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Results 1 - 25 of 121
1. #662 – Hatch, Little Egg by Édouard Manceau

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Hatch, Little Egg

Written & Illustrated by Édouard Manceau
Owlkids Books 9/15/2014
978-1-77147-077-3
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
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“The little bird is hatching! The little bird is hatching!

“Animals gather. Cameras Flash. The excitement builds. Is it happening? How much longer? Will the little bird live up to the crowd’s expectations? Get ready to find out! One . . . two . . . three . . . “

Opening

A reindeer, with a camera slung over his shoulder, rides his motorcycle. Where is he going? I have no idea. “Hey, Jack! Are you going to see the little bird hatch?”

Review

A flat tire has Jack stopped on the side of the road. Reindeer gives Jack a lift. As they travel, the road becomes congested with cars, bikes, and campers. Everyone is excited. Little bird will be hatching soon. With cameras in hand, the visitors walk toward the egg. Even a few bees have flown in for the occasion. I was hoping a couple of the bees would have a teeny-tiny camera. Actually, all the cameras are real, not an iPhone in sight. At the egg, a mouse raises her purse. She wears a black almost square hat and appears to be in charge of the gathering, or maybe she was just the first to arrive. The light-orange egg waits, sitting upright, unaware of the happenings around it.

“Ooooh! Here we go!”
“Hatch little egg!”
“Get ready! One, two, three . . . “

The egg cracks. The crowd’s excitement grows. Eyes widen in anticipation. The top of the egg pops off and the little bird is free. No one takes a picture. No one smiles. Everyone looks surprised, yet no one looks happy. Only the mouse has her arms stretch out as if to say, “Tada!” Someone else says,

“What on earth”

Everyone looks confused. Still, not one flash fills the area around the egg and it’s former tenant. He waves. Asks why no one wants to take his picture. No one moves. The mouse looks angry. One by one, the crowd disperses. They are disappointed, denied the show they came to see. The egg’s occupant is completely free and stands smiling as the crowds go home.  Why, what just happened? Something is wrong, or at least not right.

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The illustrations in Hatch, Little Bird are wonderful. They are very similar to The Race (reviewed here). Bright eyes fill every car and bike. The enthusiasm is palatable. The happy crowd contains the reindeer, Jack (owl), birds, bears, and bees, the mouse, and at least one rhino. Really, it’s a zoo. Kids will love these animals and will understand both, what they came to see and why they leave disappointed.

The humorous twist is totally unexpected. Actually, I had no idea why this egg hatching was so important, at least to the crowd. There will be kids who will want to know how what came out of the egg, got into the egg. It’s a very good question. Slowly, turn the page. Pretty funny, I thought. Kids will think it is funny, too. They may not get the crowd-mentality, or even care, but they will get the twist, or the joke, if you will.

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Kids will like Hatch, Little Bird and be able read it themselves after hearing the story once. They can go off and make up story after story about why they came, and what happened the day the egg hatched. Imaginations free to go wild or mild. This is one reason I like Mr. Manceau’s work. The other reason is the strange creatures he draws. Positioned against a white background, the creatures seem to pop off the page. Hatch, Little Bird is a goofy story with endless possibilities for your child’s imagination. A book they can read by themselves. Hatch, Little Bird, a French import, is a delightful picture book for young children. The multiple layers will tickle adults.

HATCH, LITTLE EGG. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 Éditions Milan. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.
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Purchase Hatch, Little Bird at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite local bookstore.
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Learn more about Hatch, Little Bird HERE
Meet the author/illustrator, Édouard Manceau, at his website:    http://edouardmanceau.blogspot.com/
Find more pictures books that delight at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

Translated by Karen Li

Éditions Milan originally published Hatch, Little Bird in 2013, in France.
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Also by Édouard Manceau

Clic Clac

Clic Clac

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

My Little Library

My Little Library

The Race

The Race

 

 

Reviewed HERE
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 LOOK!  coming in 2015

LOOK! coming in 2015

 

 

 

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hatch little egg
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Éditions Milan, Édouard Manceau, children's book reviews, egg hatching, Hatch, Karen Li, Little Egg, Owlkids Books, picture book, young children

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2. #660 – In This Book by Fani Marceau & Joёlle Jolivet

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In This Book

Written by Fani Marceau
Illustrations by Joёlle Jolivet
Chronicle Books                8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2588-6
Age 3 to 5            94 pages
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“I am in the poppy, said the bee. I am in the nest, said the bird. I am in space, said the planet . . . And there is beauty all around us!

“From bestselling author and illustrator duo Fani Marceau and Joёlle Jolivet comes an art-immersive experience featuring early concepts and themes for infants, toddlers, and anyone delighted by the wonders of everyday life. Inspired by linocut art techniques, the illustrations offer windows onto ordinary objects and experiences. Open the book, delve into the details, and discover animals, people, and surprises large and small gracing each oversized page in this whimsical book that makes the perfect springboard for storytelling, learning, and dreaming.”

Opening

“I am in the poppy, said the bee.”

In This Book_Int_Barette and Nest

Review

At first glance, one would think In This Book about finding the bee in the poppy or the bird in the nest. The objects that are in things are not hard to find. This is not another Where’s Waldo type of art book for children. Far from it. In This Book brings a certain amount of sophistication to the picture book genre for very young children. A total of 52 images fill the pages. A few run the full spread but most just the single page. All begin with the phrase,

“I am in the [blank], said the [object in the blank].”

Repetition is good for this age group, yet reading this first-person phrase over and over and over becomes tiresome. Young children should have no trouble finding the object on each page and will enjoy their success. The biggest problem with the text is a lack of story. The languid phrase “I am in the . . . “is the only connection between each page, each object. Interestingly, the final spread is that of a child asleep in the lap of a sleeping adult. Wonderfully, the adult is dad, who does not get his share of representation in picture books. The child is holding a book—In This Book—and I wonder if the phrasing put them to sleep or if it was simply that time of day.

In This Book_Int_Box and Boat

The illustrations are an art technique called a linocut. For those, like myself, who need an explanation of a linocut, there is a wonderful visual explanation of the art from HERE. Once the illustration is drawn onto a piece of art-grade linoleum, and the artist carves out their image, the result is used somewhat like a stamp to make the prints that became this book. The carved linoleum must be a reverse-cut of the image, meaning any part of the image remaining white is carved out of the linoleum. The areas inked remain untouched. This is a rather simplest explanation. For those who want a better, visual “mini-lesson” in the art of linocut printing, please click HERE. (This is the same link as the above link.)

I think the fun In This Book comes from the stories a reader can make up about each object. Why did the monkey sit in the tree? Why is there only one person on the multi-car train? This spread of the train is a wonder shade of purple in a backdrop of green and purple. It looks to be a super train or a bullet train. Where might it be doing? The number of questions and stories imaginable are endless for each object. Those question, or simply talking about the illustrations, can further stimulate each child’s imagination and sense of wonder. For every reading, the stories can change, making In This Book a never-ending adventure.

In This Book_Int_Arms

IN THIS BOOK. Text copyright © 2012 by Fani Marceau. Illustrations © 2012 by Joёlle Jolivet. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
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Purchase a copy of In This Book at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

In This Book, originally published in France, in 2012 by hélium, is entitled, Dans le livre.

Learn more about In This Book HERE.
Meet the author, Fani Marceau, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Joёlle Jolivet, at her website:
Find additional picture books at the Chronicle Books’ website:   http://www.chroniclekids.com/
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Also by Fani Marceau

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

My Big Book of Colours

My Big Book of Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Joёlle Jolivet

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

365 Penguins

365 Penguins

Rapido's Next Stop

Rapido’s Next Stop

Oops!

Oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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in this book
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, children's picture book reviews, Chronicle Books, Dans le livre, Fani Marceau, hélium, In This Book, Joёlle Jolivet, linocut, picture books

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3. #650 – The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey by Gregory E. Bray & Holly J. Bray-Cook

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The “Tail” of a Boy Named Harvey

Written by Gregory E. Bray
Illustrated by Holly J. Bray-Cook
Published by Gregory E. Bray         6/01/2013
978-1-488271465-4
Age 4 to 8              32 pages
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“Harvey is always playing with his pets, but his pets don’t like the way he plays with them. When the tables have turned, will he enjoy the way he’s played with?”

Opening

“Harvey was an energetic boy. He loved playing sports.”

The Story

Harvey is a typical five-year-old. He is rambunctious, energetic, imaginative, and self-centered. Harvey loves playing with his pets: a dog and a cat (names not given). Being a young boy, he does not think of either pet’s feelings or consider how they might like to play. The pets are like large dolls that breathe. Harvey puts clothes on them, uses the cat as a basketball, and dresses both up in military garb when he wants to play army—sending the cat up into the air so it may return in a parachute. To say Harvey plays rough with his companions is a mild way of describing his actions. Harvey plays like a little boy plays, with energy and enthusiasm.

The poor dog and cat are not happy and try to avoid Harvey at all costs. His parents cannot figure out why the pets react so adversely to their son, until the day mom catches Harvey ready to catch his parachuting kitty.

“She sent him to his room after dinner and he was only allowed to come out for school and meals.”

Harvey’s response to his punishment further shows he has no idea what he did to get into so much trouble.

“Stupid pets!”  [Harvey said, while lying in bed.]

Review

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I really like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Subconsciously, Harvey understood what he did was wrong. In his dream, he is the “pet” and the pets “own” him. The pets play with Harvey exactly as he played with them—thrown up in the air, dressed up, and abruptly awakened. Harvey hates this “playing.” The army games the pets play with Harvey terrify him enough to jolt him awake. Mom tells him it is only a dream, but Harvey has other thoughts on his mind,

“I’m sorry guys. I didn’t know how bad I treated you. I promise to play nice with you for now on!”

I like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey because animal abuse starts with that first inappropriate action. While most kids do not continue on abusing animals—and later extend the abuse to humans—the sooner they learn to respect their pets, the faster they will learn to respect other people and themselves. Harvey’s self-centeredness, typical for his age, opened up a notch with his revelation. I love that Harvey came to this realization mainly by himself, though he would have gotten there much slower had mom not punished him. This is a perfect example of how kids learn. The author’s inspiration for the book came in part from his son Liam and their cat Harvey. The author got it right.

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Now, what I do not like about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. I am not a fan of the 8 x 8 format mainly because little hands need the stronger pages of a traditional picture book format. A couple of pages came loose from the binding in my copy. The main problem with the story is the lack of action. The narrator tells us 90 percent or more of what is happening instead of letting the characters do this. The story would be more engaging had this happened. The reader would also be able to add to the story by adopting character voices and further charm their child. Please remember the key maxim: Show not Tell.

The illustrations are good, not traditional looking picture book illustrations, but nicely done. The pets are great at showing their dislike through facial expressions, though my cat would have simply hissed or bit, then run away. When the pets do run away, their fast retreat is nicely illustrated. The illustrator made sure we understood Harvey’s point of view drastically changes when he becomes the pet. The dog and cat (wish they had names) are adorable. Nice job with the little details I love so much.

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I think kids will like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Young kids will appreciate the story and laugh at Harvey’s predicament. Those with pets will quickly learn from Harvey and that is a great thing to happen. Classrooms with a pet would do well to read this story, as would any child soon to get their first pet. The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey is the author’s, and the illustrator’s, first children’s book. They both did a nice job bringing the story of Harvey (the cat or the boy, I am no longer sure which) to life.

THE TAIL OF A BOY NAMED HARVEY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gregory E. Bray. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Holly J. Bray-Cook. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gregory E. Bray, Sacramento, CA.

For a young lad’s critique, click HERE

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Purchase The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey at Amazon—B&N—CreateSpace—Gregory Bray—your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey HERE

Meet the author, Gregory E. Bray, at his blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Meet the illustrator, Holly J. Bray-Cook, at her website:

Gregory E. Bray published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

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tail of a boy named harvey

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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A Little about Gregory E. Bray

gregory e bray authorx

“Gregory E Bray (1967-present) was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where he still resides He was a film major in college who now works in the IT industry. He has written scripts for corporate videos and shorts and uses humor in everything he writes. He uses his humor in this, his first children’s book, to help get the books message out to children. His inspiration for writing this children’s book comes from his wife Lita, their son Liam and their cat Harvey.”

How to Find Gregory E. Bray

Website:

Blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/gregoryebray

Goodreads Author Page:   https://www.goodreads.com/geb1967

Amazon Author’s Page:    amazon.com/author/gregorybray


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: be kind to pets, cats, children's book reviews, dogs, Gregory E. Bray, Holly J. Bray-Cook, imagination, pets, picture books, relationships, respect

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4. #653 – Woodland LItter Critters ABC by Patience and Robert Mason

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

wood;and llitter critters ABCx

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Woodland Litter Critters ABC

Written by Patience Mason
Illustrated by Robert Mason
Patience Press 6/01/2014
978-1-892220-10-3
Age 2 to 5 32 pages
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“The Litter Critters were all found hiding by Patience Mason. As they gather to watch the sunset at the shady river the Litter critters introduce young children to the alphabet.”

Opening

“Near the shady river at the end of the day, Andy Acorncap ambled along.”

The Story

Here is how it happens: Clarice the Caterpillar is long and sleek and singing a song as she watches the sun set. Greta the Giant Gnat buzzes as Luisa and Leif Liveoak, with their long legs and huge feet, dance and put on a show. I doubt anyone is looking at the Nut Family, the bunch of show-offs. Certainly not Rupert the Reindeer, he is too shy to look at anyone. Sarah Sweetgumball, who only wants to fly, keeps both her eyes upon one-eyed Tilly Thistlebottom instead of the setting sun. Tilly likes to bounce around the ground.

Wallie the Walking stick towers over the Volt Vines’ family, whose ties are a tangled mess. Blue, one-eyed Xat and his master Xerxes the Xenos are the only foreigners, having flow in from the stars or maybe even Mars. Finally, everyone gathers around Zippy the Zygodactyl to watch the sun make its final descent and disappear. And that is how it happens most every evening.

FG

Review

As the day slowly winds down, various woodland creatures—litter critters—watch the sun set. From Andy Acorncap to Zippy the Zygodactyl, various critters from A to Z teach young children their ABC’s and a little about creativity. The author created each of these critters from various pieces of the woods that fall upon the ground, hence “litter” critters. Each is remarkably lifelike in appearance.

These critters are cute with their twig arms and legs, acorn bodies, and various decorations. Most of us walk over these cast-off pieces, never thinking at all about the possibility these could be critters. Patience Mason doesn’t think this way. Instead of stepping on the twigs and nuts, leaves and scattered seeds, she sees hiding woodland critters waiting for her to pick them up and give them life once more. These critters look real. Patience has done a remarkable job putting each together with imagination and creativity. Any child could do the same, though not at her level of artistry. Yet, with a little help, kids could create all sorts of litter critters never before seen. There is no artificial coloring added to any critter. Critters like Mike Magnoliacone and Greta the Giant Gnat, get their color naturally—Mike from magnolia cone seeds; Greta from sparkleberry leaves.

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An unusual feature in Woodland Litter Critters ABC, aside from all the critters, is the ABC’s are not only in upper case, as in every other ABC book, but also in lower case. Children can walk into their first day of school knowing both and be ahead of the class.

I think kids will enjoy looking at each critter, trying to find them in subsequent pages, and possibly making their own. In fact, I cannot imagine any child who reads Woodland Litter Critters ABC not wanting to make its own critters. For families that have a creative day, this is an ideal book. The possibilities are endless. While this is not a craft book, there are certainly many ideas represented for kids to follow or mix up. Woodland Litter Critters ABC is the most imaginative and creative ABC book I have ever seen. The pages are not thick as in most ABC books, but torn pages are worth the risk to introduce your child to the likes of Ulysses Unicorn and Elvis Evergreen (with wife Elvira).

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WOODLAND LITTER CRITTERS ABC. Text copyright © 2014 by Patience Mason. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Robert Mason. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Patience Press, High Springs, FL.

Purchase Woodland Litter Critters ABC at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPatience Press—your favorite bookstore.

See the individual creatures of Woodland Litter Critters ABC HERE
Meet the author, Patience Mason, at her website:   http://patiencepress.com/patience_press/Welcome.html
Meet the illustrator, Robert Mason, at his website:   http://www.robertcmason.com/
Find other books at the Patience Press website:   http://patiencepress.com/

Also by Patience Mason

Recovering from the War

Recovering from the War

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Robert Mason

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Solo

Solo

Weapon

Weapon

 

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woodland litter critter ABC

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: ABC's, children's book reviews, creativity, outdoors, Patience Mason, Patience Press, picture book, Robert Mason, woods

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5. #657 – Jump! by Julia Dweck & Brian Allen

Jump-Cover-Square-600x600x
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Jump!

Written by Julia Dweck
Illustrated by Brian Allen
Sleepy Sheep Productions           9/01/2014
Age 3 to 6                24 pages
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“What’s a Jack-in-the-box without his home? Poor Jack has never jumped out of anything before, but his worn out box. Can Barker, the neighborhood dog, prove to Jack that there are many more exciting jumps outside in the great, big world?”

Opening

“Jack’s little heart began to thump,
As he prepared to take a jump.
He swung around and then he flexed.
His thousandth jump was coming next.

“Then tightening his coils, he sank,
And listened to the music crank.
He sprung out free, no longer trapped.
His rusty spring broke loose and SNAPPED!”

The Story

Cue music, wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . JUMP!

There goes Jack, from jack-in-the-box fame, making his thousandth jump, give or take a few. He‘s flying high. He’s flying a little too high. Oh, my Jack is flying higher than he has ever or should ever fly. He lands with a thump and realizes he jumped clear out of his box, and the box—his home—is gone!

Jack takes off looking for his home. Down the hallway he jumps over all sorts of toys—hula-hoop, little green army guys, jacks (of the spiked kind) and balls of assorted sizes. He rounds the corner and instead of his home, he runs into a big nose dog. Jack grabs a bubble gum wrapper to protect himself, but Badger is not interested in hurting Jack. Badger wants Jack to go outside with him and see all the ways he can jump.

Together, Badger and Jack jump into a twisting jump rope, hop on a trampoline and reach the sky, and then jump off a cliff into a waterfall, bungee jump off a bridge, and ride a jumping horse. Best of all, Badger and Jack jump into a 7-layer chocolate cake. They fall to the bottom and must wait for the birthday girl to set them free. Still, Jack has not found his home. Will he ever figure out where it landed?

Review

Jack is a highflying jack-in-the-box. The illustrations fill each spread from edge to edge with brightly illustrated scenes of Badger and Jack jumping high from the most unusual places (for a dog and a toy). They turn upside down, flip one way then the other, and wear equipment for some of their jumps. Badger is a cute small dog, perfect for Jack. Young children will adore both characters.

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I like the idea of the scene in which Jack grabs the bubble gum wrapper as a shield against a canine attack. The scene is funny. Everyone knows a bubblegum wrapper will not provide protection from an oncoming dog attack. Everyone but Jack, that is. Looking at this illustration, the garbage can does not look like it is on its side. It looks like another wall, or a door, with its flat, unadorned presentation against the flat detail-less wall.

Badger has the biggest, most adorable eyes, set in a face every child and parent will love. Jack conveys much emotion on his tiny face. He is dressed like a medieval joker. As a jack-in-the-box toy, Jack would please any child with his brightly colored hat and clothing. His jumping skills will definitely be the hit of the house should he ever put them on display.

Jack must literally think “out of the box” after losing his box/home. How is he going to jump, and enjoy jumping, without a box to hide in and then jump out of on cue? Badger has the answer and is eager to show Jack how to jump. Badger looks like a puppy and puppies must play. Is that why Badger buried Jack’s box/home? When Jack and Badger return home Badger gives Jack his other half. Jack jumps over and around it but refuses to jump in it. He wants to keep jumping with Badger. With a high five (no fist bump for these two—refreshing), Badger and Jack seal their friendship.

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I like Jump. It follows the prolific Julia Dweck formula: a good story told well with interesting, brightly colored illustrations. She has not gone wrong yet with this formula and has produced one more hit. Young children will love Jump’s story and illustrations. It has loads of humor, wonderful rhyming, and unusual messages for kids so young: think out of the box, expand your horizons, and seeking out friends that are different than you can be rewarding. Jump’s messages are perfect for parents, too, making Jump a truly exceptional story.

JUMP! Text copyright © 2014 by Julia Dweck. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brain Allen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Purchase Jump! at Amazon—Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Learn more about Jump! HERE
**Also includes word games and definitions used in writing stories. There is also an invitation to writer your own Jump! story, and then send your story to Ms. Dweck. See the guidelines at the end of the story.
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Meet the author, Julia Dweck, at her facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/juliadweckbooks
Meet the illustrator, Brian Allen, at his website: http://www.flylanddesigns.com
Find more picture books at the Sleepy Sheep Productions website:  http://sleepysheeppro.com/
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Also by Julia Dweck in 2014

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Eville, USA

Eville, USA

Beewitched

Beewitched

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

 

 

 

 

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Also by Brian Allen

Great Things To Be

Great Things To Be

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

I Can, I Will

I Can, I Will

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jump
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Digital Book, Picture Book Tagged: Brian Allen, children's book reviews, Fly Land Designs, jack-in-the-box, Julia Dweck, jumping, kindle .mobi, picture book, puppy, Sleepy Sheep Productions

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6. #659 – Fat and Bones and other stories by Larissa Theule & Adam S. Doyle

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Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Written by Larissa Theule
Illustrations by Adam S. Doyle
Carolrhoda Books            10/01/2014
978-1-4677-0825
Age 8 to 12           104 pages
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“Welcome to Bald’s Farm. Well, perhaps it’s not Bald’s Farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-footed pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man’s son, and Fat, his winged rival? They’ll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places . . .”

Opening

“Fat stood on the topmost branch of the tree, gazing in the direction of the farmhouse.”

The Story

Bones is the son of his father, the farm owner, who has most recently passed away. Fat is the former farmer’s fairy. They hate each other with a passion usually reserved for love. Now that Bone’s father has died, Bones will run the farm and his first priority: get rid of excess Fat.

In the span of one day, Bones tries to take out Fat, who tries to take out Bones. The pigs must move around on less and less feet to supply Bones with his favorite meal of pig foot stew. Pa may be dead, but Bones is still hungry. Ma, who is crying herself blind ventures out to the pigpen to grab a foot. Which one does she get?

Leonard’s family thinks he is the strangest spider that has ever spun a web. He cannot sneak and lives alone. He reads poetry while drinking herbal tea. Down below, Fat is making a new potion and needs the fresh blood of a spider. Leonard picks this moment to prove he can sneak. He cannot.

The Dead Man Song is for Priscilla Mae, the escaped spider for which Leonard has found love. She sees a group of animals honoring the dead farmer’s passing. Jimmy’s in Love pits mouse against mouse for the love of a mouse across the kitchen floor. Cat lurks on the floor, waiting for a wandering mouse. Sometimes he greets the mouse.

“Good afternoon, mousie-pie.”

Sometimes he pounces. Occasionally, that tricky cat does both. A mouse just never knows. Jimmy decides to take a chance but the floor is full of water—salty, tear stained water. Daisy and Tulip are the best of friends, sharing a puddle. All is well, until little sprouts move in and choke the water supply. Daisy and Tulip argue over how to get the sprouts to leave. The differences could mean the end of Tulip or Daisy.

Finally, Dog Alfred visits his Ma. Ma wants Alfred to go home. Alfred is sneezing. He has a cold. Alfred is upset, (and sets up Ma to speak a line of funny I love)

“Ma,” he said, [pleading voice] “I came all this way. I can’t go home now.”
“You live next door,” she said.

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Review

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is a fast read with only 104 pages. On those 104 pages, every word counts thanks to wonderful writing and editing. Each story has something to teach kids. In Leonard Grey III, Leonard learns it is okay to be yourself and love is better than alone. Fat feels morally obligated to care for his neighbors, even when he is the one who injured said neighbor. Be nice to others; get to know your neighbors; be responsible for each other. Esmeralda must decide which is more important, her jealousy and “revenge” or the good of the group. Fat and Bones is philosophy 101 for the middle grades.

I am not a fan of the cover. The moon grinning as it does is eerie, but that is the intent. The illustrations use dark tones of green, grey, and black. The image is often part of the shadow or obscured by it. I am sorry to say, I am not a fan of these illustrations. I love the individual stories. I enjoyed the way one story depends on the other. What happens in one story—or does not happen—affects another story, which affects another, and so on, yet none may be the wiser. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories play this out for kids in a way they can understand.

Humor plays a big part, easing what are actually dark themes of death, jealousy, war, and dejection into an enjoyable, funny story, odd as that may sound. Some kids may not like the darker, philosophical themes, while others will love them. I think the older the child, the more they will enjoy Fat and Bones.

These Seven stories, all intertwined, are a great read. Each story has a unique mix of characters from the Bald Farm. Each has their own plot, conflict, and resolution, yet the stories build on each other, need each other to live. There are many things kids can learn from these stories while reading a funny, heart-felt whole divided into parts that seem to stand on their own—because they do. Older kids will enjoy this book. Adults will enjoy this book. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is the author’s debut.

FAT AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES. Test copyright © 2014 by Larissa Theule. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam S. Doyle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.
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Purchase Fat and Bones at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Booksyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about Fat & Bones: And Other Stories HERE
Meet the author, Larissa Theule, at her twitter page:    https://twitter.com/larissatheule
Meet the illustrator, Adam S. Doyle, at his website:    http://adamsdoyle.com
Find other middle grade novels at the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://www.carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

fat and bones
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Adam S. Doyle, Charolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Debut Book, fairies, farm life, feuds, Larissa Theule, Lerner Publishing Group, middle grade novel, pig foot stew

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7. #630 – Twice Told Tales: Cassie and the Woolf by Olivia Snowe & Michelle Lamoreaux

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Twicetold Tales: Cassie and the Woolf

written by Olivia Snowe
illustrated by Michelle Lamoreaux
Stone Arch Books       8/01/2014
978-1-4342-6278-3
Age 8 to 12 128 pages

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“Once (or twice) upon a time, a girl named Cassie brought supper to her grandmother. But in this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Cassie doesn’t know that Caleb Woolf gets to her grandmother first. When Cassie finds out what Caleb has done, she is determined to get revenge. Whatever it takes, Cassie is ready. She will fight the Woolf . . . “

Opening

“Cassie Cloak held her red raincoat closed at the neck.”

The Story

Cassie Cloak stops at a deli after school then delivers supper to her grandmother. Caleb’s basketball game with friends breaks up leaving Caleb alone and hungry, but unwilling to go home. He can smell the chicken soup and sandwiches in Cassie’s deli containers as she dodges the rain. He also hears Cassie decline a ride from the deli man and the address of grandma’s apartment complex. Caleb times it so he “runs into” Cassie on the street, but is not the most cordial guy. Cassie is glad when he leaves.

At grandmother’s apartment complex, Cassie checks on grandma but collides with the bathroom door instead, falling unconscious to the floor. Later she unties grandma and realizes the black hoodie left in the bathroom belongs to Caleb. He had ambushed grandma, knocked out Cassie, and left with their supper. Cassie and grandma plan their revenge. Cassie invites Caleb to dinner. He accepts, planning to retrieve his hoodie before anyone else sees it. (He figures Cassie had not seen it else, she would not invite him to dinner. Or was it a trap.) Caleb went back and forth with this debate throughout the day.

Grandma opens up windows so the smell of her soup and roast will flow down the street, enticing Caleb. She knew Caleb could not resist the aroma of her cooking, just in case he was going to stand her up. Promptly buzzed past security, Caleb walks through grandma’s ajar apartment door, which shuts quickly behind him. Caleb announces his presence, but hears nothing in return. He is alone. With the doors are locked—from the outside—and the windows are sealed shut, no one can hear Caleb when he realizes the horror of his mistake.

Review

I read Cassie and the Woolf in one sitting. The story is a mere 128 pages but I couldn’t put it down if broccoli began to burn on my stove, again. It is that good. This modern retelling’s setting is an after-dark dangerous downtown. Most every shop has closed and Cassie and Caleb pass no one on the streets. Add in a fierce rainstorm and the elements are set for a horror showdown. Caleb is a brut of a boy with little manner or social skills. His claim to fame at the middle school he shares with Cassie is his basketball skills. When they meet, Cassie has no idea who Caleb is and it might have turned his anger ugly. He proceeds to bounce his basketball into a puddle, soaking Cassie. It is no secret what Caleb Woolf—the wolf—is going to do at Cassie—Little Red’s grandmother’s home. It is what happens after that will draw readers in the most.

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Both Cassie and her grandma are formidable foes, unlike the original story where the wolf eats them both. In this retelling, the woolf, I mean wolf, will get his due. What happens when Caleb finds himself trapped inside grandma’s apartment will not scare anyone. I quite enjoyed the scheme, not once figuring out what was happening until it happened. Even the ending threw me off. I can’t say much more or story spoils would fill the page. I will say the writing and potting are masterfully done, never letting the reader figure out the next step until Cassie and grandma take it..

The characters are believable and easy to care about, including Caleb Woolf. You have sympathy for him shortly after meeting him, alone, his stomach growling, and unable to go home. He slowly turns into the wolf. As he walks with Cassie, he slowly becomes more annoying. After he has eaten Red’s supper, Caleb’s stomach hurts from over ingestion and he actually feels a bit remorseful, though I think he is confusing gastritis with remorse. I felt bad for Caleb at that moment—a little—and hoped Cassie’s revenge would not hurt him. But then the following day Caleb treats Cassie unkindly and the sympathy waned. Caleb’s character is a rollercoaster between decent and awful.

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Middle grade aged kids will enjoy Cassie and the Woolf. Nothing in the story will spark nightmares or upset kids in the least—unless they are a fan of the wolf. No one dies; no one is shot, knifed, or beat up. Violence is at a minimal level. Suspense rises as slow as possible once Caleb enters grandma’s apartment and finds he is alone. From the moment Caleb sees his washed and folded hoodie, he knows something bad is going to happen; that he had walked into a trap. Readers who open Cassie and the Woolf will find they love the build up, the suspense, the basketball-bouncing walk through downtown streets, and the dinner invite given at school. Cassie and the Woolf is a fun read and an excellent modern retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Middle grade and older kids will enjoy this fairy tale once more. I’d expect nothing less from an author whose last name is Snowe.

TWICETOLD TALES: CASSIE AND THE WOOLF. Text copyright © 2014 by Olivia Snowe. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Michelle Lamoreaux. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Stone Arch Books, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Cassie and the Woolf at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryStone Arch Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Twicetold Tales HERE.
Meet the author, Olivia Snowe, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Michelle Lamoreaux, at her website:
Find more stories at the Stone Arch Books website:    http://stonearchbooks.blogspot.com/

Stone Arch Books is a Capstone imprint.   http://www.capstonepub.com/

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Also in 2014 by Olivia Snowe & Michelle Lamoreaux.

A Home in the Sky (Twicetold Tales)

A Home in the Sky (Twicetold Tales)

Beauty and the Basement (Twicetold Tales)

Beauty and the Basement (Twicetold Tales)

Dandelion and the Witch (Twicetold Tales)

Dandelion and the Witch (Twicetold Tales)

Hansen and Gracie (Twicetold Tales)

Hansen and Gracie (Twicetold Tales)

The Girl and the Seven Thieves (Twicetold Tales)

The Girl and the Seven Thieves (Twicetold Tales)

The Sealed-Up House (Twicetold Tales)

The Sealed-Up House (Twicetold Tales)

casiie and the woolf

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Abigail Samoun, Capstone, Little Red Riding Hood retold, Michelle Lamoreaux, Olivia Snowe, retold tales, Stone Arch Books

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8. #634 – Double Reverse by Fred Bowen

         PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

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Double Reverse

by Fred Bowen
Peachtree Publishers               8/01/2014
978-1-56145-814-1
Age 7 to 12                 144 pages
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“READY . . . SET . . . HUT ONE!

“Jesse Wagner has run pass patterns with his older brother Jay since he was a little kid. Now Jay’s heading to college and Jesse’s a wide receiver for the high school freshman team, the Panthers. The season starts off badly, and things get even worse when the Panthers quarterback is injured. Jay suggests that Jesse try out as QB. Jesse knows the playbook backwards and forwards, but he feels that he’s too small for the role. He just doesn’t look the part. Can he play against type and help the Panthers become a winning team?”

Opening

“Ready . . . set . . . hut one!” Jesse Wagner and his older brother Jay were running pass patterns at Hobbs Park, just as they had a thousand times before.”

The Story

Jesse Wagner is finally in high school and the wide receiver for the freshman football team. Quinn (right tackle), and Langston (reserve wide receiver), two of Jesse’s best friends, also play on the Panther freshman football team. Jesse has been running pass patterns with his older brother, Jay and now knows all of the plays the Panthers use without referencing the playbook. Jay, last year’s All-Conference quarterback, is now off to Dartmouth College to play quarterback there.

Henry, the freshman quarterback for the freshman Panthers, poor kid, is confused about every play, cannot seem to remember any of them, and his throws are too short or too long, too high or too wide. Henry looks like an all-star quarterback and will scare the other team . . . until the first play. Jesse nearly suffers a concussion trying to go after a bad pass from Henry. The one who does get hurt is Henry. A Panther lineman stumbles into Henry causing a season ending injury.

Meanwhile, Jay is a good quarterback, but so are many other boys. He does not get the job. His coach wants him to play safety. Home for the weekend to decide if he will quit the team or play safety, Jay talks to Jesse while throwing around a football. Jay agrees to accept safety if Jesse agrees to try out for quarterback, now t hat Henry is gone the position is open. Deal made, Jay returns to Dartmouth and Jesse asks to try out. The assistant coach thinks the shorter than the average quarterback could work. The coach is not buying it. A few practice plays and Jesse has won the position and the nickname “Tark” after Fran Tarkington, a short quarterback that ruled the game in the NFL. Only problem is, with quarterback shored up, another game-busting problem becomes visible: the kicking game sucks. The Panthers sorely need a kicker that can kick beyond midfield.

Savannah, who happens to play the other football game (soccer), as the goalie, can kick the ball with a huge depth and a long hang-time impressing Jesse and his friends, and giving them an outrageous idea. Jesse suggests they ask Savannah to kick for their football team. Savannah is intrigued, but will the coaches? Will the freshman football coaches sign off on a girl football player? Will the girls soccer coach sign off on his best player leaving the team to play football? Can Savannah even make a difference to the plagued freshman Panther football team?

Review

Double Reverse highlights high school football, three stars of the game, and situations that place all three in odd positions. For Jay, a big man on a high school campus, he easily becomes a little man on a college campus, and Jay is having trouble accepting this. He thinks ending his football career is a better idea than taking his talent in another direction. He seriously considers quitting the team—and his Dartmouth education—rather than change his positions and play safety.

From Panther's Playbook

From Panther’s Playbook

Jesse is a great wide receiver, or he would be great if the quarterback could ever get the ball to him. Then injury takes Henry—the quarterback—out during the first game. The Panthers do not have a viable quarterback and Jay thinks Jesse can do it. Jesse believes he is too short to play quarterback—he just does not look the part as Henry did, but Henry couldn’t throw the ball or remember plays so what kind of help was his quarterback looks? The brothers make a pact to try the other positions. Turns out, both are great in their new spots and both are happy.

I enjoyed reading Double Reverse. It has a lot of football action and even gives away some of the panther’s playbook. Double Reverse is also about reinventing yourself when the need or opportunity arises. It is about diversifying yourself, rather than being one set thing all your life. I get how Jay feels, but I do not understand how he could risk his education. Jesse and Savannah both soon learn perception and reality do not always match when they are good at positions neither saw themselves at—Jesse as quarterback and Savannah as goalie (soccer) and then kicker (football).

Jesse's Inspired Change of Play

Jesse’s Inspired Change of Play

Girls will love the character of Savannah who does not want to be the goalie, yet turns out to be a killer goalie. When the boys need her, she reinvents herself as a football player and helps her friends finally win a game. Savanna reflects the change in football with more and more girls playing at the high school level and commend the author for inventing this character and making her so fresh and vibrant. There is a lot of ego in girl’s sports, and girls will enjoy that Savannah’s kicking game is the reason the football team wins a game.

Mainly, Double Reverse shows the importance of growth as children age and experience new things. Sometimes it is good to be the best. Other times it is good to be a team player and sacrifice your glory for the team’s glory. I am not interested in football, yet enjoyed Double Reverse very much, and understand the game better after reading this book. I actually loved all the action during the games. After the story are the true stories of two legends, Fran Tarkington and Cal Ripken, both thought to be wrong to play their respective positions in the pros and the inspiration for Double Reverse.

Dartmouth College "Big Green" Roster

Dartmouth College “Big Green” Roster

No one is expecting a winning season, but the Panthers find ways to overcome the odds against them, some by breaking stereotypes and putting the team before themselves—Henry does this upon his return. Boys and girls that like football, be it the American European, will love reading Double Reverse. The story is much more than a football story, making it appealing to both boys and girls, and it’s a story the reluctant reader can savor thanks to shorter sentences and an uncomplicated vocabulary. Double Reverse is an all-around winning story.

DOUBLE REVERSE. Text copyright © 2014 by Fred Bowen. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by XXXXXXXXX. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlantic, GA.

Purchase a copy of Double Reverse at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Double Reverse HERE.

Meet the author, Fred Bowen, at his website:   http://www.fredbowen.com/

Find other great books at the Peachtree Publishers website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

Also Writte by Fred Bowen

The Kid Coach

The Kid Coach

Winners Take All

Winners Take All

Soccer Team Upset

Soccer Team Upset

Off the Rim

Off the Rim

Perfect Game

Perfect Game

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Reviewed HERE.

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double reverse
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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

Double Reverse

Monday 8/11
The Write Path     http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 8/12
Kid Lit Reviews     http://kid-lit-reviews.com/
Geo Librarian     http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 8/13
Librarian in Cute Shoes     http://www.librarianincuteshoes.blogspot.com/

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Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: chidren's book reviews, Dartmouth College Big Green, Fred Bowen, girls high school soccer, girls playing high school football, high shool football, middle grade book, Peachtree Publishers, transforming yourself in sports

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9. #635 – A Cool Summer Tail by Carrie A. Pearson & Christine Wald

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A Cool Summer Tail

by Carrie A. Pearson
illustrated by Christine Wald
Arbordale Publishing      3/01/2014
978-1-62855-205-8
Age 3 to 5      32 pages

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“When summer heats up, animals find ways to stay cool. In A Cool Summer Tail animals wonder how humans stay cool too. Do they dig under the dirt, grow special summer hair, or only come out at night? This companion to the award-winning A Warm Winter Tail features many of [the] same animals but this time, with their summer adaptations, offering an important ‘compare and contrast’ opportunity.”

Opening

“How do humans stay cool in the summer, Mama?

Do they hang out their tongues,

like a spring that’s been sprung,

breathing fast in and out like this?”

Review

The cute fox baby continues on panting, as example for its mama, but she tells it no, humans sweat through their skin. Each animal wonders if humans stay cool the same way they stay cool in the summer. I like this for a reason the author may not have intended. I like that these animals assume we might cool down as they do, because we humans have a tendency to think others behave as we do and this can help kids learn not to make those assumptions. For example, a new kid at school may have different holidays or customs and kids should not assume that child celebrates as they do, or knows the same playground games, or even have the same after school activities.

Back on track to the meaning of A Cool Summer Tail, the animals all want to know how humans stay cool in the summer. In the process, kids will learn about the ways various animals stay cool, from panting, as in the example above, or as in “sliding into a pond” as turtles do, to “hang from their hive,” as bees do to stay cool (flapping its wings to cool the Queen Bee) That one I did not know. In each scenario, the Mama animals tell their children no, and then explains why humans would not stay cool as they stay cool.

Cool Summer spreads2

Interestingly, with the bees as an example, instead of explaining that humans do not live in a hive, or that they do not have wings to flap, (or even that humans do not cater to a Queen Human), the mama tells her babies that humans would not “bee” willing to hang by their toes (from a hive). That example, in particular, will have children laughing and laughing children will remain interested in the story. Each four-line question on the left page and three-line answer on the right page rhymes two lines. The flow is easy to read and the change in line size in the first and fourth lines from the second and third keeps the question verses interesting to both read and hear.

The very last animal may surprise you. Young children enjoy learning about animals, especially how they compare to themselves. A Cool Summer Tail does this with creative and fun verses that will entertain as well as teach young children. The illustrations are accurate renditions of the animals in each verse, using lots of color in the natural habitat. Interestingly, and often humorous, is a small black and white child cooling off as the baby animal has described. This too will have children laughing and more than one or two trying to imitate this drawing. The entire book is aid out nicely from the fox babies to the very last animal, which might just surprise you. As might this: The author is from Michigan and the illustrator Ohio yet they cooperated on this second book without any Buckeye-Wol . . . wof . . . whatever the other is called, rivalry.

Cool Summer spreads

A Cool Summer Tail makes a good story time book, and though written for ages three to five, could be used in kindergarten and first grades, satisfying a science common core. The book is also available as a bilingual (English-Spanish) interactive eBook, with flip-pages and audio. After the text, is a section Arbordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan-Dell Publishing), calls For Creative Minds. This section includes fun facts, comparing the story’s animals from summer to winter, and a matching activity that will check retentive skills as kids match the animal to a method of cooling off in the summer, as learned in the text.

A COOL SUMMER TAIL. Text copyright © 2014 by Carrie A. Pearson. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Christina Wald. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Arbordale Publishing, Mount Pleasant, SC.

Purchase A cool Summer Tail a AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiTunesArbordale Publishingat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about A Cool Summer Tail and find additional activities HERE.

Meet the author, Carrie A. Pearson, at her website:  www.carriepearsonbooks.com

Meet the illustrator, Christina Wald, at her website:  www.christinawald.com

Find more non-fiction at Arbordale Publishing’s website:  http://www.arbordalepublishing.com/

Sylvan Dell Publishing is now  Arbordale Publishing.

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Also by Carrie A. Pearson with Christina Wald

A Warm Winter Tail

A Warm Winter Tail

Un invierno muy abrigador (Spanish Edition)

Un invierno muy abrigador (Spanish Edition)

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Christina Wald

Animal Atlas

Animal Atlas

Macarooned on a Dessert Island

Macarooned on a Dessert Island

The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story About the Six Simple Machines

The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story About the Six Simple Machines

 

 

 

 

Read Review HERE.

 

When Crabs Cross the Sand: The Christmas Island Crab Migration   2015

cool summer tail

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

 


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: animals, Arbordale Publishing, Carrie A. Pearson, children's book reviews, Christina Wald, cooling mechanisms of wild animals versus humans, nonfiction picture book, SylvanDell Publishing

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10. #636 – Jesper Jinx, Book 1 by Marko Kitti

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Jesper Jinx, Book 1

by Marko Kitti
published by Marko Kitti            4/28/2014
978-1-4974-5822-2
Age 7 to 9               152 pages
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“Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname “Jinx.” In this first book of Jesper Jinx’s wonderfully wicked adventures you’re going to meet Jesper’s family and Snowy the Cat. Also, there’s a mysterious new classmate with a moustache. And it‘s up to Jesper to launch his famous Boredom Breaker. What harm would it do to have a little fun?”

Opening

“Jesper Jinx watched as his older sister Melinda popped her soda an open and took a small sip from it.”

The Story

Jesper Jinx loves his pranks but the pranks have earned him a nickname. Even some of his best pranks are jinxed, like the time he switched his sister’s beloved energy drink, Guaraná Antarctica, with a horrible homemade concoction. She deserved it. She snooped at his diary. At dinner, dad took a swing of Melinda’s “energy drink” and about gagged, no, wait, he did gag and so did Melinda. She was well worth it, but not dad. Jesper ran out of the house before anyone could accuse him and ran into the author of this book. Sworn to secrecy, the author agreed to write a book only Jesper’s eyes would see. This is that book.

page38_Jesper_Bored

Two short stories are included in book 1: Jesper Jinx and the Colourful Cat and Jesper Jinx and the Spanish Shenanigans. For animal lovers, the first story will amuse you, especially if you are owned by a dog. Jesper accidentally causes Snowy, the cat, to turn several shades of red moments before his mother is to show her off to a disliked neighbor. To make matters worse, the cat, named for its pure white coat of fur, disappears, like magic. One minute, she was under a towel and the next, gone. Of course, this is when the dreaded neighbor rings the doorbell.  Is it really magic? Is Snowy a magical cat? Mom believes so, if only for a short minute. Then she realizes Jesper is involved and has him bathe Snowy. Everyone knows cats do not like bathes. Jinxed! page94_Jesper_Oliver_TeachersWith claws!

 

In the Spanish Shenanigans, it is not Jesper pulling the shenanigans. There is a new kid in class, and he has a moustache on his upper lip. His name is José Maria, and he has a moustache, a real one, and a deep voice. José claims everything grows faster in the hot Spanish sun, but Jasper is not inclined to believe him, well, he is inclined enough to show José all of his best pranks. School will not be the same for Jesper and his best friend Oliver. Their teacher, Miss Parrot, who likes to repeat what she hears, has a life-changing experience and leaves school—for good. Jesper and Oliver will get a new teacher. A short-for-his-age teacher who has a deep voice (girls will swoon over), and a real moustache on his upper lip. The new teacher now knows all of Jesper and Oliver’s favorite pranks. Jinxed!

Review

I read Jesper Jinx in one sitting and enjoyed the crazy antics of both Jesper and the author. The author begins by explaining how he came to Puffington Hill, home of Jesper, and how he acquired Jesper’s stories— and the secrecy by which he swore to handle his stories. There is even a certificate of secrecy readers must sign. Running out of the house after dad takes a swing of Melinda’s tampered Guaraná Antarctica energy drink, Jesper runs into the vacationing author. Then page72_Mum_Washerthe stories begin. Oh, yes, Jesper Jinx is Finnish author, Marco Kitti’s first English language chapter book.

I like the story of the red Snowy cat and its disappearance from under the towel. The cat’s portrayal is realistic. I cannot count the number of times my cat is not where he was only moments before and then suddenly shows up where he could not possibly be at. The behavior is enough to drive a person to dogs. The humor is well timed and Jesper’s reactions are convincing. I love that mom is going to show off a cat she otherwise wants nothing to do with. Snowy belongs to Jesper when the litter box needs cleaned or the cat is in mom’s space. But bring the snooty neighbor comes around Snowy becomes mom’s treasure. I like how the author includes bits of life that are true for many readers. Like dad, engrossed in his newspaper, only coming up for air when he wants something, but don’t try to talk to him.

In the shenanigans story, it is confusing why this new kid is suddenly in class and why the teacher swooned whenever she said his name. The teacher is wacky, repeating what the student said, before answering.

“Yes, Jesper?” said Miss Parrot. “Do you have something to share with us all?”

“No,” said Jesper.

“No,” said Miss Parrot. “Is there something . . . ?”

“No, Miss Parrot,” said Jesper.

“No, Miss Parrot,” repeated Miss Parrot. “Then how about you, Oliver?”

“I can’t think of any questions, Miss Parrot,” said Oliver.

“Think of any questions, Miss Parrot!” said the teacher.

Yes, it can get tiring, but then Miss Parrot quickly disappears. She is busy driving her souped-up Mercedes. The story is about José Maria, Jesper, and Oliver’s budding friendship. It is odd that José has a moustache but then, I can remember certain boys tended to get their hairy lip early. So, I believed this. The deep voice at eleven I also believed. Maybe he is older and flunked a few grades. You must believe or the story cannot go on. Poor Jesper, he is jinxed the moment the man-boy walks into his classroom. Trying to be a nice kid, Jesper and his friend Oliver befriend José. José asks Jesper about pranks, so Jesper shows him the best pranks he an Oliver pull on teachers.

page133_MissParrot_Speeding

Jesper is a likable character, kids age 7 and up will enjoy, along with all of his the crazy stories. The stories are short, and the vocabulary basic, so a reluctant reader can enjoy Jesper’s antics. Jesper Jinx will entertain both boys and girls who like crazy plot twists you don’t expect. The antics are similar to those in the the Aldo Zelnick alphabet book series.(Reviewed here: “J” “K”) Just remember one important detail, you must keep the contents of these books a secret. Jesper believes the author is only printing one copy for himself only. If he finds out that is not true, he will stop telling the author his stories. Jesper Jinx is a welcome addition to chapter books and books for reluctant readers.

JESPER JINX.  Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Marko Kitti. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Marko Kitti,

Purchase Jasper Jinx at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCreateSpaceMarko Kittiyour favorite bookstore.

Check out what a local Gargoyle had to say about Jesper Jinx right HERE.

Learn more about Jasper Jinx HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Marko Kitti, at his website:     http://www.markokitti.net/en.html

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jasper jinx

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Chapter Book, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: Chapter book, children's book reviews, family relationships, humor, Jespar Jinx, jinxed, Marko Kitti, pranks, reluctant reaers, Spanish teacher

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11. #641–We’re Going to the Farmer’s Market by Stefan Page

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We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

Written and Illustrated by Stefan Page
Chronicle Books        3/04/2014
978-1-4521-1834-5
Age 1 to 3          14 pages
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“TO MARKET! TO MARKET! We are on our way! Visit local farmers, fill baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and then head home to coo a healthy feast all with your goodies from the farmer’s market!”

Opening

“To market, to market, we are on our way.”

Review

What little one does not like going to the store with mom and dad? Farmer’s Market takes young children to an open farmer’s market where they can pick out the day’s groceries from assortment of fine stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables. Start at the dairy and pick up eggs, milk, and a slab of cheese. Next pick out fresh vegetables like lettuce, radishes, onions, celery, and potatoes. Now add those fruits. Choose from tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, black berries, mushrooms, and kiwi. With a full basket you are ready to head home.

“To kitchen, to kitchen, we, chop, stew,and bake.”

All that is left now is to wait for our feast and watch Daddy ice the cake. Ready? Let’s eat!

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_stalls

Farmer’s Market is a nice board book for younger children interested in grocery shopping, food, or spending time with mom and dad on errand—this time grocery shopping. The view is that of the child as seen in the line waiting for something, the view is of adult legs and hands holding shopping baskets. Oddly, none of the people with stalls to sell food from have a smile. Their looks are one of disinterest.

The pages are thicker than normal so little fingers have a much harder time tearing them. The pages also have a nice finish that let’s things like peanut butter and jelly wipe off the surface without leaving a stain.  And the book is the perfect size (6” x  6”) for little ones to carry and read.

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_Fruits and Veggies

The illustrations in Farmer’s market are basic, making it easier for young kids to understand and know what is illustrated. Each spread has a basic color in the background, such as yellow, green, and orange. The items pictures are large and easy to recognize. Kids will enjoy finding the item you ask them to find, or simply pointing to each and telling you hat it is. They could also then find the same item in your refrigerator or the next time you go to the grocer.

Young children will enjoy reading Farmer’s Market with mom and dad. It can prepare them for an actual trip or help them understand what each item you buy looks like. I think this is sturdy little book for little fingers can help kids learn about basic food, grocery shopping, and enjoying the entire process—especially the cake Dad is icing. Farmer’s Market is Stefan Page’s debut. Also available to enhance the child’s experience are a Farmers’ Market Mobile
and ABC Flash Cards. (images below)

“To table, to table, it is time to dig in!”

WE’RE GOING TO THE FARMER’S MARKET. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stefan Page. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Buy Farmer’s Market at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Farmer’s Market HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Stefan Page, at his twitter page:    https://twitter.com/StefanPage

Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

ABC Farmers' Market Flash Cards

ABC Farmers’ Market Flash Cards

Farmers' Market Mobile

Farmers’ Market Mobile

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farmers market

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction Tagged: board book, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dairy, fruits, groery shopping, meal pereparation, Stefan Page, vegetables

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12. #644 – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

Lobo cover

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The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and illustrated by C.L. Murphy
Published by C.L. Murphy         8/22/2014
978-0-9883187-5-5
Age 4 to 8        32 pages
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“Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.”

Opening

 “Ohh …….Rooooxxxyyyy . . . Roxy…..Roxy?”

The Story

After a stormy night, Lobo finds a bird lying upside down in the grass. It has blue feet, which worries Lobo, but it turns out the bird, named Bobby is a blue-footed booby. The storm blew Bobby all the way to Lobo’s home, hurting his wing in the process. Lobo’s friend Roxy the raven splints Bobby’s wing and then the two take Bobby home. He lives by the ocean, but none of the beaches Lobo arrives at is the correct beach. Bobby lives on Wolf Island—wolf population zero—an island of the Galapagos Islands. The islands are across the ocean rom Lobo’s forest. Lobo does not swim well and is afraid a sea creature might attack the group—or him. What does he do know? How will he get the injured Booby back home?

Review 

I have loved The Adventures of Lovable Lobo ever since Lobo ventured into a barnyard full of animals trying to make friends. He was a cool wolf pup when he refused to hunt and kill in his first adventure. Lobo was wonderful with a young Bigfoot. In Lobo Goes to Galapagos, Lobo must be maturing. He takes the lead, transporting an injured boobly bird, a depressed seagull, and a lonely crab by himself. Roxy helps by flying most of the time instead of landing on Lobo’s back for a free ride. Lobo never complains. These are his friends (even the sad seagull and the blue-footed boobly both of which he just met) so he steps out.

I loved the unexpected bits of humor, such as when Sandra popping onto the beach with the perfect timing of a great comedian One f the best lines is this one,

LoboGalapagos_page33_image38

“The water was so clear that if Lobo looked down he could see many things swimming around,   so he tried not to look down.”

Poor Lobo, he endures one fear to take a new friend, injured in the storm, home. The nice thing about Lobo’s stories is the lack of a message. Lobo is a good wolf, a wolf to aspire to be, and a friend to every animal without prejudice. This is Lobo’s makeup, not his message. Still, I take friendship, honesty, loyalty, and courteousness away from Lobo’s adventures.

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I was disappointed that Lobo Goes to the Galapagos was only to drop off a new friend. I thought he would go there to explore and show me creatures I did not know existed. True, I had never heard of a blue-footed boobly—and yes, it is real—but I wanted more.

The illustrations are once more fantastic. My favorite and one that Ms. Murphy will find hard to top, is her gorgeous sunset, sunrise beaches. I have been to the Caribbean many times and have seen many outstanding sunsets and rises, but none were as magnificent as the ones in Lobo Goes to the Galapagos. Ms. Murphy the magic touch. All of her illustrations are bold, bright, beautiful renditions of her stories. If the images are not hopping off the page at you, they bathe you in phenomenal patterns of color. She is a fantastic artist.

LoboGalapagos_page33_image18

Lobo’s latest adventure, Lobo Goes to the Galapagos, will not disappoint his loyal fans. Young children new to the lovable wolf pup will enjoy the story’s soft humor and awesome tale of friendship. As of this tale, Kindle readers can finally enjoy Lovable Lobo. Once again, Lobo and his friends captivated me. I hope one day, Lobo will make a longer trip to the Galapagos Islands. He would make the perfect ambassador.

THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO #5: LOBO GOES TO THE GALAPAGOS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by C.L. Murphy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, C.L. Murphy.

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Purchase Lobo Goes to the Galapagos at AmazoniTunes—Ms. Murphy’s Website.

Learn more about Lobo Goes to the Galapagos HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, C.L. Murphy, at her website:     http://lovablelobo.com/

Pop in on the author at her Twitter, Facebook, or Blog.

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Also by C.L. Murphy

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1:  Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1: Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2:  Lobo Visits the Barnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2: Lobo Visits the Barnyard


The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3:  Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3: Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4:  Lobo's Howliday

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4: Lobo’s Howliday

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Review of Lobo #1

Review of Lobo #2

Review of Lobo #3

Review of Lobo #4

 

 

lobo galapagos
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: Blue-Footed Boobly, C.L. Murphy, children's book series, childrens book review, friendship, Galapagos Islands, helping friends, Lovable Lobo, loyalty, picture book, wild creatures

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13. #648 – Stanley the Builder by William Bee

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Stanley the Builder

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing           9/01/2014
978-1-5614-801-1
Age 3 to 8           32 pages
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“When Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works step-by-step—from clearing the site with a bulldozer, to pouring the foundation, to painting the finished house in Myrtle’s favorite colors. Luckily, Charlie helps out too. Building houses is hard work, but all three friends are happy with a job well done.”

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Opening 

“What are Stanley and Myrtle doing?”

Review

Myrtle the mouse just purchased a plot of land and hires Stanley to build her a house. Stanley is an industrious hamster. After clearing the land with his bulldozer, Stanley and his helper Charlie, build the foundation. The tricky work of laying down the bricks is next. There is not a wolf around who will be able to blow this house down. When the house is finished, Stanley paints it using Myrtle’s favorite colors. All done, Stanley heads home, newspaper in hand, for dinner, a long bath, and bed. He will wake up ready for a new day.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-004

Young boys will love the Stanley the Builder. Stanley uses all kinds of machines to help him build Myrtle’s house. Will kids know what and how these machines are used? Stanley wears a yellow safety hat, possibly just as dad wears. Young boys, and some girls, who enjoy building things just like Stanley, will love a story about building, especially with the cute hamster Stanley. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the main illustration. I also like that Stanley’s friend Charlie helps and Myrtle finds a way to help out, too. These three friends work well together. Young children will enjoy pointing out the equipment Stanley uses—a crane, digger, cement mixer, and bulldozer. A game can be made of finding the machine, the item used to build the house, or a specific color, after reading the story, of course. In this way, Stanley the Builder can be a great way to prepare for kindergarten. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a garage.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-007

STANLEY THE BUILDER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley the Builder at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, William Bee, at his website:   http://www.williambee.com/

Check out William Bee’s fantastic blog:  http://williambee.blogspot.com/

Find all of the Stanley series at the Peachtree Publishing blog:   http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

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Also by William Bee

Worst in Show - 2014

Worst in Show – 2014

Digger Dog - 2014

Digger Dog – 2014

Stanley the Farmer - 2015

Stanley the Farmer – 2015

Stanley's Garage - 2014

Stanley’s Garage – 2014

 

Review HERE

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Migloo’s Day – 2015

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stanley the builder

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley the Builder

Monday 9/1

Green Bean Teen Queen

Tuesday 9/2

Jean Little Library

Geo Librarian

Kid Lit Reviews

Wednesday 9/3

Chat with Vera

Thursday 9/4

Kiss the Book

Blue Owl

Friday 9/5

The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: builds a house, bulldozer-cement mixer-crane-digger, children's book reviews, Peachtree PUblishing, picture book, Stanley series by William Bee, William Bee, young children

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14. #649 – Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano & Laia Aguilar

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Bonjour Camille

Written by Felipe Cano
Illustrated by Laia Aguilar
Chronicle Books              8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2407-0
Age 3+           32 pages
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“It’s a Sunday morning, and Camille—adorned in a tutu and a top hat—has so many things to do! There is jumping on the bed (of course), choosing a new favorite color, drawing thousands of faces on thousands of balloons, hiding all of the umbrellas, seeking out the unexpected on a map, and more in delightful surprises, all experienced through the eyes of an inspired child.”

Opening

“On Sunday mornings, as soon as the sun comes up, Camille opens her eyes and . . . “

Review

Camille wakes and puts on a tutu and a top hat. This is her battledress. She has many things to do on this Sunday, beginning with jumping on the bed until . . .

“THAT’S ENOUGH!”

That was Camille’s mother. Camille has many things planned for her day. She plans on,

Bonjour Camille_Int_2

“Giving names to all the waves.”

Bonjour Camille_Int_3

“Asking the wind in a whisper voice to tell her a story.”

There are so many things Camille has to do on a Sunday. She most definitely must get an ice cream cone and then let it melt away in her hand. Depending upon the height of your viewpoint, Camille’s plans are either delightful ideas or odd and impossible. As Camille continues making her plans, giving balloons’ faces and yelling at winter until . . . a voice penetrates her thoughts,

“STOP that jumping!”

Camille is a typical young girl, bored on a winter Sunday, trying to find fun things to do inside the house. While she conjures up her plans, Camille continues jumping despite her mother sternly saying it was enough (but she did not say exactly enough of what). Camille, deep in her thoughts, may not have heard.

