Provides a sweet animal story, an enjoyable entrée to cooking, and a fun family activity.



A wise owl suggests two lonely creatures open a forest restaurant.

In this illustrated children’s book, a little red fox named Liska is feeling sad because it’s time to leave her adoptive parent, Grandmother owl Sova. She took Liska in when her parents died after eating bad mushrooms. But the fox is now almost grown up, and she needs to dig her own burrow, with Grandma’s advice. Liska makes a cozy burrow, but because the nocturnal owl requires sleep during the day, the fox will need to find a daytime friend. She meets Volk, a wolf rejected by his pack for being a vegetarian. (Of course, wolves are carnivores.) Volk and Liska both love cooking and know many recipes, so Grandma gives them a great idea: “I think you should get together and open a pine tree restaurant for all the birds and beasts of the forest.” Etu the lark spreads the news, and many forest animals help to build the restaurant, where they enjoy a feast prepared by Liska and Volk. The restaurant is a huge success, and the two friends are lonely no more. Seven recipes of forest favorites are included in this first offering from the Get Together Books series. Usikova (Boris Wants a Dog, 2017, etc.) writes a charming little story, with small details that deliver an enchanted-forest atmosphere: “Beaver made a porch in the clearing. Moose beat down a path. Raccoons arranged the tables and chairs.” The author’s childlike illustrations in felt-tipped watercolor pens add naive appeal. Harvey (Boris Wants a Dog, 2017, etc.) translated the tale from the Russian. His recipes (for example, “Bunnies’ Cabbage & Carrot Pot Pies” and “Hedgehog’s Root & Nut Salad”) are clearly written, spelling out servings, prep and cooking  time, equipment, and ingredients as well as step-by-step instructions. The difficulty level ranges from easy to moderate, and a note explains: “The recipes should be made with the company and supervision of an adult.” A vocabulary list is included, but no definitions (“use a dictionary, the internet or ask an adult”).

Provides a sweet animal story, an enjoyable entrée to cooking, and a fun family activity.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-329-19352-9

Page Count: 36


Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2019

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya


Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good...



A cranky little girl changes her behavior after a warning from one of Santa’s helpers in this debut rhyming Christmas book.

With bushy red hair and freckles, the narrator—who appears to be age 5 or 6 in the cartoonish images—throws a tantrum to avoid going to the mall on Christmas Eve. But her scheme doesn’t work—and it lands her on Santa’s naughty list. Her grumpy antics are interrupted by Glynt P. Spryte, one of Santa’s Behavioral Elves. He’s been trying to subtly adjust her conduct for months. Now that her deeds have crossed the line, he is paying her a visit. Glynt’s dire warning (no toys!) and his lack of hope that her behavior can improve in time for Christmas give the narrator just the push she needs to clean up her act. “But the best part is this—I LIKE who I’ve become,” she says on the final pages. Crighton’s lines scan well in her series opener, using a vocabulary overly advanced for her narrator’s age. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are reminiscent of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, though the obvious message may not enthrall mischievous young readers. Glynt is a fun invention: a combination of angry and sorrowful wrapped up in a cowboy outfit. But the uncredited illustrations don’t match the story’s description (he’s called “young” and “handsome” but appears with gray sideburns and a Santa-esque figure).

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good addition to their collections.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-87-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: BookBlastPro Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

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