All Aboard the ARC: I’ll Take Care of You by Maria Loretta Giraldo (Author), Nicoletta Bertelle (Illustrator), and Johanna McCalmont (Translator)

I’ll Take Care of You by Maria Loretta Giraldo (Author), Nicoletta Bertelle (Illustrator), and Johanna McCalmont (Translator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Blue Dot Kids Press in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links for purchase found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions I’ll Take Care of You, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

This beautiful picture book introduces children to the interconnectedness of nature with a single refrain repeated throughout: “I’ll take care of you.”

This beautiful picture book introduces children to the interconnectedness of nature with a single refrain repeated throughout: “I’ll take care of you.” So says the Earth, the Water, and the Sky to the scared little seed that grows into a strong apple tree. So says the selfsame tree to the blackcap bird who takes shelter in its branches. So says the blackcap bird to her tender hatchling, whom she loves, nourishes, and teaches to fly. So says the blackcap bird to the seed that falls among stones once the apple tree sheds its blossoms and its fruit. The little bird watches over the seed which she entrusts to the Earth’s tender care. She sings to it and hopes for it until one day, a shoot breaks forth and the cycle begins once again.

I’ll Take Care of You is ideal for daycare, preschool, and local Story Time groups, who can reinforce the concepts introduced in the book by performing acts of care for one another and others in their community.

Thus the gift of care is shared and magnified among all of nature and her children in I’ll Take Care of You, and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this simple yet powerful tale. Nicoletta Bertelle’s warm and vibrant illustrations reinforce the themes of community and ecological harmony found in Maria Loretta Giraldo’s text, gorgeously translated from the Italian by Johanna McCalmont. I’ll Take Care of You is ideal for daycare, preschool, and local Story Time groups, who can reinforce the concepts introduced in the book by performing acts of care for one another and others in their community.

I’ll Take Care of You is due to be published by Blue Dot Kids Press on April 12th, 2022 and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D. Snyder (Author) and Nora Krug (Illustrator)

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D. Snyder (Author) and Nora Krug (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

When On Tyranny first came out in 2017…I called it the “most powerful and timely book we’ve got right now,” and I stand by that assessment.

When On Tyranny first came out in 2017, I remember reading it in my bathtub, absolutely riveted and completely terrified. I remained that way, completely terrified that is, through the remainder of Trump’s presidency up until the present day. In the short review I posted on Goodreads at the time, I called it the “most powerful and timely book we’ve got right now,” and I stand by that assessment. In it, Snyder presented us with a model of political rectitude, elucidating the present by drawing parallels from the past in the hope that we might steer ourselves toward a more just and equitable future.

Democracy does not offer roadside assistance.

To return to my terror, I suppose Snyder himself would say that an alert citizen is a good citizen, but only if that citizen is proactive rather than reactive. Like most forms of social good, democracy does not self-correct when it encounters flaws in the mechanism. The people in charge of its maintenance, which is all of us, have to pull over on the side of the road, lift up the hood, and put in a little elbow grease to fix it. To further labor the metaphor: Democracy does not offer roadside assistance.

To lessen our chances of breaking down in the first place, however, it’s important to practice good citizenship at all times, not just in times of crisis. We should advocate for the causes important to us all the time, not just during an election year. We should lobby our legislators to pass laws that strengthen our democracy, that protect human rights. We should make calls, donate when and where we can, and show up to participate with our bodies every chance we get.

I have done my best to be a proactive citizen and I’d like to think that my efforts helped us to avoid another four years of Trump, at least for the moment. I’m holding my breath thinking that putrid orange tyrant will try to run again in the next presidential election. If he does, and heaven forbid, wins, God have mercy on us all.

On my not-so-good days, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we were doomed beyond saving, but I don’t like to back down from a fight. It’s not good for your digestion.

The good news is I’m not that much of a cynic yet. On my not-so-good days, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think we were doomed beyond saving, but I don’t like to back down from a fight. It’s not good for your digestion. Actually, I’m not sure what pugnacity does for your digestion, but I’ve always found it winsome to follow the revealing of a questionable character trait with something ameliorative to make myself more palatable.

Timothy Snyder is not only a historian of the highest echelon, but a prescient prognosticator of our possible political futures.

I was so excited when I found out that a graphic edition of Snyder’s book was being released and having now read it, I can assuredly say it did not disappoint. Timothy Snyder is not only a historian of the highest echelon, but a prescient prognosticator of our possible political futures. I intentionally used futures, plural, because our course is not set. We the people, the body politic, are the cartographers drawing the map toward our future. What the future looks like is based on the collective decisions we make today to either defend or neglect democracy. Don’t let’s make it easy for the tyrants, orange or otherwise.

We the people, the body politic, are the cartographers drawing the map toward our future. What the future looks like is based on the collective decisions we make today to either defend or neglect democracy.

Nora Krug’s illustrations are sometimes macabre and at other times breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes they are both in equal measure. All of her illustrations are elegant in their simplicity and deftly executed on the page. Her inclusion of historical photographs, many of which were found in photo albums and other ephemera at flea markets and antique shops, add depth and pictorial veracity to Snyder’s narrative of the history of tyranny in the twentieth century.

Nora Krug’s illustrations are sometimes macabre and at other times breathtakingly beautiful, and sometimes they are both in equal measure.

Although a review is not and should not necessarily be a summary of a work, I’d like to include here the twenty lessons Snyder gives in his book, if for no other reason than to pique the interest of would-be readers.

Snyder’s Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

  1. Do not obey in advance.
  2. Defend institutions.
  3. Beware the one-party state.
  4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
  5. Remember professional ethics.
  6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
  7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
  8. Stand out.
  9. Be kind to our language.
  10. Believe in truth.
  11. Investigate.
  12. Make eye contact and small talk.
  13. Practice corporeal politics.
  14. Establish a private life.
  15. Contribute to good causes.
  16. Learn from peers in other countries.
  17. Listen for dangerous words.
  18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
  19. Be a patriot.
  20. Be as courageous as you can.

© 2017, 2021 Timothy Snyder. All rights reserved.

On Tyranny Graphic Edition: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century was released by Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press on October 5th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Blossom and Bud by Frank J. Sileo (Author) and Brittany E. Lakin (Illustrator)

Blossom and Bud by Frank J. Sileo (Author) and Brittany E. Lakin (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions Blossom and Bud, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Review

Mr. Baxter’s flower shop is full of gorgeous flowers of every imaginable shape, length, and hue, giving Blossom and Bud plenty of opportunities for negative self-comparison.

Blossom and Bud begins in Mr. Baxter’s flower shop. Blossom is a long-stemmed sunflower ashamed of her height and Bud is just that—a bud—who hasn’t blossomed yet and feels self-conscious about it. Mr. Baxter’s flower shop is full of gorgeous flowers of every imaginable shape, length, and hue, giving Blossom and Bud plenty of opportunities for negative self-comparison. The other flowers, which remind one of the Technicolor hecklers in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, tease the two about their insecurities relentlessly.

What Blossom and Bud learn is that everyone, no matter their size or composition, has a place and a purpose unique to them and them alone.

At the end of the long day, Mr. Baxter goes home to rest up for what will be a big project starting the next morning. What our heroes don’t realize is that they will be central to this project. Mr. Baxter arrives in a joyful mood of rapturous anticipation, for a wedding is afoot! He pulls out a list of different flowers he needs, and there are two in particular that are especially important. He needs a long-stemmed flower to be the center of the bride’s bouquet and a bud (our Bud) to be the groom’s boutonnière. What Blossom and Bud learn is that everyone, no matter their size or composition, has a place and a purpose unique to them and them alone.

Dr. Sileo’s lovely tale, beautifully illustrated by Brittany E. Lakin, is sure to delight and inspire children of all ages to accept themselves for who and what they are, and to celebrate their differences with pride.

Blossom and Bud was released by Magination Press, the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association, on April 13th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Dr. Frank J. Sileo, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Psychological Enhancement, LLC in Ridgewood, New Jersey. In addition to Blossom and Bud, Dr. Sileo is the author of twelve other books, eleven of which are children’s picture books exploring topics related to children’s growth and development. You can read more about him and his work on his website.

Brittany E. Lakin is an award-winning children’s illustrator based in the United Kingdom. She is represented by Plum Pudding Illustration and has done work for Firefly Press, Magination Press, and Worthy Kids, among others. You can read more about her and her work on her website.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Author) and Lisa Sterle (Illustrator)

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Author) and Lisa Sterle (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Greenwillow Books in exchange for an honest review. I have not received compensation for the inclusion of any links found in this review or on any other page of The Voracious Bibliophile which mentions Squad, its creators, or its publisher.***

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Short Blurb: Maggie Tokuda-Hall takes everything you think you know about werewolves and their lore and gives it a feminist (and sapphic) bent. The result is a graphic novel that’s just a lot of fun to read (and talk about with your squad—no incels allowed, unless of course they’re on the menu).

