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]

The Two Tims by David Elliott Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

The Two Tims by David Elliott; illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo.  Candlewick, 2016.  32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level:  4-8. Tim and Tim (one with blond hair, one with brown) are best friends.  Until Tom comes along.  Blond Tim plays knights with Tom while brown-haired Tim sulks.  Brown-haired Tim crazy-dances with Tom while blond Tim sulks…. [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]

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]

Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec; illustrated by the author; Chronicle Books, 2015.  32 pages; $15.99 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 3-6. With a board-book style cover and thicker-than-usual pages that turn from bottom to top like a calendar, this picture book is sturdy, unique, and inspired.  Each two-page spread sports two rows of animals and/or… [Read More]

A Message for My Books – Inspired By a Passage in Alberto Manguel’s Book Curiosity

There are certain books I gaze at from afar, knowing I would love to read them but knowing, too, that I probably won’t because my list is overly long and I’m becoming more and more aware of how little time there seems to be in a day. One book I know I won’t get to… [Read More]

Jump Back Paul; The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Jump Back, Paul; The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby; illustrated by Sean Qualls; Candlewick Press, 2015.  128 pages;  $16.99 (hardcover); reading level: grades 5-9. From the first sentence of this concise, lyrical biography a grandmotherly narrator takes the reader firmly by the hand:  “You never heard of the poet Paul… [Read More]

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman; illustrated by the author; Abrams/Appleseed, 2015.  32 pages; $14.94 (hardcover); reading level:  ages 4 and under. What item of clothing is more fascinating to a potty-training-aged fashionista than underwear? And what food is more on the minds of the fashionista’s care-givers than vegetables? Chapman gives a nod to both… [Read More]