Picture Books · reviews


When my kids and I first read Bloom , I was entranced by the unusual storyline. A kingdom of glass is falling apart and an “ordinary” girl named Genevieve, is sent to find a magic fairy to save it. The fairy, Bloom, presents her with mud, and teaches the girl to make bricks and mortar. Geneivieve learns what she can do with her own hands and hard work. She then returns to the glass kingdom and rebuilds it with bricks.

Not only is the prose great, the illustrations in Bloom are lovely and have so much energy. Even the text is alive. The words move; get larger, smaller, swing across the page. This gives the story energy, and adds depth to the different characters. It’s also fun for kids to read.

I love that the lessons of this story are that magic is great but ingenuity and hard work are better, getting dirty is okay, and there are no ordinary girls, only extraordinary ones. Bloom has a permanent place on our favorites shelf, and I hope it finds its way to yours.

by Doreen Cronin (author) and David Small (illustrator)

Picture Books

Animal Adventures

My Top Nonfiction Animal Books

My son loves animals, like really LOVES animals. If you too, have an animal lover in your house, these nonfiction books will soon become favorites. Each book has beautiful illustrations, great content, and offers an unique look at the animal (and bird) world.

The Big Book of Beasts by Yuval Zommer
A larger book that talks about the non-friendly wild mammals of the animal kingdom. Each animal page starts with a question such as “How does a beast protect itself?” “How grumpy is a baboon?” and “Why is an armadillo covered in armor?” Your wild one will love the humor and fun facts.

Table of contents

Atlas of Animal Adventures
Illustrated by Lucy Letherland
Written by Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins

Another large book with great illustrations. There are maps of the continents and select animals that live there, as well as detailed scenes and information about each animal. Two of my favorites are the barn owls in France, which shows owls swooping over fields of lavender, and the Giant Pandas of China. (below)

Giant Pandas, China

Beautiful Birds
by Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker

An alphabet book of birds. I love the bright colors of the illustrations and the fun verse.

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts
by Maja Safstrom
Sketches of animals and accompanying information, that you might not know, make this book a keeper for kids who can’t get enough animal facts. It also looks like a field journal, which appeals to my young explorers.

Sloths are so slow...

A Zeal of Zebras, An Alphabet of Collected Nouns
by Woop Studios
An unusual alphabet book. You start with An Aurora of Polar Bears and finish with a Zeal of Zebras. One of my favorites is An Implausibilty of Gnus. Each animal is accompanied by an illustration and a couple paragraphs.

An implausibility of Gnus
Picture Books

Sleep Like A Tiger

Sleep Like a Tiger is one of our family’s favorite books. The gorgeous multimedia illustration and the gentle storyline grabs me every time. This is a great book to read out loud.

I love that the little girl doesn’t want to go to bed. (We’ve all heard that one!) So her parents say she can stay up all night long. But first, she should brush her teeth, put on her pjs, and snuggle down in her bed. Once in bed, she asks if animals sleep too. Her parents assure her that everything sleeps; otters, her dog and cat, bats, whales, snails, grizzly bears and tigers.

My children like to follow the little girl’s routine, stretch their toes down into their warm bed, curl up like a snail and finally: sleep like a tiger.

Sleep Like a Tiger
written by Mary Logue
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski