Wednesday, August 4, 2021

101 Fox and Rabbit Celebrate

Fox & Rabbit Celebrate. (Fox & Rabbit #3) Beth Ferry. Illustrated by Gergely Dudas. 2021. [May] 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Good morning, Fox. Good morning, Rabbit.

Premise/plot: Fox and Rabbit star in their third beginning reader graphic novel, Fox & Rabbit Celebrate. There are five interconnected stories: "Fix, Fuss & Flies," "Party, Pizza & Plans," "Daring Dragon Days," "Birthdays, Best Days & Best Friends," "Wonder, Wish & Wow." 

Sparrow is about to have a birthday. Fox and Rabbit want Sparrow to have the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. Since Sparrow loves, loves, loves to eat--they think the best birthday will include the YUMMIEST food. They decide on having the BIGGEST PIZZA EVER. But who will bake it....and how?

Enter a new character--and a lovable one--DRAGON.

My thoughts: I love, love, love this series. I do. I love the relationship between Fox and Rabbit. I love the other characters as well. Dragon is such a fun addition! Sparrow, as always, is super relatable! As is Tortoise.

Definitely recommend the series.


© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

100. Swashby and the Sea

Swashby and the Sea. Beth Ferry. Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. 2020. [May] 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Captain Swashby loved the sea. The sea and he had been friends for a long, long time. She knew him in and out, up and down, and better than anyone.

Premise/plot: Captain Swashby is content with his life by the sea. Everything is just right...until it isn't. When he gets neighbors--a girl and her granny--well, he's less than welcoming. He wants to be left alone. He doesn't want to be bothered, doesn't want to make friends. BUT the sea has a different idea. 

Everytime Captain Swashby leaves an UNfriendly message in the sand, the sea changes it to something friendly by the time the little girl sees it!

For example, NO TRESPASSING becomes SING. And sing she does!!!

Will Captain Swashby have new friends...and possibly a found the end of the book?

My thoughts: I really LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I loved the inter-generational friendship. I loved how the 'sea' was always ready to help out--to make this friendship a reality. Overall it was delightful and sweet. Now, Captain Swashby himself wasn't sugary-sweet at any point! But I loved him--grouches and all.


© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

99. My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World. Malcolm Mitchell. Illustrated by Michael Robertson. 2020. [December] 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Hi! I'm Henley. And this is a story about finding my very favorite book in the whole wide world.

Premise/plot: Reading doesn't come easily or naturally to Henley. He'd be hard-pressed to answer the question "What is your favorite book?" So when that exact question is asked for a homework assignment, he struggles. He visits the library, the bookstore, talks to his parents. But he's got a trick up his sleeve...maybe his favorite book in the whole wide world doesn't exist yet...because he hasn't written it yet.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I didn't love it. I do like that Henley found his voice and authored his own story. There's something cute and adorable about that. 

Yet at the same time, I wanted him to have an actual actual favorite book. You don't have to read yourself to have a favorite book. You don't. Plenty of kids have a stack of favorite books that they've only heard read aloud, that they've only "read" by looking at the pictures. His not having a favorite book makes me sad. Sad that he didn't have a favorite book at home already in his room, by his bed, a book part of his routine.

 I admit that I may be overthinking this a thousand percent. I do that.

© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, August 2, 2021

98. Isobel Adds It Up

Isobel Adds It Up. Kristy Everington. Illustrated by Ag Ford. 2021. [June] 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Isobel loved math. She loved the soft curves of the number three, the hard edge of seven, and how numbers always made sense to her.

Premise/plot: Isobel, our heroine, has a difficult time finding peace and quiet after noisy neighbors move in next door. Without that quiet, how can she settle into her math homework? This situation calls for some problem-solving, and not the math-on-paper kind. Can Isobel find a way to get her neighbors to settle down?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I was drawn to it because of the elephant on the cover. I thought it was fun that the neighbors that SOUNDED LIKE A HERD OF ELEPHANTS actually were an elephant family!!! I liked that Bernadette (the elephant) was able to make friends with Isobel. I liked that they both love math. Seeing these two work on their homework together was just fun.


© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

97. See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

See the Cat: Three Stories About A Dog. David LaRochelle. Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. 2020. [September] 64 pages.  [Source: Library]

First sentence: See the Cat.

Premise/plot: The dog has a bit of an argument with the narrator in this FUN and FEISTY beginner reader. It all starts with a simple little sentence--hardly unique to any beginner reader--see the cat. The problem? The cat is no where to be seen.

Narrator: See the cat.
Dog: I am not a cat. I am a dog.
Narrator: See the blue cat.
Dog: I am not blue and I am not a cat.
Narrator: The blue cat is in a green dress.
Dog: I do not have a green dress!
Narrator: The cat's name is Baby Cakes.
Dog: That is NOT my name. My name is Max.
Narrator: See the blue cat in a green dress riding a pink unicorn.
Dog: There is no cat! There is no dress! There is no unicorn! There is just me, Max the dog!

You get the idea. There are THREE stories in all. All involve Max the dog and the narrator. The stories are "See the Cat," "See the Snake," and "See the Dog."

My thoughts: It was LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at first sight. Within the first few pages I knew this book was made for me. It is just my cup of tea. Everything about it is just perfectly perfectly perfect. It's the exact kind of book that I would have read to tatters and had every single word memorized.

Highly recommended. I hope that I get a chance to read the companion book, See the Dog, Three Stories about a Cat which releases in September 2021. 

© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, August 1, 2021

96. The Bruce Swap

The Bruce Swap. (Mother Bruce #6) Ryan T. Higgins. 2021. [May] 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: There was a letter in the mailbox at 13 Go Away Lane. It was a very fine letter.

Premise/plot: The Bruce Swap is a comedic gem. Bruce (aka "Mother Bruce") or oh-so-lovable SUPER, SUPER grumpy bear receives a letter from his cousin, Kevin. Unfortunately, Bruce doesn't get a chance to read the letter--it's eaten by his naughty geese. (They must make a habit of this! It turns up again later in the story). Bruce decides to take the day off and go fishing--he leaves a note behind. (But the note disappears). When Thistle, Rupert, Nibbs wake up (along with the geese???) they discover that their wishes from the night before have come true! GONE GONE GONE is Bruce's grumpiness. Bruce has become a FUN-LOVING, exuberant, cheerful bear. A bear who has a million different ways to have FUN every single moment of the day. Is there such a thing as too much fun???? Will they soon be wishing Bruce to turn back into his old grumpy self????

My thoughts: I had forgotten how much I love, love, love these characters. I haven't reread the whole series. I don't own the series--all have been library finds. I highly recommend these books.

I thought this book was super fun and a great addition to a great series. I wish I still had little ones to read it with.


© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers

95. Henry at Home

Henry at Home. Megan Maynor. Illustrated by Alea Marley. 2021. [June] 40 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: As long as there had been Henry and Liza, they were together. Liza and Henry. Henry and Liza.

Premise/plot: Liza is starting school. Her younger brother, Henry, is not. He's still too young for school. How will he fill his days without his best friend and playmate? What about all the many special things they do together? Can he do those things by himself...and still have fun?

This picture book explores the feelings a younger sibling *may* have when an older sibling heads off to school for the first time.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I thought the illustrations were super-sweet. I expected Henry to feel more sad and lonely than jealous and angry. But I think his feelings are legitimate. I think there are many possible reactions for this oh-so-common situation.

I did like seeing Henry and Eliza play together in the pages of this one. I liked seeing Henry play on his own too. It's a very important life skill--how to entertain yourself. It goes underappreciated or underrepresented in books, I think. 

© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers