Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is There A Dog In This Book? by Viviane Schwarz

Is There A Dog In This Book
Viviane Schwarz
Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
            This enchanting tale is told entirely by three cats.  They invite the reader to help them search for the dreaded dog they fear.  Flaps are lifted to move the couch, lift the piano lid, open the closet, search a suitcase and more!  The flaps are cleverly situated to even resemble shrinking back in fear of the dog and eventually patting the dog.  Through the fun of flaps a tender tale is woven of a fear enemy becoming a friend.

But it doesn’t end there.  The dog gets lost and the cats are frantic to find their new-found buddy?  The reader is asked:  Can you help?  More flaps are lifted here and there throughout the house in a mad hunt for the dog.   At the end of the book the child is invited to make friends with the dog too.

Bubble thoughts are above the cats’ heads to convey the cats thoughts and words to the reader.  Bright colors, expression filled faces and a variety of intricately drawn hiding places fill this fun and warmly told tale.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

There’s A Mouse Hiding In This Book by Benjamin Bird

There’s A Mouse Hiding In This Book
Benjamin Bird
Illustrated by Benjamin Bird
            In typical Tom and Jerry hijinks this book brings to life a lively game of hide and seek.  Children will delight in the hilarious ways that Jerry outwits Tom every time.  From run- ins with the local bulldog to paint spills and booby trapped mousetraps children will be laughing out loud at the fun this story portrays. 
Text is minimal.  The illustrations tell the story bright colors and lots of details on each page.  Children will be anxious to turn each page to see what will happen next whether they are rooting for Tom or for Jerry to win in this thrilling hide and seek adventure.

The familiar faces of Tom and Jerry will draw young children into this book.  The book itself is large enough for the details illustrations and yet not too big so that it is still easily handled by young children.  This will be a book a child will enjoy looking at over and over.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Brown Bear’s Dream by YunYeong Kim

Brown Bear’s Dream
YunYeong Kim
Illustrated by KyeMahn Kim
            When Brown Bear wakes up from his long winter’s nap it is springtime.  Brown Bear is ready for adventure!  But everything Brown Bear thinks of to do for an adventure is impossible for a bear as big as he is.  Fortunately for Brown Bear he makes a friend of Grandfather Beaver.  Grandfather Beaver helps him believe in his dreams and so the true adventure begins when Grandfather Beaver volunteers to give Brown Bear swimming lessons. 
This humorous book will have you rooting for Brown Bear all the way as he lives his dream.  The story explains that dream won’t become reality unless you stick with your dream.  Through the storyline a child learns how to set goals for a dream, how one successful attainment leads to another and another.  Grandfather Beaver teaches Brown Bear that learning as much about your dream as you can helps it come true.  Through Brown Bear’s struggles the reader is taught patience and perseverance even when it feels impossible.

The adorable illustrations add to the charm of this sweet story of dreams coming true.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Rescue Princesses – The Rainbow Opal by Paula Harrison

The Rescue Princesses – The Rainbow Opal
Paula Harrison
Illustrated by Paula Harrison
            Princess Summer is excited to have her friends Princess Rosalind, Princess Maya and Princess Lottie visit her.  The four princesses are part of a secret club to help rescue animals.  The girls have come to Princess Summer’s home to help her celebrate her tenth birthday.  Part of the celebration involves a portrait painted of Princess Summer in a lacy gown and beautiful rainbow opal pendant.
The princesses explain the area around Princess Summer’s home.  They enjoy seeing brightly colored birds and watching a family of brush tailed opossums.  They discovered a tiny baby koala that seems to be injured or sick. 

The rest of the story details ways the princesses tried to help the sick baby koala.  Their efforts range from flying in a wild animal veterinarian to visiting a magic river.  The book is a pleasant mix of practical animal rescue techniques and touches of whimsy and fantasy.  The princesses in this book are not helpless damsels in distress however.  They are capable girls who know how to seek and obtain help when needed.  They are good role models for young girls reading this story because they find ways out of their own dilemmas.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Puckster’s New Hockey Teammate by Loran Shultz Nicholson

Puckster’s New Hockey Teammate
Loran Shultz Nicholson
Illustrated by Kelly Findley
Team Canada is down 2-1 and one of their key players is not feeling well.  As he misses a pass and falls down in fatigue Puckster realizes that a replacement is needed.  This is when he notices someone new playing outside the arena and a plan forms in Puckster’s mind.
This story describes sportsmanship in a way a child can understand.  Through the patience of team members to teach Panda the rules of hockey as well as the moves we see a team spirit.  Winning isn’t the goal of the team or of this story.  Doing your best, supporting other team members, being a gracious loser and enjoying the game are all objectives brought out in a fun way through the text. 
The text uses real hockey jargon and describes well the aspects of the game.  It also explains why you need to be at top form to play well because hockey is a demanding sport.  Reading this story a child will understand more why all members of a sports team are needed and valuable not just the players that are often highlighted in sports news.

