Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading


7424031Margaret Wise Brown has written classic children’s books such as Goodnight Moon and The Runaway BunnyGoodnight Songs is a collection of poetry and lullabies never published before.  The editor, Amy Gary, was visiting Margaret Wise Brown’s sister, Roberta Rauch.  Ms. Gary asked if she knew of any unpublished manuscripts of her sister.  Mrs. Rauch shared that there was a trunk.  After many visits to see Mrs. Rauch, months in the passing, asking about the “trunk,” Ms. Gary was finally shown the contents of “a trunk in the attic of [her] barn” filled with papers, typewritten with handwritten notes in the margins, musical scores to go with the words.  The sister shared that near the end of Ms. Brown’s life, she wrote songs for children.  As it turned out, she was under contract by a new children’s recording company and was creating television and radio shows filled with children’s songs and stories.  She collaborated with singers like Rosemary Clooney and Burl Ives.  Margaret Wise Brown wanted “to capture that spirit of a child’s world.”  She would hear children making up songs as they went about their day and wanted to embrace that free and delightful characteristic of being a child.

Not only is this book filled with twelve, up until now, unpublished songs and/or poems, but each song is illustrated by a different artist who has achieved illustrative fame in his or her own right.  For example, Eric Puybaret is best-selling illustrator of “Puff, The Magic Dragon” by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton.  Another is Jonathan Bean, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for “At Night” and “Building Our House.”  There are others: Dan Yaccarino, Linda Bleck, Renata Liwska, plus seven others.  There are biographies of each illustrator at the end of the book.

The book comes with a CD filled with the music of “Tom and Emily” – a duo (Tom Proutt and Emily Gary), as well as other musicians.  They took Margaret Wise Brown’s words, put voice and instrumentation to each poem/song, translating Margaret Wise Brown “beautifully and respectfully.”  Credits of each song are inside the back cover.

Reading Level: 3 – 6 Years

Margaret Wise Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time; her classic Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd, has sold more than twenty-four million copies and her books.  Another book that is still in print is The Runaway Bunny.  Those two along with Big Red Barn and The Golden Egg Book have never been out of print. Her stories are timeless and classics.  Several generations have grown up with her stories and her influence has been felt around the world.  Her official website is

Book Information
•    ISBN-13: 9781454904465
•    Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
•    Publication date: 3/4/2014
•    Pages: 28
•    Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Original review was done in October, 2014 for my prior book blog.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

GOING PLACES by Peter and Paul Reynolds

7387424Each year, the school class gets to build go-carts to race one another.  They are given kits with detailed instructions as well as all of the necessary materials.  Rafael follows the directions, working away to build his go-cart.  His next door neighbor, Maya, is more preoccupied with nature and creativity.  When she finally gets around to opening her box of go-cart materials, she sees another design amidst the pieces, blueprints, and directions.  She creates her own go-cart, certainly not like the rest of her classmates.

After Rafael makes sure the directions do not forbid working together, he and Maya set off to create their own go-cart that most surely will win the race for them.  But the story does not end as expected as this twosome have only just begun to release the creativity in their young minds.  The creative spirit is a source for joyful celebration.  Moving past the blueprints and directions, as Rafael and Maya did, can guide us all to try coloring outside the lines.

Peter illustrated this book with his unique blend of color and thin line drawings.

Reading Level: 4 – 8 Years

Author and Illustrator:
Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of I’m Here, The Dot, and Ish; and illustrator for the New York Times #1 bestseller Someday by Alison McGhee.  He is also the illustrator of Little Boy, Charlie and Kiwi, and the Judy Moody series. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he is co-owner of the Blue Bunny bookstore. Peter can be found @ and The Blue Bunny Books & Toys

Paul A. Reynolds is Peter’s twin brother.  Going Places is their first collaboration.  Paul is CEO of FableVision Studios, founded by Peter.  It is a multimillion-dollar internationally recognized “multimedia developer and publisher, with partnerships, strategic alliances and clients across many industries – broadcast, museum, institutional, K12, educational publishing, technology and research.”
Paul teaches digital media production at Boston College.  He lives with his family in Dedham, Massachusetts, where they run a book and toy shop called The Blue Bunny.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9781442466081
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

First reviewed this May 18, 2014 on original blog. 

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading


2994656On a cold afternoon…in a cold little town…as one looks around, everyone and everywhere is either the color of snow or the color of chimney soot. Annabelle, a young girl in the town, finds a box of yarn with every color imaginable.

