The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia, Margriet Ruurs, Pedro Covo (illustrator), Kids Can Press, 2017.
Margriet Ruurs and Pedro Covo give a fresh look at some of the planet’s largest land mammals – the elephant.
A True Story
Ruurs brings to the pages the real-life story of a Zambian boy Aaron who discovers an infant elephant in the Lion’s Lodge swimming pool. Thanks to Aaron’s attentiveness and efforts, the young elephant is rescued and taken to a local elephant orphanage.
Aaron is able to make a connection with the elephant that others are not. Grieving the death of his father Aaron can relate to the orphaned elephant. The boy finds himself growing up sooner than other boys in his village. The elephant has likely lost its mother to poachers. The elephant and the boy have to figure how to do life differently.
Middle Bear, Susanna Isern, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Middle Bear is the second of three brothers. When the brothers go out into the forest to do various errands, Middle Bear is either too big or too small to be of any help. His older and younger brother both seem to be the right size. But Middle Bear seems to always be in the middle.
He seems to go unnoticed. And he longs to be different, to be as special as his brothers.
Susanna Isern’s little book is perfect for children to may seem that there is no place for them. And it is great for helping children experience some empathy for the child who reads alone or who cries because of his or her sadness.
No Room for Baby!, Émile Jadoul, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Leon is a toddler penguin who is not too sure about having a new baby brother. As long as the infant Marcel is in his crib, Leon is okay with him. But once the baby cries, and mom and dad’s attention are taken away, Leon begins describing all the ways in which there is no room for a baby.
The Penguin family lives in a spacious igloo with all the trappings of a human home that would be familiar to a toddler. This familiarity along with the cartoon style illustrations, make it appealing to the listening toddler.
Despite Leon’s hesitantly about Marcel living in his home, Leon does find one place that is big enough for the baby. Leon’s arms are just the right side.
The Tiny Tale of Little Pea, Davide Cali, illustrated by Sebastien Mourrain, Kids Can Press, 2017.
“When he was born, Little Pea was tiny. Teeny-tiny.”
And the story of Little Pea begins. Little Pea is a tiny little, light-skinned human being the size of a pea. He never gets taller than half the length of a normal pencil.
Even though he is small, Little Pea does not let his smallness keep him from doing things. He climbs a lego tower. Little Pea rides a grasshopper as if it were a small horse. He reads and teaches himself how to swim.
Wade’s Wiggly Antlers, Louise Bradford, Kids Can Press, 2017
Wade is a young moose who enjoys playing with his friends. One day, while playing, his antlers begin to feel a little wiggly. When the wiggle doesn’t stop, Wade hurries home to his mother, who reminds him that he will loose his antlers, but new ones will grow.
Even though Wade and his mother had talked about the change that Wade would experience, he is still worried about it. He chooses not to play with his friends in an effort to keep his antlers. Then, once he looses them, he feels freer. He is able to do things he was not able to do before, like win at hide and seek.
Stop Feeding’ da Boids!, James Sage, Kids Can Press, 2017
Swanda is new to Brooklyn. If you have ever been to Brooklyn, you will know that it is full of diversity, thick accents, and pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. Swanda, a compassionate little girl, sets up some feeding stations on her fire escape to feed the birds.
And it works. The birds come!
Things get a little chaotic on the city block with all the birds. The cooing assembly leaves their mark on the sidewalks and neighbors. The reality of what is happening reveals itself in a double-page spread featuring the amazing talent of illustrator Pierre Pratt. In vibrant pastels the reader is faced with an array of birds, feathers, and round, yellow eyes against the accents of the fast-moving city life.
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do, Ashley Spires, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Lou is a brave girl who is afraid of very little. She will do anything!
Well, almost anything.
When her friends choose to climb a tree, Lou isn’t so sure. She is scared and uncertain. In addition, she is concerned that her friends will think differently of her because she’s not climbing the tree.
Even though she makes up some pretty fun excuses, her friends never mock or make fun of her. Lou decides on her own to join her friends by watching them have fun. She decides to try to climb the tree.
Spork, Kyo Maclear, Kids Can Press, 2017.
It has been a long time coming, but it has finally happened: The spork is getting its recognition.
This fun, colorful book tells the story of young Spork. Spork’s mother is a spoon and his father is a fork. This makes Spork different from the other kids. He does not fit in with the spoons and he does not fit in with the forks.
This makes Spork sad.
It is not until an occasion arrives when a fork or a spoon will not do. There was a need for “something that was neither spoon nor fork but a bit of both.” The arrival of a baby in the house gives Spork a new-found purpose.
Life Without Nico, Andrea Maturana, Kids Can Press, 2016.
Life Without Nico is another fantastic book from Kids Can Press.
Maia and Nico are best friends. They can spend hours playing together and never get bored. Then, unexpectedly, Nico and his family leave behind their South American home for the land of koalas and kangaroos.
Maia is devasted.
“Now time passes slowly, and the emptiness is with Maia everywhere she goes.”
The Tea Party in the Woods, Akiko Miyakoshi, Kids Can Press, 2015.
Author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi tells a brilliant story about a little girl named Kikko. Snow has fallen in the woods, and Kikko’s father leaves to go help her grandmother. After discovering that Father forgot the pie for Grandmother, Kikko sets out into the snow-covered woods to catch up with her father.
As she follows a set of footprints, she sees her father’s frame in the distance, and hurries to catch up to him, dropping the pie. It turns out that she was not following her father, but a well-dressed bear. At the invitation of a sheep, Kikko joins the tea party that is taking place inside the large home.