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Harriet Gets Carried Away Book Review

Harriet loves wearing costumes. Whether she is going to the store, the park or the dentist, Harriet has the perfect costume for every occasion. The day of her dress-up birthday party has arrived. Her dads ask her to get ready to go to the grocery store in preparation.

Donning her penguin costume, Harriet heads to the store. Her dads go to the deli and Harriet waddles off in search of party hats. On her way to the party aisle, she sees a group of penguins getting bags of ice in the frozen section!

Curious Harriet follows the penguin pack to a group of hot air balloons waiting outside. The penguins quickly accept her as one of their own and begin to head back to the arctic. Will Harriet be able to find her way back home? Will she miss her own birthday party?

I absolutely love this book! Harriet is a delightful character full of spunk and heart. I love that Harriet expresses herself through costumes. She doesn’t appear to care what others think of her. Harriet is unique and she owns it!

I also love that Sima embraces different family units. Harriet has two dads, unlike your typical children’s picture book. I am reminded of a similar family dynamic in the picture book Honey and Leon. Children definitely need to be exposed to the ever expanding family types and Sima conveys this beautifully through her illustrations and text.

Sima’s illustrations are simply stunning. The cool color palate gives off a chilly vibe, perfect for reading about penguins. Children will fall in love with Harriet and her tuxedo clad friends.

I greatly admire Sima’s attention to detail along with hints of foreshadowing in her illustrations. I love that Harriet’s dog enjoys playing dress-up too. If you look closely, you will see that Harriet has a poster of Kelp, the unicorn turned narwhal from Sima’s first picture book, Not Quite Narwhal. See what other things you and your child can find as you read together!

I had the great honor of meeting Jessie Sima at the book release event for this book at The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Missouri. Sima is extremely down to earth and one of the friendliest people on the planet. I cannot wait to see what she works on next.

This is a fantastic read for children ages 4-8.




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Jessie Sima Author Event

I screamed when I read my Facebook notification.  My favorite children’s picture book author/illustrator, Jessie Sima, would be coming to The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, Missouri!  She would be celebrating the release of her second book Harriet Gets Carried Away.

My fingers could not dial the phone fast enough.  I immediately called and asked my mom to come along.  We decided to leave early on the day of the event to avoid any rush hour traffic.  What we were not expecting was the freak and sudden snow storm that we encountered the further we drove into Missouri.

We reached The Novel Neighbor and I excitedly exited the car.  I could not believe that I was about to meet Jessie Sima!  Of course, mom and I turned out to be the first ones there.  Better early than late, we always say.

Jessie was still setting up.  My heart raced as we entered the room.

“Hi, guys!  Welcome and thank you for coming!” she greeted.

I immediately had a fan out moment.  I gushed and told her that Not Quite Narwhal is my favorite children’s book of all time.

Aww!  Thank you so much!” Jessie said.

She stopped setting up and posed for selfies, autographed my copy of Not Quite Narwhal that I snuck in and graciously accepted the copy of Priceless Penny that I handed to her.

Selfie time with Jessie Sima!


“This is for me?” she asked.  “Thank you so much!  I love it!”

Mom then returned with two copies of Sima’s newest book, Harriet Gets Carried Away.  Jessie happily autographed both books and then took the time to speak with my mother about her career as an elementary school teacher.


Love this autograph from Jessie!


I am beyond touched that Jessie liked Priceless Penny!


Jessie was beyond down to earth.  Speaking with her was like being with an old friend.  I am glad that she didn’t think my fanning out was too crazy.

The event was great fun.  Jessie read Not Quite Narwhal and Harriet Gets Carried Away aloud.  She then drew a narwhal for the children in attendance to color.  Jessie also answered any questions that the children (and their parents) had.

This was truly one of the best days of my life.  I hope that Jessie will come back to Missouri for future book releases.  To learn more about this amazing author/illustrator, visit her official website at:

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Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise Book Review

In Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise by Kate DiCamillo, Mrs. Watson has a wonderful idea.  She wants Mercy to dress up and go trick-or-treating on Halloween.  Mr. Watson agrees and offers his opinions about what costume Mercy should wear.

That is when Mrs. Watson announces the Mercy will be a princess.  Mrs. Watson works tirelessly on creating the perfect princess dress.  There is just one problem.  Mercy is refusing to wear the costume.

Will Mercy’s stubbornness cause her to miss out on the fun of Halloween?  Can a pig really become a princess?

I absolutely love this book!  Halloween stories are my favorite and this one definitely delivers.  DiCamillo has created a cast of humorously quirky and memorable characters.  Mercy’s spunky spirit is can be seen in everything that she does.  Children will cheer Mercy on in her quest to become the first trick-or-treating pig.

Chris Van Dusen’s illustrations are fantastic.  The colors are vibrant and bold, which will certainly captivate young readers.  Each scene had me chuckling while Mercy got into more and more mischief.

This is a wonderful Halloween read for children ages 5-8.  I cannot wait to read more books in the Mercy Watson series.

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Owly and Wormy Bright Lights and Starry Nights! Book Review

Owly and Wormy Bright Lights and Starry Nights! is a stunning wordless picture book by author/illustrator Andy Runton. Owly and his friend Wormy cannot wait to use their telescope to see the stars. No matter how hard they try, they cannot seem to find anything in the night sky.

