MADreads for Kids

A review of The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble is the best kind of historical fiction. It tells the story of a real event, the 1854 London cholera outbreak, through the eyes of a fictional thirteen year old boy, Eel. Eel is a likable protagonist with a secret and a story of his own. He is a mudlark, sifting through the muck of the Thames river for things to sell. He supplements his income by doing odd jobs around his neighborhood and beyond. One of those jobs is cleaning the animal cages of the great Dr. John Snow ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
March 28, 2014 | 3 comments
A review of On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Ah, wondrous science! On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne is a sparse yet brilliant picture book biography that will engage and inspire young readers. The book begins with baby Einstein, who didn’t utter a single word for a very long time. He just watches and wonders at the world around him. When he begins school, his teachers think him strange. But Albert was always pondering numbers, light, and space . . . His wonderings led to many amazing scientific ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
March 21, 2014 | 0 comments
Always Be a Unicorn
A review of Always Be a Unicorn by Helen Austin

If the Ditty Bops ever start looking for a third band member, Helen Austin would be perfect for the job. Like their music, hers is twinkly-smooth and happy, even the slow songs. Her lyrics are delightfully whimsical (the title song quips, “Always be yourself/but if you can be a unicorn/always be a unicorn”) and the tunes are so catchy you’ll easily begin to sing along, even on the first or second time hearing the album. And yet, despite their apparent simplicity, the songs stay fresh even after ...read more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
March 7, 2014 | 1 comment
A review of Baby Wants Mama by Nancy Loewen

Everyone in the family, from Baby to Mama to Pup, wants something at dinnertime in this sweet, simple story. Short sentences and a relatable situation make this a perfect read aloud for toddlers who need quick reads, and the repetition and rhyme makes it a good choice for beginning readers, as well. Baby wants Mama -- and a good book, too! ...read more

Reviewed by Krissy on
February 28, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath

Attention fans of earth movers! These dogs are ready to roll. Follow along with some canine construction workers as they use heavy equipment to make great discoveries and build a park for their community. The rhyming text explains the action and the bright, detailed illustrations give the readers plenty to peruse. The heavy equipment is accurately depicted in the illustrations. The text and the illustrations work together to create understanding of each earth mover's special job. For those who ...read more

Reviewed by Ruth on
February 21, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

John and Marta are surprised when they find a young boy sleeping on their porch. A note in his pocket states that Jacob is a good boy and they--whoever left him there--will come back for him. As days turn to weeks, John and Marta witness and encourage Jacob's creativity and musical genius, despite his muteness. This is a sweet story about making a hard decision between doing the right thing and keeping something you want so very much. The impact of this little boy affects the way John and Marta ...read more

Reviewed by Jody on
February 14, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Mr Wuffles by David Wiesner

Mr. Wuffles is a cat, but this is not a story about a cat. Or at least it’s not a story just about a cat. It’s a story about a cat and aliens. Let me start at the beginning. There is a new toy in Mr. Wuffles’ house. In fact, there are many new toys in Mr. Wuffles’ house, but he doesn’t like to play with any of them -- except one. It’s small and silver and there are tiny green dots that move around inside of it. Pssst: It’s a spaceship that is so small, it could fit inside the palm of your child ...read more

Reviewed by Tina - Central on
January 31, 2014 | 2 comments
Newbery and Caldecott Medal Winners The prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals were announced by the American Library Association on Monday. The awards, which recognize achievement in children’s literature and children’s book illustration respectively, are seen as the top honor in American children’s publishing. ...read more

Reviewed by Katie H. on
January 28, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Graceful flamingo is practicing his ballet moves when he spies a little girl in bathing cap and flippers mimicking his poses. After a slightly rocky start, both Flora and the flamingo discover that the dance is much more fun with two. In this wordless tale by artist Molly Idle, a gentle friendship is formed as the two share their love of dance in luminous drawings. And this might even lead to taking a risk with enjoyable results. Flip down tabs reveal the story at just the right pace. For ...read more

Reviewed by Katie H. on
January 24, 2014 | 2 comments
A review of Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage

The American Library Association will announce the winner and runners up for the prestigious Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book of the year on Monday, January 27th.In the meantime, here’s a list of 10 strong candidates plus 1. Which of these do you feel is most distinguished? Do you know of another book published in 2013 that looks like an award-winner?1. Ten Orange Pumpkins; a ...read more

Reviewed by Karen on
January 17, 2014 | 2 comments