Who Made This Mess? Author: Laura Gehl
Illustrator: Aleksandar Stojsic
Published July 31st, 2023 by Capstone
Summary: Mud splattered everywhere, tangled-up wool in huge piles, and carrot tops strewn about–what in the world is happening in this animal village? It’s quite a mystery! But thanks to rhyming clues, everyone will be able to easily guess the animal culprits–or will they? In this laugh-out-loud, expectation-defying picture book, Laura Gehl (May Saves the Day and The Hiking Viking) uses a rhyming mystery to help readers adjust their outlook, keep an open mind, and learn not to make assumptions.
About the Creators:
Laura Gehl is the award-winning author of more than forty popular picture books, board books, and early readers including One Big Pair of Underwear, Except When They Don’t, My Pillow Keeps Moving, Apple and Magnolia, and the Baby Scientist series. Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband and four children. Visit Laura at lauragehl.com.
Aleksandar Stojsic graduated from Novi Sad Academy of Arts in 2006. He is a prolific character designer and children’s book illustrator who has been producing humorous illustrations for clients for over two decades. He has worked with many leading publishers and animators around the world.
Review:The full page, colorful illustrations in combination with the silliness and rhyming will lead to so many kids loving this book. It is entertaining concept that will lead to so much fun back and forth when reading allowed: “Who made that mess??” then kids yell the answer and discuss then continue. It will be so much fun! And it lends it self to reading and writing opportunities in the classroom!
Tools for Navigation: This book will lead to conversations when read aloud and a fun writing activity. First, each new mess gives an opportunity for prediction. Second, because some are unexpected while others aren’t, the predictions can lead to discussions about assumptions. Third, the rhyming text can be used as a mentor text to make their own “Who Made This Mess?” spreads.
Who do you think made the mess?
Were you right or wrong?
Why did you assume ____ had made the mess?
What does this book teach us about assumptions?
Would you want to go to the party?
What type of mess could you write about an animal making? What about a mess YOU make?
Read This If You Love: Silly animal picture books
**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media and Capstone for providing a copy for review!**
Hooray for DNA! How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us Author: Pauline Thompson
Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli
Published April 25th, 2023 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Summary: Bill Nye meets Green Eggs and Ham in this playful and rhythmic nonfiction picture book that introduces readers to the concept of DNA, and celebrates the similarities we share with all life-forms–and each other!
DNA is the ABC of what makes you, you and what makes me, me.
Did you know we share DNA with every living thing? Humans, bugs, bears, even a virus–we all have shared DNA hidden inside us!
From a debut author and an award-winning illustrator, here is a bouncy and playful picture book–perfect for the classroom or for story time–about the genetic code that makes up all living things, and reminds us that we’re all more alike than we think.
About the Creators:
About the author
PAULINE THOMPSON is a Toronto based artist and writer. Her work spans 25 years of creating, exhibiting, and incubation. Her love of popular science is the fuel for her children’s stories. In her spare time, Pauline facilitates writing workshops for Writers Collective of Canada.
About the illustrator
GREG PIZZOLI is the award-winning author and illustrator of many books for kids including the award-winning picture books The Watermelon Seed, Good Night Owl, and The Book Hog. He lives in South Philadelphia with his wife, two daughters, dog, and cats.
Review:What a fun introduction to DNA for young children! The author’s rhyming and rhythmic text lends itself to a read aloud and Pizzoli’s illustrations are as eye catching as always. Along with a great message about humanity, the book delivers a solid introduction to the idea of DNA.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: After reading aloud this book, dive into the back matter! The author has some great resources including more about the science of DNA, an activity comparing and contrasting ourselves and other items, and resources, including videos, that can be used in the classroom. This would be a perfect addition to an early education lesson on DNA!
How is DNA defined in the book?
What is something that you were surprised that we share DNA with?
What would we be like if we had no tissues or organs?
How closely related, DNA-wise, are all humans?
What does the book share that each of our unique DNAs lead to?
Read This If You Love: Science books for children
**Thank you to Cate at Nicole Banholzer PR for providing a copy for review!**
The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Published October 18th, 2022
Summary: Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin’s companion book to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe explores the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic world just beneath our skin.
From Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress and Cook Prize winning author and illustrator of Your Place in the Universe comes The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey, a companion book about the very small, from the tiniest mammals to the intricate structures of microscopic organisms and subatomic particles that make up every human body. This deep dive into an unseen world explores the building blocks of all matter and life, demonstrating how much we have in common with everything around us.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Jason Chin does it again: combining impeccable illustrations with science to take the reader into the microscopic world within our universe. Chin is such a master at bringing the reader into whatever world he has decided to explore and share with us. His writing is thorough and interesting, his illustrations are detailed and labeled, and the book together is definitely the journey he promises.
What is so special about the structure of the book? Why do you think the author set the structure up this way?
What is the smallest thing in the universe? How do these small particles impact us?
How does the author make this nonfiction book like a journey?
Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: Ashley Benham-Yazdani
Published November 15th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: From the award-winning author of Before She Was Harriet comes another work of lyrical beauty, the story of Henry David Thoreau and businessman Frederic Tudor–and a changing world.
Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.
This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerators) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.
Oddball/ tax dodger/ nature lover/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Thoreau. Bankrupt/ disgrace/ good for nothing/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Tudor.
Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani’s period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor’s men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.
An Author’s Note, which explores how Thoreau’s writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included.
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces us to another aspect of Walden Pond that Thoreau fans may not know about: Tudor’s industrial side of the pond. Cline Ransome’s verse shows us the contrast between the two lives that are tied together by the pond that they both loved, for very different reasons. Beautifully written with rhythm that yells for it to be read aloud.
Benham-Yazdani’s “period accurate watercolor” reminds me of Grandma Moses which is perfect for this story!
What does the different fascinations with the pond show you about the two men?
Why do you think the author chose to write the book in verse separated by seasons?
What did you learn about the past of ice that surprised you?
Polar Bear Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: This companion book to the authors’ Sibert award-winning Honeybee explores the life and habitat of a majestic endangered species through dramatic text and sumptuous illustration.
April in the Arctic . . . Cold winds send snow clouds scuttling across the sky. Temperatures barely nudge above freezing. But every now and again, The cloud cover parts, The sun shines down, And the frozen world stretches awake.
As spring approaches in the Arctic, a mother polar bear and her two cubs tentatively emerge from hibernation to explore the changing landscape. When it is time, she takes her cubs on a forty-mile journey, back to their home on the ice. Along the way, she fends off wolves, hunts for food, and swims miles and miles.
This companion book to Honeybee and Giant Squid features the unique talents of Fleming and Rohmann on a perennially popular subject. Eric Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings feature (as in Honeybee) a spectacular gatefold of the polar landscape.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Candace Fleming’s beautiful verse introduces us to the polar bear and all of the trials and tribulations she faces with her cubs in the Arctic. Within the narrative, we learn so much information about them and their habitat. The verse adds an extra poetic element to the book that just brings it to the next leve.
Add to that Rohmann’s illustrations, and this stunning picture book sucks in the reader through word and pictures. Backmatter adds even more information through shared research and fun facts.
Why do you think that author chose to write the book in verse?
What does the gatefold add to the experience of reading Polar Bear?
What are the biggest threats to polar bears?
Why does the back matter include the statement “I’s All About the Ice?”
We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function in the Animal Kingdom Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Published January 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House
Summary: Meet nature’s most extraordinary looking creatures. But they aren’t weird!
Birds with blue feet, fish that walk, unicorns in the sea, and more! Learn how these animals’ quirks help them survive. Perfect for budding naturalists who are always ready to share a cool (or gross) animal fact.
Very hard scales protect me, and my long tongue is perfect for eating ants. When I feel threatened, I roll myself into a ball. I am a Pangolin.
See these animals’ amazing body parts in vibrant and detailed woodcut illustrations, from the thorny dragon’s spiky skin to the star-nosed mole’s twenty-two feelers. Read how these creatures’ unique traits help them thrive and survive in their environments. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and more.
With easy-to-read text vetted by an expert, this book aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards on adaptation, structure, and function for kindergarten through 3rd grade. With supplementary information on each animal’s habitat and diet.
