Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Opposite Zoo is Open


The sky is DARK and the Opposite Zoo is CLOSED.

But the monkey’s door is OPEN!
Time to explore…

What awaits young readers at the opposite zoo?


Awake! asleep…

Hairy  Bald

Tall short

Using his signature style, Il Sung Na paints a beautiful zoo at night. Full of animal opposites. We’ve seen many zoo books before, but this one is unique. In a dark, quiet zoo at night, we see animals in the light of opposites.

They’re everywhere.

In a quiet, serious and unique way, Il Sung Na introduces young children to opposites throughout the zoo. I imagine this book will lead to conversation, not only about opposites, but about the animals.

And when night is over…
The sun is BRIGHT,
and the animals are ready!

The monkey’s door CLOSES just in time…

…for the Opposite Zoo to OPEN!

Come on in. the opposites await.


Always Remember

This was a Facebook post, and I debated whether to put it on the blog. It’s not a review. Just a reflection.

This beautiful book by Cece Meng came out today.
“After Old Turtle swims his last swim and breathes his last breath, and the waves gently take him away, his friends lovingly remember how he impacted each and every one of them. As the sea animals think back on how much better Old Turtle made their lives and their world, they realize that he is not truly gone, because his memory and his legacy will last forever.”

Of course, Taylor (my sister, died 12/12/14 at the age of 19), was on my mind while I read the book. What struck me the most were the last few lines-
“He showed kindness and strength.
And he made his world a better place.
When he was done, the ocean took him back.
But what he left behind was only the beginning.”

Certainly true of our dear Taylor, too. She showed us kindness and strength- continually. And she made the world a better place. Her friends and her family can testify for that. And when she breathed her last breath, God took her into His arms. And what she left behind was only the beginning.

I no longer question “why” so often. I’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. But I do believe she did the work she needed to do. She made the world a better place. She made a difference in lives we will never know. And when her work was done, she went home.

And we will always remember.


Exclusive INTERIOR Reveal of HOTEL BRUCE by Ryan Higgins

I’m back again with more on Ryan Higgins’ fall ’16 title, Hotel Bruce!

If you’re like me, you just can’t get enough of that grumpy old bear.

If you missed my interview and the reveal with Ryan a few weeks ago, check it out here!

A little more about Hotel Bruce…

When Bruce gets home from a southern migration trip with his goslings, he is tired. He is grumpy. And he is definitely not in the mood to share his home with the trio of mice who have turned his den into a hotel.

There’s a possum pillow fight wreaking havoc in one room, a fox luring guests into a stew in the kitchen, and a snuggly crew of critters hogging the bed. Bruce growls and grumbles and tries to throw them all out, but the entrepreneurial mice just can’t take a hint. Bruce is in a little over his head, especially once the goslings join the staff. Will this grumpy bear ever get his quiet, peaceful den back to himself?

And now, here’s an exclusive peek at an inside illustration!

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 1.26.37 PM.png

Uh oh. Looks like something’s gone terribly wrong.

I can only imagine what Bruce will be doing next!

Mark your calendars for the release of Hotel Bruce, from Disney Hyperion, on October 18, 2016!

Unexpected Friends: A review of A Friend for Mole by Nancy Armo

Sometimes, friends come along when you aren’t even looking. I’ve found that to be true in my life. When what I’ve need the most has been a friend, there has always been one there. Sometimes longtime friends, and sometimes, those that are unexpected.

When Mole, from debut author/illustrator Nancy Armo’s new book, A Friend for Mole, emerges from the underground, the last thing he is looking for or expecting to find is a friend.

Mole had no intention of even leaving his cozy burrow… “He liked his soft bed of leaves, the warm smell of the earth, and the quiet darkness all around.” 

While Mole may be cozy and content, he’s missing something- love and companionship. But he doesn’t even realize he is missing it.

One day when Mole hears loud shouting and laughter above the ground, and notices dirt drifting down from the ceiling, he’s got to find out what’s going on up above.

When Mole emerges, he regrets his idea, and one bad things leads to another, and Mole ends up far (but not too far!) from the opening to his home. After tumbling into a bush, Mole goes inside and realizes that it is dark and quiet- just like his home. Before long, Mole is fast asleep.

Mole wakes up again to the pitch black of night. He is not scared. He is filled with fear. This is so wonderfully conveyed in Armo’s watercolor and Prismacolor Pencil illustrations.

It is then that something unexpected happens. Mole finds a friend. Wolf, who is afraid of the dark. They make a pact, and have so much fun together, they forget what they are scared of.

When the morning light rises, the two new companions find Mole’s burrow, and the two friends must part. But with the promise that they’ll soon see each other again.

Nancy Armo has weaved a tale that will resonate with my children. Those children who have come to school, new, afraid, and feeling alone. Those children who know what it is like to be alone, and then find that perfect, unexpected friend.

Teachers often have collections of friendship books in their classroom, and this book belongs among the ranks. This is a story that will be passed down for a long time to come.

It’s a reassurance to all of us that that friend we need is usually unexpectedly right there when we need it most.

Add this gem to your library today.