Review

Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Squad is a perfect blend of horror, suspense, and believe it or not, romance. It’s sort of like if Mean Girls had a baby with Teen Wolf that grew up to be super freaking gay and not a little sarcastic. Combine that with Lisa Sterle’s vibrant art style reminiscent of the best of the Archie Comics and what you have is a delightful romp just ripe for adaptation. Does anyone have Netflix’s number?

It’s [Squad] sort of like if Mean Girls had a baby with Teen Wolf that grew up to be super freaking gay and not a little sarcastic.

It all starts when Becca moves with her mom from LA to Piedmont in her junior year of high school. Becca has always wanted to fit in, so when a clique of popular girls takes her in, she feels like she has a place for the first time in her life. It turns out though that Becca’s new squad is less of a clique and more of a pack. Of werewolves, that is, with bites far worse than their barks. These werewolves don’t hunt the innocent, though. Their prey are the predators. Sleazy boys oozing generational wealth and privilege who take advantage of girls at parties. Boys who know history and the law is on their side telling them they’ll get away with it because most of the time they do.

Their prey are the predators.

Becca discovers her friends’ secret at a party outside underneath a full moon. A skinny incel named Bart O’Kavanaugh (Tokuda-Hall’s character naming is very tongue in cheek) gets Becca away from the larger group and tries to assault her. Their exchange really is rape culture in a nutshell:

Bart: You’re hella pretty.

Becca: Okay.

Bart moves in to kiss her and Becca squirms away from him.

Bart: Don’t make it weird.

Becca: Don’t make it rapey.

Bart: Why’d you even come with me then?

Becca: Boredom? I don’t know why I even believed you when you said you were gonna show me something cool.

Bart: Yeah, my dick!

Becca tries to turn away from him.

Becca: Let’s go back to the party.

Bart puts his hand on Becca’s shoulder.

Bart: I can tell you want it.

Becca turns again, trying to dislodge his hand off her shoulder, and Bart violently grabs her by the arm while she tries to free herself. She smacks him in the face, tearing up.

Becca: Let me go, dude!

Bart grabs Becca once again and tears are streaming down her face.

Bart: Jesus, don’t be such a bitch!

There’s a rustling nearby. Suddenly Arianna, Marley, and Mandy step into view.

Marley: You know, you gotta be careful around bitches.

The three girls start transforming into wolves, growing fangs, claws, and fur, tongues lolling in anticipation.

Marley: We roll in packs.

You know, you gotta be careful around bitches. We roll in packs.

If that scene isn’t the most patriarchy-toppling in any piece of media ever, I don’t know what is. There’s something extremely satisfying about seeing boys with names like O’Kavanaugh and Weinstein get eaten by girls-turned-werewolves. After they rescue her from Bart, Becca joins the girls’ pack and has to learn to cope with this new aspect of her identity and all it encompasses. Along with being a newly-turned werewolf, Becca also has another secret to keep that’s gurgling just beneath the surface. When you’re young, or any age, really, having to hide part of yourself to stay safe does damage that takes a long time to heal. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s true for gay people, women, and werewolves.

When you’re young, or any age, really, having to hide part of yourself to stay safe does damage that takes a long time to heal. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s true for gay people, women, and werewolves.

Fear not, though, dear readers—Squad doesn’t disappoint and isn’t a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination. In this hybrid horror-romance story, the girls get mad, the boys get eaten, and love triumphs over all. And if only for a moment, everyone who’s ever had to say #MeToo feels just a little bit better.

Squad was released by Greenwillow Books on October 5th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Teeny Houdini #1: The Disappearing Act by Katrina Moore (Words) and Zoe Si (Pictures)

Teeny Houdini #1: The Disappearing Act by Katrina Moore (Words) and Zoe Si (Pictures)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review.***

Bessie Lee is perhaps the most precocious, mischievous, and big-hearted youngster to enter the scene of children’s literature since Junie B. Jones.

Bessie Lee is perhaps the most precocious, mischievous, and big-hearted youngster to enter the scene of children’s literature since Junie B. Jones. She’s a first-grader who lives with her parents, Gramma, and big sister Bailey. When her teacher, Ms. Stoltz, announces the upcoming First Grade Talent Show, Bessie’s head spins with dreams of grandeur, of wild applause and fame beyond imagination. She just needs a talent to get started with and she’ll be on her way.

Once she’s home, Bessie puts on her thinking hat and goes with her pet, Baby Rabbit, to her sister Bailey’s room to ask for her help in choosing a talent. At first, Bailey plays the part of the beleaguered older sister and insists she be left alone. However, at one point in the mostly one-sided conversation, Bailey looks at Bessie with her hat and clutching her rabbit and says, “What’s up, Houdini?” And thus a star is born. Bailey teaches Bessie all about the world’s most famous magician, and Bessie decides that becoming a Teeny Houdini herself will elevate her above her classmates and make her teeny in their eyes no longer.

As you can well imagine, chaos ensues, with Bessie being forced to learn some hard lessons along the way. In the end, and with a little help, she discovers that everyone has a little magic inside of them and that magic is worth celebrating.

In the end, and with a little help, she discovers that everyone has a little magic inside of them and that magic is worth celebrating.

Katrina Moore has created an instantly likable heroine in Bessie Lee, and Zoe Si’s soft Schulzesque illustrations are utterly adorable. I can’t wait to recommend this series to young readers and their caregivers and I’m eagerly awaiting the second book in the series. Two thumbs way up for Bessie Lee, the Teeny Houdini!

Teeny Houdini #1: The Disappearing Act is due to be released by Katherine Tegen Books on January 4th, 2022 and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Stick and Stone Explore and More by Beth Ferry (Words) and Kristen Cella (Pictures)

Stick and Stone Explore and More by Beth Ferry (Words) and Kristen Cella (Pictures)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Clarion Books (formerly HMH Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review.***

I believe we can officially add Stick and Stone to the canon of great friends in children’s literature.

I believe we can officially add Stick and Stone to the canon of great friends in children’s literature. They are joining the ranks of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad, Mo Willems’s Elephant and Piggie, and Marc Brown’s Arthur Read and Buster Baxter.

In “Stick and Stone and the Nature Girl”, the two friends try (and fail) to evade being captured by an opportunistic Nature Girl who, along with other members of her troop, is collecting objects from nature starting with each letter of the alphabet. While the friends do end up being snatched (erroneously as Rock and Twig), they are never in any real danger, because the Nature Girl’s Troop Leader reiterates to all of the participants the Nature Girl motto, which is: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Keep nothing but memories.” The friends are deposited back in their original spots and all is made right again in their world.

Nature Girl Motto: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Keep nothing but memories.

In “Stick and Stone and the Sticky Situation”, Stick and Stone get a little more adventure than they bargained for when they end up on a beach and instead of enjoying a nice soak in the sun, Stone is used for a beach campfire along with other rocks of varying sizes and Stick gets a marshmallow for a hat and very nearly gets roasted. A beneficent rain ruins the beachgoers’ fun while saving the lives of Stick and Stone and their new friends.

Beth Ferry and Kristen Cella have delivered another excellent chapter in the saga of Stick and Stone, and readers of all ages are sure to delight in their latest adventures.

Stick and Stone Explore and More is due to be released by Clarion Books (formerly HMH Children’s Books) on June 7th, 2022 and is available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: The Hiking Viking by Laura Gehl (Words) and Timothy Banks (Pictures)

The Hiking Viking by Laura Gehl (Words) and Timothy Banks (Pictures)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Capstone Editions in exchange for an honest review.***

Leif isn’t like other Vikings. He doesn’t like to battle or brawl, holler or howl, wrestle, or throw spears. No, Leif’s idea of a good time is hiking to the top of the fjord and beholding the majesty of the natural world.

No one in Leif’s family can understand why he is the way he is. They’re always pressuring him to join them in the activities they enjoy, which naturally leaves Leif feeling like an inferior outcast in his own clan. When it comes time for the Viking Games, Leif’s family’s honor is at stake and he can’t let them down. What Leif learns and is able to teach his family and the other members of his village is that the best contribution you can give to your community is being yourself.

What Leif learns and is able to teach his family and the other members of his village is that the best contribution you can give to your community is being yourself.

Laura Gehl and Timothy Banks have crafted an instant classic with The Hiking Viking. With gorgeous illustrations and positive messages about the benefits of honoring your own authenticity, The Hiking Viking will appeal to young readers of all genders.

The Hiking Viking is due to be released on February 1st, 2022 by Capstone Editions and is now available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: New Names for Lost Things by Noor Unnahar

New Names for Lost Things by Noor Unnahar

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

A poet’s heart is a populous grave. Bodies turned stories turned / guilt turned into a mouth. I am trying to be lonely again.

Noor Unnahar, [A Poet’s Heart]

In New Names for Lost Things, Noor Unnahar’s newest collection of poetry and visual art, she speaks in her own inimitable voice about the achingly familiar: love, loss, grief, death, memory, and forgetting. She writes with emotional clarity in an economy of language that doesn’t waste words. This collection is exactly what it needs to be, nothing more and nothing less, and that is the highest compliment one can pay a poet.

