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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything by Susanna Isern

10 Mar

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 good story about being yourself!

Bogo, The Fox Who Wanted Everything
Written by Susanna Isern
Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by NubeOcho on October 11, 2016

Theme/Topic- Nature/Being Yourself

Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Bogo the fox lived in the branches of a great big tree. This is quite unusual for a fox, but he was a very curious fox and from up there he could see everything much better.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Bogo watched many animals around him. Some of them were so incredible that they made him feel less special. One day he decided to invent amazing things so that he could have everything he wanted.
A pair of wings to fly like a bird. It never worked.
A pair of night glasses to see like an owl. It never worked . . .”

What I Thought- This is a fabulous book celebrating individuality. Bogo is a lovable character who wants to be special and doesn’t give up. Well, he does, but that ends up being the turning point of the book where he realizes how special he is by himself. Isern’s writing has qualities kids will love – there are repeated phrases and everyone feels like they know a Bogo. Wimmer’s illustrations go with the writing marvelously – they create that sense of whimsy. I really like the variety of animals – and the fact that they wear old-style clothing! This is a wonderful story, and I think kids will enjoy having this read to them!

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of ways to encourage creativity from Parents.com HERE!

There is also a post on self-esteem building from Kidsplayandcreate.com HERE!

The book is also available in Spanish!

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

Review! I Love My Grandma by Giles Andreae

26 Feb

grandmaI Love My Grandma
Written by Giles Andreae
Illustrated by Emma Dodd
32 pages – ages 3+
Published by Disney-Hyperion on December 6, 2016

Synopsis- Grandmas are great. After all, they’re like moms, but with more time for you! You can do a lot of things with your grandma, and she will be there for you to teach you about things, and to play with you too! You love your grandma, and she loves you!

What I Thought- This is a really cute book celebrating the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. I really like how Andreae kept the book simple, with rhyme that is great for family to read together. The book itself is large, which also lends itself to being a read-aloud book. Dodd’s illustrations are a perfect match with the artwork spilling over the two-page inside spread.

The illustrations add to the warmth of the story. It’s nice that the grandma and child are pictured doing a wide variety of things from baking to playing pirates. This would be a nice Mother’s day gift for a grandmother. This is a part of a series involving the child with titles such as “I Love My Mommy”, “I Love My Daddy”, etc.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden

24 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 great story.

areweAre We There Yet?
Written by Nina Laden
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
36 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Using Imagination

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Are you ready?

Synopsis from Publisher: “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) “Are we there yet?” In this genius of a picture book, bestselling author Nina Laden combines forces with dynamic illustrator Adam McCauley to turn that dilemma on its head. Fun for kids and adults, the book is filled with details that readers will want to hunt for (over and over!). Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

What I Thought- I think that this book is a great tribute to the imagination. The book never goes out and states that the kid is imagining the things outside the car, but it can lead into a great conversation between parent and child! A great concept story, the book has minimal text, consisting mostly of the child asking the question “Are we there yet?” (and what parent hasn’t experienced this!) and his mother answering “No” – along with a few other word bubbles. The main focus is definitely the illustrations. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes. They are whimsical, having the essence of reality intertwined with the marvel of imagination.

arewe2 arewe3 The book is a fabulous collaboration between two very creative individuals, and I hope to see them working together again!

Activities and Resources- I found a great post about the importance of imagination, along with activities to spark it HERE at Parenting.com!

There is also a fabulous list of imaginative games you can play from Familyeducation.com HERE!

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

Review! Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta #BlackHistoryMonth

15 Feb

aliMuhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
Written by Gene Barretta
Illustrated by Frank Morrison
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 3, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- In this picture book biography of Muhammad Ali, author Gene Barretta and illustrator Frank Morrison tell the unforgettable childhood story of this legendary boxing champion and how one pivotal moment set him on his path to become the Greatest of All Time.

The Louisville Lip. The Greatest. The People’s Champion. Muhammad Ali had many nicknames. But before he became one of the most recognizable faces in the world, before the nicknames and the championships, before he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, he was twelve-year-old Cassius Clay riding a brand-new red-and-white bicycle through the streets of Louisville, Kentucky. One fateful day, this proud and bold young boy had that bike stolen, his prized possession, and he wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.

This would be the day he discovered boxing. And a champion was born.