Owly decides that in order to see stars, they should go camping. The pair soon get stuck in a rain storm and must take cover in a spooky, dark cave. Strange noises are coming from the back of the cave and Wormy does not want to stick around to see who or what it could be.

Racing from the cave, Owly accidentally drops his telescope in the forest. Will he be able to recover it in time to show Wormy the stars? Have Owly and Wormy truly escaped the cave monster?

This is a stunning book from start to finish. Children will fall in love with Runton’s adorable characters. Instead of words, Runton makes use of speech bubbles that communicate Owly and Wormy’s thoughts. The story reads like a comic book which children will absolutely enjoy.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. I cannot wait to read more of Owly and Wormy’s adventures.



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A Different Pond Book Review

A Different Pond by Bao Phi introduces the reader to a young, nameless boy. His father wakes him up early every Saturday to fish in a nearby pond. The boy loves getting to spend time with his father.

The pond has become like a second home to the boy. He has made many friends who also come to fish in the early morning. As the boy and his father fish, he learns about his homeland of Vietnam.

I found this to be a touching story with a focus on family. I love that the story is told from the little boy’s point of view. Also, I like the fact that the boy remains nameless. This could be the story of any young boy whose family has moved to the United States from Vietnam.

Additionally, I love how descriptive and beautiful Phi’s text is. With such lines as “…my dad’s English sounds like a thick, dirty river” to “…to me his English sounds like gentle rain.” I really get an in depth sense of the father’s character. His description of minnows as “…silver arrows” in another stunning line. Children will definitely be drawn to the exquisite language of the story.

Thi Bui’s illustrations are wonderful. Most of the story takes place during very early morning while it is still dark outside. The illustrations are saturated in deep, dark colors without being overly done or completely pitch back. I love how each illustration depicts multiple things going on at once.

Overall, this is a wonderful story about immigrants trying to create a new life for their families in the United States. Readers ages 4-8 will enjoy this book.



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Bulldozer Helps Out Book Review

In Bulldozer Helps Out by Candance Fleming, Bulldozer would give anything to help out on the construction site. Cement Mixer was stirring; Crane Truck was lifting. Even Digger Truck was scooping. What was Bulldozer doing? Watching.

He asked his fellow trucks what he could do to be part of the project. Dump Truck told him he was too little to help. The other trucks agreed that construction work is only for rough and tough trucks.

Feeling sorry for Bulldozer, Crane gives him a special task. He must clear away a pile of rubble and flatten out a new construction site. Will Bulldozer be able to prove that he has what it takes to get the job done?

I think this is a wonderful story that is full of action and heart. Children will definitely be able to relate to Bulldozer and his passion for helping others.

Additionally, Eric Rohmann’s illustrations are outstanding. Each character is large and vibrant and will certainly capture the reader’s attention. I also love the subtle details that provide clues as to what will happen next in the story.

This is a fantastic read for children ages 4-7.



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Hubble Bubble: The Super-Spooky Fright Night Book Review

Hubble Bubble: The Super-Spooky Fright Night! by Tracey Corderoy is the first installment in the Hubble Bubble series and includes three stories. Pandora is a young witch who spends a lot of time with Granny Crow. Granny is also a witch and loves to use her magic to help. However, her spells do not always go as planned.

In The Super-Spooky Fright Night, Granny Crow and Granny Podmore are helping Pandora create a Halloween party to remember. Granny Podmore is prime and proper while Granny Crow is more free-spirited. Neither granny can agree on how the party should be run. Could Granny Crow’s magic be just what the party needs?

In Teddy Trouble, Granny Crow accompanies Pandora to her friend Nellie’s birthday party at Fluffy Friends. Everyone is having a wonderful time creating their own stuffed bears. But when it’s Pandora’s turn to get her bear stuffed, the machine stops working. Will she ever get to make her own fluffy friend?

In Granny Makes a Splash, Granny Crow assists Pandora’s class with their swimming lessons. While on their way to the pool, the bus gets a flat tire. Granny knows just what to do! A little magic is surly the answer, right? The shenanigans continue when the children reach the pool and discover that Granny’s magic may be running amok. Can Granny reign in the spells before it’s too late?

I absolutely love this book! I was surprised to see three wonderful stories in one amazing collection. Granny Crow’s character is reminiscent of the classic Amelia Bedelia. She also reminds me of bumbling Aunt Clara from one of my favorite television shows, Bewitched. Granny means well, but she has not yet mastered the art of magic.

I also love the names of the characters: Pandora, Granny Crow, Moonbeam (Pandora’s mother). Each name evokes a sense of magic and definitely makes me think of Halloween. The layout of the book is stunning and makes heavy use of the color orange (my favorite!). The words literally pop off of the page. Additionally, I love the intricate details that can be seen throughout the book, such as the tiny spider that hides on every other page corner. This would be a great opportunity for a counting game to see how many spiders the reader can find.

Joe Berger’s illustrations are outstanding. From the spiders on Pandora’s dress to the orange flower earrings that Granny Crow wears, these subtle details make all the difference. Some pages are even illustrated with a black background and white text that add to the spookiness of the illustrations and story.

This is a fantastic read for magic lovers of all ages. Children will laugh at Granny Crow and all of her magical mishaps. I cannot wait to read more from this wonderful series.



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