Collage with green background displaying book covers for The Cave, My First Ada Lovelace, Sanity & Tallulah, Wish, and Under My Hijab.

March Grab Bag: Spring Forward with Some Non-Spooky Books

It’s time once again for a kidlit grab bag! It’s been quite a while since my last grab bag post, but I do intend to make these a monthly feature, because I enjoy having a space to rave about the wonderful kids’ books I’ve read that don’t fit in with my usual spooky fare. This month’s titles include some new favorites of mine, so I’m really excited to share them with you!


Sanity & Tallulah

Image: Sanity, a young Black girl wearing red overalls and holding pliers, and Tallulah, a young white girl with red hair and a pink jacket, smile as they float in zero gravity on a spaceship while a kitten looks on. Text: "Sanity & Tallulah. Molly Brooks."

Synopsis

Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends on Wilnick, the dilapidated space station they call home at the end of the galaxy. So naturally, when gifted scientist Sanity uses her lab skills and energy allowance to create a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, she has to show Tallulah. But Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds is a bit of a handful, and it isn’t long before the kitten escapes to wreak havoc on the space station. The girls will have to turn Wilnick upside down to find her, but not before causing the whole place to evacuate! Can they save their home before it’s too late?

Details

  • Title: Sanity & Tallulah
  • Series: Sanity & Tallulah, Book 1
  • Author/Illustrator: Molly Brooks
  • Cover Artist: Molly Brooks
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • ISBN: 1368008445
  • Publication Date: October 16, 2018
  • For Ages: 9-12
  • Category: Middle Grade

I’d like to thank Disney-Hyperion for providing a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

Sanity & Tallulah is one of the strongest graphic novel debuts I’ve ever read. With dynamic layouts and a beautiful limited color palette that makes her angular drawing style pop, Molly Brooks has produced a book that looks like the work of a seasoned comics pro. Her writing is just as phenomenal — she captures the voices of her middle grade protagonists perfectly, and the book is as heartwarming as it is hilarious. The story structure is flawless and had me racing through the suspenseful final pages. The representation in the book for disabled people, queer people, and people of color is outstanding, as is the representation for women and girls in STEM. Molly Brooks is now officially one of my favorite writers and artists. My sole complaint is that I have only 5 stars to give this book.


The Cave

A blue fox holds a net and sits on top of a large grey rock against a bright yellow background. He stares at a creature in a cave, whose eyes stare back up at the fox. Text: "The Cave. Rob Hodgson."

Synopsis

There is a cave. A cave that is home to a little creature. A little creature that never leaves its cave…because of a wolf. The wolf tries everything to get the creature to leave the cave, to no avail. But what will happen when he’s finally successful?

Details

  • Title: The Cave
  • Author/Illustrator: Rob Hodgson
  • Cover Artist: Rob Hodgson
  • Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books
  • ISBN: 1786035979
  • Publication Date: December 11, 2018
  • For Ages: 4-7
  • 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.

Review

The Cave is a delightful picture book sure to be a favorite at bedtime. With hilarious illustrations that are full of life and personality, Rob Hodgson’s story ends with a twist that will have kids laughing and begging to read the book all over again. Adults will be happy to oblige, because they’ll notice new clever background details every time they read it. Witty and eye-catching, The Cave is a brilliant debut from a talented author-illustrator.


Under My Hijab

A young girl with brown skin smiles and adjusts her pink hijab. She wears a blue shirt with white polka dots and a purple sweater. The background is light blue with flowers and butterflies. Pink text: "Under My Hijab by Hena Khan illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel."

Synopsis

Grandma’s hijab clasps under her chin. Auntie pins hers up with a whimsical brooch. Jenna puts a sun hat over hers when she hikes. Iman wears a sports hijab for tae kwon do. As a young girl observes the women in her life and how each covers her hair a different way, she dreams of the possibilities in her own future and how she might express her personality through her hijab.

Details

  • Title: Under My Hijab
  • Author: Hena Khan
  • Illustrator: Aaliya Jaleel
  • Cover Artist: Aaliya Jaleel
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books
  • ISBN: 1620147920
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • For Ages: 4-8
  • Category: Picture Book

I’d like to thank Lee & Low Books for providing a free copy via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.

