The Kids Are All Right

Interactive Books, Friendship, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! It is finally cold here in Tennessee, for better or worse. I sprained my knee last week, and it’s slowly recovering, so I haven’t been outside for much of the cold weather. Usually I host Thanksgiving, but my sister recently bought a new house and wants to host it this year, and I am happily handing over hosting duties to her and will be spending my Thanksgiving in a rural West Tennessee town. My sister has some farm animals, so I know my daughter is going to have a blast! I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving.

Bookish Goods

Library Card Ornament by CreatedByKrystina

Library Circulation Card Ornament by CreatedByKrystina

These library card ornaments are a great gift for librarians and library-lovers alike. And they’re not breakable! My daughter has broken so many ornaments in her first 5 years, and yet people still gift us breakable ornaments… $7

New Releases

Cover of I Don't Care by Idle

I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal (picture book)

This charming picture book is about friendship and learning how to embrace differences to make an even closer friendship than before. I love the backstory on this one: originally, Molly Idle was approached to illustrate the book. Idle thought it would be even better if she could illustrate it with her good friend Juana Martinez-Neal. Thus, they partnered on this manuscript over the course of the pandemic. It was a perfect choice for the book, which has two distinct voices and two distinct individuals who become BFFs.

Cover of Human Body Learning Lab by Choi

Human Body Learning Lab: Take an Inside Tour of How Your Anatomy Works by Betty Choi, MD (activity book)

This fascinating activity book provides lots of insight into how the human body works with activities, models, and crafts to help kids learn more. Activities include making cell and 3-D skin models, stretches to learn how the musculatory system works, coffee filter kidneys, and so much more. This is fantastic for homeschoolers or anyone with a kid passionate about science. It says for ages 8+, but I think many 6-7 year-olds would enjoy the activities, too.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Interactive books make great holiday gifts, and so many awesome ones have been published this year. I’ve picked my 4 favorites — mostly from Quarto Kids because they publish so many good interactive series — but it was hard to narrow it down!

Cover of Spin to Survive by Hawkins

Spin to Survive: Deadly Jungle by Emily Hawkins, Illustrated by R. Fresson

One of my daughter’s favorite books last year was Spin to Survive: Frozen Mountain, and she literally screamed when the newest book in the series arrived. These books are so neat, and can be enjoyed just as much by my 4-year-old as they can by a middle schooler. In this newest one, Grandma Beatriz has given you, the reader, an important mission: find the fabled Lost City of the Jaguar God before the treasure hunters steal all the Indigenous artifacts. Each page presents new dilemmas, and the reader has to make a choice, then spin to survive with a compass. The reader is then directed to another page based on the results. There are also lots of survival tips, historical insights, and ecological facts scattered on every page. It’s an awesome book.

Cover of The Story Orchestra: I Can Play by Courtney-Tickle

The Story Orchestra: I Can Play by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

I love The Story Orchestra series, which typically retells the story of an opera with buttons to push for musical accompaniment from the opera. Their latest has a small piano so young readers can play along with 8 famous musical pieces, from Tchaikovsky’s “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” to “Royal March of the Lion” by Camille Saint-Saëns. This would pair well with other books in the series, like The Story Orchestra: The Magic Flute.

Cover of Let's Tell a Story: Jungle Adventure by Murray

Let’s Tell a Story: Jungle Adventure by Lily Murray, Illustrated by Essi Kimpimäki

Another jungle book, and another entertaining book in a series. In the Let’s Tell a Story series, the reader is prompted to create every aspect of a story from page one. Readers choose from a list of characters, character clothes, quests, villains, and so on, creating an entirely new story each time they read. This interactive series helps with early storytelling skills and could be used in classrooms or at home. It’s another series that transcends age.

Cover of the Habbi Habbi started set

Habbi Habbi Starter Set

These bilingual board books are amazing. The languages offered are Chinese, Spanish, French, Hindu, and Korean. You choose a language, then receive a set of books and a reading wand. The reading wand reads the text in both the chosen language and in English. The Habbi Habbi company offers all kinds of products to go with the reading wand, from books to puzzles to flash cards. It’s a super neat and well-executed idea.

Marian's room The Kids are All Right

Here’s an update on our room makeover for my daughter’s 5th birthday. We bought some cat wallpaper and it looked like a bandaid with cats on it. My spouse had the idea to cut the cats out of the wallpaper and use them as decals. He said this in front of our daughter, who immediately grabbed scissors and started cutting up the wallpaper, lol. She has yet to meet a crafting project she is not one hundred percent ready to put into action. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out yet. I’ve bought more cat wallpaper and some rainbow decals. I think we’re going to have to tackle some of it while she’s in preschool, or else it’s going to look very uneven. Thankfully, we still have 2 more weeks until birthday weekend arrives. I’ve also purchased a bed, hurray! Though it probably needs a mattress…

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury