Book Reviews Children’s Book Reviews

  • Fabulous Franko and His Fabulous Toys

    Fabulous Franko and His Fabulous Toys

    Fabulous Franko is an eccentric character who’s “fabulous toys” are really vehicles that he uses to go on adventures. Truth be told, Franko’s adventures are really MISadventures, and the rhyming narrative brings us through many mishaps and crashes. While Franko always emerges unscathed, he lands his car in the mud, loses control of his plane, sinks his boat and basically destroys every vessel that he pilots. After he spends his last dime on a rocket that crashes upon landing, he must think long and hard about what his next “toy” or hobby will be. He realizes that there are many…

  • Thanking the Moon

    Thanking the Moon

    The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is the “thanksgiving” holiday for the Chinese and many Asian people. The book’s narrator, a young girl, tells how her family prepares for the celebration, which includes a nighttime picnic under the full moon. Complete with Chinese culinary delights such as moon cakes, pomelos and tea, the family enjoys the feast as they give thanks to the “moon for bringing us together” and make wishes for the future.

  • Presenting ... Tallulah

    Presenting ... Tallulah

    Young Tallulah is a delightful girl who simply wants to play and be treated like all the other kids at school. However, she has very wealthy parents, lives in a mansion and is driven to school in a limousine. Her parents treat Tallulah as though she’s a china doll. No play clothes or sneakers and she can’t get dirty or play in the schoolyard. She can’t even eat a regular kid lunch — only sushi! Naturally, the other kids won’t play with her. One day, she finds a puppy stranded on a log in a pond, and happily gets all wet and dirty while rescuing her. She brings the pup home, which…

  • The Monster Princess

    The Monster Princess

    Lala is a gnome that lives deep underground but longs to be a princess. Despite her mother’s advice not to care about fancy and frilly things, she leaves her home and ventures to a majestic castle above ground. Lala befriends three young princesses who take her under their wing and perform a Pygmalian-esque makeover in time for a fancy ball. Sadly, Lala trips while walking down the stairs and tumbles to the floor to find the guests laughing and sneering at her, including her new “friends.” Lala flees home in despair. Realizing that she still has the princesses’ gown, she swallows her pride and…

  • Disappearing Desmond

    Disappearing Desmond

    Some children are outgoing and some are not. This is the story of Desmond, who wasn’t just shy, he simply didn’t want to be noticed. Whether on a school field trip, at the beach or just about anywhere, Desmond liked to “disappear” into the background. When outgoing Gloria joined the class, she befriended him and he started to play out in the open. Other kids became his friends and he started having so much fun that he couldn’t figure out why he ever wanted to disappear to begin with. One day, Desmond noticed classmate Harold “hiding” in the bushes and went over to say hi.…

  • A Sunday Stroll

    A Sunday Stroll

    Early one sunny Sunday afternoon, LadyBug visits her friend Centipede for a Sunday stroll. Their planned outing slipped Centipede’s mind, but he offers her a cup of tea while she waits for him to put on his shoes. As one can imagine, this will take a good amount of time since he has about one hundred feet! As LadyBug patiently waits, she enjoys a cup of tea, a good book and then nods off to sleep. She awakens as the moon is rising to find Centipede still putting on his shoes and obliges his request for help. Well, it took all night and into the next day before all 100 shoes were tied, but they still went on…

  • Emily's New Friend

    Emily's New Friend

    For nearly a century, the name Emily Post has been synonymous with etiquette and good manners. Now, her great-granddaughter and great-granddaughter-in-law continue this tradition for a new generation through the Emily Post Institute and a series of children’s books. Emily, the appropriately named main character, is the only child her age in the neighborhood and often feels lonely. To her delight, a boy her age moves in, and she eagerly welcomes him with fresh-baked cookies and her friendship. Though Ethan is nervous about his new environment, her friendship quickly puts him at ease. Emily shows Ethan the town,…

  • Side By Side

    Side By Side

    The inspiring story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez is told to children in this bi-lingual picture book. As children living in California, Dolores and Cesar saw the struggles of immigrant farm workers. Long hours, low pay, poor working and living conditions, and exposure to pesticides and other poisons made farm workers sick and forced their people to endure a very poor quality of life.

  • The Very Best Pumpkin

    The Very Best Pumpkin

    This is the story of a boy who wanted to grow the very best pumpkin (as the title implies) and ends up gaining a very good friend. Young Peter lives on Pumpkin Hollow Farm with his grandparents, and though he enjoys all the fruits and vegetables that they grow, pumpkins are his favorite. One summer, Peter finds a lonely little pumpkin at the end of a very long vine and decides to nurture and care for it. Young Meg, who moves in next door, believes she secretly watches Peter tend to the pumpkin as it grows. That fall, Meg and her family come to the farm to select a pumpkin. Which one does she pick? Why, Peter’s…

  • Cesar Takes a Break

    Cesar Takes a Break

    This book is the “diary” of Cesar, the pet iguana of Ms. Lee’s second grade class. He is a very happy iguana with “25 best friends” that feed and play with him. One Friday, Cesar is disappointed to learn that school is closed the following week for spring break and he will be all alone with only the custodian to care for him. The first few days are very sad and lonely, but soon he bravely ventures out of his cage and classroom, and meets other class pets. Little did Cesar know that his fellow class pets swim in the cafeteria sink, do arts and crafts, play hockey and basketball, and even…