What I Thought- Gene Barretta really knows how to write a picture book biography. He’s written books about other historical figures, including Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin. He handles this book fabulously, showing how Ali goes from Cassius Clay, a young boy who knows nothing about boxing, into Muhammad Ali, world champion. It was also nice that Barretta didn’t just focus on Ali’s path to boxing – he also showcased Ali’s civil work against segregation. This is a good book that shows someone working hard to achieve a goal, accomplishing that goal, and then helping others – kids will learn a lot from the book. There is a spread in the back talking about the life of Ali in more detail, including why he changed his name, and more about his civil work. The book is illustrated by Frank Morrison, who does a really good job at portraying the time period and capturing the essence of the people in the book. This is a great reading choice for Black History Month, seeing as Ali is a good role model all around and today’s kids should know about this great man. I really enjoy these picture book biographies by Barretta, and can’t wait to see more!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY! Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty

13 Feb

mcanulty-mrfuzzbusterknowshesthefavorite-21153-cv-ftMr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite
Written by Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by Edward Hemingway
40 pages – ages 4+
Published by Two Lions on February 7, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.…
To prove he’s still Lily’s favorite, Mr. Fuzzbuster will have to ask her, but will her answer surprise him? This funny, heartwarming story is for every child who has ever wondered if there’s a favorite in the house.

What I Thought- This is a really cute story. It is a nice way of handling the “who’s the favorite” questions that may arise with kids. The book is sweet, with fun illustrations that remind me a bit of cartoons on TV – a sure fit for any kid! Here’s an example:

fuzz

© 2017 by Edward Hemingway

The writing style is well-suited for the age group, with a few harder words that encourage learning. There is a funny “twist” to the end that kids will laugh at.  Some pages only have one word and the illustrations carry on the story well. The book is well-paced for reading-aloud. McAnulty text paired with Hemingway’s illustrations makes this story of “sibling” rivalry come alive. After reading this, you’ll see why Mr. Fuzzbuster is a new favorite story character!

 

WHO IS THIS STACY MCANULTY???

stacy_mcanulty_01

STACY MCANULTY is certain she’s her mom’s favorite. Her younger brother disagrees. She’s the author of Beautiful, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. Originally from upstate New York, she now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina, with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. She doesn’t have a favorite. You can find her online at www.stacymcanulty.com.

NOT TO MENTION EDWARD HEMINGWAY????

edward-hemingway-photo

EDWARD HEMINGWAY is certain he’s Stacy McAnulty’s favorite illustrator, although the illustrators of Stacy’s other books may disagree. Edward himself is the author and illustrator of the children’s books Bump in the Night, Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, Bad Apple’s Perfect Day, and Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, he now lives in Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing at the master’s level at SVA in Manhattan. If he has any favorite students, he’ll never tell. Learn more about him online at www.edwardhemingway.com.

Giveaway!

Two Lions is kindly offering a copy of “Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite” to one lucky winner (U.S. address only please)! Leave a comment to enter! Winner will be randomly picked and announced on 2/20/2017!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

3 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 neat interactive story!

seedPlant the Tiny Seed
Written by Christie Matheson
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Nature/Interactive

Genre- Non-fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There’s magic in this tiny seed.

Press it down
and count to three.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.”

What I Thought- This is a really cool book, and you could pair reading it with a book like Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet (see my review HERE). The book is written in rhyme, and done in such a way that doesn’t force the rhymes. Kids will love having this book read to them while they follow along, following the instructions. There is a nice reference page at the end of this book, filled with information about planting your own seeds, and with a more information about what was in the story. The illustrations are a neat combination of what looks like paper collage and paint. They give the book a warm feeling to it. I really like how this book takes you through the process of caring for a plant in a fun interactive way! It’s a nice way to start thinking about Spring!

Activities and Resources- The book itself is a good resource, where you can follow the steps in the back of the book to plant your own seeds.

If you want more things to do, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of activities, plus lots of information for teachers HERE!

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE!

 

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

27 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 just plain cool!

applesApples and Robins
Written by Lucie Félix
56 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 8, 2016

Theme/Topic- Helping others/Creativity

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “All you need for apples are circles and the color red.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “All you need for apples . . . are circles and the color red. In this extraordinary book, one thing transforms into another as each page turns—a circle becomes an apple, an oval becomes a bird, winter becomes spring. Constantly surprising and brilliantly constructed, Lucie Félix’s Apples and Robins is full of the magic of shape, color, and imagination. All you need to do . . . is turn the page.”

What I Thought- This book is genius. Through use of holes and shapes and “white” space (it isn’t always white), Félix creates these objects, and the wonder of flipping the page to see what the object is never truly ceases. The book shows that anyone can draw, by taking simple shapes and making them into objects. The book’s art, of course, is simple, with lots of blankness, drawing focus to the pictures and words. The story is told in sentences, usually along the format of “All you need to make ___ is ___ and ___” [flip page, seeing end product]. See the trailer to get what I mean. The story is nice, but the illustrations are obviously the focus of the book. I really like how picture book’s like this one show the process of making it within the storyline. This is a great book to lead into discussions of art in school.

