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Sunday Funday Book Reviews

January 29th, 2023


(“Baby! in the Garden,” photo by Steve Rawley)

Boy, oh boy, do I miss having a garden. The deer and chickens are fun and all, but they know how to destroy everything. Here’s the short list of stuff they leave alone: Trees (after they’re grown), ferns, rhodies, figs, azaleas, daffodils, hellebores, anything poisonous… lilies! Yeah, that’s about it.

It’s a horrible time in America, due to police brutality, the triple-demic, school shootings, excessively over-priced everything, from groceries to utility bills to car parts. So I’m keeping the news turned off, remembering to vote, doing what I can, which these days feels inadequate. Have we all gone cagey? Kinda. Reach out to others, even if it’s just a card, a phone call, or an email. We need each other. Also we need to stop killing each other. I’m just feeling like being really extremely incredibly honest today.

We need to stop shooting, scaring, beating and hurting each other. Now.

I’d like to know, though, How are you doing? How are the children?

I teach, I help when and how I can, and I review books. Fun day = wishful thinking. I tried and failed to meditate this morning, i went to church. Later on I will bake some chocolate chip cookies and we’ll have something good for dinner. Please don’t give up hope and I won’t, either. Keep working, keep fighting, stay fierce.

Much love, much peace, WM

Now for the book reviews:

All of the spring releases are popping up like the little shoots in my yard. Here are a few:

“This Little Kitty,” by Karen Obuhanych (Random House Kids, 2023, $18.99). This is Obuhanych’s debut as author/illustrator, and it’s great. Fun collage art; crazy, funny cats and an engaging story.

“When PB Met J: The Best Friendship Since Sliced Bread!” written by Katelyn Aronson and illustrated by Sarah Rebar (Viking, 2023, ages 3-7, $18.99). This one is squishy and makes you feel all the feels, yeah I said it. When the foods in the refrigerator face off with the foods in the cupboard, you know it’s going to get a little feisty. Can we make friends along the way? We’ll see… The illustrations are sweet and whimsical. 

“I Am the Cat in the Hat,” based on Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” is a newly-released board book (Alastair Heim and Tom Brannon, Random House Kids, 2023, $8.99). Dr. Seuss, my old friend, has been put out to pasture. Some of his books have not aged well. So use those to teach the kids about what the bad old days were like, and move along to his titles that have aged well. I’d hate to see him disappear entirely. 

“How Many Squirrels Are in the World?” by Ben “Mister G” Gundersheimer, illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, $18.99). It’s a number book, it’s a rhyming book, it’s an adventure book. The art is sweet. Also, did you know that squirrels are only one inch long at birth?

“Just the Right Cake,” by Christina Tosi (of Milk Bar), illustrated by Emily Balsley (Rocky Pond Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, for big and little kids, $18.99). Phil’s parents split up, and nothing tastes or feels the same. Go with him on a journey to start trying different recipes, and finding new ways to experience the day. A great recipe is included in the back of the book.

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