Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale by author Marjuan Canady and illustrator Nabeeh Bilal

Reading Level: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Sepia Works, LLC

Publication Date: November 18, 2013

A young boy named Winston loves eating callaloo which is a popular Caribbean meal. His aunt asks him to go to the store to buy a bush that she needs to make more callaloo. On his way, Winston stops to buy not one but two frozen treats and eats them. He boards a train and suddenly finds that he is no longer in New York but on the beautiful island of Tobago. He decides to get some crabs. Winston encounters several Caribbean folklore creatures that are somewhat creepy and mysterious after he collects the crabs and eventually releases them. He learns not to take more than he needs. This story is entertaining and teaches a lesson about greed. Unfamiliar words are bold throughout the text. There is a glossary in the back of the book. My Book Eyes enjoyed learning about the Caribbean mythical creatures. Illustrations match the text and add gloom, darkness and slight scare when needed but nothing that a young child couldn’t handle. This picture book ends happily with Winston safe at home. It can be read anytime of the year however, it would be a great read at a Halloween party by a storyteller who knows how to tell a spooky story.

Henry and Bea

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Henry and Bea by author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Neal Porter Books

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

A sudden wedge between two friends is created when Henry’s cat, a pet that was like a family member, dies. Instead of turning to his close friend Bea for support, he isolates himself from her. He is depressed. Bea feels confused. Up until this event, she and Henry were close friends. A found cat collar is overwhelming for Henry. He can no longer keep his feelings inside and confides in Bea. He learns to trust his friendship with Bea at a time when he is vulnerable. Illustrations are great for showing contrast in Henry and Bea’s relationship before and after his cat’s death. A good picture book to generate conversations about friendship and loss.

 

Apple Farmer Annie

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Apple Farmer Annie by author / illustrator Monica Wellington

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Puffin Books, Reprint edition

Publication Date: August 19, 2004

Annie is an apple farmer who grows a variety of apples. She makes apple cider, applesauce, cakes, pies, muffins, dried apples and candy apples. Additionally, Annie drives to the city where she sells her goods at a farmer’s market. Many scenes show enlarged pictures of items that are in the busier scenes on opposite pages around the text. For example, at the farmer’s market, a scale, cash box, money, apples and cider are pictured on the left page. These pictures can extend discussions about the book. Words are in large print size which is helpful for the reader. Illustrations have highly distinguishable details. Four recipes are included. They are for applesauce, apple muffins, applesauce cake and butter frosting. This book can be used in addition to cooking projects.

Letters from New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C

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Letters from New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C by author/illustrator Maree Coote

Age Range:  5 – 7 years

Publisher: Melbournestyle Books

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

This is an interesting and fun way to learn about memorable people and places associated with New York City. In this picture book, each illustration is created with letters of the pictures’ names. Readers have the task of carefully visually scanning the illustrations to find all the letters that spell the pictures ‘ names. Illustrations are appealing. Additionally, an informative poem sits beside each picture. A counting activity is included as well as Clever Kids Teacher’s Notes which supplies extra trivia about New York City. My Book Eyes highly recommends this multipurpose picture book.