Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: A. Blob on a Bus by L.A. Kefalos

Title: A. Blob on a Bus

Author: L.A. Kefalos | Illustrator: Jeffrey Burns

Publisher: Laughing Leopard Press | Published: July 3, 2019

Theme: Bullying

Character Origin: Human and Blob 

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 38

Ages: 4-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

A. Blob on a Bus continues the story of This is A. Blob, which first introduced us to the purple pest. The sticky, purple bully, A. Blob, is back in this second installment of The Blob Series, and it appears it still hasn’t learned that being mean won’t make friends stick. As A. Blob pokes, prods, and pesters, it seems like the children will never be able to ride the bus in peace; that is, until one brave girl decides to take a stand. Suitable for children ages 4-8, this picture book encourages readers to take action against bullying and shows how one act of bravery can change everything–maybe even a bully.

My overall thoughts…

Let me take a moment and applaud this book. It was quite refreshing to read a book that handles bullying so well and with great balance. This is the second book in a three-book series that approaches bullying from three perspectives. That is GENIUS! But I can say that this one is my favorite so far. I love how one firm act of bravery is the catalyst that the kids need to find their very own courage to stand together against their bully. Their comradery is a thing of beauty, and maybe what other kids need to see to overcome their current situations. The ambiguity of the bully is a powerful statement that allows the reader the ability to apply those traits to anyone.

The illustrations and text…

The illustrations are colorful yet reflect the mood of the text. The diversity of the characters further demonstrates that all children, despite your race or gender, can experience bullying. The rhyming verse is easy to read. There was an excellent synergy between the balance of words and imagery. The viridity of the text refines the topic in a way that is relatable to young readers. Kefalos does a fantastic job of showing the vulnerability of children while also capturing their strength. That can be tricky, but she nailed it. This book (and the series) checks so many boxes for me as a mom and as an educator. It opens the door to informative and instructive dialogues for parents and teachers to have with their children. I can’t wait to see how the final book unfolds.

I’ll give it…

Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller

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Title: When You Are Brave

Author: Pat Zietlow Miller | Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler

Publisher: Little Brown Books | Published: March 5, 2019

Theme: Bravery

Character Origin: Human 

Book Type: Picture Book  | Pages: 40

Ages: 5-7 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Book Synopsis…

An inspiring picture book affirmation about having courage even in difficult times, because some days, when everything around you seems scary, you have to be brave.

Saying goodbye to neighbors. Worrying about new friends. Passing through a big city. Seeing a dark road ahead. In these moments, a young girl feels small and quiet and alone. But when she breathes deeply and looks inside herself, a hidden spark of courage appears, one she can nurture and grow until she glows inside and out.

My overall thoughts…

I’ve waited for what seems like forever to get my hands on this book. It has been on my “must-read” list even before it hit shelves in March. I have to say that it exceeded my expectations. Pat Zietlow Miller has done it again! Her innate ability to translate feelings into intelligible words that children can decipher is sheer magic. The simplicity of the text is a testament to the effectiveness of the perfect word choice, especially in children’s books.

The illustrations and text…

Wheeler’s illustrations were done with watercolor, colored pencils, and acrylic paint. I was able to appreciate her use of blue to convey the young girl’s fear and worry while using yellow when she finds her bravery. I love the subliminal messaging in that. This is a perfect display of when words and imagery collide–creating a masterpiece. The passages are short but concise. The font size and type are great for young readers. Sometimes it’s the most straightforward approach that makes the most significant impact. Zietlow Miller proves this here.

I’ll give it…