Elementary Reviews (2)

Age: 4-8

Leon has an imaginary friend, and that friend is Bob.

Simon James is back, this time with Leon, a very small and quite possibly lonely little boy who has an imaginary friend named Bob. Leon and Bob do everything together. Everything, that is, until a new kid moves in next door. Will Leon and Bob make a new friend? Will the kid next door be nice? Mean? Should Leon go see?

Warm and endearing, Leon and Bob tells the easy tale of friendship and takes parents back to the days when making friends, imaginary or real, was as easy as you imagined it, and gives this same lesson to children.

Pick up a copy by selecting the image above.

Age: 4-8

Yeah…we know. The image for this review is huge, but we love this book. We love its illustrations. We love the child’s afro and the librarian’s natural up-do. We love the lyrical way the book is written, the moral at the end of the story, the silliness involved with a dragon in the library…we come back to: We love this book.

Don’t Bring Your Dragon to the Library is a little bit of everything you expect and want for your child’s reading delight. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it teaches proper library etiquette, all while maintaining its ultra-silly theme. Don’t Bring Your Dragon to the Library is also diverse, and not only is that diversity portrayed within the pages, but within their other books too. What’s not to love?

So pick up a copy by selecting the link above.

Age: 6-9

Ellie Ultra is back with a new dilemma: Arrogance and Responsibility!

In Ellie Ultra: Team Earth Takeover, Ellie and her best friend Hannah pair up for an Earth Day project that is as amazing as these two girls can make it. Unfortunately, Ellie is a superhero, and she believes it is her responsibility to save the Earth! Not Hannah’s. Before we know it, Ellie has decided to use one her parents’ inventions to make a copy of herself. But Ellie #2 is NOT Ellie, and she is definitely a pain. It’s up to the original Ellie to save the day once again, this time from a copy of herself.

Pick up a copy by selecting the image above!

Age: 8-12

Klawde is back! Book two of Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat brings us a new rocking ride with Enemies

Thanks to the betrayal of his closest lackey, Floofee Fur, Klawde has been re-banished to Earth and returned to Raj. Unfortunately, Klawde isn’t the only alien kitty that’s been banished this time. So has General Ffang!

Simultaneously, Raj is dealing with a new school and a new town, and his reaction to this has been to embellish a bit on the truth. When an old friend turned enemy also transfers to this sleepy little spot, fur, er, perhaps hair will fly!

Join us in enjoying Klawde and the gang with a series of mishaps and chaos, particularly the ride on a robot, in this all new adventure from Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat. Oh, and did I mention this book has kittens? A kitten army!

Pick up a copy of Klawde from by selecting the main image.

Age: 6-9

Joseph Bruchac brings Crazy Horse of the Lakota, sometimes called the Sioux, to life. Once known as Curly, Lakota was given his father’s name after a vision quest, the same vision quest that lead to the character of this renowned tribal leader. Crazy Horse’s Vision does have some violence, and discusses the many time the United States army betrayed the Native people that it made treaties with. There is one death, but nothing is graphically depicted. In fact, the imagery within these pages is beautifully rendered in a tribal style that reflects First Peoples artwork.

Truthfully told and succinct without losing the story, Crazy Horse’s Vision is a perfect opening to teaching your children about First People and the hardships they dealt with once the settlers of the United States entered their territories.

You can pick up a copy from Lee and Low Books or from Amazon by clicking the image above.

Age: 4-8

Joey loves to fold things, which is why origami easily becomes his obsession. But when Joey is banned from the folding anything else in the house (after folding everything from the money in his mother’s purse to the newspaper), he has to find a new place to practice his art. Will Joey become an origami master? Will he learn how to fold the ultimate shape? 

Full of perseverance and an awesome lesson in not letting go of your art, Dori Kleber’s book More-igami is both fun and didactic. Pick up a copy by selecting the image above.

Age: 5-8

“If I can dream it, if I can believe in it, and if I work hard for it, anything is possible.”

Dr. Mae Jemison, highly educated and brilliant in her own right, is often seen through the lens of first. She was the first African American astronaut, the first African American woman in space, and the first NASA astronaut to act in a Star Trek episode.

What Fuzzy likes about Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed is that the author did not focus on Mae Jemison’s firsts, but on who she was and what her home environment was when she first realized her dream. The book covers a small taste of the adversity and micro- aggression she dealt with, but also the encouragement and support she had at home. Mae Among the Stars is brilliantly illustrated and tastefully written, and is perfect for showing small people that if they have a dream, even if it seems silly to everyone else, keep striving.

Pick up a copy on Amazon by selecting the link above. 

Age: 8+

Upside Down Magic, written by a group of writers who made this diverse cast more than fun, is filled with all kinds of lessons.

Nory, the biracial main character, is magical. While she dreams of attending the prestigious school of magic her father is headmaster of, she can’t. Her magic is “wonky.” From turning into a dragon kitten to a weird beaver combination, Nory’s magic is anything but normal. This lack of normalcy lands her in Dunwiddle Magic School’s Upside-Down Magic class, the last place she wants to be.  

Packed with magic, loss, and an adventure into finding your place in the world, Upside Down Magic is an amazing ride, and we loved how brown many of the characters, including Nory, are.

Pick up a copy from Amazon by selecting the main image. 

Age: 4-8

Penny wants to wear her hair down, just like her friends, but her mother suggest puffballs instead…MAGIC PUFFBALLS.

The next day, those magic puffballs go to work! Lush with color and a cute story, we truly enjoyed Penny and the Magic Puffballs. The characters are drawn with slightly mature facial features, but we found this book a perfect fit for elementary school. Another caveat was that Penny’s friends are non-ethnic, making this a diverse storytelling, as well.

You can pick up a copy of Penny and the Magic Puffballs from Amazon by selecting the link above or we found a cheaper copy on Thriftbooks found here.

Age: 6-8

The Ellie Ultra series by Gina Bellisario is everything little ethnic girls could want. She’s smart, she’s sassy, she’s beautiful…oh, and did I forget to mention she can fly? Ellie Ultra is definitely an Extra-Ordinary girl!

As we look at the concept of normalizing ethnic appearance in books, it is wonderful to see this series, where a brown little girl is super with genius scientist parents who are also brown, but no one is discussing her skin. She just is. They just are.

Although we only reviewed Ellie Ultra: Super Fluffy to the Rescue thus far, we plan to jump into more of them as time permits. Just know the appearance of her super dog, who can also fly, and the shenanigans of the ultra-animator were enough to keep any child on their toes.

Pick up a copy by selecting the image in the picture to get it on Amazon, though we found that Ellie is available almost everywhere for the exact same price.

Age: 4-8

Cozbi A. Cabrera, both illustrator and author, has created the sweetest story about hair in her picture book, My Hair is a Garden. Not only does the author include methods on “caring for black hair,” which goes through how to shampoo, condition, style, trim and grow textured hair. There is also a recipe for hair products. Surprisingly, this is not the story.

The actual story in My Hair is a Garden is the tale of MacKenzie, who is teased daily about her hair. Her mother doesn’t know how to do it, her friends make fun of it, and MacKenzie is sad and hysterical, so she runs to her neighborhood solace, Miss Tillie. Throughout this tale, Miss Tillie is the voice of strength, patience, and finding the silver lining in anything or everything people try to do to hurt you. We found the book amazing, for its story, its resources and its images.

Pick up a copy from Amazon by clicking the link above or Thriftbooks, which we found to be more expensive.

Age: 8-12

On a rainy night, Raj Banerjee, who has just moved to the sticks from Brooklyn, opened the door of his new house, and in rushed a soaking wet cat. His mom wanted the animal out, but Raj wanted a pet. Little did he know that his new kitty is actually an evil overlord alien from the planet Lytterboks.

Filled with a surprising amount of detail and adventure, a trio of artists have created this rip-riding adventure with Raj and Klawde. We enjoyed Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat, the first book in the series, so much that we ordered the rest of them. More reviews will be forthcoming, but the main thing we took away was HOW FUN IS THIS? We also loved that Raj is brown and that brown skin doesn’t make a lick of a difference to the story. Normalized melanin.

Klawde is sophisticated enough that we think older elementary or even tweens would enjoy the plot, humor and  writing.

Pick up a copy by selecting the image above for Amazon, but we found this book for around $7 everywhere.

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program. Some links may be affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click