top of page


lemon tree cover.jpg
Toolbox cover.jpg
New Bird in Town.jpg
TF vs EB COVER.jpg

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree

Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha

(Sterling Publishing, 2019)

“Gardening tips abound in this delightful guide to caring for a lemon tree. The unnamed protagonist has a carefully drawn-out list of acceptable electronics she wants for her birthday. But Grandma instead brings…gasp…a lemon tree. The second-person text covers appropriate and inappropriate reactions and then advises readers to accept the potted present politely and wait for Grandma to leave or take a nap. Then you definitely shouldn’t: drop it from a bridge, send it aloft with balloons, or ‘play ding dong ditch’ with it (all illustrated with wry understatement). Instead, the narrator offers some incredibly important do’s: put the fruit tree ‘in a sunny spot’ (the grassy verge between sidewalk and street), don’t overwater it, and ‘battle against intruders’ who seem to come from all directions. After nearly a year of caring for her reluctantly received sapling, the protagonist joyously picks her lush lemons, and Grandma even returns to help make some fresh lemonade, the sale of which leads to more plants for her burgeoning garden. Rocha’s colors and characters leap right off the page, encouraging readers to get out into the world and create life, beauty, and some great-tasting lemonade (recipe included). The community is diverse and urban, with no lack of personality and detail. The protagonist and Grandma are both black, she with black pigtail puffs and Grandma with a white poof of hair. Charms from cover to cover.” —Kirkus (Starred review)

“In this debut picture book, Deenihan offers a charmingly literal rendition of the proverbial phrase ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ with a colorful and cute story of a child who gets an unwanted birthday gift from grandma: a lemon tree. Once her mischievous plots to rid herself of the tree fail, a fruitful alternative arises: nurture the tree to make lemonade to sell in order to get what she really wants. In addition to the comical efforts of the girl, this playful picture book showcases the concept of delayed gratification. The girl truly has to wait for good things to come to fruition, and once they do, she makes some surprising choices (perhaps just what Grandma wanted). These concepts are enhanced by the eyecatching colors, bold cartoon figures with deeply expressive faces, and diverse cast of characters in Rocha's illustrations, which are filled with plenty of fun background details to pore over. A nice complement to Matt de la Peña's Last Stop on Market Street (2015) or Katherine Pryor’s Zora’s Zucchini (2015).” —Booklist

When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox

Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha

(Sterling Publishing, Spring 2020)

“In this book, a young boy wishes for a special house for his doll collection on his birthday; however, he receives a surprise gift from his grandpa—a toolbox. He is unenthusiastic as he receives it, listens to Grandpa’s description of its contents, and then proceeds to happily offer readers instructions for what to do with an unwanted gift. He plans outrageous solutions until he unexpectedly finds the toolbox to be useful. Brief text and colorful, detailed illustrations follow young boy as he discovers tools and his own creativity and his appreciation for his talented grandpa grows. They end up building a beautiful dollhouse together. Diverse families from the neighborhood take interest in the young boy’s blueprints, and at the end, a grand backyard tree house is planned by all the children in the neighborhood. VERDICT A suggested general purchase for young readers in all libraries.” —School Library Journal


The New Bird in Town

Illustrated by Carrie Hartman

(Avenue A Books, Spring 2019)

"Utterly charming. 'Owl' certainly be buying copies for my bird-loving friends." --Jane Yolen


When Owl moves to a new neighborhood, he can't wait to make friends. But when he invites the other forest animals to his tree-warming party, they misinterpret his intentions. With the help of Skunk, who knows how much first impressions can stink, Owl and his neighbors learn that everyone deserves a chance to be known. This book addresses the following social and emotional learning skills: welcoming and inviting others to join in; independently recognizing when others need help; responding to others politely and respectfully.


Tooth Fairy VS. Santa

Illustrated by Erin Hunting

(Penguin Workshop, Fall 2019)

Blue can't wait to complete his first mission to become a Tooth Fairy. So when he arrives at a child's house to collect her tooth and leave a coin, he's surprised to see Santa there. Turns out it's Christmas Eve, and jolly old Saint Nick is not ready to share the holiday! A competition to claim the night begins, but who will win the battle--Santa or the Tooth Fairy?



Tooth Fairy VS. The Easter Bunny

Illustrated by Erin Hunting

(Penguin Workshop, Spring 2020)

After going head-to-head with Santa on Christmas Eve, Blue completed his mission to collect a child's lost tooth, earning him his Tooth Fairy Badge. Now that he's officially a Tooth Fairy, he's on his way to that child's house once again. But when he gets there this time, he runs into the Easter Bunny--who makes it clear that he works alone. Can Blue convince the rude rabbit to let him stay, or will he be forced to hop out in a hurry?

bottom of page