The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony: Gunner Meets Stella by Lynne McGlothlen

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I really enjoy seeing children’s books that help them to understand and manage their emotions. Adults struggle to handle their emotions sometimes, so helping a child to understand something can be extremely difficult. The Adventures of Gunner the Poodle Pony is a wonderful book that introduces grief for a child in a way that is uplifting, and I loved that.

My Synopsis:

Gunner, a very special dog, is heading to work at the Hospice center. He enjoys helping people feel better when they are sick or sad. He meets Stella at the center, a young girl who is visiting her sick grandmother.

Stella and Gunner become fast friends, and Gunner helps Stella to understand her emotions and help her to feel a bit better. He promises to tell her more stories when they see each other again, which makes me think there might be more Poodle Pony books coming!

How I Felt:

I thought this story was written so that it is easy for a child to understand. It is told through Gunner’s perspective, which makes it fun for a child, but Stella’s emotions are easy to relate to.

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Bandit the Cow Dog by Phil Mills Jr.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

This story reinforces the importance of responsibility and consequences for a child in a way that made it easy to understand and an enjoyable story. I loved the way it was written and my daughter did too!

My Synopsis:

Mary Andrews is spending the summer on her grandparent’s ranch. Her grandmother discusses with her the chores she will be responsible for while at the ranch. There are eggs to collect and in an exciting turn of events, a horse that she can care for!

Bandit, the retired cow dog on the ranch, still keeps on eye on everything happening. One night, he sees Mary sneak out to give her new horse some carrots. The next day, when the horses are missing because the gate was left open, grandpa is very upset. Thinking it was a forgetful cowhand, grandpa is close to firing him, but Bandit knows the truth and so does Mary.

How I Felt:

I found this book to be a delightful story that captured a child’s actions perfectly. Children are often forgetful and accidents happen. I liked that Bandit was there with Mary, acting as a conscience for her as she considered her options. The story shows Mary’s guilt over what happened and her struggle with deciding to make the right choice or not.

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Jonas Hanway’s Scurrilous, Scandalous, Shockingly Sensational Umbrella by Josh Crute

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

❤️ Learning about how the umbrella was introduced to England.

What Didn’t Work:

👎 Big words that a young child may not know made it difficult to follow.

My Synopsis:

This children’s book tells the story of how umbrellas were introduced to London by Jonas Hanway. we are introduced to Jonas, who is quite a grumpy man and does not like to get wet! All of London just deals with the wet environment, but Jonas is sick of it. He travels the world for a place that does not get rain and stumbles upon umbrellas being used in other places. He brings an umbrella back home with him and uses it for 30 years while people snicker at him.

How I Felt:

I had a lot of feelings about this book. I was SO excited to receive this book. The cover is fabulous and I thought it would be a great book for my kids to learn about umbrellas. It is a cute story and the illustrations throughout the entire book are absolutely stunning! The wording used though, cause a lot of problems for me.

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Let’s Go To Taekwondo! by Aram Kim

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Let’s Go To Taekwondo! tells the story of Yoomi as she tries to earn her yellow belt in Taekwondo. I really enjoyed that the story features the struggles that children go through to achieve things sometimes and how wonderful it feels when you try again and succeed!

Yoomi is close to earning her yellow belt. She just needs to break her board. When it’s time to do it though, she can’t. Frustrated she tells her grandmother she is quitting. Grandma is struggling with learning a new skill too, the computer. Grandma uses her troubles to show Yoomi that quitting won’t solve her problems. Grandma works hard to learn to use the computer to call someone, and Yoomi decides to go back to her Taekewondo class. With practice and focus, she breaks the board!

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Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Amanda Redd

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the family in this story. They were playful and fun, and they obviously loved each other. It was a beautiful representation of a family and their bedtime routine, and my daughter and I loved it!

How I Felt:

The characters were so fun and vibrant in Bedtime Bonnet. The grandfather is playful, the mother is kind, and the entire family gives off such a loving vibe. I just enjoyed reading a story about characters that were so clearly bonded together.

The illustrations were beautiful. They were filled with bright colors and a variety of interesting details that had my daughter and I taking a few extra minutes to enjoy the art.

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The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I loved the mixture of all of life’s emotions in The List of Things That Will Not Change. It felt like such a real-life story because Rebecca Stead chose to avoid sugar-coating situations. Divorce is a hard topic to write about and Stead balances the story perfectly with a well-balanced mix of heartache and happiness.

How I Felt:

The main character, Bea, is experiencing life-changing events in her family. Her parents are divorced and she is living in the aftermath. Her attitude is lovely. She’s joyful and upbeat, while finding herself troubled with times of anxiety and doubt. I found her to be a perfect middle-grade character that is relatable and real.

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Dog Town by Debbie L Richardson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The world that Debbie L Richardson built for Dog Town was adorable! I loved the separation of the big dogs and the little dogs into two different parts of town: Big Rover and Little Rover. There are dog laws that must be followed and rules that, while not laws, are obeyed just the same. It was easy to drop right into this world and enjoy the story.

How I Felt:

The characters are so easy to love. Harry, a Little Rover resident, is the main character and is a good boy who follows Dog Law…well mostly. He loves running and enters the little dog races all the time. When he wins, he secretly leads a group of dogs into Big Rover, which is against Dog Law. So, maybe, there’s one or two laws he likes to break 😃 Harry’s group of friends, Junior and Fleabag are great sidekicks for him, each offering a different personality that makes them an adorable trio.

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Wobbly Willie Bakes a Cake by Richard Quisenberry – Kids Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Wobbly Willie Bakes a Cake shows children how important friends are. I loved that Willie wanted to make his friend’s birthday so special. It created a nice story for a child.

How I Felt:

The main character, Willie, has such a big heart. I like how he can be a role model for a child. He is caring, kind, and determined. When he realizes he can’t do something all by himself, he isn’t afraid to ask for help. I think children will connect with him and enjoy his personality.

The diversity throughout the other characters is wonderful to see in a children’s book. I find this happening more and more with new releases of children’s books, and I love that kids are finally getting a real view of what their social circles, and families, look like in books.

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Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday by Alysson Foti Bourque

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Alycat and the Tournament Tuesday had so many elements to the story that are great for children! There was family, doing the right thing, trying to help, and being honest. I loved how all of these topics were woven into the story!

How I Felt:

The characters center around a brother and sister, Bugsy and Aly. Bugsy believes that he is only able to play golf well with his special golf ball. He doesn’t have the confidence in himself to be able to play well without it. Aly has a good heart with well-intended actions. I liked that her emotions showed a real love for her brother. She wanted him to do well but also wanted him to see that he could believe in himself.

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From My Window I See . . . the Seasons by Dr. Barbara Cavanagh – Kid’s Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The narrator in this book was really cute. I loved how as she is describing the seasons, each one was her “favorite”. She would move on to a new season, and think, actually this is my favorite. It was adorable, and it really showed the reader there is something to love from each season.

How I Felt:

The writing was well done in this story. The story focuses on the little girl’s view from her home’s window. It was a fun way for my daughter and I to discuss what activities we do during those seasons.

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Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time by C. Michael Morrison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

I love a good time travel book and that is exactly what I got with Hannah Goodheart and the Guardian of Time! I enjoyed how they traveled through time and how the time travel worked. It was all lovely!

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Child of the Universe by Ray Jayawardhana

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

The illustrations in Child of the Universe were absolutely beautiful. My daughter was captivated and requested multiple times that we go back a page so she could look a little more. The illustrator, Raúl Colón, did an excellent job of matching the story to his artwork. It was lovely!

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