The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press, April 2014) is a STEM book. (For those not in the “know,” as I was not until recently, STEM is educational slang for something relating to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mechanics.) A creative girl heads out to make the “magnificent thing,” but cannot seem to get it right for quite a while. Trial and error, experimentation. She keeps going. It is not easy, and finally she succeeds!

I loved how the author-illustrator included multiple pictures per page. You can see the girl’s growing frustration as she works, creates, and starts anew. I also enjoyed how we could see her creations throughout the story, but we could never quite see what she was making until the very end. Her facial expressions can show the reader (and young STEM workers) that creation takes lots of work, lots of mistakes, and lots of concentration. She had a great idea, but it took quite a while to get to her finished “magnificient thing.”

I see lots of educational value in this book for schools, but I also believe it is a strong, fun story with clever illustrations. Non-readers can still enjoy it by reviewing the pictures. This will be a winner with kids, for sure!

Note: I received a digital copy for review consideration.

Super Red Riding Hood Claudia Dávila


Super Red Riding Hood by Claudia Dávila (Kids Can Press, August 2014) is a twist on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, with an emphasis on the super powers of Ruby, a girl who has no fear … or does she? With delightful cartoon-like and friendly illustrations, Ruby’s story shows us that sometimes our kindness is a strength to help us turn enemies into friends!Continue Reading

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) is my new favorite “expecting a baby” book for kids. Although it is full of nonsense as a a soon-to-be-big brother is told all sorts of whoppers about where a baby comes from, it is in fact a no-nonsense book for parents interested in opening a practical dialogue with children.

I am a big fan of keeping things factual when it comes to the baby front. In this clever story about a young boy seeking the truth about his expected sibling, his grandpa, teacher, and other associates are not so frank with him, leaving him scratching his head. I love how when he finally has a conversation with his parents and gets the truth, he is satisfied that everyone is a little bit right. And I love the kicker at the very end. (I won’t spoil it for you.)Continue Reading

Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec

In Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec and illustrated by Pierre Pratt (Kids Can Press, August 2014), the farmer entrusts Max the dog with a special mission: find the thief that is stealing all the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries. Full of confidence, Max chases a bug, believing it to be the thief. Of course, when he encounters his friends rabbit, pig, goat, and crow amid the carrots, berries, beans, and cherries, he confides in them his mission. All are more than happy to help make sure the thief does not get their special foods from the farmer’s fields!Continue Reading