…she [Unnahar] speaks…about the achingly familiar: love, loss, grief, death, memory, and forgetting.

Major themes recurring throughout New Names for Lost Things include family memory, the opportunity cost of our chosen versus our lost or unchosen futures, and the way(s) in which what we choose to keep, both material and immaterial, come to define us not only to ourselves but to the rest of the world. While Unnahar’s first collection, yesterday i was the moon, was luminous in its own right, New Names for Lost Things is in a category entirely its own. Put simply, if yesterday i was the moon were a single star, New Names for Lost Things is its own galaxy. This is one of the best collections I’ve read this year and I want everyone I know to read it.

New Names for Lost Things was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on October 19th, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Matias and the Cloud by Jorge G. Palomera and Ana Sanfelippo (Illustrator)

Matias and the Cloud by Jorge G. Palomera and Ana Sanfelippo (Illustrator)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

We must be entering a golden age for wordless picture books. In October, Anthony and the Gargoyle by Jo Ellen Bogart (originally reviewed on my blog here) hit shelves and warmed the hearts of readers everywhere. And anyone who missed Aaron Becker’s wordless Journey trilogy would be doing themselves a great disservice by not acquiring it immediately. Now, we have this little gem due to be released on February 22nd of next year by Clarion Books. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Once the guests have left and all but one of the presents have been unwrapped, Matias and his dog discover something quite spectacular in the last gift: a magic cloud.

Matias and the Cloud opens on the morning of Matias’s birthday. His family throws him a big party to celebrate his special day, with cake and a piñata and presents stacked high just waiting to be unwrapped. Once the guests have left and all but one of the presents have been unwrapped, Matias and his dog discover something quite spectacular in the last gift: a magic cloud.

This enchanted cloud is no ordinary fluffnugget of condensed vapor. On the contrary, this cloud can float and bounce and do all sorts of neat things.

This enchanted cloud is no ordinary fluffnugget of condensed vapor. On the contrary, this cloud can float and bounce and do all sorts of neat things. What will Matias and his dog get up to with their new friend? You’ll have to get it yourself to find out.

Matias and the Cloud is due to be released by Clarion Books on February 22nd, 2022 and is available to preorder wherever books are sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Aboard the ARC: Halloween Is Coming! by Cal Everett (Words) and Lenny Wen (Pictures)

Halloween Is Coming! by Cal Everett (Words) and Lenny Wen (Pictures)

***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Seasonal titles are often hit-or-miss in terms of quality and sales-worthiness. You have your perennial bestsellers, the classics, which always perform well. Then there’s the seasonal titles featuring licensed characters, like Pete the Cat or Peppa Pig. These are always a big hit with preschool audiences but are certainly nothing to write home about. And then finally are the newbies, the titles published especially for the holiday(s) in question that aren’t tied to any other franchise or proud tradition save the holiday itself.

The Three Types of Children’s Halloween Books © 2021 Fred Slusher. All rights reserved.

My verdict: it’s absolutely delightful. Everett’s pithy rhymes combined with Wen’s clean and colorful illustrations make for a spook-tacular family read for Halloween night.

Halloween Is Coming! belongs to the last category. My verdict: it’s absolutely delightful. Everett’s pithy rhymes combined with Wen’s clean and colorful illustrations make for a spook-tacular family read for Halloween night. I also really appreciated the diversity of the children featured in the picture book. Too many children’s books focus exclusively on able-bodied white children and this deliberate act of exclusion prevents BIPOC children and children who are differently-abled from being able to socialize themselves within the framework of their peers. In short, representation matters, and it doesn’t just matter in social issue titles that explicitly deal with race, ability, or any other demographic characteristic.

Too many children’s books focus exclusively on able-bodied white children and this deliberate act of exclusion prevents BIPOC children and children who are differently-abled from being able to socialize themselves within the framework of their peers.

I’m comfortable in saying that Halloween Is Coming! is my favorite new Halloween title published this year and will be one I enjoy reading in the future as well as recommending to my littlest customers and their adults.

Pumpkins at the farmers’ market / Jack-o-lantern when we carve it © 2021 Cal Everett (Words) and Lenny Wen (Pictures). All rights reserved.
© 2021 Lenny Wen. All rights reserved.

Halloween Is Coming! was published by SOURCEBOOKS Kids on August 3rd, 2021 and is available to purchase wherever books are sold.

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