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Here is a celebration of our world, of all that we already know, and of all that we will discover.
A rabbit and bird set off on an adventure. They choose a path, explore the unknown, pretend and play and imagine—and finally return, wiser than before. Their journey has taught us that both a hum and a cry will bring comfort when we’re lost, that we should keep curiosity and adventure in our pocket, that the sky is always above us, and that all the paths we take will join to lead us home.
Perfect for anyone embarking on a new chapter in their lives, this tribute to all that is important in the world around us encourages readers to live life to the fullest.
"This picture book encourages readers to make the most of their lives….Curiosity and adventure are encouraged…. The beautiful pen and ink with watercolor illustrations are as goose bump–inducing as the words of wisdom in the text. This inspirational book could be given as a graduation gift at almost any age." —School Library Journal
"A poem's gentle admonishments nudge readers to open themselves up to the world….Children will intuitively understand the reassuring embrace of the enveloping dome overhead….A frenzy of feeling, pen strokes, and verse that seeks to excite and empower young people just awakening from childhood slumber." —Kirkus Reviews
"(Author) Dotlich urges readers to take risks … (and) Cordell’s ink-and-wash drawings give the pages life and humor…" —Publishers Weekly
PreS-Gr 2—When Adam opens a striped gift box and discovers a plush koala bear, he takes an immediate dislike to the stuffed animal. Koala is "the most terrible terrible."
Everything is terrible about the toy, especially its eyes, which "follow Adam everywhere." The young boy's parents, who do not understand his aversion, urge him to take good care of the toy.
Nevertheless, Adam tries to get rid of Koala. Stuffing it into his backpack, he sets out on an imaginary journey and leaves Koala behind in a grove of trees. To his chagrin, the dreaded toy is waiting for him in the living room when he returns home.
At bedtime, the little boy suddenly has a change of heart when he realizes that Koala's watching eyes will keep him safe from monsters in the dark.
Concise illustrations stand out beside adroitly placed text, leaving plenty of white space on most pages. The fuzzy koala bear does look a bit menacing with its staring yellow eyes, and Adam's expressive face perfectly portrays his doubts and frustration. The cinematic quality of the digitally colored pencil drawings add drama to the little boy's dilemma.
VERDICT This clever title will pair nicely with Anika Denise's Bella and Stella Come Home (Philomel, 2010), another story about the comforting friendship of a trusty stuffed animal.
—Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA
Review"Everyone will like I Don’t Like Koala eventually. You see even if they are so misguided as to not like it immediately Koala will handle it himself. That’s what he does with his terrible eyes and his warm, mysterious, determined heart. Terrific illustrations and a great story, what’s not to like?" (Kenny Brechner Publishers Weekly ShelfTalker, August 28, 2014)
"[T]he tale is hilarious, especially Adam's (unsuccessful) attempts to banish Koala...clever artwork shows that Adam may not have traveled as far as he claims. Santoso's sly pencil illustrations, colored digitally in a mostly blue, gray and brown palette, resemble animation with shading and texturizing lines. The end features a twist and a closing line worthy of Sandra Boynton's But Not the Hippopotamus (1982). Slightly creepy, funny and fun." (Kirkus Reviews, February 2015)
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In her first novel since the Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), Applegate tells the story of a 10-year-old boy whose imaginary friend helps him cope with a family crisis. Jackson, his parents, and his five-year-old sister once again are staring down the barrel of an impending eviction notice. What frustrates Jackson isn't just the lack of money: it's his artistically minded parents' tendency to gloss over their woes with humor and cheer rather than acknowledging the reality of their situation. It's understandably a shock to Jackson when an old friend reappears: Crenshaw, a seven-foot-tall talking cat, who first came into his life several years ago when the boy and his family were living out of their car shortly after his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Skeptical Jackson tries to dismiss Crenshaw as a figment of his imagination, but the cat's words of wisdom start to resonate with him. Employing sparse but elegant prose, Applegate has crafted an authentic protagonist whose self-possession and maturity conceal relatable vulnerability and fears. While sardonic Crenshaw may not be the warm and cuddly imaginary friend readers are expecting, he's the companion that Jackson truly needs as he begins to realize that he doesn't need to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Though the ending wraps up a shade too neatly, overall, children will appreciate this heartbreaking novel. VERDICT A compelling and unflinchingly honest treatment of a difficult topic.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library JournalReview“
This accessible and moving novel demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child's mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The tone is warm and, occasionally, quirkily funny, but it doesn't sugarcoat the effects of hunger and vulnerability. This novel adds a middle-grade perspective to the literature of imaginary friends and paints a convincing and compassionate portrait of a social class―the working poor―underrepresented in children's books.” ―The Horn Book, starred review
You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can't even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo's efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin. This charming tale of friendship—from two of the best young minds in picture books: the author of the Caldecott Honor–winning Extra Yarn and the illustrator of the Bologna Ragazzi Award–winning Josephine—is destined to become a modern classic that will delight readers for years to come.
After reading a 2016-2017 Bluebonnet nominee, scan the above QR code or go to https://goo.gl/forms/CeGbe1b8q8sEGD1q1
to submit a question for the 2016-2017 Battle of the Bluebonnet Books. To compete, you must submit at least 1 question for 10 of the 20 current nominees.