Review:This book introduces the reader to so many different unique animals (20 of them!), featuring what makes them different than others. The text in the book is written in 1st person with interesting facts and an introduction to the animal. Additional info on each animal is on in the back matter giving even more information about the animal including their habitat and diet.
Which of the animals would you like to learn more about? Why?
Choose your own animal to research and write an introduction, in 1st person, highlighting the animal’s uniqueness and interesting facts.
What is similar about all of the animals’ unique features?
The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow Author & Illustrator: Margaret Peot
Published December 6th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: With a striking glow-in-the-dark cover, this intriguing science book invites young readers to find light all around.
Sun shines. Stars twinkle. Aurora borealis glimmers.
Dramatic paintings of lightning, fire, fireworks and more introduces the sources of light–both natural and manmade–and encourage children to look around and observe.
Kids will gasp in surprise at the beautiful glow-in-the-dark cover, and the bold spreads within. Margaret Peot’s distinctive art style captures the elusive nature of light. Bioluminescent squid, fireflies and phytoplankton reveal light sources in living things. Fireworks and light bubbles sparkle on the page.
This foundational science book will kindle curiosity in physical science and the natural world. The simple text makes science accessible to all ages.
Toddlers will delight in the colorful art at storytime. As they grow, kids will return to this nonfiction favorite and discover new ideas each time. Science vocabulary and definitions are included in the back of the book.
An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Review:This beautifully illustrated book with sparse text gives an introduction to light in science including natural sources of light, bioluminescence, and artificial light. All of the animals, nature, and items in the book are tied together by the light that they make.
The author’s backmatter adds even more depth to the text by sharing more information on the different types of light, a bibliography, and websites to learn more.
What are the differences between the three types of light shared in the book?
Which of the types fascinates you the most?
How does bioluminescence work?
**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing copies for review!**
You So Black Author: Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.
Illustrator: London Ladd
Published January 10, 2023 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary: Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, You So Black is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.
Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone—in the night sky and the fertile soil below. It’s in familial connections and invention, in hands lifted in praise and voices lifted in protest, and in hearts wide open and filled with love. Black is good.
Accompanied by powerful yet tender illustrations by award-winning illustrator London Ladd, Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. has adapted her poem, full of gorgeous lyricism and imagery, to show readers the love, joy, resilience, and universality in the beauty of Blackness.
About the Creators:
Theresa Wilson a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. is a musical, lyrical and theatrical alchemist, sprinkling magic like hot sauce. She is best known for her appearance on the 2019 Trumpet Awards on Bounce TV, and the now viral recitation of “You So Black.” Theresa is from the south suburbs of Chicago but calls Atlanta home. She holds a degree in commercial music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.
London Ladd is a graduate of Syracuse University with an MFA in illustration. He uses a unique mixed media approach, combining cut paper textured with acrylic paint, tissue paper and colored pencil to bring his diverse subjects to life. London’s artwork is steeped in intensity and emotion, a reflection of the artist himself. His hope is that You So Black will be passed down through generations, reaffirming African Americans’ strength, beauty, power and love. His goal is to open a visual arts community center where lower-income families can create their own art. London lives in Syracuse, New York.
Review:This celebration of blackness is beautifully written and is made to be read out loud. The verse, combined with London Ladd’s dynamic yet warm collages, come together to create a book that shows the beauty, resilience, and brilliance of blackness. The author takes a “historically charged insult” and takes back the ownership and shows how “You So Black” is something to be proud of and in love with.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This beautiful picture book definitely belongs on the shelves of everywhere that students who need it can find it.
However, I also picture it being used to introduce spoken word poetry. The picture book in conjunction with the original spoken word poem can be used together and start conversations about rhythm, rhyme, articulation, prosody, etc. as well as other poetic elements like figurative language, specifically similes, and imagery.
Also, in conjunction with the interview linked below, it would lend itself to a great conversation about author’s purpose with evidence from the interview.
