Beijing: A Symmetrical City – Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Dawu Yu
Adapted By: Yan Liu
Translated By: Crystal Tai
Genre: Children’s: Non-Fiction
Pages: 42
Published on: April 30, 2020

It’s not often I select a non-fiction book to read, but this one sounded so interesting I had to try it. First, I am not as familiar with Beijing as I would like to be. Second, I had no idea the city was symmetrical and it made me very curious to learn a little about that why it was made that way. Beijing: A Symmetrical City focuses on the city during the Qing Dynasty.

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Going Up! – Picture Book Review

By: Sherry J. Lee
Illustrated By: Charlene Chua
Published: April 7, 2020

Party on the 10th floor! Olive is having a birthday party and has invited all her friends. In a building that reminds me a little of the Wayside School building where each floor is only one room, we see all of Olive’s friends get on the elevator to take them up to the the party.

The story starts with a picture of the invitation inviting Leonard (dad) and Sophie (young daughter). Together, the two bake cookies for the party and go to the elevator where she gets to push the button. The elevator starts to go up, but doesn’t go too far before it stops on the 2nd floor where two brothers get on – the Santucci brothers, who are dressed like they might be part of a biker gang (or maybe they’re Rockers?). Again the elevator goes up only to stop at the next floor.

This elevator is magical. At the end of the story, I counted 21 people, 2 dogs, and a bass and clarinet all fitting into the elevator. Even the people in the elevator laugh about whether the elevator can hold them all. The neighbors in this building all appear to be friends with each other, but what I love is the wide range of diversity they bring to the story. Not only multi-cultural it includes neighbors with different interests and different ages. I mean, how many picture books include two brothers in biker gear?

This is a cute and happy picture book that will be sure to please readers and listeners of the book.

Rating: 5 stars


Today is Olive’s birthday party, and Sophie and her dad have baked cookies. Sophie’s dad holds the platter so Sophie can push the elevator button for the tenth floor. But on the way up, the elevator stops to let the Santucci brothers get on. Then on the next floor, Vicky, Babs and their dog, Norman, get in. And as the elevator ascends, it keeps stopping, and more neighbors squeeze in to the crowded space: the Habibs, the Flores family, Mr. Kwan, Vi Tweedle with her Chihuahua, Minx. Everyone is going to the party!

Playfully combining the excitement and anticipation of a party with children’s universal love of riding in elevators, Sherry J. Lee’s picture book story is ultimately about community and a sense of belonging. With characters from many cultural backgrounds, it showcases the everyday diversity that many urban children experience. Charlene Chua’s illustrations provide loads of funny details and visual narratives that aren’t in the text, making for a multilayered reading experience. The book’s tall, narrow trim size adds to the effect of the rising elevator.

Follow Those Zebra's: Solving a Migration Mystery – Book Review

By: Sandra Markle
Published on: April 7, 2020
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
No. of Pages: 40

I don’t read nonfiction near as often as I should. But in an effort to change that and learn a little bit more about the world around me, I decided to read Follow Those Zebras. Plus, there is a mystery to it which makes it feel a little like the mystery/thriller genre I enjoy reading.

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A is for Another Rabbit – Picture Book Review

By Hannah Batsel
Published on April 7, 2020

As the owner of an adorable and mischievous rabbit, I proudly support the message that this book brings: Rabbits are awesome.

Owl with a briefcase (no name is given for this character) is a firm believer in following appropriate “A is for …” rules, such as ‘apple’ or ‘astronaut’. But no matter how hard he tries Owl can’t convince the narrator of the alphabet to stay on task. Letter after letter the narrator finishes the sentence with a phrase related to rabbits. Rabbits. Rabbits. Rabbits. What really makes this book fun is the end of the sentence doesn’t always end quickly, but instead becomes a long, rambling sentence about rabbits. Other times there isn’t a sentence at all, but a question instead (about rabbits, of course).

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Doug’s Dung (Once Upon a Garden) – Picture Book Review

By Jo Rooks
Published on: March 21, 2020

Dung Beetles! After reading this, I had a little bit of fun looking up on the Internet fun facts about this cute little beetle.

Doug’s Dung is a story about finding what you love and are good at and accepting those who are different.

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Pierre & Paul: Avalanche! – Picture Book Review

By Caroline Adderson
Illustrated by Alice Carter
Published on: March 15, 2020

Who knew making a sandwich could be such a great adventure? But, when you’re with your best friend nothing is as it seems. When Pierre and Paul decide to climb the Himalayas they realize they have gotten hungry. Good thing explorers always come prepared. Good thing one of them also has a refrigerator nearby to help them build a sandwich. A giant sandwich.

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Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom – Picture Book Review

By: Heather Tekavec
Illustrated By: Susan Batori
Published On: March 3, 2020

Cute! Cute! Cute! Do you want your kids to learn some animal facts, but need to disguise it in a way that they don’t know they are learning? If so, then this is book for you.

In Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom, Detective X is investigating thirteen animals with mild to moderate bad behavior. As the book begins Detective X introduces us to each suspect, what they are wanted for, their criminal behavior, top secret information, and known aliases. For example, the first suspect is an anglerfish (Ms. Jagged Jaws). She is known for luring her dinner to her (the actual description is much longer and more creative). She has several aliases (monkfish, her latin name….) and is known to prowl the deep, dark part of the ocean. She is known to live for 24 years and her gang is called “School.”

Gang fact from the book: A group of cuckoos is called an “Asylum of Cuckoos.’

Each animal has their own set of illustrations, which includes their arrest photo and a ‘photo’ of them caught in the act of their bad behavior.

Overall, a fun book that kids and adults will enjoy and a good way to learn a few new things that you may not have known before.

Rating: 5 stars

Thanks to Edelweiss and Kids Can Press for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.