Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

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Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia introduces us to Eliza, a high school student that feels invisible and prefers it that way. Other students treat her like she’s weird and sometimes frightening. The only friends she has are Max and Emmy and she met them online when they noticed her art and story, Monstrous Sea. The two of them helped Eliza build her comic into a popular blog. This is the part of Eliza’s life that she enjoys. Eliza has a grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side attitude. For example, She believes that college won’t have problems, such as the difficulty of finding a place to park. Little does she know that’s usually one of the main complaints about college: jam packed parking lots. Wallace, a new student, and Eliza discover that they both like Monstrous Sea. This starts a friendship between the two of them. Wallace shares his past with Eliza and she feels that she needs to let him know she’s the creator of Monstrous Sea. Then her parents tell her story about her hard work on Monstrous Sea, not realizing how letting the secret out will affect Eliza. Her life seems to come crashing down around her! Eliza must work through everything so she can live her life without anxiety and she has a tough time with it. Realistic fiction with imperfect, lovable and relatable characters-4 stars!

Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn

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Thanks to NetGalley and Tanglewood Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover by Audrey Penn. Chester spends the day with a group of friends. When it’s time for bed, Chester can’t sleep. He ends up going home and falls asleep contentedly. The story is cute and happy with some humor also. 4 stars for this addition to the story of Chester Raccoon.

Dare to Sketch by Felix Scheinberger

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Thanks to NetGalley and Ten Speed Press for the opportunity to read and review Dare to Sketch by Felix Scheinberger. The descriptive Table of Contents built my interest in reading this book. Advice and instructions on sketch pads and their uses, drawing tools, different perspectives in drawing and the subjects of drawings are included. I especially like the page entitled, “Drawing is a Global Language”, which advises artists to observe respectfully. The art reminds me of Roald Dahl’s style. 4 stars for a helpful art book with personality!

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

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Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. A humorous tale with catchy words, imaginative characters and uniquely detailed illustrations. A girl and her dog carry the reader through the process of creating, examining, remodeling, feeling frustrated and taking a break. This book shows that things don’t always work out perfectly and sometimes a break is all you need. 4 stars for a cute story with a lesson for all of us.

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

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Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi. The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi is a children’s picture book with softly drawn, subdued illustrations that make the book feel cozy and the reader sleepy. Peaceful and simple prose brings to mind the innocent pondering of a child’s thoughts. 4 stars for a comforting story.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Dustrats! by Adria Regordosa

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Dustrats! Or, the Adventures of Sir Muffin Muffinsson by Adria Regordosa is a picture book with silly, detailed illustrations. Beautiful colors make the illustrations pop and the cat, Sir Muffin, watches over and protects Emma as she rests. The dustrats scurry through the story’s pages and travel into each day of the week while visiting fascinating places. The dustrats start out as a nuisance but help Sir Muffin in the end. 4 stars for beautifully illustrated book! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.

Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff

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Thanks to NetGalley and Tanglewood for the opportunity to read and review Is a Worry Worrying you? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz with illustrations by Marie LeTourneau! This book has simple but appropriate illustrations that convey the feeling of worrying while reminding us that it’s our choice whether we worry or not. There are many worries in life and this book gives ideas of how to get rid of worries in a fun, simple way. The worry is shown in each illustration. It’s drawn many different ways with its expression showing happiness to sadness, depending on whether the character on the page is letting the worry cause stress or making it leave. Very helpful to ease everyone’s worries, 5 stars!

 

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Tanglewood Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau. The Argyle Fox picture book is a beautifully illustrated story of a wind ruining a young fox’s imaginative play. After the warnings from the friendly animals and the frustration of his play being ruined, clever Argyle comes up with something wonderful that he can play with in the wind. I like the details in the artwork showing Argyle’s creativity and his comfortable home. 4 stars for a story that shows how well improvisation works!

Do Not Take Your Dragon To Dinner by Julie Gassman; Illustrations by Andy Elkerton

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner by Julie Gassman with illustrations by Andy Elkerton! Do not take your dragon to dinner has cute, colorful and charming illustrations that are full of expression. The rhyming text flows well and the repetition will be fun for listeners to join in on while being read to. In the middle of the story, the dragon begins to learn manners and will someday take you to dinner! Great fun and deserves 5 stars for an adorable and bright book that I plan on buying for my own grandchild!

A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Tanglewood Press for the opportunity to read and review A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon by Audrey Penn! This classic children’s book has been transformed into a board book edition, with the same message as The Kissing Hand. Simple and beautiful illustrations, sketched and and brought to life with watercolor, represent the loving relationship between a mother and her son. She’s trying to build his security and self confidence by giving him her gift of a kissing hand. I remember reading this book to my own children years ago and the comfort that it gave them and me is still memorable. 5 stars!