PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEWS: Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion by Stephen W. Martin & Hope at Sea by Daniel Miyares

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Friendship is hard for Fluffy, a kitten so precious that anyone who looks at her explodes!

Meet Fluffy—an adorable kitten. So adorable, in fact, that anyone who sees her will spontaneously explode into balls of sparkles and fireworks. KABOOM! Poof. 

Poor Fluffy doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, but everything she tries, even a bad haircut, just makes her cuter! So Fluffy runs away someplace no one can find her. Find out if there’s any hope for Fluffy in this funny and subversive story about self-acceptance and finding friendship in unlikely places.


Fluffy McWhiskers'  cuteness causes anyone who looks at her to explode.  Naturally this makes it really difficult to find a friend.  Despite Fluffy's numerous efforts to solve the problem, she is unsuccessful.  She tries wearing an ugly sweater, puts a paper bag over her head, she even tries moving to the moon.  Eventually, she ends up moving to a tropical island where she lives by herself.  While she enjoys many fun activities, she is lonely.  One day, someone shows up on her island.  Fluffy tries to hide to prevent an explosion but is unable to find a place to hide.  Fluffy is adorable and easy to sympathize with as she tries to solve her rather large problem.  The explosions are amusing, if a bit startling.  I can see young readers/listeners giggling every time someone explodes.  This is bound to be a favorite book for young readers. 



Sophie Blackall's Hello Lighthouse meets The Fan Brothers' Ocean Meets Sky in this exciting and gorgeously illustrated picture book about a stow-away girl's adventures on board a 19th century sailing ship.

An exciting tale of the high seas combines with the love between a father and daughter to create a picture book any adventure-loving child will enjoy! 

Papa is about to set sail again, and this time, his ocean-loving, adventure-seeking daughter is determined to join him. I don't want to just hear the stories, the young narrator says. I want to be a part of the stories. And so, unbeknownst to her parents, she stows away on her father's 19th-century merchant vessel. 

After Papa finds her hiding on board, he begins to teach her the ways of a sailor, from rope-tying to map-reading, to ultimately fighting against a powerful storm that destroys the ship on their journey home. Papa and the girl survive, but what will Papa do to support his family, now that he can no longer go to sea? Using repurposed wood from the ship that has washed ashore, they build a new home-- a lighthouse--to help other ships at sea.


This stunning picture books follows a young girl as she stows away on the ship on which her father is employed as a carpenter.  Luckily, her father is the one who discovers her and takes her under his wing as they continue on their journey.  It takes her awhile to get used to the tremendous amount of work required to sail the ship.  Hope gathers stories as the ship travels from port to port gathering cargo to sell on its return to its home port.  A storm strikes as the ship nears its home port and without a lighthouse to guide it, the ship gets wrecked on the rocks.  The crew manages to escape and is guided in by lanterns held up by family members on shore.  Hope is thrilled to be home as she missed her mother greatly.  The remains of the ship are used to construct a lighthouse so such disasters can be prevented in the future.  Miyares' gorgeous pen & ink with watercolor illustrations are the highlight of the book.  The illustrations of the ship in the storm are especially striking and intense.  The illustrations do a magnificent job of carrying the drama of the story.  The text provides a nice story to read but the illustrations are the highlight.


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