Book Reviews Children’s Book Reviews

  • Cappy Tail’s Capitol Tales

    Cappy Tail’s Capitol Tales

    Cappy is a talking squirrel who lives in Washington, D.C. and takes readers on a tour of the Capitol building. Through rhyming verse, Cappy leads us through the magnificent building’s highlights, including Emancipation Hall, the Rotunda, the House and Senate chambers and other notable points. He tells readers interesting facts about the building such as the height of the dome, the magic of the “Whisper Chamber,” and the significance of “The Crypt” as a tribute to the “heart” of our democracy.

  • The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans

    The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans

    This newly released title is about a ghost named Fred who happily “lives” alone in a run-down vacant house at 28 Rue Orleans in New Orleans. A father and daughter purchase the house, clean it up and open a restaurant. This makes Fred very unhappy. Once the crowds start coming in, he can stand it no longer and begins to moan and toss food about. The diners cheer, thinking the ghostly antics are a performance, and a finicky food critic gives the restaurant rave reviews. Realizing that his haunting doesn’t deter customers from coming, Fred decides to move out and “bumps” into the restaurant…

  • On a Windy Night

    On a Windy Night

    A young boy in his Halloween costume walks home by moonlight carrying his trick-or-treating bounty. As he travels through the woods, the blowing wind covers the moon and activates his imagination. He hears a voice saying “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours — if you look back,” and his walk turns to a run. He hears the voice again and again, and imagines dancing skeletons, a skull at his feet and a hairy beast chasing him. When the clouds clear, the moon reveals that the skeletons were just cornstalks, the “head” was a pumpkin and the hairy beast was his very own kitty.…

  • The Ecology Club Series

    The Ecology Club Series

    Released earlier this year, the Ecology Club, is a two-book series featuring the preschool character, Caillou. In the first book, Every Drop Counts, Caillou and his preschool class learn about water conservation. Over the weekend, Caillou and his parents discover that there are many simple things they can do to reduce the amount of water that they use in the home, such as fixing leaky faucets, shutting off the tap while brushing teeth, and collecting rainwater for the plants. Caillou’s grandmother teaches him a nifty new “trick” in The Magic of Compost. She shows Caillou that certain food scraps can…

  • When A Monster Is Born

    When A Monster Is Born

    When a monster is born, it may be a “faraway-in-the-forest” monster or an “under-your-bed” monster. If it’s the former, then “that’s that.” But if it’s the latter, there are two possibilities. The monster will eat you, and “that’s that.” Or, you can make friends with it. If you and the monster make friends, there are two possibilities. And, so the story proceeds through several funny scenarios until the plot comes full circle and another monster is born.

  • Forsythia & Me

    Forsythia & Me

    This new picture book fantasy is about best friends Chester and Forsythia. Everything Forsythia does is over-the-top and Chester is merely ordinary. For example, Forsythia can play a challenging piano concerto, and she can also play it sitting upside down or backwards. Also, she can make roses bloom in winter, and tame zoo animals to act proper at afternoon tea. One day, Forsythia is sick and cannot get out of bed. Chester bakes her a yummy cupcake, which makes her feel a bit better. He also plays piano for her, performs acrobatic tricks and dances a pirate’s jig. His acts of kindness nurse her back to health,…

  • Strega Nona’s Harvest

    Strega Nona’s Harvest

    Wise Strega Nona plans her garden months before the fall harvest. Soon after the winter thaw, she plants all sorts of vegetables in a very neat, organized garden. Strega Nona gives her friends (and us) useful tips about gardening, such as storing seeds in the dark and switching planting locations every year to make the soil rich. Big Anthony, a bumbling, but lovable character, secretly sets out to plant his own garden to prove that he, too, can do something right. So he plants seeds, but not quite in as orderly fashion as Strega Nona suggested. While Strega Nona’s garden begins to grow, so does Big…

  • THE WATCHER: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

    THE WATCHER: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

    For more than 50 years, Jane Goodall has been an advocate for chimpanzees and their natural habitat. This new picture book tells about the early years of Jane’s lifelong passion. At the age of 26, she traveled to Africa to study animals and was given the opportunity to research chimpanzees by living among them in Tanzania. Living in the forest, she patiently (and bravely) watched the way chimpanzees lived and interacted with each other. They eventually came to trust her and allowed her to get close enough to see their every move. Her experience and compassion led her to launch a global campaign to stop people…

  • September 11th, 2001 (a simple account for children)

    September 11th, 2001 (a simple account for children)

    This book, written and illustrated in the months immediately following September 11th, 2001, is a chronological, factual telling of the day’s horrific events in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. The illustrations were done by fifth and sixth grade students at a Cincinnati elementary school.

  • One Smart Cookie

    One Smart Cookie

    A variety of “big” words and life lessons are presented in this picture book that uses cookie baking as a backdrop. Each page begins with a word and its definition in the context of cookie baking. For example, the first page features the word “prompt” and the narrator tells us that prompt means being on time for the baking session. As the cast of children and their friends, who are animals, proceed through the baking process, additional words are defined. Some words relate to important lessons in working together, such as “comprise.” This means deciding to make medium size cookies…