In a Nutshell Book Reviews…….Kid Lit with an Artistic Bent!

kids, art, failure, success, perfectionI love this book!  The central character, Fred, is assigned an art project of his choosing, to share with the class in a week.  What he wants to do looks great in his head, but he lacks the ability to transfer his idea to paper.  As the sharing time draws near, he feels nervous and sad, and his classmates have doubted him.  At the last possible moment, with a little grace from his teacher, Fred is able to pull through.  His project isn’t at all what he thought it would be, but still earns high praise from his classmates.  It is certainly provides lessons in believing in yourself, not discouraging others, and learning that things don’t always work out the way they look in our heads, but they can still be great anyhow.  As an artist, I’ve found that the things I don’t intend to do, often end up being wonderful surprises and can lead to techniques that hadn’t occurred to me before.  The illustrations in this book are simple and appealing.

Note:  I have several more artsy books to add to this, but this browser uploader and all options for the book covers aren’t working right now, so I shall have to return for the rest.  Sometimes, I detest technology, and this is one of those times!


In A Nutshell Kid Lit Reviews #1

nutshellsThere are many books out for kids, and as an author, I naturally want to see what else is out there.  Plus, the kid inside me loves to read imaginative stories!  I’m waiting for grandchildren to share my finds with!  Hint, hint….my kids!  In the meantime, I thought I’d run a blog here, with snippets of other people’s work, for you to share with your kids.  I’ll also be giving these authors a shout-out on either Twitter or Facebook.

For today, I’ve picked a few by Mark Teague.  All of his are beautifully illustrated by him:

Funny Farm:  This book is very cute and imaginative.  It’s aimed at the youngest readers, about a day at a farm.

Larue: Letters from the Campaign Trail

This one seems geared to the elementary school set.  It also has remarks that adults will enjoy, particularly in our current political climate.  There are words that kids will either need to look up or have explained to them—I like that!  A challenge!  I love the canines!  Clever!

Dear Mrs. Larue: Letters from Obedience School

Another one for elementary readers, though younger kids will enjoy the pictures, and may comprehend the story from those visual cues.  There is a strong theme of the main character, the letter writer, feeling unfairly punished, which is likely a universal feeling among children, and adults can remember.  The letter writer has certainly discovered how to heap the guilt on his mistress, for sending him to obedience school.


For the toddler set, this is about a day at the firehouse, and touches on themes of cooperation, heroism, volunteering to help, and resting!  Very sweet!

nutty, nutshell, envelope for information

Two from another author, Audrey Penn:

Pocket Full of Kisses

This is a sequel to “The Kissing Hand.”  The book centers on a raccoon mom and her two offspring.  The elder of which is having difficulty adjusting to having a new sibling.  It is touching and lovely, and the illustrations are great!  Shows the mom reassuring Chester of her love, and promoting job of big bro to him.  Probably for kids from 2-6.

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully

When Chester and his friends don’t want to go to school because there’s a bully there, his mama tells them all a story that changes everything.  Early elementary grades will love this, and who knows what they could change!  Beautiful illustrations!

Ada Potato by Judith Caseley

Ada is a young girl in elementary school.  She’s trying out different instruments to see what she likes.  There are practical issues involved.  Then, she must contend with other kids teasing her for her musical choices.  Her mom shows her how to turn this teasing around, and Ada does.  I like the racial diversity I see in the illustrations here!  (My other half calls me Ada often, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it, for an instant kinship was already there!)

No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont

I enjoyed this book!  If anyone has ever heard “not another peep!” uttered by their parents, they will get a kick out of it being echoed through the walls of the barn!  The sheep are trying to sleep, but other animals keep making their own noises and keeping the sheep awake.  It has a lovely rhythm to the words, and rhymes but not in an annoying way.  It is adorable!  It is great for toddlers and pre-schoolers who’re learning which sounds the different animals make.

So, that was a stack of books, reviewed in a nutshell!  Stay tuned for the next installment of “In a Nutshell.”

love of animals and nuts