Archive for the 'Children’s Book Reviews' Category

Owl Kids Book Review: Just a Minute

Did you know that a honey bee beats its wings around 11,000 times a minute? These are the type of facts this cool book is loaded with. This book is geared towards the older set, ages 6 and up.

My eldest is very interested in random but interesting facts, just like I am, so this book was a very interesting and fun read for the two of us. She is also a new reader so she spent a lot of time going through the facts in the book, reciting them back to us in amazement. In fact, she enjoyed this book so much that she has asked for us to buy her more like it!

Gwen is our Green Living Blogger

Owl Kids Book Review: Where are you Bear?

My kids and I both enjoyed this book! It is geared towards a younger age group; I’d say 3-6. The book follows a little girl, Sophie, who has lost her bear. We follow her on a geographic alphabet adventure across Canada in her search to find the lost Bear.

My youngest is just starting to recognize the letters of the alphabet so this was a great book for her. She is also very curious about the sounds the letters make, so the words and images that accompanied each letter were a good way to help teach the sounds.

The book contained images of famous landmarks and location specific things to each province which kept the kids interested in each page.

Reviewed by Gwen, our Green Living blogger

Book Review: Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

I’m always on the hunt for interesting books to expose my 6-year old son too. He enjoys picture books but the stories are usually short and not very complex. The same can be said for many beginner reader books also. But the jump into chapter books can be a bit abrupt. I think that’s why graphic novels are so appealing; they are like a hybrid of picture books and chapter books. We’ve had a chance to review a few great ones like The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen of the Future and Alison Dare.

Penguin Young Readers’ Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! (age 9-12), written and illustrated by Stephen McCranie, is another great graphic novel for boys (though my girls enjoyed it too). Mal is a goofy geek of a young boy who builds jet packs, rocket ships and time machines in his spare time, along with his talking dog Chad (another of Mal’s inventions). Mal and Chad are best friends, going on many adventures together, including a trip back to the time of the dinosaurs (Mal wanted to see if studying dinosaurs would be something of interest to him as a grown-up).

Mal’s life isn’t all about experiments and scientific discovery; like most geeky boys he has to deal with the bully at school and his crush on the most popular girl in his class, while trying to maintain the guise of being a normal kid.  But one day an event occurs and both worlds collide.

Although Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! Is a little much for my son to read on his own, he was captivated with the story, staying focused until the end. This is a great way to transition kids into stories, like chapter books, that require a longer attention span. Graphic novels, like this, are great for older boys who might be reluctant to give reading a try or who are looking for a fun, light read.

I want to thank Vimala Jeevanandam from Penguin Group Canada for my review copy.

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever!

Written and illustrated by Stephen McCranie

Age 9-12

Penguin Young Readers

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

May the Fourth be with you

Today marks International Star Wars Day. The date alone should give it away, May 4th, or what is being referred to as May the Fourth be with You.

Star Wars was big for me growing up. I remember my dad taking me to see the Empire Strikes Back in theatres. I guess it should come as no surprise that Star Wars is big in my own family now, especially Star Wars Lego. I can’t count how many Star Wars Lego sets we have in our house and I’m sure there are many more in our future.

If you have a Star Wars Lego fan in your family (young or old) then DK Canada’s book Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary  is a must. This large hard cover book opens up with a timeline of the Lego Star Wars sets as they pertain to the movie storyline (from episode 1 to The Clone Wars). The timeline alone is a great way to view and compare what sets you have now, which ones you use to have, what you’d love to get (though some you might have to resort to ebay for).

Each spread within Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary covers key characters in the Star Wars saga, providing details that you may or may not know (a lot I didn’t know). All the illustrations used throughout the book are from Lego, either the mini-figures or the ships and stations. Beside each buildable Lego element there’s a small note telling you the name of the set, the year, the product number, number of pieces and the film it’s from. My 6-year old son and I spent almost an hour going through and checking of which sets we had.

