Daylight Saving Time (yes, it’s “Saving,” not “Savings”) begins this Sunday, which means we’ll get… Read More
March 7, 2014
Recently, my students learned about the Dust Bowl, and I could not think of a… Read More
March 6, 2014
Grumpy Bunny’s Hat by M. Cristina Butler, illustrated by Gavin Scott
Reviewed by JJ, Virginia Mom
A parcel delivery from Scholastic always brings a smile to my face because it means the book I’ll be reviewing has finally arrived. The mystery of what we’ll get fills us with anticipation each month.
My daughter loves helping with my reviews and it’s always interesting to hear the perspective of my five-year-old on any subject. She made a grab for this book on the way to her gymnastics class. She’s still learning to read, but she was able to follow the story line just by looking at the pictures.
She really enjoyed the cute bunny characters and I have to agree. The whimsical, fuzzy family of bunnies brings an immediate, “Awww…” to your lips. The velvety red and purple hat adorning each page added another dimension to the story as well. My two- year-old loves touch-and-feel books, so this was a hit for the whole family. You can imagine your own children as you read about little Daisy Bunny’s enduring affection for the woolly hat her Granny made her. Most parents can relate to that special toy, book, or blanket that their children vow never to be separated from, despite dirt or climate changes.
Luckily, Granny comes to the rescue in this story. Another special hat is created for warmer temperatures until the seasons change and the woolly hat can be worn again.
A hoppy read for the whole family!
Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz
Reviewed by Jennie, Ohio Mom
If you are not familiar with author Karen Katz and you have small children, you should be. Her latest book, Ten Tiny Babies, is no exception to her outstanding literary library. Her warm illustration style is so cute and simple, helping children quickly identify with the pictures. The book is an easy read with bright, engaging pictures of babies from a variety of racial backgrounds. It is also a counting book with more and more happy babies as the prose continues. Easy rhymes encourage reading along by your little ones. My children loved the colorful, whimsical pictures. They also enjoyed imitating the actions on each page and thought the babies scrubbing in the tub was silly. The babies run, bounce, wiggle, and crawl, finally ending up all snug in their beds. This book would make a great read before bed for any young one as they snuggle in as well.
Points for a Classroom:
Stomp! by Ruth Paul
Reviewed by Adam, Wisconsin Dad
Our three-year-old hasn’t hit her dinosaur phase full-on yet, but when she saw the cover of Stomp!, she declared it “her new favorite book,” even before we sat down to read it. (Apparently you can tell certain things by a book’s cover.)
The book’s a fun, kinetic trip through a game of dinosaur follow the leader. Initially, the bigger dinosaurs lead the line through rough terrain, and the smallest dino—at the tail of the line—has a rough time keeping up. When the line order flips, though, the smallest one gets to call the shots, and the bigger dinosaurs find themselves struggling to fit through smaller spaces and lower headroom. Everyone collapses into a happy heap by the end of the story, and both younger and older siblings may take a (subtle) lesson about making sure activities are fun for every dinosaur involved.
The art’s quite nice, and detailed enough that on later reads, we were picking out little jokes we hadn’t noticed the first time through. Fun stuff!
The Ballerina Star by Sue McMillan, illustrated by Karen Sapp
Reviewed by Cathy, Georgia Mom
The Ballerina Star by Sue McMillan is a really cute book for anyone interested in dance. I think the primary group that would really love this would be girls ages three through six. The book begins with a sweet girl named Rosie, and she’s looking for the star of the show, Grace. They’re about to go on stage and Grace can’t be found anywhere! Throughout the book, Rosie searches everywhere and meets a variety of people. In the end, Grace is found and thanks to Rosie, the show is brilliant.
This is a board book with just a few words on each page. It’d be a great beginning reader and would even be great for toddlers because the pages are very colorful and easy to manipulate. I recommend this book and think it would be loved by just about anyone who reads it! I think my favorite part is that the focus isn’t on Grace, the star of the show, but on Rosie. I like how because Rosie went looking for Grace, she saved the show. It’s a great lesson for children to know that you don’t have to be the star of the show in order to be important and needed.
Small Mouse Big City by Simon Prescott
Reviewed by Paul, New York Dad
Cate and I read Small Mouse Big City by Simon Prescott. The art was really beautiful, and the story kept Cate’s attention throughout. She kept interrupting to talk about things she was seeing in the pictures, and how she likes to come into the city to visit me at work. She really connected with the mouse’s longing to be back home after the excitement of the city wore off a bit.
I can usually judge if a book is a hit by whether or not Cate asks to read it a second time. This time, she took the book from my hands when we had finished the first round and flipped through it on her own, lingering on each piece of art. She’s a pretty visual kid, so the fact that the art in the book engaged her that much says a lot. I thought the perspective of the artwork—everything appeared huge in comparison to the tiny mouse—was exceptionally well done, and really gave the story that feeling of being such a small part of a huge world.
All in all, a great book with beautiful art.
National Geographic Little Kids: First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes, illustrated by David A. Aguilar
Reviewed by Lysa, New Hampshire Mom
There is a reason National Geographic is the master of all things science. With the National Geographic Little Kids series, they have brought exploring our world to a whole new level. Before I could even open the book, my son took off with it and spent the next week devouring every page. He then proceeded to spout so many facts about space that my head was spinning. He followed that up with drawing pictures of our universe, labeling them correctly and including “fun facts,” and then taking his own “space book” to school to share. His teacher was astounded.
