Animal Picturebooks About Friendship: Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear

A Unique Short Story Set-Up: One of many great animal picturebooks about friendship, Maclear’s Yak and Dove does not disappoint. Told in three different short stories, children fight and love along with Yak and Dove.  Similarly to Shireen’s, Yeti and the Bird, Yak and Dove are unlikely friends.  They must learn to embrace their seemingly large differences in the most endearing way. Laugh out loud as Yak and Dove begin their story by contemplating what it would be like if they were twins.  Concluding in an obvious fight of opposites, their feud carries over to a second story. Above all, Yak wants a new friend who values fine music and furriness.  Does he have that respectful relationship with Dove?  Realistically Yak must learn to appreciate the friend he already has.   True to Maclear’s Beautiful Style: By the third story, the plot takes a calmer change of pace.  Yak and…

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Book Review: Zoo Zen- A Yoga Story for Kids

Geared toward pre-k to third grade, join Lyla as she embarks on a yoga journey with the help of the zoo animals. Each pose is paired with brightly colored mixed media illustrations and numbers as the story also reinforces counting. The animals gently encourage Lyla and give her practical tips to make the most of each pose. Small details, such as Lyla’s hair falling loose, warm this instructional story and make Lyla relatable to any young reader. The story ends with a page of smaller text explaining to parents how the poses work, which is a great aid just in case the illustrations are not enough. The rhyming adds to the cadence and flow of story, making this a relaxing and informative read. If only my yoga instructor was a dolphin. I would like to thank NetGalley and Sounds True Publishing for providing me with a free ARC in exchange…

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Review: Spork by Kyo Maclear

Spork is the hybrid of a mother spoon and a father fork. This marriage is rare in the utensil world, as cutlery remains segregated.   With his points and roundness in conflict with each other, Spork does not fit in with the other spoons or forks. He attempts to artificially change his appearance but fails. Useless and lonely, Spork contemplates his existence on the dinner table. One day, a messy creature struggles to use the other utensils, and Spork seizes the opportunity to shine.   Unafraid, he rushes in to save the meal. This “messy thing” turns out to be a baby, and Spork is just what this infant needs—a little bit of everything—to eat. Maclear notes that she too is a “Spork,” coming from a biracial household with a British father and Japanese mother. A story about interracial relations and fitting in, Spork is a unique way to explain acceptance, differences,…

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Book Review: Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Argyle Fox just wants to play outside. As he heads out the door, he grabs his cards. Unfortunately it is quite the blustery day, and Argyle’s card house and even the tiny birds are blown away. Not deterred, Argyle returns home and gathers up more toys. Armed with a fake spider, he makes a giant web even though the squirrels warn Argyle that it is too windy. As predicted, Argyle’s web topples over into a giant mess.   Over and over again, the wind foils Argyle’s fun plans, but he persists, ignoring either arrogantly or optimistically the advice of the other woodland creatures. Eventually heading home in complete frustration, Argyle’s mom gently tells him to think a little harder. Inspired and not yet defeated, Argyle builds a kite that perfectly compliments this windy day. In what can only be an act of contrition, he also builds all of his little forest…

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Book Review: The Fog by Kyo Maclear

Warble the warbler lives in Icy Land where he loves to people watch. One day, a dense fog rolls in but none of the other inhabitants seem to notice or care. Soon, Icy Land becomes Fog Land, and everyone falls into a new pattern of blindness, forgetting how visible life used to be. Deteriorating into the same disinterested haze, Warble is awoken from his stupor by the sound of a singing child. Together, the pair decides to reach out to the rest of the world using little origami boats to see if anyone else is conscious of the fog. As the duo receives more and more responses, the fog begins to lift. Award-winning Maclear creates a beautifully messaged tale about environmental conscious, friendship, connectivity, and humanity. Although a slightly more abstract concept for younger children, The Fog is a great lap-read for preschool-aged children to third graders. Paired with Maclear’s…

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Review: Liam Takes A Stand

Lister and Lester are identical twins, who like typical brothers, copy and compete with each other. Their younger brother, Liam, is of course left out and just wants to play. The first day of summer, Lister and Lester open rivaling lemonade stands and spend all of their earnings on gimmicks to appeal to their respective customers. The twins eventually go into debt, even owing their parents money. Although little, Liam is an opportunist and opens a cost efficient, specialty apple juice stand. In exchange for playtime, Liam hires his twin brothers to come work for him to help pay off their debt. Opening a business is tough. Suitable for kindergarten to third graders, Liam Takes A Stand is a picture book about family and hard work mixed in with a little youth entrepreneurship. Although I am not a huge fan of the disproportionate body parts—big ears, overly skinny legs, too…

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