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Perfect Picture Book Friday! Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino

17 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 it is a very nice little story about finding your courage.

Morris Mole
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on May 2, 2017

Theme/Topic- Finding Courage
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There was a mole who lived with his big brothers. Together they dug. They ate. And they slept. The littlest mole was Morris. And he was just a bit different from the rest.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Meet Morris Mole—he has always been a little bit different. When the moles are running low on food, it’s up to clever Morris to save the day. With a little help from an unexpected friend and a lot of digging, Morris learns that even the smallest creatures can do big things.”

What I Thought- This was such a joyous book to find. Dan Yaccarino has created such a simple story with such a huge meaning. I really like how the illustrations intertwine so well with the story, with the above-ground scenes having whimsical details, while the underground scenes have very few details – making it feel a bit dreary.

The subtlety is supreme. Morris is a great character; sweet, and willing to help others no matter what. I really enjoyed the story line, and how it encourages speaking up. This picture book is a sweet look at the good that can come from finding the courage to do what you can do.

Activities and Resources- Livestrong.com has a nice article about teaching kids courage HERE!

To learn more about moles, visit Livescience.com for their article about these little critters HERE!

Check out the Book’s trailer!

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

Review! Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz

13 Nov

Princess Cora and the Crocodile
Written by Laura Amy Schlitz
Illustrated by Brian Floca
80 pages – ages 6+
Published by Candlewick Press on March 28, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- “Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile–a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.”

What I Thought- I really enjoyed this book. Schlitz has created a fun story about a girl who wants to be herself, and the chaos that allows her to do so. I do like how the crocodile isn’t pushed as a friend of Cora’s, mostly because he does some pretty nasty things (nipping people, chasing people, etc.), but I do like how Cora forgives him. I did cringe a little as the crocodile was running around being awful, but I had to admit that it was a wonderful way to break through the impenetrable shells of Cora’s parents. Floca’s illustrations are fabulous, having an old-fashioned feel, but still modern exuberance permeates the pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this awesome book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book By Anders Arhoj

20 Oct

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 a really fun book.

Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book
By Anders Arhoj
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on September 5, 2017

Theme/Topic- Hide-and-Seek
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Let’s play a game! I’ll close my eyes and you’ll hide.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “This book has eyes—and an irresistible cover! Kids will delight in this innovative seek-and-find picture book that may be read from front to back and from back to front! Two adorable characters embark on an over-the-top game of hide-and-seek through eleven richly detailed scenes, including a lively neighborhood, a bustling shop, an offbeat office space, a festive concert, and more. Open the book from the front to search for one of the characters. Then, open the book from the back to search for the other. It’s two hide-and-seek experiences in one book. As the characters move through each illustrated spread, their colors change, too, adding to the abundant fun.”

What I Thought- This is a very creative picture book. It has both challenging and easy spreads, so readers of many ages will enjoy finding the character. The illustrations are whimsical and full of so many little details – they are perfect for a look-and-find book, but also are just really fun to look at. Arhoj really has created a wonderful book that kids will love.

The book is mostly wordless, with the opening explaining the premise of the book, and then you get wowed by the spreads. One thing I noticed is that at the back, the other character decides to hide, so you flip through again looking for that character – genius! I would never have thought of that, but it also makes perfect sense! I think families will have a nice time trying to find the characters together. This is just a really fun book!

Activities and Resources- 

Play Hide-and-Seek! An awesome – never out of style game!

Enclyclopedia Britanica has a short history of the game including how it is played around the world – click HERE

There is an interview with the author about the book over at Chronicle Books – click HERE

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

Review! Hidden Dangers by Lola M. Schaefer

17 Oct

Hidden Dangers
Written by Lola M. Schaefer
Illustrated by Tymn Armstrong
40 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 8, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “These 13 deadly creatures can be difficult to spot until you’re right on top of them . . . or they’re right on top of you. Look for each animal in its environment—look closely!—and learn all the ways you could perish—or survive—depending on how smart, well-informed, and good at running away you are. From the deathstalker scorpion and the poison dart frog to wasps, alligators, and many more, young readers will gain a new appreciation for the animal kingdom, and the dangers it hides in plain sight!”

What I Thought- This is an awesome book – I love how it tells you how you can quickly get into bad situations…but also how you can survive it! The book has just the right amount of danger mixed with factual information to make this nonfiction book a thrilling read for the younger reader. Schaefer has created a wonderful guide to help kids realize they should always be on guard and informed in a situation they aren’t that familiar with. The text is very enlightening, telling the ways that the animals are dangerous, supporting why they are dangerous and then offering solutions in case of encounter with factual evidence and numbers. Armstrong’s art style is the perfect complement to the book – showing the animals in their natural habitats.

