I am very happy to announce that I have gallery representation and several of my paintings for sale at River Art Gallery and Gifts, 83 Webster St. North Tonawanda NY.


Their website is:  https://riverartgalleryandgifts.com 




Rhyming week on Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte,  continues with this hardcover book Mountain Night Mountain Day by Anthony Fredericks and illustrated by Kenneth Spengler. This book is an easy-to-read showcase of all the animals living in mountain regions. Every two page spread opens to one clever and cute rhymed sentence about the mountains or to describe the life of an animal. And the illustrations are as massive and bold as the mountains themselves.


Although the text is perfect and fun, this book’s illustrations are the real show-stopper. Not only do we see large and small wild animals, but they are shown in huge, bold colors that include and reflect their habitat. The animals roam, leap, hunt, run and care for their young in a background of forests, mountains and streams. The pages are all cleanly and purely colored, a great reflection of nature that has not been spoiled. These are not Disney or cartoon animals but powerful and realistic paintings of animals that have also managed to be not scary for young kids.


And the illustrator has done something that is really fun for kids. Each page has a hidden mouse to find. Kids love racing to find the mouse before the parent can find it. Each page also has a hidden hint of the animal that was highlighted on the previous page. This means the child will want to flip the pages back and forth to take some time to really study the illustrations. Illustrations this good, this bold and complex deserve extra time to really enjoy the book.   


Many kids do not have much experience seeing animals in nature habitats. This book gives a glimpse of nature that is difficult to find, even for a kid who lives in a mountain region.


The last page of the book offers field notes of night time and day time animals for readers to learn about animals in more detail. I bought this book in Yellowstone National Park, which helps back up my recommendation that this book would be a terrific gift to any family planning a trip to the western part of North America, perhaps to visit one of the great national parks in Canada or the United States.


For the exceptional illustrations, the easy readability of the text and the field guide, I think this book suits ages 3-9, which is a fairly wide age range. So, this book will be read and then referred to over a few years.


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Published by Rio Chico, of Rio Nuevo Publishers, Mountain Night Mountain Day is available from the publisher’s website, from Amazon or wherever smart books are sold.


In keeping with rhyming week, today on my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte, we will look at On Your Way by Mike Purewal. This book uses a rhyming text and an adventurous girl to tackle some of the difficult feelings that kids experience.


We meet our young girl as she heads for the forest, happily finding many friendly animals but unhappy to find that loggers are gleefully chopping down the famous rainbow tree. This makes her very angry, but the writer tells her not to sit in anger constantly because it will hurt her eventually.


Our adventurous gal then travels to the city whose noise and bustle lead her to escape on a rocket ship. She meets up with friends who are also travelling in Outer Space. They enjoy a concert with all the stars playing musical instruments from all over the world. But a fearful loss of fuel leads to a crash landing on an unknown planet. She is reminded not to sit in fear which will hurt her eventually, so she finds some gas, fixes her rocketship and heads for planet earth.


But with her rocketship out of control, she lands in the depths of the ocean where she did not intend to go. Being in the depths of the ocean worries her. But she is again told not to sit in worry, so she explores the ocean floor finding the weather machine that powers the earth and keeps the world in harmony. The power of the weather machine fixes her space ship. She blasts off home finding her friends playing outside where she is sure more fun and adventures await.


Mike Purewal is both the writer and illustrator of On Your Way. He lives in Toronto Ontario Canada. His adventurous girl looks to be about 8 years old, which would be a good age to read this book. An eight year old should be able to read this book to herself. Here she is seen wearing glasses and doing everything herself in a pink playdress with blue shoes, proving that girly girls can get the job done!


Published by Bumblebee Books you can buy On Your Way from Amazon.

Today on my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte, I am showing you one of my absolute favorite board books. It is Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. I love it for the perfect cadence of the rhyming text, and the softest, sweet and deeply colored illustrations.


In this book we meet the hardworking construction truck team, so tired after their day’s work. There is the Crane Truck, the Cement Mixer, the Dump Truck, the Bulldozer and the Excavator. We learn the kinds of work they do at the construction site, and how they do it.


Each truck has its own personality and bedtime routine just like kids. Kids will enjoy learning that the cement mixer get a bath each night before bed. 


Then, with each page covered in glorious soft colors, painted in soft wax pastels, we see the sun set. The trucks finish their last chores and we see them tucked gently in rolling hills of dirt that will remind kids of soft pillows and blankets. Even the paper used by the illustrator Tom Lichetenheld was chosen with care to ensure he captured the night sky and the roughness of the sand and dirt in a construction site.  


This is a perfect, gentle bedtime story for girls or boys ages 2-5. Even children younger than 2 years old will appreciate this book because of the delightful illustrations and the soft cadence and rhythm of your voice as you read it. It is the perfect book to read quietly and slowly as you softly settle your child down after a long day just like the hard-working construction equipment.


It also is thanks to this book that my grandkids know the names of all the construction equipment they see.


Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site is published by Chronicle Books in San Francisco and can be purchased anywhere great books are sold. 

