Wednesday, November 25, 2020

117. Snail and Worm Again

Snail and Worm Again (Snail & Worm #2) Tina Kugler. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hey! Wow! What is going on?

Premise/plot: Snail and Worm are back for three more stories in Tina Kugler's Snail and Worm Again. In the first story, Snail's Wings, Snail "grows" wings and prepares to fly away. But will he really??? In the second story, The Mirror, the two friends find a "mirror." What did they really find???? In the third story, Snail is Sad, Snail is having an off day because he doesn't feel all that special--to be exact, he doesn't think his shell is all that special. Can Worm cheer him up???

My thoughts: I enjoyed these three stories! I might even have enjoyed these three more than the original three. It's so hard to tell with books like these. The sequel books have a slight advantage in that you are already familiar with the characters and your expectations are usually right on. 

I love the humor in these stories--well in two of the three stories. I love that so much depends on the artwork itself instead of the text. Especially in The Mirror!

I would recommend this one!!!

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, November 19, 2020

116. Snail and Worm

Snail and Worm: Three Stories About Two Friends. Tina Kugler. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hello! Want to play? Let's play! TAG! You are it! Can you catch me? No! No! No!

Premise/plot: This early reader features three stories starring Snail and Worm. "Meet My Friend," the first story has Snail and Worm meeting each other and becoming playmates and friends. "Snail's Adventure," has snail and worm "climbing" a flower and "seeing" the world from a new perspective. "Meet My Pet," the third story, the two are discussing Worm's missing pet. This story is dependent on the illustrations--that's where the humor comes in!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one! I did. I don't necessarily love the way these two look--the illustrations aren't quite my thing. But the text, the text, works well--really well. By the end of the book, I was delighted with this relationship.


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

115. Anne's School Days

Anne's School Days. Kallie George. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. 2021. [July] 72 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Everyone loved autumn in Avonlea. Especially Anne of Green Gables. “What a splendid day,” said Anne to Diana Barry as they walked to school. “Isn’t it good to be alive on a day like this?” Three weeks of school had gone by and, so far, Anne loved it. 

Premise/plot: Anne Shirley starts school in Avonlea in the third book in Kallie George's adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables. She is adapting the classic novel into an early chapter book series. The series remains true in spirit--with a little condensing, okay a lot of condensing--to the original. In this one, Anne has a few adventures and misadventures in school regarding a certain Gilbert Blythe. Will she ever forgive him for calling her Carrots???

My thoughts: LOVE. I won't try to hide my bias. I can't. It would be like me playing a game of "poor, poor kitty." (If you don't know about the game, you could read about it here.) I love, love, love, love, love, crazy love L.M. Montgomery's books. I particularly LOVE the character of Anne Shirley. And Gilbert, well, don't get me started on how much I LOVE him. I love how the book focuses on two or three incidents instead of trying to tell every single one. It keeps the pace going. (That being said, I wouldn't have minded seeing Anne's green hair make an appearance. But editing matters, and George stayed on task.)

I highly recommend this one!


Anne turned away and quickly forgot about Gilbert. Instead, she gazed off and started imagining. Anne loved imagining. This time, she dreamed she was a fancy lady with puffed sleeves and glossy black hair. All of a sudden, she was tugged out of her daydream. It was Gilbert. He had slid over and now he was pulling her braid! “Carrots,” he whispered. Anne froze. Anne’s red hair was her lifelong sorrow. That was the worst name Gilbert could call her. The worst name anyone could call her.


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

114. Ballerina Bess

Ballerina Bess. Dorothy Jane Mills and Dorothy Z. Seymour. 1965. 25 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: This is Bess. Bess wants to dance. Bess wants to be a ballerina.

Premise/plot: Young readers meet Bess who wants to be a ballerina. Ballerina Bess is from the Early-Start Preschool Reader series. It has a 25 word vocabulary.

My thoughts: I had this one and Ann Likes Red growing up. While I think I prefer Ann Likes Red a little better, this one is still a lot of fun if you like vintage children's books. (It was published in 1965.)

Simple can be a great thing when you are learning to read. Words need to be either sight words (common frequency like is, was, the, this, etc.), or easy to sound out. To read a whole book on your own can be a great confidence booster.

One thing that I just noticed now as an adult is that there are a few pages where LEGS are missing. On one page readers clearly see Bess dancing ON HER TOES. And on the very next page, Bess is missing BOTH LEGS as she's shopping at a store. The sales clerk has legs, but Bess and her mother DO NOT. And on the next page. Bess, her mom, and the sales clerk are all missing legs. But fortunately Bess' legs return for the next page when she's dancing once more.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, November 14, 2020

113. Stranger on the Home front

Stranger on the Home Front. Maya Chhabra. 2021. [January] 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Margaret Singh and her family were late, as usual. They came to Stockton from San Francisco every year for the festival, and every year they got lost somewhere between the train station and the gurdwara. Margaret’s stomach rumbled, but there wouldn’t be any food till they got there. Father stopped a couple of passersby to ask for directions. “Excuse me, do you know where the Sikh temple is?” One of the strangers looked like he was going to say something impatient, but then he caught sight of Margaret and Mother. He looked at them curiously, as if putting two and two together—Father, the clean-shaven East Indian, wearing a hat rather than a turban; Mother, the white woman; and Margaret, their daughter. Margaret had watched people go through this process a thousand times. A man from India with a white wife was an unusual sight in California. 

Premise/plot: Stranger on the Home Front is historical fiction; it is set in California roughly 1916 through 1918 or possibly 1919. The heroine, Margaret, is the daughter of an Indian immigrant. Her father strongly desires independence for India. But how far will he go to support a revolution or break from British rule? The book isn't solely about her father's dream for India. Largely it is about Margaret's desire to truly belong--just as she is--within her community, her school, her country. 

Margaret has a best friend, Bettina, is of German descent and things are getting rough for her as well. 

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. It does bring back memories of the Dear America series. (I think this is a good thing.) It is set during World War I. (The two world wars are of special interest to me). I like the focus on home life and school life. It does include a glossary at the beginning of the novel. 



© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

112. Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother? P.D. Eastman. 1962. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: A mother bird sat on her egg. The egg jumped. "Oh oh!" said the mother bird. "My baby will be here! He will want to eat." 

Premise/plot: A baby bird wanders around looking for its mother in P.D. Eastman's classic early reader. The bird makes the rounds asking ARE YOU MY MOTHER? to every one he/she meets....every THING she/he meets. (The bit with the SNORT might just be my favorite bit.) Will the bird ever be reunited with his/her mother???

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one. I do. Especially the bit where the bird asks the SNORT if it is his mother. Highly recommended.


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

111. Ann Likes Red

Ann Likes Red. Dorothy Z. Seymour. Illustrated by Nancy Meyeroff. 1965. 28 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Ann likes red. Red! Red! Red! "A blue dress, Ann?" "I like red," said Ann.

Premise/plot: Ann and her mom have gone shopping. Anne likes RED, RED, RED. What will she buy? Perhaps a RED dress, a RED hat, a RED belt, RED sandals!

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one as a child. I did. I think I had the book memorized I read it so much. I was quite THRILLED to find a copy recently. Though I had forgiven my mom for giving *my* copy away, I am so happy to have found a new copy.

Yes, the book is simple: just sixteen words to tell the whole story. But apparently 16 words are more than enough to tell a GOOD story when you know what you're doing.

And I will admit the book has a very VINTAGE feel. Some might say dated, but I prefer VINTAGE.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

110. Noisy Nora

Noisy Nora. Rosemary Wells. 1973. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Jack had dinner early; Father played with Kate; Jack needed burping; So Nora had to wait. First she banged the window, then she slammed the door, then she dropped her sister's marbles on the kitchen floor.

Premise/plot: Nora is "the middle mouse" and she is feeling FRUSTRATED and OUT OF SORTS. Would anyone even miss her if she ran away?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I did. There's something unforgettable about it--namely the last line, "'But I'm back again!' said Nora with a monumental crash." Max and Ruby are probably still my favorite characters created by Rosemary Wells. But I do love Nora. 

It does have the word 'dumb' so if you are in a 'dumb-free' household, you might want to know ahead of time before reading it aloud so you know to switch the word. 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

109. Go To Bed, Monster!

Go to Bed, Monster! Natasha Wing. Illustrated by Sylvie Wickstrom. 2007. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One night, Lucy tossed and turned. She could not, would not, did not want to go to bed. "I want to draw," she said.

Premise/plot: Lucy does NOT want to go to bed. She draws what turns out to be a monster instead. The two have MANY adventures. But when she's ready to go bed--finally--he doesn't want to go to bed. Can a sleepy Lucy convince not sleepy Monster to go to bed? What will it take to get them both sound asleep?

My thoughts: I loved this one. I first read it years ago. I even interviewed the author! It was a cute, funny, charming, delightful book. I never tire of a good bedtime book. I do recommend this one. I wish there was a board book edition of it available!

 Text: 5 out of 5

Illustrations: 5 out of 5

Total: 10 out of 10


© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers