Review: Can You Believe It?: How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts

Title: Can You Believe It?: How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts
Author: Joyce Grant, Kathleen Marcotte (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Nonfiction
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

For today’s tech-savvy kids, here’s the go-to resource for navigating what they read on the internet.

Should we believe everything we read online? Definitely not! And this book will tell you why. This fascinating book explores in depth how real journalism is made, what “fake news” is and, most importantly, how to spot the difference. It’s chock-full of practical advice, thought-provoking examples and tons of relevant information on subjects that range from bylines and credible sources to influencers and clickbait. It gives readers context they can use, such as how bias can creep into news reporting, why celebrity posts may not be truthful and why they should be suspicious of anything that makes them feel supersmart. Young people get most of their information online. This must-read guide helps them decide which information they can trust — and which they can’t.

Author and journalist Joyce Grant is an expert on how young people interact with and think about online media. Never judgmental, and often hilarious, she encourages readers to approach what they find online with skepticism and helps them hone their critical thinking skills to make good choices about what to believe and share. Engaging text is broken into manageable chunks, with loads of Kathleen Marcotte’s playful illustrations on every spread to help explain tricky concepts. Two fake articles are deconstructed step by step using the information found in the book, and an additional article allows readers to test their skills. This comprehensive book has strong curriculum connections in language arts and social studies. Endmatter features a glossary, an author’s note, sources and an index.

Review:

Can You Believe It? gives tips on how to spot fake news on the internet. There are tons of fake new articles posted on the internet every day. Some are clickbait, some are satire, but many are complete lies. It’s important to be able to spot them so that lies aren’t spread. This book is a helpful guide for kids (and adults) on how to identify fake news to stop it from spreading. 

I’ve been so excited about this book since I found out that my friend Joyce Grant was writing it! Now more than ever, it’s so important to be able to spot fake news articles. There are many lies on the internet and children have so much access to technology, the internet, and fake news. It’s important to teach children critical thinking so they can find reliable news sources. 

There were many practical examples of determining if an article is from a reliable source. Joyce referenced a fun Canadian ad for the “house hippo,” which was a tiny hippo that could live in your house, eating peanut butter crumbs and sleeping in shoes. That ad was meant to teach children that not everything that you see on TV is true. The commercial was actually brought back recently in an updated version featuring technology. It was a believable commercial, but obviously we don’t have tiny house hippos hiding in our houses. I loved seeing these kinds of real ads analyzed in this book using the tips on how to spot fake news. 

Can You Believe It? is a great resource for children!

Thank you Joyce Grant and Kids Can Press for sending me a copy of this book!

Have you read Can You Believe It? What did you think of it?

Review: Esme’s Birthday Conga Line

Title: Esme’s Birthday Conga Line
Author: Lourdes Heuer, Marissa Valdez
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Esme always has a plan. A funny and sweet early illustrated chapter book about a problem-solving girl who has to manage her own birthday bash. For fans of Dory Fantasmagory.

Esme lives with her grandparents on the uppermost floor of the topmost best building. It’s her birthday. Mimi and Pipo gave her a beautiful guitar. But they didn’t plan a birthday party.

Esme thinks this is the way with grandparents. They don’t know about parties or piñatas or birthday cake. No problem! Esme is great at problem solving.

With a little help of her cat, El Toro, and a LOT of help from her neighbors in the topmost best building, the irrepressible Esme gets the birthday party of her dreams.

Review:

Esme lives with her grandparents on the uppermost floor of the topmost best building. They gave her a guitar for her birthday but they didn’t plan a party for her. So Esme, with her cat El Toro, decides to make her own birthday party by making a piñata, baking a cake, and inviting everyone who lives in the building, even the grumpy superintendent!

This is an adorable early chapter book about an independent little girl. When Esme didn’t get the party she wanted, she decided to make it happen. Though she made the plans to do everything, the rest of her guests from the building helped her with each step. 