Annabelle takes this gift and knits herself and her dog, Mars, sweaters.  The townspeople did not understand color and its uplifting value so they made snide remarks and chided Annabelle.  But this did not dissuade this little girl from knitting sweaters (and even hats) for everyone in her town.  The box of yarn also NEVER runs out of yarn.

An archduke tried to buy her magical box of yarn, but when Annabelle would not sell it, he stooped to stealing it.  It turned up empty for him.  Then the box is magically returned to Annabelle.

This delightful, understated story transforms the town and the people in it, leaving the reader to forever wonder about the magical box of yarn.

The illustrations are done by Jon Klassen, author and illustrator of Caldecott Medal Winner This is Not My Hat.  They are simple with lightly diffused coloring, typical of Mr. Klassen’s style.

Reading Level:  4 – 8 Years

A 2013 Caldecott Honor Book
Winner of the 2013 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award for Picture Book
Winner of the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Book
New York Times Bestseller list

Mac Barnett was born in 1982 in California.  Berkeley is now his home.  He is the author of picture books, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, Guess Again!, and Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World and he writes the Brixton Brothers mystery series.  He also serves on the board of 826LA, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center.  He can be found @

Jon Klassen grew up in Canada, lives in Los Angeles these days. He is the author and illustrator of I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, as well as the illustrator of Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, plus other books in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.
Some of Mr. Klassen’s drawings can be found @

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780061953385
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/17/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.76 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Reviewed August, 2014 on original book blog.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Picture Book, Reading


7502045Corduroy, a toy bear, has been sitting on a department store shelf so long that one of his buttons from his overalls is missing.  While shopping one day, a girl, Lisa, and her mother happened to pass by that shelf when Lisa spotted him.  Oh, how she wanted that bear so very much, but her mother told her that she had spent all she was going to spend that day.  The mother then noticed the missing button, making Corduroy less than a desirable toy anyway.  So Corduroy was left upon the shelf again.  That night after the store had closed, Corduroy decided to search the department store for his button, only to get himself into some trouble while disturbing the night watchman too.  The next day, Lisa comes back with money from her piggy bank to buy Corduroy.  She also knows how to sew on buttons.

Corduroy is a simple story of need, love, and caring, one that children of all ages have been enjoying since 1968 when it was originally published by The Viking Press.

This delightful children’s classic keeps families reading and rereading, generation to generation.

Reading Level: 3 – 5 Years

In 2007, the National Education Association named Corduroy one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”
School Library Journal named Corduroy one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll.

Author and Illustrator
Don Freeman (1908 – 1978) was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low.  Mr. Freeman’s son has set up this website to learn more about Mr. Freeman, his art, and his books:
For the story behind this charming book, Corduroy, go to

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780140501735
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1976
  • Series: Corduroy Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.13 (d)

On 6/22/2014, I reviewed this book on my original book blog. 

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Christianity, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading


7114270As I read this simple yet complex book, and pondered the lovely paintings, I was drawn to the beauty of praying.  Prayers are not just a list of people or things that we want, but it is our heart touching the heart of God.  Through the heart’s eye of a child, that fact seems all the more clear to me, thus drawing in the complexity of simple prayers.

This young boy realizes he had not prayed before getting into bed, so he gets back out of bed to kneel besides his bed.  The large golden moon shines in the dark sky throughout the book as we wander towards the various people he is praying for.  He prays for those who are homeless to be sheltered.  He lifts up those who are hungry, asking that they be fed.  He asks that the sick be healed.  He asks that wars end.  He does pray for his family, his teacher, and his turtle, a request list of many-a-child.  Yet through his heart’s lens, I realize that my world is important, but the world is just as important and needs much prayer.

The author dedicates this book “To All Those in Need of Prayer.”  T.B.

The art is truly fine as it is of mixed media as well as oil on watercolor paper.  As the cover shows above, the paintings are simple yet touching.  Each one spills over onto my heart.

Reading Level:   4 – 8 Years

Tonya Bolden has written quite a number of books for children and adults which have received a number of accolades, including the Coretta Scott King Honor Award, James Madison Book Award, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, YALSA Best Book of the Year, and CCBC Best Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.  A website that focuses on her books is
She is interviewed here:

Eric Velasquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children.  He illustrated the covers for 22 of the Encyclopedia Brown series of books published by Random House.  He received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award and won the Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration.  He grew up in Harlem with multicultural and multigenerational artist family members.  He lives in Hartsdale, New York.   His work and more information about him can be found @ and @

Book Information:

  • ISBN-13: 9781419707926
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/4/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

On 12-24-2014, I reviewed this lovely book on my original book blog.