This can help kids identify where the animals would typically be seen when they may be in an area that contains a dangerous animal. I really enjoy how the book also includes a spread on things to bring for emergencies in the wild. What an awesome gift this would be for an outdoor loving kid! There is even a spread in the back about what you should take with you when exploring.

An all-around great book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Confiscated! by Suzanne Kaufman

15 Oct

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 book about sharing.

Confiscated!
By Suzanne Kaufman
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Balzer + Bray on August 1, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Brooks and Mikey fought over EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. And whenever they did, their mama would take it away.

In other words, it got CONFISCATED!

Synopsis from Publisher: “When Mama hears Brooks and Mikey fighting over yet another toy, it gets CONFISCATED!

(In other words, taken away.)

It’s only when ALL the toys are confiscated that Brooks and Mikey finally learn how to work—and play—together nicely.

(But not before creating a whole heap of trouble . . . )”

What I Thought- Ms. Kaufman has created a wonderful book that showcases the case for sharing. The dinosaurs are impartial to their fighting, fighting over everything. Eventually, when all the toys are gone, they start talking to each other. And learning how they actually like each other. It’s awesome. There are also great illustrations that fit the story well – I really like how you don’t see Mama’s face until the end. I also really like the wide variety of confiscated items – a bike, Mexican wrestling mask, tuba, and even the dog (which, granted, was a little odd). The only thing I didn’t like was that the tuba was actually a sousaphone – the marching band counterpart to the tuba. But that’s just me being a band geek. 😉 This is an excellent picture book about sharing!

Activities and Resources- There is a good list of sharing activities from Care.com HERE.

There is also some more sharing activities from Powerfulmothering.com HERE.

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

Blog Tour AND Perfect Picture Book Friday! It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk

6 Oct

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 was asked to be part of a blog tour for this book, but after reading it, I chose to review it as a perfect picture also! It is an awesome story about being yourself, and not worrying about what others want you to be like.

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Two Lions on September 19, 2017

Theme/Topic- Being Yourself
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “”Once upon a time, Jack lived in a tiny cottage in a dreary village. He always dreamed that someday he would find his fortune.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!”

What I Thought- I absolutely loved this book! The narration is top-notch, with lots of humor, and it really suits the story. Funk really wrote an excellent book about being true to who you are, and not letting others decide your fate. Taylor follows the fun-ness of the story with bright illustrations that complement the story, filled with wacky characters and awesome details. I also really like how there are speech bubbles they characters talk with – it gives the book a fun vibe to it, like a comic book. 

The illustrations take on a life of their own…

They are really a feast for your eyes adding so much more to the already wonderful text.

 I also love how Funk put in references to other fairy tales, fables, and other such things into the backgrounds – I’ve seen the Cricket and the Ant (Aesop’s Fable) and the Cat with the Fiddle (Nursery Rhyme) amongst other things. You could probably find even more! I really enjoyed reading this book and I think kids will too!

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of picture books about being yourself from Notimeforflashcards.com HERE!

There is also a great article about raising kids to be unique from Kcedventures.com HERE!

If you visit Josh Funk’s website, you can also print out coloring pages! Check it out HERE!

 

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

About the Creators:

Like Jack, Josh Funk loves telling his own stories. He is the author of the popular picture books Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and its sequel, The Case of the Stinky Stench, illustrated by Brendan Kearney; Dear Dragon, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo; and the upcoming How to Code a Sandcastle illustrated by Sara Palacios in partnership with Girls Who Code. Josh lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com, and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.
Edwardian Taylor currently works as a visual development artist and character designer for TV and animation feature film. His work can also be seen in mobile games, films, and commercials. He is the illustrator of the picture book Race!, written by Sue Fliess. Edwardian lives in Texas with his partner, their three dogs, and seven chickens. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @edwardiantaylor.
 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long

29 Sep

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 book about sharing and teamwork.

Give Me Back My Book!
Co-Written and Co-Illustrated by Travis Foster and Ethan Long
56 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on September 5, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing/Teamwork/Reading
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey, wait a second, Redd. That’s MY book.” “I beg your pardon, Bloo, but this book is mine.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “This book is full of wonderful WORDS and beautiful PICTURES! And it’s EXCITING! And it’s FUNNY! It might be the BEST BOOK EVER—if we could decide whose book it is. Redd and Bloo explore the way a book is made and accidentally build a friendship, too, in this tale told only in dialogue. Travis Foster and Ethan Long offer a hilarious story about the joy of reading, which brings people together in unexpected ways, proving that each book truly belongs to . . . the people who love it.”