I love Camille’s spirit and I adore her whimsical imagination. Though many little girls have had ice cream melt on their hand and drawn faces on a balloon, Camille plans these activities and then allows the ice cream to melt, and draws faces on thousands of balloons. Camille has an indomitable spirit.

The illustrations look drawn with Camille’s own hand. The images are simple, yet fun. Originally released in Spain, Bonjour Camille is different from most picture books from Chronicle. Other than its small 6 x 8 size, the colors are not as bright and bold as most picture books. None of this takes away from book’s charm. Bonjour Camille is the perfect gift for a spunky little girl or the parents of an adorable baby girl.

BONJOUR CAMILLE. Text copyright © 2011by Felipe Cano. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Laia Aguilar. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Purchase Bonjour Camille at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Bonjour Camille HERE

Meet the author, Felipe Cano, at his website:

Meet the illustrator, Laia Aguilar, at her LinkedIn:    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laia-aguilar/1a/493/bb0

Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

First published in 2011 by BOBO CHOSES.

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bonjour camille

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Bonjour Camille, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Felipe Cano, imagination, indomitable, Laia Aguilar, little girl dreams, picture books, translated from Spanish, whimsical

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15. #587 – Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Crete and Enjoy! by Jen Besel

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Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy

by Jen Besel

Capstone Young Readers      2014

978-1-62370-136-9

Age 9+     112 pages

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“Bake up surprises in cupcakes and cookies. Create custom desserts with ease. Or decorate all kinds of creative confections like a pro. Forty fun, simple recipes will have kids (and kids at heart) creating delicious desserts to devour! Step-by-step instructions and photos make red velvet cookies, black-and-white angel food cake, cheesecake stuffed strawberries, and more easy to achieve and tasty to eat. Sweetly simple, appetizingly fun!”

Review

Just in time for Father’s Day, Custom Confections gives the artistic baker in you—something every kid has somewhere, and eager to bake—40 recipes of beautiful desserts and snacks. I was without electricity most of the day, unable to bake anything, but if this dessert book is anything like Dessert Designer: Creations You Can Make and Eat, also by Capstone Young Readers, I can guarantee these desserts are as scrumptious as the pictures are delectable. Most are quick fixes, meaning kids still have time to create something special for dad. An easy cupcake recipe, The Sweetheart Cupcake, with a magical surprise, can express your love for dad in one bite.

Kids can find a different fun recipe for every week of summer. Custom Creations contains fun snacks for the entire family. Cake recipes are in the majority. For the bibliophile in your life bake the Pile of Books Cake. Five layers of cake, each made to look like a bestseller, with noticeable pages and luscious covers—Photoshop not needed.  If you like ice cream with your cake, and really, who doesn’t, the Striped Ice Cream Cake will satisfy your sweet tooth. A fun treat for those who enjoy popsicles is the Frosty Frozen Cakesicles individually prepared on a Popsicle sticks.

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Every recipe has step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand and written without any extraneous information. To the side of the page is a list of ingredients and supplies needed for that particular recipe. No recipe requires unusual or strange tools kids have never seen. There may be a tool your child does not know how to use, which is where an adult comes in handy. It is also wise, depending on a child’s proficiency, for an adult to help turn ovens on to the correct temperature and help remove hot desserts from the oven. For those in the UK, the author included a conversion chart.

Photographs of each dessert clearly show the finished dessert, which is always helpful. For a delicate dessert, try making the Edible Flower Lollipops. Placed inside the clear homemade lollipops are pesticide-free, edible flowers from a florist. They look too good to eat. Cheesecake lovers will like Blueberry Cheesecake Tarts and the PB&J Cheesecake Brownies. On the last day of school, surprise that favorite teacher with a Mini Apple Cake, seeds included. My favorite, and the recipe I was planning to make, is the Molten Caramel Cake. Nothing is more luscious and creamy, or spruces up a dessert better, than a rich caramel. Mm, yum!

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Middle grade and older kids, and adults, who like baking and using their creativity will like Custom Creations. Who can turn away a luscious, interesting dessert? Not me. Custom Creations is a nice addition to any cookbook collection. It also complements Dessert Designer:  Creations You Can Make and Eat also for middle grade kids by Capstone. The only thing missing is a nice index of the recipes. There are several tips and tricks, plus a few icing recipes that are simple to make located after the last recipe: a Hedgehog Cake made with buttercream frosting, rice treats, almonds, and a cake of any flavor. The hedgehog is a cute little creature looking too loveable to eat with his big milk chocolate candy eyes. Kids, lacking such sentimentality, will dig right in. Enjoy!

CUSTOM CONFECTIONS: DELICIOUS DESSERTS YOU CAN CREATE AND ENJOY! Recipes copyright © 2015 by Jen Besel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

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Buy Custom Creations at AmazonB&NCapstoneyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Custom Creations HERE

Meet the author, Jen Besel, at LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-besel/b/943/635

 

Find more books at the Capstone Young Readers website:   http://www.capstoneyoungreaders.com/

Capstone Young Readers is an imprint of Capstone

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Coming Soon from Jen Besel & Capstone Young Readers

Baking Bliss!: Baked Desserts to Make and Devour

Sweet Tooth!: No-Bake Desserts to Make and Devour

Sugarcoat It!: Desserts to Design, Decorate, and Devour

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custon confections


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Holiday Book, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Capstone Young Readers, children's book reviews, cookbook for kids, desserts, Jen Besel, recipes

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16. #588 – Car Models That Go Zoom: Creativity in Motion by Ed Sobey, Ph.D.

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Car Models that Zoom: Creativity in Motion

by Ed Sobey, Ph.D.

978-1-4910-6409-2             8/31/2013

Age 8 to 12

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“Launch yourself on a high speed building spree, making cars that are fun and fast! Make a car model in minutes. Start with a cardboard model to get a feel for the assembly. Move on to building hovercrafts, solar-powered models, cable cars, and more. Explore ways to power your model with rubber bands and electric motors. Build using your own ideas!”

Who is Ed Sobey?

Ed Sobey is the founding director of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, founded the National Toy Hall of Fame, and co-founder of Kids Invent! and Camp Invention, creating some of the best hands-on science learning in the world. If that wasn’t enough inventing, Dr. Sobey also starred in a television science show for kids called, The Idea Factory. Awarded two Fulbright Specialist grants in science education and having published 28 books—one short of a dozen for kids—Dr. Sobey travels around the world promoting creative learning and teaching for Semester at Sea. Dr. Sobey earned his Ph.D. in oceanography, which has taken him to the cold waters surrounding Antarctica.

Okay, he knows his stuff. What about the book?

Creativity in Motion starts off with the basics: supplies and tools. These models are not expensive, save-your-allowance models. Most use low-cost and free materials. Dr. Sobey suggests swiping motors from broken toys or other electronics. If unsure how, he wrote a book for kids called, Unscrewed: Freeing Motors, Gears, Switches, Speakers, and More from Your Old Electronics.

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What I liked best about this book is the methodology. Most hall of fame inventors have made mistakes, and relish making them. Dr. Sobey wants kids to make these models in a fast fashion, having their hands moving along with their brain. He believes in fast prototyping, a method of quickly trying ideas, rejecting what does not work and building on what does. This lets you “create models quickly and generates learning quickly.” Kids will start with a goal in mind without rigid instructions and use the materials they have, creating something special not necessarily exactly as pictured.

I love that he wants kids to mess around with the materials, ask questions, and seek their own solutions. He said it is fine for inventors—or other creatives—to steal ideas, make mistakes, and learn while making a model. Kids are to build not plan and when not sure to just start building, keeping their hands working toward a goal, messing around, or making mistakes until something works and build on that. Writing takes the same premise. Just Write!

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Calling all builders! If you like making stuff out of Legos™, K-Nex™, or even Lincoln Logs™ you will like building Dr. Sobey’s moving machines. There are 19 models to build in Creativity in Motion, but using fast prototyping, hundreds of cars are possible from these 19 models. As expected, these models start off easy and progress in difficulty. I think middle grade and older boys and girls will love messing around with these models, making things they can play with and show off. They will also learn as they build, but they do not need to know this.

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Dr. Sobey wrote other inventive books for kids including motor boats, robotics, locomotion, toys, and general inventing. His methods are simple to follow, the process is fun, and in the end, you have something that you and only you created. So put down those other creative building sets and give Dr. Sobey and his methods try.

CAR MODELS THAT GO ZOOM: CREATIVITY IN MOTION. Text copyright © 2013 by Ed Sobey, Ph.D. Reproduced by permission of the author.

Buy Car Models that Go Zoom: Creativity in Motion at AmazonB&NBookDepositoryauthor’s websiteyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Car Model that Go Zoom HERE.

Meet the author, Dr. Ed Sobey, at his website:  http://www.invention-center.com/       http://www.kidsinvent.com/     https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ed-sobey/6/3b5/53b

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Also by Ed Sobey, Ph.D

Electric Motor Experiments

Electric Motor Experiments

Wack Water Fun with Science

Wack Water Fun with Science

Fantastic Flying Fun with Science

Fantastic Flying Fun with Science

Young Inventors at Work!: Learning Science by Doing Science

Young Inventors at Work!: Learning Science by Doing Science

The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch A Sketch, Boomerang, and More    

The Way Toys Work: The Science Behind the Magic 8 Ball, Etch A Sketch, Boomerang, and More

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creativity in motion


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: building cars, building for kids, children's book reviews, Ed Sobey, kids construction books, model cars, Northwest Invention Center, pbskids.org, Ph.D.

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17. #599-601 – Adventures at Walnut Grove: #1: A Lesson in Teasing – #2: I Double Dare You! – #3: I Can Do It by Dana Lehman & Judy Lehman

cover combosAdventures at Walnut Grove: #1: A Lesson in Teasing - #2: I Double Dare You! - #3: I Can Do It

by Dana Lehman & Judy Lehman, illustrator

Lehman Publishing   5/31/2010 – 4/24/2008 – 6/15/2007

978-0-9792686-9-4

Age 4 to 8       36 pages

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“Sammy enjoys visiting new places, so he decides to take his friends to an enchanted forest called Whispering Willows. Along the way and through Paradise Pond, Bucky realizes that with practice and confidence, he can swim! Join Sammy and his friends on a journey that will have them swimming for frogs, swinging through the forest and building a tree house. Magical things happen in Whispering Willows . . . if you believe.

Opening

#1:  “Sammy was a unique squirrel.”

#2:  “Walnut Grove was a wonderful place to spend summer  vacation.”

#3:  “It was time for another visit from Sammy’s cousins, Silly and Sassy.”

Review

Sammy is waiting for his cousins, Silly and Sassy to return to Walnut Grove, where Sammy lives. Sammy is a unique squirrel. He has raccoon eyes! Maybe it is his eyes or maybe because Sammy likes to lead that everyone follows him. Today the gang is going to Whispering Willows, a magical forest, where Sammy wants to build a treehouse. Who is this gang of animals? Sammy (squirrel, and apparent leader), Silly and Sassy (squirrels and Sammy’s cousins), Bucky (a beaver who is learning to swim), and Rocky (a raccoon, who trusts Sammy because of Sammy’s raccoon eyes).

This is the third adventure for this gang of friends. The first, entitled, Adventures at Walnut Pond: a Lesson in Teasing has the gang staying at the Walnut Grove Resort where they play with many new friends. In a game of walnut ball, a new kid (Bucky the beaver), tries to distract Sammy from hitting the walnut by teasing him. Later, Pokey (porcupine) teases Bucky about his lack of swimming skills. In the end, they all learn, teasing any animal is not nice and to treat others as you would like to be treated. Bucky and Pokey apologize and the kids have a great time for the rest of their visit to the Walnut Grove Resort.

TEASING LESSON

#1: A Lesson in Teasing

I Double Dare You again brings the cousins Silly and Sassy. By now, they have gotten the knack of causing trouble without meaning to. They just do not think. During a game of hide-and-seek, Silly and Sassy get distracted by some nice long sticks. Silly double dares Sassy to play swords. Though mom had told them no more playing swords, Sassy could not refuse a double dare. She accidently pokes Silly in the eye. Later, Silly and Bucky climb up onto Deep Water Bridge. Silly double dares Bucky to jump into the river. Silly jumps and swims to shore. Bucky feels pressure to follow, so he jumps. There’s one problem: Bucky is just learning to swim. He begins to drown. Both Sassy and Bucky blame Silly because he had double dared them, leaving them no choice. The kids learn it is important to take responsibility for your own actions and to apologize when they are wrong. Silly’s poked eye heals and Bucky survives the water. When Bucky was drowning, his dad rescued him. In kid’s books, children—in this instance, one of the gang—should do the rescuing. This empowers kids.

DARE

#2: I Double Dare You!

This brings us to the most current adventure for Sammy and company. Mothers of two-year-olds are well aware of this title: I Can Do It! The gang is in Whispering Willows, the magical forest where anything can happen. Bucky’s learned to swim and can swim out after a frog, now named Whopper because the frog is one whopper! Silly will not fare as well. Every time Silly tries to build something, he gets hurt. Silly has no desire to help make a treehouse. Encouraged, he tries—and smashes his paw with a hammer, losing all confidence in himself. Silly also physically loses himself, sans his eyes, which look to be floating. Now that is eerie.

The magical tree allowing the kids to build tells Silly he will be invisible until he believes in himself. Silly stops helping. Later, Bucky gives Silly Whopper, whom Bucky considers a lucky charm. Silly gives building one more shot. Soon, his confidence returns, as does Silly. Thank goodness, Bucky knew how to help Silly. Silly’s mom would probably prefer a poked eye to an invisible child. The message of this third volume of Adventures at Walnut Grove is to believe in yourself. Believe I Can Do It!

CAN DO IT

#3: I Can Do It

The Adventures at Walnut Grove all carry messages that are impossible to miss. I am not fond of message books, especially when the message hits you almost instantly. That is just what I do not like; or simply my own opinion. If you like such books, the three well-written volumes—with a fourth in the works—has wonderful characters, each unique in some way. I like that the characters return in each new story. When a character is lost, some kids will be sad and may give up on the series. A series needs consistency and Ms. Lehman made sure all her beloved characters returned, once introduced, and acted consistently from one story to the next. I’d be very surprised if the fourth story strays.

The illustrations are nice. The images are not digital, giving the books a down-home feel that will be comforting. There is one odd spread. In I Can Do It, spread 6, the illustrator used the exact same illustration on the left and right halves of the spread.This lack of creativity is not acceptable. On a happier note, the animals are realistic and consistently drawn. I think kids will enjoy the illustrations. As for the text, my only suggestion would be to edit for wordiness and to bring the text more in line with picture book word counts of 500 to 1000. A few pages are nearly half text. Young children “read” the illustrations and may become distracted waiting for the page to turn. Beyond this, I like each story. I like the situations used to bring the message to fruition. Ms. Lehman is someone I would consider to have an active imagination. Every writer should have such an imagination.

Each book ends with A Word from the Author. It starts off on a good note to parents, but then becomes patronizing. The author may still be talking to children with her encouraging note. My understanding of an author’s note is to clarify the content or add to it. In a picture book, I do not expect a note for the child, but this would explain the tone of the note.

I look forward to book four. I think parents will love the messages this series can help them teach their children. Kids will enjoy the story and the wonderfully fresh illustrations. The last two pages contain a mix of open and closed discussion questions and a short activity. There are more activities on the author’s website. Kindergarten and first grade teachers could easily find a use for this series. Schools libraries would do well to stock up on Sammy and his friends at Walnut Grove.

ADVENTURES AT WALNUT GROVE #1: A LESSON IN TEASING, #2: I DOUBLE DARE YOU, #3: I CAN DO IT. Text copyright © 2007, 2008, 2010 by Dana Lehman. Illustrations copyright © 2007, 2008, 2010 by Judy Lehman. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Lehman Publishing, Allentown, MI.

Buy any of the Adventures at Walnut Grove books at AmazonB&NLehman Publishingat your local bookstore.

     

Learn more about the Adventures at Walnut Grove series HERE.

Meet the author, Dana Lehman, at her bio:  http://www.lehmanpublishing.com/author.php

Meet the illustrator, Judy Lehman, at her bio:  http://www.lehmanpublishing.com/author.php

.Find Lehman Publishing books at their website:   http://www.lehmanpublishing.com/

.AWARDS – 2009 Mom’s Choice Award (x2)

A Lesson about Teasing – Silver: Values and Life Lessons

I DOUBLE Dare You! – Silver: Developing Social Skills

adventures at walnut grove 1 2 3


Filed under: 4stars, Awards, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: A Lesson in Teasing, beavers, Dana Lehman, I Can Do It!, I Double Dare You, Judy Lehman, Lehman Publishing, porcupine, racoons, squirrels, wild animals

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18. #602 – Boa’s Bad Birthday by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross

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Boa’s Bad Birthday

by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross, illustrator

Andersen Press USA         2/6/2014

Age 4 to 8               32 pages

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“It was Boa’s birthday. It was going to be the best one ever. Or so he hoped. He invited his friends round. They would all bring him presents. Or would they?”

Opening

“It was Boa’s birthday.”

Review

Ah, birthdays. That one day of the year, that belongs only to you. Everyone who sees you will say, “Happy Birthday!” Throw a birthday party—the best way to celebrate your day—and everyone invited will bring you a present. Since they are all your friends, each one will know exactly what you like. It will be a grand day, indeed!

Today is Boa’s birthday and his mother is throwing him a birthday party. All of Boa’s friends are invited and each brings a present. Orangutan’s present is so big he lugs it on his back. Boa hopes against odds that the gift is not what he thinks it is. It is. What was Orangutan thinking? Boa’s mother said,

“It’s the thought that counts.”

An excited Monkey told Boa, “You’ll love it!” Boa doesn’t. Mom said,

“Third time lucky.”

Friend after friend forgets to think about Boa when getting him a birthday present. Now, one friend remains and mother and son are certain Dung Beetle brought a pile of, um, of . . . well, it isn’t a pile, but a big ball of . . ., um, must I say it? Dung Beetle? Okay? Good. Boa and his mother are right. Dung Beetle did bring a huge ball of, uh, yeah, that stuff. Poor Boa. I could say the nicely written, fun to read aloud, birthday story is the most fantastic birthday story ever written for a boa . . . if only the author had thought about Boa when she wrote in the presents. Kids will love the terrific illustrations, but the images also could have been fantastic . . . if the artist had remembered to think of Boa.

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From Here on, Some, Not All, of this Review is Written in Jest – No Spoilers

Willis and Ross have collaborated on at least four other books. Those books must be fantastic else the publisher would not offer Boa’s birthday story. What went wrong? Do they not like Boa? Did they have a big fight and take it out on Boa? The awful mood made the writer so testy she had Dung Beetle leave his gift . . . then makes it rain. Dung’s ball stinks up Boa’s world as it slowly washes away until, only a small mound remains. The mound will forever leave reminders of Boa’s Bad Birthday.

Young kids will love Boa’s story. Parents can easily read Boa’s Bad Birthday in such a way as to make their children laugh. So may animal voices to use. A big orangutan, a funky monkey, a sleek jaguar, a happy, athletic sloth, and a, um, a . . . dirty dung beetle all offering an array of voices kids will love. Ah, but there is more. Willis and Ross made Boa’s already bleak world rain. Dung Beetle, being the last animal placed into the story, noticed the foul direction of Boa’s Bad Birthday and took to spying on Willis and Ross. What did Dung find out?

Dung has never liked the way creatives portray him. This time, Dung learns it’s his friend Boa who will be disappointed. Mad, the mischievous Dung decides to stop Willis and Ross’s total destruction of Boa’s birthday. “Let it rain,” said Dung to no one. Inside the ball of . . . that stuff Dung had to bring, he hides something. That something will turn Boa’s Bad Birthday into a fantastic birthday. Dung’s only disappointment is in his the inability to change the title. Still, I imagine—with a big smile—that the writer and artist are not happy Dung hijacked their story. Why? Because they once more captured the last word. The two countered by adding one more spread. I just don’t understand what a child has to do with Boa’s Bad Birthday?!

End of Jest

Boa’s Bad Birthday is cute. I love the alliterated title. Actually, I like the entire story. When Boa tries to use each gift, it will bring belly laughs from young children. I’ll admit Boa made me smile. Readers will understand Boa’s unhappiness and feel bad for him. Kids will also start to learn the importance of thinking before giving someone a gift. Parents should not mind reading Boa’s Bad Birthday multiple times. The story does not waste words. The illustrations add understanding to the text. Willis and Ross made a, dare I say, a “Fantastic” birthday story. Boa’s Bad Birthday contains an opportunity for children to empathize with Boa, laugh, and enjoy a terrific twist—Dung Beetle’s present. By next year, Boa’s friends will have learned the lesson of this story and Boa will have a fantastic birthday. One endnote, Mr. Tony Ross, considered one the world’s best illustrator, has illustrated a mind-boggling “over 800 books for young readers.”

BOA’S BAD BIRTHDAY. Text copyright © 2014 by Jeanne Willis. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Tony Ross. Reproduce by permission of the distributing publisher, Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Minneapolis, MN.

Buy Boa’s Bad Birthday at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Publishingat your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Boa’s Bad Birthday HERE.

Meet the author, Jeanne Willis, at her website:  http://www.jeannewillis.com/

Meet the illustrator, Tony Ross, at his short Lerner bio:  https://www.lernerbooks.com/Pages/Author-Illustrator-Details.aspx?contactid=957

Find more books at the Andersen Press USA website:  http://andersenpressusa.com/

an imprint of Andersen Press, Ltd.:     http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/           

distributed by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

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ALSO BY JEANNE WILLIS & TONY ROSS

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog 

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog

Fly, Chick, Fly!

Fly, Chick, Fly!

Hippospotamus

Hippospotamus

The Pet Person

The Pet Person

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CONGRATULATIONS TO

An Andersen Press Children’s author, Berlie Doherty, winner of the Carnegie Medal, is shortlist for The 2014 Stockport Children’s Book Awards, for her middle grade novel, The Company of Ghosts.  If you know Ms. Doherty, please congratulate her.

 

 

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boas bad birthday


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Andersen Press Ltd, Andersen Press USA, birthday party, birthday party story, Boa, Boa’s Bad Birthday, children's book reviews, Jeanne Willis, Lerner Publishing Group Inc., picture book, Tony Ross, wildlife

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19. #605 – The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King & Greg Paprocki

coverThe Big Book of Superheroes

written by Bart King

illustrated by Greg Paprocki

Gibbs Smith    4/01/2014

978-1-4236-3397-6

Age 8+      288 pages

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“Supervillains started quaking in their boots when they heard Bart King was creating a foolproof handbook that would teach superheroes how to interview and hire sidekicks, customize secret lairs—oh, and how to perfect hand-to-hand and foot-to-butt combat techniques! So, if you have a burning desire to fight evildoers, and a bit of allowance money to purchase this book, grab your battle costume disguise and join the fight for good!”

Opening

“Welcome to the world of superheroes! I have good news. By reading these words, you just became an honorary superhero. Yay!”

So You Want to be a Superhero (aka About the Book)

It begins at the beginning:  you’ve made your decision to become a superhero, fighter of evil, doer of good. Now you need to learn how to act and look like a superhero, starting with your superpower. What will it be? King gives you the 15 most popular superpowers, though there are many, many more to choose from. Then you must act like a superhero. This section gives you situations and asks you to pick the superhero answer. Many answers are further impressed upon your mind through the use of black and white illustrations.

Ways to become a superhero, short of reading the entire The Big Book of Superheroes, includes becoming an orphan, taking your vitamins, and having a rotten childhood. Those are but a few of the ways to shortcut your way to becoming a superhero. Personally, I like “Be a Handsome, Genius Millionaire,” but being hit by cosmic rays works, too. Once you tell your parents you are a superhero, the real training begins.

crayon melt evil laugh

Know when to fight—and with which weapon—and know when to run, I mean retreat. What does a superhero say? The section called “Zingers and Battle Cries—Speaking Superhero!” will help you find a battle cry, a motto, and how to super trash talk. With super training complete, who will be your toughest foe? Rugrats! That’s right, little kids, some of whom may have their own version of a superpower. You can’t just hold these rugrats at arm’s length and laugh. No, you need to know how to control supertantrums.

You need a supername. One suggestion is to find a cool word and spell it backwards, such as El Carim (miracle) or Repus (super). Repus would be a good name for a feline superhero. Add a “p” and get the name Repups, the perfect name for Repus’s canine sidekick. Yep, animals can be superheroes. Your dog or cat might be on a super mission right now. You also need a costume. Maybe a cape would be good with a utility belt to hold your utilities. The Fantastic 4 have great costumes according to King. The Human Torch had flaming underwear, hopefully not as he wore them.

dog hero

Superheroes need to know the difference between right and wrong. They need ethics. Can you learn this? Check out the quiz to see where you stand. If you have a secret identity, keep it a secret along with any super powers you may have. Secrecy is very important to a superhero. On the wrong side are supervillains and ethically challenged people. It’s best to keep an eye out for some of the worst. Those would be the jokers, mad scientists, and high school students (the most abundant).

Review

If you want to be a superhero, start with The Big Book of Superheroes. This book is more like a handbook for good rather than a literary book anyone can find in a bookstore (but you can). This book is the superhero’s bible. Everything you would ever need to know to become a superhero is in The Big Book of Superheroes. I like The Big Book of Superheroes. I had never thought of becoming a superhero, but after reading this book/handbook, it is hard not to want to join up forces with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Super Tot. There is a lot of common sense within the pages of The Big Book of Superheroes, such as,

“The more you know, the less you don’t.”

Who can argue with that? One of the best sections is the “Superpower Activity.” These boxed areas contain activities kids can immediately do, including a list of everything they will need. Kids can add to their super costume by making super goggles, utility belts, and power bands. There is even a sneaky way for superheroes to calm a rugrat using a balloon and one command. Kids will have loads of fun with these silly activities. The pop quizzes are not as abundant as the activities, but they are just as much fun for the superhero know-it-all . . . or do they? All answers are included.

superhero kid and parent

The black and white cartoonish illustrations show kids acting out some portion of the text. They are just what I would expect to see in a book about superheroes. The illustrations help break up the text, add humor, and sometimes help clarify the text. King writes The Big Book of Superheroes using text, lists, asides, blue boxes of comic facts, activities, pop quizzes, and comic illustrations, which all keep the book hopping and kids interested. King’s lists, found in every chapter, include things such as,

The 10 Most Underrated Superpowers,

The 10 Lamest Superpowers,

The Top 6 Tips for Parents of a Superhero.

 

He adds hunks of factual material, such as Superman’s original slogan, and fun comic book facts to teach kids. With Superman’s slogan, King tries to teach kids to come up with their own slogan, motto, or catch phrase. If kids love comics, superheroes, or villains they will love these easy to find snippets by King. These sections are in blue text, making them stand out from the page.

The Big Book of Superheroes, nicely bound in hardcover with bright white pages, is a substantial book filled with enough superhero information to keep a middle grader’s nose between the pages for quite some time. It is the perfect book for kids who love superheroes. Boys may seem the logical choice for The Big Book of Superheroes but girls will like this too. King includes many tidbits and facts about different comic book heroes that I found fascinating. In regards to becoming a superhero by using this book, King wrote,

“Sure, you could read this entire book. But who has that kind of time?”

The same can be said of the book as a whole. No time to read the entire book, pick out the section you want and return later for the others. Readers will not lose any continuity or meaning by skipping around. If more interested in the supervillain, jump towards the back. Interested in superpowers, head toward the middle. Back and forth can become practical. The one thing that bothered me throughout the book is King’s continued insistence on placing the word “super” before other words, making a new word. Some of King’s new “words” include superbreathe, superspeed, superhealing, superhearing, superintelligence, and supergoggles. These words are not supersmart.

superanimal heroes

Kids and adults who like supervillains, DC comics, and superheroes like Batman, the Fantastic 4, and one of my favorites, Wonder Dog, will enjoy The Big Book of Superheroes. It will keep readers entertained for hours. Reluctant readers will find The Big Book of Superheroes a great choice for summer reading. The Big Book of Superheroes can help readers become the hero they would like to become, while learning new facts about favorite superheroes or previously unknown superheroes. The appendix and bibliography are great places to continue learning about superheroes. The large book is entertaining on every page. Super-Kids will love The Big Book of Superheroes, the newest Big book by Bart King.

THE BIG BOOK OF SUPERHEROES. Text copyright © 2014 by Bart King. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Greg Paprocki. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gibbs Smith, Layton, UT.

Purchase The Big Book of Superheroes at AmazonB&NiTunesBook DepositoryGibbs Smithyour local bookstore.

Read a hilarious review by Erik and Darth Vader, er sorry. An outstanding review by Darth Vader and ThisKid HERE.

Learn more about The Big Book of Superheroes HERE.

Meet the author, Bart King, at his website:   http://www.bartking.net/

Meet the illustrator, Greg Paprocki, at his website:  http://gregpaprocki.com/

Find more books at the Gibbs Smith website:   http://www.gibbs-smith.com/

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**Illustrations by Greg Paprocki, from The Big Book of Superheroes, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith.

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ALSO BY BART KING

Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun

Bart’s King-Sized Book of Fun

 Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

The Big Book of Spy Stuff 

The Big Book of Spy Stuff

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ALSO BY GREG PAPROCKI

The Marvelous McCritterson's Road Trip to Grandmas

The Marvelous McCritterson’s Road Trip to Grandmas

JoJo's Big Tale

JoJo’s Big Tale

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

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big book superheroes


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: animal superheroes, Bart King, children's book reviews, gibbs smith, Greg Paprocki, learn how to become a superhero, sidde kicks, super trash talk, superheroes, supervillains, The Big Book of Superheroes

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20. #611 – SLAM! A Tale of Consequences by Adam Stower

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Slam!: A Tale of Consequences

written and illustrated by Adam Stower

Owlkids Books 3/15/2014

978-1-77147-007-0

Age 3 to 7 32 pages

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A boy heads to the store with his dog to buy some candy. On his way out, the door slams behind him. Oops. What starts off innocently builds into a contagious, calamitous, cacophony of crashing cars, flopping fish, wobbly workers, not to mention dogs, cats, rockets, kites, lions, clown, ice cream, dragons and . . . aliens? Where will this tale of consequences go next? You’ll never guess!”

