Book Review Tuesday

You might have noticed from our weekly It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, but I read a lot. I don’t typically read as much as I have been during pandemic times, but I have recently thrown myself into reading even more than usual. For a few months, I’ve been interested in writing brief reviews of some of the books I read, but I don’t want reviews to affect my reading pace. I like recording my thoughts about titles that really stand out to me, but I don’t feel a need to recreate a publisher summary for every book I’ve read this week.

Personally, I really appreciate It’s Monday! What Are You Reading posts to find new books that I haven’t heard of, so I don’t want to limit the number of books shared on my Monday posts. This has led me to a new feature for Book Cart Queens–Book Review Tuesdays.

Book reviews are going to be brief, focusing on what I want to remember and books that stand out to me (these don’t replace professional reviews by any means).

Happy reading!

Class Act by Jerry Craft (graphic novel)
Gr. 5-7. New Kid was my dream Newbery winner, and the sequel does not disappoint. Readers get more detailed glimpses into the lives of Jordan, Liam, and especially Drew, with even a touch more character development from Andy. Drew takes center stage here, with a different perspective on his classmates than Jordan. So many real issues are discussed in ways that never feel preachy, with Craft’s appealing artwork balancing humor and reality (race, bullying, class differences, microaggressions, friendship, and more). Hoping for more books in this universe. Read as an eARC.

Amazon.com: Mary Had a Little Glam (Volume 1) (9781454932857): Sauer,  Tammi, Brantley-Newton, Vanessa: Books

Mary Had a Little Glam written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (picture book)
PreS-K. Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations shine here, bringing young Mary to life. Brantley-Newton sprinkles in details from nursery rhymes and fairy tales, going beyond the written words to add humor and a bit of sass to young Mary’s fantastic outfits (the sheep crossbody purse is my favorite). Between the fun illustrations and the rhythmic beat, there is a ton of storytime potential packed into this title.

I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists  from past and present: Amazon.co.uk: Burnell, Cerrie, Baldo, Lauren Mark:  9780711247444: Books

I Am Not a Label: 34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present written by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren Mark Baldo (nonfiction, biography)
Gr. 3-5. This gorgeously illustrated collective biography features the stories of 34 disabled individuals who are artists, musicians, athletes, innovators, activists, and more. While there have been a plethora of collective biographies in recent years, this one’s focus on people with disabilities (a group very underrepresented in children’s books) is refreshing, along with its well thought out collection of diverse people from around the world with a variety of types of disabilities.

Nana Akua Goes to School: Walker, Tricia Elam, Harrison, April:  9780525581130: Amazon.com: Books

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison (picture book)
Gr. 1-2. Zura is nervous about bringing her Nana Akua to school for Grandparent’s Day. Nana Akua is Zura’s favorite person in the world, but Nana Akua also has tribal markings on her face from a family tradition from her childhood in Ghana. Sometimes, those marks scare strangers when Zura and Nana Akua go to the park or the store. What will Zura’s classmates think?

Zura’s nerves won’t feel unusual to children hesitant to share their own familial differences with their classmates. The blend of designs and patterns in the artwork make this story shine, helping teach readers about empathy and accepting people’s differences.

Astronaut Training

Astronaut Training written by Aneta Cruz and illustrated by Olivia Aserr
PreS. Astrid wants nothing more than to be an astronaut, but her Daddy seems to think she isn’t quite ready yet. After some bedtime adventures send Astrid to distant planets where the residents are a bit too big or a bit too small, Astrid returns home for a father-daughter space adventure that feels just right.

Brightly colored, playful illustrations capture Astrid’s real and imagined worlds while managing to stay away from standard little-green-alien imagery. A fun read for preschoolers dreaming of the stars. Read as an eARC.

Dog Man: Grime and Punishment: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog  Man #9) (9): Pilkey, Dav, Pilkey, Dav, Pilkey, Dav: 9781338535624:  Amazon.com: Books

Grime and Punishment (Dog Man 9) by Dav Pilkey (graphic novel)
Gr. 2-4. I’m a Dog Man fan through and through. Dav Pilkey never ceases to amaze with the themes and messages he can pack into a series that is considered by so many to be slapstick superhero books. Petey’s character progression-from standard villain to caring papa-is a personal favorite, and the newest title doesn’t disappoint with lessons about forgiveness, love, and happiness as well as an ending that left me a little teary eyed. Looking forward to Book 10 and excited to keep recommending this series to young readers.

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