Mina, by Matthew Forsythe

One star, read in March 2022. What a weird story. The illustrations are pretty, but nothing earth-shattering. The text is fine, but the premise is just bizarre. I’m not a fan of stories that make it look charming and eccentric when incompetent adults endanger their children by being blithe and careless (and I really dislike…

The Little Gardener, by Emily Hughes

Four stars, read in February 2022. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations, and I adore it despite the fact that the ending is a little disconnected from the rest of the story. The little gardener is so exhausted and discouraged by the impossibility of his task, he falls asleep for a month, and in the meantime, his wish…

Following Papa’s Song, by Gianna Marino

Three stars, read in February 2022. The illustrations are the reason to read this book. The text is fine, but a little too repetitive for me—it does that thing where almost every instance of dialogue involves the characters using each other’s names, which doesn’t happen in real life. “Papa? Are we going very far?”“Yes, Little…

The Big Bad Wolf in My House, by Valérie Fontaine and Nathalie Dion

Five stars, read in February 2022. Beautiful illustrations for a very well-written story about a young girl whose house is invaded by an abusive monster. Pretty grim, especially given that sexual abuse is implied in addition to physical, emotional, and verbal. But the book ends optimistically and introduces the idea of shelters in what I…

1, 2, 3, Off to School! by Marianne Dubuc

Five stars, read in February 2022. This is fantastically cute and I like it a lot, but I also have weird issues with it. The text is tiny, and all the little side dialogue makes the experience of reading it almost like one of those search and find books rather than a traditional story. It…

Survivor Tree, by Marcie Colleen and Aaron Becker

Four stars, read in January 2022. All right, look. I’ve been over 9/11 for a long time. I lived in Texas when it happened, and yes, it was truly awful. But in the grand scheme of violence done in this world, particularly by us? Let’s just have some perspective, right? All of which is to…