„When I am with dad“ by Kimball Crossley

I have to be honest: Although I say we are a “family of bilingual readers”, I’m the “main reader” in this household. I select the books Finja reads and bedtime stories are my assignment. This doesn’t mean my husband isn’t interested in reading or Finja doesn’t love to read with her dad – he just doesn’t get the chance often with working late.

"When I am with dad" by Kimball Crossley
“When I am with dad” by Kimball Crossley

When we got the review copy of “When I am with dad”, Finja immediately hid the book in my husband’s bookshelf. Her words: “This is a book only dads can read.” So – okay. Due to work assignments and colleagues from Germany in town reading the book together took longer than planned – but it seems we timed our review of “When I am with dad” perfectly anyway – official date of publication is tomorrow, August 1st 2016.

That being said: Moms and dads just do things differently. One parent likes everyday tasks a certain way, days with the other parent are different – but not necessarily in a bad way. Just like dads read bedtime stories differently than moms.

That’s exactly the experience Elizabeth and her little sister Lulu make while spending a day with their dad. He just has his own way of doing things. From sleeping in late over an unusual breakfast (pizza with eggs and bacon anyone?), pigtails that just look like being put in by pigs, naptime that turns into tickle time, using the wrong bathroom during grocery shopping and a room like an obstacle course – just to name a few – days with dad are just different. But although dad isn’t good with art projects everything is a masterpiece for him – and even when bedtime comes a little late end up falling asleep in their daddy’s arms. “No matter how different they are, my days with Dad are the best because I am with someone who loves me more than anything.”


“When I am with dad” is a book that made me a little weepy as their reminded me of my own childhood and weekends with my dad, croissants with lots of Nutella in the morning, fresh berries, convenience food, motorbike rides and visiting the bookstore. But in the end it doesn’t matter if Kimball Crossley describes the situation after a divorce or just a usual day with dad while mom is at work or enjoys some free time. “When I am with dad” is a perfect story to strengthen the bond between fathers and kids, to get some good laughs and discover that differences aren’t bad – especially not when it’s about being with one of the persons you love most! Finja really enjoyed reading this book. She found parallels and differences (“But daddy can do my hair better than mom!”), but was a little unsure of two of the illustrations by Katie Gambs, both showing the dad of this story as animals: A tired bear and a pig making pigtails. Other than that the illustrations complement the story perfectly. I especially loved the open facial expressions of Elizabeth, Lulu, their dad and (yes!) the cat.


“When I am with dad” was published by “Two little birds”, a hybrid publisher in which the author and the publisher are both, physically and financially invested in the book. “The authors and illustrators retain all rights to their work, enabling them to seek more opportunities.” The publisher partners with Jennifer Frances with Bess the Book Bus and donates one book for every book sold. “We know that access to books is not an equal opportunity in many parts of the world, so we are committed to sharing the books we create with children who might not otherwise have the experience of owning a book.”

That being said: “When I am with dad” is the perfect book for preschool- and elementary-school-aged children and their dads! Enjoy!

More information:

„When I am with dad“
written by Kimball Crossley
illustrated by Katie Gamb
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Two Little Birds (August 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0991293575


„Leah’s mustache party“ by Nadia Mike

Are you one of these people who are happy to see kids with princess dresses, fairy wands and cowboy hats at the supermarket? Are you glad that your child is not the only one wearing rain boots on a sunny summer day with 100 degrees Fahrenheit? I bet that Nadia Mike’s children just are creative like this.

Leah's mustache partyWhy do I think that? Well, let’s just have a look at her newest book “Leah’s mustache party”, named after one of her daughters. Leah, the hero of this story, loves being a pirate for Halloween. Even more than her scary skull hat and her black vest she enjoys her green mustache, an extraordinary feature in a world, where four-year-old girls usually wear princess costumes or dress up as fairy… But why only wearing a mustache on Halloween? Leah decides to wear a mustache whenever she feels like it. A pink mustache while playing in the snow, a green beard when watching movies – Leah know what she wants. So why not have a mustache party for her birthday? Leah’s friends never heard about mustache parties. Most of her friends celebrate princess or fairy style, with pink dresses or crowns… But when the party finally starts, Leah is surrounded by mustaches. What a fun – what a cool party! What a special day!

„Leah’s mustache party“ is a fun little book about a girl, who likes having fun. Leah loves the extraordinary and she doesn’t care that her ideas sometimes aren’t cookie-cutter-ideas. Charlene Chua’s illustrations are colorful and fun and fit the message of this book perfectly. Don’t take life too seriously, have fun!

But be careful: „Leah’s mustache party“ might give your little one some great ideas about dressing up… I just finished reading the book to my four-year-old-daughter and am wondering if she might find my eyeliner tomorrow or will just go with a marker. I’ll keep you posted!

This book is available in Inuktitut as well! „Leah’s mustache party” was published by Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned publishing company, with a head office located in Iqaluit, Nunavut. According to the publisher, Inhabit is the only independent publishing company located in the Canadian Arctic. “Our aim is to preserve and promote the stories, knowledge and talent of Inuit and northern Canada.”

Leah's mustache party

More information:
„Leah’s mustache party“
written by Nadia Mike
illustrated by Charlene Chua
Publisher: Inhabit Media
ISBN-13: 978-1772270815

„Come and Dance, Wicked Witch“ by Hanna Kraan

Come and Dance, Wicket Witch” is the newest story of the “Wicked witch” series by author Hannah Kraan (1946-2011).

Come and dance, wicked witch!
Come and dance, wicked witch!
The fourteen episodes around the wicked witch, whose cauldron contains more fun than malice, are well known in Europe. Hannah Kraan’s books have been translated all over the world. 25 years after the first collection was published it is time for a party! To celebrate this silver anniversary, award-winning illustrator Annemarie van Haeringen has chosen to illustrate a new picture book by Lemniscaat. But will the Wicked Witch come to the party and dance?

The story: The animals of the forest, lead by the clever hare, are planning a party – so it’s just natural to invite the wicked witch, which is a resident after all. But even bringing over the invite in-person can’t convince the grumpy lady to attend the animals’ party. Until the party music starts… Planning to witch the loud animals, the witch unexpectedly joins the get-together. But does she want to cast a spell over the warm and welcoming animals, who are not intimidated by the unfriendly and almost hostile party guest? Distracted by the hare and his furry friends, the crabby witch discovers how to have a great time, dances, sings, forgets about her original plan to spread fear – and even brings up a mouthwatering party-cake.

Especially loved the transformation of the wicked witch in the illustrations by Annemarie van Haeringen
Especially loved the transformation of the wicked witch in the illustrations by Annemarie van Haeringen

The English translation of Hanna Kraan’s book shows preschool- and elementary school aged children, that being kind and forgiving to others can banish bad temper and crankiness. Friends are made in the unlikely places – and sometimes the best friends are the unlikely ones…

Annemarie van Haeringen’s illustrations are an important part of this picture book. Every detail supports the story. I especially loved the transformation of the wicked witch from an angry, almost cold expression into a blissful, idyllic look after discovering the fun of attending a party!

“Come and Dance, Wicked Witch” is another import by the Dutch publisher Lemniscaat. Please enjoy our reviews of “Playground”, “The other rabbit” and “Sam and the construction side”!

More information:
Come and Dance, Wicked Witch
written by Hanna Kraan
illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA
ISBN-13: 978-1935954507