have let her play. Or perhaps she would have discovered that she was better at playing the flute. Or her parents would have made her try to play a whole bunch of instruments first, even though she had her heart set on a violin. No, this story is for the adult who fears that it is too late to pursue their dreams. Not to burst anyones bubble here, but there are some things that really should begin at a young age, that is, if you hope to move beyond a beginner level. Playing violin is one of them. Perhaps non-musicians will get a little more out of this story, but I found the whole thing rather depressing. 

Winnie by Sally M. Walker Book Review

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker
Illustrations by Jonathan D. Voss
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release Date: January 20, 2015

When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian you see. But he was also a soldier in training during World War I. Harry name the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, and brought her along to training in England. At first, the commanders in the army weren't sure about having a bear in the army, but soon she was the regiment's much-loved mascot. War is no place for a bear though. Heartbroken, but knowing she needed a good home, Harry found her a place at the London Zoo. It was only supposed to be temporary, but Winnie, who was a sweet and kind animal, thrived there. And so she stayed. She was there when a little boy named Christopher Robin came to visit one day and decided he needed a Winnie-the-Pooh of his own.

How in the world did I not know this story? Obviously, there is a ton of information out there about this and a movie, but how is this not common knowledge? I knew all about Christopher Robin's stuffed animal collection, which are now housed at the New York Public Library. I was aware that Roo was lost in the woods which is why he is missing from the collection. I even know about the supposed music box that may or may not be inside Winnie-the-Pooh, but I did not know about the real Winnie.

Beautifully illustrated, this story brought a tear to my eye not once but twice. Enchanting and sincere, Walker captures the heart of the story. More so than the movie I watched about Winnie, which wasn't bad but felt more like a movie that was simply rushing to get to the end. (see below) Isn't it amazing what one can do in the short medium of picture books? I was glad that the Winnie-the-Pooh tie-in was at the very end, focusing rather on the story of Winnie herself, which was already extraordinary. What an incredibly lucky bear to have found such an incredible man named Harry Colebourne. And lucky for readers everywhere that a little boy named Christopher Robin fell in love with a bear named Winnie.

I would also like to draw attention to another book on the same subject by Lindsay Mattick, the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourne, whose picture book Finding Winnie is coming out next fall.

The New Small Person by Lauren Child Book Review

The New Small Person by Lauren Child 
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Elmore Green is an only child. Until he's not. When the new small person comes along, Elmore is not at all pleased. The new small person knocks over his things, licks his jellybean collection, and doesn't get in trouble for it because they are only small. Elmore wants to return the new small person to wherever it came from.

This is the story of one of my nephews in a nutshell. M was none too happy when O arrived, apparently threatening to kick her at one point. It took him a while to warm up to her, but they seem to be getting on now. A lot sooner than it takes Elmore to adapt to his sibling thank goodness.

The subject matter of this book is nothing extraordinary. I am never particularly thrilled by new sibling books that make the new sibling seem like a bad thing either. It would be perfect for those children who are already experiencing these feelings of jealousy and loss already though. (like my nephew) As with all her books though, there is this adorable quality to them, one that always makes me want to read the book in a British accent.

Perhaps the most interesting and unique aspect of this book, which probably shouldn't be a thing but is, is the skin tone of the characters. Fess up. When was the last time you saw one of these 'new baby' issue books featuring children of color? They exist, but they are definitely few and far between. I found two others in my Internet ramblings. This is not what the book is about, to be sure, but it draws attention because of its rarity. An issue that I am hoping becomes less and less unique as more and more books featuring children of all backgrounds and ethnicities becomes more widespread.