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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Frankencrayon By Michael Hall

5 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun story that kids will absolutely adore!


frankenFrankencrayon 

By Michael Hall
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow on January 26th 2016

Theme- All art is fine / You can’t unscribble by scribbling over something.

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: (in order, said by Orange, Green, and then Purple twice)

I can’t believe it’s been canceled.

It was my first starring role.

It was my first supporting role.

[page turn]

Help! Someone just turned the page.

Synopsis from Amazon: “The crayons are ready to tell the thrilling tale of Frankencrayon. The costumes are made, the roles are cast, the pages are all set—but then disaster strikes. Someone has scribbled on the page! Hideous! Horrifying! The story can’t go on! Try as they might, the crayons can’t erase the scribble, and this picture book must be canceled. Until the crayons playing the title role of Frankencrayon think of a solution, that is.”

What I Thought- This is a unique book – it puts a picture book sort of like a movie, with a cast, narrator, and whatnot. Mr. Hall’s illustrations are simple but show a lot, and the things that the crayons say can be pretty funny. I like how the crayons thought that by scribbling over the offending red scribble, it would get better. I think that little kids will love this book (and will also relate to the horror of opening a coloring book that has been scribbled in)! I loved Mr. Hall’s other crayon book, Red, and this one doesn’t disappoint either!

Activities and Resources- Get your crayons and have them take place in a “movie”. Maybe have a production problem, like the lights won’t turn on, or a cast problem, like maybe one of the cast forgot the most important line. What will the crayons do?

Over at PBS’ website ZOOM – there is a ton of short plays kids can put on themselves. Check it out HERE!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Punk Skunks by Trisha Speed Shaskan

30 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a funny story with a great message.

punkPunk Skunks
Written by Trisha Speed Shaskan
Illustrated by Stephen Shaskan
40 pages – ages 5+
Will be published by HarperCollins on February 9th, 2016

Theme- Friendship/Argument/Disagreement

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “Kit and Buzz were BSFs- best skunks forever. Each day, Kit banged on Buzz’s door.

Synopsis from GoodReads: “Join two rockin’ punk skunks in a fun story about friendship.

Kit and Buzz are BSFs—Best Skunks Forever. Every day they rock out together. But when Kit wants to sing a song about skating and Buzz wants to sing a song about painting, the BSFs get into a HUGE fight!

They try to hum, drum, and strum on their own, but it’s all wrong. Will Kit and Buzz find a way to make up?

What I Thought- I liked this book. Kit and Buzz are great characters. I laughed at the “parodies” of bands and whatnot in the illustrations – Kit wears an “ABCD” shirt, which I’m 95% sure is an AC/DC reference; Buzz has a “Ratmoans” poster. That was funny, and I bet adults would get the jokes. The book is a great story about how friends can disagree/fight with each other, but can make up and still be friends. Mr. Shaskan’s illustrations use bold colors and dark lines, looking like a cartoon or comic character. Kids will love them. Ms. Shaskan has written a fun book that kids will connect with. 

Activities and Resources- You could write a poem/song, and then play an “instrument” to it (anything works – pots and pans, milk jug, etc). Even better – make it about friendship or your best friend! Over on the How Wee Learn blog, there is a great article on how to make a bunch of different homemade instruments. Click HERE.
Check out a couple of the Punk Skunks songs!


Check out more about the book at the HarperCollins website! Click HERE!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Do You Really Want a Guinea Pig? by Bridget Heos

23 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a great book to find out if you truly want a guinea pig!


wantguineapigDo You Really Want a Guinea Pig?

Written by Bridget Heos
Illustrated by Katya Longhi
24 pages – ages 5+
Published by Amicus Illustrated on September 1st, 2015

Theme- Proper Care of a Pet

Genre- Instructional Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “So you say you want a guinea pig. You really, really want a guinea pig.

But do you really want a guinea pig?

Synopsis: Do you want a guinea pig? Are you sure that you want a guinea pig?  If you aren’t, this book will give you the run-down on owning a guinea pig. It will tell you what they eat, how they live, and much more! Now, do you really want a guinea pig?

 

What I Thought- This is a great book for deciding if you actually want a guinea pig for a pet or any other animal for that mater. I like how the book goes through the basic necessities of the guinea pig (food, water, a home, etc.) and all that is involved for caring for a pet. It shows you what will happen if you don’t take care of your guinea pig – with sometimes funny statements from the guinea pig (about what it is thinking – like “Could I see the dessert menu, please?”). This book belongs to a series called “Do You Really Want a Pet?”, and they detail several different common pets. Judging from this book, this is a great series for basic pet research. The illustrations are fun and they add a little humor to the story. I really enjoyed this book!

Activities and Resources- Do some research into a pet that you think you want, or just do research on an animal. There is a great bunch of information over at Jackies guinea pigs about owning these little guys – click HERE.

The Humane Society has information on not just guinea pigs but all sorts of pets – click HERE.

HERE is a test to see if your kids are ready for a pet.

 

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins #FollowBruce

8 Jan

bruceMother Goose Bruce

by Ryan T. Higgins

48 pages – ages 3+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on November 24, 2015

Theme- Family/adoption

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines:

Bruce was a bear who lived all by himself.
He was a grump.”

Synopsis from GoodReads: “Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he’s their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can’t seem to rid himself of his new companions. What’s a bear to do?

What I Thought- I LOVED this book. The opening is great – Bruce is a grump – just look at him. Everything about Higgins’ artwork  lets you know how grumpy Bruce is.

bruce2

Speaking of the artwork, it is phenomenal! It tells so much more of the story and really conveys the feeling of the whole book. I love how the look of Bruce stays grumpy throughout the whole book, even as his character softens in the story.

bruce3

I also like how the goslings don’t seem to care about their “mommy’s”  bad disposition. The story isn’t really about a grumpy bear but more so about family. Being an adopted kid myself, I think it is a nice kind of adoption story too. It is a sweet story that says it doesn’t mater how you came together or what you look like, you are still a family.

Activities and Resources-

Bruce loves to cook so how about cooking something up with Bruce? The Kid Spot blog has some egg recipes that kids can cook. Click HERE to get them.

You can search the internet or better yet your library for books and news articles on animals adopting animals of a different species. HERE is a nice article at TheDodo.com that shows some pretty unusual parings – a tortoise and a hippo???

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi plus Christmas to Color

18 Dec

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a sweet story.

goodnightGoodnight, Manger
Written by Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Zonderkidz on October 6th, 2015

Theme- Christmas Story

Genre- Religion

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines:

Stars are twinkling.
Baby’s fed.
Mama says, ‘It’s
Time for bed.’”

Synopsis from GoodReads: “Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to lull Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. It’s bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew a manger could be so loud? Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels’ joyful hosanas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it’s just too loud. Until Mama finds a way for everyone to work together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams under the twinkling stars.

What I Thought- The thing that really stood out to me is how this book tells the nativity story from a family perspective. Yes, this is one of the most important occurrences in all of Christianity, but it brings it down to a human level and I think it can get kids to relate to it. I like how Jesus, Mary and Joseph are named “Baby”, “Mama”, and “Papa” in the story, again relating it to the family aspect of what went on that blessed night.  I also love that the book is illustrated true to the setting, the Middle East. It is a nice multicultural aspect, that makes it realistic.  The book has nice, consistent rhyme and makes it a perfect bedtime story. I love that the book brings the nativity story to a level kids can appreciate while still giving the story the respect it should be treated with.

Activities and Resources-

The blog, The Heart of Deborah, has a great, create a nativity scene that was made to go with this book. Click HERE to go THERE!

HERE is another activity from the Sunny Day Family blog.

After reading the book, it would also be a fun activity to name the things that keep your family awake and relate it to what happened in the story.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Here’s another nice book you may want to get for a special person on your Christmas list! It’s not a picture book, but it’s a book you can make pictures with!

xmascolorChristmas to Color

by Mary Tanana

96 pages – ages 6+

Published by Harper Collins on October 27, 2015

Summary (from publisher) – Step into a wintry wonderland with illustrator Mary Tanana’s intricate, gorgeous illustrations of Christmas magic, lovingly represented in this delicately rendered coloring book. From snowflakes to stockings, reindeer to wreaths, every aspect of the holidays is waiting to be brought to life through your creativity. With nearly one hundred pages of pen-and-ink drawings, the wintry coloring book fun will last you well into the new year!

