Tuesday, November 8

Reviews of the Week 11/7: Sizing-Up Some Sequels

I got a bunch of new picture books from the library the other day, and they all happened to be sequels. So I'm just going to declare this another sequel list (like I've done before) and my reviews of the week all in one. Because I'm efficient like that. And! Included today? A New York Times Best Seller!


Kevan Atteberry

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-0062307842
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date of publication: May 24, 2016
Age: 2 - 5 years
Format: library book

Themes: rain, thunderstorm, friendship, monster, bunnies

RAIN! PUDDLES! MUD! Squish, squish, squish. Declan loves rain and splashing and mud! But the bunnies? Not so much! They dive for cover. But how will all of them react with the thunder and lightening comes?

Super simple book with a big impact. I love it! It's seriously just a word or two on a page, but the story that's told definitely communicates the fear of a storm, fun with puddles, and friendship. The emotions of the illustrated characters as well as the typography (small and simple "rain" verses and huge, bold "BOOM" of thunder) make these easy to read with a lot of enthusiasm. Seriously, this is the perfect storytime book. There's not a lot to read, but it will still capture even the youngest of listener's attention.

The only slightly weird part was the bunnies' immediate fear/disgust—I wish that they had been a little nicer about their friend's puddle jumping before diving for cover. But Declan is very enthusiastic and the bunnies cautious so I'll try not to be too upset. And the ending was perfect, so yeah. Definitely recommended, especially in conjunction with the similarly-highly-rated first book, Bunnies!!!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Dojo Surprise
Chris Tougas

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1771471435
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Date of publication: August 9, 2016
Age: 4 - 8 years
Format: library book

Themes: ninjas, surprise parties, nightmare, dojos

"Six little ninjas are planning a surprise birthday party for their master. Stealthy as ever, the ninja girls and ninja boys tiptoe around without a noise (or so they think) as they prepare for the celebration. Meanwhile, the master is spooked by the noises and shadows he senses around him. Is there a dragon over there? It’s a total dojo scare! Master must be more aware. He tells himself: If I use my ears and eyes, I won’t be taken by—

"SURPRISE! Master gasps, then laughs and cries. He can’t believe his ninja eyes! Streamers, poppers, candles, cake—he’s delighted by the party and by the thoughtfulness of his little ninja charges. There’s even a gift: a dragon-in-the-box who pops out for one last scream."

Rhyming text is always a favorite of mine; I find it so impressive. This was a great story of one jumpy Master and what he thinks he sees—the illustrations do a fantastic job of supporting the text and depicting why the Master is so scared. Really, quite impressive. In the end, I'm still slightly confused as to why a kung fu master would be scared at all, but hey. It's a cute story. I think it may even be my favorite of the series—see the other reviews for the first book, Dojo Daycare, and the second, Dojo Daytrip.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

We Found a Hat
Jon Klassen

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-0763656003
Publisher: Candlewick
Date of publication: October 11, 2016
Age: 4 - 8 years
Format: library book

Themes: hats, turtles, friendship, problem solving

Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat. With fairness in mind, they decide to leave it be, until night falls and one of the turtles changes its mind...

I was waiting and waiting in breathless anticipation for...this? I mean, I Want My Hat Back is one of my favorite favorites. So. Funny. And then the second, I Found a Hat was just so clever too! And then...I think my anticipation let me down. This is a fine story, a perfectly great one, in fact. The power of friendship and all that. But I just don't think that it lives up to the other two books in this collection. This one is just too...friendly. Yes, I know that sounds dorky, but the first two thrive on implications in the text of some nefariousness deeds. And then this one? ...there's not. It's just a simple, happily-ever-after ending. Where's the "so funny" in that??

Okay, this is turning into a bit of a rant, and I apologize. I loved the art and color scheme; the desert landscape was perfect. The little story of two turtles and their love of a hat was cute, to say the least. If you LOVED the first two books like I did, maybe set your expectations down a notch. If you just want a cute book to read, then yeah, sure, pick this one up. But I will say that I'm a tad disappointed.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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