The story absolutely does not drag.  It is just the right length for young readers to get the full story but not become bogged down with too much information.  The illustrations have accurate details that will delight hockey fans.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Numeralia by Jorge Lujan

Jorge Lujan
Illustrated by Isol
            This counting book has a flare for the imagination.  Rather than just a basic counting book of one to ten objects this books takes you beyond what you see on the page to your mind’s eye.  Instead of common objects a child would count each page has an unusual item to count such as “eight for sand counting out the hours” and “five for secret creatures in a glove”.  The illustration leaves a mystery or question with it.  The child is encouraged to imagine more as the text is read.
The illustrations themselves are not typical of most counting books for young children.  There is a very modern artistic tone to the way the colors are used and the people are drawn.

For the child that is chronological young but mentally in tune to deeper thoughts I would recommend this book.  If you are looking for a book that is very different and thought provoking this book will be the perfect fit.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist

This is the most creative, heart-warming books for children about God’s love I’ve ever read.  Glenys Nellist is a genius! She has captured the story of the great controversy and God’s gift of salvation to perfectly for children.  She begins at the beginning with Creation and moves through various key stories in the Old Testament: Noah, Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel, Jonah.  She moves onto the story of Jesus from his birth to his death and resurrection.

Each story is illustrated in gorgeous detail by Sophie Allsopp.  At the top of each page is the Bible reference where the story can be found.  On the bottom of each page is a Bible verse that reflects the theme of the story.  Then each story has a “letter” from God, a flap that the child can open.  The letter inside is written in kid-friendly language, easy to understand but containing spiritual insights gleaned from the Bible story on that page.

The best part is the last page when the child’s letter invites him/her to join God’s family.  The child is invited to send his/her own letter to God.  And the sweet part is the author tells the children there’s no need to mail their letter, God can read it right there in the book.

I received this book from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

We All Do Something Well by Shelley Rotner & Sheila Kelly

We All Do Something Well
Shelley Rotner & Sheila Kelly, EdD
Photographs by Shelly Rotner
            This is an amazing book that treats children with dignity.  In straight forward, positive text it tells the story of what a child may do well.  It also gives examples of many different types of activities that a child may excel in.  The unique part of this book is it also explains that a child may not know what they are good at yet.  And it takes time to do anything well and it takes effort.  While showing various things different children do well the text reassures that it is okay to be different.  It is acceptable to have different things that each child does well.  The text reassures the child that one thing and one person is not more important than another.
The photographs of children perfectly compliment this book.  The expressions of concentration, wonder, confusion or delight on the children’s faces help convey the meaning of the words. 

This is a very positive book that could be used equally in the home or classroom.  It could easily be used as a springboard for a Career Fair at school or simply to get a child interested in new ventures in his personal life.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Catowoman Counting by Benjamin Bird & Gregg Schigiel

Catwoman Counting
Benjamin Bird & Gregg Schigiel
Illustrated by Benjamin Bird & Gregg Schigiel
            Catwoman is out for adventures in this unique counting book.  Just right for beginners in counting from one to ten the high jinx of Catwoman’s crafty plan will keep them entertained.  The book begins with Catwoman taking one bag of precious jewels.  The following pages are nothing but genius as they detail her steps to escape such as “listening with two ears”, and “fleeing across four rooftops.”  But never fear good does triumph over evil as Batman takes the scene as he “spots six footprints” and eventually apprehends her.
            This book has the right amount of suspense with assurances along the way that the good guys will win in the end.  Boys and girls alike will enjoy the superheroes’ adventures. 

Bright, bold colors and the large sized board book make it a hit.  The book can still be easily held in the lap or placed on the floor for easy turning of pages. 

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Maisy's Christmas Tree by Lucy Cousins

Maisy’s Christmas Tree
Lucy Cousins
Illustrated by Lucy Cousins
            Maisy the mouse gathers her friends to help her decorate her Christmas tree.  Each friend in turn selects a special decoration and adds it to the tree.  As the animal friends add their decorative touch to Maisy’s tree her look of delight demonstrates Maisy’s value of each friend.
            Young children will enjoy seeing each of Maisy’s friends.  They will enjoy seeing the brightly illustrated pages in bold colors.  The smiles on Maisy and her friends’ faces add a warmth to this simple tale.  The last page has all the friends gathered together singing carols for a happy conclusion to this story.

This sturdy board book is easy for little hands to hold and turn the pages.  The illustrations are simple and yet have some details that can lead to discussions with young children.  As in all the Maisy books, Maisy never leaves out her friends but includes all in the merriment. 

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Friendship Quilt by Cecil Kim

Friendship Quilt
Cecil Kim
Illustrated by Hajin Jeong
Hank’s friend Raddie is sad because her grandmother has died.  Hank does his best to try and make Raddie happy again but her sadness is too deep.  Then Hank and his friends begin to make a friendship/comfort quilt.  Each little mouse friend brings a patch from a piece of material that has special meaning to her.  When the quilt is present to Raddie each friends shares about their patch on the quilt.  As the memories are shared Hank reminds Raddie of all her special memories with her grandmother.  Raddie determines to make more happy memories with her friends.
This story is a look at grief, sympathy and recovery from a child’s point of view.  The dialogue between the mouse friends describes stages of grief and how others can be supportive during this time.  It also assures children that it is okay to be sad and that they will survive this time of grief and move on to happy times again.
The last page in the book gives idea on how to make friendship/sympathy/memory quilts from paper and ribbons.  There is also a website listed for ideas that the adult reading the book can access for more ideas on activities to help a child dealing with grief.

Cecil Kim has taken a tough topic and put it into a story with characters a child can see as friends.  She creates a sense of community in her story and shows how we can help each other in sad times. Hajin Jeong’s illustrations add a sweet touch to the text. 

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pants for Chuck by Pat Schories

Pants for Chuck
Pat Schories
Illustrated by Pat Schories
Chuck the woodchuck gets advice from his friends but he does not listen.  This results in a hilarious tale that is sure to delight young children.  When it seems that disaster has struck we see that Chuck really has learned his lesson and that he can go on to have more fun. 
Beginning readers will find the repeating text reassuring as they grasp the new vocabulary to read on their own. The simple repetitive text in this book makes it an easy read for beginning readers however first graders might find the story line a bit too predictable and not challenging enough.

For younger children in the age range of 3 to 5 years the animal antics and humor keep them engaged in the story.  The drawings of the animal friends and their camaraderie  will appeal to young children.  Young children will enjoy the repeating text as they join in to say the lines.  

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bruno and Titch by Sheena Dempsey

Bruno and Titch
The Tale of a Boy and His Guinea Pig
Sheena Dempsey
Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey
            Titch is a lonely guinea pig waiting for someone to love him.  When Bruno buys him from the pet store and brings him home the adventures begin.  Titch learns that being best friends doesn’t always mean you both like the same things.
            Sheena Dempsey has created a tender friendship story with times of wonder and suspense.  As children listen to this story they will learn about the meaning of compromise, unselfishness and loyalty among friends.  This is a book that gives a warm feeling of belonging.  Sheena Dempsey’s illustrations match Bruno’s excitement of creating fun activities for his beloved pet and Titch’s wonder at discovering them. 

            Adults and children will enjoy reading this book and sharing the deeper meaning behind this tender story.  This book could be used in the classroom as a discussion starter on ways to get along with friends, ways to show you care, how to share or compromise and what makes someone a true friend.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Owls by Laura Marsh

Owls – National Geographic Kids
Laura Marsh
Photography by Laura Marsh
            Owls do not all look alike.  In fact owls have many different habitats and ways of surviving.  Come explore this book to see what you thought you knew about owls and be surprised by new facts and insights into these extraordinary creatures.
            Laura Marsh has captured the beauty and magnificent of owls in this book filled with gorgeous photographs.  This is a level one reader so beginner readers will enjoy exploring this nature book on their own.  There are questions and answers that an adult could use as discussion starters for a shared reading time with a young child.
            The cover photo with the snowy owl flying towards the reader is an eye catcher.  Each photo inside is exquisite.  Each page gives information on a part of an owl’s life such as how mothers care for their young, ways of protection, wing span, types of talons, hunting skills, types of hoots, etc.  Photos are enhanced by boxed comments giving details to a specific part of the owl’s anatomy.

            This book is designed for the early reader but younger and older children will enjoy it for the photography.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Visit to Dr. Duck by Rosemary Wells

A Visit to Dr. Duck
Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Rosemary Wells
Felix eats too many chocolates and stays up past his bedtime.  In the morning he feels sick.  His mother tries a variety of home remedies before deciding that Felix needs to visit Dr. Duck.  Children will delight in finding out with Felix that a doctor visit doesn’t have to be scary at all.
This is a board book which makes it easy for toddlers to grip and turn pages while the story line is detailed enough to intrigue preschool children.  The story is cleverly designed to entertain and inform at the same time.  From the moment Felix eats too much till his visit with Dr. Duck the child is shown how a parent takes care of her child.  Then it moves into what a doctor would do to help a sick child.  This book is a reassuring and fun way to help children not have anxiety about being sick or trips to the doctor.

The illustrations are colorful and characters express emotions and thoughts that young children can relate to.  The pictures tell the story but the text adds more meaning for older children. 

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.