Michael Slack‘s newest addition to his rescue animal series, Turtle Tug to the Rescue, isn’t out for another month, but the praise is already pouring in! The picture book, which tells the story of Turtle Tug rescuing his ocean friends when a storm hits the sea, has received two new reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Publishers Weekly praises Michael Slack’s evocative rhymes and illustrations, writing, “the pictures may be the best in the series, with imaginative perspectives…and texturing that feels like a cross between painting and letterpress.” They call Turtle Tug a, “an unflashy but steady hero, [whose] steely determination to save the day is admirable and inspiring.” The full review can be found here. Kirkus was similarly impressed with the rhyming and also complimented Michae’s addition of advanced vocabulary. They commented on the admirable morals of the story, which comment both on selflessness and on environmental issues. Kirkus writes, “Fans will cheer Turtle Tug on in his mission,” and describe Turtle Tug as, “A role model for all.” Kirkus’s review can be read here. Turtle Tug to the Rescue will be released March 21st and can be pre-ordered here.
Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise Gravel is the humorous story of Olga, an aspiring naturalist, and her discovery of a mysterious, possibly brand new creatures she names Meh. Olga has always liked people more than humans, but she may need help to take care of her strange new friend, particularly when Meh goes missing! The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books wrote a review of Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere in their February 2017 issue. They praised the adorable, expressive characters of Olga and Meh, as well as the story’s humor. They write, “The style here will be an apt readalike for fans of Wimpy Kid, and Gravel deploys spot art, larger illustrations, word balloons, and chunks of text with great success in the layout.” In the end, they conclude that Olga is, “an obvious sell to fans of animals, but it will also hit a humorous note with anybody who has felt a little left behind by these things we call humans.” You can read the full review in the Bulletin’s February 2017 issue. Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere is coming out in March and can be pre-ordered online here.
Shorty and Clem, by Michael Slack, is an adorable new picture book about the adventures of a pair of best friends: Clem the quail and Shorty the green dinosaur. When a package arrives for Clem, Shorty knows he shouldn’t open it, but he can’t resist playing with the package itself, until it falls apart! Kirkus recently wrote a review of Shorty and Clem. They praise the picture book’s humor and “blocky minimalism,” as well as the feel good ending. In all, they call the book, “a funny, sympathetic read.” Kirkus’s full review can be found here. Shorty and Clem will be coming out in April and can be pre-ordered online here.
Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel, written by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Ashley Spires, is a early reader chapter book coming out soon. It tells the story of the new friendship of two young girls and a talking dog. With the help of a spinning wheel that helps them decide what to do every day, they set out to have fun and adventures. Amazon chose this cheerful chapter book as one of its Editors Picks of the Month for ages 6 to 8 for the month of June. Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel is coming out in just a few days on February 7th! You can pre-order it online here. Amazon’s full list of picks of the month for ages 6 to 8 can be found here.
It’s Black History Month, and it’s also the fiftieth year of the landmark civil rights case “Loving Vs. Virginia,” which legalized the right for interracial marriages. In honor of that, a picture book documenting that important case has recently been published, Loving Vs. Virginia, written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Time For Kids interviewed Shadra about her artistic process in illustrating this book. Shadra discusses her inspiration, research process, and why she thinks this story is important and relevant in the modern world. Shadra told the Time interviewer, “It is very important for young people to read books like these where we see regular people who, in some cases, have very little power to stand up for themselves and fight a greater system.” To read the full interview, check it out on Time For Kids’ site here. You can purchase Loving Vs. Virginia online here.
This Saturday will be the 25th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair in Philadelphia. The African American Children’s Book Project is a non-profit formed to promote children’s literature written by and/or about African Americans. Every year they hold a book fair in Philadelphia, which is one of the largest events for African American children’s literature in the country. This year, illustrators Liz Zunon (The Legendary Miss Lena Horne) and Shadra Strickland (Loving Vs. Virginia) will be among the authors and illustrators participating in the event. They will be signing books from 1 to 4 pm. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop by and get a book signed! You can find out more details about the event here.