Friday, August 22, 2014

The wonderful folks at Macmillan sent over all of the lovely children's books pictured above, and with school starting back very soon, April and I thought we'd review the books with the girls before they get too busy with all that back-to-school entails. Below, you'll find both Katie and Aubrey's thoughts on And Away We Go!Little Elliot, Big City, A Bed for Kitty, and Kitty & Me, as well as our own impressions of each title.

Title: And Away We Go!
Author/Illustrator: Migy
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Mr. Fox is going to the moon! Away he goes in his hot air balloon. . . . But wait! Can Elephant come too? Sure! Let's bring along some pizza. What about Giraffe? And Squirrel? Everyone is welcome in Mr. Fox's balloon, but look out—will everyone fit? In the tradition of classic cumulative tales like Mr. Gumpy's Outing, Migy's And Away We Go! is an unforgettable debut picture book from an exciting new talent.

Katie: I liked the pictures, but I thought that the balloon was gonna break because of all those people and all that stuff in it. And I was right! Mommy read it to me, and I liked her voices for all the animals, especially Mr. Fox. He let everyone on the balloon and told them to find a spot.

Jen: This was by far my favorite of the group. The vibrant colors, the nighttime cityscapes, the overarching theme of friends and togetherness...all of it appealed to the kid in me. The story was reminiscent of one of my childhood favorites Chicken Licken with its repetition and large cast of characters, but the story itself is quite unique. And Away We Go! is a book I see Katie and I reading together again and again.

Aubrey: I liked the pictures, they were pretty. I really like the one where they all fall. But it was boring and it kept saying the same thing over and over. It was stupid.

April: I was sad that Aubrey didn't like this one. It was by far the most interesting of the bunch I think, but my child is morbid and picky I suppose. lol. She did really like the pictures and so did I.

Title: Little Elliot, Big City
Author/Illustrator: Mike Curato
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy—like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter—a friend.

Katie: I learned that Elliot wasn't the only one who was small and needed help. Elliot and Mouse helped each other get what they needed and wanted and they became friends and Elliot got his cupcake. And Mouse got his food. I think I could have probably read this one by myself but I asked Mommy to read it to me so I could look at the pretty pictures.

Jen: A polka-dotted elephant who loves cupcakes? Can he be any more adorable? :) Little Elliot is such a sweet story about friendship and helping others, and it's just the kind of book I want my 6yo reading. And she absolutely could read this entire book herself:  it's relatively short with vocabulary in her age range and with a few new words that weren't beyond her capabilities to sound out. And the illustrations in this book were just gorgeous.

Aubrey: Elliot is the cutest elephant. I didn't like that he was sad, but it was nice that he made a friend and got a cupcake. And, he washes dishes really funny.

April: I adored this book. I have to agree with Aubrey, Elliot is the cutest little thing. I kinda felt bad for him too, being so small and all. I liked the message in this story. Helping others, making friends, there just aren't enough books out there like that.

Title: A Bed for Kitty
Author/Illustrator: Yasmine Surovec
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Sweet dreams, Kitty! This adorable bedtime book from the creator of I See Kitty is perfect for tucking the very youngest cat lovers in at night.

Kitty sleeps everywhere: on the TV, in the sink, even in her litter box! But she never sleeps in her own bed. This follow up to Yasmine Surovec's I See Kitty shows that sometimes it takes a friend to find the perfect place to sleep. With bright, bold artwork, A Bed for Kitty will charm very young readers with its gentle humor and genuine warmth.

Katie: I read pretty much the whole thing without any help. I knew all the words. I liked that the kitty was curious and then at the end I liked how the kitty and the girl slept on the same bed and it was the kitty's bed...they slept on top of each other! This book is kinda funny! It was my favorite.

Jen: Short, simple, and sweet, this book absolutely speaks the truth. We, too, have a kitty who sleeps anywhere and everywhere but where she is supposed to sleep! :D This book is absolutely one that Katie can read on her own, and the illustrations were adorable and kept her engaged in the story. I didn't realize this was a follow-up to the author's previous book, so we'll have to check that one out, too, since this one resonated so well with Katie.

Aubrey: This was my favorite because it was so funny. I loved how the kitty got hair on everything. *giggle*. It was so nice of Katie to send me these books so I could read them

April: Aubrey thinks it's funny when cats get hair on things, but she doesn't do laundry yet. lol. I love that this was Katie's favorite book too. I really wish Jen and I lived closer, because they would be the best of friends no doubt.

Title: Kitty & Me
Author/Illustrator: Sharon Smith Kane
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: ARC from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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I love Kitty and Kitty loves me.
He comes when I call him . . . usually.
We play fun games around this house,
Like "Jump" and "Pounce" and "Catch the Mouse."

Playing, chasing, scratching, purring. Kitty and Me is a charming rhyming story of best friendship between a girl and her growing kitten, by Sharon Kane, acclaimed author-illustrator of many beloved Little Golden Book Classics.

Katie: I kind of liked it. I liked when I read it [instead of Mommy], but I needed help with some words. I liked the pictures of the kitty. It kind of reminded me of my kitty.

Jen: Katie read the first half of Kitty & Me, and then she handed the book over to me because she was having a bit of trouble with some words. In all honesty, this was my least favorite because it was a little boring and a bit on the long side. Also, Katie's not quite ready to read rhyming books yet, so this might be a better fit for her in another year or so when she's a more practiced reader. However, we were excited to learn that the author/illustrator is local to us.

Aubrey: I like how playful the kitty was. She looks a little like my kitty. There were lots of cute pictures of the kitty playing.

April: This was my least favorite of the group. I thought the pictures were kind of old school. They reminded me of  the older 80's books we have left over from my husbands childhood. And I agree with Jen, it was a bit long. Aubrey loves to read, but I found she was getting a little bored with this towards the end. If not for the fact that she loves cats so much, we might have put it down.

Happy reading & good luck to all those returning to school soon!


  1. Aw, this was so cute! You're bringing up little reviewers. ;) I take my 3yrs nephew to the library every week and we go through all the books looking for something awesome. It's the funnest thing to be back reading picture books again. Illustrations, peoples! Never underestimate their pure awesomeness.

  2. Awww! I love reading the reviews from your littles! Super cute!

  3. And Away We Go looks spectacular! I love hot air balloons, cityscapes, and of course, foxes! And I'm pretty sure my son would like it too. ;) And Little Elliot, Big City looks great too. Picture books are just so much fun. Great reviews, big lady and little lady!

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