Original Spoken Word Poem:
Read This If You Love: Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o & Vashti Harrison, Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James, The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael López, All Because You Matter and We Are Here by Tami Charles & Bryan Collier, I am Enough and I Believe I Can by Grace Byers & Keturah A. Bobo
**Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy for review!!**
Dark on Light Author: Dianne White
Illustrator: Felicita Sala
Publishing December 6, 2022 by Beach Lane Books
Summary: As the sun sets, three siblings discover nature’s nighttime beauty in this soothingly rhythmic and gorgeously illustrated bedtime picture book from the acclaimed author-illustrator team behind Green on Green.
Gentle the evening. Sweeping the skies. Dark the shadows as twilight arrives. Rose the horizon, gleaming and bright. Twilight and evening and dark on light.
When the family dog trots away from the house at sunset, three siblings tumble out the door to go find him. Soon they find themselves immersed in the luminous colors, shades, and shadows of nature at night—both dark and light. They wander through moonlit lavender meadows, past a timid fawn, beneath a snowy white owl, and much, much more as the night deepens until, at last, they find their sneaky pup.
With beautiful illustrations by Felicita Sala and lyrical text by Dianne White that’s perfect for reading aloud, this book invites young readers to step into the wondrous, colorful nighttime natural world.
“A bedtime chant capable of transforming anyone into a night owl. Sumptuous watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations show a day shifting from sunshine to twilight to a deepening night sky. Meanwhile, three children are pulling on their boots, grabbing their flashlights, and heading out into a nighttime world as alive as it is welcoming. As the children search and explore, the text repeats the words dark on light through mesmeric rhymes. “Orange the moon, burnished and bright. / Meadow and owl and dark on light.” At last the children peek into a burrow and find their dog, the object of their search. The nighttime is welcoming here, and the children return home to the cozy arms of their parents. Truly the entire enterprise feels similar in tone to Janice May Udry’s Moon Jumpers (1959), illustrated by Maurice Sendak, as when the children ramble through fields of fragrant lavender beneath a brilliant sky. This is a book capable of banishing nighttime fears, showing the night to be a time of wonder, exploration, and even comfort. Sala’s art matches the cadences of the text beat for beat, offering consistently beautiful images of this undiscovered nighttime world…. Lilting, haunting, rhyming, and as unforgettable as a dream the daylight just can’t quite erase.” – Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED REVIEW*, 9/15/2022
“The creators of Green on Green follow that seasonal work with one focused on shadow and light, centering lulling, mesmerizing sensate verse accompanied by artwork in warm, saturated hues…. Closing bedtime scenes in a shared bedroom embody warmth and security… in this quiet celebration of chiaroscuro in the natural world.” – Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*, 10/24/2022
About the Creators:
Dianne White lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her family. She is the author of Who Eats Orange?, Blue on Blue, Green on Green, and Dark on Light.
Felicita Sala is a self-taught illustrator and painter. She has a degree in philosophy from the University of Western Australia. She now lives and works in Rome. She draws inspiration from nature, children, mid-century illustration, folk art, and architecture.
Review:Dianne White’s verse with Felicita Sala’s illustrations makes this book an instant read aloud need! The verse is so rhythmic and rolls off the tongue in a way that will make the book fun to read and listen to. The illustrations add another dimension to the words taking a beautiful poem and turning it into a narrative also. This book will make any reader want to go on a nighttime hike to investigate the beauty of the night.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Here’s an author-provided activity kit!
How did the illustrator use colors to add to the mood of the book?
Pick a spread. What words in the stanza stands out to you? Why?
The reviews mention that Dark on Light is a book that is meant to read aloud. What about the verse written by White makes it so much fun to read aloud?
What fun things do you see in the illustrations as the kids venture outdoors?
Why do you think the creators chose to have the book end in daylight instead of nighttime?
With an adult, go on a nighttime walk and write a journal about what you saw.
“Gentle the evening. Sweeping the skies. Dark the shadows as twilight arrives.”
Rose the horizon, gleaming and bright. Twilight and evening and dark on light.
Smooth the stones. Crisp the air. Dark the garden, trimmed with care.
Green the sage, nubby and bright. Garden and stones and dark on light.”
Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! Author: Laurel Snyder
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Summary: This funny, original choose-your-path picture book of fractured fairy tales will charm any young fan of the genre, putting the power of storytelling right in the reader’s hands!
