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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mini Picture Book Reviews: Henry Wants More!, Here Comes Valentine Cat, Nice Work Franklin

I have three wonderful mini picture book reviews to share with y'all today...

Henry Wants More!
written by Linda Ashman
illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Jan. 26, 2016
Random House BFYR
More games, more races, more tickles, more books—little Henry can’t get enough! When a toddler is armed with that useful word and the world is full of brand-new things, his family just doesn’t stand a chance. Follow Henry on his exhausting and all-too-familiar day filled with play . . . and a lot of love! Buoyant rhymes and charming illustrations strike a heartwarming note that will ring true with families of energetic little ones.


“This toddler and his insatiable appetite for stimulation will charm readers of almost every age.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Exhausted families will easily recognize themselves in this knowing, good-humored tribute to the tirelessness of young children.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“A wonderful illustration of the exhaustion and joy that is life with a toddler.”— School Library Journal


Like any normal toddler, cute Henry wants more! More playtime, more stories, more attention! So goes this utterly delightful and amusing story of one eager toddler and his exhausted family.

Through charming, lyrical rhymes, Ashman explores the wonderful and tiring world of living with a toddler. Little readers will enjoy Henry's antics and engaging activities, while parents will find much amusement in the relatable scenarios. And as someone who spends everyday with an enthusiastic and energetic toddler, I can say that Henry Wants More! gets it right!

Hughes' fun illustrations, with their soft colors and details, wonderfully capture Henry and his daily adventures of MORE everything with his loving family. And this book features a mixed race family, which is always nice to see.

Readers of all ages will enjoy the sweet and funny Henry Wants More!

LINDA ASHMAN's many picture books have been included on the "best of the year" lists of The New York Times, Parent and Child magazine, the New York Public Library, and the Bank Street College of Education, among others. She lives with her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more, visit
BROOKE BOYNTON HUGHES grew up in Loveland, Colorado, where she spent her childhood days drawing mermaids and tree houses, serving as movie making assistant to her big brother, Christopher, and baking cookies and playing cards with her grandma, Gummy. These days Brooke works as a children's book illustrator and lives a nomadic life with her husband, Bill, and their dogs, Domino and Olive. You can see more of Brooke's work at

Here Comes Valentine Cat
written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Dec. 22, 2015
Dial Books
The New York Times bestselling Cat is back just in time for Valentine’s Day—but he’s not interested in giving a valentine to any old dog. This homage to classic comic strips is perfect for fans of Pete the Cat, Bad Kitty, Mo Willems’s Pigeon books, and of course, Cat’s two previous capers, Here Comes the Easter Catand Here Comes Santa Cat.
Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious—and heartwarming—surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.

Praise for Here Comes Valentine Cat

* “Wickedly fun as ever—Underwood and Rueda clearly know how well sweet and salty go together.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Cat is NOT a fan of mushy, gushy Valentine's Day. He's especially not a fan of Dog, his new neighbor, and the way Dog keeps tossing bones over Cat's fence. Cat prepares a not so lovey-dovey Valentine for annoying Dog, but Dog has his own surprise for Cat!

Underwood once again returns to the hilarious world of Cat, the grumpy, yet totaling endearing feline. With sparse, yet pitch-perfect text, Underwood weaves a wildly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny Valentine's tale. Here Comes Valentine Cat is both wonderfully witty and heartwarming. Readers of all ages will delight in Cat's antics and be charmed by Dog's sweet perseverance.

 Rueda's simple, yet exceptional illustrations perfectly capture voiceless Cat! Cat's expressions do a spectacular job of telling their own story.

Here Comes Valentine Cat, with its engaging text and illustrations, and its unforgettable hero, is the perfect story to share with your little Valentines!

Deborah Underwood is the author of numerous fiction books for children, including A Balloon for Isabel, Pirate Mom, Part-Time Princess, and the New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter Cat, The Quiet Book, and The Loud Book. She has written more than 25 nonfiction books for kids, and her work has appeared in National Geographic Kids, Ladybug, Spider, andHighlights for Children. She lives in northern California with her cat, Bella.

Nice Work, Franklin
written by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain
illustrated by Larry Day
Jan. 5, 2016
Dial Books
As one of our most inspirational and determined presidents, Franklin Roosevelt overcame his disability to lead the country out of the Great Depression.

Franklin Roosevelt idolized his cousin Teddy Roosevelt. He started wearing eyeglasses like Teddy, he spoke like Teddy, and he held the same public offices as Teddy. But then one day his life changed—he got sick. He developed polio and he could no longer walk. But Franklin also had Teddy’s determination, so after physical therapy and hard work, he ran for governor of New York and won. Then a different kind of sickness, the Great Depression, spread across the country: Banks were closing, and thousands lost their jobs.

Franklin said that if you have a problem, solve it. If one solution doesn’t work, try another but above all TRY SOMETHING. So Franklin ran for president, and on Inauguration Day, he made it clear that together they would conquer this sickness. He got to work creating jobs and slowly America started getting better.

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain and Larry Day of George Did It and Worst of Friends fame are teamed up again to tell the story of how our only disabled president saved himself and then saved the country.


Kirkus Reviews Raves!
[An] immensely readable introduction to a complex man, in a complex time of history.”

School Library Journal Raves!
Upbeat and inspirational”!

Booklist Raves!
“[A] period seldom represented in picture books, the portrayal of the president as an individual who faced troubles bravely”!


In Nice Work, Franklin!, author Jurmain recounts Franklin Roosevelt's inspiring journey before and during his presidency. From Franklin's youth and admiration of his famous cousin, to his battle with polio, campaign for President, and his legacy (especially during the Great Depression), this picture book sets out to explore the epic life of FDR!

With age appropriate text and information, that is both educational and entertaining, Jurmain does a great job of introducing young readers to the life and work of FDR. The author handles the complexity of Franklin's personal and political life, as well as the very complex and intense period of US history, with finesse and in a way that young readers will not only understand, but be captivated by. Though much of Franklin's personal struggles and time as President are filled with serious, often difficult situations, Nice Work, Franklin! does a fantastic job of keeping a hopeful vibe. 

Day's gorgeous illustrations are bright, detailed, and have a fun vintage like quality. Day beautifully captures both Franklin's story and the America's history. The pages of Nice Work, Franklin! are filled with dazzling scenes and people of all kinds!

Full of important history and lovely illustrations Nice Work, Franklin! is an inspiring tale and unforgettable picture book!

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