Kids’ Book Corner/Book Reviews by Kids: Books to be Thankful For

Print This Post Print This Post

JoPerry75By Jo Perry

Dazzling and clever Independent Publisher Book Award-winner Ankle Soup by Maureen Sullivan with illustrations by Alison Josephs presents a French bulldog’s holiday morning and leaves readers 4 years old and older grateful for “life’s buffet.”

The city is awash in gem-like colors and the Macy’s Parade balloons float cheerfully above the yellow taxi as bulldog Carlos and his mistress take a cab to Grand Central Station to meet family and take a train to Long Island for Thanksgiving dinner. Inside Grand Central Station Carlos savors the smells of sushi, deli, cheesecake, “Chopped liver and garlic/sharp cheeses and curry…” and admires the “ceiling above/… a heavenly stew/of planets and galaxies…” We witness the reunion of a woman and her lover, a homeless man receiving the gift of twenty dollars, a service dog patiently guiding his master, Chinese women with shopping bags full of spring onions and turkey, and triplets greeting their grandmother—all from Carlos’s ground-level point of view:

A French bulldog named Carlos,
I look like a pig.
I feel like an ant
In a girrafe-ic group,
When I look straight ahead,
It’s all ankle soup.

I love everything about Ankle Soup: Sullivan’s exuberant, witty rhymes, Josephs’ gorgeous illustrations full of brilliant detail, and sweet, astute little Carlos. Kids will be grateful to learn that there is a real Carlos (also a Carlos plush toy) and to know he is featured in two other wonderful Josephs and Sullivan collaborations, Custard and Mustard and Christmas Feet. (

Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival by Grace Lin (5-8 years) is a lovely introduction to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and the traditions associated with this harvest and family festival – night-time picnics, moon cakes and tea, lanterns and wishes for the year to come. I wish a recipe for moon cakes had been included.

Native Crafts Inspired by North America’s First Peoples by Maxine Trottier. Kids   10 and up will enjoy making seed and bead jewelry, totem poles, cornhusk dolls, pots, drums, and noisemakers called Bullroarers. Clear instructions and simple materials make this appealing for the Thanksgiving season.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey is a vegetarian celebration of Thanksgiving. Students visiting a turkey farm meet chunky turkeys Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp and Groucho and figure out a way to save them from the chopping block. 4-8 years.

Book Reviews by Kids

Bodhi Lifrak, 21 months old, says “Yes!” to Ride Along With Thomas (Play Along Book, Publications International), the story (with sounds) of Thomas meeting friends on his way to pick up a delivery for Sir Topham Hatt.

Three year-old Ronan Liffrak, Fred the Firefighter by Jo Litchfield “There was a house on fire and they saved a dog named Patch who was trapped in the house.”

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Linkedin Stumbleupon Email

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Jackie Houchin

    Thanks again, Jo, for these children’s book reviews. Appreciate them!

More in Family, Featured, Kids' Book Corner
THIS WEEKEND: Food Truck Madness, Jason Bateman, Shane's Inspiration, Book Sale, Guru Fever, Music for Good

COMPILED BY KAREN YOUNG More food truck madness, Jason Bateman, holiday shopping from home, used books, guru guidance and some...