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 more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
March 7, 2014 | 1 comment
A review of Mrs Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater

If you stand on the dresser in Maxine’s new high-rise bedroom and look out of the very corner of the window, you might see a tiny little cottage, tucked in behind all the skyscrapers in the neighborhood. That is the home of Mrs. Noodlekugel and her talking, baking cat, Mr. Fuzzface. Nick and Maxine aren’t sure how to get to the backyard of the skyscraper to meet Mrs. Noodlekugel, but with the help of the Mike the janitor (who likes to eat stewed tomatoes out of the can), they find their way to more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
December 13, 2013 | 0 comments
Home of Song
A review of Home of Song by Paul Spring

Not many kids albums boast lyrics about the “Dow Jones and NASDAQ” (especially in a song about a rickety old car), but Home of Song manages to do so in the most charming way. This is one of those rare albums that is filled with songs that each have their own unique sound which still manage to work together to create a well-blended mix. The melodies and harmonies will make you want to bounce and sing along and the lyrics will keep you coming back for repeat listenings. Even the most more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
September 6, 2013 | 0 comments
A Little Love
A review of A Little Love by Renee + Jeremy

The children’s music duo known as Renee + Jeremy have  a history of creating the most mellow kids’ albums that aren’t specifically lullaby music, but work well to calm a raging three year old. Their newest, A Little Love doesn’t break that pattern. What is a bit different about this recording is that every song is a cover of a piece originally recorded by a different artist—from bands as diverse as Simon & Garfunkel, REM and the Monkees all the way to Coldplay and the Red Hot more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
July 5, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Who Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket’s snark + the clipped speech of hard-boiled detective novels = the tone of the first installment in a new Snicket series called, All the Wrong Questions. It tells the story of Lemony’s own education as a private eye as he tries to get the scoop about an odd statue called the Bombinating Beast, which may or may not be valuable and which may or may not have been stolen from his client. Of course, the plot is secondary to the unique voice with which Mr. Snicket tells his more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
April 12, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of PICKLE by Kimberly Baker

The first thing you need to realize about pickle making is that it is serious business. Pickling has a long and illustrious history in the food preservation industry. Pssst! Are all of the grown-ups gone? They are? Great. Then we can let you in on a secret. The League of Pickle Makers is really a cover for the newest club at Fountain Point Middle School—the P.T.A. (Pranks and Trick Association). The club was started by me, Ben Ruiz, and we only do pranks that are funny or fun and not mean. If more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
March 29, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Pie by Sarah Weeks

Alice’s beloved Aunt Polly made amazing pies. She loved to bake them so much that she opened up a pie shop and gave the pies away for free! Everyone in town had a favorite flavor of Polly’s pies, and as word of them spread, people traveled from all over to taste her renowned baking. Sadly, Aunt Polly dies unexpectedly and perplexes everyone by leaving her secret pie crust recipe to her cat, Lardo. Her will also bequeaths Lardo himself (a rather grumpy cat) to her favorite niece, Alice. How do more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
January 25, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Not a Baby Anymore by Jorge Uzon

New parents take a million photos of their baby, but many end up buried on a computer hard drive (the modern day equivalent to the shoebox under the bed). Author Jorge Uzón not only created an adorable series of four board books about his son’s first year of life, he also managed to get them published to share with the world! Attractive photographs fill each page, accompanied by simple text discussing the everyday life of his baby from birth to first birthday. Since the books are full of more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
October 5, 2012 | 0 comments
A review of Let's Play House by Emma Quay

I know I’ve discovered a new favorite book whenever I find myself wishing I could crawl inside the story and live there. That doesn’t happen very often with board books, and even less often with a multi-book series, so I was thrilled to discover the “Hello, Friends” books, written by Emma Quay and illustrated by Anna Walker. Three friends, a panda, an owl and a sheep, play together in these four delightful tales about imagination, bravery, sharing and bedtime. Although those topics have been more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
August 10, 2012 | 0 comments
Book cover
A review of Pond Babies by Cathryn Falwell

Pond Babies initially caught my eye with its cover illustration of a mother and child who have different skin tones. After recently joining the adoption community, I have become more aware of the lack of books that celebrate families that don’t look alike. As I read this book, I was excited to note that the author has also chosen to highlight mother/baby animal pairs that don’t look exactly alike (frogs, loons, deer, etc.). I realize that the analogy doesn’t extend fully (the animal more

Reviewed by Carissa - Alicia Ashman on
July 27, 2012 | 3 comments