Mary Had a Little Lab by Sue Fliess; illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis, 2018
(Ages 3 – 8)
My kids just love this fun new spin on an old nursery rhyme. In this version, Mary is a scientist who builds a clever apparatus to clone sheep. When she brings her new pet to school, all of her classmates want one too. The machine jams, however, and begins producing two sheep at a time causing the town to become overrun with the wooly creatures. In a satisfying conclusion, Mary and her new friends work together to solve the problem.
My kids and I both love the witty text that has several nods to the original. “They used the lab to herd the sheep by adding wheels below. Now everywhere that Mary went, her lab was sure to go.” I also love how resourceful Mary is. Whenever she is faced with a problem she works to solve it. The flowing rhymes and comical illustrations make this a perfect choice for a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) themed storytime or anyone looking for a good read-aloud.
Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin, 2018
(Ages 4 – 10)
Brian Selznick’s signature artwork is as beautiful as ever in this comical transitional chapter book written by David Serlin. In five short chapters, readers follow Baby Monkey as he discovers missing treasures for his clients. He listens, takes notes, has a snack, puts on pants, and follows footprints to solve each robbery.
My five-year-old thought this book was hysterical and begged for repeated readings. Even though the book is almost two hundred pages long, the large text and full-page pictures make this a quick read. Deceptively simple, younger children will laugh at the scenes of Baby Monkey attempting to put on his pants, while older children and adults may notice the detailed illustrations featuring changing movie posters, famous artwork, and maps hanging in Baby Monkey’s office.
The short and mostly simple text makes this a great book for children who are begging to read chapter books, but may not quite be ready for a more complicated text. This is also a good choice for a bedtime read aloud. You can read it in one sitting and pour over the gorgeous illustrations while snuggling.
Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, 2018
(Ages 3 – 6)
During a visit with her Mimi, a young brown-skinned girl delights in exploring the contents of her grandmother’s purse. Each item she pulls out has a special story that captures the essence of Mimi. The items range from seemingly ordinary such as a mirror, hairpins, and jewelry to a sentimental coin purse and photo album. The young girl loves them all because they are “all of the things that make my grandma Mimi.”
This is such a sweet story about family and the relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother. My kids absolutely love this book because it reminds them of their own experience with their grandmother. When my mom comes to visit from Florida, the first thing my kids do is look in her bag. Like Mimi, she holds many magical treasures that entrance my children. They have a blast squirting her perfume, writing with her pens, and attempting to put on her makeup.
This is one of those stories that makes your heart smile making it a perfect gift to or from any grandmother.
Fancy Nancy Oodles of Kittens by Jane O’Connor; illustrated by Robin Preiss-Glasser, 2018
(Ages 3 – 8)
My daughter is obsessed with the Fancy Nancy series and was thrilled to discover a new one was recently published. I continue to be happily surprised by the series that has more to it than just glitter and glamour. There always seems to be a nice message seamlessly woven into the story.
In this installment, Nancy and her neighbors discover a litter of adorable stray kittens. Nancy’s family adopts one and Nancy showers her new pet with attention. Her dog, Frenchy, soon becomes jealous, however, and Nancy finds a way to care for both pets.
This sweet story contains lots of great vocabulary words for children and Nancy serves as a positive role model responsibly nurturing each pet. It was no surprise to me that my almost three-year-old daughter requested this book night after night. Even my five-year-old son enjoyed listening in. We can’t wait to read Nancy’s next adventure.
5-Minute Star Wars Stories published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, 2015
(Ages 3 – 12)
This book is not only a favorite of my children’s, but my husband loves reading it as well! It concisely captures several famous scenes from the Star Wars movies including the original trilogies, the three prequels, and The Force Awakens.
My children are familiar with the ubiquitous Star Wars characters from seeing them on cereal boxes at the grocery store and toys at their friends’ houses, but they are too young to watch the actual movies. This book has been the perfect way to give in to their Star Wars fix and enjoy several lively discussions on the characters. My kids love the illustrations and the length of the stories is perfect for a quick read before bedtime!