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.
My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada (originally published 1993) is a thought-provoking story about a shy Hispanic girl growing up in the USA who finds herself in a new school. When her teacher decides to call her “Mary” instead of Maria Isabel, she misses opportunities and gets in trouble for not paying attention. In this brief collection of situations, reflections, and flashbacks, Maria Isabel’s story reflects on how important names and families are to our own personal identity. (more…)
When I was young, I loved Ann M. Martin’s books. Of course, I read The Baby-Sitter’s Club, but I also looked up everything else she wrote. The book I received for review consideration seemed eerily familiar as I read it, so I’m pretty sure I visited this once before.
Bummer Summer by Ann M. Martin (Open Road Media, April 2014) was originally published in 1983 and now it is being issued by Open Road Media as an ebook. This book is such a fun summer read. Kammy’s dad has just remarried a woman with a baby and a three-year-old girl, and her life is now turned upside down! She doesn’t want to lose her place in her house and her dad’s heart but they want her to spend the summer at Camp Arrowhead. Can she survive away from home? It is sure to be a bummer summer. (more…)
The Other Bears by Michael Thompson (Star Bright Books, October 2013) is a simple tale of prejudice being overcome by friendship, except this is a somewhat silly picture book about bears!
The koala bear family (who technically are not bears at all but marsupials) are busy enjoying their day at the beach when other families arrive.
First comes the panda bear family, with Chinese dress and food. Then there is the polar bear family (with snow shoes and coats) and the black bear family (with American parade regalia). Finally, the brown bear family (with German/European outfits) and the sun bear family (with Southeast Asian clothes) join the crowd on the beach. (more…)
I love books about words and I love fun stories about sisters. Ava and Pip by Carol Weston (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, March 2014) is both of those, told through a young girl’s diary. I have always (until kids, at least) been a regular journal writer as well, so I enjoy stories told from this perspective.
Ava is the out-going younger sister, and Pip is the shy and studious older sister. Although the two get along, when Ava writes something that embarrasses Pip, their relationship is strained. How can Ava help her sister overcome her shyness? The end result is inviting and encouraging to all kids who feel shy.
The story moves quickly. Other than the conflicts between Ava and her sister, it also gives us a delightful glimpse into the Wren family. As Ava writes in her diary, we follow their family’s interest (obsession?) with palindromes. Ava finds palindromes in everything around her, and the author includes a list of all the palindromes from the book at the end. What a great way to introduce a word-play concept: sneak it in to an interesting book!
In short, I really enjoyed Ava and Pip. I was the shy older sister; my sister was the outgoing younger sister. I think this is a book that girls with sisters would especially appreciate.
Note: I received a digital review copy.