Monday, February 27, 2023

My Love for You Is Like a Garden Virtual Book Tour


My Love for You Is Like a Garden Book Giveaway


My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Written and Illustrated by Laura Smetana

All Ages | 38 Pages

Publisher: Flying Cardinal Press | ISBN-13: 9781737140962

Publisher’s Book Summary: With bright, watercolor collages, My Love for You Is Like a Garden celebrates uncondit ional love with vibrant garden scenes that will delight fans of Lois Ehlert and Eric Carle. Perfect for baby showers, bedtime read-alouds, or anyone you love!

Say “I love you” with this charming picture book families will love reading together over and over again. Bold, colorful illustrations of flowers, butterflies, and animals will inspire readers of all ages to explore the natural world⁠—and maybe even plant their own garden. Children will delight in finding ladybugs hidden throughout, and a glossary provides the names of each plant and animal featured. A beautiful book to share with a child, parent, or anyone who means the world to you!

My Love for You is Like a Garden Activity Kit – Free Download




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Author’s Website

A Friends and Family Offer

If you’ve already purchased a copy of My Love for You Is Like a Garden, head on over to Laura Smetana’s website to receive two free downloadable 8×10 watercolor collage art prints:

Print 1 – My love for you is like a garden

Print 2 – My love for you flows freely


This gentle declaration of love will have adults feeling as if they are revisiting classics like Margaret Wise Brown’s The Runaway Bunny or Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You. The narrator’s love “shines as bright as a field of marigolds” and “is as sweet as a flowering lilac.” Watercolor collage illustrations reminiscent of Eric Carle’s books bring each declaration to life - vibrant tiger lilies, water droplets shaped as hearts pouring from a watering can, and a squirrel peeking from behind a flowerpot are just a few of the beautiful spreads that will delight the eyes. A variety of flowers, as well as a bird, butterfly, sun and rain complete the garden scene, right down to the roots of the trees spreading beneath the soil. Youngsters may have their attention captured (as mine was) by the tiny ladybug that appears throughout the book - here on a blade of grass, there on the leaves of the linden tree. A picture glossary in the back encourages readers to go back into the book and find each flower or creature mentioned in the text, adding a bit of ”look and find” fun to the reading experience. This is a book perfect for bedtimes or cuddling on a lazy afternoon.


Laura Smetana is the author and illustrator of My Love for You Is Like a Garden, a joyful picture book that celebrates unconditional love with bold, watercolor collages of garden scenes. She is also the author of Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids About Alzheimer’s & Dementia (illustrated by Elisabete B. P. de Moraes), which was winner of a Northern Lights Book Award, and Little Squiggle’s Lake Adventure, which she co-authored with her son, Stirling Hebda.

When she isn’t writing or painting, Laura can be found talking to kids at school author visits, gardening in her sunhat, and spending time with her family outdoors. Laura lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and son. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Downers Grove Artists’ Guild.

Visit her online at and @SmetanaLaura on Twitter.


Monday, February 27, 2023

The Children’s Book Review

Author Interview with Laura Smetana

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Fairview Review

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Momma Spot

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Life Is What It’s Called

Author Interview with Laura Smetana

Friday, March 3, 2023

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Monday, March 6, 2023

Lisa’s Reading

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Me Two Books

A book activity to pair with My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Confessions of a Book Addict

A book giveaway of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Friday, March 10, 2023

Writer with Wanderlust

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Monday, March 13, 2023

My Reading Getaway

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

J.R.s Book Reviews

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Cover Lover Book Review

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Crafty Moms Share

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Friday, March 17, 2023

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Monday, March 20, 2023


A book review of My Love for You Is Like a Garden

Virtual tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Flying Cardinal Press.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Just Jerry: How Drawing Shaped My Life

