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Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Sinterklaas by Kathy Dobson (self published, 2017).

On December 2, my mom and I traveled to Rhinebeck, NY to attend their Sinterklaas Festival. Inspired by the traditions of the Dutch who settled in Hudson Valley over 300 years ago, this festival is non-denominational and all-inclusive. It's a celebration of children, who are crowned kings and queens for the day, with dance, theater, and music throughout the day, which culminates in a huge parade that night.  

This is an enchanting book, particularly for anyone who has attended the festival. It tells the story of a Dutch girl's Sinterklaas doll that is lost at sea as she sails to America. The doll makes its journey to find a home, eventually turning into Sinterklaas the man, who walks in the parade.

You can read more about the Sinterklaas Festival in Hudson Valley here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Eli's 1st Winter Carnival

Eli's 1st Winter Carnival by Lisa Bowen, illustrated by Nina Vanessa Pontillas (Real Life Learning, 2016). 

This is a cute book about a little Canadian boy named Eli who is excited about going to his first winter carnival. He makes snow angels, goes sledding, has a snowball fight, and more. When he gets home, he has pancakes and cozy time with his family before going to bed thinking about his fun day. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

No Chimney? No Problem!

No Chimney? No Problem! by Jodi Wojtowicz, illustrated by Breanna Sipple (Moon Jump Press, second edition 2017). 

Well, it's just about Christmastime already, and Santa will soon be visiting boys and girls around the world. But what if, like many people nowadays, you don't have a chimney? How will Santa deliver your presents? This book answers that question in a fun way that can lead to a new tradition. All you need is a magical key that only Santa can use (included with the book) and hang it on your front door. 

I wish I liked the illustrations better because I really like the idea of the magical key. I do appreciate that the characters have brown skin; it's nice to see that diversity, especially as the characters are drawn in such a way that many different types of people could see themselves as represented. 

You can buy the book here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mousekin's Thanksgiving

Mousekin's Thanksgiving by Edna Miller (Simon and Schuster, 1985). 

This book is about a mouse who wakes up on a cold November day to discover that the food he stored for the winter is gone. He goes to all the animals in the woods asking them who took his food, and they describe the large bird that gobbles. Come winter, the turkey digs up the food from under the snow and the mouse and all his animal friends have a feast. 

The text and watercolor illustrations evoke a calm, quiet atmosphere. This is the only Mousekin book I had as a kid, but I've discovered that it's actually part of a series. I look forward to checking out some of the other titles, especially the other holiday ones.

For more Thanksgiving books, visit my Pinterest board here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Smarty Locks and the Unforgettable Zoo

Smarty Locks and the Unforgettable Zoo by Marilyn Harary, illustrated by Janette Louden (self-published, 2016). 

This is an enjoyable story with fun illustrations about a girl named Smarty Locks with big curly hair.  She's excited to go on a school field trip to the zoo.  When it starts storming and the trip is cancelled, she and her classmates are upset. But Smarty Locks thinks hard to come up with a solution, and ends up saving the day.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Halloween Surprises

Halloween Surprises by Ann Schweninger (Puffin Books, 1984). 

This is an adorable book that I enjoyed as a kid. It's about a family of bunnies celebrating Halloween. The book is set up like a comic strip, with speech bubbles telling the story as the bunnies create their costumes, make jack-o-lanterns, go trick-or-treating, and host a Halloween party. I especially love the tiny baby bunny.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dahlov Ipcar's Maine Alphabet

Maine Alphabet by Dahlov Ipcar (Islandport Press, 2012). 

Dahlov Ipcar (1917-2017) was a talented and prolific author and illustrator who lived and worked on a farm in Maine for most of her life. The first children's book she illustrated was The Little Fisherman by Margaret Wise Brown in 1945, and went on to write and illustrate over thirty more.

Maine Alphabet is a wonderful collection of some of Ipcar's past illustrations, with one original illustration created for the board book. It captures an old fashioned Maine, with a lot of great animal art as well.