1. Theme/Heart: The empowering message of this book is one that needs to be shared with all kids. We are all capable of doing big things. We just have to believe in ourselves and focus on our strengths. LOVE this.
2. The "love" page: I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it's one of those moments that makes you say, "awww."
3. "easter egg": I love when illustrators include an "easter egg" to look for on each page of the story. Again, I don't want to spoil anything but I love the symbolism of the one that Gina included in the art.
4. Simple, Powerful, Text: A true picture book where the words AND the art carry the story forward and complement each other to perfection.
5. Colors: The vibrant colors really catch the readers' eye and the varying page spreads of full bleed and close-ups keep the reader visually engaged from start to finish.
Parents: Simple text so your younger readers/emergent readers can read it on their own and feel BIG!
Teachers: A great message to share with your students- complements lessons on GRIT and perseverance well
Writers: Simple, powerful text; leaving room for the illustrations; including that "heart" moment
1. Wonderful Word Play: Think all of the best food puns were used up in the first book? Miss Steak and the red herring beg to differ.
2. Vocabulary: I love it when authors aren't afraid to teach kids fabulous new words like nefarious, devious, and vicious.
3. Illustrations: A new color pallette that is equally appealing as the original. And the detail...readers will have so much fun reading and rereading this story and discovering fun new details in the illustrations.
4. Tater Tots: Thanks, Josh for bringing me back to 8th grade hot lunch...or last night's dinner side-dish. How can a story with tater tots be anything but awesome?
5. The Culprit: You'll never guess the source of the stinky stench and I won't be spilling the beans (see what I did there) so hurry and get your copy today!
1. Ada Marie: Such an inspiring character named for two groundbreaking scientists- Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie.
2. Illustrations: David Roberts never disappoints. His watercolors bring Ada and her experiments to life. The details on each page could keep you occupied for hours. The Great Thinking Hall page is especially fabulous.
3. Rhyme: Andrea Beaty you had me at "Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs up inside of your nose?" Spot on, funny, inspiring, imaginative. I am in awe of such beautiful rhyme.
4. Questions Lead to Quests: Ada's first word is "Why?" followed by what, how, and when. Those questions lead her on quests, seeking out the answers. Such a great message for all kids to hear.
5. Vocabulary: I love books that aren't afraid to teach kids fabulous words. Hypothesis, cologne, queried, pungent...
Parents: If you've read Iggy Peck, Architect and/or Rosie Revere, Engineer then you MUST read this book. If you haven't read them...what are you waiting for? These are gems! I mean it!
Teachers: This book is a perfect way to introduce the scientific method to those youngsters.
Writers: How to write great rhyme; strong characters
1. A Story about Writing a Story: So simple yet so engaging and brilliant. This story grabs you from page one.
2. Characters: An octopus, a little girl, an adorable bunny, rocket scientists...how could this book be anything but amazing?
3. Imagination: The key to any good story is being able to imagine all of its possibilities and running with the best ones. This story shows kids exactly that.
4. Illustrations: Each page is so full of color and detail except the pages where the main character begins to feel like he will never, ever get what he wants. I'm certain the missing color is purposeful and is absolutely effective.
5. Inspiration: I love how this book breaks down story writing for kids and makes them feel like they, too, can write!
Parents: Your kids will love the colorful pages, engaging characters, and simple-to-follow story.
Teachers: This story is about how to write a compelling story; making it a perfect text for writer's workshop.
Writers: Fresh topic and approach; voice; engaging and unique characters
1. PB & J: The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich- loved by kids and adults alike, is also a favorite of a certain zombie in this book.
2. Illustrations: How does one make zombie kids adorable and lovable but terrifying at the same time? Charles Santoso knows how .
3. Word Choice: "lurched", "moaned", " shambled", "zombie horde" - Each word chosen carefully to evoke emotion.
4. Reginald: Give it up for this strong main character who simply wants to share the deliciousness of peanut butter and jelly with his fellow zombies. Picture book magic.
5. Walking Dead for kids: Parents, now you have an age-appropriate way to expose your kids to your zombie obsession. Thank you Joe McGee.
Parents: Such a fun read for kids and adults. Sounds a little strange but your kids are sure to relate to these little adorable zombies.
Teachers: Have reluctant reader? Pretty sure this book is your answer. Great text to teach beginning, middle, and end. Also great for teaching expression...kids will love to talk like zombies!