Gr 3–7—The artistry of the late Jerry Pinkney has captured readers for decades. Now his memoir takes us into his life and the influences that set him on the path to Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards. The letters of his name on the book's cover serve as windows into some of his well-known illustrations, such as The Lion and the Mouse and The Grasshopper and the Ants. Those glimpses, along with a drawing of young Pinkney and his sketchbooks, show readers the beginning and end of the journey that his memoir will describe. The narrative is divided into three sections that explore his family and home life, neighborhood and friends, and then his introduction to art as a possible career path. Pinkney had planned to add many detailed drawings. Although that was not possible, the sketches that are included give a sense of intimacy, as if readers are looking over his shoulder while he works. Due to his own childhood experience with dyslexia, the font used is designed to be reader-friendly to make the book more accessible. The epilogue includes photos of him, his siblings and parents, his wife and children, and cover images from some of the books he illustrated. A time line covers key dates from his life and career. VERDICT A must-have for school libraries; perfect for author studies, lessons on book awards, and all fans of Pinkney's work.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

Mama Shamsi at the Bazaar

K-Gr 3—A young girl accompanying her grandmother to the bazaar is nervous about getting lost in the busy market. Samira suggests that she hide under Shamsi's chador, perhaps riding on her back or tucked in by her belly. Her grandmother gently turns down each idea, replying that the merchants will think she is a turtle all hunched over or perhaps a kangaroo with a pouch. Illustrations show Shamsi transformed into a mule and even a giraffe too tall to fit on the page, inviting readers to laugh at the silliness. Images also capture the loving relationship between Samira and Shamsi, as well as showing details of the bazaar. Intricate tilework, Arabic script on banners and shop signs, and vendors selling fresh bread all bring the market to vibrant life. The mother-daughter team of authors based the story on their own experiences with a grandmother's chador as a safe place to shelter. Hassani also pulled from her memories of the bazaar she visited during her childhood in Tehran, while the illustrator used her knowledge of the Arab world to make each scene so authentic one can almost smell the steamed beets. VERDICT An affectionate portrayal of a grandmother and grandchild that also showcases a cultural garment in much the same way as Carmen Tafolla's What Can You Do with a Rebozo?

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

Buzzkill: A Wild Wander Through the Weird and Threatened World of Bugs

Gr 4–9—Maloney uses a humorous conversational tone as she begins with comparisons of size, then moves on to the role of insects as pollinators, decomposers, and even food sources. Readers will goggle at the idea of a bug as large as a Quarter Pounder but also learn the importance of insects to forensic scientists and which species are in danger of extinction. The author warns, "I just need to blurt stuff like that out…I lose friends this way; I really do." It is not an idle warning; there are graphic descriptions of the destruction a swarm of locusts can cause or how mosquitoes spread diseases. Tales of how her family reacts to experiments with chocolate chip cricket cookie mix or having to catch escapees from her ant farm give the book a personal, rather than a dry scientific feel. Illustrations, such as that of a bug slowly roasting on a spit over a fire in the section on insect-based food options, reinforce the humor. Back matter includes organizations to contact, books to read, and actions to take to help support insect populations. This title is densely packed with information and a bit lengthy for primary grade readers, but should please middle grade bug enthusiasts. VERDICT An approachable text on a wide range of insect lore, this title has high appeal for those curious about bugs and would also be helpful for research.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

An Elephant & Piggie Biggie! Volume 5

Gr. K-3 This excellent collection features the stories I Am Invited to a Party!; I Will Surprise My Friend!; Happy Pig Day!; Waiting Is Not Easy!; and The Thank You Book - over 300 pages of fun with Piggie and Gerald. Readers will see the duo preparing for a party with more and more elaborate costumes, learn that one doesn’t have to be a pig to celebrate Pig Day, and other big moments from their adventures. The signature style of Mo Willems captures expressions ranging from devious as the friends try to surprise each other, to awed as they gaze at a star-filled sky, or even grateful as they thank readers for being “the best.” Youngsters and adults will laugh out loud to see Piggie knocked flat by Gerald’s groans as he complains about waiting. They may even snort at Pigeon’s sly, “That is what you think” in response to Piggie’s apology that Pigeon  does not get to be in the books with her and Elephant. Whether this is a first encounter with these lovable friends or a welcome return to favorite stories, it will leave readers with a smile. VERDICT: Perfect for replacing copies that have been loved to pieces in classrooms or libraries, or as a gift for readers new to the fun.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