As parents we always think a book for our child has to be a reader, an actual story for them to read. What’s important is your child’s love of books and discovering new things based on their interests and for my son, Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, offers all that. Not only has he spent hours pouring through the book, sharing his thoughts on each page with his younger Star Wars Lego fan sister, but my son has also been practicing his skills by reading the callouts scattered throughout the pages.

Lego Star Wars: A Visual Dictionary is a fun way to fill your child’s (and your inner child’s) fascination with Lego Star Wars with great model examples, details on sets and little tidbits of Star Wars facts; making it a great gift or just a nice resource to have on your bookshelf.

 

 If you love Star Wars, then you’ll love DK Canada’s contest. By simply submitting a photo of yourself or family member or friend reading a Star Wars book, you could WIN A COMPLETE SK STAR WARS LIBRARY worth over $400 Cdn as well as a full set of the Star Wars DK Readers donated to a Canadian school or library of your choice. Ends May 31, 2011. Visit DK Canada’s site for more details: http://cn.dk.com/starwars.

 

Thanks to Chris at DK Canada for my review copy.

Lego Star Wars: A Visual Dictionary

DK Publishing

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: Chicken Big

If you have kids, you’re probably familiar with the story Chicken Little. But what happens when some paranoid farm animals witness an animal hatched out of a HUGE egg? You get Chronicle BooksChicken Big (age 4-8), written and illustrated by Keith Graves.

When the big baby chick hatches, the other birds don’t know what to make of him. First they think he’s an elephant, then a squirrel, even a sweater (yes the not so smart bird thinks the chicken is a big yellow sweater).

Each time elements in nature spin the birds in a tizzy (like an acorn falling from the sky or the wind blowing), it takes Chicken Big to reassure them that the world isn’t ending. And each time Chicken Big reassures them, the farm birds re-asses their thoughts on what Chicken Big actually is. Only when Chicken Big rescues the birds stolen eggs from the fox do they realize that Chicken Big is indeed a chicken (except the not-so-bright bird who thinks he’s a cow).

This is a nice twist on the Chicken Little tale. The deductive process the birds go through is funny but it is a great way to illustrate the exercise in analyzing and determining what something is. Of course the not-so-smart bird and his suggestions are very funny (there’s always one of those in a group).

I also enjoyed how the illustrations and text play with each other throughout the story (a nice benefit when you have the writer as the illustrator also). Adults and kids alike will enjoy reading Chicken Big together.

I want to thank Crystal at Raincoast books for my review copy.

Chicken Big

Written and illustrated by Keith Graves

Age 4-8

Chronicle Books/Raincoast Books

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: Horrid Henry Rocks

Trying to get my 6-year old son interested in reading can prove a bit of a challenge. Sure there are books on Star Wars and you can find beginner readers based on Lego characters, but I’m talking real books with real stories; stories that I won’t mind reading too. We have come across a few; some I’ve even talked about within this blog like Easy to Read Wonder Tales and Balloon Toons: Adopt a Glurb. The Adventures of Ook and Gluk is another great book. They’re also hoping to make this a series of books, which will make my son happy.

In the same vein of Ook and Gluk is SourcebooksHorrid Henry Rocks (age 6-10), written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross, offers a character boys (and girls) will love. Unlike most main characters, Henry lives up to his name by being horrid, to everyone. And it’s not just a writing trick used to create conflict; Henry is horrid from beginning to end, with little remorse for his behaviour. Now you might think this isn’t a very good book for kids; books are supposed to set an example and show kids the path to being well behaved. In reality, kids don’t behave this way so why deny it. Horrid Henry is a character boys can relate too, whether they behave this way or not. My son loved the names that Henry called his brother and the tricks he played on people. I must admit I had a good laugh reading the books too. Now instead of looking for comic books at the library, my son wants to get another Horrid Henry book out.

