Archive for the ‘Children’s Readers Advisory’ Category

Loss of a pet & parent titles for youth

June 17, 2017

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The NY Times Book Review this weekend has profiled five new books for youth that deal with loss: four picture book titles that tackle the loss of a pet, and one teen novel that deals with the loss of a mother. Splotch by Gianna Marino & Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket both look at the loss of a pet goldfish; Hey, Boy by Benjamin Strouse deals with a boy and a dog, and Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault takes a glimpse at a young girl’s attempt to fit into a new neighborhood by inventing the loss of a pet bird.

1 bookThe teen novel is Speed of Life, by Carol Weston, which I have read and enjoyed. A young teen loses her mother suddenly and must deal with her father dating again. To make matters worse, her dad’s girlfriend has a daughter, Alexa, who is about the same age as Sofia, the protagonist, and is less than thrilled about her mom dating Sofia’s dad. Plus Alexa is not very friendly to Sofia, who turns to an advice columnist, “Dear Kate” for help in dealing with her loss. Recommended for teens in grades 7 and up.

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans

April 18, 2017


This novel by W. Bruce Cameron is told from the dog’s perspective and is very entertaining. Usually cats are thought to have nine lives; here it is a puppy that experiences being born four different times. He tries to figure out his purpose in living four different lives, and as he comes full circle, becoming Bailey once again, he realizes his purpose at last. A great read, especially for dog lovers. The sequel to this title is A Dog’s Journey: Another Novel for Humans, for those who enjoyed Bailey’s adventures. Children will enjoy Bailey’s Story: a Dog’s Purpose Novel, and Ellie’s Story.

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“Boat of Dreams”

March 1, 2017

Rogerio Coelho is an internationally known illustrator of children’s books.  In 2015, he won Brazil’s Jabuti Award for the best children’s illustrations for his book “Boat of Dreams.”

Eighty pages in length, “Boat of Dreams” is a wordless children’s book that will appeal to a wide range of juvenile readers. The story probably asks more questions, at first read, then it will answer.  Since the story is told visually, the first step for the reader is just to look at all the intricate illustrations, which the author/illustrator has done using a limited palette of blues and sepia shading.

After this first look, the reader can return to the first page and begin to interpret the drawings and create a narrative.  Perhaps, 9780884485285_p0_v1_s192x300.jpgeven a third reading might be needed to draw some conclusions about the man and the boy.  Are they two different people or one individual?  Are they separated by only distance or also by time?  Are they dreaming of the future or of the past?

This wonderful story would be a great book for a child to be read with an adult.  As each explores the illustrations, they could create their version of the meaning of “Boat of Dreams”on their own voyage of imagination.

“This House, Once”

February 22, 2017

The author Deborah Freedman was once an architect.  Her story “This House, Once” deconstructs a house so the reader can explore how all the elements of a home come together.9781481442848_p0_v4_s192x300.jpgBeautifully illustrated by the author using pencil, and watercolors, her drawings are soft and dreamy.

Beginning with the front door, the reader is told that the door was “once a colossal oak tree about three hugs around and as high as the blue.” And there it is–the huge colossal oak with the front door in its trunk.  From the door, the author next explains where the stone foundation comes from–deep underground beneath the leaves.

Each element of the house is discussed.  Until it rises from the page complete.  The house then dreamily remembers where each part of it came from, once.

“This House, Once” is a good choice for a one-on-one read.  Each part of the house’s construction can be discussed and then discussed again as the reader sees where in the natural world the element was found.

“Noisy Night”

February 22, 2017

Pictured on the cover of the new Mac Barnett book is a multi-storied apartment building.  “Noisy Night” explores what is happening to its inhabitants on each floor as night falls.

We first encounter a little boy in his bed.  He wants to know what is going on above his head that is producing the sounds La La La.  As the reader turns the page, he or she discovers that an opera singer is practicing his musical scales.  As he practices, he hears Ma Ma Ma, and he wants to know   9781596439672_p0_v2_s118x184.jpgwhat is happening above his head. And so it goes.  Each floor’s inhabitants produce another sound from Baa Baa Baa to Rah Rah Rah to Cha Cha Cha.  Finally, on the top floor is an older man trying to go to sleep.  He is yelling “Go to Bed!” and everyone does.

Young readers will enjoy hearing and then repeating the various sounds that each floor’s inhabitants produce.  This silly story has colorful, cartoon-like illustrations  by Brian Biggs, who lives in a three-story house right next to some very noisy neighbors.

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