Tinyville Town Gets to Work!

I must admit, though I would’ve guessed that my kids were beyond the target audience for Brian Biggs’s Tinyville Town series, the books were nevertheless a surefire hit. My son (5), especially, fell in love with them.

Tinyville Town Gets to Work! is the “core” book in the series and is a picture book very much reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown series. If you know and love Busytown, then there’s a lot to love in Tinyville Town. The book establishes some of the residents of the town as they come together to build a new bridge.

Three of those residents then take center stage in complementary board books. I’m a Firefighter, I’m a Librarian, and I’m a Veterinarian dive a bit deeper into those characters and what they do each day.

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Ada Twist, Scientist

  • Ada Twist, Scientist
  • written by Andrea Beaty
  • illustrated by David Roberts
  • published by Abrams Books for Young Readers (2016)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

There’s something about a good rhyming picture book that just hits the spot for me. And a rhyming picture book with a great message? All the better.

Look, I read a lot of picture books. Most of them are well written. Many of them are gorgeous. Some of them have sweet, memorable themes. But only a few of them are automatic winners right out of the gate.

If Ada Twist, Scientist were a person, I’d give her high-fives until her hand got sore. I’d bring her around to meet the extended family. I’d hug her until it became uncomfortable.

In other words, if any book deserves a full 5 out of 5, Ada Twist, Scientist is it.

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One Bear Extraordinaire


  • One Bear Extraordinaire
  • written and illustrated by Jayme McGowan
  • published by Abrams (2015)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

Bear wakes up with a song in his head, which is hardly unusual, since this bear happens to be a legend. He’s the rambling musician known as One Bear Extraordinaire. Didn’t you know?

But this morning, his song doesn’t sound quite right. It’s missing something. So bear travels the forest in search of what’s missing….and meets and gathers up other musicians along the way. And, slowly but surely, a band begins to form.

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Peanut Butter and Brains


  • Peanut Butter and Brains
  • written by Joe McGee
  • illustrated by Charles Santoso
  • published by Abrams Books (2015)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

Kids’ zombie books rarely disappoint, and this one is just adorable. Cute zombies? Who can refuse? Cute zombies with a penchant for PB&J? Sold.

Peanut Butter and Zombies, you basically had me with your title.

Reginald isn’t quite like the other zombies. While they all shuffle around Quirkville looking for brainssssss, Reginald just wants a gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Who can blame him? They’re WAY tastier than brains, believe me.

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McToad Mows Tiny Island


  • McToad Mows Tiny Island
  • written by Tom Angleberger
  • illustrated by John Hendrix
  • published by Abrams Books for Young Readers (2015)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but Tom Angleberger is kind of big deal in this house. As the author of the Origami Yoda series, his books (well, the audiobook versions of them) are on an endless loop in my daughter’s bedroom.

It was therefore with great excitement that I caught up with him at this year’s Book Expo America and grabbed a copy of his new picture book, McToad Mows Tiny Island.

It’s a picture book, so it’s certainly shorter than something like Origami Yoda, but it still delivers the goods…big time. The story is simply dripping with Angleberger’s humor, and the illustrations by John Hendrix are a perfect match for the story.

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5 Questions with Cece Bell


(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of Questions From a Kid. Today, Zoey chats with Cece Bell, author and illustrator of (among other things) the graphic novel El Deafo.

ElDeafo_NewberyCece Bell already had several picture and chapter books under her belt before El Deafo hit the shelves. Among them: the Sock Monkey series, Itty Bitty, and Rabbit and Robot. But it was El Deafo that made the biggest splash.

El Deafoin case you’re unaware, is an autobiographical graphic novel that tells the story of how Cece lost her hearing at a very young age (from meningitis), struggled to appear “normal” and fit in throughout elementary school, and ultimately discovered her own superpowered altar ego in the guise of “El Deafo.”

It’s a charming, honest, warm, and funny book that’s a pure delight for all ages. And it certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed. To name a few, it won the 2015 Newbery Honor, was a Kirkus Prize finalist, and was recently nominated for an Eisner Award.

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5 Questions with Frank Cammuso


(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Frank Cammuso.

Zoey is most familiar with Frank from his work writing and illustrating the The Misadventures of Salem Hyde series (Amulet Books) and the Otto series (Toon Books). But Frank has also created the Knights of the Lunch Table and Max Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective series (Graphix/Scholastic and Nite Owl Comix, respectively).

In short, he’s a kids comics powerhouse.

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