What I Thought- This is a really great book! I really like how the two creatures are quite polite to each other (“I beg your pardon”), at least until it escalates of course. That really gives parents a chance to discuss correct and incorrect ways to settle a disagreement – a really nice touch! I enjoyed how the two characters eventually work together and forget about their squabbles. They don’t try to just solve the problem by revenge – they make a trade, skills which could also be pointed out by parents and teachers. The illustrations are bright and fun to look at. The text is simple for young readers. Long and Foster have created a wonderful picture book – one that is fun for kids, and one that can be used by parents. I really hope to see more from this duo!

Activities and Resources- There is a good list of team-building activities from Ventureteambuilding.co.uk HERE.

There is also some great reading/writing activities for different age groups from Readingrockets.org HERE.

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

Book Birthday! Bruce’s Big Move by Ryan T. Higgins #BRUCESBIGMOVE

26 Sep

 

 

I’ve been helping a friend move today…

 

Let’s Celebrate a book birthday today! BRUCE’S BIG MOVE!

Bruce’s Big Move

 

Series: The Bruce Series #3 (#1, #2)
By Ryan T. Higgins
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Disney-Hyperion September 26, 2017 [TODAY!!!]

Synopsis from Publisher- “After the events of Hotel Bruce, our favorite curmudgeonly bear shares his home with not only his four geese, but three rowdy mice besides! Fed up with their shenanigans, Bruce sets off to find a rodent-free household. But as usual, nothing goes quite according to plan…”

What I Thought- My FAVORITE grouchy bear is back!! The Mother Bruce series sets a high standard for a third book, and luckily the latest book is able to match the first two! The third book in the series captures the sweet feeling of the first and the humor of the second. It has messages of how you can’t choose family (but maybe that’s what you need!), and how love can be shown in different ways. Bruce is tired of his house always being a mess, and decides that the mice (uninvited guests who won’t leave from the second book, Hotel Bruce) are the problem, and decides to ditch them. But in the end the mice return and Bruce realizes how his life is a bit better because of them (but not too much – he is, after all, a grump!). The reader can’t help but smile as Bruce tries to find serenity but ends up with more to love. I like that Higgins appropriately keeps the humor in it low-key and subtle. The illustrations are excellent, with an excess of simple details that make the spreads engaging to the readers as they look over them while reading.

I can’t wait to see more of Bruce’s adventures with his family!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Shiver Me Timbers – Review! Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

19 Sep

Avast! Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Image result for talk like a pirate day

Arr – So today me review (‘n this post) be translated into Pirate-Speak t’ celebrate!

Nothing Rhymes with Orange
By Adam Rex
48 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 1, 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis- “We all know nothing rhymes with orange. But how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out! When a parade of fruit gets together to sing a song about how wonderful they are—and the song happens to rhyme—Orange can’t help but feel like it’s impossible for him to ever fit in. But when one particularly intuitive Apple notices how Orange is feeling, the entire English language begins to become a bit more inclusive.”

Wha’ I Thought- ‘Tis a really clever book from Rex, natterin’ about bein’ left out in an incredibly hilarious way that manages ta touch th’ readers as well. I be a fan o’ how Rex be usin’ real pictures o’ th’ fruit, ‘n then drew o’er th’ pictures ta create th’ characters – it really adds a nice touch t’ it all.

Cast yer eyes upon it –

The rhyme be fun an’ flows in a sing-song way like the mermaid lookin’ ta cast their spell on ye. Th’ rhyme turns into a mutiny o’ craziness that parents and scallywags will get a kick out of. Rex brin’s Nietzsche in t’ rhyme wit’ peachy ‘n soon aft that, poor wee Orange has had all he can stand.

Th’ book be a great, simple lesson on includin’ others, showin’ it in a touchin’ way.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

 

I give this book five out o’ five bookworms!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Bad Seed by Jory John

15 Sep

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 nice book about trying to be the best you can be.

 

The Bad Seed
Written by Jory John
Illustrated by Pete Oswald
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on August 29, 2017

Theme/Topic- Being kind/Change
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I’m a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaaad seed.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember!”

What I Thought- I really enjoyed this book – I like how it shows us how the seed is bad, then it tells us why he became bad, and finally how he came to the decision to be nicer. I also really appreciate how the book shows readers that it’s okay not to be perfect as soon as you decide to change; it makes sure kids know it takes time, and you just need to keep trying. It really is a great book. The illustrations are nice, simple, and have a way of drawing your eye across the page, using muted colors and stark contrast. I really enjoyed all the parts of this book!

Activities and Resources- I found a nice article with 35 seed activities HERE from Fantasticfunandlearning.com!

Check out the book’s trailer!

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

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