Unicorns! You love them, but how much do you really know about them? Join Professors Glitter Pants, Sprinkle Steed, Star Hoof, and Sugar Beard, plus their trusty lab assistant, Pete, as they reveal mind-blowing unicorn facts never before available to the public! Full of eye-popping illustrations and nonstop, sidesplitting laughs—plus a removable Unicorn Scientist diploma at the end of the book—Unicorns 101 will have children eager to enroll, time and time again!
Unicorns continue to remain popular magical creatures among kids and readers of all ages. With their magic powers, glitter and sparkles, it’s no surprise that people continue to be obsessed with unicorns year after year.
We enjoyed reading this funny and engaging book to help spark imagination and get a crash course in all things unicorn. If you have a unicorn lover check this one out! Recommended for ages 3-7 and up.
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About the Author
CALE ATKINSON is an author-illustrator and animator whose titles include Where Oliver Fits, To the Sea, Off and Away, and Sir Simon: Super Scarer. He lives lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. See more of Cale’s work at Cale.ca, and follow him on Twitter.
Synopsis Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama is growing up, but he still loves to play with all his toys! When Mama Llama says it’s time to clean up, Llama responds like any child more interested in playing than cleaning . . . by ignoring her! But Mama has an imaginative response of her own. What if she never cleaned? What would happen then? Well, Llama Llama is going to find out! Here is a truly funny take on a childhood chore that all children will relate to and laugh at! And it is sure to be helpful to get kids cleaning up!
Reflection I’ve always loved cleanliness and organization ever since I was a kid. I guess today I would be categorized as having a bit of OCD and I’m totally okay with that. I was taught that “there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place.” I still believe this today and teach it to my kids now that they’re older.
When the kids were younger it was hard to keep up with having the house as tidy as I usually like it to be. It wasn’t worth it for me to keep picking up after the kids when it would get messy again within minutes. I learned to just let things go. However, now the kids are old enough to know better and understand what it means to have a messy house or a messy room just like Llama Llama.
It’s cleaning day in the book Llama Llama Mess, Mess, Messand all Llama wants to do is play with his toys instead of helping his mom clean up. In order to teach Llama good cleaning habits Mama Llama shows him what would happen if she stopped cleaning the house. Llama sees his mother taking the clean clothes out of the dryer and throwing them in the air, wearing blankets on her head, and making forts with mops and brooms. Pretty soon, everything’s in disarray and Llama has no place to play. That’s when he decides to work together with Mama Llama to clean up the mess.
I love how Mama Llama taught Llama the importance of keeping the place where you live clean by pretending to have bad habits herself. It wasn’t until Llama witnessed his mother’s messiness that he understood there was no space left for him to play. Mama Llama did a great job teaching Llama the basic concept of “everything in its place” and working together as a team.
I believe once children can see everything in its place they are able to understand where something belongs. Llama quickly understood this which helped get one step closer to keeping his own room clean. Half the battle for a child is not understanding where things should go and how to keep them organized without having it demonstrated for them.
If you’re having trouble teaching your kids how to keep their rooms clean, be sure to check out Llama Llama Mess, Mess, Messfor some inspiration. Ages 2-5.
About the Author
Anna Dewdey passed away in September 2016, at the age of fifty from cancer. A teacher, mother, and enthusiastic proponent of reading aloud to children, she continually honed her skills as an artist and writer and published her first Llama Llama book in 2005. Her passion for creating extended to home and garden and she lovingly restored an 18th century farmhouse in southern Vermont. She wrote, painted, gardened, and lived there with her partner, Reed, her two daughters, two wirehaired pointing griffons, and one bulldog. Anna was a warm-hearted, wonderful, wise soul who will be forever missed, but whose spirit lives on in her books.
Your turn: What are some of your tips to teach children to keep their room clean? Feel free to share in the comments.
Synopsis One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Reflection Eleven-year-old Chanin grew up being obsessed with soccer. At the age of six he started playing and joined the Wild Boars soccer team a few short years later. Nicknamed “Titan” by his family after the powerful giants of Greek mythology, he was known for his strength which made him an asset to the team.
On June 23, 2018 Titan and eleven of his teammates entered the Tham Luang Nang Non Caves along with their soccer coach in search of adventure. The storied “hidden city” within the cave excited the boys so they went in search of it. Little did they know they’d be spending 18 days trapped (June 23 – July 10) there underground surrounded by stone cold water and little oxygen with no food.