I liked that Esme lived in an unconventional household, living only with her grandparents. They didn’t understand that Esme wanted a party for her birthday, so this shows one issue that can arise from an unconventional family situation. It’s important to have diverse representation of different cultures and family structures, so that all children can see themselves in books and all children can learn all family lifestyles. 

Esme’s Birthday Conga Line is an adorable children’s book. 

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Your Birthday Was the Best by Maggie Hutchings, Felicita Sala

Have you read Esme’s Birthday Conga Line? What did you think of it?

Review: Hat Cat

Title: Hat Cat
Author: Troy Wilson, Eve Coy (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 8, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Hat the cat’s doting human friend doesn’t come home for a while, will a young visitor offer the lonely kitty a taste of freedom? A gentle, touching story for cat lovers of all ages.

Ever since the old man found a little kitten under his hat, the two have been the best of friends. There are always plenty of kitty rubs and food and talk to go around. Every day, Hat watches as the old man goes outside to sit and feed the squirrels with nuts he places on top of his hat. But Hat the cat is not allowed to join him. What if Hat ran away, or chased the squirrels–or worse? Then the old man leaves and does not come back the next day, or the one after that. When people come by to take care of Hat until the old man returns, will one little girl give Hat the chance he’s been hoping for? Troy Wilson’s tender prose, along with Eve Coy’s charmingly detailed illustrations, brings readers a sweet story about companionship, love, and trust.

Review:

One day, while an old man was feeding squirrels in his yard, he found a kitten in his hat. He named the kitten Hat and took him inside. However, he wouldn’t let the kitten back outside because he was worried that Hat would get hurt or lost. Then the old man disappeared. Hat had to adjust to the new people who visited to look after him, and possibly go outside again. 

This was an adorable picture book. I love cats! My family has just brought a kitten into our home, but we’ve looked after outdoor cats in our yard for many years. I could understand the kitten’s desire to go outside, because our outdoor cats love exploring the yard!

My heart broke a little when the old man disappeared from Hat’s life. I felt so bad for the kitten because he didn’t know where the man went. We’ve lost many cats and kittens in the years that we’ve looked after so I know how devastating it can be when the cats lose someone close to them and they don’t understand. Luckily, the man and the cat were eventually reunited. 

Hat Cat is a beautiful story for cat lovers!

Thank you Candlewick Press for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Cone Cat by Sarah Howden, Carmen Mok

Have you read Hat Cat? What did you think of it?

Review: How to High Tea with a Hyena (And Not Get Eaten)

Title: How to High Tea with a Hyena (And Not Get Eaten)
Author: Rachel Poliquin, Kathryn Durst (illustator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? High teas are dainty meals with pretty teacups: you nibble tiny cakes, sip milky tea, and chit-chat about not-so important things like why doughnuts have holes and if fish have eyebrows. But Ruby the hyena is loud, ferocious, and tends to slobber. High-speed gobbling makes good sense in the wild, but it is a definite no-no in the tearoom! And Ruby just happens to be Queen of a very large clan of hungry hyenas. Will high tea be ruined by uninvited guests? Is Ruby peckish for something other than Celeste’s famous cream buns? Using her vast knowledge of hyenas, Celeste comes up with lots of strategies to get through high tea in one piece. Many of her suggestions are dangerous, most are absurd, but all are based on true hyena biology and hunting behavior.

Review:

In this book, Celeste the cockroach teaches how to survive having high tea with a hyena. She explains how to politely eat snacks and drink tea while having time to gossip. However, hyenas can’t learn these skills very well. Celeste has some strategies on how to interact with these polite predators. 

This was an adorable and funny story. I learned a lot about hyenas that I didn’t know before. I’d never heard of an aardwolf (a type of hyena) or that hyenas can’t climb so other predators hide their food in trees, away from hyenas. 

This story was funny in the way the hyena couldn’t behave politely during the high tea, but it was also a good teaching tool. The hyena shows how we shouldn’t behave in polite situations, so that will teach children what’s right and wrong during events like having high tea. It’s ironic that a cockroach, an insect associated with being dirty, was the one teaching about polite behaviour.

