Saturday, April 29, 2023

*Review* Tummy Troubles by Jaime Roche

 Genre: Children's 4-8 years
Published: June 6, 2023
Pages: 32

Tummy Troublesfollows Gretchen as she navigates her way through her newly developed fear of vomiting with the help of her school counselor and the GRIP technique.

Gretchen loves pizza day at school until a stomach bug causes an embarrassing scene for her in the cafeteria. With the help of her school counselor and the acronym GRIP, Gretchen learns an extremely effective diaphragmatic breathing method that helps reduce the physiological symptoms associated with the fight or flight response, such as digestive distress. 

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This story is about a young girl named Gretchen who goes to a school where every Friday they get pizza for school lunch, and pizza day is the best day, at least until one pizza day when Gretchen gets sick after eating the pizza. The next pizza day, she doesn't want to eat the pizza because she's afraid she's going to get sick again. Her school counselor helps her work through her fear to give pizza one more try. She doesn't get sick and goes back to enjoying pizza day like she did before. 

The illustrations were bright and colorful, really catching my eye. The skills suggested at the end of the book are definitely worth giving a try with my daughter at least, even though she's past the recommended ages for this book. Overall I give this 3.78 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Jaime Roche, MSW, has worked in the field of mental health and wellness for the past 20 years as a clinical social worker and yoga teacher treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with anxiety disorders, many with symptoms of emetophobia. She lives in North Salem, NY. Visit @JaimeRoche_Author on Instagram.

Doruntina Beqiraj is a children’s illustrator based in Toronto, Ontario. She has a passion for creating warm and charming characters and enjoys experimenting with textures and patterns. Visit and @Whatsuuptina on Instagram.

*Review* Camilla Super Helper by Julie Dillemuth Phd.

Genre: Children's 4-8 years
Published: May 16, 2023
Pages: 32

Can super helpers Camilla and Parsley help their friends the bees find enough flowers and water during a hot, dry summer?

Camilla the Cartographer and her loyal sidekick Parsley are back again to help their friends in this third companion book to the critically acclaimed 
Camilla, Cartographer. With summer comes sun, lemonade, and...drought? Camilla and Parsley's bee friend Melli and the rest of her hive are having trouble finding enough water and flowers to make honey. Can Camilla use her mapping skills–and the friendship of the other forest animals–to help?

Includes a Note to Parents & Caregivers with more information about map-making, spatial awareness, and the importance of bees!

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

The number of books that have been on my radar within the past couple of years about the bee crisis lead me to believe that bees are this generation's ozone layer. Talk about the hole in the ozone layer and it's danger and what was causing it seemed like a really big deal when I was a kid. Dwindling bee population seems to be becoming a pretty big deal now. The message in all the books is pretty clear. We need to act now before it's too late, just like we did for the ozone layer. 

This story is about a young warthog (?) named Camilla who sees her bee friend struggling in his present environment to do his bee job, and she wants to help. She gathers her community to make the forest a more bee friendly environment with water stations and even more flowers closer to the hive. The story shows these steps helping the hive thrive, and they are easy enough things for humans to do in our own communities too. The message is subtle here, but it's definitely there. 

The illustrations were a fun mix of the animal characters doing animal things and human things. They were clearly being humanized, but not completely. They really helped to show the story and the various steps that can be taken to help save our bee community, and probably other pollinators as well. Overall I give this book 4.36 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Julie Dillemuth has a PhD in geography with expertise in spatial cognition. She is passionate about writing picture books that help children (and adults!) develop and practice spatial thinking skills. Her stories have appeared in Highlights for Children and Odyssey magazines. She is the author of Lucy in the City, Mapping My Day, Camilla, Cartographer, and Camilla and the Big Change. Visit

Laura Wood’s work can be found in picture books and magazines, including Lucy and the City, Mapping My Day, Camilla, Cartographer, and Camilla and the Big Change. She currently lives in Milan, Italy. Visit, @LauraWoodIllustration on Facebook, and @laura_wood_illustration on Instagram.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

*Review* Night Night, Ocean by Amy Parker


Genre: Children's 0-4 years
Published: June 7, 2023
Pages: 20

Splash your way to bedtime by joining a young manatee saying "night night" to the amazing sea animals God created to swim in the ocean. Amy Parker's delightful rhymes and Virginia Allyn's sweet illustrations make Night Night, Ocean the perfect read-aloud to help transition toddlers and preschoolers to a restful night.

