Foreword Reviews

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Joy and Imagination

The Children's Books Reviewed in Spring 2015

PictureBooks

As one of the best-selling books of all time, The Little Prince has brought joy to many. The picture book biography of its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, reviewed in the spring 2015 issue of Foreword Reviews will ignite the imaginative spirit of a new generation—as will the twenty other children books here. Trains, magic carpets, deep-sea dives, and reimaginings of family history will all have kids giggling and pondering as they develop their love of reading.

Train!

Book Cover
Judi Abbot
Tiger Tales
Hardcover $7.99 (28pp)
978-1-58925-542-5
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Little Elephant is obsessed with trains; that’s all he ever wants to play with. But when his parents take him on a real train ride, he gets into a conflict with other youngsters, who each have their own favorite toy. More than just a story about widening horizons, Train! is also an adorable tale of sharing and new friendship. The colorful illustrations boost the cuteness factor to the max. Ages two and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Juneteenth for Mazie

Book Cover
Floyd Cooper
Capstone/Capstone Young Readers
Hardcover $15.95 (40pp)
978-1-62370-170-3
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

June 19, 2015 will mark the 150-year anniversary of the first celebration of slavery’s end. This sweet remembrance teaches about the day, known as Juneteenth, and celebrates freedom through the calm, assured tone and expressive faces of the characters. Somber shades of brown give the book a nostalgic, historical feel while remaining accessible and enjoyable for children today. Ages five and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Prickly Jenny

Book Cover
Sibylle Delacroix
Owlkids Books
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-77147-129-9
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Stubborn, grumbling Jenny is stuck in the terrible twos. Her humorous and gently empathetic story will appeal both to parents of indecisive tots and the fussers themselves as Jenny struggles with choosing clothes in the morning, enjoying herself at outings and playtime, and going down for a nap. The coloration of the endearing drawings perfectly convey Jenny’s stormy mood. It’s sure to cheer youngsters right up. Ages three and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Puff

Book Cover
William Wondriska
Universe Publishing
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-0-7893-2911-0
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

With playful artist strokes and the clever use of fonts, this story of a tiny steam engine who dreams of one day traveling and doing something important is like a modern Little Engine That Could. The simplicity of the plot, language, and tricolored illustrations is appealing in that it focuses on the character of the train, named Puff, making him a personified protagonist to root for. Ages two and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Monkeys on a Fast

Book Cover
Kaushik Viswanath
Shilpa Ranade, illustrator
Karadi Tales
Hardcover $15.95 (32pp)
978-818190156-9
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

A laugh-out-loud book with goofy illustrations, this adaptation of a Buddhist story introduces fasting and meditation, and hints on how to analyze a story. The rotund primates trick their chief into allowing them to eat during their fast, suggesting that fasting is meant for cleansing the mind, not for weight loss. Children will grow to love the zany monkeys as their mischief ensues. Ages five and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

In Search of the Little Prince

The Story of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Book Cover
Bimba Landmann
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Hardcover $17.00 (34pp)
978-0-8028-5435-3
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Every page of this book—a celebration of the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince—is an adventure. With gorgeous, dreamlike illustrations and gentle prose that follows Antoine from childhood through his military career to his authorship, this heartfelt biography inspires stargazing and internal reflection. Motifs of flying above the clouds and writing as a mode of freedom capture Antoine’s imaginative spirit. Ages six and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Beautiful Moon

A Child’s Prayer

Book Cover
Tonya Bolden
Eric Velasquez, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-4197-0792-6
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Under the glow of the amber moon, a little boy says his nighttime prayers—for the homeless, for the sick, for the hungry. Rendered gracefully with lifelike illustrations and exquisite, flowing language, this book will appeal to more than just those who pray. It recognizes diversity, praises altruism, and encourages learning about the world, all through a warmhearted, accessible story. Ages four and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Look Back!