Opening

“Don’t slam the d . . . SLAM!”

Review

Have you ever thrown a pebble into a puddle and watched as the water ripples outward, never ceasing to end? Cause and effect. Now everyone has heard at some time in his or her life, “Don’t slam the door!” Why is this door admonition so universal? One word: consequences. Read SLAM! A Tale of Consequences and you will understand cause and effect.

A young boy, maybe nine or ten, steps out with his dog to make a candy store run. Someone inside the house yells to him,

“Don’t slam the door.”

The boy is listening to something on his headphones. Maybe a book on tape and a moment of crisis is about to unfold. He just cannot turn it down to listen to something he hears day in and day out. Okay, he is most likely listening to music while absentmindedly walking the dog. The boy slams the door and out bounces his red playground ball.

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Now that the cause has been established, it is time for the effects—the consequences. The red ball bounces haphazardly onto the sidewalk, hitting the bag of groceries an older woman is was carrying. Eggs fly out and smack another woman jogging towards the first, and oranges roll out into the street where a fish truck swerves hard to avoid them. The back door of the fish truck swings open and fish fly everywhere. And you thought fish couldn’t fly. Wrong. Those fish flew into people smacking them in the mouth, knocking them down, and worse, an octopus flew down an open manhole. (In retrospect that probably saved two men’s lives, as it stopped them from entering the sewer.) The octopus hit a dragon that was calling the sewer home. The dragon flies out of the sewer, fire breathing everywhere, and goes crazy. Now the young boy, he is still oblivious to the destruction behind him, but his poor dog cannot get away from it all. Cause and Effect. Consequences.

The illustrations have so many details it takes a while to notice all that is happening on each spread. There are old and young people, dogs and cats, circus performers and a dragon, construction men and lots and lots of fish. The baker takes a swordfish in the rear while a dog, now on a skateboard, finds a fish over his head. Acrobats juggle a lion, clowns launch out the back of a circus van, and a big tough guy, he looks like he wants to run. Everyone ends up covered in various ice cream flavors.

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Kids of all ages will love this hilarious minimal text picture book. Words, not needed. Once the door slams, the only thing people will be saying, or rather yelling, do not belong in a kid’s book, let alone a picture book for the youngest children. Even without words, SLAM! A Tale of Consequences is hilarious with a capital H. It is laugh-out-loud funny. It is read it too me again hijinks. If you like slam-stick, the kind that happened on older shows such as I Love Lucy or like Melissa McCarthy performs to today’s audiences of funny-lovers, you will love SLAM! A Tale of Consequences.  I love Slam!

The young boy does get his candy. On the way out of the candy store he once again fails to hear,

“Don’t SLAM the door!”

The young boy slams the door and the . . .

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SLAM!  A TALE OF CONSEQUENCES. Text and illustration copyright © 2005 by Adam Stower. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.

**Originally published in the U.K. in 2005 by Templar Publishing.

Purchase SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Adam Stower, at his website:    http://www.worldofadam.com/

Find other books to enjoy at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

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  NEW in 2014 by Adam Stower

Naughty Kitty!

Naughty Kitty!

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Troll und Oliver - Bilderbuch

Troll und Oliver – Bilderbuch

Snowball Fight!

Snowball Fight!

Around the World in Eighty Days

Around the World in Eighty Days

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slam USE THIS ONE


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Adam Stower, children's book reviews, dire consequences, hilarious action, laugh-out-loud, Owlkids Books, picture books, SLAM! A Tale of Consequences, slapstick

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21. #612-613 – Monster Knows I’m Sorry and Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites

Here are two wonderful board books for the youngest kids out there ready to open a book or two. Both are colorful and made me laugh. First up, an appropriate book for the mess my shotty computer has caused.

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9781479522019.

Monster Knows I’m Sorry

written by Connie Colwell Miller

illustrated by Maira Chiodi

Picture Window Books          3/06/2014

978-1-4795-2964-3

8 x 8 18 pages

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“Monsters are at Plooble School. There’s time for work and play. Monsters make mistakes at times. “I’m sorry” is easy to say.”

Opening

“At Pooble School the monsters play. They also learn the words to say.”

Review

The monsters at Plooble School are a fearsome bunch. From one eye to three eyes or no eye at all, these monster will not scare the little reader. Every monster wears a smile and is glad to be at school. The words to learn today are “I’m sorry.”
All the monsters are seated at their desks, except for one. This monster is goofing around, but when he realizes what he is doing, he faces his classmates and says,

“I’m sorry, friends. I’ll calm down.”

I’m sorry is used in many ways.

“I’m so sorry you feel bad.”
“Oops, I’m sorry, I forgot that rule.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair.”

FOR REVIEW USE

What a great way to help young children understand how and why one says, “I’m sorry.” The monsters are funny, kind, and considerate. What wee one does not want to go to school like their big brother or sister? Now, they can go to school at Plooble School with the friendliest monsters seen around books this year. In addition to Monster Knows I’m Sorry, there are three more manner books: Monster Knows Excuse Me, Monster Knows Please and Thank You, and Monster Knows Table Manners. Each book is colorful and uses fun situations to help little children understand the concept of that particular book. I really like this series. I think kids will like the series and may just learn some manners faster than they might otherwise learn them.
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But we are not done. No, not yet. Now we have the biggest beast know to man—the elephant. Meet Eddie and Ellie.

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9781410953551.

Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites

written by Daniel Nunn

llustrations by Steve Walker

Heinemann Raintree         8/29/2014

978-1-4109-5355-1

8 x 8 18 pages

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“Eddie and Ellie are good friends. But sometimes, Eddie and Ellie can’t stop arguing. You see, everything that Eddie likes . . . Ellie likes the opposite!”

Opening

“This is Eddie the Elephant. And this is Ellie the Elephant. Eddie and Ellie love animals! But they can never agree which ones are best.”

Review

Eddie and Ellie are the cutest elephants you will ever see anywhere. I love their big white curious eyes and the green bow atop Ellie’s head. Eddie and Ellie are so adorable a stuffed toy companion of each would be irresistible to hugs. Oh, who would not enjoy a “real” Eddie and Ellie sitting on their bed ready to show them some terrific animals? If only they could agree!

Eddie likes BIG animals like white polar bears. But Ellie likes SMALL animals like lizards. (I’ll go with Eddie on this one.) Poor Ellie is cross-eyed watching the lizard crawl up her long trunk. Yuck! Some kids will love it and it is funny to see. Eddie likes HEAVY animals like the rhinoceros, but Ellie likes LIGHT animals like the lemur. (I’m with Ellie, light is best for a pet.) Back and forth, these two elephants compare their likes to one another. One likes DIRTY animals while the other likes CLEAN animals. One likes animals that live in COLD places and the other likes animals that live in HOT places. (Hot, definitely wins.)

one to use with review

Kids will get more than a few animals to admire while Eddie and Ellie counter each other. By book’s end, young children should understand the concept of opposites. Young kids will love Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites. They never argue, just compare their likes to the other’s likes. Eddie and Ellie smile, stand up on two legs raising their arms in excitement, and seem to have a good time with the other animals. Ellie rides a hippo and Eddie admires the long neck of a giraffe. Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites is another cute board book from Heinemann Raintree/Capstone.

.Now, off with you. Go get your own Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites and of course Monsters Knows I’m Sorry. Go on. They are waiting for you. Don’t keep monsters waiting. Those elephants will remember how fast you came for them. Now, shoo!

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MONSTER KNOWS I’M SORRY. Text copyright © 2014 by Connie Colwell Miller. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Maira Chiodi. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Picture Window Books/Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

Buy Monster Knows Manners series at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstoneyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about the Monster Knows Manners series HERE.

Meet the author, Connie Colwell Miller, at her website:    http://conniecolwellmiller.com/

Meet the illustrator, Maira Chiodi, at her website:    http://mairachiodi.com/

Find more board books at the Picture Window Books website

an imprint of Capstone Books

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EDDIE AND ELLIE’S OPPOSITES. Text copyright © 2014 by Daniel Nunn. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Walker. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Heinemann Raintree, North Mankato, MN.

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Buy Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstoneyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about the Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites HERE.

Meet the author, Daniel Nunn, at his facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/danielnunn

Meet the illustrator, Steve Walker, at this website:    http://stevejwalkerstudio.blogspot.com/

Find more board books at the Heinemann Raintree website

an imprint of Capstone Books
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USE TOGETHER


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: board books, Capstone, children's book reviews, Connie Colwell Miller, Daniel Nunn, Eddie and Ellie’s Animal Opposites, elephants, Heinemann Raintree, Maira Chiodi, manners, Monster Knows I’m Sorry, monsters, opposites, Picture Window Books, Steve Walker

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22. #614 – Planes Go by Steve Light

41YveoPL2fLPlanes Go

written & illustrated by Steve Light

Chronicle Books      8/12/2014

978-1-4521-2899-3

Age infant to 2     16 pages

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“The helicopter goes, ‘PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATATA.’ The jumbo jet goes, ‘Wheeeeeeeee VRRRRRRRRRRUUUHHHHHHHHHMMM.’ The propeller plane goes, ‘HUK HUK HUK WHIRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRR.’ Prepare for liftoff with 8 exiting aircraft and the noises they make in this irresistible board book! The long, oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and stands out on the shelf, and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.”

Opening

“The helicopter goes, PITTATATTATA PITTATATTATA PITTATATTATA”

Review

Planes Go will thrill any young boy—and girls, too—who love airplanes, and what child does not? You can sound just like a propeller plane, helicopter, or a blimp, entertaining your youngster as these different flying machines burst from the pages. The pages are extra thick for little hands that sometimes play rough. If jelly from that PB&J slips out from the bread, maybe landing on the supersonic jet, not to worry. The jelly, and most other kid substances, will wipe off the sturdy, glossy board book.

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In addition to Planes Go, the series includes Trucks Go, Trains Go, and Diggers Go. The illustrations are colorful and full of the sounds each machine makes as it rumbles through the sky. There is a seaplane, helicopter, propeller plane, fighter plane, blimp, supersonic jet, and the space shuttle. Wherever you want to go, there is a plane to take you there. Read through the book once, adding your best plane imitations with help from the author and your child can take it from there. By the way, those airplanes sounds are examples of onomatopoeia. Brr, swish, whoop, wizz are also examples of onomatopoeia. When you try to imitate the sound anything makes, like a slithering snake, “Ssssssss,” you are using onomatopoeia.

I have a nephew who, when he was two-years-old would have fought me for this book and would want the other three books in the series. He loved cars, trucks, planes, scooters, and anything else that had power and moved. Planes Go, and all the other in the series, will ignite your youngsters imagination as the planes and helicopters take off for places only your child knows. These books are a great way to introduce curious young minds to the vehicles he or she is likely to see when traveling.  The book is longer than normal to accommodate the elongated bodies of many planes. I think this is a great series and youngsters will love the planes and the sounds each one makes, especially if it is mom or dad making those sounds.

PLANES GO. Text and illustrations  copyright © 2014 by Steve Light. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Here is an Onomatopoeia Dictionary

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Purchase Planes Go at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Planes Go HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Steve Light, at his website:    http://www.stevelightart.com/

Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Steve Light

Trucks Go

Trucks Go

Trains Go

Trains Go

Diggers Go

Diggers Go

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(review HERE)

 

 

 

Have You Seen My Dragon?

Have You Seen My Dragon?

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Boats Go (2/01/2015)

 

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planes go


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: All About Children (blog), bli9mp, board books, children's book reviews, flying machines, helicopters, planes go, space shuttle supersonic jet, Steve Light, vehicles

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23. #616 – Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty by Michael A. Carestio

MC-Blog-Tour-Master-300x300

Virtual Book Blog Tour — Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty by Michael A. Carestio

CousinsRobbers-Cover.

Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty

written by Michael A. Carestio

published by Michael A. Carestio         7/15/2013

978-1-49090934-9

Age 8 to 12

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“The Great Recession is punishing families across the land: lost jobs, lost dreams, lost hope. Tough times bring out the best, and worst in people. The sleepy South Jersey shore towns are being hit by a crime wave, a band of robbers boldly breaking into homes right in the middle of a summer day. The cousins of Black Jack Jetty devise a plan to protect home and family. That plan will drag them into the mean streets of the meanest neighborhoods in Atlantic City. That’s where the tale twists and turns like a treacherous rip tide. Lucky will tell you the rest.”

Opening

“We’re going to Atlantic City,” Jack says, in a rare display of bravado.”

The Story

The cousins, nine-year-olds Riley, Jack, and Nick, seven-year-old Willy, and honorary cousin, nine-year-old Angel are determined to catch the robbers brazen enough to rob in clear daylight. They all fear their home on Black Jack Jetty will be next, thinking the robbers will be looking for the gold coins they recently found belonging to a deceased uncle. (Book 1) The kids go on reconnaissance, including using an old military lookout post on the top of the house. From there they can see most of the area.

Angel notices a lot of landscapers, which is not unusual in Margate. Only problem is, these guys never mow a lawn or trim a bush. Out on their bikes the kids go, looking for this black landscaping truck pulling a white trailer. Once found, two of the kids try to take a closer look and end up inside the locked trailer when it takes off to wherever the robbers take it at the end of the day. Two other kids follow the trailer and their cousins, while Willy goes home. He is to tell their Aunt Jane what has happened, but only after two hours have passed. Willy, though visibly distressed, refuses to say a word until those two hours have swept away. Will the cousins safely escape the robber’s trailer? Will the robbers be brought to justice?

Review

First, let me say that the narrator is so annoying that had this not been for a review, I would have tossed the book after page five. The story of Cousins and Robbers is a mere 89 pages, easily a one sitting tale. It took me several days. In frustration, I left the story several times only to pick it up a day or two later—because I had to. The narrator spends more time interjecting opinions and commentary more than he likes to narrate the story. It takes quite a while before you realize the “narrator” is a seagull that can talk. He also physically enters the story near the end. Lucky’s narration is always in italics, while a normal narrator is in regular print. Yep, two narrators. Plus, I found the paragraphs in italics—one nearly every page—annoying, causing me to shift from story to commentary. This interrupts the actual story, and I do not care what this seagull thinks about the action, the economy, or the Great Recession. This narrator simply interrupts the story, like someone talking about the day’s events while you try to read the paper. Now, kids might enjoy this oft-time funny bird and not feel the distractions I felt.

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If you ignore all those italic paragraphs, what is left is a decent story, with a good plot, a good conflict, and an interesting ending, though easily solved. I say this with one caveat: in children’s stories, even cops and robbers, kids should be the ones who solve the problems. In this case, the talkative seagull and an adult rescue the kids, rather than the other kids rescuing their mates. Worse, these characters enter the story near the end. I don’t like reading about these great kid characters only to have two new characters (an adult and a seagull), show up in the last ten pages and save the day. In children’s literature, kids solve the problems, are the heroes, and empower the story—and the child reader.

The illustrations, photographs that look like someone’s old vacation pictures, often do not relate to what is happening on the page next to it or in the story as a whole. Granted, illustrations can be the most expensive part of a kid’s book, but if the alternative is confusing photographs that Uncle Jay took on his last vacation, skip them all together. Illustrations should enhance the story and move it along its journey.

