MADreads

A review of Yard Sale by Eve Bunting

Sometimes a yard sale can mean discovering marvelous treasures, fun times with parents or loved ones, or simply a summer day activity. But for Callie, the young protagonist in Yard Sale by Eve Bunting (Candlewick, 2015), it means that she has to give away all of her beloved things and move to a small apartment. Callie watches as a lady buys her bed “with crayon marks on it” and sees a man loading up her favorite red bike onto his truck. In Callie, we see (and feel) the heartache of leaving ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
September 4, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Spots in a Box by Helen Ward

What’s a guinea fowl to do with no spots? Ask for some, of course! In Spots in a Box by Helen Ward (Candlewick Press, 2015), a spotless bird writes a letter requesting some spots. He gets big spots, and little spots, bright spots, and connect-the-dot spots, fancy spots, and - even - not-spots! The humorous illustrations are a perfect combination to the words. The reader sees the guinea fowl try out all sorts of spots – with cardboard boxes, colorful dots, and packaging materials scattered ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
July 3, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Sparky! by Jenny Offill

A bird? A bunny? A trained seal? A young girl wants the perfect pet . . . however, her mother says no to all of these ideas. In fact, she says no to any pet that needs to be “walked or bathed or fed”. What’s a girl to do? Do research, find a pet that fits those criteria, and mail order one – of course! In Sparky! by Jenny Offill (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2014) the mail ordered pet turns out to be a sloth. A hang-from-the-tree, do-not-much-of-anything, except-if-it’s-really-really-slowly, kind ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
March 6, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert

Open up this lovely and colorful picture book about author and illustrator Lois Ehlert! The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life (Beach Lane Books, 2013) reads like a personal journal or memory book, with the added benefit of having Ehlert’s own stunning artwork, personal jottings, and inspirations filling every page. We get to see a yellowed photo of her parents after a trek to hunt wild asparagus. We get a peek at her folk art and fishing lure collection – we see mock-ups of some of her ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
December 19, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller

A sweet story about a girl and her friend – who just happens to be a butternut squash! Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013) is a fun read aloud with simple and humorous illustrations. I loved watching Sophie tuck Bernice (the squash) in at night and bring her to story time at the library. “Well, we did hope she’d love vegetables,” her parents concede. However, they still try to convince her to exchange the squash for another toy. A truck? ( ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
September 12, 2014 | 0 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
A review of A Splash of Red by Jennifer Bryant

Add some color to your life and check out A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant. This colorful picture book celebrates the life of artist Horace Pippin. The book chronicles his life as a young boy growing up in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Then on through working in a rail yard, on a farm, serving in World War II, and – then - returning home, marrying, and settling down. Throughout his life, he drew picture after picture for those around him. In spite of a ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
January 3, 2014 | 1 comment
A review of The Feelings Book by Lynda Madison

Whoa! A book to help better understand the emotional rollercoaster of tween-and-teen-hood! The Feelings Book: The Care & Keeping of Your Emotions by Dr. Lynda Madison is written for girls working their way through the many emotions and feelings of adolescence. The book incorporates real questions and letters written by girls. The colorfully illustrated pages are engaging and have a cozy, comfortable feel. Some of the topics covered in the book include identifying emotions and ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
December 6, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates

Adventure and new friends abound in Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates. Dog gets a brand new sketchbook from his dear Aunt Dora. “Dog knew exactly what to do. . .“ He begins his own story! With pencil in hand, he draws a door and steps through. He is joined by a stickman, duck, owl, and crab. Of course, they decide to ride a train and, then, set sail on a boat to a sandy island. The sketched illustrations fit well with the storyline. Soft colors and spare lines add to the gentle feel of ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
September 27, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of A Home for Bird by Philip Christian Stead

In A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead, cheerful Vernon meets a new friend, Bird. Bird is very quiet (and actually does not talk at all!) but that doesn’t discourage dutiful Vernon. He shows Bird the river and the forest . . . and other animal friends. But Vernon worries that Bird is unhappy. Is he lost? Does he want to go home? Vernon rigs up a small boat and they set sail to find Bird’s home. They meet a family of birds near a dumpster, a bird in a birdhouse, and plastic flamingos ...read more

Reviewed by Tracy on
June 28, 2013 | 0 comments