How to High Tea with a Hyena is a fun children’s book!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

How to Promenade with a Python (And Not Get Eaten) by Rachel Poliquin, Kathryn Durst (illustrator)

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)

Other books in the series:

  • How to Promenade with a Python (And Not Get Eaten)

Have you read How to High Tea with a Hyena? What did you think of it?

Review: Your Birthday Was the Best!

Title: Your Birthday Was the Best!
Author: Maggie Hutchings, Felicita Sala
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The story of an eager cockroach who gate-crashes a birthday party — with hilarious results. For fans of I Don’t Want to Be a Frog.

It’s your birthday, and little do you know that an unwelcome guest has joined in on the festivities. A friendly cockroach has snuck undetected into the house, and has proceeded to join in on all of your fun party games. You were so excited to finally spot him napping on top of your birthday cake, having eaten his fill, that you couldn’t help but scream! You think he’s gone when your dad sucks him up in the vacuum cleaner . . . but with a birthday party this good, he’s going to be nearly impossible to keep away!

This laugh-out-loud picture book from bestselling author Maggie Hutchings and acclaimed illustrator Felicita Sala is the perfect birthday gift for young readers.

Review:

A cockroach was watching a boy’s birthday party from outside of his house. He decided to go inside and join in the festivities. After all the games, the cockroach fell asleep on the cake, and was vacuumed up by the boy’s father. But he wouldn’t give up on the party that easily, so he found his way back inside.

This book’s release day is my birthday, so I thought I was meant to read it! The idea of having a cockroach at your birthday party is quite gross. The kids at the party were scared of it, but the cockroach thought they were screaming in excitement. It was cute the way he misinterpreted what they were doing, but it’s hard to get over the gross factor of the story.

Your Birthday Was the Best was a cute children’s book, but it doesn’t make me want to invite a cockroach to my party!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book.

Megabat and the Not-Happy Birthday by Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich

Have you read Your Birthday Was the Best!? What did you think of it?

Review: The Puffin Keeper

Title: The Puffin Keeper
Author: Michael Morpurgo, Benji Davies (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Puffin Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 15, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From bestselling author Michael Morpurgo comes a beautifully illustrated classic story about a lighthouse keeper, a daring rescue and puffins, for fans of War Horse and The One and Only Ivan.

As a child, Allen is saved from a nautical disaster by Benjamin Postlethwaite, a solitary lighthouse keeper. Years later, Allen returns to the lighthouse, and the two nurse an injured young puffin back to health. When Allen is called up to fight in World War Two, he’s not sure he’ll see his mother or Benjamin again, but his fond memories of his time at the lighthouse keep him going, even through prison camp.

Allen and Ben’s enduring friendship over the years is the basis for this story about friendship, art, war and an incredibly adorable puffin. From masterful storyteller Michael Morpurgo and world-class illustrator Benji Davies comes this truly beautiful tale which will enchant readers of all ages.

Review:

In 1926, Benjamin Postlethwaite looks after the lighthouse on Puffin Island. He takes his job very seriously. One day, he sees a ship in distress and goes to save the people on board. He rescues young Allen and his mother. Allen becomes Benjamin’s friend for life, bonding over painting and rescuing a puffin.

This is a beautiful story. I love puffins. I saw some on my trip to Newfoundland for the first time a couple of years ago, and I was shocked to see how tiny they were. They’re amazing little birds. Ironically, the island in this story didn’t have puffins on them anymore, until Ben and Allen healed one that kept returning to the island.

The story was beautiful as well as the illustrations. Ben and Allen loved to paint and used paintings to communicate. Ships and the sea were Allen’s favourite things to paint. The gorgeous puffins were in many of the illustrations as well.

The Puffin Keeper is a beautiful book and story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Have you read The Puffin Keeper? What did you think of it?

