Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps - a review

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps

by Nicola Winstanley
Illustrations by John Martz
Tundra, 2019

The “five easy steps” in the book’s title are more difficult than they sound when the cat refuses to cooperate! The title page shows a dark-skinned girl with pink hair striding purposefully with a limp white cat under her arm. All signs point to a successful bath experience until,
Fill the tub with warm water. 
The girl fills the tub with too much warm water, prompting a new step one,
Put a little warm water in the bath. 
As “step one,” changes with the circumstances, Mr. Flea, escapes. After a lengthy (and messy) search throughout the house, step one becomes,
Have some milk and cookies. 
The steps change amusingly as the cat wreaks havoc in the house, the water cools to an unacceptable temperature, and the process continues through a multitude of steps before resolving in a way that pleases as least one of the two! Simple ink drawings are digitally colored with a limited palette. The cat’s only coloring is a round pink nose that perfectly matches the girl’s hair buns. The same pink boldly lists the ever-increasing steps required to “give your cat a bath.” Pages are a soft beige with white comic book style margins. The text is witty and droll instruction,
Chase your cat down the stairs! 
The girl’s comments appear in white word bubbles above her head,
 “I thought you said there were only five steps!” 
The girl and Mr. Flea burst with action and expression. The result is a hilarious confirmation of the well-known fact that cats do whatever they please. How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps is sure to be a favorite for small group sharing, cat families, and children who appreciate nuanced hilarity.

Peek inside How to Give Your Cat a Bath.

My copy of How to Give Your Cat a Bath was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Fox the Tiger - a review

Fox the Tiger
By Corey R. Tabor
Harper Collins, 2018

Below is my review of Fox the Tiger as it appeared in School Library Journal.

PreS-Gr 1--Fox yearns to be a tiger. "Tigers are big. Tigers are fast ... Tigers are the best." Fox and his friends, Turtle and Rabbit, spend the day pretending until a rainstorm washes away their disguises. Tabor uses pencil, watercolor, and crayon in a bright, but earthy palette. Most pages have a single illustration which provides context for one or two sentences. After Fox paints himself to look like a tiger, he admires his new stripes in a full-length mirror, can of paint nearby: "There. Now I am a tiger," says Tiger." The three friends have simple, but expressive cartoon features that add emotion to the story. Limited background details, creamy white pages, and an uncomplicated font are a perfect combination for an emerging reader. A humorous ending provides a positive message of self-acceptance that would have more power if Fox's epiphany came from within, rather than from the affirmation of others. VERDICT This is Fox's first appearance in an easy reader and it will surely be popular with children who enjoyed him in picture book format.

Read a sample of Fox the Tiger here. 

School Library Journal. Aug2018, p63.
Copyright © 2018 School Library Journal, the property of Media Source, Inc.  Reprinted here with permission.

My copy of Fox the Tiger was provided by School Library Journal.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sweep: The Story of Girl and Her Monster - an audiobook review

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster
By Jonathan Auxier
Read by Sarah Coomes
Brilliance Audio, 2018
8 hours, 14 minutes

Enter the world of Nan Sparrow, an indentured child laborer in the soot-filled chimneys of Victorian London.

Coomes's voice and Auxier's prose combine to create an immersive experience. 

 Read my complete review of Sweep for AudioFile Magazine and hear a sample of the book here.

Sweep swept the journals, receiving starred reviews in Horn Book, SLJ, PW, Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Connection

In addition to AudioFile Magazine's Earphones Award for "truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text," Sweep recently won the Sydney Taylor Book Award in the Older Readers category. award honors "outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience."

This Publishers Weekly article has a #booktalk for Sweep by the author, Jonathan Auxier.

My copy of Sweep was provided by AudioFile Magazine.

Monday, January 28, 2019

ALA Youth Media Awards are today!

Today's the big day!  Be sure to tune in at 11:00 am EST to watch the announcements for the ALA Youth Media Awards!

Here's the link to the live webcast:  or follow #ALAyma on social media platforms for live updates.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Struttin' with Some Barbecue - a review

Struttin' with Some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong becomes the First Lady of Jazz 
by Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrated by Rachel Himes 
Charlesbridge, 2018

Almost everyone has heard of jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong, but what of his wife, Lil Hardin? In this illustrated,  novel-in-verse, Patricia Hruby Powell introduces us to the the talented piano player and composer, Lil Hardin. She was Louis Armstrong's wife, his early manager, and the composer of several famous jazz hits of the day, including "Struttin' with Some Barbecue." With or without her famous husband, Lil Hardin was destined to be a star.

Short chapters in chronological order start with Liz's upbringing with her strict mother—a staunch foe of "race music," as jazz was called at the time.  However, Liz's talent, drive, and ability to make money, finally won over her disapproving mother.  Lil began dating the shy Louis Armstrong in 1922. Together they played music, married, and rose to the top,

Lil and Louis
were struttin' high on the hog
right there in Chicago,
up from the South,
raw and raucous
rompin', rollickin'

Dang, they were musical royalty—
a new kind of sound—
After reading Struttin' with Some Barbecue, you won't be able to look up a recording of Lil's music fast enough.  I've saved you the trouble.  Listen to "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" below.

In addition to a glossary, bibliography, index, etc., back matter includes additional information on Lil, jazz, and racial conditions of the era.

My copy of Struttin' with Some Barbecue was provided by the publisher.

See more posts at Nonfiction Monday

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps - a review

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps by Nicola Winstanley Illustrations by John Martz Tundra , 2019 The “five easy steps” ...