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Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Mom & Dad Squad Featured
March Mom & Dad Squad Reviews

HONEYBEE

Duck’s Easter Egg Hunt by Dawn Richards, illustrated by Heidi D’hamers
Reviewed by JJ, Virginia Mom

My children and I were happy to receive Duck’s Easter Egg Hunt. My daughter LOVES Easter egg hunts, so this book was a PERFECT fit for her. My two-year-old son gave it a thumbs up as well.

I liked the story because it was complex enough to entertain my five-year-old daughter, but it had just the right amount of type on each page to keep from overwhelming my fidgety two-year-old son.

My children LOVED searching for the eggs in the story best. Their happy cries of “there it is!” rang throughout our living room as we sat in our big brown easy chair. They scoured the pages for hidden eggs while each perched on one of my knees.

We all enjoyed Duck’s colorful designs for her Easter eggs. The patterns of stripes, zigzags, and dots made the Easter eggs pop off each page of the story.

The community of helpful hedgehogs, moles, cats, and rabbits was delightfully drawn. As Duck waits for her egg to hatch, she decides to decorate eggs for her neighbor’s children. Organizing the hunt passes the time for her. Unfortunately, Duck gets caught up in the moment and accidently hides HER egg by mistake!

This heartwarming tale of good deeds coming full circle finds the community banding together to find Duck’s missing egg. Amid the hunting hoopla Duck’s egg is safely returned to her arms and hatches just in time for the Easter parade.

We hope you’ll take the time to search out Duck’s Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a great find!

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Guess Who, Mickey!
Reviewed by Jennie, Ohio Mom

Everyone knows Mickey Mouse. In the book Guess Who, Mickey! children can lift flaps and discover more familiar characters from the popular children’s show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The hardback book is constructed of sturdy paperboard pages and filled with brightly colored pictures of the gang. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and additional animal friends spend time on a farm, out driving, sailing, and picnicking in this tale. There is even a flap on the front cover hiding Chip and Dale. My children loved trying to guess which characters were hiding under each flap. The short length of the prose on each spread kept them engaged too. Gentle rhyming encourages kids to read right along. The book concludes with a surprise pop-up that my son loved, because he thought it looked like Donald Duck danced as the book was opened further. Overall a very fun read that kids will be asking for again and again.

 

Ten Busy Buzzy Bugs by Ruth Galloway
Reviewed by Adam, Wisconsin Dad

This one arrived at our house in the middle of a snowstorm; P seemed plenty excited to sit and read this sequential countdown book that evening. It consists of a simple premise: ten bees traveling through a forest discover distractions (mostly cutely drawn animals and plants) and peel off, one per page, until they all reunite with the lonely single bee on the very last panel, where they all feast on hyacinth nectar. Huzzah!

At three and a half, P is starting to want a little more plot in her books than 10BBB provided; she’s asked for it only once or twice since the first read, but at least still seems to enjoy the detailed jungle pictures. It would probably be best for a kid just getting a grasp on counting and traditional jungle animals

 

No More Biting for Billy Goat! by Bernette Ford, illustrated by Sam Williams
Reviewed by Cathy, Georgia Mom

If you have a child who hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with frustration and instead bites others, this book would be a great addition to your library! It would also be perfect for preschool and kindergarten teachers to have. Sometimes kids just don’t know how to express their feelings, and instead of using words or walking away, they bite.

In the book No More Biting for Billy Goat! by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams, Billy goes to school for the first time. He doesn’t want to go to school and when he arrives, he’s lonely. He sees some friends playing a game with a big ball and wants to join in. However, with him not knowing how to engage with others, his only way to get their attention is to bite. This happens again and again and in the end, he feels horrible, and so do his classmates.

With a little help from Ducky, he learns that teeth are for biting food, not for biting friends. The message is loud and clear and easy for children to understand. The pictures are really cute and the text is nice and big. This book was a great reminder for my almost-three-year-old that we never bite others. I’m certain that other preschoolers would enjoy it, and especially those who sometimes bite their friends.

 

FIREFLY

I’m Fast! by Kate and Jim McMullan
Reviewed by Paul, New York Dad

Cate and I read I’m Fast! by Kate and Jim McMullan. Cate liked the art, and stopped me a few times throughout the book to examine what was going on in the scene. I don’t know that she was too interested in the story itself, though. It has a little bit of an unusual style that made it difficult to read, and I’m sure that came through to her as she listened. At times it seemed as though the words were supposed to rhyme or follow some sort of rhythm, but then they just went in a different direction and made for an awkward reading.