Review: Happy Narwhalidays (Narwhal and Jelly #5)

Title: Happy Narwhalidays (Narwhal and Jelly #5)
Author: Ben Clanton
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Narwhal and Jelly spread some holiday cheer (and warm waffle pudding)!

It’s the festive season in the world wide waters, and Narwhal is looking forward to cozying up with a good book, singing and partying with his pod pals and enjoying some warm waffle pudding. But most of all he’s excited about the arrival of the Merry Mermicorn! According to Narwhal, she’s part mermaid, part unicorn and completely mer-aculous! Jelly is of course skeptical about the existence of the “Mira-Miny-What-A Corn” . . . even when he receives a mysterious present. It must be from Narwhal. Now Jelly has to get the perfect gift, but finding a present for someone as unique as Narwhal is no easy feat, even when you have six tentacles. How will Jelly ever come up with a whaley great gift for a best pal who spreads cheer all through the year?

Review:

It’s winter and Narwhal and Jelly are ready to celebrate! Narwhal is excited to await the arrival of the Merry Mermicorn. She’s part mermaid and part unicorn, and she delivers gifts. Jelly has never heard of her and doesn’t think she’s real. When Jelly gets a mysterious gift, he suspects it’s from Narwhal so he has to find the perfect gift for his cheerful and festive best friend.

I love the Narwhal and Jelly books! Narwhal has a cheerful innocence, while Jelly is suspicious of everything. They balance each other out and try to teach each other about new things.

There were some cute water inspired festive songs and sayings in the story. The Merry Mermicorn was like Santa Claus. They sang songs like “Jingle Shells” and “We Fish You a Merry Mermicorn.” The Turtle and Shelly even went to light a “minnow-orah.”

Happy Narwhalidays is an adorable holiday children’s book!

Thank you Tundra Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Narwhal’s Otter Friend by Ben Clanton

Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness by Ben Clanton

Other books in the series:

Have you read Happy Narwhalidays? What did you think of it?

Review: We Are One: How the World Adds Up

Title: We Are One: How the World Adds Up
Author: Susan Hood, Linda Yan (illustrator)
Genre: Children’s, Picture Book, Nonfiction
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts–and unity and connection are most important of all–in a beautifully illustrated counting book with a timely message. 

One can be one thing all on its own–one star, one stream, one stick, one stone. But those on their toes, those using their smarts, know one can be more than the sum of its parts.

Consider the two slices of bread that make up one sandwich, or the three lines of poetry that form one haiku, or even the ten years that form one decade. From one to ten, from sandwiches to centuries, every part is necessary to the whole. In this fascinating concept book, a simple rhyming narration aimed at younger children is complemented by informational panels about subjects like the four compass points, the five acts in Shakespeare, the seven colors of a rainbow, or the nine innings in baseball. Award-winning author Susan Hood and debut children’s book illustrator Linda Yan offer a mind-expanding look at early math concepts such as part/whole relationships, fractions, and addition–while underlying themes of cooperation, peace, and kindness make this beautiful volume one to be enjoyed by anyone at any age.

Review:

The world is made up of “ones.” You can have one stick, but a bunch of sticks makes one pile. Many other numbers can create one too. Two slices of bread make one sandwich. Seven colours make one rainbow. This picture book explains the way that numbers, and especially the number one, make up the whole world.

This was a fascinating book. The world is made up of the same numbers. Things found in nature and man-made things all consist of numbers. There were examples from around the world, such as Haiku poems from Japan (one poem with three lines) and Shakespeare plays from England (one play with five acts).

The story was told in rhyming lines that were illustrated on the page. Each page also had more in depth details about the history of what was mentioned on the page. For example, it explained how Braille is made up of six dots in different formations to create the language, and how the seasons come from the way the Earth tilts as it circles the sun. These facts could be interesting for some older children who would also like this book.

We Are One is a beautiful and educational picture book!

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

When Elephants Listen With Their Feet by Emmanuelle Grundmann, Clémence Dupont

Double Take!: A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood, Jay Fleck (illustrator)

Have you read We Are One? What did you think of it?

Review: Questions for Rebel Girls

Title: Questions for Rebel Girls
Author: Rebel Girls
Genre: Nonfiction, Children’s
Publisher: Rebel Girls
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Questions for Rebel Girls sparks lively discussions with more than 500 kid-friendly questions inspired by real rebel women from the best-selling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

Jane Goodall devoted her life to studying chimpanzees. If you dedicated your life to one type of animal, what would it be?

When cyclist Alfonsina Strada began racing, she was so unstoppable that newspapers nicknamed her “the devil in a dress.” What would your cycling nickname be?

Celia Cruz is the Queen of Salsa music. Beyoncé is a pop superstar. Roxanne Shante is an amazing rapper. And Joan Jett is all about rock and roll. If you could be a singing sensation, what type of music would you sing? If you could perform a duet with anyone in the world, who would you pick? 

If you could meet any woman from any country and any time in history, who would it be? What would you ask her? 

Would you rather ask questions or answer them?
 Luckily, with Questions for Rebel Girls, you can do both!

Girls love to explore their feelings, uncover their personality, and decode the world around them. One way to do that is to explore their answers to provocative questions about anything and everything. Questions for Rebel Girls introduces readers to extraordinary women throughout history and asks them to imagine themselves in similar scenarios. Designed to ignite exciting discussions between little rebels and their siblings, friends, and grown-ups, Questions for Rebel Girls is packed with more than 500 entertaining and thought-provoking questions—including some questions submitted by young fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

Review:

This book is filled with questions and small bios for the Rebel Girls who have been featured in the other Rebel Girls books. There were one or two lines of a biography and/or a quote from each successful woman on almost every page. These women were athletes, actors, scientists, CEOs, and writers, among other professions from around the world. Each of these women have left a mark in their profession.

There were multiple questions on each page. These were thought-provoking and conversation-starting questions. There were a lot of this-or-that or would-you-rather questions that were a lot of fun to think about. Others would require more thought, such as “How do you communicate besides using words?” and “What is more important— to be popular, successful, or loved?” These could be great questions for parents or educators to use when discussing these topics with kids.

Questions for Rebel Girls is a great thought-provoking children’s book!

Thank you Rebel Girls for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women by Rebel Girls

Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes by Rebel Girls

Have you read Questions for Rebel Girls? What did you think of it?

Review: Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes

Title: Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletes
Author: Rebel Girls
Genre: Nonfiction, Children’s
Publisher: Rebel Girls
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Rebel Girls Champions: 25 Tales of Unstoppable Athletescelebrates the stories of 25 phenomenal women in sports all written in fairy tale form. It is part of the award-winning Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series.

This paperback collection showcases some of the most beloved stories from the first three volumes of the New York Times best-selling series Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. It also features brand new tales of game-changing athletes and their drive, resilience, and sportsmanship. In Rebel Girls Champions, young readers can win the World Cup with Megan Rapinoe, flip and tumble with Simone Biles, and land breathtaking snowboard tricks with Chloe Kim. 

Coming out directly after the Tokyo Olympics, Rebel Girls Champions will include the most thrilling anecdotes from the 2021 Games.

The exciting, easy-to-read text is paired with colorful full-page portraits created by female artists from all around the world

Review:

This book gives descriptions of 25 women who are accomplished athletes. These women have broken records and made changes in their sports.

The stories in this book were very current. Many of the athletes mentioned appeared in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Those games were referenced multiple times, including Hidilyn Diaz, a weightlifter from the Philippines who broke an Olympic record, and Simone Biles, an American gymnast who made the tough decision to take care of her mental and physical health and step back from the Olympics.

This is an inspiring children’s book!

Thank you Rebel Girls for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women by Rebel Girls

Questions for Rebel Girls by Rebel Girls

Have you read Rebel Girls Champions? What did you think of it?