Five Star Picture Books 2015

It’s that time of year when the “Best of” lists are being published.  The following books received five stars from me on Goodreads, which isn’t easy to do.   I’ve read 499 picture books this year; most which were published this year.  Only fifteen received 5 stars.


Whale in Swimming Pool

The Whale in My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan


Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper


Home by Carson Ellis

If You Plant a Seed

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Simons New Bed

Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer and illustrated by Melissa van der Paardt


Waiting by Kevin Henkes

Where's Walrus

Where’s Walrus?  And Penguin? by Stephen Savage

Lizard from Park

Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett

Dog Wearing Shoes

A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko

Everybody Sleeps

Everybody Sleeps (but not Fred) by Josh Schneider

How to Share with Bear

How to Share With a Bear by Eric Pinder and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street by  Matt de La Pena and illustrated by Christian Robinson

Beep Beep Go to Sleep

Beep, Beep, Go To Sleep by Todd Tarpley and illustrated by John Rocco


Look by Jeff Mack

Interstellar Cinderella

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Meg Hunt

The Three Questions

Three Questions

Mom would be so proud. I said, “No, I have too much on my plate to be room parent. When asked for ideas of who might be wiling to do it, I suggested asking a DAD. I said, “All the moms I know in the class plates are overflowing.”  Later in the day, I read the book The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth.  Every mom I know needs to sit down and read this book.  Then, read it to their child.  Then, discuss the three questions “When is the best time to do things?  Who is the most important one?  What is the right thing to do?”

As the crazy holiday season approaches, I’ve decided to live in the present.  Every year, since ML was tiny we’ve tried to go Christmas Caroling with friends.  When she was younger, it was spur of the moment.  As she grew, I tried to turn it into a party.  For the past three years, it’s been cancelled due to sickness or pouring rain.  This year, I’m not putting a plan in place.  This doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.  It might if the weather is good, everyone at our house is well and the stars align.  If they do, I’ll send you a last minute text.

If you have not discovered Jon J. Muth, you should.  He writes and illustrates wise books.  His version of Stone Soup is one of my favorites.

Stone Soup

My Mock Newbery – Whose In?

After surfing the web and trolling the Mock Newbery websites, I’ve created my list.  The books on other lists I already read automatically made my list.  I added others trying to make certain it included a diverse range of genres and characters.  Seven books down, ten more to go.  Although, I doubt I’ll read all of the other ten.  If it doesn’t make me want to stay up later than 10 pm, I’ll move on to the next book.

The official winners are announced on January 11th.  I’ll announce my choice for the 2016 Newbery on the first day of the year.  Anyone want to join me?



Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan


Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate


George by Alex Gino

Sunny Side

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm

The Marvels

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Red Butterfly

Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen

Handful Stars

Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord



War That Saved My Life

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Fuzzy Mud

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar


Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Stella Starlight

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin


Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

Ruby on Outside

Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Hired Girl

Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Roller Girl

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

It’s going to be interesting to see if any of these will replace my current front runner, Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Julia’s Review: Ms. Rapscott’s Girls

Ms Rapscott

Every year, I forget how busy summers are at the library.  Julia wrote enough reviews to keep the blog going; but I neglected to post them.  Here’s a book both Julia and I enjoyed. . .   Ms. Rapscott’s Girls by Elise Primavera.

Three words:  cute, funny, unusual (in a good way)
Favorite character:  Fay. She was very sweet to take care of Dahlia’s lamb. I also liked Bea’s spunk, and it was funny that she always yelled.
Favorite part:  When they all arrived, because the hullabaloo was very funny, especially when they were assigned to beds.
How it made me feel:  I was worried for Dahlia because she was lost, but it was all okay and mostly I was laughing.

Synopsis from Penguin website.  “Nestled inside a lighthouse, Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents takes its motto from Amelia Earhart: Adventure is worthwhile in itself. Headmistress Ms. Rapscott couldn’t agree more, but her students, who are shipped to the school in boxes, could use a little convincing. Still, despite their initial reluctance, the students are soon soaring through the sky and getting lost on purpose. In addition to learning what birthday cakes are and how best to approach a bumbershoot tree, the students also manage to learn a little something about strength and bravery.”

Dad’s First Day

Dad's First Day

Today is the beginning of kindergarten for the children of several friends.  Dad’s First Day by Mike Wohnoutka provides a twist on first day jitters.  It’s the parent, not the child whose tummy hurts.

Oliver’s dad doesn’t want to take him to school; so he hides all over the house and yard.  Goodbye is hard for Oliver’s dad, the teacher has to carry him outside screaming.  At one point, he screams, “I’m not ready for school!”  Ready or not it’s here.  I hope my friends have a not too teary morning; and this dreary, rainy day goes well for all our kindergarten friends and their teachers.

Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure


The PTA at ML’s school provided a new service this year.  You could order school supplies online in May; and they would be delivered to her classroom for the first day of school.  This is on the list of my TOP three things which happened this year.  No more looking for an 8 pack of crayons with basic colors.  Based on our experience last year, this staple from my childhood no longer exists, except with sparkles in them.

School Supplies

Today, Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure by Alan Lawrence Sitomer and illustrated by Abby Carter arrived.  I immediately laughed because ML meets her teacher tomorrow and I’m certain there may be some additional school supplies to buy.  I work this weekend; so it’s up to ML and her Dad to fight the crowds.  I won’t miss the thirty minute decision making process ML has when choosing a binder.

My friend posted,  “Two stores, both of them mad houses, and $200 later, we have most of the school supplies. I still have to get a large broom head, 3 pool noodles, paint pens???, and a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sigh.”  I had a sigh of relief.  I’m sure we will get request for some interesting items throughout the year.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to fight the crowds; nor will I have to lug several bags of school supplies on the first day.

Now back to the book.  I can relate to the dad’s nostalgia.  If I saw a Holly Hobbie lunchbox at the store, I wouldn’t be able to resist.


Back to School 2015

School starts Monday!!!  During the last week, the library received several picture books about school.  Below are my favorites.

Aligator to School

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T! by Elise Parsley – A hilarious account of what not to bring for show and tell.

Mrs Benson's Chalkboard
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann – The perfect book for a child who doesn’t conform to teacher expectations; with a happy resolution for everyone.

Maple and Willow Apart
Maple & Willow Apart by Lori Nichols – Perfect for the heart-broken child when their older sibling goes to school for the first time.

Ally-Saurus & the First Day of School by Richard Torrey – A great tale about a girl who marches to the beat of her own drummer; and meets other creative, unique friends at school.

First Grade Dropout
First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell – An important book about how one feels when they are laughed at.

Birdies First Day of School
Birdies First Day of School by Sujean Rim – A sweet tale for the child who is reluctant to start school.

Goose Goes to School
Goose Goes To School by Laura Wall – Playful goose follows Sophie to school.  Readers will enjoy spotting goose in various scenes throughout the book.