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Tuesday Book Review: “No Pants!”

February 22nd, 2022

Great book for these times when almost everyone seems to be boycotting pants, ha.

Jacob Grant’s picture book, “No Pants!” is a new title from the author/illustrator of “Bear Meets Bear,” “Cat Knit” and other picture books. (Viking, 2021, ages 3-7, $17.99.) Pablo’s dad tries to get Pablo ready for a family cookout, but Pablo doesn’t wanna wear pants. Why should he? he reasons. Grandpa doesn’t! And so it goes. Grant’s art pops with red, yellow, blue and other bright colors. Cool style — he used charcoal, crayon, pencil and cut paper, then colored his art digitally.

“Strut, Baby, Strut” (Little Simon, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2021, $8.99) is a great board book that affirms females of all types and ages. Written by Amika Kroll and illustrated by Ebony Glenn, we meet baby girls, toddler, teens and grown-up women who are encouraged to shimmy, scoot, stand and lean toward tomorrow. Just a positive and happy book.

“The Monster in the Bathhouse,” written and illustrated by Sina Merabian, is on the shelves today. (Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2022, ages 4-8 and older, $17.99.) Outstanding picture book, set in an Arabian bathhouse the night before Persian New Year. Three kids explore a mystery-adventure when they find a huge mess, hear strange noises and set off to investigate. Whatever it is, does it want to ruin Nowruz?

Check this one out, it’s fun and different.

Happy Tuesday, friends. Bon appetit!

Wacky Mommy

Friday Book Review

February 18th, 2022

rosemary in our yard

(Rosemary photo by Steven P. Rawley)

Hello cats and kittens,

We’re having false spring in Oregon, it’s beautiful. But the rains will return this weekend, looks like. February showers/March flowers around here.

How about another book review? Or maybe just a fast round-up? Spring brings us a new crop of releases, they’re popping up all over like the snowdrops in my yard. No rosemary, though, the chickens destroyed it for fun, along with the strawberries, the succulents and whatever else they could dig their claws into. Here are the titles I’m reading currently:

Everything by Maira Kalman, as usually. “The Principles of Uncertainly,” “Next Stop Grand Central,” “Sayonara, Mrs. Kackleman” and on and on. I love that woman and her amazing art.

“How a King Plays: 64 Chess Tips from a Kid Champion” by Oliver Boydell

“Original Sisters” by Anita Kunz

“Explosive Eighteen” by my girl Janet Evanovich (one of my faves in the Stephanie Plum series)

“Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America,” edited by Margarita Longoria (great collection of stories, comics and poems, so brilliant and much needed)

“How to Live. What to Do: In Search of Ourselves in Life and Literature,” by Josh Cohen

Bon appetit, babies! Have a great weekend. Read, read, read.


Wednesday/Thursday Book Review

February 17th, 2022

All the feels today.

One of my library kids, years ago when I first went into teaching, really, really wanted to help shelve books. I noticed her take books from the cart, copying how the other children did it, and then walk to the stacks. She spent a lot of time looking at the books in her arms, the books on the shelf, back to the books in her arms, and then casually returned them to the cart.

She waited until the other students left to return to class, then asked me, again, so chill, “Ms. Nancy, the books? You organize them by color, right?” So we took a few minutes to re-learn the Dewey Decimal System. I loved that experience, because it had never occurred to me that someone would see just the colors in the stacks, not the classifications (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Easy Readers, etc.), not the titles, not the authors.

“You know that one book, with the bright red cover?” “Sure, it’s right over here in the red section.”

Later, I was flipping through interior decorating/home design magazines and noticed a trend with the bookshelves — books arranged by color. That kid was onto something.

Which brings me to “Thankful” (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021, ages 4-8 and older, $17.99), a recent title from Elaine Vickers, with pictures by Samantha Cotterill. I want to climb inside this book, for real. Shrink myself like Alice in Wonderland and venture in. The snow falls, and a little girl begins her family’s annual tradition of cutting out slips of brightly-colored paper and writing out everything she is thankful for. The list includes her home, her parents, the poem they whisper to her nightly, love, dreams, her dog, stars, candles, everything. All of it.

The story is lovely, and the art is really special. The artist made paper dolls, tiny sets, dioramas, little beds and bedding, and just for me? A bookstore and bookcases with the teensiest books, arranged… you guessed it… by color.

Thanks for this title, Cotterill, Vickers and the team who put it together. Highly recommend, not just for the littles, but for the artists and dreamers in the audience, too.

“The Blessing of You” (WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2021, ages 3-8, 40 pages, $12.99) is another new release, this one from authors Mark Batterson and Summer Batterson Dailey, with illustrations by Benedetta Capriotti. Rhymes and illustrations guide children in learning about God’s generosity and grace. Sweet book.

Glorious illustrations by Khoa Le grace “Bare Tree and Little Wind: A Story for Holy Week.” The book is written by Mitali Perkins (WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2022, $15.99). The new release hits the shelves on Feb. 2022, be sure to look for it.