First Mothers by Beverly Gherman


We often encounter books about the wives of the U.S. presidents. We’ve seen a number of books about the presidents themselves. But what about the mothers of the presidents?

First Mothers by Beverly Gherman and Julie Downing (Clarion Books, 2012) finally puts the mothers’ stories at the forefront. With just one or two pages per mother, Gherman captures the personalities of the women who raised the people who would become president of the USA. The facts are interesting, relevant, and amusing. Julie Downing’s cartoon-like illustrations keep humor through the book as well, highlighting the humor of the mother’s stories.Continue Reading

Animal Lullabies by Lila Prap

How do various animals get to sleep at night?

In Animal Lullabies, Lila Prap gives us the lullabies the mothers sing to them. Each is perfectly suited for the particular animals. The animals featured include owls, chicks, kittens (who receive a song of yarn), baby mice (who dream of cheese to nibble), and more.Continue Reading

Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton

Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton (Gemelli Press, June 2014) is almost like The Little Red Hen, except the boy in the story helps all along and so he delights in the delicious treat at the end!

Tino helps his grandparents plant, irrigate, and nurture the family tomato plants that provide the livelihood for their family for the entire year. Tino is a hard worker, but he also delights in the various stages of growing the tomatoes.

Based in a small Italian village in a different era, Tino and the Pomodori teaches the reader not only about the live cycle of a tomato plant but also about what it means to work hard. Various sentences and phrases are also in Italian, giving the reader even more of a background into the life in which Tino lives and works. With colorful paintings to accompany the text, Tino and the Pomodori also makes my mouth water for good Italian bread, oil, and tomato sauce!

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book.

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke


The cartoon-like illustrations in Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (First Second Books, September 2014) perfectly match the child-like imaginative story.  It begins with fantastic personification:

Julie’s house came to town and settled by the sea.

And Julia is obviously not a normal girl, for when she decides to open her home to lost creatures, she finds herself welcoming not just “patched up Kitty” but a sad troll and all sorts of other monsters.Continue Reading