Activities and Resources- Besides the book itself (try to make objects like Ms. Félix does!), Activityvillage.co.uk has a great resource of teaching kids to draw HERE.

Because the book involves spring coming, HERE are some season-related educational computer games from Sheppardsoftware.com!
Check out the trailer!

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

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am A Story by Dan Yaccarino

22 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’s a really profound story.

storyI Am A Story
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on Sept. 6 2016

Theme/Topic- The history of storytelling? It’s a bit hard to narrow down.

Genre- Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I am a story. I was told along a campfire, then painted on cave walls.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a powerful picture book that celebrates storytelling—from the past to the present and beyond.

From cave drawings to the invention of the printing press to our digital age, discover how a story has been told in many different ways from the past to today. It’s always been around, making us happy, sad, excited, or scared and bringing people together. With simple text and delightful illustrations, Dan Yaccarino reminds us of the power of story.”

What I Thought- I really like how this book recaps the history of storytelling in a simplified manner, taking you all the way from oral storytelling, through writing, printing, electronically, and then back to oral storytelling in a nice circular ending. The book has minimal text, making it a nice read-aloud for younger kids. Mr. Yaccarino’s illustrations are both detailed and simple, and kids will like looking at them. I mean, just take a look for your self!:

story2

Isn’t that great? I like how there is a detail that is shared with all of the pictures as they go throughout the timeline. This book is a nice transition into a topic on writing stories, or printing books as well. I really like how Mr. Yaccarino has found a way of writing a great book that takes your breath away as you read it and look at the illustrations.

Activities and Resources- Storyarts.org has a great list of activities for school kids that involve speaking/storytelling HERE.

Mensaforkids.org has tips on storytelling (good for kids and adults!) HERE!

Check out the trailer!

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

Review! The Underground Toy Society by Jessica D. Adams

11 Jan

undergroundThe Underground Toy Society
By Jessica D. Adams
24 pages – ages 4+
Published by CreateSpace on June 8, 2015

Synopsis from the Publisher- What happens to toys when children don’t play with them? Where do toys go when their children grow up? What happens when there are too many toys in one house? Find out when Samantha goes on an exciting underground adventure as she tries to find her best friend after they were separated.

What I Thought- This was a cute story. The illustrations were done by the author’s daughters, and are a nice example of genuine “kid art.” The book is a good happy story that small kids will like listening to as a read-aloud and early readers can manage. There were one or two spots in the story that I felt could have been expanded on, but I think the book is spot on for Adams’ target audience. The story is one kids can relate to and will enjoy reading about Samantha’s adventure. The cover serves its purpose, and gives a good teaser into the book although I would have liked to seen more of the kid art. The story is a good one for introducing kids to early chapter books as it has more words and smaller pictures than a standard picture book. The story has no chapters making it an easy transitional piece from picture books to early readers.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

8 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 super sweet story about trying your best and overcoming your fears with a little help from your friends.

madelineMadeline Finn and the Library Dog
By Lisa Papp
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Peachtree Publishers on October 1, 2016

Theme/Topic-Reading/Trying Your Best

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I do NOT like to read!

Synopsis from Publisher: “Madeline Finn DOES NOT like to read.
Not books.
Not magazines.
Not even the menu on the ice cream truck.
But Madeline Finn DOES want a gold star from her teacher.
Stars are for good readers.
Stars are for understanding words.
And saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. Madeline Finn can pet her until she figures the word out.
As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it s okay to go slow. And to keep trying. Just like the sticker says.

What I Thought- I really like how this book doesn’t attribute Madeline’s reading troubles to anything, such as dyslexia, so it can relate to any kid, whether they have dyslexia or just trouble reading. Ms. Papp has written a good story about how if you keep trying at something, and take your time, you can ultimately succeed at your goal. It’s also nice that the story teaches this all without making it obvious that you are learning. That’s skill. Ms. Papp’s soft watercolors make the story feel intimate and cheery.madeline2  The book is perfect to read with children, as it is a problem they may empathize with. Madeline Finn will remind you of that one spunky person in your life who is insistent that it is their way or the highway. She wants to read, but is certain she cannot. She realizes that with gentle, quiet support (dogs don’t judge you for making mistakes) she can keep going, and ultimately succeed.madeline3 It’s a nice story with a positive ending, and an even happier twist. Kids will like this story that encourages them to keep trying and work it out.

Activities and Resources- I found a great article that has tips to encourage reading from Readingrockets.org HERE!

There is a good article on teaching perseverance with young kids at Momentsaday.com HERE!

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

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