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This is a delightful rhyming childrens’ book, with a new and inventive story about Peter Rabbit — and other characters from the “universe.” Each page offers playful, simplified illustrations — not rendered in the original style. In this story, Peter is focused on building labor-saving inventions, including a zipline — to more quickly enlist other (in-universe) characters to help get his work done. Things don’t go as well as expected, and he apologizes to his long-suffering and understanding mother, in the end, for what could be described, perhaps, as a “mixed success.” Yet, before falling asleep, he remembers, that “Practicing, after all, is what makes a rabbit great!” The large format book offers paperback binding, with each, full-color page printed on nice thick paper. It is a delightful and modern expansion of the original story with fun and engaging illustrations throughout.

This lovely and thoughtful children’s book features the character “Little Ellen,” who — outside of an actual story — simply wonders who she really is. She lists off people and things she’s grateful for, realizing that, in the end, “When I think of these things, my heart wants to burst. Who I am is about all of those I put first!” This colorfully illustrated book offers an important insight into caring for others because that is such an important part of who we really are.

This is a well-written biography of the man who designed New York’s Central Park, with absolutely charming folk art painted illustrations. Olmsted was the nation’s first landscape architect. He designed many other city parks to offer a bit of relaxing nature, within an urban environment, for all — rich or poor alike. He was also involved in the Gold Rush, and was among the first to “camp” in Yosemite Valley, with his family, where he helped design what would become the famous national park. In his later years, he designed the nation’s Capitol Grounds, elevating the Capitol Building and helping create a park setting that we still find in the National Mall, today. The folk-art paintings in the book are lovely, and I love how the narrative explains his disappointments along the way, as he failed to see the full impact of his life’s work. What a wonderful and inspiring book about a truly interesting and important person!

A poet once wrote that “Good fences make good neighbors,” but in our fractionalized (and factionalized) country of blue states and red states, that may not be the most helpful advice these days. This book explores that idea, in a clever and compelling way, with clever rhyming text, vintage illustration style, and excellent printing, paper, and binding. As the premise is carried to an absurd extent — arguing to a contradiction — as the red and blue Wills and Won’ts build more and more walls. As they grow higher, they eventually realize they are all hemmed in. “The walls made it tricky fo4r people to hear, so insults were guessed at and doubt became fear…” Sound familiar? Eventually, a young Will and a Won’t become friends and begin a trend of dismantling the walls that separate them from peacefully coexisting with one another. They begin to rename themselves as “Possibles, Might-bes, and Maybes.” Eventually, the characters — and my delighted children — learn that “It no longer mattered what set them apart. They realized what matters is what’s in your heart. So while they still find they don’t always agree, there’s no wall to divide them–they’d rather be free.” If there was ever a more important message needed in our world today, I can’t imagine it. An “instant classic,” I couldn’t recommend this book enough for families (like mine) — and for classroom, school, and public libraries!