Review: Teddy Bear of the Year

Title: Teddy Bear of the Year
Author: Vikki VanSickle, Sydney Hanson
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The teddy bears’ picnic gets a modern twist in this warm and fuzzy picture book about a young teddy bear who learns that small acts of kindness can make a big difference.

Ollie is a regular bear with a regular job. He listens to his girl’s stories about her days, he snuggles her to sleep and he is there waiting when she gets home from school. Just your typical teddy bear stuff. So when he is whisked away to the annual teddy bears’ picnic, he feels insignificant compared to the other bears who do daring and daunting things: sleepovers, hospital stays–even a night in the lost and found!

After small talk with a regional stuffing manager, a department of cuddling official and a stitchery inspector; a stop at the snack table; and even some team building activities, it’s time for the teddy bear service awards . . . and Ollie feels even more small and unimportant. But he soon learns that it’s not just the big things that matter, it’s the little things too.

While parents will love the tongue-in-cheek office-party details, kids and parents alike will fall in love with Ollie: a sweet bear who discovers that his love for his girl makes him very special indeed.

Review:

In this story, Ollie is Amena’s teddy bear. One night, he is invited to a teddy bear picnic by the Teddy Bear Association. Various awards were handed out to the teddy bears for accomplishments they had done throughout the year.

This was an adorable story. It’s so cute to imagine all the teddy bears of the world gathering to have a picnic together. The teddy bears also have the rule of ABCs: Always Be Cuddling.

This story made me smile throughout it. It is such a sweet story. I loved it!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle, Cale Atkinson

Have you read Teddy Bear of the Year? What did you think of it?

Review: Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Martin Luther King Jr. (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Mai Ly Degnan
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher… so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him in because he was black. That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on. Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it’s wrong. And he promised himself that – when he grew up – he’d fight injustice with the most powerful weapon of all: words. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the inspiring activist’s life.

Review:

This is a great book to teach children about Martin Luther King Jr.

At the beginning of the story, young Martin plays with his friends and doesn’t notice that they look different from him. It isn’t until his friend’s mother won’t allow him into their house that he realizes they are different. This shows how children aren’t naturally racist, but have it taught to them. Martin goes on to fight against prejudice by teaching others.

I always remember learning about Martin Luther King Jr. in school, so I really liked this book. This is a great children’s book.

Thank you Quarto Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Stephen Hawking (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Matt Hunt

Mahatma Gandhi (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Albert Arrayas

Have you read Martin Luther King Jr.? What did you think of it?

Review: What's Up, Maloo?

Title: What’s Up, Maloo?
Author: Geneviève Godbout
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Maloo the kangaroo has lost his hop. Can his friends help him find it again? This sweet picture book explores the idea of sadness and the importance of friendship through ups and downs.

No other kangeroo can hop like Maloo! But one day Maloo’s friends find him stepping instead of hopping. What’s wrong, Maloo? His pals look for ways to help Maloo regain the spring in his step. With patience, support and a little “hop” from his friends, Maloo gets his bounce back.

Simple text and adorable art convey the power of friendship over a gloomy mood in Geneviève Godbout’s charming debut as both author and illustrator.

Review:

Maloo is a kangaroo who loves to hop. One day, he stops hopping and only walks. His friends are concerned and figure out a way to get him to hop again.

This story shows that sometimes people don’t feel well, and don’t behave the way they usually do. Maloo’s friends came together to help him. This shows kids that it’s okay to feel bad sometimes. Everyone has bad days, even kangaroos.

The images were beautiful. They looked like pastel illustrations. I really liked them.

This is a great children’s story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Small Things by Mel Tregonning

Have you read What’s Up, Maloo? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2)

Title: The Tea Dragon Festival
Author: Katie O’Neill
Genre: Graphic Novel, Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Review:

This is another adorable story featuring the tea dragons.

This story has some of the same characters as The Tea Dragon Society, but it could be read as a stand-alone book. It has a different story. In this book, a dragon is woken up after sleeping for 80 years. This dragon is from a special clan, who was meant to look after the village. The characters try to reintroduce the dragon into their village.

One of the villagers was deaf, so the other people learned sign language. They would speak in sign language. This was demonstrated with the text in a different kind of text box, to show that it was being signed. I really liked this representation of sign language.

I love the illustrations in this series. The settings are beautiful, and remind me of fairy tales because of the flowers and plants. The dragons and tea dragons aren’t like typical dragons. These ones are cute and cuddly. They almost look like stuffed toys!

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read The Tea Dragon Festival? What did you think of it?

Review: Counting in Mi’kmaw / Mawkiljemk Mi’kmawiktuk

Title: Counting in Mi’kmaw / Mawkiljemk Mi’lmawiktuk
Author: Loretta Gould
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 30, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

One is Ne’wt, for one bear. Two is Ta’pu, for two women at the sacred fire. Counting from one to ten in English and Mi’kmaw, baby is introduced to both the ancestral language of Mi’kmaki and to Mi’kmaw culture and legend, through beautifully rendered illustrations of important animals, like turtle, bear, and beaver, to concepts integral to the Mi’kmaw world view, like the Four (Ne’w) Directions, and the Seven (L’luiknek) Mi’kmaw teachings. Features bright and detailed illustrations from celebrated Waycobah-based Mi’kmaw illustrator, Loretta Gould.

Review:

I read this book as part of the Toronto Public Library reading challenge for 2019. It is a great children’s book!

This book teaches children how to count to ten in English and Mi’kmaw. The numbers and words that describe the illustrations are written in both languages.

The illustrations are beautiful. They contain images from the natural world in the Native style. They were detailed and a wonderful addition to the story.

I really liked this book. I’m glad to see a children’s book that is an introduction to Native Canadian culture, which is an important part of Canadian history.

What to read next:

Fox and Squirrel Help Out by Ruth Ohi

Have you read Counting in Mi’kmaw? What did you think of it?

Review: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Title: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
Author: Heather Gale, Mika Song
Genre: Children’s, LGBT
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.

Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine(girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.

When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .

Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.

Ho’onani’s story first appeared in the documentary A Place in the Middle by filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.

Review:

This story is about a little girl, named Ho’onani, in Hawaii who identifies as being in between a boy and a girl. She refers to herself as a girl, but she wants to join the boys hula troupe at her school. After some convincing, she is allowed to join the boys and even lead them in a performance.

Ho’onani was a strong girl in the story. She wanted to be a hula warrior, so she kept trying to reach her dream. She received some backlash at home, when her sister didn’t approve of what Ho’onani was doing. Even through these harsh comments, she still kept her unique identity.

I really enjoyed this picture book about identity.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, Hatem Aly

Have you read Ho’onani: Hula Warrior? What did you think of it?

Review: Mary Shelley (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Mary Shelley (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Mary Shelley, the English novelist and creator of Frankenstein.

When Mary Shelley was a little girl, she used to write stories beneath the trees in her garden. As an adult, Mary was inspired by this same imagination to create a ghost story, which became the famous novel: Frankenstein. This gripping book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the novelist’s life.

Review:

I love the books in the Little People, Big Dreams series! The books teach kids about important historical figures.

Last year was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There were many retellings and biographies of her that were published last year to celebrate.

Shelley was an intelligent and innovative woman. She used the knowledge of new inventions of the 1800s to write one of the most famous horror stories of all time. It is amazing that she wrote it when she was a young woman. She wrote it for a competition between friends to write a scary story. She was very successful with that project.

This is a great book to teach kids about Mary Shelley.

Thank you Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Agatha Christie (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Jane Austen (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Have you read Mary Shelley? What did you think of it?