Children’s Fiction

The Tiny Tale of Little Pea by Davide Cali

cover114626-mediumThe Tiny Tale of Little Pea by Davide Cali is a cute story of tiny person. It’s a fun story about Little Pea who finds he is too small to do many things. He finds a job that suits him perfectly and seems to live happily ever after.

The main character, Little Pea, loves life. Little Pea does not realize that he is very tiny until he begins school. It was only at school that he realized that there were things he could not do. He learned that the world is not very accommodating, but he made do with his situation.  In the end Little Pea finds a job, lives in his own home, and has a garden. Most importantly, he is happy. as it’s a fun story about Little Pea who finds he’s too small to do many things. He finds a job that suits him perfectly and seems to live happily ever after.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Kids Can Press in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, kids, Kids Can Press, NetGalley, picture books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle

32333242Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle is an interesting historical mystery, and modern day problems that my middle grade students will enjoy.

Jessie, her father and her siblings Julia and Jonathan are staying at a run down house near Quicksand Pond for six weeks in the summer. The father is an English teacher who doesn’t like to spend money, so he’s fine with the moldy floors and lack of technology. Their mother is staying behind in Pittsburgh to work. Julia finds a group of teens to hang out with, and Jonathan is happy staying close to the house, but Jessie is enthralled with the pond. Once she finds a raft, and meets Terri, a girl from the neighborhood, she spends most of her time outside. Terri has a difficult life; her father is an alcoholic who frequently abuses her. A neighbor, Miss Cutting, meets the girls and tells them they may use the tools in her garage to repair the raft. Miss Cutting’s own past is entwined with Terri’s family; her parents were murdered when she was young, and Terri’s great grandfather was sent to jail for it, although he was most likely not guilty. Terri makes some bad choices, and Jessie is not supposed to spend time with her, especially after there are a series of incidents that make Terri look guilty.

I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing and Atheneum Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Middle grade, NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher

cover103804-mediumYou’ll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher is a beautiful story of survival and God’s love for each of us. The characters in this book are the example of grace and acceptance, and demonstrate how far love and kindness can go in this world. This is a lovely story of faith and forgiveness. It is lovely to see the spiritual growth of the hero and heroine cheered on by the sweet innocence of a child and of a grandmother.

Brooklyn Myers is a single mother, not by choice. Life hasn’t been fair to her at all. Everyone who should have loved and supported her have left her or let her down. Now, she is going back home again not by choice; but, putting her daughter first she is returning to Thunder Creek to the home left to her by her deceased ex-husband.

Derek Johnson, local Sheriff’s Deputy of Thunder Creek has received a letter from his best friend’s estate. His friend has died and failed to leave him the land he had promised to sell him; instead, he has left it to his ex-wife and daughter. In addition, he has requested, Derek act as a surrogate father to the child. Derek, doesn’t have good memories of Brooklyn and blames her for his best friend’s life choices as well as resents that his dreams of expanding his farm, which happents to be next door to her new home, are in the dust.

While the characters, particularly Brooklyn, have faced difficulty in their pasts, these issues are only briefly touched upon in the story. The story remains a light tale of romance, family, and community. As a result this is a very peaceful book to read, but I really would have liked to delve a little deeper on some of the big issues that were present. I also expected more conflict between Brooklyn and Derek, but aside from a few calm disagreements, they get along well. They are a well-matched pair and I liked their open communication and peaceful relationship, despite the conflict they might have had in the past. There is also no discussion between Brooklyn and Derek about her family life or her history with her first husband. Once Brooklyn and Alycia move to Thunder Creek, everything falls into place for them. There is a bit of suspense towards the end of the book as characters face dangerous situations, bringing a bit of action to this story of romance and family.

Written in third person, the chapters alternate perspective between Brooklyn, Derek, and Derek’s grandmother Ruth. I enjoyed the small, country-town setting and the collection of supportive and caring characters. Hopefully, Thunder Creek will be a setting we readers can return to in future books by Robin Lee Hatcher.

I received an ARC from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, Children's Fiction, christian fiction, Christian Romance, fiction, marriage, NetGalley, Review, romance, Thomas Nelson | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey

31952702Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey is a cute children’s book about a trip across Canada. Annie makes the journey with her dog from the Pacific to the Atlantic across Canada as they sight see. The illustrations are lively watercolors, intended to capture the spirit of the trip rather than the actual realistic landscape. The pair travels light and their tale is fun.

The story starts on one side of Canada, and ends up on the other side. Carson and his mistress are cheerful and adventurous, and they make sure to have a good time as they travel and camp their way across the country. The vibe is upbeat and energetic. Carson is a peppy sort of dog and adds a good deal of personality to the trip.

I received this ARC copy from Penguin Random House Canada and Tundra Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, animals, ARC, book review, books, Canada, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, dog, geography, kids, NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada, picture books, story times, travel, Tundra Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

32672758Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta is the story two story strands with different points of view in different time periods. The first character; Rafael, the baseball player, from the Dominican Republic as a boy and as a young man. The second character; Maya, a young tween from Minneapolis. It’s certainly not a typical format for a book, this one pulls it off nicely. At first, the jumping back and forth can feel a bit jarring to the reader, but the flow back and forth starts to make sense, as events from one time and place compliment and inform events from the other time and place.