Book Cover
Trish Cooke
Caroline Binch, illustrator
Interlink Publishing Group
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-56656-980-4
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Gorgeous, lifelike illustrations of Caribbean rainforests and a Dominican-American family bolster the appeal of this tale, in which a grandmother tells her childhood story of the elusive monster, Ti Bolom, to her young grandson. With Grannie’s dialect and some quirky onomatopoeia, the language helps build suspense as the girl runs through the jungle in search of the beast. Honoring the grandparent-grandchild relationship and family heritage, this book will be a new favorite for imaginative youth. Ages five and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Anne Frank and the Remembering Tree

Book Cover
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Erika Steiskal, illustrator
Skinner House / Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Hardcover $16.00 (32pp)
978-1-55896-738-0
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Told from the perspective of the tree that stood outside the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis, this commemorative book provides a child-friendly version of the Franks’ story. Focusing on the impact of Anne and her diary, and putting her experience in context, the tree remembers and thanks the girl for giving it purpose as well as mourning the tragedy of the Holocaust. Beautifully rendered illustrations maintain an age-appropriate and educational portrayal. Ages six and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Mesmerized

How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France

Book Cover
Mara Rockliff
Iacopo Bruno, illustrator
Candlewick Press
Hardcover $17.99 (48pp)
978-0-7636-6351-3
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

With several educational themes—electricity, hypnosis, the placebo effect, the scientific method, and a good dose of American and French history—this mesmerizing picture book will fascinate as it entertains. In terms easy for elementary students to understand, the story of Ben Franklin’s analysis of Dr. Mesmer’s magical healing practices will boost kids’ interest in science. The lovely illustrations depict eighteenth-century clothing styles and facial expressions. Ages six and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Over on a Mountain

Somewhere in the World

Book Cover
Marianne Berkes
Jill Dubin, illustrator
Dawn Publications
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)
978-1-58469-518-9
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Wombats, gorillas, and penguins, oh my! This guide to mountain animals from all over the world introduces creatures not necessarily well known to the average reader, using a catchy meter and rhyme to teach about their habits and habitats. Giving the name of each baby animal and labeling its home mountain range on a world map, this book offers a multitude of educational venues. Ages four and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Look Out for Bugs

Book Cover
Jen Prokopowicz
Craigmore Creations
Hardcover $19.99 (32pp)
978-1-940052-14-4
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

From a forest to a desert to your own backyard, bugs—not all of them insects!—are never far away. They can be, however, far from sight. This I-Spy-like guide educates young bug-hunters about these creatures and where to find them. Each bug and locale is accompanied by an informative paragraph encouraging a love of nature. The layered-paper artwork skillfully renders various environments so that they look 3D. Ages five and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Lloyd Llama

Book Cover
Sarah Jones
Blue Manatee Press
Hardcover $17.99 (40pp)
978-1-936669-32-5
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Lloyd Llama lives a lively life rife with laughter, lollipops, cellos, and the color yellow. But when Al Alpaca arrives, with his air guitar, art, and azure fur, the two simply can’t get along. This hilarious book plays with words on every page and will charm children and adults alike as these adorable allies find common ground. The lesson on friendship is matched by the goofiness in this truly unique story. Ages four and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 26, 2015)

Juna’s Jar

Book Cover
Jane Bahk
Felicia Hoshino, illustrator
Lee and Low Books
Hardcover $17.95 (32pp)
978-1-60060-853-7
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

When her best friend, Hector, moves away, intrepid young Juna gathers things from nature to put in her jar, just like she used to do with Hector. But with every attempt she makes, the fish, the plant, the cricket all grow too big for the jar, just like her friendship with Hector. This girl’s dreamlike imagination runs wild as she ventures to find her friend; muted colors and her big, welcoming face giving the story a cutesy yet modern vibe. In her search for companionship, Juna shows just how much heart she really has. Ages five and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 24, 2015)

One Plastic Bag

Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

Book Cover
Miranda Paul
Elizabeth Zunon, illustrator
Millbrook Press
Hardcover $19.99 (32pp)
978-1-4677-1608-6
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

A rainbow of colors and an array of textures—crinkled plastic, knitted fabric, photos of leaves cut into the shape of trees—patchwork together to compose this amazing story of Isatou Ceesay and her project of crocheting recycled purses from plastic bags littering the Gambia. The story is both absorbing and inspiring, telling a captivating story as it educates and shows that one person can make a world of difference, even one plastic bag at a time. Ages six and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Princess Pistachio

Book Cover
Marie-Louise Gay
Pajama Press
Hardcover $12.95 (48pp)
978-1-927485-69-9
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Almost any little girl would love to be a princess. When Pistachio gets a crown in the mail from an unknown gifter, she adopts the Princess Pistachio persona and an attitude to match. Showcasing nettlesome experiences children can relate to—disagreeing with caregivers, being teased at school, and feeling out of place—this cute chapter book will amuse as Pistachio captures hearts. Ages seven and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Scarlett and Sam

