Sunday, June 4, 2017

If Found Please Return to Elise Gravel - Review

  • Title: If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel (
  • Author and Illustrator: Elise Gravel
  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 100 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (June 6, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770462783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770462786
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches 

I have been struggling for days to write this book review. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because the book keeps disappearing in my house. You see my oldest daughter has adopted the book, read it several times, and then created her own sketch book to doodle just like author/illustrator Elise Gravel.

Now, I would love to share my daughter's doodles with you; however, she literally freaked out when I asked to share her notebook. I guess she is officially entering pre-tweendom. I am lame and my blog is embarrassing.  I get it. I remember that feeling. I will respect her wishes.

However, I think you will agree that her complete obsession with the book is warranted. It is full of vibrant colors, quirky creatures, and just enough bathroom humor that will have kids thinking they have discovered something their parent's might not approve of, making it that much more desirable. What I love about the book, however, is how it encourages creativity in kids. My favorite page in the book provides some sage advice for the aspiring children's book illustrator.

It is exactly what any person needs to hear to help them realize their dreams summed up on a page. "Enormous amounts of practice. That's how you improve." Yes, Elise Gravel! Every kid needs to hear those words. Even a few adults need to hear those words. Even I need to hear those words and be reminded that it is OK to fail all along the road to success, as long as you keep practicing.

If I haven't convinced you to go online and pre-order this book (which will be released on June 6th), then check out Elise Gravel's Instagram. I am in love with her creativity!

A post shared by Elise Gravel (@elise_gravel) on

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Drawn and Quarterly for sending me a copy of If Found, Please Return to Elise Gravel. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thunder & A Lightning Bug Named Lou by Rosalind Bunn - A Review

My children's interest in fireflies or lightning bugs, as we call them, has grown since reading The Firefly Letters by Margarita Engle. For that reason, I was so excited to be invited to review Thunder and A Lightning Bug Named Lou by Rosalind Bunn. And it is great!

  • Title: Thunder & A Lightning Bug Named Lou
  • Author: Rosalind Bunn
  • Illustrator: Angela G. Hawkins
  • Hardcover: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Deeds Publishing LLC (December 5, 2016)
  • Language: English

About the Book

Lou is a little lightning bug with a big problem---his light is too bright. But as Lou soon discovers, sometimes what makes you different is what makes you special.

My Review

Summer is upon us! My daughter's school gets out next week, and nothing sums up summer like late nights hunting for fireflies. If you are looking for a summer read for a young child, I highly recommend picking up this book to learn more about the adorable lightning bug named Lou. I mean look at the cover! The illustrator did a fantastic job bringing to life this little lightning bug. Lou, the main character, is strong, independent, and never gives up in the face of adversity. Not to mention, Lou is adorable. My youngest daughter loves his big blue eyes and the little antenna. I, personally, loved how the story incorporated a diverse selection of characters, making it a much better representation of the world my children are growing up in. The other element about this book that stood out to me is there is something special that is hidden on every page of the book. Remember looking for the little gold bug in the Richard Scarry books? This book has something similar; which adds another dynamic for engaging young readers.  The book also contains facts about fireflies in the back of the book, creating a springboard to encourage kids to learn more about lightning bugs. I am always a sucker for anytime science is integrated into a book. I really can't say enough about this beautiful book. It is a treasure for us to own.

To purchase this or any other books by Rosalind Bunn, please check out her author page at Deeds Publishing:

*I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wonderful You- An Adoption Story by Lauren McLaughlin

  • Wonderful You- An Adoptive Story (
  • Author: Lauren McLaughlin
  • Illustrator: Meilo So
  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Library Binding: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (April 25, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553510037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553510034

About the Book

A lyrical adoption story that tenderly addresses a baby’s transition from the care of her birth mother to that of her adoptive parents.

This lovely poem illuminates the role of an adopted child’s birth mother, respecting her choice to give her child to a loving family. We follow a mother’s journey as she carries her child, searches for deserving parents, and ultimately creates a new family. The story offers a version of the process that is full of warmth, care, and joy.

An adoptive mother herself, author Lauren McLaughlin was glad for an opportunity to memorialize her family’s own fairy tale, and Meilo So’s ethereal illustrations breathe magic into an already wondrous experience.

My Review

I love children's books that are illustrated with watercolors. There is something that is reminiscent of a classic children's story anytime the soft colors are splashed onto a page. It reminds me of being little and pouring over Beatrix Potter books or A Child's Garden of Verses. And for that reason, I was drawn into the book. Meilo So's soulful artwork, of which I have always admired, in this book wraps around you like a warm blanket. Her people are imperfectly shaped, like real people. The characters have blended looks, not locking them into any one race or ethnicity. You float through the pages, which is perfect because Lauren McLaughlin's lyrical story floats above the page and carries you through the story. You witness one family becoming whole with the adoption of a baby they have waited so long for her arrival; but ironically you do not feel sadness for the mother who gives the baby to the family. The way the story is told, the lady in blue, as the birth mother is referred to, is seen as an almost spirit whose purpose is to find the right family for her baby. The story pours over with love in a way, that I hope, will leave adoptive children not feeling abandoned by their birth parents, but instead loved completely at each stage of the process. I cannot recommend this book enough as a gift to adoptive parents or for parents to purchase for their adopted children. Wonderful You left me feeling warm inside and desperate for another read through of the book. 

FTC Disclosure: Thank you Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy of Wonderful You- An Adoption Story. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!
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