I think Cate was initially interested in it because she thought it was going to be a Disney Cars book, but by the time we got part of the way into it and she realized that it wasn’t, she started losing interest. She didn’t ask for a second read-through or even pick it up to flip through herself when we were done.

It might have been more of a hit with a kid who’s more interested in cars and trains, but for Cate, it fell a little flat.

 

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley
Reviewed by Lysa, New Hampshire Mom

This is a sweet little book! It is an adorable story about friends with nice illustrations and it shows children how life changes us. My seven-year-old read it to my three-year-old and they both fretted while the caterpillar was cocooned and giggled at the end when the beautiful silk moth emerged and found his friend Bear. It was a simple story but with a very sweet message.

 

Easter Parade! by Lily Carr, illustrated by Kirsten Richards
Reviewed by Kimberley, New Jersey Mom

With the rhyming text and colorful illustrations, my children enjoyed reading this short book to each other. The rhymes are witty and catchy and will have you hopping along with your children to follow this very exciting Easter parade. The words are simple and easy to read for emergent readers, and the storyline 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!

 

Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Reviewed by Mina, Oregon Mom

We really enjoyed reading Susan Middleton Elya’s book Rubia and the Three Osos. It was a delightful twist on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” As a parent, what I really liked was that the book incorporates Spanish words and has a glossary in the back. My boys were able to figure out words such as: sopa, silla, and cama. The illustrations by Melissa Sweet are perfecto. What is unique about this story (and different from the classic Goldilocks) is that Rubia returns to the casita of the Osos with sopa and glue to fix the baby oso’s silla. Not only does this book teach Spanish without being obvious about it, it teaches responsibility when you realize you’ve done something wrong. What more can a parent ask for in a book?

 

SEESAW

Snail Brings the Mail by Russell Punter, illustrated by Fred Blunt
Reviewed by Phyllis, Arizona Mom

This convivial book matches a snail with a most unexpected job—mail delivery. Snail knows that his work brings the delights of letters from family and gifts from friends. Everyone who sees him deliver the mail recognizes how much determination it takes for Snail to accomplish his goals. After all, snails are very slow! But all of the animals remain patient, even when he arrives after dark.

When Snail has a really bad day full of mishaps and ghastly weather, he knows that he cannot just give up. Mouse’s yard sale presents a mechanical solution to Snail’s problem, full of speed and predictability. These advantages overcome Snail’s problems in a most delightful way.

You will be searching for signs of Snail mail delivery in your yard after reading this book. Never have more delightful, motivated characters appeared in a patch of grass. And Snail sets an example for all, inspiring us with his drive, conviction, and ever-present smile. Please read Snail Brings the Mail soon with a child you love!

 

The Legend of Jelly Bean and the Unbreakable Egg by Joe Troiano, illustrated by Susan Banta
Reviewed by Christina, Mississippi Mom

We always enjoy a good book written in verse. It is fun to read aloud, and fun to listen when the words rhyme and flow easily. The Legend of Jelly Bean and the Unbreakable Egg by Joe Troiano is just such a book. It is the story of six eggs hatching in a barn on a farm. Five little chicks manage to break out of their eggs, but the sixth chick just can’t get out of her shell. The other five chicks try everything they can think of to help their sibling, but that egg just is unbreakable! Finally, the farmer comes and takes the egg away. The rest of the story chronicles the adventures of the five chicks trying to help the sixth chick hatch. After a few mishaps involving Easter egg dye, the chick family decides to just keep their late-hatching egg warm and see what happens. The whole barnyard is surprised by what happens next!

My boys enjoyed this book. They enjoyed trying to help the chicks figure out how to help Egg #6 hatch. They enjoyed all the colors of Easter egg dye and the many flowers on the farm. They especially were tickled by what happens when the last egg finally hatches. I was inspired by the author’s note at the front of the book—it made me want to host my own neighborhood Easter egg hunt!

 

Ballerina Swan by Allegra Kent, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Reviewed by Beckie, Illinois Mom

The title of the book tells it all—this is a story of a ballerina swan!

The book opens with a glossary of ballet terms, with pronunciations and definitions, which is very nice.

The ink-and-watercolor artwork grabs the reader from the cover, and only gets better with each turn of the page.

The story is about a swan that lives outside a ballet studio. Sophie, the swan, longs to dance, and in this story, we follow her on her amazing journey from ledge to stage, and all of the trials and tribulations in between.

Parents of boys, don’t be discouraged by the title—this is a great read for both boys and girls. There’s a boy and a man in the story, and my son really enjoyed reading it. Sophie is a very determined and dedicated, and this story shows that anything is possible if you just stick with it.

 

Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen
Reviewed by Kelli, Pennsylvania Mom

Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit is a fun read full of clever and creative rhyme! The cover art alone sparked my kids’ interest—a giant robot in the middle of a baseball field—how cool is that? My six-year-old son loves anything to do with sports, robots, or outer space so he couldn’t wait to read it. Being in first grade now, he loves to take turns reading with me. Although there are some challenging words in this story, he still tries sounding them out and learns to read new words in the process.

This “cute story,” as my eight-year-old daughter called it, is also a great reminder that even if you strike out at baseball (or other things in life), you just might be really good at something else. Everyone has different strengths, talents, and interests. Randy Riley may not have been the star player of the team, but in this story, he was still able to shine!

 

LUCKY

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! by Stephen McCranie
Reviewed by Charlene, Florida Mom

If your kids love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants series, they will love this new book.

Mal and Chad take you on an exciting adventure where you will have the biggest, bestest time ever. After their teacher asks her class what they want to be when they grow up, Mal and his talking dog, Chad, work their way through the chapters of this book trying to find out the answer to this question. While looking for a job they might want, they soon discover that finding a job will not answer who they want to be when they grow up, it will only answer what they want to do. They will find out that being the person you want to be is more important than getting the job they want.

This fun adventure has a meaningful ending that you and your child will enjoy. They will be asking for more from Mal and Chad as soon as they close this book.

 

National Geographic Kids Chapters: Crocodile Encounters! by Brady Barr with Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld       
Reviewed by Bruce, Michigan Dad

In Crocodile Encounters! kids will meet Brady Barr, a zoologist that loves working with crocodiles. This action-packed book is filled with fun facts sure to keep everyone turning pages. Parents, teachers, and kids will love the true stories, photos, and color-coded chapters. Brady has stories from traveling all over the world studying crocodiles and teaching kids about their behavior and habitat. My daughter really liked that some of his best ideas to study and get close to crocodiles have come from kids. He even teams up with National Geographic to disguise himself as a croc to collect more information about their behavior. Everything you would ever want to know about crocodiles from teeth to tails is included in this sensational yet factual book! The end even gives a sneak peek into National Geographic’s Tiger in Trouble!

 

Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires
Reviewed by Kevin, Michigan Dad

Our family has recently adopted a cat, so any book with a feline has the potential to make us purr with delight. Binky the Space Cat made my youngest daughter grin like the Cheshire Cat after every page! Cat lovers will instantly relate to the adventures of Binky, a pet determined to protect his humans from the dastardly aliens (insects) invading their home. Luckily Binky has officially become a “space cat” and is not only learning what it takes to defend his space station (home) but also how to build a rocket to go on the offensive. The narrator weaves a story with an old-time radio feel, while Binky’s catlike actions add to the physical drama. Spires has created not only an extremely likeable character, but also a perfect starter graphic novel for the younger elementary aged reader. My youngest daughter loved the detailed art and how it complemented the action on every page. Anyone who has a cat will discover that they, like Binky, probably have what it takes to be a space cat.

 

Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Reviewed by Rachel, Utah Mom

I have enjoyed all the books that have been sent, but must admit that Those Darn Squirrels is one of my favorites. I try to mix teaching moments with our reading time. We try to find books that will help with problems that our children are facing, or teach them a life skill. This book was perfect for both.

My children loved the illustrations in this book. They loved the thought of the birds shaking their wings with Old Man Fookwire’s fist. They enjoyed the ingenuity of the squirrels, as they tried to get all they could from the bird feeders. My two-year-old’s favorite part of the book is when the birds “nah, nah, nah, nah” the squirrels. I was able to keep all of their attention time and again, as we have read this book multiple times.

We talked about how there are people we know who, like Old Man Fookwire, are unhappy in life. There seems to be little in life that makes them happy. It was great to see how easy ideas of how to make these kind of people happy came to them by reading how the squirrels made Old Man Fookwire happy. In the end they decided that we can help people be happy with little acts of kindness. They better understand that sometimes people just need to know that they are thought about by someone else. Even if it was someone they thought they disliked.

 

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March 14, 2013