Johnny Valentine’s The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans (1991)

Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans and Other StoriesThe Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans (1991), written by Johnny Valentine and illustrated by Lynette Schmidt, is an early Alyson Wonderland publication full of whimsy and charm.

The first story, “The Frog Prince,” is about a boy, Nicholas, who discovers a talking frog. The frog informs Nicholas he is really a prince and needs to be kissed to be transformed back into his true form. Nicholas begrudgingly plants a kiss on the frog and it does, in fact, transform into a prince. The prince explains that his parents could be cruel and as punishment for a minor offense had  permitted a wizard to experiment on him. Continue reading

Robbi Anne Packard’s Two Daddies… and Me! (2009)

Written by Robbi Anne Packard and illustrated by Lori Ann McElroy, Two Daddies… and Me! rides the wave of self-published children’s books about gay and lesbian parenting that began emerging in earnest post-2000. Like similar titles, Packard’s book seeks to normalize gay parenting and provide gay and lesbian parented families a book that reflects their family form. Both dads are portrayed as white as is their daughter, the protagonist-narrator. Simple text and images capture the family as they move through their day. To establish the normalcy of gay parenting and dispel concerns that gay men and lesbians will raise gay and lesbian children, the young girl imagines herself grownup with a family of her own comprised of a husband and baby. An unremarkable book that does reflect a particular need that existed before better texts were developed to meet it. Continue reading

Cybils Awards 2019

Screenshot_2019-09-23 Cybils Awards Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary AwardsI’m excited to announce I am participating in the Cybils Awards again this year. This time as a Round One Judge in the Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction category!

Cybils Awards Mission

The Cybils Awards aims to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.

Check back for reviews after October 1st when book nominations start pouring in! In fact, you should prepare to nominate your favorites! I know I will. Find out how.

 

Laurie Ingersoll’s Welcome, Otis!

Welcome, Otis!

Welcome, Otis!, written and illustrated by Laurie Ingersoll, is a quirky picture book that delivers an important lesson about loving someone with special needs even when it is difficult.

Readers are introduced to Otis when a cat named Mouse and a mouse named Moose startle him while on a walk. Mouse understands that they must have alarmed the “bundle of feathers” with a “bright colored tail” and has the foresight to stay calm and be gentle with the nervous Otis. Once Otis relaxes he shares his story with them. It turns out Otis fell from a tree before learning to fly and is now all alone in the world. Mouse and Moose decide they will let Otis live with them so they can help him. Continue reading