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Dread in the Dark

It is incredibly difficult to go from being an only child to having a new baby sister. With a new sibling, sometimes the older one has to move into a new room; this can be an exciting and scary time, especially when there is a dark monster hiding under the bed. In Dread in the Dark by Tuula Pere, Elliot finds himself in his brand-new room, which he absolutely adores playing in while it’s daytime, but when night falls, and it’s time to head to bed, the growls coming from under his bed causes the allure of a new room to be frightened right out of him.

The author takes us on an emotional journey of going through the jealousy of having to share the limelight with a new baby in the family to growing older and having a new bedroom further away from the safety of your parents’ room. With the baby needing lots of attention and care, Elliot worries that now being so far from his parent’s room, his pleas for help at night will go ignored. When his dad comes in to put an end to the mystery of this dark monster under Elliot’s bed, Elliot expresses his fears and concerns, and his dad solves the puzzle leaving Elliot feeling heard and cared for.

It is critical for children to know their worries and fears are heeded and understood, and even more imperative when a new baby is taking away any extra attention the child would have had before the baby. I love how the author was able to display the significance of that fact by using a very relatable situation of being a small child afraid of a new room with new sensory things happening.

Dread in the Dark is a wonderful picture book that helps children identify their feelings and shows them that their feelings are valid. It also teaches children how to work through the emotions they have in a productive and safe way that will help them build social skills and self-confidence.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523254464

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Colin the Crab’s Friends

What is the purpose of life if there is no one to enjoy it with? In Colin the Crab’s Friends by Tuula Pere Colin knows that working hard and savoring the beautiful moments in life is a well-balanced diet. Colin is a hardworking builder that keeps himself fully busy.

He helps Ms. Catfish with a loose roof beam on her home but then spends time listening to her stories and enriching their friendship. The Next family needs help washing their windows which Colin is more than willing to help, knowing Mrs. Newt has so many children to look after and would much prefer her spending time looking after them than worrying about her silly windows that need cleaning. Sally the Starfish is incredibly sad about how glum her fence is looking, and Colin knows his friend well enough to do just the right thing to cheer her up. He embellishes her fence with decorative ornaments, which instantly brightens her mood but reminds her to be thankful that she has a strong-standing home keeping her perspective of what is important in check as a good friend should do. After working hard all week, Colin decides to throw his friends a party in the blue pavilion he built for just such occasions. He knows life is about working hard and taking the time to enjoy life’s splendors with friends.

I loved how simple the story is, but it permeated with such significance. I feel everyone is told to always work hard to get the things they want in life. But this story does an exquisite job of clarifying exactly how to do so and then, in the same breath showing you how to have meaningful relationships and enjoy life. This is exactly the kind of story young readers should have at their disposal to become what I think are well-rounded individuals.

The illustrations by Roksolana Panchyshyn give life to the characters and convey the sweetness and charm the story possesses. I enjoyed how the author has given Colin the crab such humanity-like quality to him. He empathizes and sympathizes with his friends and their situations. He knows just what everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated, and this is also a shining mark shown countless times throughout the story by the author’s remarkable writing skills.

Colin the Crab’s Friends is a heartwarming picture book that children and adults will be able to find meaning within its pages. This children’s book is perfect for classrooms and libraries to help young children understand what friendship is and how to be a good friend to those around them.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523573225

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Colin the Crab Feels Tired

It is difficult to say no to friends when they ask for your help. In Colin the Crab Feels Tired by Tuula Pere we get to see the struggle Colin feels when he is asked by numerous friends’ for his help with many different tasks. He simply cannot say no to his friends and does his best to prioritize his jobs but is too tired from working hard all day to move another muscle.

The fish family’s home was destroyed by waves, and has asked Colin for his help in building them a new home. This being an emergency, he gets to work on it straight away. He then receives a call from Eddie the eel to get his help in making him a new and bigger garage for his new moto copter, which Colin knows is nothing urgent and can wait but begins to feel the slightest pressure building within him. Still working hard at the construction site for the fish family, Sally, the starfish, calls him, needing his help in putting up her new mirror on the wall of her home. Colin cannot decline her request but decides to put her next on his fast-growing list of friends to help. At the end of the day, Colin feels exhausted and needs a good night’s rest that seems to last long into the morning. In the morning, his friends are all looking for him needing his help, and realize they he is overworked and must be desperately tired if he is still asleep. They decide to take on his task of building the fish family’s new home so he can rest up.

I love that this story shows young children not only the significance of helping others but also the weight it can bear on us if we take on too much. We must look after ourselves in order to help others in the end, and that also having good friends who are more than willing to bare the weight is what true friendships are made of.

Colin the Crab Feels Tired is a well-written picture book that teaches children the value of self-care and looking out for your friends. Teachers and parents will love the important message this book shares, while children will be drawn to the beautiful illustrations and entertaining characters.

Pages: 32 | ISBN: 9523573160

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A Bluebird’s Memories

Life can be an exquisite or boring journey depending on your perspective. In A Bluebird’s Memories by Tuula Pere, a grandmother bluebird exemplifies to her grandchildren how even being a small bird, they can live impactful, meaningful, and beautiful lives.

Near a summer cottage, the owner built a nesting box in which the grandmother bluebird lives. She is cleaning and readying her home for her grandchildren’s visit. She reminisces of the days when she was with her mate and all the beautiful memories she cherishes. She isn’t lonely, though, and has many friends and events keeping her busy. She has lived a long full life, and the little curious chicks want to hear stories from her past. She tells them of moments when she helped others without receiving praise or recognition and moments of overcoming terror.

The lovely illustrations by Outi Rautkallio fully encompass the wholesome naturalness of the characters and the environment with a waterlike soft look that brings the reader into the world. The stories the grandmother bluebird told were so heartfelt and perfectly encased with symbolization that it is easy for young readers to understand. She sheds light on how significant everyone’s life is and to be a good person. To live life fully and appreciate every moment, even when they are scary or hard. To find what truly matters in life which is the people we keep around us and that we love to no end. To see life as an opportunity and all its possibilities. I loved the story and how sweet the relationship she had with her grandchildren was.

A Bluebird’s Memories is a heartwarming children’s book that teaches children the value of kindness and how even small things can make a big impact on someone. This story is inspiring and will help kids realize that they do have an important role in life, even though they are small.

Pages: 18 | ASIN : B07HY9JNH6

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The Mouse of the Opera

The Mouse of the Opera by Tuula Pere is a story of a tiny and curious tiny wood mouse. It is a story of adventure and wonderment. It brings to light that even the smallest creatures can have passion and interest and demonstrates how important it is to not be afraid to be a trailblazer despite your limitations, such as being a mouse in Maurice’s case.

A small wood mouse named Maurice and his family lives under a rosebush next to the opera house. They become entranced with the gleaming opera house that plays beautiful music every night. Never actually being inside the place, he is desperate to see what happens inside the dazzling opera house with its luring music. With his eagerness to find out, he hitches a plan to get inside and explore, even though his mother forbids him. Once doing so, he causes such a stir on his tour through the place but gets to see everything it offers, filling him with incredible wonder and awe. He snatches some pastries from the restaurant, marvels at the fabric and gemstones in the wardrobe department, and finally gets to see the show in all its glory up close. All the while making a few friends who deliver safely back home.

I loved this sweet story with all the cute illustrations by Outi Rautkallio. I feel I have never read a children’s book involving the Opera and didn’t realize how interesting and exciting it could be. I would read this to my children to get their curiosities about it sparked and possibly create an outing because of it.

The Mouse of the Opera is a beautifully written children’s book filled with adventure. Children will learn about the Opera as they follow the little mouse on his journey of exploration. This would make a great story for music classes.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B07H9F2VTQ

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Pearl, Our Butterfly

Pearl, Our Butterfly by Tuula Pere navigates the very difficult subject of loss of life with a beautifully written book that handles a tragic yet memorable journey that is the life of Pearl. Pearl is Jacob’s younger sister, and since her birth, she has encountered many challenges and requires ongoing care due to a disability and many medical issues. Pearl’s big brother, who has experienced several milestones, including recently starting school, has just adjusted to becoming a sibling and must now learn how to grieve the loss of his sister.

From the moment Jacob and Pearl meet, he becomes her biggest fan and supporter. Jacob worries that she will never come home when his small sister is moved into a hospice facility. It is during this process that Jacob and his parents must face the tragedy of loss, which is a traumatic event for anyone. I admire how the author handles a complicated but important topic with such grace and support, which helps children articulate their feelings and understand how grieving is a natural part of the loss.

Pere highlights the importance of communication and support, a crucial part of healing after losing someone. The author cleverly shows how a whirlwind of emotions and pain is to be expected and how it is possible to achieve a sense of peace and acceptance in time. Jacob’s character showcases many real emotions which mirror what many people experience after the death of a loved one. The author brilliantly illustrates death through the transformation of a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. Like Pearl, the butterfly is no longer confined to a cocoon and is finally released to be free. Pearl, Our Butterfly is a helpful book for children dealing with loss and shows them that it is possible to see the light through the darkness.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B07NKSLM6N

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Pearl’s Life

Pearl’s Life is the second book following Welcome Home, Pearl, which tells the story of Jacob, the older brother of Pearl, who experiences big changes in life after her arrival. As Jacob prepares to start school, he wants to include Pearl in his new experience. He asks his family to bring Pearl when they drop him off at school. As a child with disabilities, Jacob’s parents are initially unsure if Pearl can handle such an event or if bringing her to school to see her big brother make an entrance would be too much for her.

This children’s book provides a great opportunity to discuss the challenges of welcoming a new baby into the home and how a child with disabilities can handle some of the same experiences and activities differently. Jacob asks many helpful questions, as he sincerely wants his baby sister to play a pivotal role in his life, but doesn’t always understand how her abilities and special needs may impact how she interacts with him. As his family listens to Jacob’s concerns, they provide the best and easiest explanations and solutions while discussing how Pearl will be a part of every new milestone in his life.

The author does an exceptional job of tackling difficult questions and the emotional, real-life situations that accompany a family, especially when learning how to love and care for a child with disabilities. The story illustrates how important it is to not let the opinion of other people determine how to live your life or the compassion you have for others, including your family. Just because Pearl has a disability doesn’t mean she can’t come with Jacob to his first day of school. The boy sees this as an opportunity to show off his sister and normalize her condition by opening answering questions and inviting people to meet Pearl.

I really enjoyed author Tuula Pere’s carefully and beautifully written story and the illustrations by Catty Flores. I found each scene brought a sweet and heroic nature to Jacob. He’s a curious but compassionate child who makes a great role model for children. He shows readers how to discuss friends and family members with disabilities. I recommend Pearl’s Life for its excellent message to accept others and start a meaningful and heartfelt discussion about family and friends and their disabilities in a way that educates and increases compassion.

Pages: 16 | ASIN: B07NKF91BL

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Welcome Home, Pearl

Welcome Home, Pearl is a story about Jacob, who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his baby sister Pearl. As with the arrival of any new baby into a family, things can be difficult, and there may be concerns about the baby’s health, development, and how everyone interacts with the new addition. When Jacob’s baby sister arrives, he quickly learns that she will require lots of special medical care, and as her big brother, he must focus on the positive. Jacob is proud to call Pearl his sister, and he becomes aware of the stress and challenges that lie ahead for his parents, himself, and Pearl.

Children with disabilities and their families face many challenges, and the author does a great job of expressing the fears and anxiety experienced by not only the parents but the siblings as well. Pere takes a serious situation and explains it well so that it is clear to understand young readers. Jacob’s character is a positive force of support throughout the story, despite how worried his parents become during such a distressing time. This difficult subject beautifully opens communication and discussion about how to talk about children with special needs and ongoing medical treatments so that children and adults can express their emotions and concerns while providing a powerful, supporting role during the process.

I really enjoyed how brilliantly the author approached this challenging subject, as well as the charming and warm illustrations by Catty Flores. Author Tuula Pere creates a wonderful portrayal of how the love and support of family mean everything when faced with challenges and how Jacob’s positivity shining through can make a big difference. I recommend Welcome Home, Pearl for its excellent writing and serving as a great reminder to look at things from a different perspective, with love, patience, and understanding.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B07NKQ9JKJ

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