Playtime for Restless Rascals by author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon

Reading Age: 4 years – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: September 6, 2022

A high energy level child shows a glimpse of play activities that most children are familiar with and can be done in the rain, sun, autumn, winter, inside and outside the house with at times assistance from parents. Illustrations demonstrate fascinating designs and patterns.My Book Eyes likes the fact that both males and females can enjoy the activities i.e. jump rope, ball, dolls, teddy bear, airplane, building trains and trucks, puzzles etc. This book can generate conversations and activities centered around the kinds of things children like to do for fun.

Mama’s Home by author Shay Youngblood and illustrator Lo Harris

Reading Age: 4-8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Make Me a World

Publication Date: October 18, 2022

A mother’s job forces her to travel away from home often. During these times her young daughter is babysat by different women in the community on varying days of the week. We learn of these women’s occupations i.e. beautician, nurse, entrepreneur, to name a few. Spending time with these ladies ignites thoughts of future careers i.e. pilot, writer, entrepreneur. Occupations not named could be discussed by looking at items in illustrations i.e. solar system. Illustrations portray a warm and caring community. Tasty foods are displayed throughout the book. My Book Eyes liked viewing different homes, foods, occupations and the emphasis on different days of the week. A recipe for Sweet Pink Punch is included which is an easy recipe that children can help make. Also there are an author’s note and a section about Make Me a World by Christopher Myers.

Forever Cousins by author Laurel Goodluck and illustrator Jonathan Nelson

Reading Age: 4 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Amanda and Kara are close cousins. They are Native Americans. Kara’s family is moving to the Rez (Reservation). Clutching dolls that their maguu (grandmother) made, they say goodbye. The girls stay in touch throughout the year and are reunited in the summer to rekindle their close relationship during a family reunion. This picture book is sprinkled with Native American rituals and words i.e. Rez, powwow, maguu, frybread, tipi rings, Hidatsa name however much of the book espouses experiences that all can relate to like playing with dolls, getting new lunch boxes, splashing in puddles, playing tag, and swimming. Illustrations match the story with emotions depicted. There are author’s note and an explanation about moving from the reservation to the city in the back of the book.

My Hands Tell a Story by author Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrator Tonya Engel

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Publication Date: May 13, 2022

Zoe spends time with her grandmother learning to make the family’s traditional cinnamon bread. Zoe doesn’t have her grandmother’s experience so she needs grandmother’s hand over hand assistance to learn the rhythm, push and pull of the dough. Her grandmother’s hands tell of various family roles she plays i.e. sister, mother to name some. Also her grandmother explains covert roles that she filled as she travelled down life’s unexpected roads. Zoe thinks about the things she can do presently and wonders about roles the future holds for her. Illustrations are bold and bright. This book would be great to read prior to a cooking activity and/or an activity about who we are and what we can do. For a young child such roles could consist of block builder, line leader, door monitor, big sister, big brother to name a few. A cinnamon bread recipe is included.

I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids by author Sheri Wall and illustrator Holly Clifton-Brown

Reading Age: 2 – 8 years

Publisher: Rockridge Press

Publication Date: August 11, 2020

This rhyming picture book is about the meaning of present day Thanksgiving to different people. Thanksgiving is cooking, visiting family and friends, traveling, sharing, kindness, shopping, love, pumpkin picking, crafts, looking at family photo albums, welcoming a sibling that comes home from college for the holiday, an autumn hike, watching the parade and football, donating food and enjoying a meal. My Book Eyes likes the examples given that evoke memories of Thanksgiving. Illustrations are diverse, warm and make readers and viewers feel happy.

Somewhere in the Bayou by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

Reading Age: 6 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

An opossum, rabbit, squirrel and mouse want to cross a swamp. They see a log that seems like a perfect bridge to get them across the water. Unfortunately a tail appears to be resting against one side of the log. Though a bit hesitant, one by one three of the animals try to walk across the log and each one fails. Finally, the mouse assists the tail and gets across the water. The ending is surprising, and can send a slight chill up the spine, but is also funny. Illustrations are large with expressive characters. Another all year read but can also be read around a Halloween affair for children.

On a Windy Night by author Nancy Raines Day and illustrator George Bates

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Publication Date: October 10, 2010

A boy walks home alone through the woods after an evening of trick-or-treating. His stroll turns into a frenzied dash as his imagination runs wild. The whipping wind becomes a voice that shrieks for him to not look back. His mind sees skeletons, a head, a shadow and creatures formed by clouds, branches and leaves. Finally, he arrives home safe and sound or is he? Illustrations of gloomy scenes fit rhyming words of this picture book. If you are interested in escalating child size fright then a return to safety and humor, this is a book to read. Happy Halloween!

The Witchling’s Wish by author Lu Fraser and illustrator Sarah Massini

Reading Age: 3 – 6 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Publication Date: July 5, 2022

Witchling lives alone. She wants a friend so she decides to cast a spell. She is missing one key ingredient to her potion. In searching for the needed item, she meets a girl that can help her accomplish her goal. This is a rhyming picture book that exudes kindness and friendship. Diverse characters shown. Illustrations are delightful. Another anytime read but definitely consider for readers and listeners around Halloween.

Boo Stew by author Donna L. Washington and illustrator Jeffrey Ebbeler

Reading Age: 4 – 8

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Peachtree

Publication Date: September 7, 2021

The author uses elements that readers can equate with a familiar story yet appreciate the inventiveness of the text that makes this an exciting and new experience. In a locale called Toadsuck Swamp, a girl named Curly Locks likes to concoct foods reminiscent of witches brews. No one in the neighborhood enjoys her cooking except the Scares. The adults cannot get rid of the havoc creating beings called Scares. Curly Locks devises a plan to bring order and peace to her town. Listeners will love icky recipes, repetitive words and the ability to chime in to repeat those words during a group or individual reading. Illustrations will intrigue eyes as they search the detailed scenes. Diversity included. Such a fun book to read all year but a must if searching for something new to read during the Halloween season.

Chaiwala! by author Priti Birla Maheshwari and illustrator Ashley Barron

Reading Age: 3 -7

Grade Level: 2 and up

Publisher: Owlkids

Publication Date: October 15, 2021

Have you ever had a cup of chai? This is a tea beverage from India. In this picture book, A girl travels with her mother via train. Between train connections there is just enough time to stop at the tea vendor called Chaiwala. The scents of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper swirl deliciously through the air. Viewers watch Chaiwala make the milky sweet tea. Mother and daughter savor their drinks. Yum! This book is beautifully illustrated in collage capturing a slice of life in Indian culture.