One & Everything

Gr 2-5-At first glance, readers may assume this is an art book with lots of circles and patterns. Once they begin reading, they will see it is the story of how languages can be subsumed by others. The One gobbles up each story that it encounters and is proud to be the only story left. The letters on the One's surface reflect its thoughts, such as "I am the one" or "I am always right." But words are powerful things, and even in the darkness inside the One, the other letters combine to question the One's supremacy. The illustrations use simple circles for the various stories; each has its own color and a pattern created from a particular writing system. Cherokee, Javanese, and Tamil are just a few of the scripts used. Back matter includes descriptions of 10 of the scripts, with details on what the symbols mean and what language(s) they represent. A map shows where the fifty different scripts in the book come from, and there is a labeled sample of each script. The acknowledgments mention many groups and organizations around the world who are working to preserve languages in danger of being lost. VERDICT A story that works on many levels for various ages, from a simple fable about greed to a wake-up call to value linguistic diversity.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

Are Sea Monsters Real?


3–4—Monsters are an interesting topic for many youngsters. This leveled reader explores myths and legends from throughout history, such as Thor battling the Midgard serpent and Odysseus fighting Scylla. Images support descriptions of many sightings from across the centuries; readers can study an ancient map with sea monsters in the waves and view images of the biblical leviathan. These tales lead to the very real creatures, including giant squids, sperm whales, and orcas which may have inspired some of the legends. Photos show a megalodon's tooth, a giant Pacific octopus, and fossils of a Basilosaurus and an Ichthyosaur. Young cryptozoologists are left to decide for themselves if ocean creatures and evidence of prehistoric life-forms have fed into the many stories in the past, or if continued interest in the Loch Ness monster and similar legends prove that sea monsters exist. A glossary, suggestions for creative writing, and comprehension questions are included. VERDICT An engaging exploration of the topic for intermediate readers who enjoy sorting fact from fiction.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

The Snowman Waltz

K-Gr 2—Readers will delight in the antics of a group of snowmen who meet up with a troop of penguins. How can they reconcile the one, two, three of "waltzing out under the moon" with the four-count of "marching in a line"? Snow and ice glitter under a clear winter sky as the snowmen gracefully dance along a frozen river. The illustrations capture the "Swing, two, three, Hop, two, three" of the dancers swirling in rhythm. A turn of the page shows the "Uniforms that all are matching. Black and white and looking fine." When the groups collide, the spread captures in mid-motion the bowties and scarves flying, stick arms of snowmen falling loose, and penguins head over heels in the air. Everything is disrupted until the smallest members of each group find a way to cooperate. The fun of the story can be extended with a song sheet and directions on dance steps to try out. VERDICT The rhyming text catches the beat of both groups and will have readers eager to try out their own march or waltz moves, as well as read the story again.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

I Love You Little, I Love You Lots

PreS-K—A wonderful exploration of friendship, Wood's picture book offers a wealth of wordplay and rhyme. Opposites, such as "little" and "lot" are juxtaposed to emphasize the range of the love being expressed. Amounts that could fill buckets and cake pans, or a love so large it could reach miles are also described. Comparisons, similes, and amusing adjectives work together in the affectionate banter between the characters. Pencil and digital media illustrations support the playful text. The two friends (a cat and dog) board a train; one speaks from the engine, while the other answers from the caboose. Readers also see them swim at the beach, fly kites, and enjoy a sunset picnic as they describe their bond. The font developed from Karas's own hand-lettering is a personal touch that matches the cozy mood of the book. VERDICT An instant classic that will be read repeatedly.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.


PreS-Gr 3—Part of the "Imagine This!" series, this title delves into how and why sleep is a necessary function and what various animals do during their slumber. The main text discusses sleep cycles, how long different species sleep, and how some animals only sleep with half their brain at a time. Additional details, such as the lack of REM sleep in dolphins and whales, are in smaller font and tucked into the illustrations rather than set aside in text boxes. Illustrations show a variety of animals resting—puppies snuggled on a blanket, sperm whales "floating tail-down," bats hanging from tree branches. The final spread is a baby in a crib accompanied by an explanation of how the amount of sleep needed changes as humans grow. Back matter includes an author's note, glossary, and suggested books. Readers will be surprised to learn that animals as varied as jellyfish and elephants sleep in very different ways. This book strikes a nice balance between explaining the human need for sleep and how our sleep cycles compare to those of animals around the world. VERDICT A solid introduction to the biological function of sleep; sure to please budding biologists and those who keep asking "Why do I have to go to bed?"

