Malaika’s Winter Carnival

malaika's winter carnival 3

Malaika’s Winter Carnival by author Nadia L. Hohn and illustrator Irene Luxbacher

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Groundwood Books

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

In this picture book, a young girl named Malaika shows resilience when her mother marries, not only giving her a stepfather and stepsister to live with but also thrusting her into a new country with a culture much different from the one she has lived in. My Book Eyes loves details from the text and illustrations that beautifully depict cultural differences. A very relatable story. In some ways all of us have experienced the sentiment of loss for people, places or things due to circumstances beyond our control and have learned to adapt.

Grandma’s Tiny House

Grandma's Tiny House

Grandma’s Tiny House by author JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrator Priscilla Burris

Age Range: 3 – 5 years

Publisher:  Charlesbridge

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

This rhyming counting picture book cooks up a lot of love and togetherness when a large gathering outgrows the space in grandma’s home such that guests cannot eat and socialize comfortably. The solution is a simple one that many children will be able to relate to if not in their house perhaps in someone else’s. Mouth watering dishes are deliciously depicted and can encourage conversations about different foods that people like to eat. My Book Eyes adored the busy scenes giving readers much to absorb.


Think Big

Think Big by author Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton

Age Range: 3 – 6 years

Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication Date: July 12, 2012

In this rhyming picture book, text is short but exact and pairs beautifully with large stimulating illustrations about resourceful children. The youngsters’ artistic endeavors culminate into an impressive finale. Small success leading to a future career is a valuable message. My Book Eyes savored conversational details i.e. records and metronome to name a few.

Slumber Party Anyone?

Penny and Jelly

Penny & Jelly: Slumber Under the Stars by author Maria Gianferrari and illustrator Thyra Heder

Age Range: 4 – 7 years

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 14, 2016

A girl named Penny is invited to an outdoor sleepover. Unfortunately no pets are allowed so that means her beloved dog, Jelly, will have to stay behind.  The inclusion of science (the stars) and engineering (creating replicas of Jelly to substitute for the real dog) is nicely woven into this story about a girl and her dog. Illustrations portray the strong attachment between Penny and Jelly. My Book Eyes enjoyed the satisfying ending.


Don’t Stereotype Me!


BunnyBear by author Andrea J. Loney and illustrator Carmen Saldana

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Just because he’s a bear doesn’t mean that he likes to roar. Just because she’s a bunny doesn’t mean that she likes to be quiet. Attributes typically given to bears and bunnies are negated by two characters, BunnyBear and GrizzlyBun, in this picture book. Because they choose not to be stereotyped, they are initially ostracized by their communities. Watching strength in numbers increase from one isolated character to several characters who feel similarly sends a positive message that nobody is ever alone in their feelings and is delightful for My Book Eyes to read. The richly colored illustrations are attractive.

Beach? Yes, Pizza? Yes


Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster by Claire Lordon

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: little bee books

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

For the first time, Lorenzo lobster eats pizza and like most who consume it, savors every bite. Enthusiastically he shares his experience with his friend and wants her to try pizza too but he hasn’t brought any of it with him so he decides to make pizza with her. Sadly Lorenzo can’t recall the ingredients. After much trial and error they give up making pizza. His friend comes across pizza on her own and also finds it irresistible. High contrasting colors in illustrations make details distinguishable. My Book Eyes can feel the sea air and smell the pizza now!



Green Pants

Green Pants

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

In this picture book, green pants are like good luck charms for the main character named Jameson. Unfortunately if he wants to be in his cousin’s wedding, he has to wear a black tuxedo. Jameson’s ability to compromise and find a solution that suits all (something that eventually most people will have to do in various situations) is well done. My Book Eyes loves the crush that Jameson has on his cousin’s fiancée and the humorous ending. Feelings are easily read in the illustrations.

A Letter to My Teacher by author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Nancy Carpenter

A Letter to My Teacher - image

A Letter to My Teacher by author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Nancy Carpenter

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

For those who work with children in groups whether it be at school, after school, camp or religious gatherings to name a few, this picture book’s message encourages those professionals to stay the course no matter how difficult the road can be at times. A young woman writes an endearing thank you letter to her second grade teacher as she is about to embark on her first career as a teacher. Obviously this young lady was the type of child that would make most group leaders/teachers scream at the top of their lungs when no one else was around or reconsider their career if too many children like her were in the group/class without having more adult assistance. The story never mentions whether the child has special needs or is just mischievous and/or immature however the child’s facial expressions and deeds allow the readers to make that decision for themselves. Likewise, depictions of this teacher’s professional composure, even during the most trying of times are remarkable. My Book Eyes got an intrinsically rewarding feeling and a welcome to the world of working with children after reading this book.

Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland

Caterpillar Dreams - image

Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland

Age Range: 4-8 years

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: January 17, 2017

Henri, a caterpillar, desires to leave his little garden home and see the world outside of it by flying. As in real life, some of his friends do not support his dream while others encourage him with words and physical assistance. Ironically, after he reaches a hot air balloon which can allow him to achieve his goal, metamorphosis occurs and he gains the ability to fly without aid from anyone or anything. With as much independence as he now has, the first place he goes to is home. My Book Eyes liked how the theme of growing up and how nature and nurture work together are well represented in text and illustrations. The emotional illustrations are appealing.


Anywhere Farm

Anywhere Farm 3

Anywhere Farm by author Phyllis Root and illustrator G. Brian Karas

Age Range: 2-5 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

A rhyming picture book about planting all types of plants anyplace that is available to you. The text increases knowledge in few words and answers the questions: What can you plant? Where can you plant? Who can visit the anywhere farm? What you need? My Book Eyes were nourished by illustrations of diverse characters building greener places in urban spaces and people working together to create a farmers’ market.