While reading this book I felt a range of different emotions from sadness to nervousness to sheer excitement! This story is not only captivating, but it’s informative too. It’s so interesting to read the details about how the team members all made it out alive. What an incredible journey for the soccer team, their coach and all of the rescuers/volunteers involved! This is an amazing story of bravery, perseverance, teamwork and community. The illustrations by Dow Phumiruk are so vivid will take your breath away. Each illustration really helps to bring the story to life.
The back matter has more information about the cave rescue including a timeline and other fascinating facts. For example: while being trapped in the cave, four of the boys missed their birthdays. There is also a brief interview with British divers Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson. An inspiring non-fiction book not to be missed this year.
Watch the Book Trailer!
About the Authors Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s Violin, Shaking Things Up, and Lifeboat 12. She is the recipient of the 2017 E.B. White Honor Award, the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Américas Award, and the 2017 Bank Street Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, given annually to “a distinguished work of nonfiction which serves as an inspiration to young people.” Visit susanhoodbooks.com.
Pathana Sornhiran was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University with a major in English and French. She later completed her master’s degree in journalism in London, UK and now works as a journalist in Asia, traveling across the region to find and tell stories that matter.
About the Illustrator Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand and came to the United States with her family when she was very young. Her mother was a nurse, and her father, a retired Royal Thai Air Force captain. He worked for Thai Airways for many years, which allowed her family many trips back to Thailand when she was younger. Dow currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She is an author and illustrator of children’s books and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2011. Dow is also a general pediatrician who teaches medical students part time. When she is not creating or teaching, she likes to hike the trails near her home. Visit her at artbydow.blogspot.com
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Format: Hardcover Pages: 32 Age Range: 4 – 8 Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Synopsis It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
Reflection Twist outs. Braid outs. Wash and Gos. Bantu knots. Locs. Afros. Braids. Top Knots. Ponytails. Today’s natural haired beauties are embracing their kinks, coils and curls more than ever before to express their style. Just ask little Zuri. She wants to have the perfect hairstyle to welcome her mother home. Armed with an iPad, hair products and her dad, she ends up finding the perfect look.
I adore this book for so many reasons. First, it showcases a Black father in a positive light bonding with his daughter doing her hair. We don’t see this enough, especially in the Black community. I personally think a father caring for his daughter’s hair isn’t a loss of masculinity. In fact, I think women admire men even more who take the initiative to learn how to do hair. I love how Zuri’s dad steps up to the plate and figures out what needs to be done to do his daughter’s hair in his wife’s absence.
With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair. This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way, and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.
One thing I notice with my husband is he likes to bond with our kids by playing, roughhousing, teaching them a skill or a sport. But Hair Love shows that fathers talking to their daughters about their hair is an entirely new way to bond. Just like my daughter, many girls love to see and spend time with their dad. So when a father actually does a good job on his daughter’s hair she’ll likely respond with, “Yeah, my daddy did my hair!”…now that’s bonding.
I also love how Zuri’s dad tells her that her hair is beautiful.
Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!
When I was younger I remember people used to always use the word “nappy” to describe natural Black hair. That word was thrown around a lot during my childhood by children and grown-ups and I never liked it. Since becoming an adult and embracing my own natural hair, I no longer use that word to describe my hair or anyone else’s natural hair. You have to be mindful of the things you say to children and teach them about self-love at an early age like Zuri’s dad.
I also think Hair Love does a great job showing readers that being a father is much more than being able to provide for a family financially. Fatherhood sometimes encompasses: cooking, cleaning, AND doing hair. It may also involve showing your daughter how to love herself completely inside and out, how to appreciate her natural beauty, and love everything about herself. Those are things that sometimes men (and women) really don’t think about as being a father.
Lastly, the adorable illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this book a ten on the cuteness scale. Just look at how adorable the front cover is! As always, Vashti does an outstanding job telling the story through her stunning illustrations. A winner!
Hair Tips & Techniques
Learn your daughter’s hair type and what will work best in styling her hair.
Create or find a regimen that works your daughter’s hair and lifestyle. Once you find what works KEEP DOING IT. Consistency is key to growing beautiful, natural hair.
Find people within your family and friends and talk to them about maintenance if you’re unsure.
Utilize social media when necessary. There is a wealth of information online. You can find easy, child-friendly tutorials as well as product reviews.
Browse the hashtag #naturalhair or #naturalhairkids on any social media platform and all kinds of helpful information will be in the palm of your hand.
About the Author
Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. In 2007 he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. Now, he directs music videos and short films, including “Hair Love,” the animated short film on which this book is based. Matthew was named to Paste Magazine‘s list of Directors to Watch in 2016.
About the Illustrator
Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, which is also a NAACP Image Award winner. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and picture book worlds.
Your turn: How do you teach your children to love their hair? What natural hair tips and techniques would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.