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, September 2022, p. 122

I'm a Volcano!

PreS-Gr 2-Digitally created illustrations and a fact-filled commentary from a friendly volcano introduce readers to the wonders of eruptions, lava, and other things related to volcanology. Images include a diagram of the Earth's layers, a map showing the tectonic plates with arrows to indicate their movement, and an illustration of two plates bumping into each other. The type of volcanoes that form where the plates meet and those that form in hot spots where the plates drift apart are also covered, as well as the difference between lava and magma. Vocabulary terms (e.g., "pyroclastic flow," "asthenosphere") are defined within the diagrams and in the main text, while also appearing in the glossary. Illustrations capture scenes like the buildup of pressure before an eruption, as well as scientists at work observing lava flow. Back matter includes a list of famous volcanoes, eruptions that changed the world, a detailed diagram of a volcano, the glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a select bibliography. VERDICT A fact-filled primer on volcanoes that will answer young volcano enthusiasts' burning questions. Perfect for browsing, research, or classroom use.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, September 2022 p. 122.

Stand Up! 10 Mighty Women Who Made a Change

K-Gr 3—This empowering picture book explains that "Standing up is a powerful thing." Readers are reminded that when they first learned to stand, their view of the world changed. Standing up for what one believes can also be a shift in perspective and can take many forms. Some, like Claudette Colvin, stood up for their beliefs by sitting down. Phillis Wheatley stood up by picking up her pen. All ten of the Black women and girls in this book chose to speak out, act on their convictions, and resist the pressure to sit down and be quiet in the face of what they saw to be unjust. Mixed-media illustrations capture the spirit of each iconic heroine and include historically accurate clothing and hairstyles. The background colors used when the young girl being addressed is shown are particularly energetic oranges and pinks. One vivid image shows that young girl with all ten figures gathered behind her to emphasize the statement, "When you stand up for what you believe, you don't stand alone." Cooper explains in an author's note that Rosa Parks was her inspiration as a child and that she wants to help young Black girls learn to shine. This book could be a gift book to young girls, or used as a read-aloud to kick off a study of strong Black women throughout history. VERDICT Vibrantly illustrated and featuring a variety of justice-seekers, this book belongs in every library and classroom.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

A History of Toilet Paper (And Other Potty Tools)

K-Gr 3—Gholz has found a topic that matters to every reader. She carefully traces the development of "potty tools" from the days of early humans to the present. Comical illustrations show Neanderthals in animal skins carrying leaves and early Mesopotamians emptying chamber pots. Readers will be particularly glad that the Roman custom of a communal tersorium ("bum brush") is a thing of the past. Significant advances such as the invention of paper or the flushing toilet are explained and also shown in humorous fashion. While images show people from a variety of time periods with their potties, outhouses, and bidets, clothing discreetly conceals those using the facilities. The cover features a large roll of toilet paper with the Scott brothers perched on top and other characters posed nearby. Readers will appreciate a scene near the conclusion that shows a cave woman holding up a seashell and a modern mother holding out a roll of toilet paper, juxtaposing how far amenities have come. As Gholz points out, "Can you believe humans were around for more than 195,000 years before they invented something as simple as toilet paper?" Back matter includes a time line with thumbnail images, a glossary, selected bibliography, and author's note. VERDICT An engaging look at how various bathroom technology has changed over time; this is sure to appeal to the elementary school sense of humor.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

The ABCs of Women in Music

Gr 1-3-This vibrantly illustrated alphabet book features a selection of musical women from across history. Every entry gives the name and area of expertise for each woman - singer, instrumental musician, producer, composer, etc. Details such as which performer used her voice to support the Civil Rights Movement or who has succeeded in vocations previously limited to men are explained simply. The images show women poised at the piano, working at a sound board, or with pen in hand composing a song. Every woman is shown in a pose that captures her musical focus, but also includes easily recognizable details such as Dolly's smile, Pink's hair, or Selena's costume. A small caption includes the dates of birth and death (where relevant), so that readers may get a sense of the time period during which each woman worked or is still working. Back matter includes worksheets that invite readers to list their favorite song or role model, as well as sending them back into the book to find "Who wrote an opera about burnt toast? " or "Who was known as the Queen of Jazz?" A link to the publisher's website takes the curious to more resources, such as a Spotify playlist showcasing the women, and a video interview with the author and illustrator. VERDICT An introduction to musical history that represents a diversity of backgrounds and abilities, perfect for filling out music classrooms and library collections.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022 p.64.

Steve L. McEvil

Gr 3–6—"It's hard to take over the planet when you still have a bedtime." While that is true, Steve L. McEvil has bigger problems than bedtime. Middle school is always tough, but knowing that your ancestor stole Atlantis is a hard family tradition to uphold, even if you have a Death Bot named DORKUS (Drone Of Remarkable Knowledge, Usefulness, and Skill). Among other trials, Steve has to deal with the crush he can't talk to, a goodie-goodie new kid, a sister who is better at evil than he is, and being given "old lady" frames for his new glasses. He seems to be a middle grade version of Judith Viorst's Alexander minus the desire to move to Australia. Plenty of humor will appeal to middle grade readers and their parents, such as Steve's horror at being assigned to two weeks on the Buddy Bench at recess. "Can't you, like, expel me instead? Please?!" he begs the principal. References to "Star Wars," "Short Circuit," and "Highlander," show some of Turnbloom's influences. Bold comic book illustrations capture all the action, use facial expressions to give more depth to the dialogue, and showcase the epic hairstyles of Steve and Vic (whose pompadour could rival Fabian's). Added features include instructions for making a three-panel comic strip and how to draw Steve and DORKUS. VERDICT Sure to be a crowd-pleaser with fans of Lincoln Peirce's "Big Nate" or Scott Seegert's "Vordak the Incomprehensible." Readers will eagerly await further adventures from Steve and his classmates.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal.

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell

K-Gr 3-The story of Maria Mitchell and the curiosity that led to her amazing discovery of a comet is wonderfully told in this picture book biography. The author carefully shows that Mitchell fulfilled what were considered her household duties, but also found ways to satisfy her own voracious curiosity "feeding her mind with ideas as sweet and juicy as oranges." Incidents such as repairing a broken chronometer for a ship's captain or using silk by unwinding a cocoon to fix her own telescope emphasize her determination and ingenuity. Collage illustrations capture the look and feel of early 1800s Nantucket and Mitchell's nights stargazing with her father. The endless inquiry that led her to decide "she would rather look for stars than whales" is reinforced by the image of the words from her thoughts captured in the steam rising from her teacup, as well as the repeated inclusion of her journal in various scenes. The story comes full circle as Mitchell, after a long stint as an educator, returns to the seaside with her own nieces and nephews and, "they asked questions. So many questions!" Back matter includes an author's note about life in Mitchell's era, her Quaker background, and her belief in freedom of choice for boys and girls, as well as a list of resources. VERDICT A well-told and attractive addition to biography collections, ideal for introducing famous astronomers, female scientists, or other pioneers in STEM fields.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, pp.58-59.

Arab Arab All Year Long!

PreS-Gr 4-Camper has selected events to reflect the wide variety of "language, culture, and ethnicity" found among those who identify as Arab. The author's note explains that the various stories are based on her own life experiences. Illustrations show children and families in activities throughout the year: creating costumes for a comic convention, cooking together, gathering with friends. Within those familiar activities are details specific to each family, such as painting henna designs on each other's hands during a sleepover, listening to the sounds made by a doumbek drum, or choosing the fillings for maamoul cookies. Another page mentions that "vowels are dots and dashes, hovering like birds around the consonants" in written Arabic with a matching image of words flying out a window. A wide variety of skin tones, hair colors, and clothing styles show "There is no universal definition of who is Arab." Along with the author's note is a glossary, though in the case of the stars with Arabic names-Betelgeuse, Rigel, and Aldebaran, for example-they are shown in Arabic within the illustration. VERDICT A generous and helpful introduction to the richness and variety of what it means to be Arab that will have readers comparing and contrasting scenes with their own family activities.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, p. 64.

