On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

On Christmas Eve by Ann M. Martin. Scholastic, 2006. 149 pages. Reading level: grades 2-5. It’s 1958 and Tess McAllister is in third-grade. This is the year, she decides, that she really will stay awake and meet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. She has a special wish this year: Her best friend’s father is very… [Read More]

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems; illustrated by the author. Hyperion Books, 2916. 32 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 4-8. If you’re on the lookout for every word that rhymes with “Nanette” and “baguette,” this is the book for you. Tucked away in the playful pile-up of rhymes (and it is quite the pile-up!) is… [Read More]

The Water Princess by Susan Verde Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Water Princess by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016.  42 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4-8. Gie Gie, a princess in her parents’ eyes, surveys her kingdom: the African sky, the wild dogs, the tall grass, and the dusty earth. Not part of her kingdom is water,… [Read More]

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon; illustrated by the author; Bloomsbury, 2016. 64 pages; $9.99 (hardcover); reading level: Grades K-2. The characters in this collection of three (very!) short stories for beginning readers are Big Duck, the self-appointed boss; Porcupine, the passive worrier; and Little Duck, who says not a word but who knows, in… [Read More]

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg; illustrated by the author. Candlewick Press, 2016. 28 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 2-5. When Lucy’s dog, Mr. Barker, loses interest in the story she’s reading to him he leaps out of her bedroom window through a cut-out in the page. Lucy follows him through successive… [Read More]

Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Tiger and Badger by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay; Candlewick Press, 2016. 32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-6. Using soft watercolors and acrylics, Gay has created an outdoor world with everything a child could dream of: phantasmagoric flowers, striped and polka-dotted birds, a stack of empty boxes, chairs out on the grass… [Read More]

Big Tractor by Nathan Clement Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Big Tractor by Nathan Clement; illustrated by the author; Boyds Mills Press/Highlights, 2015.  32 pages; $16.95 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-7. Reminiscent of the human-machine relationship in the 1943 classic Katy and the Big Snow, the farmer in this picture book talks his tractor-friend through the seasons:  he wakes “Ol’ Partner” for spring planting, urges… [Read More]

Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson; illustrated by the author; Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House, 2016. 32 pages; $16.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-7. When Douglas the nearsighted dog mistakes leaves for squirrels, sits so close to the television that no one else can see, and fetches a beehive instead of a ball, his… [Read More]

Gator Dad by Brain Lies Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Gator Dad by Brain Lies; illustrated by the author. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 32 pages; $17.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 3-7. This stay-at-home alligator dad takes care of his three offspring his way! Breakfast fish fly through the air, errands are run with the emphasis on “run,” and a neat house is definitely a low… [Read More]

ABC Dream by Kim Krans Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

ABC Dream; by Kim Krans; Random House, 2016. 32 pages; $16.99 (hardcover); reading level: ages 2-5. The letters on the pages of this alphabet book are the main event: large and bold, some solid black and white, others plaid or quilted (you guessed it – P and Q!). It’s the surrounding illustrations, however, that are… [Read More]