The Bookshelf Corner

Book reviews, creative writing, and more!


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Book Review: “Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous” by Keith Calabrese, Illustrated by Juana Medina

Full Title: Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: In the tradition of School’s First Day of School, debut author Keith Calabrese and Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina share a sweet, universal story about a clever little girl whose shoes are nervous about the first day of school.

Today is a big day! Today, Lena starts kindergarten. She is very excited. But there’s just one problem…

Lena’s shoes are nervous.

Lena doesn’t want to miss out on her first day of school, but she can’t go without her favorite shoes! How can she convince them to be brave?

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My Review:
What a neat story about first day of school anxiety for kids! What makes this story stand out from other books on this topic is that the author has personified Lena’s outfit. It presents a two-fold meaning: Lena’s shoes are nervous or Lena is acting out her nervousness through her shoes. A well-placed juxtaposition.

I loved the art style chosen. No perfect lines but swift hand-drawn-like illustrations perhaps to add to the nervous feel of the story. I liked that not every spread was full color. Some pages where black and white with the most important parts colored.

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous is one creative, universal metaphor told in a unique way.


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Book Review: “Not Quite Snow White” by Ashley Franklin, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books
Rating: 3 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUTTameika is an African American girl who loves musical and dreams of starring in one as a princess one day. But she fears that having brown skin and a plump frame might keep her from her dreams.

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My Review:
A little girl dreams of being a princess and playing one on the big stage – and not just any princess but the classic royal, Snow White. Tameika is so cute and confident. But she loses that special spark when she overhears other kids making fun of her. I think subconsciously kids can relate to the feelings Tameika experiences. I thnk there could’ve been more to the resolution but, otherwise, this was a neat story to teach kids self-esteem and positive body image.


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Book Review: “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books
Series: Dragons Love Tacos #1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want to lure a bunch of dragons to your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. Unfortunately, where there are tacos, there is also salsa. And if a dragon accidentally eats spicy salsa . . . oh, boy. You’re in red-hot trouble.

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My Review:
Who wouldn’t want to read a book about two totally amazing yet completely polar opposite things: dragons and tacos? Dragons are one of my favorite magical creatures and tacos are super yummy, so this book was a lot of fun to read.

I loved learning about why dragons love tacos of all things. The dragons vary in all sizes and shapes and colors and vibrant personalities. Dragons Love Tacos is so ridiculous and silly, the writing creative and detailed, that I’m sure it will become an instant favorite for children.


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Book Review: “Just Ask!” by Sonia Sotomayor, Illustrated by Rafael López

Full Title – Just Ask!: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.

In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges—and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we’re not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.

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My Review:
Just Ask! embodies the idea of “sharing in our similarities, celebrate our difference.” Rich in color, bold in storytelling, this book offers an emphatic glimpse into children with disabilities and how they navigate the world. It teaches us to be patient and kind and to ask questions to improve understanding.

The illustrations are just gorgeous. They spread across page after page in bright colors and charming details. You feel at peace when looking at the pictures as the community comes to life. The characters are diverse, courageous, and happy in who they are. The make uniqueness cool.

Just Ask! is a must read for all ages; I highly recommend it!


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TBR At A Glance – 12/5/19

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay | Edited in Paint

CURRENTLY READING

  • Glow of the Fireflies by Lindsey Duga

  • A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison (ARC)

READING NEXT

  • Dark Alpha’s Temptation by Donna Grant (ARC)

  • Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (ARC)

  • Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde (ARC)

  • Feather by Olivia Wildenstein (ARC)

RECENT REVIEWS

REVIEWS COMING SOON

  • 25 Days of Book Reviews starts Saturday 12/7!


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NetGalley Book Review: “Llamas With Lemonade” by Ariana Koultourides

FULL TITLE: Llamas With Lemonade: An Unusual Animal ABC

Thank you to Annick Press and NetGalley for the e-copy to read and review.

Pub Date: September 10, 2019

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Get ready to jump rope with jaguars and sip lemonade with llamas. Introducing a delightful animal-themed ABC book that will have toddlers and parents grinning from A to Z. In addition to helping with letter recognition, Llamas With Lemonade introduces toddlers to uppercase and lowercase letters, and to alliteration. The adorable parade of animals and their often-unusual objects helps little ones build their vocabulary. The book’s oversized, case-bound board book format and irresistibly cute animals in soft pastel colors make it a perfect addition to any nursery library.

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My Review:
Llamas with Lemonade is a super cute started book for kids just beginning to learn the alphabet. It’s a very brief book – no story. Instead, focusing on letter to word association.

This definitely is an unusual way to learn the alphabet and fun for child readers. They simultaneously learn different animals and an object paired with them of the same letter. This brings a real world association into the mix.

I love how each full page spread is a different color, creating an open atmosphere. There’s a lot of negative space but I think it works in the author’s favor. Kids will focus on learning and internalizing what they see instead of multiple actions going on.

I love the cover and title of the book; they’re what first drew my attention to this books because llamas are awesome and lemonade is delicious.

My favorite match-ups were for the letters G, L, O, U, V, and W.

Llamas with Lemonade is a good book for a kid to have on their bookshelf!


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Book Review: “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus” by Mo Willems

Image via Barnes & Noble

Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Fiction
Series: Pigeon
Rating: 4 out 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT: When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate.

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My Review:
My favorite one-eyed delights again! He doesn’t like it when he can’t get his way. The illustrations are cute and the writing is solid for this age group. I love how participatory Willems books are. I would definitely recommend this book to parents.