Guys, you wouldn’t believe how many books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet this year. Particularly NetGalley books, which means I can’t request new ones, which is unacceptable. So let’s do some mental spring cleaning, & get these books reviewed.
Wheels, No Wheels by Shannon McNeill is a silly-nonsense book that I would have easily incorporated into my pre-k transportation unit lesson plans. Starts with a very simple breakdown of things like “A tractor has wheels. A llama has no wheels.” and quickly devolves into the chaos that would occur if llama – and all the other farm animals – suddenly decided that they’d LIKE to have wheels. The illustrations do the heavy lifting here – watching the farmer girl trudge after all the wheeled animals on her slow little feet requires the grumpiness of her facial expressions to move this story along. It’s fast book, probably purposefully, but watching them all clamber into a van driven by a chicken at the end is a pretty good payoff. 3 Stars
My Lala by Thomas King, illustrated by Charlene Chua is another quick read (I have a Kindle copy, but I’d be surprised if it was more than 10 pages). The illustrations are vibrant & fun & the intent of the book, based on the publisher’s copy is great -> “A joyful picture book about confidence featuring a little girl making her mark on the world.” But it reads a little … possessive? To me? And I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and am no less conflicted.
On the one hand, I love the idea of a girl taking up space, naming and claiming what is hers in the world. Doing it with stickers? is as on target for small kids as you can get – Give your littles a place to put stickers, or they will find a place, I promise you. However, on the other hand, a lot of the social-emotional vocabulary building we do with kids young enough to be interested in this book focuses on sharing? On community building & how these markers are everybody’s markers, and we have to let our friends have access to them as well. And if you’ve got a little with siblings? You know this fight on a cellular level. So it may just be that my youngest niblings are stuck in a “my sister touched the corner of blanket when she walked by and I need to have a meltdown” stage, but I am having a hard time trying to figure out where/when this would be an appropriate book to introduce.
Great illustrations, good intent, I’m just not 100% sure they hit the target without mowing over the other skills we’re expecting kids to build at the same time. So more like 2.5 rounded up to 3 stars for me.
Another book that was also as true as it could be, Baby Squeaks by Anne Hunter seems to have hit the target head-on, however. There’s very little reading taking place in this book, but wow do the illustrations do a lot of the talking/explaining. Baby Mouse used to not know any words, but once they learned some words? They never stopped squeaking. Ever. So, one day when Mama Mouse just needs a tiny bit of quiet, she puts Baby Mouse outside the doorstop, still talking. And Baby Mouse finds some new friends to regale with their oratory.
It’s a simple, humorous book – particularly for anybody who has got their own chatterbox at home. It can also give a little nudge to the “and sometimes Mama needs a tiny bit of peace and quiet or else she feels like she’s gonna lose it” explanations. The words sure do crowd things in their tiny home, and that’s a good visual for something small kids might have a harder time understanding. 5 stars for this one.
Copies of all of these were provided to me by NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.