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I believe the author knows how to write a good story. He understands the elements needed for a good story. Maybe he took some bad advice about the seagull playing opinionated narrator, or having the seagull’s narration stand out by italicizing it. A good editor might have caught all of this and had it corrected. Here is the sentence, from the story, about the use of a talking seagull:

“Now before you go thinking what a cheap literary device . . . a talking animal . . . how cliché . . . Get over it . . . please.”

The author calls his use of a talking seagull cliché, and he is right, so why did he use it? Was he saying I know this is cliché but I do not care what you think? No, I think this was a tongue-in-seagull-cheek joke that took a dive, coming across arrogant instead of witty. As for “Get over it,” not possible. There is too much of this talking animal interrupting the story to express its opinion or make an unneeded comment, yet, in its defense, the author/seagull says,

“I am opinionate, informed, and do not suffer fools lightly.”

Oh, and the prologue, which I do not like anyway, is nothing more than the identical repetition of three pages (41, 42, 43) from the middle of the book. What is the reason for this? It seems like the author knows what he needs to do, but insists on not doing it or does it incorrectly. Don’t waste your time with the prologue. Skip it and start at the beginning of the story at Chapter 1.

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Now, the good. Boys will enjoy this tale of cops and robbers. They, as I, will like Angel, the “guest cousin” whose father is in jail for robbery. Angel is a taller and bigger than average nine-year-old who could have saved the day. That would have been a great ending. Angle would have earned the position of a cousin and I would have looked forward to further adventures with Angel in the group. Kids will also like the bicycle chase. It has loads of adventure, suspense, and humor.

While Cousins and Robbers needs tuned—lengthening the story, correct the typos—the elements for a great kid’s story are there. The writing is good. The plot is good. The cousins are good characters that speak to kids and are easy to like. The conflict is believable. There is a nice twist. The adult characters, while they take on too much of the story (important sections like the ending), most are characters one can like. The setting is fabulous. Not just on the beach, but at a house that sticks out into the bay, looking dangerously defenseless—though defenseless it or its occupants are not.

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Kids will like Cousins and Robbers. They might even think Lucky’s squawking narration is funny. It is witty in an annoying way. You never know what will influence a child while he or she reads a story. A good plot, convincing conflicts, excellent writing, and, humorous twists are great if not marred down by a cliché. Remove the unnecessary. Build on what really works. Write for kids. Think like a kid. Let the kids be the heroes. Accomplishing those, while not always easy, could bring Cousins and Robbers to the level of a Best of 2014 novel for children. The current story is a good start.

COUSINS AND ROBBERS: TALES OF BLACK JACK JETTY. Text copyright © 2013 by Michael A. Carestio. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Tony Auth, Alex Forbes, et al. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Michael A. Carestio, Philadelphia, PA.

ENTER TO WIN AN AMAZON GIFT CARD. 3 WINNERS $50, $25, $10 CARDS! ENTER HERE.

Buy Cousins and Robbers . . . at AmazonB&NCreateSpaceAuthor’s Websiteyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Cousins and Robbers . . . HERE.

Meet the author, Michael A. Carestio, at his website:     http://www.blackjackjetty.com/

About Michael A. Carestio

author use unsure probably notA native Philadelphian, Michael has spent much of his career in advertising as a Creative Director. Black Jack Jetty: A Boy’s Journey Through Grief is his entry into children’s literature and reflects the loss he felt as a young boy over the death of his own father.

quoteThe story takes place in Margate, down beach from Atlantic City where Carestio spends his summers with friends and family.

Mr. Carestio has two daughters, two granddaughters, and two World Series Championships thanks to his beloved Phillies.

 Find Michael A. Carestio at these sites:
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Also by Michael A. Carestio
Black Jack Jetty

Black Jack Jetty

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cousins and robbers

 

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Virtual Book Blog Tour

Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty

7

Monday, July 21st

Kid Lit Reviews – http://kid-lit-reviews.com/

Tuesday, July 22nd

Cubicle Blindness Reviews – http://cubicleblindness.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 23rd

Bright Kids Books – www.brightkidsbooks.com

Thursday, July 24th

Literary Diva – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/diva29

Friday, July 25th

Jenn’s Review Blog – http://www.jennsreviewblog.com

Monday, July 28th

The Write Stuff –  http://rosihollinbeckthewritestuff.blogspot.ca/

Tuesday, July 29th

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog – http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/guest-blogs/topics/

Wednesday, July 30th

Gabina49′s Blog – http://gabina49.wordpress.com/

Thursday, July 31st

Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog – http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/guest-blogs/topics/

Friday, August 1st

Get Kids to Read – http://www.mrtierneyslibrary.com/

 

 

copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Atlantic City, Atlantic Ocean, Black Jack Jetty, children's book reviews, cops and robbers, Cousins and Robbers: Tales of Black Jack Jetty, Michael A. Carestio, middle grade novel

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24. #619 – The Lonely Crow by Paul Stillabower & David Johnson

image001The Lonely Crow

written by Paul Stillabower

illustrations by David Johnson

Book Guild Publishing         5/29/2014

978-1-909716-18-6

Age 5 to 7      32 pages

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“It’s bedtime and Crow is searching high and low for the perfect place to sleep. He finds a comfy looking perch . . . But a scowling owl sends him on his way! He sees a cosy pile of hay . . . But a trumpeting elephant won’t let him stay! Will poor old Crow ever find somewhere to rest his weary head?

Opening

“The night was icy and the sky was dark

When Crow flew high

over Regent Park.

His wings were tired and his legs were old,

So he looked for a place

to get out of the cold.”

Review

Poor Crow, he was tired and cold. He flew the London sky looking for a comfortable and safe place to sleep. He tried a nice looking branch, but a mean owl threatened Crow as he told him to scat. That owl looks terrifying. I am surprised Crow even landed, yet he did land, and that grouchy old owl took a swing at Crow. Not a dumb bird, Crow left for safer accommodations. (Oddly, the next illustration has Crow back on a branch, from which he then flew off.)

Crow being a pretty smart bird, decided the London Zoo would be a safe place to find a spot to sleep. The London Zoo is nothing more than, according to Crow,

“A place for animals . . . a great, big farm!”

Zoos are fun and safe places, but maybe not for crows. Crow tried several warm, cozy spots, but each time another animal claimed the spot and Crow had to leave. In fact, two animals look like they might want Crow to stay, as long as he is their midnight snack. Ouch!

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The bright illustrations give Crow bold coat of blue feathers and a nice light yellow beak. As the story progresses, Crow’s eyes close with sleepiness, until they are almost shut. At last, Crow is so tired his wings barely hold him up. It is easy to empathize with Crow. It should not be that hard to find a place to sleep. The characters all look a tad cartoonish, except for their eyes, which carry a great deal of emotion. The baby elephant, a cute little guy, shows expresses himself with his huge, bright smile. Crow left, thinking the little guy’s trumpet was a warning. The baby elephant looks like he wants to play with Crow, not get rid of him.

Written in rhyme, the story is an easy read. The rhythm is not completely smooth, with some lines having extra beats. My tongue tangled a couple of times trying to maintain the rhythm. Overall, Stillabower did a pretty good job writing the story in rhyming poetry. Poetry is very difficult to write correctly. It involves much more than simply finding words that rhyme.

The nicely produced hardback contains a great looking credit page. Many non-traditionally produced books forget this page, so it is nice to find one that has nearly all the needed information—for librarians (and fussy reviewers). The illustrator’s name is missing.  Having both names on the cover is best, yet it is understandable why the author wants only their name after spending so much for the illustrations. Still, credit the illustrator else, it looks like the author was also the artist.

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Crow finally sees an empty nest high up in a tree. I don’t think Crow should land. It could be another owl ready to show him the fictitious door with a reality swing of his wing. Crow is very tired at this point and lies down in that empty nest. His eyes are barely open. Will Crow sleep the night away, or be shooed away once more?

The Lonely Crow tells a nice bedtime tale. Crow becomes more tired as he travels from place to place. All he wants to do is sleep. The same message parents try to tell their children. “Sleep, please go to sleep.” By the time Crow does find a place to sleep, the listening child should be ready to close their eyes as well. Young children will like Crow’s story. He is a likable character. The illustrations do a great job enhancing the lovely story. The Lonely Crow may well help many young children find sweet dreams.

THE LONELY CROW. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Stillabower. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by David Johnson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Book Guild Publishing, Great Britain.

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Purchase a copy of The Lonely Crow at AmazonBook DepositoryBook Guild Publishingat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Lonely Crow HERE.

Meet the author, Paul Stillabower, at his facebook page:

Meet the illustrator, David Johnson, at his website:

Produced by Book Guild Publishing:   http://www.bookguild.co.uk/

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the lonely crow

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Turns out The Lonely Crow is a popular title. Here are some others, all titled The Lonely Crow.

Danielle Wortman @ saarchiart.com

Photograph by Danielle Wortman @ saarchiart.com

by Pikoia @ pikoia.deviantart.com

Illustration by Pikoia @ pikoia.deviantart.com

The Lonely Crow a poem © Joshua McCaw

The Lonely Crow a poem © Joshua McCaw

a story (not yet available) by Mike Miles

a story (not yet available) by Mike Miles

The Lonely Crow Game by Tapp.com

The Lonely Crow Game by Tapp.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: bedtime story, Book Guild Publishing, children's book reviews, crows, David Johnson, London Zoo, Paul Stillabower, picture books, sleepy, The Lonely Crow, UK

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25. #629 – About Parrots: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill & John Sill

PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

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About Parrots-page-001About Parrots: A Guide for Children

written by Cathryn Sill
illustrated by John Sill
Peachtree Publishers       8/01/2014
978-1-56145-795-3
Age 4 to 8     32 pages
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“About Parrots is an instructive yet entertaining first glimpse into the world of nature for young children. In this easy-to-read, informative follow-up to the other critically acclaimed books in her About . . . series, author and teacher Cathryn Sill explains what parrots are, how and where they live, and what they do. With the help of beautifully detailed paintings from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, this book explains the basic characteristics that all parrots share, while offering a closer look into many different kinds of parrots—from the Rosy-faced Lovebirds of southwestern Africa to the rare Blue Lorikeets of the Polynesian Islands. An afterword provides further detail that will inspire young readers to learn more about these colorful birds. About Parrots will accurately answer the first questions of young naturalists and charm readers with the wonder and diversity of these fascinating birds.”

Opening

“Parrots are birds with big heads and thick, curved bills.”

About the Book

Parrots abound in this colorful picture book, which answers many questions young kids will want answered. Begin with, what are parrots? Then move on to what they look like, what they eat, and how they eat. One big question will be why do parrots have have zygodactyl feet (split toes:  two toes in front of the foot and two toes in the back of the foot)?

Where do parrots live: in old climates, warm climates or both? Are all parrots big? Do they live alone or in groups? Can parrots talk? Now, there is a good question. Do any animals consider a parrot food? How does the parrot state safe from these predators? Do parrots sleep in nests like other birds?

GOOD PLATE 9

The answers should help the inquisitive mind of your children, but if they want more, the afterword gives detailed information on a spread-by-spread basis—John Sill calls the spread a “plate.”

Review

About Parrots is full of information about various parrots that is perfect for little minds. The spreads—or plates—are beautiful and extremely detailed. The information flows naturally, not back and forth, which would confuse young minds (and some old minds). Text is minimal, mainly just what needs to be written, and then the illustration on the right takes over.

“Parrots are birds with big heads and thick, curved bills.”

plate 1

On the left side of the spread is an illustration of a Palm Cockatoo. This bluish-grey bird sports a proportionally bigger head as compared to its body, with head plumage that sprays out from its forehead. It has a large grey bill, which looks very sharp, and red blotched cheeks, the only bright coloring on its body. Each page is similarly written and illustrated.

I know kids will learn a lot from About Parrots, as I learned much myself. I love the illustrations. Each bird has fine detail and looks like a photograph, rather than a painting. This realism will help kids understand the information presented, as they can then see the information on the accompanying bird. Included are the natural surroundings. What is missing, and will generate questions from kids who want the answers, are feathers (composition and uses), and babies (including eggs, activities, eating habits, and graduation into adult life. Do they leave the parents or stay as a group?) I can almost hear these questions being asked. They are basic material and should be included.

Birds range from the lovely Blue Lorikeet to the astonishing Hyacinth Macaw, A total of 18 beautiful birds illustrated. There are also many types of green parrots we often see in a pet store. As an OSU fan, I am partial to the African Grey Parrot. It has red under feathers and digs out a nest in a soft wood tree, high above the central African plain. This nest protects themselves and their babies from predators—wolverines—and the weather.

plate 10Kids will enjoy reading About Parrots. Teachers should be able to find various uses for Cathryn Sill’s series. From basic learning about the book’s subject (parrots, raptors, and mammals—also in bilingual edition, and twelve other editions), to the habits, habitats, and the art of each bird’s plumage, teachers can find numerous creative learning materials from the About . . . series. The same applies to home-scholars. The afterword offers in-depth information the text lacks the room to contain. The information is brief, yet informative and interesting. There is also a glossary, a suggested reading list, and additional resources.

The About . . . series currently has fifteen editions, some available in paperback, and, currently, one bilingual English/Spanish. No matter your child’s interest, from parrots to penguins the Sills have created an About . . . series that will peak their curiosity and expand their knowledge of other species. Honestly, there has yet been a Sill created book that I did not like. The illustrations are always stunning and the text teaches things I had not known about the subject. Be it about the desert climate or About Parrots, Sill books are top of the line children’s nature picture books, unsurpassed by any other.

afterword page 1 plates 1 to 6
ABOUT PARROTS: A GUIDE FOR CHILDREN. Text copyright © 2014 by Cathryn Sill. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by John Sill. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
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Purchase any About . . . series books at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersat your favorite bookstore.
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Learn more regarding the About . . . series HERE.

Meet the author, Cathryn Sill, at her Jacketflap:   http://www.jacketflap.com/cathryn-sill/24246

Meet the illustrator, John Sill,at his website:   http://www.johnsill.com/

Find more non-fiction at the Peachtree Publisher website:   http://peachtree-online.com/


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Also by Cathryn and John Sills

About Mammals: A Guide for Children

About Mammals: A Guide for Children

About Raptors: A Guide for Children

About Raptors: A Guide for Children

About Mammals: A Guide for Children / Sobre los mamiferos: Una guia para ninos

About Mammals: A Guide for Children / Sobre los mamiferos: Una guia para ninos

A Field Guide to Little Known and Seldom Seen Birds of North America (2nd edition)

A Field Guide to Little Known and Seldom Seen Birds of North America (2nd edition)

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Review HERE.

 


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NEW About Parrots USE
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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

About Parrots:  A Guide for Children

Monday, August 3rd — http://jeanlittlelibrary.blogspot.com/

Tuesday August 4th — http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/ and http://kid-lit-reviews.com/

Wednesday, August 5th — Chat with Vera

Thursday, August 6th — Blue Owl and Kid Lit Frenzy

Friday, August 7th — The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: About Parrots, book blog tour, Cathryn Sill, children's book reviews, John Sill, macaws, parrots, wild parrots, zygodactyl feet

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