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When a Dragon Moves In

20 May


When a Dragon Moves In written by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam (2011)

This is an imaginative story of a young boy and his dragon. As he tells us the story, the narrator guides the reader down the path of possibilities. It all begins with building the perfect sandcastle, because ‘If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in.’ This of course has its advantages… the dragon will undoubtably be an asset on the beach. However, the downside is that your family is unlikely to believe you. The more they ignore your dragon, the more mayhem the dragon causes, and the more trouble you will be in until your parents insist that they’ve ‘had enough of this dragon business’. So you ‘vow never to build a perfect sandcastle again’ until tomorrow!

This is Jodi Moore’s debut picture book, but not her last. As a matter of fact, her second book When a Dragon Moves In Again is scheduled for release in the fall 2015. Jodi Moore’s lyrical language and magical story will have you wishing you had your own dragon adventure this summer.

The illustrations by Howard McWilliam are enchanting. There’s no place you’d rather be than on the beach with a dragon while reading this story, and Howard McWilliam makes sure you are transported there instantaneously. Every little detail is perfectly placed for a fun-filled day at the beach.

My advice… pick up a copy today and take a mini-vacation with your little readers. I guarantee you’ll love it and I’m pretty sure you’ll be tempted to build your own sandcastle, even if it’s just in a sandbox, because you know ‘if you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in’.

Note about me: I adore the beach! And my husband, who is an artist with sand can spend hours creating sculptures in the sand. While I’m busy trying to read or watch the people go by, he is attracting a crowd with his artwork. Here’s a photo of one of his sculptures, a little more crocodile than dragon, but it’s the closest I could find to one that matches the book selection today.


Lost Cat

19 May


Lost Cat written and illustrated by C.Roger Mader (2013)

This is a simple loving story about a little cat named Slipper. The story is told through Slipper’s eyes and therefore the reader only gets a glimpse of what the cat sees, mostly footwear. Slipper lives with a little old lady named Mrs. Fluffy Slippers. But when Mrs. Fluffy Slippers moves to live with her daughter, Slippers gets left behind. She tries following the moving van but it soon disappears from sight and by the time Mrs. Fluffy Slippers and her daughter realize they forgot the cat and turn around to go back, Slippers is lost. She travels alone looking for a new home. All of the potential adoptees are identified by their footwear. She meets Ms. Muddy Boots, Mrs. Iron Shoes, Mr. Cowboy Boots, and many others, but none of them is just right for the cat. Then on a crowded sidewalk, she notices Miss Shiny Shoes and decides to follow her home. When Miss Shiny Shoes gets home she announces, “Grandma, look who followed me home!”.  It was Mrs. Fluffy Slippers. Slippers is not a lost cat anymore.

This is a sweet sweet story! C.Roger Mader shows us exactly what the world would look like through the eyes of the cat. And in the cat’s dark eyes, the readers sees love, despair, hope, and contentment. It is truly a journey children and adults will identify with, whether they have ever been a cat or not.  Purrrfect!

The Watermelon Seed

6 May

16650268The Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli (2013)

Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, The Watermelon Seed is bound to be an instant classic. There’s nothing more this crocodile loves more than watermelon. He eats it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Then one day he accidentally swallows a seed. Yikes! He imagines what might happen if the seed starts to grow inside his stomach. Just when he thinks he might end up in someone’s fruit salad, he expels the seed with a very long and loud BUUUUUURRRRRRPPPPP!!!! He vows to give up watermelon forever… well, maybe after just one more teeny tiny bite. CHOMP! CHOMP! CHOMP!  Uh-oh….

Greg Pizzoli has written a simple and funny story that will leave kids and adults alike craving watermelon, but not the seeds! I especially love the picture spread where the crocodile imagines he will turn into a watermelon, his green stomach will stretch and be all pink and juicy inside!

This is Greg Pizzoli’s first picture book. It’s a great summertime – anytime read!

Look for his next book too. Number One Sam


The Monster Who Lost His Mean

24 Apr

The Monster Who Lost His Mean

written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber and illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds

(2012 – debut picture book)


See that sweet little green monster on the cover? That’s Onster, the monster who lost his mean when the M in the word monster went missing. Without his M, Onster wasn’t mean anymore. The problem is that he is no longer accepted in his monster world. The other monsters tease him and refuse to associate with him. Onster tries looking for his M, but he can’t find it anywhere. Onster tries to pretend being mean, but he just can’t pull it off. Finally Onster accepts his newfound identity and finds acceptance with his new friends.

Tiffany Strelitz Haber’s story is just right for little ones. It tells Onster’s tale in rhythm and rhyme without losing the essence of the story. And Kirstie Edmunds’ illustrations are so detailed that children (and adults) will be scouring each page with Onster searching for the missing M.

Tiffany Strelitz Haber second book, Ollie and Claire will be out soon, and I’ll be first in line to get a copy.


23 Apr

Henny, written by Elizabeth Rose Staton (2014)

17586991(debut picture book for author/illustrator)

 Henny is an adorable chicken who just happens to have been hatched with arms instead of wings. At first Henny is worried about having arms. She worried about being right- or left- handed, she worried about needing deodorant, getting tennis elbow, and even whether she should wear long or short sleeves. But that doesn’t stop this  unusual bird from fitting in. Henny realizes that her arms are a special gift. She’s able to give Mr. Farmer a hand, twiddle her thumbs, carry a purse, hail a taxi, balance herself while ice-skating, or even fly (in a plane of course)!

The text is rich and the illustrations are clean and simple. What a perfect combination!  Pick up a copy today… you won’t regret it!

The Day the Crayons Quit

31 Mar

16101018Drew Daywalt gives the reader a unique perspective on crayons in his debut picture book, The Day the Crayons Quit. Each crayon has its own voice, and uses it to express his or her own feelings in its own color.  One day Duncan opens his crayon box and instead of crayons, he finds letters written to him by each crayon.  The crayons are fed up with traditional color stereotypes.  Why do apples have to be red, and water blue? Is the sun yellow or orange? Pink is upset that Duncan doesn’t use her at all because he thinks she’s a girl’s color. And what about the almost invisible white and poor naked beige? They all have feelings and they’re all tired of being taken for granted. By the end of the story, Duncan decides to rethink the color possibilities and draws an orange whale and a blue dinosaur in a green sea,  a purple dragon under a black rainbow, a green monkey and a pink airplane, just to name a few.  His teacher gives him an A+ for creativity.

I give Drew Daywalt an A+ for his debut picture book!  In addition to being fun, it also has deeper layers of stereotypes, prejudices, and personality for the more sophisticated reader to explore.

And, of course it never hurts to have an awesome illustrator like the renown Oliver Jeffers bringing your words to life. Based on the sales so far, The Day the Crayons Quit has become an instant success and destined to be a classic picture book.

To see a video of The Day the Crayons Quit, go here.

To read about Crayola Crayon Day go here.

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