This adorable board book in the popular Night Night bedtime storybook brand for children 0 to 4

  • follows a little manatee saying good night to ocean friends
  • gives families a fun way to calm down for bedtime
  • teaches first learning concepts about sea life
  • features rich illustrations of dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, seahorses, and fish
  • celebrates how diversity and differences make the world a beautiful place

From the creators of Night Night, FarmNight Night, Train; and Night Night, Jungle, this vibrant bedtime story makes a sweet gift for birthdays, Christmas, and Easter. It's also a fun addition to a summer beach vacation, trip to the aquarium, or learning unit on the ocean. Treat your little one to a sleepy underwater exploration as you watch God's amazing creatures drift off to sleep and say "night night."

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This was a cute, short story about saying goodnight to several different animals in the ocean. It was a very simple "story", which makes sense now that I know it's a board book. It would definitely help build familiarity with different sea creatures in a young child. 

The illustrations were very bright and colorful with solid lines and shading to help grab the attention of the youngest children. I don't think this is a book that I would want to read over and over again, but I imagine it is one that would be requested by littles quite a bit. Overall I give it 3.68 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than a million copies, including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling books A Night Night Prayer; Night Night, Farm; and Night Night, Train. Visit Amy at and on Instagram @amyparkerbooks and Facebook @amyparkerauthor.

Virginia Allyn has illustrated more than two dozen children's books and nearly eighty maps for novels. She lives near Blue Ridge Mountain and enjoys collecting books, hiking, and eating all her vegetables (except peas).

*Review* Mira and Baku by Sara Truuvert


Genre: Children's 4-7 years
Published: October 17, 2023
Pages: 40

With the help of a magical friend, a young girl searches for her missing father in this poignant story set during Japanese internment in World War II.

It’s a week until Mira’s birthday, and she’s getting worried. Where is Papa? He has never missed her birthday before. When Mira’s friend Baku, a creature from Japanese folklore, offers to help, they journey over farmlands and forests, mountains and river mouths, gathering clues to Papa’s whereabouts―clues that echo Mira’s memories and overheard conversations in the camp where she lives with Mama.

Lushly illustrated by up-and-coming illustrator Michelle Theodore, this tender, moving picture book by debut author Sara Truuvert explores the profound impacts of family separation and the different forms comfort can take for a child processing loss.

Further reading on Japanese internment and a note from the author add to readers’ understanding of this underrepresented period of history, making it an instant classic. For fans of Baseball Saved UsMira and Baku is an emotional exploration of the power of imagination and hope in difficult times.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a story about a young girl who goes on a magical adventure to search for her father who is missing for some reason that is really not clear while reading the story. They visit various locations that no longer look the way they used to, like the family's store with empty shelves now. I was so lost while reading this book and did not pick up on any of the underlying meaning of the story until I got to the end of the book and read the further information. After that, things made more sense, but I feel like they could have made a small mention about the camps that could have given just a little bit of context early on for anyone who doesn't read book blurbs (like me). 

The illustrations were very wispy and cloud like, which was very fitting for a story about flying around with your mythical friend in search of your father. I would be okay reading this book a few times, especially since I'd probably pick up on more with a second reading myself right now because of the context I didn't have when I started the book. Overall I give this book 3.36 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

SARA TRUUVERT is a Canadian author of Japanese-Estonian descent. She grew up in Toronto and now lives in Ottawa, where she writes everything from short fiction to poetry to science articles. Mira and Baku is her first picture book.

MICHELLE THEODORE is an illustrator born and raised under the prairie skies in Edmonton, Alberta. As a landlocked yonsei, she is often reminiscing about coastal summers with family, inspired by her times on beaches collecting sand dollars and eating homemade salmon jerky.

