No child escapes youth without some form of humiliation or ostracization—the term “mean girl” exists for a reason. And while most of us can probably share plenty of nasty stories that knock us to our knees and bring us back to our most insecure childhood moments, my most transformative “mean girl” incident as a child was not pointed at me but pointed at a friend. I was a sophomore in
Owls are magnificent—the real ones. But storybook owls? I am vaguely familiar with several children’s books that feature owls but, honestly, I can’t name the title of one rapid-fast. And I know there’s no fictional owl that made an impact on me as a child like Charlotte the spider, Misty the horse, Ping the duck, Sounder the dog or the dozens of other farm and wild animal stories that captured
Rarely does a book cause an immediate physical response. But that’s exactly what Where Are All the Minnesotans did to me. I’m a Minnesotan, and this book captures the psyche (and stupidity) of Minnesotans. I smiled, I laughed and I reflected on my life and stories growing up in this ridiculously wonderful state. Yes, we drive to work after a four-foot snowfall. We create activities to busy ourselves on frozen
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins My rating: 5 of 5 stars I rarely claim that anything is “the best” because I know that while there can be many exceptional things, there is rarely ever “a best.” I just may break my rule with Mother Bruce. And maybe it won’t go down in history as The Best Ever picture book (reviews and people are too subjective for that!), the book
Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow. It's been a long time since I've been blown away by a beauty like Bees: A Honeyed History. When I came upon the book at BN, I was breathless. Its massive size, gorgeous, vibrant illustrations and content that celebrates our helpful little friends are pure delight. I couldn't help but pick it up! In fact, I
Pug Man's 3 Wishes by Sebastian Meschenmoser My rating: 4 of 5 stars I'd hesitate to share this book with a little one. Pug Man's 3 Wishes is snarky, cynical, odd, and wonderfully irreverent. It is the perfect gift for the lovable "big kid" curmudgeon in your life. I laughed out loud at the Pug Man illustrations—the sour face, crepey skin, "grandpa" bathrobe and hopeless attitude are classic and capture
The Littlest Family's Big Day by Emily Winfield Martin My rating: 4 of 5 stars Let's cut to the chase: the illustrations in this book are so precious, so charming, and so incredibly delightful they deserve a much larger canvas. Emily, please launch a line of baby nursery/kids room decor--bedding, wallpaper/decals, accessories--the works. Little ones (and big ones) everywhere will thank you. #EmilyWinfieldMartin #WakeUpToJoy View all my reviews
Motor Miles by John Burningham My rating: 4 of 5 stars Just the THOUGHT of a car-driving dog is smile-worthy. What child (or adult, for that matter) wouldn't love to be dropped off at school (work) with their beloved pet behind the wheel for all to see? And a road trip to the seaside, a journey through the leaves in the autumn, and a drive out to play in the
The Night Gardener by Terry Fan My rating: 5 of 5 stars Magical. The story and imagery in this tale are simply magical. To wake up each morning to the sight of neighborhood trees transformed overnight to beautiful, magnificent topiaries? This is the stuff of sweet dreams! An enchanting bedtime story. And a lovely gift for anyone who sees beauty everywhere and wishes to create their own in this world.
Born from the Heart by Berta Serrano My rating: 4 of 5 stars A bursting heart. Isn't that what love so fierce can feel like? And the imagery of the mother's protruding heart from her chest in this beautiful love story visually depicts what crazy-intense love does to the human heart--blows it up HUGE, defining us and emanating from us. If the imagery in this book is odd, it's powerful.