This week is rhyming book week on my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte. As part of rhyming week, I am happy to bring you Skate Like a Girl by Alison Haenlin and Illustrated by Seema Haider. This is a fun story told in well-balanced and clear rhyming words. Kate wants to learn to skate and she does, of course. Then she wants to play hockey. We see her tying on black hockey skates. Learning to play hockey requires much practice, days and nights of practice until she can finally join a team.


But wait! She will be the only girl on the hockey team! What will the boys think? Well, it turns out the boys think she is a terrific hockey player and Kate succeeds.


his is a great book for a girl with dreams, hockey or otherwise. The message is practice diligently, be confident and try your best. It is a good book to inspire a child who is going to learn how to skate, because learning to skate is not easy, often frustrating, and takes a while to learn. It is a good book for a girl who wants to play hockey or ringette, which is an equally exciting game played on ice.  


Both the writer and illustrator are from Ottawa Canada, where people know winter all too well and learn to enjoy winter sports at an early age. Alison Haenlin is so determined a writer that she created her own publishing house called Rise Little Queen, to encourage big dreams and challenge societal norms.  Seema Haider is a South Asian-Canadian artist and illustrator. A background in psychology has helped her understand the importance of the formidable years in a young child’s mind. The children she illustrates are happy and confident. All the details are there in warm colors.


Skate Like a Girl is available from Rise Little Queen Publishing in Ottawa or from Amazon.

I just reviewed On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman on my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte.


The narrator of this story tells about all the wonderous things that happened on the night the child was born. Wonderful things such as the wind whispered the child’s name.


Ordinary things like the moon staying in the sky until the next morning. Fanciful things like polar bears danced to celebrate the child’s birth.


The message is that this child, your child, was so immediately wonderful that the entire world celebrated. That your child was unique and perfect from the very minute he or she was born.


This is one of those books that will touch your heart so deeply that you might have trouble reading it without a tear coming to your eyes and a tremble to your voice. The book gives voice to your feelings.


Its best use is for children 2-5 years old. My suggestion is to use this book as a jumping off point to tell your child what happened on the day they were born or the day you first met them. Tell them about the day, who was present, what it was like when you first saw their face, what you felt when you first held the child in your arms. Each time you read this book and tell them their story you will reinforce how much they are loved.


Nancy Tillman, author and illustrator in California, wants all children to know how valuable they are.  Her multi-layered illustrations are realistic enough for children to recognize all the animals and scenes she depicts yet impressionistic enough to let the child fill in the rest with imagination.


Originally self-published, this book is now available through Feiwel and Friends of Macmillan publishing.

I had fun reading How to Catch A Star on my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte.


This is the story of a boy who wanted a star of his very own. He imagined they would have so much fun together. But, first he had to find out when a star might be available. That took a while.


Then he tried everything he could think of to reach a star. He climbed a tree, he tried his spaceship but it was out of fuel, he tried to convince an uncooperative seagull to grab a star, and that didn’t work either. And yet he did not give up. Eventually he found a star in the ocean and waited patiently until he found one in the sand. Success!


This book is a lesson in trying and trying and working patiently to obtain something that you really, really want. The lesson is cleverly disguised in a imaginatively written, deeply colorfully illustrated book by Oliver Jeffers, who is both the writer and artist for this book.


I could be wrong, but I think children of any skin color might look at this book and see themselves himself. That is talented illustration.


This book is a wonderful bedtime story for kids age 2-6. Read it aloud then take a moment to ask your kid what they think about a boy who really wants a star of his very own.


Oliver Jeffers is originally from Belfast Ireland, but he now lives in Brooklyn New York.

You can buy this book from Harper Collins Children’s Books, or where ever fun kids books are sold.  

This is a book about inclusion, inspired by a sweet little girl who is a model and actress. Sophia Sanchez was adopted from the Ukraine, and she is also a child with Down Syndrome. She wants people to understand Down Syndrome, and understand that differences do not define us. She wants all children to celebrate their uniqueness.


And this goal is all wrapped up in a lovely, warm story of the life of a girl who wants everyone to understand, first of all, that each of us is unique and exactly right just as we are. She knows that this can be difficult. She has had difficulties too. Sometimes people have stared at her or thought she could not do something she wanted to do. But she encourages children to be good, brave and strong. She tells kids to let everyone see the real you.


t’s a powerful message for any child who is feeling different, or who wants to fit in.  It is a message that all kids need to hear. 


Books about kids with disabilities are not just for kids with disabilities. All kids will benefit from knowing more, being more comfortable with kids who look or speak or move differently than they do.


I think the ideal audience for this book is a child of 3-6 years old. It will be especially useful before a child starts school or day care where many other children will be present.


The book ends with helpful information for parents to help answer questions about Down Syndrome.


Margaret O’Hair is a writer and teacher in California. Sofia Cardosa is a Portuguese illustrator. Her art for this book is colorful, inclusive, active and happy. In fact, the overall impression of this book is happiness.


This book is available from Scholastic and anywhere happy books are sold. Please check out my youtube channel Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte