February 2021

"An appealingly comic approach to helping kids transform life's mundane moments." A little boy learns the power of his imagination in this picture book. Freckled, red-haired Henry doesn't agree when his mom tells him, "It's okay to be bored sometimes." Her idea of adventures is...a trip to the grocery store. There, she leaves Henry to guard the cart while she tracks down items. With a metal colander to serve as helmet, Captain Henry imagines that his cart is a spaceship. He pilots it daringly around the aisles, eliminating enemies like Breakfastus Maximus--"a villain made of giant, family-sized cereal boxes!" or the dreaded Broccolisaurus, which he defeats utterly at the dinner table. At bedtime, Henry realizes his mother was right: "Anything can be an adventure if you just use your imagination." In his second book for children, Albanese entertainingly helps encourage kids to find opportunity for imagination in the midst of tedium. Henry's vivid battles are humorous and exciting and make great use of the grocery-store setting for maximum fun. Kirkland, illustrating her first children's book, provides comic like pictures that resemble children's drawings and energetically convey the fun of Henry's adventures. An appealingly comic approach to helping kids transform life's mundane moments.

Midwest Book

Guardian of the Groceries, a picture book written by Michael Albanese and illustrated by Laura Kirkland, follows young Henry to the grocery store. He's bored and wants an adventure which seems to preclude his more mundane itinerary, until his clever mother informs him that "Anything can be an adventure if you just use your imagination."
After that, Henry discovers a world of possibilities in this simple chore, attaching his dreams to reality when he's charged with 'guarding the groceries' as his mother shops another aisle. This duty produces marvels when a colander helmet sends him into the world of the Marketsphere, where he faces the dreaded Cereal Monster.
Whimsy is unbridled during the course of the adventure in which Henry battles a "grainy giant" capable of hurling boxes of cereal "like cardboard rockets."
Parents who choose Guardian of the Groceries for its read-aloud action value will find events compelling and fun as Henry faces not just one but a series of intruding grocery monsters and challenging missions, such as confrontation with the dreaded Broccolisaurus. Food and nutrition insights are carefully woven into this story in a manner designed to both entertain and educate. Laura Kirkland's very simple drawings could have been produced by a young person and will appeal to youngsters who love drawing and who dream of becoming an illustrator.
This action-packed, imaginative food exploration holds appeal on many different levels.


January 2021

Loved it! This is a fun and lighthearted story about how a little imagination can turn an everyday outing into an exciting adventure. The grocery store turns into an amazing adventure with just a little bit of imagination. One day, a boy named Henry finds himself sitting on the front steps of his house--looking out at an otherwise beautiful day--and feeling bored. He craves adventure, but when his mom suggests that a trip to the grocery store might help, Henry is not so sure it will be the adventure he is looking for. However, inside the store, Henry's mom asks him to guard the groceries while she tracks down a forgotten shopping list item. It is then that Henry's adventure as the Guardian of the Groceries truly begins.

The Children's Book

January 2021

Guardian of the Groceries is valuable because it reminds readers that with a little bit of imagination, anything can be fun--even a trip to the store. Full of humor that is emphasized by the bright, comic book-like illustrations, Guardian of the Groceries celebrates the power of imaginative play and its ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. It's a fun story for bored young readers everywhere.