I Walk with Vanessa

by Kerascoet

 

I love wordless books because you can decide what each illustration is saying. Many times I used wordless picture books in my PreK (5-year-old) room when I was a teacher. They would write what they thought the story was about and it was already illustrated. They always had so much fun we would change the book up bi-weekly. I wish I Walk with Vanessa was around when I did this. This story is so sweet and touching. Vanessa is  having a hard time making she  is being bullied and is sad and mad and frustrated all at once. She doesn’t know how to make the situation better she is little and she shouldn’t have to experience this. Just when she thinks there is no hope of things getting better a simple act of kindness happens. A classmate ask Vanessa to walk to school with her. Throughout the book you see how this 1 simple act blossomed into more acts of kindness. This book is about acceptance, kindness and standing up for those who are being bullied! This is a MUST have picture book for homes and classrooms. Gift a teacher with a copy as an end of year gift or new school year gift. Grab a copy for your own bookworms at your local library or bookstore and open up the discussion of being kind and accepting.

This sweet picture book was inspired by a true story: Inspired by a Baylor University student who was escorted to class by 300 of her classmates after she was bullied the day before, this timeless, profound, feel-good story addresses themes of kindness and acceptance, acting as a call to action to even the youngest of children to stand up for what they know is right.

About the Book: This simple yet powerful picture book tells the story of an elementary school girl named Vanessa who is bullied and a fellow student who witnesses the act and is at first unsure of how to help. I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old.

Thank you Schwartz and Wade and Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of I Walk with Vanessa. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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A Hippy Hoppy Toad

written and illustrated by Peggy Archer

 

What a fun read aloud! Hippy Hoppy Toad is full of fun tongue twisting, rhyming story. Follow cute little toad as he goes on quite an adventure. Toad will travel from a puddle to a tree branch to a flower and more. Readers and listeners will enjoy not only the text but the sound effects that are included in the dialogue from a whoosh to a snap. This is such a fun story to read and perfect for any spring and summer read alouds. The rhyming and predictable text would make this a fun book for newly independent readers. With some help a beginning reader could read this as well making it a fun tag team reading experience.

About the book: It’s hard to be a tiny toad minding your own business on a twig. First a bird pecks at him. . . . Then a bee buzzes. . . . Then a dog barks . . . and so on. And each time the toad is surprised by a buzz or a woof (or the toe of a sneaker!), he hops to a new location farther down the road. With fun sounds, clever rhymes, and an irresistible rhythm making this a perfect story to read one on one or as a group. 

Thank you Schwartz & Wade books  and Peggy Archer for sending me a copy of Hippy Hoppy Toad. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell

Based on the childhood of a Great American Artist

by Candace Fleming

illustrated by Gerard Dubois

 

I love going to the art gallery and checking out new artist and favorite artist. In all my years I’ve never heard of this amazing unique artist. Joey Cornell started his art life at a young age he just wasn’t sure what or where it was going to take him. At first it was just collecting things that he thought was pretty. His mom and dad while they thought his ever-growing collection was a bit weird. They also that it was wonderful and were always on the look out for things he could add and would bring home things when they found that certain something. His father gets sick and sadly doesn’t make it. His family is sad and he retreats to his art shed. There he gets inspiration to create collection boxes. He creates his very own. His collection is pretty and full of memories for the family.

This picture book will introduce the reader and listener to a new artist and way of art. So many times we think of paint, colored pencil, clay and more as art. Joey Cornell was a different kind of artist. I looked up his art after reading this book since he was new to me. I loved his shadow boxes and art form. A really fun activity to go with the book would be to go around and collect some fun and interesting items, a box ( it could be a recycled box or paper mache box from craft stores) and create their own Joey Cornell inspired art.

About the book: A stunning picture-book based on the childhood of artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell, sure to beguile aspiring artists and collectors of all ages. 

Joey Cornell collected everything — anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces just looked right together. He assembled his doodads to create wonderful, magical creations out of once ordinary objects.

Thank you Schwartz and Wade for sending me The Amazing Collection of Joseph Cornell. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

A Story of Knitting and Love

by Michelle Edwards

illustrated by G. Brian Karas

 

This book is such a sweet story about how a special neighbor and little girl make hats for all their family and neighborhood friends. Mrs. Goldman is a knitter and she makes hats, mittens and even her little doggie a dinosaur sweater. Sophia is the little girl next door who helps Mrs. Goldman by making special pom poms to go on top of the hats. Sophia tried to learn to knit but it was just so hard. While on a walk one blustery cold day she notices Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat to keep her head warm. Mrs. Goldman tells her she gave her hat away to someone who needed it, and is so busy knitting for everyone else she hasn’t made a new hat for herself. This gives Sophia an idea she is going to conquer knitting and make a very special hat for a very special Mrs. Goldman. She knits night and day when she is at home. After some time as passed she is finally done but it doesn’t look the greatest, what can she do to make it pretty? She knows just the thing and she goes to work creating lots and lots of pom poms. When she is done she runs it over. Mrs. Goldman loves her hat and the sweet gift makes her cry tears of joy. Now when her and Sophia walk the dog Fifi they will be nice and toasty in their knitted hats. The last few pages of this sweet little picture book includes directions on how to knit a hat. I would love to learn to knit but I’m with Sophia it is hard, a lot harder than I thought it would be. Maybe I need to be like her and just keep trying and conquer my own fear of knitting.

