Category: Picture Book Reviews

Picture Book Review: “Meeow and the Blue Table”

Picture Book Review: “Meeow and the Blue Table”

Meeow and the Blue Table
Author: Sebastien Braun
ISBN: 9781907152153
Publisher: Boxer Books
Age Range: 2-4
Grade Level: Preschool
Amazon Synopsis: Meeow, the irresistibly clever cat created by bestselling author-illustrator Sebastien Braun, is back and ready to play! Like every young child, Meeow loves to make things. So what will he do with a blue table, a red blanket, and lots of wooden blocks? Why, turn them into an amazing castle, of course! Meeow’s friends Quack, Moo, Baa, and Woof are delighted–and young readers will be enchanted, too. What will Meeow inspire THEM to do?

My thoughts

Meeow and the Blue Table encourages creativity and imagination, as opposed to spending a rainy day in front of the television and/or on electronic tablets! With just a few arts and crafts materials, the friends are all set for a fun day – rain or not! The emphasis on free-play and using your imagination is so important at this young age.

This is a perfect book for toddlers who will enjoy the brightly colored illustrations, and the storyline encourages participation. I loved how every animal has his/her own part – duck makes a paper hat and a bow, Lamb makes a shield and a dragon, Dog makes a helmet and a sword, and Cow makes a hat and cape.  Using toys and comfort items from around the house (blankies and building blocks) the friends create their very own castle and kingdom.

Meeow and the Blue Table is a simple, creative tale that will inspire many playtime adventures for kids – adults will recall fond playtime memories of their own. Perfect left-brain motivation!

About the Author:

Sebastien Braun studied fine arts in Strasbourg, France. His first two books, I Love My Mummy and I Love My Daddy (Boxer Books, 2005), have been hugely successful all over the world. Since then, Sebastien has gone on to create many more books for children. He lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and two young sons.

Note: I obtained a copy of this book to review from my local library.

Picture Book Review – We Forgot Brock!

Picture Book Review – We Forgot Brock!

We Forgot Brock!
Author: Carter Goodrich
ISBN: 978-1442480902
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2015)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Amazon Synopsis

The importance of imaginary friends is very real in We Forgot Brock! a picture book adventure from the author of Say Hello to Zorro! and lead character designer for Despicable MeFinding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.

Phillip and Brock are best friends. Everyone can see Phillip, but only Phillip can see Brock. A night at the Big Fair is all fun and games until Phillip gets sleepy, heads home, and forgets Brock!

Brock misses Phillip. And Phillip misses Brock. Will they reunite? With the help of another pair of pals, they just might. Because even imaginary friends get lost sometimes. Finding them is part of the adventure.

My review

What a fun book! The narrator tells a heartwarming story of unconditional friendship and the unique bond of imaginary friends. It’s so fun to get lost in a good story. Especially one that impresses upon kids without preaching or moralizing them to death.  The “lesson” in We Forgot Brock applies to both parents and children, doing two things:  a.) stresses upon parents the significance of imaginary friends and, b.) provides an entertaining adventure for kids that also promotes acceptance – that “imaginary friends” are okay.

Best friends

Throughout the story we see Phillip and his imaginary friend Brock, doing all the things best friends do together – playing outside, riding their bikes, or just being silly, laughing and joking with each other in the living room.  In Brock, Phillip has a confidant – someone who is there for him no matter what. And, when the unthinkable happens, the strength of their friendship is realized ten-fold.

Phillip’s parents can’t see Brock, of course, but I love how they support their son, going along with Phillip and his interactions with Brock, as an example in the picture below:

“At dinner, Phillip might say something like, ‘Brock would like some more, please!’ But his mom only pretends to give Brock seconds.”

The pictures could tell the story without any words – they are PERFECT!  The drawing of Phillip ROFL when Brock does something funny is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud.

When Phillip realizes Brock got left behind at the fair, the drawings portray the real-life, gut-wrenching agony he goes through. You remember that moment in your life when you lost a best friend or some other significant horrible event, right?

All of the pictures are spot-on.  I especially loved how the author drew the imaginary friends, Brock in black-and-white and Princess Sparkle Dust in purple-and-white, while everything else is in color, separating the “real” world from the “make-believe.” Princess Sparkle Dust is the imaginary friend of Anne, a little girl Phillip meets while searching for Brock. I’m not gonna tell you how the story ends!

For a heartwarming story with just enough suspense and drama for your little adventurers, We Forgot Brock by Carter Goodrich is an excellent choice for books about the bond, the importance and the comfort of unconditional friendship.

The author leaves us with a little treat at the end – on the page opposite the back flap, Phillip’s mom is vacuuming and finds Brock’s hat.  As she’s looking at it you can almost hear her asking herself, “Could he be real?”  I highly recommend “We Forgot Brock” – Love it!

About the Author

Carter Goodrich has illustrated eighteen New Yorker covers and was the lead character designer for Brave, Ratatouille (for which he won the International Animated Film Society’s Annie Award for character design), and Despicable Me.  He has designed characters for many other beloved animated films, including Finding Nemo; Monsters, Inc.; and Open Season. Of the films he has worked on, four have gone on to win Academy Awards.  A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, he has twice been awarded the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York.  His other picture books include Say Hello to Zorro!, Zorro Gets an Outfit, Mister Bud Wears the Cone, A Creature Was Stirring, and The Hermit Crab. Carter Lives in Los Angeles, California.

Further reading on the topic of imaginary friends

For more information about the role of imaginary friends, check out this article on The Conversation: How imaginary friends could boost children’s development – Dec. 12, 2018

Review copy

I obtained a copy of this book for review from my local library.

Picture Book Review – I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

Picture Book Review – I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! cover

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Illustrator: Tim Warnes
ISBN: 9780310754732
Publisher: Zonderkidz; 1st Edition edition (December 27, 2016)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Amazon Synopsis : I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug!, written by bestselling author Caroline B. Cooney, is a playful and comforting bedtime book that imagines all the wonderful ways a child might give and receive a hug.

Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy, slippy fish hug, children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples. Cooney’s sweet and simple rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep.

My thoughts

I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is a delightful read – a perfect reason to snuggle up on the couch for a little quality time with your child or grandchild. Written in rhyme, the melodic tone shines throughout the pages as the little boy (with no name) hugs various types of animals such as a bear, a cat, a dog – even a horse and a fish. Little Boy’s excitement as he gives hugs to all of these animals is contagious and kids will easily want to act out the story right along with him. It might be a good idea to put the cat or dog (or horse or fish) in a different room!

The writing in “I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug! is phenomenal – the rhyming is on tempo, the wording clever, concise and entertaining! As shown in the picture below:

” I’m going to give you a dog hug.
A knock over chairs,
Chase up the stairs,
And sleep like a log hug.”

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

The pictures are the perfect compliment to the story, telling their own story, as pictures do – with bright colors, endearing animals and a whimsical, care-free little boy whose playful disposition exudes love, happiness and tenderness. In every picture his actions seem to say, “I love you.”

I give 5 stars to I’m Going to Give you a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney.

About Caroline B. Cooney

Caroline B. Cooney is the bestselling author of teen suspense, mystery, and romance novels that have sold over 15,000,000 copies and are published in several languages. Of all her books, she is best known for the young adult novel The Face on the Milk Carton that has sold over 3,000,000 copies and was made into a television movie.  — (Bio from her Amazon Author page).

Review Copy

I obtained a copy of this book to review from my local library. Want a picture book review? See my review policy.