Picture Book Sunday: Walk on the Wild Side by Nicholas Oldland

Walk on the Wild Side by Nicholas Oldland (Kids Can Press, 2014) is a delightful story about three friends (a bear, a moose, and a beaver) who love to have adventures together. The cartoon illustrations show the humor of these particular friends hiking together, but ultimately the message of “enjoying the journey” is a memorable one.

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School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Alice Feagan (Kids Can Press, 2015) captures Malala’s vision in the epigram at the beginning: “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education.” In the cut-paper collage illustrations, the stories of real children around the world come to life. Although School Days is a short picture book, it covers a variety of  ways people receive an education around the world. Obviously, it does not capture all countries or situations, but it does provide a nice overview in an easily accessible format. I loved that the stories were based on real people!Continue Reading

The Grasshopper and the Ants by Jerry Pinkney

In his note following his picture book, The Grasshopper and the Ants (Little, Brown and Company 2015), Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney says the picture book is intended to be an “homage to nature.” The rich details of the summer and autumn turning in to winter certainly provide an appropriate homage. As with his richly illustrated Caldecott Medal award winner, The Lion and the Mouse, each page is full of intricate details, with each stroke adding realistic dimension to the collage of color. Even the snow-white winter scenes have a texture that gives dimension, as the poor struggling grasshopper tries to find refuge from the weather.Continue Reading

999 Frogs (Two Books by Ken Kimura)

My son and I enjoyed 999 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura dn Yasunari Murakami (May 2011) when we read it years ago, so I was excited to see the two sequels to it in our local library.


999 Frogs Wake Up (North South, 2013) is a fitting read for the beginning of spring. As the frogs emerge from the mud after a long winter, Mother Frog is disturbed when she only counts 998 of her babies. Where is the last one? When Big Brother is found to still be sleeping, the frogs decide to find out who else may be sleeping in the early Spring. I really enjoyed this book because I see the educational value of learning about animals that sleep over a long winter. As an adult, I enjoyed the anticipation, knowing that the silly young frogs would meet one of their own predators in their search to wake the other animals! My daughter enjoyed the story too.

999 Frogs and  Little Brother (North South, 2015) has a different feel to it from the others in the series, because this book starts back when the frogs are still tadpoles and it focuses on one of the frogs for a portion of the story. The youngest frog has not quite become a frog yet and must remain in the pond by himself, and he is delighted when a small young crayfish becomes his friend, thinking they are brothers. Thus, Big Brother (the littlest frog) makes a dear friend. When he eventually must leave the pond too, the friendship continues, because the young crayfish comes to the rescue of the frogs at a later date. I liked the emphasis on friendship. Although Big Brother truly was the youngest and smallest, he still could find a friend with whom to play. Never underestimate the power of a friend, even if you have 998 siblings! Note: I received a digital copy for review consideration.