Writers: Great topic, word choice, twist ending, great pacing
1. Topic: You had me at donut, Alison McGhee. I'm pretty sure kids will feel the same way.
2. The Little Sheriff: The perfect main character with one flaw that everyone can relate to- kids and adults alike.
3. Illustrations: Isabel Roxas nails this one on so many levels but it was the expressions on Sheriff's face that really had him leaping off the page.
4. Simple but SO Hard: All the Sheriff had to do was get the donuts home safely...I love the simplicity of this problem. Seems easy enough...but not when you love donuts like Sheriff does.
5. The Deputy: Every Sheriff has to have a Deputy to stand by his side and help when trouble arises. This little guy fits the bill.
Parents: A deliciously fun read (see what I did there) for any donut-loving kid.
Teachers: Reading dialogue with expression; characterization; making predictions; author's message: honesty
Writers: Great opening; great drama build-up; voice
1. Outer Space- We are total space nerds over here and this book was perfect! Such a fun way to present some really cool facts about asteroids.
2. Astro- Who knew that an asteroid could have so much personality? From wanting his personal outer space to his "no loitering" sticker, readers are sure to fall in love with Astro.
3. Asteroid Emotion- Brad Woodard is incredible here. The facial expressions on Astro, Mars, the Moon, etc. really help sell this story to readers.
4. Back Matter- What a fun surprise at the end! Loved the additional space facts!
5. The End- The perfect way to wrap up Astro's adventure. Shows how much he has grown emotionally despite him getting smaller physically.
Parents: Even if your kids know zilch about outer space they will love this hilarious book. If they love all things cosmos like my kids, that's a bonus.
Teachers: Reading with expression; characterization; space unit fiction element
Writers: Voice; character growth; fiction with nonfiction elements
1. Womp Womp- Ever had one of those, "I don't want to adult today" days? This book is that for penguins. The sun is too sunny and the ocean is too salty. Life is rough for this particular penguin and no one seems to care.
2. VOICE- Using all caps here for a reason. The voice in this book has easily made it one of my new all-time favorites. I literally have no idea what book can top this one.
3. The Wise Walrus- Lo! Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it does! Take note young penguin. The wise walrus drops some serious knowledge in your direction.
4. The Eyes: Lane Smith brilliantly conveys so much emotion just by changing the placement of penguin's eyes!
5. My Kids' favorite page: I don't want to ruin it for you but...the page turn after the wise walrus does his thing. On. The. Floor. Laughing.
Parents: It's a quick read - perfect for right before bed. Just be warned - there will be lots of laughing!
Teachers: Reading with expression, characterization
Writers: VOICE! I can't say this one enough!; Show don't tell; Low word count
1. Page One: As a writer I know how important it is to grab your readers right from the start and this book does just that.
2. The Illustrations: Boom. The cover art made me snatch it from the shelf and the colorful illustrations inside from varying perspectives add so much to this great story.
3. Bobby: How do you not fall in love with this main character? His nerdy little heart dreams big.
4. Clever: My favorite books are the ones I find myself saying "very clever" in my head as I read it. When Bobby forgets to mention one tiny detail and ends up with something unexpected and yet that unexpected present ends up being so similar to what he really wanted? Very clever.
5. SHHHH: Another clever moment and one of my favorite pages in the book.
Parents: Such a fun read! Kids will enjoy this fun story as they follow along Bobby's adventures with his new birthday present.
Teachers: Reading with expression; Characterization; Retelling
Writers: Great opening page; great voice; circular ending;
1. Non- Fiction: As a baseball fan, I love that this story is all true! I never even thought about the origin of the signs each team uses and was completely fascinated reading this.
2. Perseverance: One very valuable lesson for kids to learn is to never give up. I love that William Hoy is a perfect example of this.
3. Deaf Applause: Churnin weaves the significance of the deaf applause throughout the story as a common thread for the reader to follow. It really tugs at the heart strings.
4. The Back Matter: I appreciate all of the extra bits of information about William Hoy that was added to the back of the book. Although they don't pertain to the narrative non-fiction story they are interesting additional facts for readers who are looking to know more.
5. The Illustrations: The lines, color choices, and facial expressions all work together fabulously and really add to the enjoyment of the story.
Parents: Have a baseball lover in the house? This book will be a homerun. (sorry, I couldn't help myself)
Teachers: Have reluctant readers who enjoy baseball? This may just be the perfect book for them!
Writers: Extremely well done narrative non-fiction; weaving in a common thread; including only the details that pertain to the narrative and leaving other interesting facts to the back matter; choosing a topic kids will care about