Grab your basket and your coat. Put on some walking shoes.
Turn the page and begin: Which story will you choose?
Award-winning creators Laurel Snyder and Dan Santat transform a crowd of classic tales into an ever-changing, fascinating, laugh-out-loud choose-your-path picture book, in which you may find a sleeping maiden, waste away in a sticky licorice cage, discover the gold at the end of a wild goose chase, or maybe (just maybe) save yourself―and the day!
GIVES YOUNG READERS THE POWER OF CHOICE: Where do you want to take the story next? Choice and autonomy are essential concepts for children to learn at a young age, and this choose-your-path picture book puts the decision-making power right in their hands.
FUNNY TWISTS ON CLASSIC FAIRY TALES: “The Three Little Pigs,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and more—characters and settings from these classic fairy tales take on hilarious new life in a brand-new story, just right for the youngest fairy tale fans.
TEACHES STORYTELLING BY EXAMPLE: This playful picture book offers young readers the chance to build their own narratives out of the decisions they make each step of the way, powerfully illustrating how a story is created and how it proceeds from beginning to middle to end. Both a teaching tool and an exciting adventure in its own right, this book is a great resource for learning storytelling.
FABULOUS AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATOR TEAM: Laurel Snyder is the author of the Geisel Award–winning Charlie & Mouse early chapter book series. Her books have earned numerous starred reviews and Best Book designations, and her middle grade novel Orphan Island was longlisted for the National Book Award. Acclaimed artist Dan Santat has illustrated over 50 books for children, earning a Caldecott Medal for his picture book The Adventures of Beekle and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Drawn Together.
Teachers and librarians
Lovers of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings
Readers who enjoy choose-your-path stories
Parents and caregivers seeking a story that will continue to surprise and delight, even after the 100th time through
Gift-givers looking for a beautiful present that can be read again and again
Anyone who appreciates clever, hilarious takes on classic fairy tales
“Invoking myriad fairy tale scenarios throughout a cascading choose-one’s-path format, Snyder (the Charlie and Mouse series) builds a fairy story with logic gates. . . . Santat (The Aquanaut) romps lushly through this fairy tale universe, giving the folklore mainstays . . . an exaggerated, kinetic quality. . . . Readers accustomed to video game–style endings won’t be bothered by Rosie’s many demises; turning the page resumes the action and leads to more choices, and employing frenetic action right through to the end—er, ends.”
“Grab your favorite outerwear (cozy coat or riding hood?) and your sense of adventure because Snyder and Santat have created a fun-filled fairy-tale mashup that puts kids in the driver’s seat. . . . [Endlessly Ever After’s] interactive nature, large trim size, and bold, full-bleed illustrations make it an excellent candidate for group sharing. There is also a fractured-fairy tale aspect to the stories featured, which ensures there are surprises around every corner. A highly entertaining read, full of possibilities.”
“Multiple reader options give the woodsy road to Grandma’s house any number of surprise twists and diversions. . . . Some choices are hard but not this one: Pick it up!”
“[G]et comfortable; kids will insist on multiple readings . . . The humorously grim text is well matched with amusing illustrations that keep even the darker story elements lighthearted . . . Both text and art are endlessly clever.”
—The Horn Book Magazine
About the Creators:
Laurel Snyder is the author of many children’s books, including Swan, Hungry Jim, and Charlie & Mouse, which won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers? Workshop, Laurel teaches creative writing at Hamline University and lives with her family in Atlanta, GA.
Dan Santat is a Caldecott-Medal-winning author-illustrator of many children’s books. An honors graduate of ArtCenter College of Design, in Pasadena, he is also the creator of the Disney animated hit The Replacements. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and various pets.
Review:Jim and I were just telling Trent about Choose Your Own Adventure books when this arrived, so I was very excited to see this book arrive, and it does not disappoint. If anything, it blew my description of the original series out of the water because of its cleverness, humor, suspense, fairy tale fracturing, and brilliant illustrations.
