Quick Kids Reviews #18

Title: Josephine Baker (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author:
Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator:
Agathe Sorlet
Source:
Free ARC from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

I’m embarrassed to admit that, though I’ve heard of Josephine Baker, I knew nothing about her before reading this board book edition of Little People, Big Dreams. She was not only a talented dancer, she was an animal lover, a movie star, a spy, an adoptive mother, and a civil rights activist! Her dancing talent gave her the opportunity to see the world and enabled her to move to a country that celebrated people of all colors. What an important figure for children to learn about and a wonderful example of what one can accomplish when one chooses to dream big!

As is ever the case with the series, a must buy for anyone with small children.

Title: Owen at the Park
Author: Scot Ritchie
Illustrator: Scot Ritchie
Source: Free ARC from Groundwood Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Groundwood Books via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Owen’s father works as a groundskeeper at the city park, and Owen often helps him do various jobs. However, on this day, Owen gets to do his favorite job all by himself, for the very first time! He is a bit nervous about the first part of the job, but it has to be done to get to his favorite part. When he’s completed step one, he joyfully completes step two, and it is fun indeed!

The illustrations are absolutely fabulous: beautiful coloring, lively but natural, paired wonderfully with the story, and just a joy to experience. The story itself, though short and simple, conveyed some points that I loved. I love that the boy helps his father at work regularly, that his father is teaching him the value of doing things together, but also the value of his work. He’s also learning that not all work is fun, but the part you don’t like are often offset by the parts that you do. Hard work pays off! Almost as much as the story, I enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end, explaining his inspiration for the story. This may be of less value to the children reading this book, but as an adult, it’s a feature I really appreciate.

A lovely read!

Title: Aunt Pearl
Author:
Monica Kulling
Illustrator:
Irene Luxbacher
Source:
Free ARC from Groundwood Books

Rating: ⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Groundwood Books via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. The author’s attempt to expose children to homelessness is both necessary and brave. Her approach is gentle, accepting, and gracious. The illustrations are outstanding and support the overall feel of the story itself. However, why she is homeless is not explained, so we are left to ascertain this for ourselves. Is she mentally ill? Her world view is definitely unusual. She’s quirky, certainly, but based on what is shared in the book, I see nothing that rises to the level of mental illness. In the end, Aunt Pearl disappears while the children are sleeping, all of her worldly possessions left behind, and that’s it. The children are left to wonder why she is gone, if she’ll ever come back, and no explanation is offered to them by their mother, or to us as the reader. This felt both incomplete and irresponsible. Surely the mother would have given her children some explanation, and certainly the children who will read this book should have one. When it comes to serious topics, it isn’t enough to touch on it, and then leave it open-ended. Offering every possible explanation is obviously not feasible, but the most common would seem a minimum requirement.

Ultimately, though I love the intent and the illustrations, this is not a book I would read to my children, not without preparing to have a discussion afterwards, to discuss all the questions that will come up, particularly given the lack of answers in the ending.

Title: The Art Room: Drawing and Painting with Emily Carr
Author:
Susan Vande Griek
Illustrator:
Pascal Milelli
Source:
Free ARC from Groundwood Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Groundwood Books via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

I so loved this charming little book, I scarcely know where to begin! The book introduces us to a Canadian artist by the name of Emily Carr, who at some point in her career, taught young children art. As you would expect of a book on this topic, the illustrations are masterfully done. What’s more, it is written in verse, and flows so beautifully. The author’s style gives life to the beauty of art, the way it changes the way you look at the world. And what a wonderful gift to give children, not only a love of art, but a practice in observation of the world around them.

I certainly want to know more about Emily Carr, and now I’ve got another children’s book to put on my wish list. I cannot wait to share this with my kids!

One Reply to “Quick Kids Reviews #18”

  1. Awesome reviews Myndi. Emily Carr is one of my favourite Canadian Authors. She was an honorary member of the Group of Seven. I will have to see if that book is still available. Too bad about the Aunt Pearl book. It sounds like it could have been a great book, but fell short. Of course you know how I feel about the Little People, Big Dreams books. I have never gotten any children’s books from Groundwood Publishers, but it sounds like one I should check out.

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