New Picture Books – How to Grow a Friend; Over in the Wetlands


Gillingham, Sara. How to Grow a Friend. New York: Random House, 2015. 978-0-385-37669-3. 32 p. $16.99. Gr. PreK-2.

A simple, sweet story that compares growing a plant with building a friendship. Friendships, along with plants, need “water…warm sunshine…and space to bloom.” Some steps are difficult, like when “…a friend bugs you…To grow a friend, chase the bugs away together!” The story reminds readers that new friends can appear at unexpected times “…and there is always room for one more.” Young readers will enjoy Gillingham’s illustrations which are colorful and full of patterns that create visual interest. THOUGHTS: A solid choice for preschool and early elementary readers on a universal topic.

Easy Fiction; Picture Book           Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools




Rose, Caroline Starr. Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015. 978-0-449-81016-3. 34 p. $17.00. Gr. K-3.

The animals who call the Louisiana wetlands home are preparing for a hurricane. “Gentle as a whisper too soft to hear, a faint breeze hints that a storm draws near.” An alligator mother carries her babies to safety in their den and bird fish for a last meal before the storm. Rose’s lovely rhyming text builds the storm from beginning to peak to end and showcases how wetlands animals survive the storm. Fish and turtles find deeper water, egrets hide in cattails, and the storm rages. Finally, “…winds ease to gentle breaths. The hurricane yawns, the hurricane rests.” Storm’s end finds the wetlands landscape changed with downed live oaks, and the animals slowly resume normal life. Endpapers include an author’s note on the wetlands environment and notes on the animals featured in the story. THOUGHTS: This story portrays a major event from a unique perspective and will have students asking questions.

Rose’s rhyming text works extremely well for this story. She does not follow the same rhyme scheme or pattern from page to page so the rhyming doesn’t feel childlike or primary in nature. Rob Dunlavey’s mixed media illustrations feel are and earthy, perfect for a story about animals on the bayou. This is a great choice for schools (even in Pennsylvania, far off from the bayou).

Easy Fiction; Picture Book            Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools


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