What I Thought – This is an amazing collection of detailed Christmas pictures for you to color yourself. The illustrations have a wide variety of Christmas themes and looks. The pages are very thick so if you use markers or paint, it won’t bleed through. I could see kids and parents enjoying this book together. It would be a unique gift for any art lover or maybe someone who just loves to color! With 96 pages, there is a lot here to keep you busy for a long time!

Review! Pursuit of the Magic Piece by Jeanne Cheng AND MERMAID WINNER!

15 Dec

Hello readers! The day you all have been waiting for is here!

The day where I get to announce who won the Debbie Dadey Mermaid Tales Prize Pack!!!!!

First, I’ll remind you what you can win!

mermaidprize

 

You can get a Mermaid Tales T-Shirt, a signed hardback of “The Crook and the Crown” [Mermaid Tales #13], two mermaid dolls, and Mermaid Jewelry game.

And the winner of this lovely package is…

DARIA!!!!!!!!

I will be emailing you to get your mailing address! Congratulations!

Today is also the release day of the 13th book in the Mermaid Tales series! Look for THE CROOK AND THE CROWN in your favorite bookstore!

 

Now on to today’s review –

pursuitPursuit of the Magic Piece
Written by Jeanne Cheng
Illustrated by Lalena Fisher
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Kye’s Restaurants LLC on September 23rd, 2015

Synopsis- When Kye is building a toy robot, his dog grabs the last piece, the “magical” connector piece, and runs off, dropping it in the family garden. Through this mishap, Kye learns how vegetables have things in them that are kind of like our own magic pieces.

What I Thought- This was a fun educational book. Kids are learning without really realizing it. Kye could be any kid that doesn’t really like his/her veggies. The illustrations are great for the book. I love the look of them. I like the fact that the author actually has a restaurant (aptly named “Kye’s”) based on her son’s picky eating. I found that pretty cool. There are extra recipes in the book in the end-papers. That was a nice edition. Ms. Cheng wrote a great story that teaches you about how nutrients help your body, and that you get them from veggies. Ms. Fisher has amazing illustrations that help bring the story to life, and also about how they help you.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Erik’s Bookish Christmas Gift Picks!

6 Dec

With Christmas coming up, it probably means that you are looking for gifts for those young people on your list. I have some suggestions for bookish gifts you may want to consider.

 

First I have a few Christmas themed books to suggest that put a twist on the traditional Christmas stories you have this time of year.

sagasantaThe Saga of Santa Claus

By M.D. Couturier

132 pages – ages 9+

Published by CreateSpace on September 13th, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads-Valdor is a selfish king who cares nothing for his fellow human beings. One night, the god Odin turns him into a goat-man and offers a trial. If he succeeds, Valdor will regain his body and kingdom. But if he fails, he will be condemned to wandering the world as an outcast. In desperation, Valdor agrees. But little does he know that he is about to embark upon an extraordinary journey that will change his life forever.

What I Thought- Not only was this a unique take on the Santa story, it is an example of a self-published book done very well.  I like the idea of how Mr. Couturier explained how Santa Claus started. Valdor’s change was slow, but it was interesting, as he does change, but he doesn’t realize it at first. I like how the book explains all of the parts of the Santa Claus “mythology”. I enjoyed reading this, and love that the Norse gods play a role in the story (but wait… I know you’re asking- “Norse gods in a book based on a Christian character?” It all makes sense!). At 132 pages it is a quick read, but an interesting one that will pique a kid’s interest.

xmascowsChristmas Cows: A Mooving Alphabet

By Carol J. Haile

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Firenze Press on February 20th, 2013

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what cows are thinking? Especially during the holidays? Especially at Christmas time? From A to Z, you get to see how cows might take in all of the festivities!

