A remake, several odd friendships, and a book without words

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I’m sorry for the delay, but the kids and I got a terrible cold and I didn’t want to subject the general public with our germs and then you miss one week at the library and suddenly you have 8 million books (or so) and you’re trying to keep up on which ones are due and which ones aren’t and so you just hit “renew all” to save you from library fines and write really long run-on sentences. Geesh.

Normally, we take out 10-ish books per week plus a few DVDs. Well, as I explained above, this happened:

Sad to say, this isn’t even all of them.

Out of this giant stack, we had several that we fell in love with including some interesting friendship pairs and one without any words at all. As always all of the opinions I share here are my own or are a summary of my kids’ reactions. I’m not going to picture all of our favorites from this stack, but I will include some which ones you should definitely go read in this handy list:

  • Grace by Kate Parkinson is a cute story about a graceless girl who wants to be a ballerina, but puts her talents to use in a different way.
  • Any of the Tinyville Town books – we’re in a doctor/veterinarian kick and this was a nice peek into a vet’s day
  • Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson is a beautiful book about finding your tribe
  • I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse is a sweet tale about a mother and her sons
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton tugs at the heart strings as you read about the history of a little house and it’s family. It gave me all the feels like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

On to the book reviews with photos. Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne seems like a “oh, they just took the classic tale and made a girl the hero” book, but it’s more. Yes, there are giants, magic beans, and a mysterious old lady like you may be familiar with, but the ending was a surprise. A good surprise. I’ll leave it just like that.

A bedtime favorite

Normally, the princess is afraid of the dragon or is being guarded by one. Evermore Dragon by Barbara Joosse was a delightful hide-and-seek story about an unlikely friendship between a girl and her dragon. We read this EVERY NIGHT at bedtime while it was in our possession. We actually started saying “I love you evermore” to our kids and darn it if that didn’t make me all teary. Read it. Love it. Then check out the other two dragon books, which we will once they get returned. There’s a waiting list for a reason!

This is one brave lion

Our second unlikely friendship is between a poetry-loving lion and a duck that happens to be good a rhyming. At first we had a good giggle imagining a lion and a duck hanging out, but by the end of the book, I was thinking, “#friendshipgoals”. How to be a Lion by Ed Vere shows us the power of being brave and using your words. Also, it’s not nice to chomp your friends.

Kindness matters

Honestly, I grabbed this book thinking it would be a good lesson about being nice to one another. I didn’t even look in the book before we checked out. While this has backfired in the past, I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët was a total win. I later found out it was Parents Magazine’s “Best Book that Champions Kindness” of 2018. We followed these children through the wordless struggle of being bullied, feeling alone, and feeling helpless. But then one girl decides to be kind and the whole community jumps in to do the right thing. We loved the illustrations and took the time to really look at everyone’s faces and postures to understand what was happening. My two-year-old got quite upset when he saw how Vanessa was being treated, but exclaimed “now she’s so happy!” at the end. Learning kindness early, folks!
FYI: Kerascoët is the joint pen name of the French illustrators, comics, animation artists, and married couple Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset.

Quick side story:
When I was in Ireland for work about seven years ago, I was being harassed by two people who thought they could get away with sneaking into our event because of their titles. Then an Irish gentleman, who was working for the catering company, came up to me and said (loudly, for the benefit of everyone), “It costs you nothing to be kind, but hurtful words can wreck a person. Now tell me, what is that worth?” I love Ireland.

As always, feel free to let me know if you’d choose to highlight other books from the stack. Or you know a book that falls in the “if you loved ___, then you’ll love…” category? Please share what to look for at our next library visit in the comments.

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