Zack and Ike Are Exactly Alike

PreS-Gr 2-Young children often think that friends must be exactly alike and agree on everything; it upsets them when a friend does or thinks something different. Zack and Ike find themselves in just that quandary. They are similar in so many ways, from their bikes and backpacks to their giggly grins and kind hearts, that it seems impossible they should have a disagreement. But when they find a puppy and want different names for him, it may cause a falling out. Then along comes Zena Lola-Jo Lee and she is "exactly different." Gouache and colored pencil illustrations show the exhilarating ride past "sea serpent swamp" (a puddle with swim floats in it) and that floppy-eared puppy they discover in their hideout. The spread showing their argument over the puppy's name captures the rising voices (and tempers) as the names appear in larger and bolder letters with each repetition. And a final image reveals the two friends, now part of a foursome with Zena and the puppy, heading home from a satisfying afternoon. Teachers and parents could read this book after misunderstandings between siblings and classmates, or to gently encourage enlarging a circle of friends. VERDICT This is a story perfect for sharing with children who are having difficulty navigating similar social moments or simply struggling with some of the nuances of friendship.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, p. 59

Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome

K-Gr 3-The children in Ms. Mary's class are kind and welcoming. When new student Lin arrives from China, everyone greets him warmly. "Lin grins and opens his mouth. Then he shuts it again. His cheeks glow red." All day Amy tries to include him in activities, but Lin doesn't speak. It isn't until she sees him talking animatedly with his family in Chinese that another side of Lin is revealed. The illustrations of this book reflect the inclusive theme by showing characters with a variety of skin tones, hair colors and textures, and eye colors. But it goes beyond the surface features to also show Amy's home with her grandmother who helps her make a banner in Chinese, her mother who invites this new family to come to their dumpling party, and the guests who are friends from work and school. The words, actions, and facial expressions all show how much the characters want to make this new family feel accepted. Back matter includes ideas on how readers can make a welcome banner, details about the author's own experience growing up speaking English and Mandarin, and a few panels that translate the Chinese spoken by Lin and his sister. VERDICT Illustrated with warm and welcoming colors, this story is perfect for helping students make a new class member feel at home and to understand that "It's never too late for a welcome."

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, p. 65.

The Sweetest Mango

PreS-Gr 2-Suma and her friend Jyothi enjoy their time together walking to school, sitting on shady branches in the trees near Suma's house, and especially eating mangoes. When Suma sees a large and juicy one, she decides to keep it all for herself. But can it possibly taste as sweet without Jyothi to share it? The lush illustrations bring the setting in southwestern India to vibrant life with scenes of playful monkeys, mangoes hanging "heavily from the branches," and clothing in bold colors. The author has set the story "near the temple town of Udupi" where she still takes her own family each mango season. She and the illustrator, who lives in Delhi, have infused their own memories into the story to create an authentic representation of life. Originally published in 2012 in the Kannada language, this English translation offers a rich multicultural experience for young readers through the setting, events, and language. Cartoon birds in the corners of pages offer definitions of terms such as "Ajja" for grandfather and "Dodda" for grandmother from the local Tulu language, an explanation of the varieties of mangoes, and descriptions of regional clothing styles. Children will identify with the joys of friendship, as well as the temptation to keep a particular treat all to oneself. VERDICT A story as warm as its colorful illustrations, perfect for introducing this particular region of India or for opening a discussion about sharing

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, p.63.

Ada Twist and the Disappearing Dogs

Gr 1-4-There is trouble in Blue River Creek - pets are disappearing and Ada Twist and the Questioneers are on the case. In this series entry, Ada and her friends are once again using their STEM skills to solve a problem. Sofia's dog and Iggy's cat are among the missing pets; the personal loss makes it difficult to approach the situation in a logical manner. Ada reminds them, "It's not scientific to jump to conclusions. We need more facts." The kids decide to follow the scientific method to investigate the situation. Illustrations show the concerned faces of Sofia and Iggy, Ada and Rosie building a trap for the thief, and the humorous posters Aaron creates to warn neighbors to guard their pets. The text offers humorous theories about alien pet thieves, a recipe for the "stinkaroo" that the trap will spray, and even details of Aunt Bernice digging up dinosaur bones with a spoon as a child. The friends learn that "spreading stories without facts can always harm someone." Additional materials include suggestions on how to "follow the facts," how to be a good listener, and even details about the Allosaurus. VERDICT An enjoyable addition to the series with a captivating mystery, perfect for early chapter book readers.

My review originally appeared in School Library Journal, June 2022, p.67.