Review

Celebrating diversity and self-expression, Under My Hijab is a beautiful exploration of the different ways that Muslim women and girls choose to wear (or not to wear) the hijab as an expression of their faith.

Told in rhyming couplets, a young girl watches her family and friends as they do the things they love: her mother the doctor attends to patients at work and gardens at home, her teenage cousin pursues a black belt in tae kwon do and then has a dance party with her, and so many more of the women she loves do incredible things that inspire her to follow her own dreams. The different ways they wear the hijab are as unique as they are.

This beautiful diversity shines through with first-time picture book illustrator Aaliya Jaleel’s art. The details in her warm, gentle illustrations immediately give each character their own personality, building a strong sense of love and community. Author Hena Khan’s story is one of joy and hope, and she ends it with some facts about the hijab and how unique it is to each wearer.

This #OwnVoices book will be a lovely way for young Muslim girls to see themselves and their loved ones represented in fictional stories, and it will be a fun way to introduce other children to Muslim characters and show them the beauty, kindness, and diversity in the Muslim community.


Ada Lovelace: My First Ada Lovelace

A white girl with brown hair and a green and purple dress holds a piece of early computing equipment against a bluish-grey background. Text: "Ada. My First Ada Lovelace. Little People Big Dreams."

Synopsis

This board book version of Ada Lovelace — an international bestseller from the beloved Little People, BIG DREAMS series — introduces the youngest dreamers to the world’s first computer programmer.

As a child, Ada had a big imagination and a talent for mathematics. She grew up in a noble household in England, where she dedicated herself to studying. Her work with the famous inventor, Charles Babbage, on a very early kind of computer made her the world’s first computer programmer.

Details

  • Title: Ada Lovelace: My First Ada Lovelace
  • Series: Little People, BIG DREAMS
  • Author: Mª Isabel Sánchez Vergara
  • Illustrator: Zafouko Yamamoto
  • Cover Artist: Zafouko Yamamoto
  • Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books
  • ISBN: 1786032597
  • Publication Date: February 5, 2019
  • For Ages: 3-5
  • Category: Board Book

I’d like to thank Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for providing a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

My First Ada Lovelace is a delightful entry in the empowering Little People, BIG DREAMS series from Francis Lincoln Children’s Books, showcasing the world’s first computer programmer. The text is sweet and exciting, showing the magical, imaginative side of Ada’s unlimited intellect. Zafouko Yamamoto’s art matches the story perfectly. The illustrations are rendered like children’s drawings, but their sly, sophisticated execution underscores the narrative that — no matter how young you are or how male-dominated your field may be — imagination and talent will ultimately shine through. This beautiful board book is an inspirational gem.


Wish

A white rabbit wearing a red scarf stands on a log in a green forest and watches white balls of light float upwards. Text: "Wish. Chris Saunders."

Synopsis

Once every year wishes take flight,
filled with hope and twinkling light.
They dance in the air, with a swirl and a swish,
you have to be lucky to be chosen by a wish.

Rabbit cannot decide what to wish for, so he asks his friends Mouse, Fox, and Bear what they would do if they had a wish. Being selfless and kind, Rabbit grants all three wishes to his friends. They are so grateful for his kindness and generosity, they share their wishes with him.

Details

  • Title: Wish
  • Author/Illustrator: Chris Saunders
  • Cover Artist: Chris Saunders
  • Publisher: words & pictures
  • ISBN: 1786033461
  • Publication Date: March 12, 2019
  • For Ages: 4-7
  • Category: Picture Book

I’d like to thank words & pictures for providing a free copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

The world is filled with love, hope, and possibility in Chris Saunders’s lovely picture book Wish. When Rabbit catches three wishes, he doesn’t know what to wish for, so he asks his friends Mouse, Fox, and Bear what they would do with a wish. What happens next is a beautiful story of friendship, inspiration, and selflessness. With gentle verse and airy, dreamlike illustrations that seem to glow with an inner light, Wish is a truly special picture book that will bring joy and hope to all who read it.


Have I added to your TBR with this list? Do you have any recommendations for me based on these non-spooky books I loved? Let me know in the comments!

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