Just as Saturday Morning TV programming was reserved for kids’ cartoons back in the 50s and 60s, so mom and dad could sleep in while the kids ate cereal in front of the TV, PWR reserves Saturday mornings (unless I’m running late like today) for reviews of kids’ books.

Today’s recommendation is not for a single book, but for a whole series.

I specifically bought these for my bookstore, RAE’S READS, to compliment another series that deals with kids’ emotions. Be Cheerful was my favorite of these three. Early in the book, the author tells the child, “We cannot be happy all the time. All of us feel a little sad or worried sometimes.” It goes on to give pictures and words at the second level as to the things that cause us to be sad or worried. Then, the child is told “Most of the things we worry about do not happen!” This little book suggests ways for the child to become cheerful again, i.e. “thinking about happy things…doing something nice like baking a cake…[and] working hard on a project.” Very practical advice gives a child confidence that he/she can turn his sad frown into a happy, sunny face.

Best of all, the book/series does not preach, but entertains and instructs. I’m glad I bought this series.



Just as Saturday morning TV programming in the 50s and 60s was full of cartoons for kids, PWR reserves Saturday mornings for books aimed at young readers. Today features a fun-style book with captivating illustrations that also presents a bit of history.

Subtitled “A Very Improper Story” with the letters arranged in a pink, lacy corset, Amelia Bloomer’s biography is presented in this fine little picture book. My copy is a paperback from Scholastic. Repeating the phrase “What was proper about that,” the story describes how ladies and their wieldy dresses and corsets struggled to do the simplest things in life, the book shows Amelia Bloomer making the first pair of women’s pants–bloomers! What an improvement, and what a response. Every woman wanted a pair, and the rest is history…

I highly recommend this book which will give your girls and boys alike a fit of the giggles!

RAE 5/26/23


TODAY’S RECOMMENDATION, “I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

AGE APPEAL: fifth graders and up

ACTION: “Roy drew a deep breath and dashed after them. He heard a honk, but he kept on going, hoping that the police officer wouldn’t jump out and chase him on foot…”

MYSTERY AND INTRIGUE: “If you can get a picture…all we need is one lousy picture of one little owl…”

HUMOR: “Mr. Muckle, looking drained and defeated, and suddenly very old…’This is over! Done!…The councilmen …and the man from the Chamber of Commerce stealthily retreated to their limousine…” It was a rout and a riot! What a hilarious scene.


WHO COULD RESIST THOSE PRECIOUS EYES LOOKING UP FROM A HOLE IN THE GROUND? “Mother Paula’s All American House of Pancakes,” That’s who!

Read this for the strong environmental message and the pure entertainment it offers!


In the introduction of this 1981 children’s book, author Betty Red Wright and illustrator Helen Cogancherry, view from the sibling’s point of view what it is like to have a special needs brother or sister. In Carlo’s case, it is his mentally retarded sister, Terry. (Note that this older picture book/children’s book uses the term “mentally retarded.”) Carlos tells us that he doesn’t always like his sister, that it “takes her a long time to learn things.” Terry is older than Carlos, yet she acts a great deal younger.

Carlos’s mother and grandmother often force Carlos to take Terry out to play with him and his friends where the other kids laugh at Terry. This never fazes Terry, but it bothers Carlos. Carlos gets criticism; Terry gets hugs.

When Carlos is told to take Terry Christmas shopping in a large department store, she gets lost, and Carlos is left almost in tears worrying about her and feeling bad he was impatient with her. Spoiler Alert: All turns out well, but Carlos leaves with a new love and appreciation for his older, “little” sister.

The book is especially handled well because it is not only on your second-to- fifth-grade-child’s level because it does not “preach.” Instead it sends across a subtle life lesson all children can appreciate.

I recommend this book as an “oldie-but-goodie.”


A book I put in my LFL (Little Free Library) in not-so-gently-used condition, owned at one point by someone who wrote his name, “MATHIS” on the inside cover, has just been returned after being borrowed/taken. Since its  condition showed that boys had actually  read it, I decided to read it myself in order to recommend it to “reluctant readers,” who so often are of the male gender.

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, complete with “cartoons by Jake Tashjian.” was a fun read as well as a subtle vocabulary builder. Instead of having definitions of challenging words in the margin, it had cartoons illustrating the meanings of the words.

The book’s opening lines, ” I DON’T WANT TO READ THIS BOOK”! would capture any reader’s attention, especially a male, reluctant one. Mystery occurs in this book as the first-person narrator, Derek, discovers an old newspaper clipping about a teen girl’s drowning off Martha’s Vinyard. What he discovers is not what he or his mother expected, and makes a life-changing difference for him and his family. The author inhabits the mind of Derek well, and the cartoonist expresses a young boy’s impatience, curiosity and thought processes with stick figures and labels.

It is a great read!