*Review* Dinosaur Book for Kids by Katie Henries-Meisner

Genre: Coloring Book - Ages 3-7 years
Published: September 1, 2020
Pages: 112

Color and learn fun facts about 25 of the greatest dinosaurs that ever lived!

Meet 25 of the world's most amazing dinosaurs! This learn-through-coloring book provides kids with hours of coloring fun and teaches them exciting facts about these prehistoric beasts at the same time.

Did you know that Triceratops had up to 800 teeth? Or that Dilophosaurus could run almost as fast as an Olympic runner? Here's what the dinosaurs looked like, how they protected themselves, how big they were, and so much more. Children will have fun coloring the dinosaurs, learning about them, and becoming dinosaur experts.

Dinosaur Book for Kids features:

  • Learning while having coloring fun! Kids will discover amazing facts for each dinosaur that they can share with family and friends.
  • 50 age-appropriate illustrations, perfect for little hands.
  • Name and pronunciation guide for every dinosaur, so kids can proudly (and accurately) show off what they know.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review.

Since I got my copy of this book through Netgalley, I do not get to enjoy coloring the pictures (at least not without buying a physical copy of the book). That makes me a little bit sad because it would be relaxing to color in this book. The pictures are big with just enough details to make them interesting so coloring them wouldn't require the amount of thought that adult coloring books do for me. They are definitely a great size for younger children to color. 

But the reason why getting this book on Netgalley wasn't completely ridiculous is that it also includes facts about the dinosaurs you're coloring. The facts are fairly short tidbits about the dinos that includes pronunciation guides. So your kiddos can learn a bit about their favorite extinct animals without boring them with too much information. 

Overall I give this book 4.86 out of 5 stars and really wish I'd have a physical copy so I could be coloring it right now. - Katie 

Katie Henries-Meisner is a teacher, school leader, and mom of two (dinosaur-loving) kids. She's taught first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; fourth grade is her favorite! She grew up in suburban Massachusetts, where she developed a passion for urban education and social justice, along with a love of learning through exploration and projects. She currently lives in Northern California with her family.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

*Review* Today I Am A River by Kate Coombs


Genre: Children's 4-8 years
Published: April 18, 2023
Pages: 37

Bright, lyrical poems and lovely illustrations encourage children to immerse themselves in the natural world.
Today I am sunlight!
Heart happy,
as a yellow bird
flying to the top
of the sky,
shining and calling
I am sunlight!

Beautiful poetry and entrancing art inspire young readers to celebrate the natural world through movement, imagination, and play. As they pretend they are a skunk or a snake, sunlight or a stone, they will move their bodies and enjoy imaginative play.

From the creative team who brought you 
Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems comes a perfect book for quiet time or bedtime, as well to spark activities for story time or in the classroom. Today I Am a River empowers children to imagine the world from a multitude of perspectives other than their own and instills in them an appreciation and reverence for the natural world.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

These poems do not rhyme. I was a creative writing major before I dropped out of college (thanks Depression), so I'm well aware that poems don't have to rhyme. That being said, I feel like in a book targeted towards children, rhyming is kind of a big deal to encourage engagement. I think about how fun Shel Silverstein's poems were to read as a kid and how some of those have really stuck with me (like Boa Constrictor). While these poems did get me using my imagination in regards to nature, I'm just not sure a kid would find them interesting enough to want to read them again, or attempt to write their own nature inspired poems (although the lack of rhyming would at least make that endeavor seem less daunting). 

The illustrations were whimsical and colorful, taking me to nature from my cubicle at work (I was on lunch). They were as varied as the poems were. While I'd be okay reading this book a few times to a children, as I mentioned before, I'm not sure a kid would really be that interested in a repeat. Overall I give this book 3.87 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Kate Coombs is the author of many books, including three poetry collections: Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness PoemsMonster School, and Water Sings Blue, which won the national Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and got four-starred reviews. She has also written middle grade books, picture books, and numerous board books. Kate lives in Bountiful, Utah, where she teaches college English and works with struggling readers. Kate loves nature, especially clouds, seashells, and frogs.

Anna Emilia Laitinen studied graphic design and illustration in Finland and Iceland. She has illustrated books, stationery, tableware, and textiles. She is the illustrator of many children’s books published in her native Finland, as well as Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems. Anna Emilia’s favorite color is the northern winter sky during sunset, and her favorite sound is waking up in a tent in a forest full of singing birds. For more, visit

*Review* In Your Dreams by Pamela Green

Genre: Children's 0-5 years
Published: May 9, 2023
Pages: 32

“The adventurous spirit of In Your Dreams captures Boys & Girls Clubs’ legacy of inspiring young people worldwide to dream big and create brighter futures for themselves and us all.”—Boys & Girls Clubs of America 

As a mother holds her sleeping baby, she ponders the dreams dancing through his head.  

Has he traveled back in time to play with the dinosaurs? Is he climbing tall mountains among the clouds? Is he watching dolphins frolic in the sea, or visiting new friends in faraway places? 

Told in gentle rhymes with whimsical illustrations to spark the imaginations of children of all ages, this sweet and timeless book is a story of curiosity, possibility, and, above all, the wonder of love. 

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a story about a woman imagining what her newborn baby dreams about when he sleeps. And that really annoyed me because a baby wouldn't dream about much that is exciting as they have no life experiences to inform their dreams yet. And logical me understands that it's supposed to be fun and whimsical, but the me that was absolutely fascinated by dreams and their meanings for a solid three months in high school just couldn't see it that way. And I could have accepted the entire thing if the child was a toddler. A kid who has watched some tv and had books read to him would absolutely have the capacity to dream all these things, but not an infant. 

The illustrations were soft and definitely dreamlike. They really did sell the dream scenario for me, and that might be part of why I was so annoyed to get to the end of the book and find out it was about a baby, because in the dreams, the child is older. I would not want to read this book more than once because it really did annoy me, but I'm fairly certain I'm an anomaly on that one. Overall I give this book 2.31 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Pamela Green has her Master’s in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. She is the Community Programs Coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, bringing dance and music into SFUSD public schools and afterschool programs with Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and the YMCA. She hosts family workshops and sensory friendly programming for the special needs community, provides professional development for educators, and coordinates local arts community events. She has been an elementary educator since 2008. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wonderful son and enjoys hiking, cooking, reading historical fiction, traveling, fly-fishing, animals, photography, and ballet.

Cheryl Crouthamel has been a children’s book illustrator since 2004 when she retired from the New York Police Department. She specializes in whimsical illustrations—and wrangling her three kids. She lives in New Jersey.  

*Review* Bryson the Brave Bison by Nate Davenport and Luke Freshwater


Genre: Children's 4-8 years
Published: June 27, 2023
Pages: 32

In this world of challenges, we all need a hero … and here comes Bryson the Brave Bison! In the face of a big storm, Bryson shows his crew and the entire herd, that you can get through anything with a little bravery and self-confidence.

This original rhyming story tells the story of how one brave bison lead his herd to face a challenge and overcome it. Combined with dynamic artwork from New York Times bestselling artist Richard Cowdrey, this legend comes alive!

Bryson the Brave Bison:

  • is written in lyrical rhyme perfect for read-alouds
  • features unique vintage style artwork from NYT bestselling artist Richard Cowdrey
  • highlights positive character traits such as bravery, courage, and trust
  • is an ideal gift for any time of year 


From debut authors Nate Davenport and Luke Freshwater, Bryson the Brave Bison teaches children positive character traits such as bravery, honest, and perseverance and shows them that with courage they can face the storms in life. Nate and Luke are good friends, intentional fathers, and business leaders who frequently speak about bravery and courage with their children and in business. Bryson the Brave Bison was inspired by Luke’s service as a firefighter in Idaho and as an Army bomb squad leader in the war in Afghanistan.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a story about a young bison who is much braver than the rest of the bison in his herd. Much like my daughter, the bison are terrified of thunderstorms, but living on the prairie, they don't really have a good way to avoid them. So they usually run away from them. But Bryson thinks instead they should run through the storm to get through it faster. Which is a solid point. He tries to convince the herd to try it, but they're all far too scared, until Bryson heads into the storm. They follow and discover that he was right and running through the storm is a better option. 

