Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson is part a mystery story but also part a story of friendship in a friendly forest. Detective Gordon, a toad, is the only officer in the forest, and he sits alone at his desk. When a hungry and lonely forest mouse is caught stealing nuts from squirrel’s winter stock, he invites her home and gives her some food. He is aghast that she does not even have a name, and proudly bestows one on her. Buffy becomes his sidekick, and together they are able to find a solution to the stolen nuts in the forest. Detective Gordon is a fun addition to the early chapter book lists and I hope this is the first of many such adventures for the good detective and his meek side kick.Continue Reading
A Friend for Mole by Nancy Armo is about a mole who stumbles out of his hole and feels lonely because he’s afraid of the light, as well as wolf who got lost from his home in the middle of the night and is afraid of the dark. Since they are afraid of the opposite things, Mole helps Wolf in the night, and Wolf helps MOle find his home in the day light. Together the two friends play, explore, and scare monsters away. When morning comes, Wolf can help Mole back home. A Friend for Mole is a sweet story about two animal friends.
Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson is about two unlikely friends, one 4 and three-quarters years old and the other ninety-two and a half. I loved how this was a story about how friendships evolve and change. I love how the two friends, although very different in age, found things they liked to do together. I was afraid when I first started that Walter’s age meant that this would have change involving his death, but it did not! It had Walter moving (against his will!) . I like how Walter, despite the fact that he feels too old to rake leaves in the end, still had some ideas of how the two could have fun in the fall leaves. Although there was an element of sadness to the story (simply because things do change), I felt so warm inside as I thought about these two unlikely friends!
Little One by Jo Weaver shows a mama bear and her little cub coming out of hibernation and into the world for a summer of adventure. The all black-and-white pencil sketches are surprisingly detailed and engaging. In fact, they perfectly capture the simple details of learning to befriend little creatures, find food, and pad back through the newly fallen snow to a cave for another winter of hibernation. Little One is an understated beauty.
Note: I received digital copies of these books from the publishers for review consideration.
Tru and Nelle by G. Neri is a book about a young Harper Lee and a young Truman Capote. In this book, however, Harper Lee is known as Nelle and young Truman is Tru. I often heard that the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the characters in that book were based on the childhood friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote; this is a children’s book that fictionalizes their friendship.Continue Reading
Elephant Man by Mariangela Di Fiore and Hilde Hodnefjeld (Annick Press 2015) is a difficult picture book for older children about an obscure deformed man in history, one that was famous in his own way but tragically alone. Continue Reading