This library book has a great message and the illustrations are so soft and inviting. The book would be such a great one to read either at home or even in a classroom setting. If you have ever wanted to learn to knit maybe you could use the instructions to learn knitting yourself. Maybe even make it a family activity and learn to knit right along with your bookworms. There is also instructions on creating pom poms. Just think of all the fun things you can do with pom poms. You can add them to your knitted hats, make pom pom garland, add them to presents and so much more.

Independence Cake

A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History is Unfortunately Unknown

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Giselle Potter

 

 

Independence Cake introduced me to a historical figure that I had never heard of Amelia Simmons. She is the author of the very first cookbook in America called American Cookery. I love a good cookbook and just think she is what has inspired many to publish their own cookbook. She was revolutionary in 1796 to have a cookbook when to be honest I bet this was pretty unheard of. Deborah Hopkinson created a fictionalized account of Amelia Simmons life since very very little is known about her. Amelia’s cookbook was very popular and reprinted for 30 years after the first printing. This picture book would be a neat one to read to a budding chef to inspire them to maybe create their very own cookbook. I enjoyed reading her fictionalized biography of sorts and was happy to learn about an unknown historical figure.

summary: Master of the historical fiction picture book Deborah Hopkinson takes us back to late eighteenth-century America and the discombobulated home of Mrs. Bean, mother of six strapping sons, who simply can’t manage—until Amelia Simmons arrives and puts things in order. And how well she cooks—everything from flapjacks to bread pudding to pickled cucumbers! She even invents new recipes using American ingredients like winter squash. Best of all, she can bake, and to honor the brand-new president, George Washington, she presents him with thirteen Independence Cakes—one for each colony. “Delicious!” he proclaims. Author’s Note and original recipe included!

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Giselle Potter  for sending me a copy of Independence Cake. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

A Letter to My Teacher

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

 

 

A Letter to My Teacher is the perfect gift for that special teacher that goes above and beyond their teaching job. This is for all those who really inspire and do everything to make sure each student feels special and that they can achieve anything in school. If you are looking for a wonderful heartwarming end of school year gift for one of those special teachers this year or future years than add this sweet picture book to your gift idea list. You might want to add a box of tissues to the gift bag since it might cause a few happy tears to form while reading it. Have your child add a dedication on the front cover and you have given them a very sweet touching gift.

About the Book: Dear Teacher, Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter. So begins this picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning and the teacher who gently inspires her. From stomping through creeks on a field trip to pretending to choke when called upon to read aloud, this book’s young heroine would be a challenge to any teacher. But this teacher isn’t just any teacher. By listening carefully and knowing just the right thing to say, she quickly learns that the girl’s unruly behavior is due to her struggles with reading. And at the very end, we learn what this former student is now: a teacher herself.

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter for sending me a copy of A Letter to My Teacher. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

A Greyhound A Groundhog

by Emily Jenkins

illustrated by Chris Appelhans

greyhound-groundhog-cover

 

A Greyhound A Groundhog was so cute I really enjoyed this and loved sharing it with a group of first graders. They were learning about writing book reviews so I went and talked to them about what I do here. I closed our discussion by reading an advanced copy of this picture book. I loved the word play and got all tongue-tied and twisted and that made them laugh. This book writing style really reminds me of Dr Seuss, and I am sure this is going to be a go to book to read in years to come. The story line used simple words and repeated making it easy to have the younger listeners and beginning readers to follow along. Beginning readers could use this to gain the confidence they need to become a reader. I think this one would be a lot of fun as a story time book since it flows very well and very entertaining. The illustrations are pretty and soft watercolor like paintings. I love illustrations that are paintings since those seem frame worthy and this book is full of frame-able illustrations. I would love to read more from this duo and more Greyhound and Groundhog adventures. Later in the day I had many of the first graders come up to me and tell me how much they really enjoyed this story. I can’t wait to gift this book to them and read and review many more picture books with them.

greyhound-groundhog-2

 

First Grade Reviewers:

They loved that I got all tongue twisted while reading it – thought that was hilarious.

They loved that the book used some words they are learning and that they could “help” me read it with some help

Some liked that they story was short and wasn’t full of words. You got the story but with fewer words than some picture books.

greyhound-groundhog-1

summary: When a greyhound meets a groundhog, wordplay and crazy antics ensue. The two animals, much like kids, work themselves into a frenzy as they whirl around and around one another. (Around, round hound. Around, groundhog!) The pace picks up (Around and around and astound and astound!), until they ultimately wear themselves out.

Thank you so very much Penguin Random House – Schwartz and Wade Books, Emily Jenkins and Chris Appelhans for allowing me to read this with a great group of first grade future book reviewers. We loved the book and all thoughts and opinions were not influenced by the free book.