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MADreads for Kids

Book reviews for children by library staff and guest contributors

Life Among the Leaves

Cover of Everything You Need for a
A review of Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins

Everything You Need for a Treehouse (Chronicle Books, 2018) is for anyone who has ever dreamed of living in a treehouse (kid or adult, alike!) The lyrical text is a perfect match for the amazingly glorious illustrations of many different treehouses – from adventurous boat to glass castle. More poetic than practical – the story focuses on the importance of a big imagination, time, and space to explore (rather than the nuts and bolts of building & construction).  I bet you will start dreaming of your own amazing treehouse after reading this book!

January 11, 2019

Sweet Tunes for Tweens

Cover art
A review of Every Voice by Kira Willey

Got a tween fan of folksy pop music, but maybe you’re not quite yet ready for them to dive into some of the mature themes of many of the songs on the radio today?  Check out Every Voice by Kira Willey.  Full of catchy music and empowering lyrics, this album settles comfortably in that sweet spot between Laurie Berkner (who makes a cameo on this album, actually) and Taylor Swift, with a hint of mindfulness for balance.

January 4, 2019

All Hail the Snail!

Cover of Escargot
A review of Escargot by Dashka Slater

He’s my new favorite animal, this snail who hails from France.  From his beret, red scarf and blue and white striped shirt, down to his trail of “shimmery stuff.” From his speedy race across a checked tablecloth to reach the delicious salad with very specific ingredients, “a salad with croutons and light vinaigrette and absolutely no carrots,” to his sad realization that no one chooses snails as their favorite animal.  I love this intrepid little character who invites readers to make fierce faces with him to scare away carrots, race him to the salad, and give him a kiss.

December 21, 2018

A once in a lifetime pet

Cover of How to Be A Good Creature:
A review of How to Be A Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

Have you ever had a truly special pet? Not just a pet that you love and care for, but a pet who profoundly changes you? Naturalist and National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery refers to "a lifetime dog" even though she's known three or four of these and many more animals that she considers notable. I, too, have had three of these "lifetime" pets in my world, plus a few that were honorable mention. 

December 17, 2018

Make Music!

Cover of Play This Book
A review of Play This Book by Jessica Young

With a musical rhyme scheme, big, bold illustrations, and a colorful cast of children, Play this Book is a fun, energetic read to cozy up with. Little ones are invited to play along with the instruments on each page. Great for toddlers and preschoolers.

December 7, 2018

Odd, weird and little indeed

Cover of Odd, Weird, & Little
A review of Odd, Weird, & Little by Patrick Jennings

Odd, weird, and little says it all, when describing the new kid in Woodrow’s classroom. Toulouse is his name, he’s from Quebec, he wears a fancy suit and carries a briefcase, and he speaks French. Woodrow, the book’s narrator and the current odd-man-out at school, is immediately intrigued with Toulouse, but he wonders if it would be worth it befriending this unique and rather owlish new student. Woodrow defends Toulouse against the classroom bullies, and Toulouse helps Woodrow, while simultaneously showing off his exceptional talents, and the two become friends.

November 16, 2018

Bedtime beats

Cover of Hip-Hop Lollipop
A review of Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari

Two girls, Lollipop and her sister Tasha are both dancing to their favorite tunes as their parents remind them it is time to slow down, settle and get ready for bed. The language of Montanari’s Hip-Hop lullaby dances across the page in perfect meter. Pinkney’s soft, fluid illustrations provide pitch perfect movement as he depicts this warm family moment as simultaneously universal (how to get energetic youngsters to bed) and unique (to hip-hop, techno and dance fans).

November 9, 2018

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