The Orange Shoes by Trinka Hakes Noble (Illustrated by Doris Ettlinger)

orange shoesDelly Porter lives in the country and walks barefoot to school.  She’s happy to do so until she’s ridiculed at school for being too poor to afford new shoes. It’s true, her parents can barely afford them, but she’s the oldest child with no hand-me downs. They muster up what they can and buy her the most beautiful pair of orange shoes she’s ever imagined. But the kids at school ruin them on the first day. Delly must find a way to fix her ruined shoes before the “Shoe box social” at school – a fundraiser requiring each student to decorate a shoe box and stand behind a curtain with only their shoes showing. Lucky for Delly, she’s very resourceful and artistically talented.


The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh (Illustrated by Chuck Groenink)

This one is new to the shelf, released just this spring (2017).  It’s a simple sweet story that will inspire a child to recognize who his/her friends are.

Lonely hedgehog is curled up in a ball, feeling sad when he hears someone say “Friendship is out there.” He pops up and gets busy building a ship to sail the seas in search of the friend ship. No one seems to be able to help him find it, but they are all interested in joining the search. Several stops later, and with a boat full of animals, they soon discover that what they are searching for has been right in front of them all along. Reminds me of Kermit on his quest toward Hollywood. Cute. Succinct. Beautiful illustrations.

Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen


Wow, what a great metaphor for the adopted child. Guji Guji’s mother finds an egg on the ground and adds it to her duckling nest. Guji Guji is raised as a duck and is happy in his family, until one day he finds out that he is a crocodile. His croc family tries to lure him into crocodile behavior (eating sweet little ducks), but Guji Guji knows his true family is the family with whom he has spent his whole life.  So sweet and funny too.  Great illustrations. Go Guji Guji!

Horsefly and Honeybee by Randy Cecil


Horsefly and Honeybee fight over a flower. Each loses a wing, and each has no way home but to walk. When a frog captures them both, they realize if they join forces, they can fly away together, each contributing a wing. A sweet, succinct text that gets right to the cell of the message – if we combine our talents and share our resources, we can work together for a better life!  Very cute and a fast read.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds



The Dot is a beautiful story that demonstrates how one good teacher can affect the hidden artist in any of us. Vashti’s teacher simply tells her to “make a mark and see where it takes you.” Most children (and adults) can relate to feeling like they can’t draw (or write or create) and can learn a lot from this simple story. The illustrations are simple, whimsical and expressive. I love it.

Dog Gone by Leeza Hernandez

510R1T2h2QL._SL500_AA300_“Happy dog. Yappy dog. Settle down, you snappy dog.” This is a book that accomplishes a very sweet story with succinct text, wasting no words. It tells the story of a dog who runs away when things aren’t going his way (I think I remember being this dog when I was a kid) and finds out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. He doesn’t get very far before he regrets his decision. Luckily, he is very loved by his boy who comes to fetch him from the rough life.

Plus, I’ve met Leeza on a few occasions and I think she’s fabulous.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (Illustrated by Michael Martchenko)


I recently read a recommendation for The Paper Bag Princess at Amelie’s Bookshelf. I realized I needed to own this book.  It’s a classic that every little dirty (or pristine) princess should acquire.

If your prince doesn’t want to see you disheveled after you’ve been attacked by a dragon and you’ve come to rescue him, well, it’s time to find a new prince!

This story is a fine example of a picture book that doesn’t need a ton of words to tell a meaningful story. Because it’s an old classic, it is super inexpensive, so go grab this one and add it to your bookshelf. The dragon tale will appeal to little princesses and princes alike, as well as to their royal parents.