Rummanah Aasi
  It is nice to take a break from reading novels and picking up a picture book which are full of color, whimsy, and just down right adorable. Today I'll be reviewing Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows, Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle, and Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine.

Description: Everybody at the station! It’s time for winter hibernation! The sweet rhyming text of this book will calm even the most rambunctious kids and have them dreaming about what it’s like to hibernate. Young readers will be soothed and delighted as this story introduces them to different types of hibernating animals. The creatures on the train are preparing to snuggle into sleep, although with a passenger list that includes chipmunks, bears, snakes, hedgehogs, groundhogs, frogs, turtles, mice, bats, and more, there’s a lot of noise! Will the hibernating critters ever get to sleep? Take a trip to Hibernation Station to find out!

Review: Hibernation Station is full of color and warmth. The book imagines hibernation as a train of hollow logs that runs through the forest on tracks of sticks and gathers all the animals for their winter sleep. Big and small, pajama-clad adorable critters carry their bedding into the logs and make themselves comfy, while two bears, the train’s engineer and conductor, respond to a variety of complaints and technical difficulties. Eventually, as snow begins to fall, the animals settle down and fall asleep. The text is written in rhymed couplets, move along just as the train would which sets a good pace for younger readers. The illustrations are done well with lots of colors and textures that make you wish you had the animal before you so could hug and snuggle with them. In an appended note, Meadows discusses hibernation, “deep sleepers,” and “light sleepers.” Hibernation Station is a charming and sweet read.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades PreK-Grade 2

If you like this book try: Are you sleeping, little one? by Hans Chrisitan Schmidt, Everyone Sleeps by Marcellus Hall

Description: In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more!

Review: The author imagines a wordless encounter between a lithe, sultry flamingo and an adorable, pudgy, little girl in a bathing suit, swim cap, and flippers. The plot of the book is very simple: in a series of movements, Flora copies the movements of the flamingo poses. Flora does her best to mimic her model though her movements are awkward. The book has its humorous moments when Flora begins to model her movements of the flamingo's, unbeknownst to the model. A series of stumbles draws a sharp reaction from the flamingo and a sulk from Flora, but the flamingo relents and the two collaborate on a graceful duet that ends with a joyous flourish. I read this picture book as an ebook but I'm told that it has inset flaps which adds drama by revealing new poses. My copy of the book instead had a linear progression of the movements that showed Flora's increase of self esteem and confidence. I do plan on picking up the actual book to see how the flipping of the insets works and enhances the reading experience since I really enjoyed reading this book. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades PreK-Grade 2.

If you like this book try: Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle, Dance! A Story about Being Happy by Tiziana Bendall-Brunello

Description: Ella Sarah may be little, but she has a BIG sense of style--and it isn't at all like that of her mother, father, and older sister. Yet they all want her to dress just like them! Ella Sarah will have none of it--and when her flamboyantly dressed friends arrive, it's clear that Ella Sarah's favorite outfit is just right for her. 

Review: Like many toddlers, Ella Sarah has her own ideas about what she should wear and persists in making her own choices despite her family's suggestions. Kids will definitely see themselves as the spunky and determined Ella Sarah as they chant her refrain: "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat!" At the end, her equally "well-dressed" friends arrive for a tea party. The illustrations do a good job in showing how the adults are larger-than-life as they tower over Ella Sarah, with only their torsos and legs showing. The exuberant illustrations aren't the typical ones found in picture books but with a variety of printmaking techniques. The pictures dance and tumble across the pages, adding emotion to Ella Sarah's defiance. The vibrant yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples work together surprisingly well and make the book pop. Ella Sarah Gets Dressed would be a great read-aloud or simply a one to one share.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades PreK-K

If you like this book try: A Style All Her Own by Laurie B. Friedman, Birdie Plays Dressed Up by Sujean Rim, Let's Get Dressed by Caroline Church
2 Responses
  1. The Hibernation book looks like it has some adorable illustrations. I am headed to the library next week with my kiddos and I am going to look for it.

  2. Oh I'm looking at the illustrations and I love them. I really need to get some of these as pressies for the little ones.

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