Age Range: 3 years – 5 years
Publisher: World of Eric Carle
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
The Very Hungry Caterpillar journeys from one mother child pair to another in this picture book. The audience learns why mom’s are loved. The words are sparse but well chosen. Only one to six words appear on two page spreads which makes this a great read for young audiences. Mr. Carle’s vivid collage designs on white background are eye-catching.
Age Range: 8 years – 12 years
Publisher: Hearst Home Kids
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
This is an excellent time for children to learn science, math, art, engineering and technology as they relate to cooking by participating in culinary projects. This cookbook boasts over 150 recipes. The photographs are mouth watering. Kids can make dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack. Food games, quizzes and coloring pages are included. My Book Eyes enjoys learning to create fake-out cakes. Enjoy!
Age Range: 10 years – 14 years
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
In this chapter book, Mary Bowser, freed slave and teacher, becomes an undercover spy for the Union at the request of her former slave owner Bet Van Lew. Mary works as a maid for the Confederates and relays secret information to Union sympathizers. Ms. Bowser has an incredible memory that aids her in communicating details without having visual evidence in her hands. The way she shares data with her associates like Bet Van Lew and Thomas McNiven is fascinating. There are moments that will have readers sitting at the edge of their chairs however nothing is gruesome. Included in this book are a spycraft tool, a mystery to solve, Biographical Information, Historical Note, Bibliography, and Answer Key. Detailed illustrations add to the understanding of the text.
Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
In this picture book biography readers meet Mabel Fairbanks, an African American from Florida. She moves to New York City at 8 years old to live with her brother. That experience is short lived and Mabel finds herself without a home by 9 years old. A family gives Mabel a chance to move in with them and babysit. Viewing ice skaters through a window intrigues Mabel. She saves money, buys skates and teaches herself to skate. When the weather warms, she goes to an indoor ice skating rink to skate however she is denied admission due to her skin color. Eventually she is given opportunities to skate at the rink but only when white ice skaters are not using it. She gets coached and is a very good skater but racism destroys her chances of participating in activities that could lead to the Olympics. Mabel performs on television and in different countries however racism is everywhere. Her career path leads her to coach those interested in ice skating. She plays a significant role in fighting for equality for ice skaters. My Book Eyes are amazed at how many famous ice skaters Mabel Fairbanks coached. Illustrations of ice skaters are dynamic. Included in the back of the book are sections called: About Mabel Fairbanks, Glossary of Figure Skating Terms and Selected Sources.
Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: little bee books
Publucation Date: Novenber 6, 2018
This picture book biography sheds light on Georgia Gilmore, a cook, who made a significant contribution to the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott by preparing meals. She worked collectively with others who were interested in raising money to purchase vehicles and fuel so that the Black community could still travel in Alabama while seeking justice by boycotting public transportation. After she testified in court about the mistreatment she experienced by a bus driver, Georgia Gilmore was fired from her job. She opened a home based restaurant. All people loved her cooking. Dr. King and other civil rights leaders often ate at Georgia’s. Illustrations are large with high contrasting colors which makes this a terrific book for children to view in a group setting. Included is an author’s note and a recipe for Georgia Gilmore’s Homemade Pound Cake. My Book Eyes finds it interesting to read about how different people worked to create civil rights changes.
Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by author A. LaFaye and illustrator Nicole Tadgell
Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
In this picture book, the Pattons family, who sharecrop, desire to own a home and land. The daughter, Dede, sees a notice about moving to Nicodemus, Kansas where the family can make their dream come true. Through hard work and a lucky break the family is able to move to Nicodemus. The Pattons survive through diligence and assistance from neighbors and an Indian Tribe called the Osage Nation. My Book Eyes appreciates the author including how much children had to work to help their families during this time period. Working children is a universal theme for many cultures throughout history. Illustrations vary between spreads and vignettes to show a variety of actions and moods. In the back of the book, information explains exodusters and The Homestead Act of 1862.
The Great Santa Stakeout by author Betsy Bird and illustrator Dan Santat
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Just looking at the cover of this picture book with its full moon in the background and in the foreground a boy dressed in a Santa Claus suit, eyes bulging, teeth clenched and hands clamped on a Santa Claus snow globe makes My Book Eyes roar with laughter. Is he thinking, “I’m going to get you, SANTA!” Turning pages, the reader learns the boy, Freddy Melcher, not only celebrates Santa Claus during the Christmas season but all year. He is so fascinated with Santa Claus that yes he does want to get Santa. That is a selfie with Santa Claus when he visits Freddy’s house. Illustrations convince the reader of Freddy’s attraction to Santa.
Sweet Dreams, Zaza by author/illustrator Mylo Freeman
Age Range: 2 – 5 years
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
This picture book begins with a little girl named Zaza sitting on her bed with her five wide awake stuffed animals. Since it is bedtime, Zaza places each toy in its bed where it closes eyes. Zaza caps the experience with an endearing pat, lullaby, cuddle etc. When it is Zaza’s turn for bed, her mother appears and shares those same forms of affection with her. Illustrations are vivid and are displayed on opposite pages from the text. Pages are thick and glossy. Sewn pages instead of glued ones gives this book a nice nostalgic feel.
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.
In Search of the Gingerbread Man by author/illustrator Timi Bliss with a contribution by Chef Michelle Gayer
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: August 1, 2019
In this rhyming picture book, a girl named Charlie accompanies her mother to a bakery called the Salty Tart. Charlie and her mother assist Chef Michelle Gayer in making gingerbread cookies. The story becomes a mystery when a cookie escapes the kitchen. Children will eagerly turn pages or listen intently to the reader as they follow clues then learn the gingerbread man’s motive for leaving the bakery. Illustrations are colorful with characters that portray a variety of societal roles. My Book Eyes finds this book ideal for children 2 – 8 years of age with the younger end being captivated by the story and illustrations and the older end enjoying following the included recipes for cookies and icing.