The Case of the Bad Apples by Robin Newman

The Case of the Bad Apples (A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery)

Robin Newman, Author

Deborah Zemke, Illustrator

Creston Books, Fiction, Sep. 1, 2020

Suitable for ages: 5-11

Themes: Animals, Pigs, Farm, Mystery, Detectives, Crime, Bad apples

Opening: “Boys and girls, this case is about some bad apples on Ed’s farm.”

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Detective Wilcox and Captain Griswold are on the case again, trying to discover who poisoned the apples Porcini pigged out on. Was it Sweet Pea, the piglet next door; Herman the Rat; or Hot Dog the nosy pooch? Who had motive, means, and no alibi? Follow the clues and figure out who was behind Porcini’s terrible tummy ache.

Why I like this book:

Robin Newman has penned a spirited and comical third chapter book in The Wilcox and Griswold Mystery series. Wilcox and Griswold (Missing Food Investigators or MFI’s) are called daily to solve a food problem on Ed’s Farm. This time a troublemaker has left a gift basket of poisoned Granny Smith apples for Porcini to hog down. And he’s hog sick.

No one hits the sweet spot with food- and animal-based wordplay like Newman. PIG-DIC-U-LOUS! She’s a master and her food-related crimes are hilarious! She had me chuckling from page one with “Porcini  pigged out” on apples.  Rushing to the scene, the MFI’s get caught in heavy rush hour traffic. “There are road hogs, squealing, oinking, and grunting, but they finally let us pass. Typical road hogs. Typical indeed.”

Everyone is suspect on Ed’s Farm for the attempted “hamslaughter.” Sweet Pea, the piglet; Herman, the rat; Fowler, the owl; and Hot Dog, the nosy pooch, who Porcini claims regularly steals his food. Will Dr. Alberta Einswine, from Whole Hog Emergency Care, be able to help the detectives get to the rotten core of this mystery?

Don’t miss the fun details on every page: Porcini looking pretty green with his tummy ache, hoof prints left on the remaining apples, and other gathered evidence. And make sure you check out the endpapers for the detective details, case report, and evidence folder. Dr. Einswine’s report is not to be missed! And there is a recipe for Apple Pockets that kids can make at home, with supervision.

Deborah Zemke‘s colorful and expressive illustrations fill each page and contribute to the silliness of this perfect mystery about “who done it.” Another exceptional collaboration between the author and illustrator. Here’s hopping for more Wilcox and Griswold cases to solve.

Resources: Check out Robin Newman’s website. She has a wonder Teacher’s Guide to use with student that covers this puzzling mystery about who wanted to make pork chops out of Porcini. Wanna be detectives will delight in going through all of the steps of solving a crime.

Robin Newman was raised in New York City (a/k/a the Big Apple) and Paris where she was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She lives
in New York with her husband, son, two English Cocker Spaniels, and one French Bulldog. Visit her at her website.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the MMGM link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by the author in exchange for a review.

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath by Susan Verde

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath

Susan Verde, Author

Jay Fleck, Illustrator

Abrams Books for young Readers, Fiction, May 5, 2020

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Anger, Worry, Wolf, Pigs, Fairy Tale, Yoga, Breathing

Opening: “Once Upon a time, there was a wolf who lost his huff and his puff. As you might imagine, this was a problem for the wolf…a BIG, BAD problem.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Once upon a time there lived a wolf who lost his huff and his puff. It was a BIG, BAD problem!

One morning, the wolf came upon a peaceful little yogi doing sun salutations. The wolf wanted to huff and puff and blooow her hut down into a big pile of straw. But instead the yogi suggested, “Let’s meditate on that!”

Soon the wolf met a second yogi, and then a third. He may have lost his huff and puff—but with the help of three new yogi friends, can the wolf find his breath?

The calming spin on a classic fairy tale helps little wolves everywhere learn just what to do when they feel like huffing and puffing.

This is Book 1 in the Feel-Good Fairy Tales series introduces a calming spin on a classic from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Verde.

Why I like this book:

Susan Verde provides a modern twist on this beloved fairy tale. Children will identify with and empathize with the wolf’s fear and anger. It’s interferring with his “huff and puff.” Little wolf can’t breath because he’s so wound up and tense inside. Enter the three little pigs, who are master yogis.

There is a gentle flow to Verde’s sparse text. Jay Fleck’s striking digital illustrations are colorful and soothing.  Readers will experience their calming impact as they turn the pages.  They will learn yoga poses along with the wolf. Lovely collaboration.

This is a great classroom read-aloud. Teaching children to help calm themselves through yoga and deep breathing will give them them a wonderful coping tools for life. I am delighted that there are many more books available on yoga, which is a simple everyday practice at school or home.

Resources: There is an Author’s Note at the end of the book with tips for teachers and parents on how to teach children breathing exercises and detailed yoga poses that will help them feel better.

Susan Verde is the author of the instant #1 New York Times bestseller I am Human. Her books include The Museum, You and Me, I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Love, My Kicks, The Water Princess, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul. In addition to writing books, she is a certified yoga and mindfulness instructor for kids of all ages. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her three children, a cat, a dog, and a tarantula. Follow Susan Verder online.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

Peddles by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

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Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Author and Illustrator

Paula Wiseman Books/ Simon & Schuster, Fiction, Jan. 6, 2016

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Pigs, Barnyard animals, Dreams, Dancing, Friendship, Humor

Opening: “Peddles was just a pig. He lived on a farm with the other pigs, doing the usual pig things: eating and sleeping and oinking and rooting and wallowing and…”

Synopsis: Unlike the other barnyard pigs, Peddles sees life differently. He thinks about eating pizza, soaking in a bath tub, sitting on a toilet and going into space. The other pigs tease him, but Peddles’ dreams even bigger. One night he hears a joyous sound coming from the barn and watches humans stomping and twirling. He wants to dance. When he finds a pair of red boots in a bag of shoes, he tries them on, stands up, falls over on his back  and can’t get up. His friends step in and give him a nudge.

Why I like this book:

Elizabeth Rose Stanton has written a playful and adorable story about Peddles, a pig with big dreams. Peddles will charm you from the first to the last page. What child would not giggle at the sight of pig poop! And look at that cover!

This is a humorous story about self-discovery and friendship. Children will cheer for Peddles for his big ideas and seeing a life for its possibilities. They will ache when he falls down on his back and they will smile when his friends nudge him forward. Children will identify with Peddles and laugh at the unexpected ending. The text is spare with humorous and expressive illustrations that will melt your heart. This is a wonderful example of how Stanton’s colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations really show the story.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton is the author of Henny, a rollicking story about a chicken with arms. Visit Stanton at her website.