The illustrations had a very old western feeling to them, making me think of the Little House on the Prairie books, which makes sense because it is a book about bison living on the prairie. They helped to show the story as it progressed. I'd probably be okay reading this book a few times before I'd desperately want to move on to something else. Overall I give this book 3.86 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Nate Davenport resides in Huntington, WV, whose city mascot is the bison! He and his wife Suzanna have two children, Crews and Lyla, and a goldendoodle named Heidi. Nate’s passion for literature and writing comes from his father Jeff, who is an author too! Nate earned a degree in youth ministry from Cedarville University, where he also played baseball. He currently works as a sales leader in the medical space, where he focuses on helping those recovering from addiction. Nate’s mission is to impact the lives of children through whimsical literature filled with positivity and truth. 

Luke Freshwater resides in the greater Columbus, OH area with his wife Megan and their five young children. Luke served as a forest firefighter in Idaho and as an Army bomb squad leader in the war in Afghanistan. He went to NC State University and Cedarville University, where he played baseball. Luke is currently a sales leader, aspiring bison farmer, and dedicated to the pursuit of intentional fatherhood while positively impacting the lives of fatherless children.

Richard Cowdrey's favorite things to draw and paint are the things that reflect the awesomeness of God and his creation. From vast landscapes to the littlest bug on a leaf, Richard marvels at the beauty in the details. Richard's bestselling children's books include Fiona the Hippo, Legend of the Candy Cane, Bad Dog, Marley and A Very Marley Christmas.

*Review* The Lion's Whisker by Rebecca Sheir

Genre: Children's 5-8
Published: May 23, 2023
Pages: 44 

Filled with vibrant folk art and thoughtful lessons, this picture book rooted in Ethiopian folktales reveals the power of patience, understanding, and sibling love.

Courage, collaboration, patience, and sibling love prevail in this folktale with its roots in the Ethiopian tradition. The Lion's Whisker tells the story of Brother and Sister who are constantly arguing. When Grandmother sends them on a dangerous mission to pluck a lion's whisker for her magical potion, the siblings learn valuable lessons about the strength gained by working together, being brave, and showing patience and understanding for others. This classic folktale is brought to life for today’s kids by Rebecca Sheir—creator and host of the award-winning Circle Round storytelling podcast­—with the vibrant and modern folk art of Kenyan illustrator Nikita Abuya. Beloved for their lively storytelling and modern adaptations of values-based tales from around the world, Circle Round bring their wildly popular adaptation of Brother and Sister’s story to colorful picture-book form. Once kids and families have read The Lion's Whisker, resources in the back prompt further exploration of the tale, with conversation questions and creative storytelling prompts and activities. 

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a folktale from Africa, which means it's one I was not already familiar with. This is the story of a brother and sister who just cannot get along with one another. They don't share their toys or food, and they argue constantly. Finally one day their grandmother is fed up with it and suggests that they go find a lion's whisker to make a special potion to help them get along. The sister is much more interested in this than her brother, but he follows her as she tries to lull the lion into trusting her. They eventually work together and manage to get a whisker from the lion. 

The illustrations were bright with solid colors. They definitely helped to show the story as it progressed, even if it does give them impression that you can safely talk to a lion (danger kitty!). I'd definitely be okay reading this book a few times because they message is a great one for anyone with more than one child, especially if they struggle to get alone. Overall I give this book 4.12 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Rebecca Sheir is the author of the Circle Round books The Tale of the Unwelcome GuestA Taste of Honey, and The Great Ball Game, and the host, writer, and producer of the Circle Round storytelling podcast. Distributed by WBUR (Boston's NPR station), Circle Round is heard in all 50 states and nearly 200 countries and has been featured in the New York TimesThe Washington Post, and TIME. Sheir has also brought thousands of stories to life as a news reporter on public-radio shows like Morning EditionAll Things ConsideredHere & NowThe Splendid Table, and Marketplace. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and son.   

Nikita Abuya is a digital illustrator and graphic designer from Nairobi, Kenya. Her work celebrates the current generation in pop culture and fashion, as well as aspects from her African heritage.