Snyder and Santat were the perfect team for this book! Snyder’s writing is lyrical and has amazing rhythm which makes the book a delight to read aloud. She also adds perfect twists to well known stories, giving them a new life! I was always so impressed at an author who can craft a book with multiple paths because the actual text structure must be so complicated, and there is no room for flaws; Snyder shows that she has the chops for this! Santat’s art brings it to life through modernized illustrations of our favorite fairy tale characters as well as some new characters, and as always his art is brilliantly crafted and just so much fun to look at!
All in all, a must pick up for any person who reads aloud to students–these 85 pages of adventure will reel them in!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to some reading analyses that will work perfectly with the text (prediction, cause/effect relationships, etc.), I would also love to see students work to create their own choose your own adventure stories. It gives them a chance to problem solve how to structure the story in addition to write the story. Chronicle’s activity kit has a great start for this activity.
How does Endlessly Ever After compare to the original fairy tales?
What other fairy tale would you have liked to see get twisted in?
Were there any indications of the effects of your decisions before you chose what Rosie should do?
Before choosing the next page, predict what you think is going to happen.
How did the choice of illustrator add to the experience of reading the book?
Read This If You Love: Choose Your Own Adventure books, Fractured Fairy Tales
**Thank you to Chronicle Books for providing a copy for review!!**
Looking for a Jumbie Author: Tracey Baptiste
Illustrator: Amber Ren
Published September 21st, 2021 by Balzer + Bray
Summary: New York Times bestselling author Tracey Baptiste and acclaimed illustrator Amber Ren take readers on a fun, creepy, storytime-ready romp through a forest filled with creatures from Caribbean folklore.
I’m looking for a jumbie, I’m going to find a scary one.
But Mama says jumbies exist only in stories. So Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself.
No such thing, say the friends she makes along the way.
But Naya is sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends….
Looking for a Jumbie is a gentle, bouncy, and creepily fun read-aloud inspired by traditional Caribbean tales.
“A vibrant and entertaining tale filled with mythical creatures from Caribbean stories that is perfect for Halloween and year-round.” -School Library Journal
“The illustrations are colorful and dreamlike, and Ren pays special attention to accentuating the features of characters. A nice addition to offerings on being afraid of the dark, monsters, or nighttime adventures.” –Booklist
About the Author: Tracey Baptiste is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade novels Minecraft: The Crash, The Jumbies, Rise of the Jumbies, and The Jumbie God’s Revenge. A former elementary school teacher, Tracey is now on the faculty at Lesley University’s creative writing MFA program. Raised in Trinidad until she was fifteen, she now lives with her family in New Jersey. You can visit her online at www.traceybaptiste.com.
About the Illustrator: Amber Ren is the illustrator of Because by Mo Willems, a New York Times bestseller. She is also a visual development artist, and her work has been featured in the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art’s first online exhibition, “ART in PLACE: Social Distancing in the Studio.” You can find her online at www.amber-ren.com.
Kellee’s Review: This book is equally compelling, spooky, and fun! Trent and I had a great time chanting the “I’m looking for a jumbie…” part of the story (great repetition & rhythm!) and meeting all of the jumbies that Naya meets along the way. The illustrations were also perfect for the story! I loved the way that Ren was able to bring such beautiful coloring in even in a story happening at night. After we were done, we went on a Google hunt to learn more about jumbies, and I introduced Trent to Baptiste’s middle grade Jumbies books too–he says he can’t wait to read them when he is older!
Ricki’s Review: This book feels like an instant classic to me—it is one that I will read and enjoy with my kids again and again. There are so many different ways to approach this text for kids, and it offers so much potential for classrooms. I love the ways in which the jumbies are made approachable for kids. It offered wonderful conversations in my family about fears and bedtime scary things. This is a book that belongs in every home. I think it will find a place in all readers’ hearts.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What a great addition to lessons about mythology/folklore for young readers! Looking for a Jumbie is a perfect introduction to Caribbean folklore and can start a delve into more stories.
Which Jumbie would you like to meet?
Why was Naya never scared of the Jumbies?
Was Mama right or wrong about the Jumbies?
How did the illustrator leave clues about the upcoming Jumbie?
What is the mood of the book? How did the illustrations add to the mood of the book?
Read This If You Love: Folklore & Mythology; Magical Stories
**Thank you to SparkPoint Studio for providing copies for review!!**