Book Review: Tokoyo the Samurai’s Daughter

Hello book lovers!

I have great books coming up for you all, PLUS a blog tour and giveaway! Tune in to the blog February 2nd when I feature an interview with author Jen Sattler, her new board books, and a GIVEAWAY! Remember when I have a giveaway, all you have to do for a chance to win great prizes is comment on the corresponding blog post. Easy peasy!

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And now I take you to ancient Japan in a recent offering from Raggedy Moon Books…

Tokoyo the Samurai’s Daughter (2017, Raggedy Moon Books, Lower Middle-Grade/Chapter Book)


From the publisher:

An adventurous girl! Most noble-born girls of Tokoyo’s age learn to sing, paint, and write poetry. Not Tokoyo. She’s the daughter of a samurai in fourteenth century Japan. Tokoyo’s father trains her in the martial arts. When he is away, she escapes to the sea where she works with the Ama—a society of women and girls who dive in the deep waters for food and treasure. But disaster strikes her family. Can Tokoyo save her father using the lessons she learned and the skills she mastered to overcome corrupt officials, her own doubts, and a nasty sea demon?


Tokoyo, written by Faith L. Justice and illustrated by Kayla Gilliam, could be an enjoyable story for younger readers.

This is a book written for a young audience and will be best appreciated by that audience. From the perspective of an adult reader, the story is very short and there isn’t much character development. It would have been nice to see more interaction between Tokoyo and her father. The scenes are all short and plot driven leaving out a lot of the emotional turmoil that would build a connection between Tokoyo and the reader.

But for a young reader, Tokoyo will come through as a strong, independent and courageous young woman. The historical aspect is interesting, and young readers especially will be intrigued by the details of ancient Japanese culture whether those are fantastical elements or factual ones. Overall an entertaining read that will impress readers ages 8 to 10 more than older readers.

Three stars for this adventurous tale

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: My Family Four Floors Up

My Family Four Floors Up (2018, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

four floors up.jpg

From the publisher:

In a sunlit apartment four floors up, a little girl is eager to start her day. After breakfast she and her father, along with the family pup, make their way down the four flights of stairs in their building, and across busy city streets to the neighborhood park. It will be a day filled with joy, wonder, excitement, comfort and love – all of the things that we hope each day holds for little ones.

four floor up interior


My Family Four Floors Up, written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Celia Krampien, follows the busy day of a young girl as she leaves her home to explore the city with her dog and father. The rhythm and rhyme are perfect, and parents will enjoy reading this story aloud to young readers. With short, descriptive phrases, adults will be impressed by how much is conveyed in so few words. Filled with fun adjectives and verbs, the youngest readers will learn their colors and words without even realizing the book is teaching them something new. Featuring many diverse characters, every child is likely to identify with someone in the story. Great illustrations and engaging text make this story ideal for the youngest of readers and their parents who are likely to enjoy reading this one no matter how many times it is reread. Highly recommended for children ages 3 to 7.

5 stars to shine over four floors up.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: La La La

La, La, La (2017, Candlewick Press, Picture Book)

la la la

From the publisher:

Conceived by Kate DiCamillo and featuring enchanting illustrations by Jaime Kim, this nearly wordless graphic story follows a little girl in search of a friend.

“La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds — but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

la la la inside


La, La, La, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim, is a beautiful, but slightly disappointing read. The illustrations and concept of the book are absolutely gorgeous. Parents and children will not be disappointed with the incredible artwork and the charming idea of a little girl who just wants to belong. What might disappoint, is the fact that the book consists of one word – “La”. Parents will have to use their imagination with this one as children are likely to have lots of questions about what is happening and demand more story from the pages. Recommended for parents who are ok with making up a story or who might enjoy just singing through this book with ones too young to care much for where the story is going or what it is about.

3.5 stars for the beautiful concept and illustrations

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Aliens Get the Sniffles Too!

Happy New Year! I have great new books to review with the new year and I’ll be participating in a blog tour on February 2nd. You know what that means…exclusive content and giveaways! Get excited. But for now, here is a book that is appropriate for the season, as everyone I know seems to have the sniffles…

Aliens Get the Sniffles Too (2017, Candlewick Press, Picture book)

Aliens get sniffles too

From the publisher:

Ahhh-flying-saucer-shooting-star-CHOO! Laughter is the best medicine when you’re a little alien feeling under the weather.

Little Alien is sick. And sick is extra-terrestrial bad when you have two scratchy throats, five ears that hurt, and three runny noses. Splatch! Sputter! Spurt! Luckily Mama and Daddy Alien have an arsenal of lunar decongestants and meteor showers on hand to make him feel a little better (not to mention a Milky Way milkshake to help the medicine go down). Even so, the family’s alien pooch, Mars Rover, can’t stand to see his little buddy feeling out of sorts. Can a loyal pup’s funny tricks finally coax a smile?


Aliens Get the Sniffles Too, written by Katy S. Duffield and illustrated by K.G. Campbell, is a timely book for the season. Little Alien is sick and I’m sure parents, as much as children, will relate to this book as Mama and Daddy Alien do everything they can think of to help Little Alien feel better.

With a plethora of creative, humorous outer space references, and adorable aliens, this is sure to be a hit with little ones. Especially, sick little ones. Just as Little Alien’s faithful companion Mars Rover tries to coax a smile from Little Alien, this book is sure to coax a smile from your little one.

Recommended for children ages 3 and up. This one would be great fun as a read aloud even for independent readers, and seriously, this book is great if your young reader is feeling sick.

4 sniffling, sneezing, shooting space stars!

Thank you to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.