Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Inspector Brunswick: The Case of the Missing Eyebrow

Inspector Brunswick: Case of the Missing Eyebrow. Angela Keoghan. Illustrated by Chris Sam Lam. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: After a long week of solving cases, Inspector Brunswick, the world's greatest cat detective, and his loyal assistant Nelson were taking a well-deserved break at the art museum.

Premise/plot: Inspector Brunswick is a cat detective; Nelson is the dog assistant or sidekick. These two find a mystery at the art museum. An eyebrow from one of the paintings is missing. Who could have taken it? And why?

My thoughts: I wanted to love this one because it stars a cat AND it is a mystery as well. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself loving it. Not every book has to be a love, of course. One fun thing I did enjoy about this one is that the works of art interact with the story. When the eyebrow goes missing, ALL the paintings react. One painting is of a mother and child: she's covering his eyes from the horror of it all.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, January 15, 2018

That Is My Dream!

That Is My Dream! Langston Hughes. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: To fling my arms wide/ In some place of the sun,/ To whirl and to dance/ Till the white day is done./ Then rest at cool evening/ Beneath a tall tree/ While night comes on gently,/ Dark like me--That is my dream!

Premise/plot: That is My Dream is a picture book poem. The poem is Langston Hughes' Dream Variation which was originally published in 1926 in his first poetry collection. The illustrator has placed the poem within the context of the segregated south in the 1950s. The first half reflects the way things are/were--as seen from a young boy's perspective--and the second half reflects his dream: how he wants things to be.

My thoughts: That Is My Dream is a lovely picture book. (Last year I reviewed Langston Hughes' The Dream Keeper and Other Poems.) Hughes' poem is beautiful. The illustrations are absolutely stunning. I loved, loved, loved, LOVED the illustrations. Yes, the text is wonderful. But the illustrations convey just as much--if not a tiny bit more--than the text. Together they make for a compelling, thought-provoking read. I think it would pair well with Patricia McKissack's Goin' Someplace Special

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10


© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, January 12, 2018

Mr. Putter & Tabby Row the Boat

Mr. Putter and the Tabby Row the Boat. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #6) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1997. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was summer and the weather was very hot. Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, lay around all day and sweated. They sweated on the front porch. They sweated in the kitchen. They sweated under the oak tree. They even tried the basement, but they sweated there, too.

Premise/plot: How can Mr. Putter and Tabby cool off on this hot summer day? The title reveals it all, doesn't it?! Mr. Putter decides to ask Mrs. Teaberry and Zeke (her dog) to go with him and Tabby to the big pond. Once there, they rent a row boat and their adventure begins. But will it work?

My thoughts: I am just loving this series. The narrative is great. Rylant does a great job--in terms of both characterization AND storytelling. There is nothing dull about this chapter book series. The illustrations by Howard are equally expressive. I love seeing Tabby's various expressions throughout the book!

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane

Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #5) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1997. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: Mr. Putter loved toys. He was old, and he knew that he wasn't supposed to love toys anymore. But he did. When Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, drove into town, they always stopped at the toy store.

Premise/plot: Mr. Putter LOVES toys. Tabby doesn't love toys--especially toys that do something. But she loves Mr. Putter. This chapter book is about when Mr. Putter buys a radio control airplane.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I love Mr. Putter. I really love Tabby. My favorite part was when Mr. Putter decided to give away his new plane to a little boy--a shy boy, a clumsy boy--who reminded him of himself. The writing continues to impress.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Papillon Goes To The Vet

Papillon Goes to the Vet. A.N. Kang. 2017. Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Papillon is a very fluffy cat. He can float like a cloud in the sky. He loves to play with his friend. They never tire of playing kung fu air kicks and yarn softball. But catch is their favorite game.

Premise/plot: One day--when Papillon and his bird friend are playing catch with a catnip mousie--something goes wrong. He swallows the mouse and gets a horrid case of hiccups. His owner, Miss Tilly, takes him to the vet where he has to stay overnight. Will Papillon ever feel like himself again?

My thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one!!! Papillon is adorable as always. The illustrations are fantastic. And the story is both whimsical and realistic. Not every cat floats and plays catch in the air, but all cats can cough up something when they're feeling sick. In the hands of the right reader, the sound effects would be super-fun.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty

The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon. A.N. Kang. 2016. Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Papillon is a big kitty. He is not fat. Just very fluffy. I mean FLUFFY! He is lighter than air, which can get him into trouble.

Premise/plot: Papillon is one FLUFFY cat. Miss Tilly, his owner, worries that he might FLOAT away. She is always coming up with a new way to weigh this kitten down and keep him grounded. But. Papillon isn't always receptive to her ideas. Can Miss Tilly and Papillon come to agreement on the situation? Papillon may change his mind once he gets lost....

