Book Reviews Children’s Book Reviews

  • Crocodile’s Tears

    Crocodile’s Tears

    What are crocodile tears anyway? That’s the question this story answers. The setting is Africa, and main characters Rhino and Tickbird happen upon a crocodile who’s shedding those famed tears. The duo won’t dare ask him because they are afraid of crocodiles. So, they set out to find a wise golden eagle who might shed some light on the mystery. Though wise, the eagle wouldn’t dare ask anything of a crocodile either, and guesses that he’s crying because he misses the dwindling population of elephants. He suggests they find an elephant and ask him. The story goes on in a similar way through…

  • Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur

    Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur

    What do you do when you meet a dinosaur at the supermarket? This newer title is a sweet fantasy about a polite little girl who meets an equally polite dinosaur at her neighborhood grocery store. The narrative offers scenarios in which simple good manners are required, and asks readers to provide the appropriate response. For example, the little girl bumps into the dinosaur with her cart. What should she say? “I’m sorry,” of course, is the correct response. The story continues in the same fashion until the two part ways with a polite “Goodbye. It was nice to meet you.”

  • Remembering the Titanic

    Remembering the Titanic

    This new release is a brief history of the Titanic in honor of the 100th anniversary of its tragic sinking. Historic pictures, paintings and screen grabs from James Cameron’s film illustrate the story of the Titanic from its sailing on April 10, 1912, to its sinking five days later and the rescue of just over 700 survivors out of 2,227 passengers and crew. Also featured are the discovery of the Titantic’s wreckage in 1985 and the last survivor who passed away in 2009.

  • All Kinds of Kisses

    All Kinds of Kisses

    “Little ones love kisses” is the opening line of this new picture book which celebrates the kisses mommies bestow on their little ones. The setting is a barnyard and the subjects are animals such as calves, kids, piglets and so on. With each kiss given is the sound each animal makes — “baaa” kisses, “woof” kisses, etc. As the story concludes, readers are led inside the farmhouse where the best kisses of all happen. Of course, those kisses are a mommy’s good night kiss.

  • Cinco de Mouse-O!

    Cinco de Mouse-O!

    Mouse wakes up on May 5th to the scent of “beany, cheesy, ricey” smells. He hunts for the aromas’ source and finds them at a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Mouse has a ball eating all the crumbs that people drop from authentic Mexican dishes such as tacos, tamales and chorizos, and sets his sights on a candy-filled piñata. Mouse’s fun ends when Cat begins chasing Mouse through the fiesta, past the lively dancers and mariachi band. Mouse finds refuge, at last, on top of the piñata, but as the children start to take swings at it, Cat patiently waits for Mouse to fall into his paws.…

  • A Boy Called Dickens

    A Boy Called Dickens

    This fictionalized biography inspired by the life of Charles Dickens was published in honor of the 200th anniversary of this literary giant’s birth earlier this year. The setting is “old London” and like many of the characters of Dickens’ stories, young Charles was forced to work in deplorable factory conditions for very low wages to support his family, who has been imprisoned for failure to pay taxes. By day, Charles entertains his peers with fantastic stories. And at night, he escapes his dreary reality by writing until he can no longer keep his eyes open. Eventually, his family is released…

  • Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World

    Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World

    This book, which has been fittingly released in time for Earth Day, is about Rachel Carson, a pioneer of the global environmental movement. Rachel became fascinated with nature as a child in rural Pennsylvania and spent more of her time studying birds and trees than she did engaging in typical childhood activities. Later, Rachel took a college biology class, and it changed her life. She discovered a passion for animals and plants, and decided to dedicate her life to learning all she could about them. Rachel’s career led her to experience things few women had at the time, from diving deep in the ocean to…

  • Tilly the Trickster

    Tilly the Trickster

    Actress-comedienne Molly Shannon’s first children’s book is about a little girl who loves to play pranks. Some of Tilly’s pranks are harmless. For instance, she pretends to oversleep for school, and when her mother hurriedly wakes her up, Tilly jumps out of bed already dressed. Others are a bit less considerate; such as telling her friends they all missed the school bus, leaving Tilly to be the only one to hop on when it arrives. Tilly’s trickery catches up to her when she gives a teacher a red-hot candy that she passes off as strawberry. Tilly’s family gets back at her by making Tilly…

  • The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

    The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

    This title, released last fall, is Eric Carle’s first new picture book in more than four years. It is about an artist who paints animals as he sees them. The blue horse of the title is accompanied by a yellow cow, purple fox, red crocodile and other animals. In creating this book, Mr. Carle was inspired by the work of Expressionist painter Franz Marc, a German painter who is known for using blue horses in his paintings.

  • Ollie the Purple Elephant

    Ollie the Purple Elephant

    Mr. McLaughlin tells his children that should they ever come across a purple elephant, they could keep him. Of course, the children, Peter and Shelby, find such a creature in the park and bring him home. Ollie fits in beautifully with the family and their activities, especially on hot days when he cools down the kids and their friends with his water-spouting trunk. Everyone loves Ollie, except for Ginger, the McLaughlin’s cat, and Mr. Puddlebottom, the man who lives in the apartment below. Ginger and Mr. Puddlebottom create a scheme that sends Ollie away with the circus. One year later, when the circus comes…