Katie Fry Private Eye: The Lost Kitten

FC_BC_9780545666725.pdf

Image Credit: Scholastic Inc., Katherine Cox/ Vanessa Brantley Newton

Katie Fry is one smart cookie with a knack for solving mysteries. This Level 2 Beginning reader is a great short story for building confidence in reading. Katie is very modern and relatable and kids will enjoy following her adventures in her neighborhood. Katie Fry Private Eye: The Lost Kitten is the first in a series and in it we meet Katie and her family. She practices her detective skills on her dad and finds his glasses…on top of his head! Katie, being the thoughtful entrepreneur she is, sets up a booth to help people solve mysteries. Before she knows it, she’s on a case to find a missing kitten named Sherlock!

Vanessa Brantley Newton is one of my new favorite illustrators because her digital/mixed media illustrations have so much life to them. She’s great at creating characters with personality and spunk. Katie Fry, with her brown skin, curly natural hair and flower dress reminds me of my little cousin. THAT is the beauty of a diverse book; a child can see a reflection of themselves in the story and might even be inspired to be the best private eye on their street, just like Katie Fry.

If you like this book, there’s a sequel called Katie Fry Private Eye: The Missing Fox! If you enjoy mystery picture books like me, check out my reviews for Shark Detective and Hermelin the Detective Mouse. Happy Sleuthing!

 

Recommended for: Kindergarten-2nd grade
Great for: Humor, Friendship, Animals, Cats, Mystery, Girl Power, African-American, BlackGirlsRock, Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Family, Community, Encouraging Reading, Beginning Readers
Book Info: Katie Fry Private Eye: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox/Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton, 2015 Scholastic Inc., ISBN: 9780545666725

Advertisements

The Tea Party in the Woods

TheTeaPartyintheWoods

Image Credit: Kids Can Press, Akiko Miyakoshi

 

Japanese author/illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi creates a whimsical and mysterious winter fantasy inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. The Tea Party in the Woods was originally printed in Japan in 2010 (もりのおくのおちゃかいへ) but was translated to English and printed in Canada/US this year. I’m always happy and thankful for this special type of global exchange. There are SO many great stories out there!

In The Tea Party in the Woods, Kikko sets out after her father on a wintry morning. He forgot the pie for grandma and so she bravely walks through the woods in the deep snow to catch up with him. She finally sees him and rushes to catch up but drops and crushes the pie box. After she gets up, she follows him again but he walks into a strange house! Turns out it’s not her father at all…but a bear wearing a suit! She’s invited into the animals’ tea party where everyone is having a lovely time with music and delicious food. The animals share slices of all their lovely pies to make a special new pie for grandma.

This book is lovely and odd. Miyakoshi’s sketchy charcoal and pencil illustrations stand out against the white background. Her sparse use of color is just enough to highlight and draw attention, similar to Sydney Smith’s use of color in Sidewalk FlowersThe page where Kikko enters the party is a bit spooky; all the animals stare at her with wide eyes. Perhaps they’re just as surprised to see her as she is them! Snuggle up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy The Tea Party in the Woods with your children.

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Family, Little Red Riding Hood, Community, Determination, Friendship, Party, Animals, Pie, Party, Mystery, Winter, Woods, Global Exchange
Book Info: The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi, 2015 Kids Can Press, ISBN: 9781771381079

The World in a Second

TheWorldinaSecond

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins, Bernardo P. Carvalho

The World in a Second is very high concept and I love it! This is how I describe this book: Bam…BAM…bam…bam…Bammity BAM BAM…oooooh…Bam. The end?

What did you get from that? I’m odd? Why yes, I am but what I attempted to express is how fast-paced this book is. The pace of the book suits the title well because it’s about the passage of time, specifically one second, consecutively, in 23 places around the world with each page showing one second, across every time zone, in no particular order. The world is a flurry of activity and inactivity.

This book is mysterious and it may leave you with several…questions. There are many things to think about and discuss within each page second. I’ve reviewed a similar book called At The Same Moment, Around the World and although it’s also about world time, it’s much slower, makes more an effort to create a narrative and actively teaches children about the concept of “the time zone.” This book does not. It does teach, just in a different way. The scenes are more open to interpretation and reflection and this book is generally more abstract. Also, it’s so beautifully diverse! Lots of people to look at from all over the world!

TheWorldinaMinute2

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins/Bernardo P. Carvalho

Carvalho’s illustrations are very confident, blocky, detailed and vague. He invites us inside of a busy car in traffic, takes us inside the branches of an orange tree just as an orange falls and we get to observe a man resting quietly. I think children will enjoy the illustrations because they’re so bold and there’s a lot to discover which is great for inquisitive minds.

The World in a Second was originally published in Portugal in 2008. Thank you Enchanted Lion Books for translating and bringing this book to the US for us to enjoy!

P.S. Pay close attention to the last page! 😉

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Discussion, Storyboarding, Imagination, Time Zones, Family, Community, Read-Aloud, Portugal, Animals, Mystery, Colors
Book InfoThe World in a Second by Isabel Minhós Martins/Illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho, 2015 Enchanted Lion Books, ISBN: 9781592701575

Hermelin the Detective Mouse

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children's Books, Mini Grey

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books, Mini Grey

Oooh Hermlin is the cutest and smartest mouse around. 🙂 I love this book so much. I think I’ve found a new picture book niche that I enjoy; mysteries! I recently reviewed the book Shark Detective which is also a great one.

As you read Hermelin the Detective Mouse, pay attention to the first few pages; really look at the illustrations and read the text. It just might help you solve the mysteries! Hermelin is a little mouse who one day realizes that he can read. Off he goes typing with the typewriter in the attic of his house. He notices that his neighbors have quite a few stolen and lost things in the neighborhood so he sets out to solve some mysteries. Hermelin deftly solves all the cases and his neighbors, not knowing his identity, invite him to a party in his honor. BUT…let’s not forget that Hermelin is a MOUSE…and guess what many people are afraid of? You guessed it. Oh no Hermelin, be careful!

Mini Grey is a clever storyteller and illustrator. There’s so much going on in her illustrations and this is a GOOD thing. You can read the book several times and find new things like little notes on trash, letters on discarded paper, and facial expressions of important characters. She is amazing at composing a scene. They’re busy but very interesting to look at; like when solving a mystery, the closer you look, the more clues you’ll find. Your family will really enjoy reading Hermelin together and soon you’ll have little detectives running around your house!

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Mystery, Friendship, Discussion, Animals, Storytelling, Community
Book Info: Hermelin the Detective Mouse (as told to) Mini Grey, 2013 Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books), ISBN: 9780385754330

 

Shark Detective!

Image Credit: Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), Jessica Olien

Image Credit: Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), Jessica Olien

Shark Detective is one of my favorite picture books for 2015. It’s a relatively simple story but sometimes simple is the most difficult to pull off. Olien’s shark tale makes me smile every time I read it; there’s something very endearing about Shark and his desire to become a detective. He’s a gentleman and has everyone’s best interests in mind, even when they are less than understanding about his sharky appearance.

Shark lives a lonely life in a hotel room where he dreams of being a big time detective. He gets his break when he notices a “Missing Kitty” poster on the street and decides to put his skills to the test. Shark doesn’t take this mission lightly; he does plenty of thoughtful research to solve the mystery and even makes a friend along the way.

Olien’s bold digital illustrations are great. I love the extra attention to detail with her characters’ expressions. Shark Detective is not only smart; it’s also a cute story about determination and friendship. I’m really hoping there will be a sequel because I’m anxious to see what case Shark Detective will sniff out next!

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Friendship, Humor, Discussion, Sharks, Animals, Mystery, Community
Book Info: Shark Detective by Jessica Olien, 2015 Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins), ISBN: 9780062357144