Archive for November 30, 2015

Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse

Written and Illustrated by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

Hidden pictures add to the excitement of this new book by the creators of, Snowmen at Night.

This rhyming story tells of a mouse family that moves into a nook under a kitchen floor. Their first discovery is special cooking and decorating done by the people of the house. Without missing a beat, Mr. Mouse hurries back to the nook and begins the same party preparations for his own family.

Grade one and grade two readers will enjoy reading this story on their own. Preschool listeners will be awed by the bright colored multi-layered illustrations. There are even hidden pictures on every page, with answers provided on the backside of the cover. What a neat idea!

Everyone will enjoy recognizing the everyday items carried into the nook by the mice to be used for their own furniture, clothing and snacks. Perhaps a discussion will follow about other household items to see how they could be used by others. What an interesting look at spatial relationships to see Mrs. Mouse using a birthday candle as a living room reading lamp.

Librarians, teachers, and parents should put this on the purchasing list right away. Literacy skills will be met in the core curriculum standards in multiple areas. Picture clues, rhyming words, predicting outcomes, and cause and effect, are just examples of the skill practice possible.

Buy on Amazon

  • Merry Christmas MouseTitle:  Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse
  • Authors/Illustrators:  Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
  • Publisher:  Dial Books, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format:  Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN:  978-0-8037-4010-5
  • Genre: Picture Book
  • Grade level: PreK to 2
  • Extras: Hidden pictures in the illustrations.

Whose Hands Are These? A Community Helper Guessing Book

Written by Miranda Paul
Illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell

With delightful rhyme, the author creates a guessing game for eleven different jobs vital and familiar to all communities.

          But hands can help – so raise yours please!

          Can you guess?

          Whose hands are these?

Each occupation is described perfectly for kids, starting with the hoeing and sowing, soiled hands of farmers. Then on to the sticky hands of cooks and the peacekeeping hands of police. Scientists, potters, news reporters, mechanics, architects, referees, physicians, and teachers are also highlighted. In the end, readers are asked what their hands will do.

Powell’s realistic, but entertaining illustrations give life to the occupations described by Paul. Each section shows vignettes of hands doing the jobs, and the tools used, that the reader needs to guess. At the end of each section, there is a full-page depiction of several individuals doing the job.

Second graders should be able to handle most of the reading activities, especially in context. This would also be a fun read aloud with younger kids, who would undoubtedly love to shout the answers.

Order on Amazon

  • whose handsTitle: Whose Hands Are These? A Community Helper Guessing Book
  • Author: Miranda Paul
  • Illustrator: Luciana Navarro Powell
  • Published: Millbrook Press Trade, January, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 4
  • Genre: Community
  • ISBN: 978-1467752145
  • Extras: Many Kinds of Helping Hands goes into more detail about each job.

Jake’s Cooking Craze

Written Ken Spillman
Illustrated by Chris Nixon

Encouraging kids to try something new, this book is the story of a budding chef. Jake is not a devotee of a popular cooking show until he hears what he could reap from being his own cook. Jake starts watching JuniorChef partly because everyone else does. It inspires him to make a less than stellar recipe of his own – sweet potatoes and beans covered with all the condiments in the refrigerator. Dad decides it’s time for Jake to learn from Nana. But Nana’s lessons are boring for Jake. As part of the cooking show craze, Jake’s school is to participate in a competition. So Jake gets really creative – with snails from his garden. Hilarity ensues, complete with kid-pleasing bodily functions. Humorous illustrations are scattered throughout the text.

Second graders will learn about some pretty fancy dishes as they practice their literacy skills. Jake may not be able to understand the various meanings of “rare,” but maybe the readers can.

Buy on Amazon

  • Jakes Cooking CrazeTitle: Jake’s Cooking Craze
  • Author: Ken Spillman
  • Illustrator: Chris Nixon
  • Published: Star Bright Books, 2015
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Paperback, 48 pages
  • Grade Level: 2 Up
  • Genre: Humor, Cooking
  • ISBN: 978-1-59572-685-8


The Turnip

Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett

One tasty turnip turned out to be a problem in badger girl’s garden. It was a giant turnip. Such a giant turnip that not badger girl, badger brother, nor badger parents could get it out of the ground.

Jan Brett once again beautifully illustrated a well-loved Russian folk tale and told it with a surprising new twist readers will love. Nothing is more fun than knowing something about a story the main characters don’t even know.

This cumulative story told in the center of the pages is foreshadowed in the margins, as is Brett’s pattern. Young readers and listeners enjoy watching the story progress and develop from margin cameo to double page spread. In many instances, while children know who the new character is going to be, they can only guess at the upcoming action.

Teachers and librarians can fulfill core curriculum standards in literacy, art, and geography as they introduce folk tales from around the world. Parents will enjoy including this beautiful new Brett book to the read aloud collection for quiet time.

Buy on Amazon

  • TurnipTitle: The Turnip
  • Author/Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Illustrator: Jan Brett
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-399-17070-6
  • Genre: picture book
  • Grade level: PreK to 3