I think I’ve read more kiddie books this year than in my entire life, including when I was a kid.
Want to Know. Whales
Pretty watercolor drawings of a small boy who spends his time looking for whales at the beach.
From there it turns into factoids about whales—why they’re not fish, different types, etc.
All cutesy as expected, but can’t help but wonder if it might be too advanced for five-year-olds, especially at the end with the quizzes.
From grumpy baby to sullen teenager, this princess never smiles. When the kind and queen put her up for royal marriage, princes from other fairy tales show up, asking her to let down her hair, offering her glass slippers and mattresses, and so on, but she’s not buying it.
It’s not till one guy ignores her by riding by that she gets interested, stopping him to find out why he’s not in the princess sweepstakes. Turns out he’s a sullen prince who’s also being forced to marry, and when they discover they’re exactly the same they. . . laugh. It’s beautiful.
If I had to describe this artwork I would go with mildly Impressionistic. Certainly not bad, just a tad different than most other kiddie books. It’s too bad the only time we can really like her doesn’t happen until the end; I wonder if kids will be able to keep their attention on this till then.
The Five Fierce Tigers of Rosa Martinez: A Tale of Healing
A sick little girl has five guardian tigers in her head, each with a different job/quirk/personality. There’s a leader, the efficient one, the funny, the one who was “far more interested in being right than being happy,” and the one who has trouble staying in one place. Thankfully there’s a flashback as to how they came into being, thanks to her grandfather/shaman.
Somewhere in the middle the job of the tigers is revealed, then it all makes sense.
Really nothing much to say here. The good is in the world building, as well as the characters. The plot itself is straightforward. The artwork is good enough, and thankfully the tigers are easy to tell apart.
A Wish Come True
Sick little boy—so sick his friends can’t see him in the hospital—gets a visit from the wish fairies, also known as the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. What he wants to do is catch bad guys, and when he’s better he gets his wish, starting with a visit to a fire station. That’s followed by some police training, including cuffing his own dad.
When they go out on a call I instantly thought it had been set up so the kid would catch the bad guy, but no, it was an actual police call! What? You let a little kid do that? Even though it turned out okay in the end, that’s just ridiculous, and ruined what was looking to be a very good book grounded in reality. Dropped a point.
Ends with the history of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation.
Kobee Manatee: Shipwreck Sea Friends
A manatee and his buds swim off to play in a shipwreck, meeting all kinds of sea creatures along the way. The manatee wears a vest and beret, the seahorse has a huge red bouffant. While exploring the wreck, the manatee gets trapped inside and needs to be rescued. Many try to help, but it takes size to save the day this time.
Each page had fun facts, with the first one the most interesting: the wreck they explore, despite being over 100 years old, was made of steel and had electricity! The sawfish is a ray, even though it looks like a shark, so even adults can learn stuff here.
As you might expect, blue is the predominant color. Having never been in water further down than a couple of feet—except for the ride at Disneyland—I’d imagine the sea is not so bright and colorful that far down, which should have been included in the fun facts, but kids will enjoy looking at this strange new world.
My Brother Tom
Tom is not like other brothers, being born premature and having to stay in the hospital. Angels appear outside the window. Nice simple paintings make the text easy to follow for the very young, though I wonder if this is a situation too scary—or too hard to grasp—for that age.
This is not a book about coping with loss or anything like that. In fact, it’s a fundraiser for a charity that provides support for those who find themselves in this situation.
Not-so-little Roo doesn’t want to leave Mom’s pouch, where it’s warm and she gets fed and doesn’t have to do her own jumping. Mom tries to convince her that there’s so much beauty in the world, but she’s not interested. The art shows them in all kinds of places—forests, deserts—and they even share an ecosystem with elephants, whom Little Roo calls stupid. Birds, butterflies, monkeys, none of them get her attention until at the end she finds something that’s fun to do. . . outside.
The dedication states “For all the little ones who will let go of their moms (and for all the moms who manage to let go of their little ones)” and that pretty much says it all.
The Only Way I Can
A rabbit sees a bird flying and wants to do that. When he asks for help, the bird pretty much screws with him until Rabbit figures out how to use his powerful legs in another way. At the end the bird is impressed by rabbit’s running ability, but goes home before he gets any crazy ideas.
The artwork is fine, but if there’s a point to this story, it eludes me. Perhaps be happy with what you have or who you are?
My Good Morning
A rhyming story about how a little girl manages to get up and be ready for school every morning before her parents, without the benefit of coffee. Proves that you have to be born that way in order to be a morning person.
There’s a lot of cuteness here, from her mismatched socks to the artwork to the fact no big deal is made that this is a mixed-race family. The ending is particularly “Awwww!”
I Don’t Want a Rabbit
The little boy really doesn’t, but not for any reason you’d expect, unless you were a social worker trained to deal with sad kids.
Not much to say about this one, other than the artwork is incredibly cute, starting from the cover. Eventually the kid figures it out and accepts his new pet, but has to do it without any guidance from his parents, which seems weird. The bunny was almost human in the way it acted, and was able to withstand all of the kid’s plots to get rid of him. It’s a cute story, but something seems missing.
Come Be Wild With Me
In this case the wildness of the title is not in how you act, but where you go. “You must unplug to reconnect” is the first thing you read, while the last is, “When we’re good and ready, we’ll return to the world—happier boys and girls.” In between is all the things that can be done when you go for a walk in the woods.
The artwork is black and white with the sun and leaves in color. Looks quite stark.
A little girl sings—and rhymes well—about her parents and which parts of her body come from each, like her nose and toes. She has friends who are both chocolate and vanilla—her words—but seems fascinated the most by those things that are mixed like her.
Basically saying “Be yourself” with a lot of bright artwork.