My thoughts: This book is ADORABLE. I love, love, love the illustrations. The concept of the story is whimsical and delightful. This fluffy cat has a bigger adventure than he bargained for. Luckily, a new friend saves the day. I would recommend this one to cat lovers of all ages.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, January 8, 2018

The New LiBEARian

The New LiBEARian. Alison Donald. Illustrated by Alex Willmore. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It was almost story time. The children were ready. Dee couldn't wait. "Isn't it time?" she asked. But no one answered.

Premise/plot: Ms. Merryweather, the children's librarian, is missing. Can the children follow the clues and solve the mystery? They may not discover Ms. Merryweather right away. But they do discover a NEW librarian. One who is willing to read them stories, but not just any stories--stories they're not allowed to read, SCARY stories. Will Ms. Merryweather return? Who is this new librarian?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. The new librarian LOVES to read BEAR stories. Could their new librarian have escaped from a storybook?

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, January 5, 2018

Make It Now: Princesses

Make It Now: Princesses. Stephanie Rousseau. 2018. HMH. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Choose a princess page to decorate and then pull out that page of the book. Press out the princess, the little animal pal, and each of their stands. Color the princess's dress however you'd like.

Premise/plot: Make It Now: Princesses is a novelty book. If your little one loves playing paper dolls, loves coloring, loves sticking stickers, this one may be for you. There are five princesses to play with.

My thoughts: I like the idea of liking this one. I certainly loved playing paper dolls as a child. One strength I see is that the dolls (and animals) are printed on very sturdy material. One weakness may be that you can't change their outfits.

One thing that bothers me as an adult is that it is only the front of each outfit that needs coloring. The back of each outfit is already colored in. So your options are to try to match the colors of the front and back to the best of your ability, OR, to not care and embrace the chaos of a clashing outfit.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers

Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers: Another Love Story. Sam Lloyd. 2008. 32 pages. [Source: Library] (2007, UK)

First sentence: This is the story of a little girl called Emily and her dear cat, Mr. Pusskins. They thought life couldn't get any better. Then, one day, Emily announced that she had a fabulous surprise for Mr. Pusskins. He was very excited.

Premise/plot: Mr. Pusskins is home again. But does he stay happy and content? Or does he become an ungrateful grump when Emily introduces a new kitten into the house? Will Little Whiskers and Mr. Pusskins make friends? Or will Mr. Pusskins run away again?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. I didn't love, love, love it as I did the first book. But I was very happy to see Mr. Pusskins star in another book. What I loved most about this one--and the other one, if I'm honest--was how expressive the illustrations are. The faces Mr. Pusskins makes are priceless. Forgiveness is also part of this second story.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mr. Pusskins

Mr. Pusskins: A Love Story. Sam Lloyd. 2006. 32 pages. [Source: Library] (2006, UK)

First sentence: This is the story of a little girl called Emily and her dear cat, Mr. Pusskins. Emily adored Mr. Pusskins.

Premise/plot: Mr. Pusskins does not appreciate Emily. At least not when our story opens. What we have here is a story of a prodigal cat: "He went places he wasn't meant to go and did things he wasn't meant to do, and made friends with the Pesky Cat Gang." But after some adventures and misadventures, Mr. Pusskins may be ready to come home again. Will Emily be waiting for him?

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED Mr. Pusskins. Whether or not it's intentional or not on the part of the author, Mr. Pusskins is a near-perfect adaptation of the Prodigal Son. I loved Emily start to finish. Mr. Pusskins is quite the character, quite the transforming character. "The things Mr. Pusskins wasn't supposed to do weren't fun anymore. And his new friends weren't really very nice. How lovely it would be to have someone brush his fur and tell him how much they loved him. He felt all alone." I thought the text was lovely and heartwarming.

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

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Lola Gets A Cat

Lola Gets a Cat. Anna McQuinn. Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. 2017. Charlesbridge. 28 pages. [Source: Library] (2016 in UK)

First sentence:  Lola loves cats. She wants a real one. Mommy says looking after a cat is a lot of work.

Premise/plot: Lola is a little girl who LOVES cats. Is she ready to get a real cat for a pet?

My thoughts: Lola Gets A Cat is a cute, sweet story about a little girl getting a cat as a pet. It isn't enough to want a pet, you have to be ready to take care of a pet. This involves the whole family getting prepared. It also involves patience. Lola's cat, Makeda, has to get used to her new home.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10


© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, January 1, 2018

Make It Now: Animals

Make It Now: Animals. Geraldine Cosneau. 2018. HMH. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Choose an animal page to decorate, and then pull that page out of the book. Press out the animal, the little plant, and each of their stands. Color the animal's outfit however you'd like.

Premise/plot: Make It Now: Animals is a novelty book for little ones. It comes with five animal paper dolls. Each animal needs the FRONT of their outfit colored. There are stickers to decorate the paper dolls with as well.

My thoughts: I like the idea of this one. As an adult, it bothers me that only half of each outfit needs coloring. The back of of the paper doll is already colored in. Children may or may not care about the front and back matching. But it would bother me now. I would be anxious about trying to match the colors as closely as possible. But if your little one likes paper dolls, coloring books, or sticker books this one may be a good fit for you.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Young Readers