It also takes the story on from the viewpoint of a character who is not a baseball fanatic, which will be helpful to readers who are not as interested in the game of baseball. For though this is a baseball book, it’s not a story that centers on a game of baseball. Rather, that is simply the common element that exists throughout and the connective tissue between the different times and characters. Readers will discover more about the characters’ lives, ambitions, and Rafael’s hardships through the reading than anything that is particularly baseball centered.

I received this ARC from Albert Whitman & Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn

31863434Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover  by Audrey Penn is a great book about Chester the raccoon and his almost perfect sleepover. At first, I thought that it was about spending the night at another animals house but instead it was about spending the day and nap time at another house. All the animals were interesting and funny including the skunk who stinky poofs.

When Chester Raccoon is invited to an “overday” at his friend Pepper Opossum’s tree, he will be away from mother raccoon for the full day. She kisses his hand and closes it on her kiss as he is leaving. Chester joins all his friends for a day full of fun games and activities. When they all get tired, they go to Pepper’s tree and curl up in her hollow. All his friends fall asleep except for Chester. He remembers his mother’s Kissing Hand, but he still feels homesick and a tear escapes from his eye. When Pepper’s mom notices how sad he is, she enlists the help of Mrs. Rabbit to take Chester home. Once home and in his mother’s arms, he has not problem falling asleep across the hollow from his brother. Chester learns that it okay to be nervous when you experience new things and not to be afraid to ask for help. This is a great book to read to young children who might be nervous or scared about a new activity or to be leaving mom whether to go to a friend or relative’s house or even to school. The illustrations are adorable and the animals are so cute. I especially liked Sassafrass the skunk who kept “stinky puffing” when she was nervous, tired or giggling. This is also a good book about teaching tolerance for friends and those who might be different.

I received this ARC from Tanglewood Publishing and Tanglewood via NetGalley

Categories: animals, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

34137106A Different Pond by Bao Phi is a children’s book about a family who came to America (Minnesota) from Vietnam as refugees. The story is mainly about Bao and his father’s trip to the pond to fetch dinner. During the trip, Bao learns about why his mom and dad have to work so hard for a living as everything has an expense. It’s a simple read for young children and the illustrations keep their interest. The book has a graphic novel feel to it and has an artsy appearance.

A young boy wakes early in the morning, on a weekend day, to join his father for a couple of hours for fishing in a pond nearby. The time spent together is an opportunity to share life stories, especially from the ‘old country’, but also short remarks about life.

Both the writer and the illustrator were born in Vietnam and arrived in the USA following the civil war, and one can seize the nostalgy after a world they don’t necessarily know but was created through adults stories and memories. In a couple of words, and powerful simple images, a story about longing, hard life and first generation of immigrants was created, which can help us, the readers, regardless our age, to better understand the feeling of displacement and the need to stay connected with your roots, especially in a dramatically new environment. Children and adults need to nurture the memories of home and it is the power of story to invoke emotions and remember the past.

One of the major themes of the story is his father’s hard-working nature, something we’re introduced to at the very beginning, when the young boy tells us his dad has been up for hours preparing their food and packing the car. Only a few pages later we learn they’re leaving so early because his father has taken a second job.

I received this ARC from Capstone and Capstone Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, culture, multi-cultural, Multicultural Interest, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spork by Kyo Maclear

8301964Spork by Kyo Maclear is a picture book dealing with multi-race or multi-ethnic families. In this book they use cutlery to present this notion. Spork has part of his mom, a spoon, and his dad, a fork. He is never picked when someone sets the table, he never gets the bubble bath after a meal and he is shunned by both the spoons and the forks.

This story highlights that there is a place in the world for everyone. You just have to find it. Luckily for Spork, when neither the forks or spoons could handle the baby, he got the chance to show what he could do. Of course, there is a place for everyone, as evidence by the ending of this book. The illustrations are detailed but with little color. The expressions on some of the cutlery is scary at times, but Spork is quite adorable.

I think it is important to help children explore how we are all different. This story could be used in various discussions such as all families are different, bullying by omission, finding your purpose and strengths, be true to yourself.

I received this ARC from Kids Can Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, bullying, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, culture, Kids Can Press, NetGalley, race, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thing Lou Couldn’t Do, The by Ashley Spires

31934710The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires is an interesting story because it is about what Lou couldn’t do, rather than what she does do. I love that it is not all wrapped nice and neat by the end of the book, because sometimes doing things we fear takes us a little longer then one day to get through.

This is a  great story that encourages kids to keep trying. Lou love adventures, but when her friends decide to climb a tree, she isn’t so sure its the kind of adventure she enjoys, until she tries! This story is about having fun, and being confident, being brave, and trying new things.

Fun book, that is a good starting off to explain the above. Bright pictures, and simple story.

I received this ARC from Kids Can Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Kids Can Press, NetGalley | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth

16000413Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth is a story about a family day in the woods, from sun-up to sun-down. The rhyming text takes the reader through waking up, packing gear, riding there, hiking, playing, swimming, eating, and eventually sleepily returning home. Every sentence begins with “Let’s,” inviting the reader to join in the fun. The understated verse conjures up visual images.  The illustrator shows a family that mostly enjoys each other, at least most of the time. There is lot’s of humor in the illustrations, as well as details hinting at the personalities of each family member.

I received this ARC from Tanglewood Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: ARC, book review, books, children, Children's Fiction, Children's literature, Children's Nonfiction, children's poetry, family, Galen Goodwin Longstreth, NetGalley, Tanglewood | Leave a comment

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