Happy Friday, kids! With the non-stop spooky fun of Blogoween starting on Monday, I wanted to slow down today and show some love to some of the best non-spooky books I’ve read over the past month or so.
I read a lot of kids’ titles that are utterly fabulous but just don’t fit in here because they aren’t spooky or creepy at all. I hate not being able to rave about them, so I’m changing the rules — from now on, I’ll have a grab bag post every month or so where I tell you about the wonderful books I’ve read that just don’t fit in with my usual spooky fare. (Not too often, though, because you know I’m all about that spooky life.) The reviews may be a bit briefer than my typical daily reviews, but that in no way reflects any lack of enthusiasm for these incredible titles — remember, these are books that I had to break the rules just to tell you about!
All right…are you ready for your TBR to explode?
The Night Dragon
Maud is picked on by the other dragons, so stays cooped up in her cave, sad and lonely. But when the chance comes, will her friend Mouse help her pluck up the courage to fly?
- Title: The Night Dragon
- Author/Illustrator: Naomi Howarth
- Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
- ISBN: 1786031078
- Publication Date: August 7, 2018
- For Ages: 4-8
- Category: Picture Book
I’d like to thank Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is an achingly beautiful story about friendship, self-expression, and learning to believe in yourself, with some of the loveliest artwork I’ve seen in a picture book. It broke my heart in the best possible way.
A Boy and a House
When a little boy sees a cat slip into the open door of an apartment building, the temptation is too great: he follows the cat into the lobby. Before continuing up the stairway, the boy picks up one of several discarded drawings that litter the floor.
Another open door awaits. Again, the boy follows the cat, this time into an apartment filled with books and toys. No one is there, but a table set for tea testifies to the fact that someone has been there recently. More drawings are scattered throughout, which the boy picks up one by one. With his pile of sketches in hand, he continues up several more staircases until he reaches an attic where a wonderful surprise awaits him.
- Title: A Boy and a House
- Author/Illustrator: Maja Kastelic
- Publisher: Annick Press
- ISBN: 1773210556
- Publication Date: September 11, 2018
- For Ages: 4-7
- Category: Picture Book
I’d like to thank Annick Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Maja Kastelic’s magical A Boy and a House is a charming tale of joy and discovery told in delightful wordless illustrations. The odd mysteries of everyday life are on full display in this book, and Kastelic renders them beautifully. Each page is its own story, filled with intricate details that invite further discovery and reward careful, repeated readings. Kastelic’s delicate touch and muted palette ensure that the illustrations never overwhelm or bombard the eye, though; rather, they whisper to curious readers of the secrets they may hold. Her sense of light is astonishing; the book nearly glows as the boy chases the trail of light to find its source. Young readers will have no trouble following the narrative, which is as clear as it is heartwarming. Readers can contribute to the narrative as well, using their imaginations to help tell the story of the boy’s journey through the house and the myriad tiny mysteries he passes along the way.
When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she’s missed the ocean—and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of Aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured Aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she’s willing to admit. But when a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to coexist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.
- Title: Aquicorn Cove
- Author/Illustrator: Katie O’Neill
- Publisher: Oni Press
- ISBN: 1620105292
- Publication Date: October 16, 2018
- For Ages: 7-11
- Category: Middle Grade
I’d like to thank Oni Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Beautiful and heartbreaking, Aquicorn Cove is a story of finding strength after loss and learning to live harmoniously with the natural world. Katie O’Neill’s lush illustrations and gentle storytelling will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page, serving as a reminder of the strength of love and of the duty we all have to protect the Earth just as it has protected us.
Meet Yasmin! Yasmin is a spirited second-grader who’s always on the lookout for those “aha” moments to help her solve life’s little problems. Taking inspiration from her surroundings and her big imagination, she boldly faces any situation, assuming her imagination doesn’t get too big, of course! A creative thinker and curious explorer, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will delight and inspire readers.
- Title: Meet Yasmin!
- Series: Yasmin, Combined Edition
- Author: Saadia Faruqi
- Illustrator: Hatem Aly
- Publisher: Picture Window Books
- ISBN: 1684360226
- Publication Date: August 1, 2018
- For Ages: 5-8
- Category: Early Reader
Yasmin is a delightful character sure to be a new favorite for readers both young and old. She is bright, creative, and sweet — all the perfect ingredients for a new literary friend. Saadia Faruqi’s stories are charming and fun, and Hatem Aly’s artwork is fantastic. I want a poster of his Red Carpet splash page. Every kid needs a copy of this book!
Time for Bed, Miyuki
Like children everywhere, Miyuki’s imagination peaks at bedtime, when she remembers all the things she has to do before she can possibly go to bed: she needs to water the vegetables, gather snails, and prepare for the arrival of the Dragonfly Queen. Her patient grandfather follows along on her adventures, gently encouraging her to go to sleep.
- Title: Time for Bed, Miyuki
- Author: Roxane Marie Galliez
- Illustrator: Seng Soun Ratanavanh
- Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
- ISBN: 1616897058
- Publication Date: September 18, 2018
- For Ages: 4-6
- Category: Picture Book
I’d like to thank Princeton Architectural Press for providing an advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Time for Bed, Miyuki takes the familiar story of a child putting off her bedtime and elevates it to pure poetry. The prose is elegant and sweet, and the art is a revelation. Lyrical and stunning, this book is destined to be a classic.
Now you see why I decided to start these Grab Bag posts — I just had to tell you about these beautiful stories! Have I added to your TBR with this list? Do you have any titles that should be on my TBR? Tell me all about them in the comments!