Tuesday, September 6

Reviews of the Week 9/5

Did you have a good Labor Day? Back to work, now, sadly. Ooo, there are some good reviews this week, though! Mostly, the books here catered to my humor and love of all things adorable. But! There are also some great underlying messages about bullying and appreciating one's self...


Board Book: Rhymoceros
Janik Coat

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1419715143
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Date of publication: March 3, 2015
Age: 2 - 4 years
Format: library book

Themes: rhinoceros, rhymes, textures, wordplay

Here, a blue rhinoceros unabashedly demonstrates 16 pairs of rhyming words. His ability to appear "stinky" and "inky," or "caring" and "daring," oftentimes lands him in compromising contexts. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to mind. Also includes surprising novelty features such as gold foil stamping and flocking enhance this unique concept board book.

Rhymoceros is very basic and simple in its design, seemingly with the exact same picture of a rhino on every page. So what makes this book so awesome? Word choice, my friends. With some perfectly chosen rhymes, Coat adds  some hilarious and educational additions to the illustrations. Not only is it funny and cute, but kids will have fun practicing all sorts of rhyming words. Even babies have fun with some of the textured pages! Definitely a good one that I recommend.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Picture Book: Poor Little Guy
Elanna Allen

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-0525428251
Publisher: Dial Books
Date of publication: June 7, 2016
Age: 3 - 5 years
Format: library book

Themes: fish, octopus, bullying, self-confidence

"What do you do when you're so tiny that the bigger ocean creatures think you might even taste adorable? An itsy-bitsy, glasses-wearing fish is minding his own business when a playful (and hungry) octopus snatches him right up. Luckily, this poor little guy is not quite as innocent as he seems…and he has a BIG surprise up his sleeve!"

Adorable, funny, and just a touch of deeper insight. All my favorite things! This book is light on text, letting the pictures and context tell the deeper story. The octopus seems like he just wants to play, but it soon becomes obvious that he's a bully. The little fish doesn't seem like he'll stand a chance! But the story's little surprise adds just the right amount of humor and confidence-booster.

The illustrations are what really tell the story. The pastels and swirly typography contribute to the feel of being underwater; a soft background to lighten the mood. The two main characters have the perfect expressions, and are what help the reader infer the difference between "play" and "bullying." Altogether, a good mix of humor and

Find it at your library or on Amazon

(Hilo #1)
Judd Winick

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0385386173
Publisher: Random House
Date of publication: September 1, 2015
Age: Grades 4 - 7
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Format: library book

Themes: aliens, robots, friendship, identity, self worth

"D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn’t the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?"

This book is an action-packed, gut-wrenching story filled with plenty of humor. The classic science-fiction storyline isn't all that unique, but still told in an engaging way through great art and awesome characters. D.J. was particularly great with needed depth—a middle child who feels he cannot live up to the many talents and successes of his siblings, and whose only friend moved away a long time ago. When an alien lands on the planet, D.J. (who feels a bit alienated himself) can understandably be his friend and help the kid out. Altogether, really, it's an exciting book and I can see a lot of kids having fun with this one.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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