The book is very easy for even beginning readers to decipher. The photographs are gorgeous and fill the pages while opening your child’s mind to the beauty of space. It’s contains only up-to-date information, has fun facts in each chapter, and asks your child questions to encourage interaction between parent and child.
It was both extraordinary and fascinating to see my son so excited about learning! I can’t rave enough about the miracles this little book contains. Want to see a close-up picture of the volcano on Venus called Maat Mons? Rush out now, grab this book, and meet your own space explorer. Fantastic book!
Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Reviewed by Kimberley, New Jersey Mom
This is one irresistible bear that your children will love!
My girls enjoyed reading this short book to each other before bedtime. They especially liked imitating the bear as he settles in to hibernate for the winter. The descriptions of the hairy bear with the no-hair nose had my older daughter laughing as she read out loud to her younger sister. The words are simple and easy to read for beginning readers, and the story line is easy to follow.
I highly recommend this book for young children. They will love the beautiful illustrations and the story of the hairy bear with no hair on his nose. This book will make a wonderful addition to your child’s library!
The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene
Reviewed by Phyllis, Arizona Mom
Babies mistakenly changed at birth is a familiar theme in literature, but few such changes result in the hilarity find in The Princess and the Pig. A poor farmer adopts a piglet and names her Pigmella. When the queen—astounded by a poopy diaper—accidentally drops her baby daughter off the castle top, the farmer’s cart cantilevers the piglet into the queen’s arms, leaving the infant baby girl for the farmer. This scene left my grandson squealing in laughter!
Perspective is everything! The king blames the change on a “bad fairy” while the farmer’s wife attributes the miraculous change to a “good fairy.” The baby is happy in her new home, but the piglet—Priscilla the royal princess—just doesn’t fit in at the castle and its trappings. The farmer glows when he speaks of his daughter, while the king bemoans the attempts to humanize the piglet. However, the king cannot damage his pride by admitting that the piglet is not really a princess.
As both children matured, Pigmella became the ideal young lady, while Priscilla was avoided for her bad manners, looks, and behavior. The farmer finally figured out that a switch had occurred, and being an honest man, tells the king and queen, “It’s the sort of thing that happens all the time in books.”
Read this wonderful book with your child to find out how unlikely events resolve themselves!
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Reviewed by Becky, Illinois Mom
A very funny take on the classic A–Z book, Z Is for Moose will keep your child entertained until the very end.
Moose is very eager to play his part, so he starts showing up at D and keeps popping up, making Zebra, the director, very mad. When M finally arrives, Moose finds he has been replaced, which really upsets him. What he does to O, P, and Q is a quite a site! The mayhem continues for a few more pages until Zebra steps in to save the letters from Moose, but ruins those scenes in the process. However, the surprise ending saves the day.
A memorable story showing that friends ’til the end still has meaning in today’s world, Z Is for Moose will make a great read-aloud for the younger set, who will quickly memorize it as well as ask the question, “What else starts with…?,” and continue the learning moment.
My son loved reading this story alone, and I enjoyed reading it to him, as the antics are quite engaging and the range of emotions are believable.
Titanic: The Story Lives On! by Laura Driscoll, illustrated by Bob Kayganich
Reviewed by Charlene, Florida Mom
This book is simply a must-have for every home, classroom, and library. In a short and easy-to-understand way, the author leads you through the events surrounding the Titanic then and now.
Along with the history of the events that happened on September 1, 1985, you will also learn what is happening with the Titanic today. The book leaves you with many questions for you to answer yourself or discuss with your children and/or class.
Titanic is a story that every generation in my house has some interest in. Everyone in my home has not been able to resist picking up this book, reading it, and sharing their thoughts on the Titanic. My ten-year-old son had many questions about the items found. My seven-year-old daughter had many questions about the night the Titanic sank.
Magic Tree House® #45: A Crazy Day with Cobras by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Sal Murdocca
Reviewed by Rachel, Utah Mom
I just want to start out by saying that when we opened the package, we were ecstatic. My children love Magic Tree House books. They love the adventures that Jack and Annie are whisked away on. I love Mary Pope Osborne’s ability to keep my little readers’/listeners’ interest and imagination throughout the entire story. These are thought-provoking and imagination-building books.
This was an adventure that the kids really got into. My seven-year-old is very intrigued by snakes. He liked the description and details about them. His imagination went wild when Jack and Annie drank the potion that made them small. When we read about them sneaking up on the snakes, he talked about how “crazy” it would be to be small and so close to snakes.
My six-year-old was more interested in Annie saving the elephant. She like that the mommy elephant wanted to be with her baby. To her this was the best and “sweetest” part of the story.
They both like the pictures that are in the story. It helps them to visualize better what the things that are being described look like. It is the perfect balance of pictures and words. I love that I can read it to both of them and they both enjoy it for different reasons.
At the end, I asked my oldest what his favorite part was. He said that it was the description of Taj Mahal. Interesting.
February 7, 2013