Happy Friday, everyone! We read some interesting children’s books this week. I was able to choose these from NetGalley and some have already been archived as I’m catching up. Here are my reviews for them below.
The House of Lost and Found
Martin Widmark, Emilia Dziubak
This book is hands down one of my top five, favorite children’s books of 2018.
The story begins with Niles, an elderly man living alone in his old, creaky house. His children are grown and living away with families of their own, and his wife died years ago. Niles is sad and living out some very dark days. He doesn’t feel like he has much purpose in life anymore. Even his cat decided to leave because the house is so dismal. One day, the little boy next door shows up late at night with a task for Niles. He’s leaving for a holiday and needs someone to water his newly planted flower. Niles doesn’t want anything to do with the neighbors or the flower, but he knows the boy will be upset if he doesn’t take care of it.
He made coffee and took out two dry biscuits. “You can just stay where you are,” he said over his shoulder to the flowerpot. He sat down. “I didn’t ask you to come.” He drank the coffee and ate the biscuits. “I should really throw you out,” he told the pot. “But that might upset the young boy.”
Surprisingly, the next day Niles begins to feel a little lighter and one by one, his days get a little brighter.
This book starts out fairly dark and depressing, but gradually becomes more and more beautiful as the story unfolds. The narrative goes back and forth a bit as Niles has many memories of his past. I had a lot of emotion when reading during these times. This book is full of hope and just a wonderful story. The illustrations are stunning! This is definitely a book that I want to keep in our home library. It’s a book for all ages.
My mom quoted something to me recently about a book she had just read. She said, “Just one simple act of kindness can truly change the world.” This is just one of the takeaway thoughts that I have after reading this children’s book. Even though the little boy in the story doesn’t know he’s necessarily doing something kind for his neighbor, what he did truly changed his life.
A Box of Butterflies
by Jo Rooks
Emotions are very real, and all are okay, but you need to learn to control them at the same time.
A little girl named Ruby explains to her best friend Robot what emotions are, because he’s a robot and cannot feel them. Some of the emotions discussed in the book are more difficult emotions to deal with, especially as a child. The story is told in a way that’s highly understandable for young readers, with help for parents and adults in the back. This is a helpful book to get children talking about emotions so that they can learn how to deal with them and understand them better. Kids need this support and we all do for that matter, no matter what our age.
We found the illustrations extremely bright, adorable, colorful, and eye-catching. This is just a lovely book that would be perfect for schools, homes, and libraries. People of all ages can benefit from reading this book. I would’ve especially loved this book when I was a kid, just like my young ones love it today, and I’m happy to have read it.
The Invisible Garden
Valérie Picard, Marianne Ferrer
A young girl named Arianne is at a party for her grandmother. Because she’s the only child there, it’s quite boring and she’s told that maybe she should go hang outside in the garden for a while. Once she enters the garden and begins to explore, her imagination takes off as she makes discoveries and floats away into space.
This is practically a wordless picture book because there are only a few lines of text in it. If it weren’t for the beautiful illustrations, we wouldn’t have liked it because there really isn’t much story at all. I like that children can let their imaginations run wild while viewing the illustrations, but the book doesn’t have a whole lot of direction. We did still enjoy it and I’m looking forward to seeing more artwork by this author.
by Brian Wildsmith
After two men land their hot air balloon to have a snack, a curious brown bear wonders over. Bear finds the balloon’s basket interesting and climbs in for a nap. While he sleeps, the hot air balloon whisks him away high in the sky.
While the balloon flies high over a city, bear awakens, and eventually floats to the ground below where his adventure begins.
We thought the story was interesting and funny at times, however, what really caught our attention were the illustrations. The book is so colorful.
I thought parts of the story were a little over the top and a little confusing, but it’s a children’s book and a bear flying in a hot air balloon isn’t really realistic as it is, so I was willing to overlook the outcome at the end even with its unlikeliness. Overall, this is a cute children’s book, perfect for young readers.