What I Thought- This is a really nice alphabet book that makes you smile. Ms. Haile has subtle humor incorporated throughout the illustrations that adults will love. Kids will get a giggle out of seeing cows in the illustrations (ear tags and all). Ms. Haile has hand-drawn, calligraphy and color-illustrations throughout the book – one for each letter of the alphabet. Each page depicting cows celebrating the Christmas season in some way. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as I was reading it.

xmasellisChristmas in America

Written by Callista Gingrich

Illustrated by Susan Arciero

40 pages – ages 6+

Published by Regnery Kids on October 13th, 2015

Synopsis from GoodReads-Ellis the Elephant is back! In Christmas in America, the fifth in Callista Gingrich’s New York Times bestselling series, Ellis discovers the meaning of Christmas and learns how this special holiday has been celebrated throughout American history.

In preceding books, including Sweet Land of Liberty, Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and From Sea to Shining Sea, Ellis learns about the pivotal moments that have shaped our nation. Now, in Christmas in America, this adorable pachyderm explores the tales and traditions that have made Christmas a cherished part of the American experience.

What I Thought- This was a very interesting and fun book, which talks about things that happened on Christmas day in America’s history. It tells of George Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas, and about how some American soldiers and German soldiers in World War II shared a Christmas dinner with each other. It was cool seeing that Christmas was always an important part of our history. I think the book will give a different view for kids when thinking about Christmas. The story warmed my heart and  Susan Arciero’s illustrations complimented the book wonderfully.

Below are some more suggestions for creative bookish gifts for kids.

herocomicThe Superhero Comic Kit

By Jason Ford

60 pages – ages 7+

Published by Laurence King Publishing on July 21st, 2015

Synopsis from GoodReads-Draw, color, and sticker your very own superhero comic books! Make your superheroes – or even yourself – the stars of each super adventure! The book contains 12 exciting 8-page comics to draw, color, and complete. Each adventure has super story prompts to start you off – and the rest is up to you! You can even pull them out, put them together, and give them to your friends to read. Also includes sections on how to create and draw your superheroes and supervillains, and over 100 fantastic superhero stickers to add to your stories.

What I Thought- This is a really cool comic kit. Who wouldn’t want to make their very own comic book? The book is large – about 11.5″ x 16.5″ – which adds to it’s super-ness. It is that large because you tear the pages out to create 8″x 11″ comics. I liked the idea that the book gave you starters for your comics, but also leaves room for creativity. I like that with the superbeings, it doesn’t say what their superpowers are – you get to decide. That was well thought out by Mr. Ford. This book would make a wonderful gift for a kid who likes superheroes and making their own stories. It is a nice starter guide for any kid interested in writing his/her own comics.

Well, how about some notebooks, diaries, and journals?

The publishing company Mudpuppy has some great ones for kids (and playful adults too!)

They have cool designs for boys and girls, and various shapes and sizes, so there will always be the right one. I like their selection, and recommend them. These are some of their product that stuck out for me.

Mudpuppy has two-layered notebooks, one with normal shaped pages, and the top layer to go along with the cover design – pretty cool. They have a ton of designs – even Wimpy Kid-themed notebooks. I’d be happy to get one of these cool notebooks.mudpuppy1

Their diaries are nice. I like that they have designed for boys as well as girls. They all have a lock on them to keep your thoughts secret. lip. There is lined paper inside that coordinated with the cover. Diaries are a great way to get kids into writing.mudpuppy2

The Kids’ Travel Journal is really cool. It is made for a kid who is going on a trip, and wants to catalog what happens during the trip (where they went, who they met, how long it took, etc.). It is a really awesome journal.

Kids' Travel Journal

Kids’ Travel Journal

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Lazy Dave by Jarvis

4 Dec

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a sweet book with a good amount of humor.

lazydaveLazy Dave
By Jarvis
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by HarperCollins on September 29th, 2015

Theme- More than meets the eye/loving for who you are.

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening Lines: “This is Dave. Like most dogs, Dave loved to sleep.”

Synopsis from GoodReads: “Dave is a dog. Dave is a dog who loves to sleep all day long. Lilly thinks Dave is the laziest dog in the world! But maybe Dave isn’t as lazy as Lilly thinks. . . .

What I Thought- I liked the humor of this book. Lazy Dave appears to be a very lethargic dog (like my Basset Hound, Clyde) that seems to sleep all day. I thought that was funny all of the things that Dave did while he was sleepwalking. Mr. Jarvis’ illustrations go perfectly with the story, and everything fits together perfectly. Dave looks a lot like my dog, just different colors. In fact, I bet something in Dave would remind almost every kid of their dog. I really enjoyed this book, and it’s incredibly sophisticated humor.

Activities and Resources- If you have a pet, imagine what they would do if they could get out into the world while you’re at school. Write a story or draw a picture of what they do when you aren’t around.

Say that you’re one of the reporters in Dave’s town. You need to write an article about the mystery heroic dog (Dave does some heroic things whilst sleepwalking)! What would you put into it? What would the headline be?

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Review! Love, Daddy by Mike Ang

28 Nov

lovedaddyLove, Daddy

Written by Mike Ang

Illustrated by Katherine Killeffer

32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Michael Ang on June 16, 2015

Synopsis- The story follows a loving father as he watches his daughter grow up. Throughout his daughter’s life, all the ups and downs, the dad is always there to assure her that he loves her.

What I Thought- I like the idea of the book. It is very sweet. There need to be more books on dads and daughters and the special bond they have. The story hits the feeling of a dad’s love for his daughter spot on. New fathers will love to have a copy of the book. It is told in a rhyme that seems to work with the story but is a bit choppy in one or two places. The main characters are panda bears, which is a fun touch. I think it’s nice to use animals in stories like this because it helps people of all ethnicities relate to the characters. I really liked the reassuring ending of the book – the (grown up) daughter loves and appreciates her dad.  I think the story is meant for a variety of ages – an older child can read it by themselves but it would make a terrific read aloud for a Dad and his daughter too. The illustrations are bold primary colors with defined lines. I personally don’t think the illustrations worked with the story (they are not at all “bad” but they just weren’t a good fit). Many of the pages were to busy and took away from the story. That being said, I would still recommend the book for a new dad or as father’s day gift or maybe for military dads to give their daughters while they are away. Seeing as how this is Ang’s first children’s book, I’d like to see more.

Three out of five bookworms for this heart-felt story that is worth a read. threebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ninja Baby by David Zeltser

20 Nov

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I liked this different type of jealousy over a new sibling story.

ninjaNinja Baby
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrated by Diane Goode

32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Chronicle Books on November 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- New Sibling/Jealousy

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “When Nina was born, the doctor gently thumped her bottom to make sure she was breathing.

Nina karate chopped her right back.

Synopsis: From Goodreads- From the day she was born, Nina was a ninja baby. She obliterated her applesauce. She concealed herself at bath time. And she was training herself in advanced infiltration (of movie night). Nina wants to do everything by herself, until the day her parents bring home a Kung Fu Master (a baby brother). Now with a sibling, Nina will face the one thing she cannot do alone: be part of a family. With verve and humor, David Zeltser and Diane Goode tell the story of an unusually gifted child, and the family that is more than a match for her.

What I Thought- This was a fun book. I really liked how it applied the ninja (and Kung-Fu) activities to real life. Mr. Zeltser has created a great story, and the illustrations are awesome for it! They have little details that make it pretty cool. I really like the feeling of the story and I like how Nina reacts to her new Kung Fu Master baby brother. LOVED the ending of the book. It made me smile, and I like that it leaves the ending open. I can see this book giving a kid who is getting an older sibling a great feeling about the possibilities that he or she can do with their new sibling. Plus the book is just a super fun read. Any kid would like it (and their parents too)! Apparently this is Zeltser’s first picture book. I’d love to see more from him.

Activities and Resources-

Get your ninjas some training by creating your own ninja training studio! There are plenty of ninja themed games and craft activities you can do – HERE is a list of come suggestions.

Try out some martial arts with your kids! I love training in the martial arts and have been since I was 5, but you are never too young (or old) to start. Go to a trial class at a local studio, or if you are a teacher, you can invite an instructor into class to give a demonstration! 

Check out the book’s trailer below. 

 
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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