Thursday, May 16, 2013
GOLIATH'S SECRET by Bonnie Feuer: I read this one aloud to my six-year-old daughter and at the end, she sighed and said, "What a delightful story." I can't argue with that. Goliath the frog is silent, and several animals who live nearby try to teach him how to talk. In the end, they discover that everyone has his own way of communicating and our differences make us interesting. The illustrations in this one are gorgeous. The animals of the West African forest are drawn with gorgeous detail. The illustrations of the Goliath Frog in motion are particularly notable. A lovely story that has the feel of a classic. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
THE DAY MY MOM CAME TO KINDERGARTEN by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Mike Lowery: This would be a great book for a child entering kindergarten! The child's mom comes to kindergarten one day, and she gets it all wrong. She talks when the teacher is talking, makes huffy noises and slams down the scissors when she has trouble in art, and forgets to take off her outside shoes. The child must walk her mother through the basics of kindergarten rules. In the end, Mom decides that she'll go back to doing what she's best at, and leave kindergarten to her child. For a child nervous about starting school, Mom's introduction to kindergarten rules and activities would be an excellent primer. It walks the child through what to expect in a funny, nonthreatening way. Even when Mom gets it wrong, punishment is not the result; her child teaches her the right way. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
SCAREDY SQUIRREL GOES CAMPING by Melanie Watt: Scaredy Squirrel does not think camping is a great idea; there are simply too many hazards, like zippers and penguins and mosquitoes. So he decides to experience camping by watching television shows about camping. The only problem? He must set out on an adventure in order to plug in his extension cord! Along the way, he faces many of his fears and learns the joys of camping. I read this to my six-year-old daughter, and we are both now Scaredy Squirrel fans. Scaredy Squirrel's charts, maps, and detailed plans are hilarious additions to quirky, fun illustrations. The narrative will appeal to children and adults - my daughter and I were both cracking up. And the lesson, that things are not as scary as they seem, that some things are worth the risk, is hard to argue with. A delightful picture book. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
DYLAN'S DAY by Tim Hutchinson: Dylan, a very busy dog, has many things to smell, chase, and do, but his most important tasks involve the big fat cat that lives next door. Lush, multilayered illustrations invite a closer look at Dylan's surroundings, and the charming narrative follows a dog as he goes about his day. Children who love dogs will adore this one. I read it aloud to my six-year-old daughter, and we were both enchanted. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
MR. FLUX by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Matte Stevens: Martin and his neighbors live in a place where nothing ever changes, and they like it that way. Until Mr. Flux comes to town... I read this picture book aloud to my six-year-old daughter, and we were both delighted with the quirky tale and whimsical illustrations. At the end is a discussion about the 1960s art movement Fluxus, and it opened some discussion about what art is. This would be a great book for a child who fears change, or is about to experience a major change. Martin and his neighbors learn that change is not necessarily a bad thing. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Friday, March 29, 2013
DAISY'S DEFINING DAY by Sandra V. Feder, illustrated by Susan Mitchell: I read this early chapter book with my six-year-old daughter. We read alternating pages to each other. Daisy loves words. She keeps a journal with lists of her favorite rhyming words, cloud words, perfectly paired words, and more. One word pair she does NOT like was discovered by Grant: Lazy Daisy. She loathes this nickname. Meanwhile, Daisy is delighted when her teacher introduces the class to alliteration. She is inspired to create a new name for herself, one so delightful that it will overshadow the hated "Lazy Daisy." She hits on "Dynamite Dramatic Determined Dazzling Daisy," and requests that everyone call her that from now on. Her parents are good-natured about this (her father asks her to write it down so he can remember it) and her best friend, Emma, is willing (although Daisy notices Emma talks to her less when she has to use the long version of her name). In the end, Daisy sees the usefulness of a short, easy to remember name. The wordplay in this book is just fun. At the end of the book, Daisy's word lists are included. Daisy's desire to be called something other than Lazy Daisy is understandable, and her alliterative adventure to find the perfect name is charming. When she realizes that her long name is causing problems, she rethinks it. She also has a younger sister, Lily, and patiently teaches her to ride a bicycle, a sweet addition to the story. Grant's selection of Lazy Daisy as a nickname also opens up discussion about name-calling and nicknames (Grant does not mean to be insulting to Daisy). An excellent chapter book for early readers. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Booking Through Thursday can be found right here. Movies have a rating system to help guide the consumer weed out adult/violent/inappropriate kinds of films. Video games do, too. Do you think BOOKS should have a ratings system? I really, really don't. I believe that parents should pay attention to their children's reading, and in some cases screen (a friend once asked me, "How old do you think a girl should be to read Twilight?" and I replied, "About 28") and definitely discuss, but I don't like the "slap a rating on it" approach. It oversimplifies. And in the case of the MPAA, let's look at the ridiculousness of a bit of nudity warranting a stricter rating than, say, a character gunning down dozens of people. I think that parents should be tuned in to what their children are reading, but I don't know that a rating system is at all helpful. There have been books I've picked up without knowing they were Christian fiction, and I wished there had been a warning label, so I do think an accurate synopsis/teaser is a good thing. My daughter is only six, but as she gets older and reads more independently, I plan to keep an eye on her reading, not to censor, but to ensure we discuss complex issues that may come up. I don't see how an outside agency's opinion really helps me do that.
WILLOW FINDS A WAY by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells: Kristabelle is a bully. She makes a list of invitees to her fabulous birthday party and then makes demands, crossing names off her list when they fail to act according to her whims. Willow is not immediately the target of Kristabelle's bullying, but she knows she should say something when Kristabelle is mean to her friends. But she's so excited about the birthday party, and she doesn't want her name crossed out! Eventually, Willow finds a creative way to stand up to Kristabelle, who learns an important lesson. This is a sweet picture book about bullying. Having Willow as a bystander makes for a great discussion with your child about excluding others and standing up when someone else is being bullied. My six-year-old daughter and I both enjoyed this thoughtful look at bullying. Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.