Escape from Egypt

Book Cover
Eric A. Kimmel
Ivica Stevanovic, illustrator
Kar-Ben Publishing
Hardcover $15.95 (168pp)
978-1-4677-3850-7
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Magical realism and Jewish history merge in this exciting adventure in which twins Scarlett and Sam travel back in time to Egypt to help Moses convince Pharaoh to free the slaves. Simple language makes it easy for kids to absorb the story, and the two unique main characters deliver witty remarks. Energy, suspense, and Jewish scholarship sweep Scarlett and Sam off their feet, literally, and into a world of peril and delight. Ages seven and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

The Jumbies

Book Cover
Tracey Baptiste
Algonquin Young Readers
Hardcover $15.95 (240pp)
978-1-61620-414-3
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

This girl’s got guts. Even as she wanders the mystery-shrouded forest full of creepy-crawlies from Haitian folklore and faces up to the frightening newcomer to her village, Corrine La Mer brings badassery and wisdom beyond her years. Launching brave kids into the world of the horror novel, and leading them through it with lyrical prose, author Tracey Baptiste knows just how to seize kids’ attention. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

The Reluctant Time Traveller

Book Cover
Janis MacKay
Floris Books
Softcover $9.95 (216pp)
978-1-78250-111-4
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Cliffhangers abound; spies, servants, and the brink of WWI enthralls; and friends Saul and Agnes are thrown into danger and difficulty as they charade their way to finding the deed to the house they use as their time-travel gang hangout in the future. These two brave preteens are vividly alive—so real that kid readers will be wishing they could make the journey right alongside them. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

The Shark Rider

Book Cover
Ellen Prager
Antonio Javier Caparo, illustrator
Mighty Media Junior Readers
Softcover $9.95 (328pp)
978-1-938063-51-0
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Marine-loving shark whisperer Tristan’s quest to save Florida’s sea creatures from a mysterious illness is no small challenge—luckily, he and his pals at Sea Camp all have cool oceanic abilities, e.g., they can bloat like puffer fish and breathe under water. Tristan, with his talent for conversing with sharks, and his marine biologist creator, author Ellen Prager, use this fascinating plot to explore ecological avenues, proving that even kids can have an awesome skill that can save the planet. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob

A Challenging Job

Book Cover
Brooks Olbrys
Emma Walton Hamilton, editor
Kevin Keele, illustrator
Children’s Success Unlimited
Hardcover $12.95 (56pp)
978-0-9829613-5-3
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

A rhyme scheme with rhythm that’s joyous and proud makes this nautical book such fun to read aloud. The text is packed with marine biology facts, built into a story that follows Bob’s tracks helping dolphins and whales and pelicans, too, while the beach is surrounded by a painting of blue. Kiddies won’t get enough of this informative tale, which is part of a series that is sure to prevail. Ages six and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Rad American Women A–Z

Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History … and Our Future!

Book Cover
Kate Schatz
Miriam Klein Stahl, illustrator
City Lights Publishers
Hardcover $14.95 (64pp)
978-0-87286-683-6
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Angela Davis. Billie Jean King. Carol Burnett. The first three women in this fantastic ABC book set the tone for what’s to come: visionary, bold, diverse role models for an array of children today. Each page, with a modern illustration, a brief biography, and an uplifting overview of her accomplishments, will inspire young world-changers both in social studies classrooms and at home. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Explore the Cosmos like Neil deGrasse Tyson

A Space Science Journey

Book Cover
CAP Saucier
Prometheus Books
Softcover $14.99 (120pp)
978-1-63388-014-6
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

Suave Neil is the Carl Sagan of the twenty-first century—he’s what Bill Nye the Science Guy was to kids growing up in the 1990s. But he’s got a legacy of his own, and he hopes to stimulate young minds to think deeply about the world around them and the sky above them. This glorious book is more than just a biography; it delves into astrophysics using language children can comprehend and photographs that will inflame their curiosity. Future scientists will find this book a riveting survey of the universe. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Cooking Class

57 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!)

Book Cover
Deanna F. Cook
Storey Publishing
Softcover $18.95 (144pp)
978-1-61212-400-1
Buy: IndieBound, Amazon

There comes a time, kids, when you’ve got to expand your kitchen repertoire beyond mac ‘n’ cheese, hot dogs, and PB&J. French Toast on a Stick, Quiche Cupcakes, Tiny Tomato Toasts, and Lettuce Roll-Ups are so much more interesting and healthy, especially when you’ve made them all by yourself. No matter what you want to cook, this book has you covered, with helpful photos, easy-to-follow instructions, and quirky twists on recipes. Ages eight and up.

AIMEE JODOIN (February 27, 2015)

Aimee Jodoin

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