Horrid Henry Rocks consists of four mini stories; perfect for bedtime reading or after school quiet time. We zipped through our book quite easily. My son is still working on his reading so this is a story I read outloud to him but as he progresses in his reading skills, any of the Horrid Henry books will be a great fun for reading practice. On Raincoast Books‘ website, there are currently 12 different Horrid Henry titles listed. This means after your son falls in love with Horrid Henry, he can keep enjoying him for many more books. And if Henry keeps boys in books, he can’t be that horrid can he?

I want to thank Crystal from Raincoast Books for my review copy.

Horrid Henry Rocks

(age 6-10)

Written by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross

Sourcebooks (Raincoast Books)

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: Adopt a Glurb!

I can’t imagine not being able to read. Besides the ability to read recipes and directions, reading is a great way to escape into a world of fantasy and make-believe or learn new things, even as an adult. Sometimes we forget that it takes time to learn new tasks, like reading, and like any new task, some of us are better at it than others.

Blue Apple Books has developed Balloon Toons, simple stories illustrated with zany cartoon art designed to engage and encourage new readers.  My 6-year old son falls into this category and enjoyed reading Blue Apple Books’ Adopt a Glurb, written and illustrated by Elise Gravel.

A little picture book, a little comic strip, a little owner’s manual, Adopt a Glurb is a fun tongue-in-cheek look at taking care of an imaginary creature, a Glurb. The limited text and fun illustrations makes it a great book to draw in new readers and keep them there until the end. My 6-year old son really enjoyed reading this on his own. Even my 8-year old loved reading this to her younger sister. The comic book style made it feel not as daunting to read as some leveled readers and early chapter books. That, combined with the fun story, kept my son reading Adopt a Glurb right to the end.

There are four more titles available in the Balloon Toons series: Doggy Dreams, Zoe and Robot, Let’s Pretend, Rick and Rack and the Great Outdoors and The Super Crazy Cat Dance.

Thanks to Crystal at Raincoast Books for my review copy.

Balloon Toons: Adopt a Glurb

New reader series

Blue Apple Books

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: Harvey. How I became Invisible

When our kids are young we surround them with sunshine stories and happy endings. There’s nothing wrong with this but as our kids get older they deal with and explore varied emotions, some happy, some sad, some angry, some confused. Books are a great way to explore these emotions and question feelings and circumstances.

Groundwood BooksHarvey. How I Became Invisible (age 10+ ) written by Hervé Bouchard and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a tale told from a young Harvey about the sudden loss of his father to a heart attack. After playing with friends one afternoon he arrives home only to find to his house surrounded by strangers with eyes full of pity and sorrow. His distraught mother explains to Harvey and his younger brother Cantin how their father has died.

With pages full of muted grey and brown hues, we follow Harvey as he tries to deal with this change in his life, his mother’s uncertainty about the future, his younger brother’s lack of understanding. Harvey starts to feel like a story character, Scott Carey, who disappears from everyone’s site, invisible. As Harvey tries to absorb the events he too starts to disappear, disassociating himself from the world around him. At the moment he sees his father laying in a coffin, there’s no denying that his father is dead. It’s at this point that Harvey feels he disappears completely, from the life he use to know.

Although the story sounds depressing, I found Harvey a compelling read, feeling Harvey’s struggle with understanding his new world, one without his father. The illustrations add to the feeling of sadness and uncertainty and the text appears handprinted, as though a journal of Harvey’s thoughts. Harvey has a very graphic novel sort of feel.

Obviously due to the subject matter Harvey is aimed at an older child. However for older kids the characterization and illustrations make it an interesting read.

I have to thank Trisha at Groundwood Books for my review copy.

Harvey. How I Became Invisible

age 10+

written by Hervé Bouchard, illustrated by Janice Nadeau

Groundwood Books

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: The Queen’s Secret

As my kids get older they put on themselves expectations, behaviours that they think they should follow because they want others to think they’re big. I talked about this last week when reviewing Zero Kisses for Me.  

Scholastic‘s book The Queen’s Secret (age 3-7 )  written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Loufane, is another book along the same line. Young Kay notices that The Queen always has a large handbag with her wherever she goes. Kay lets her imagination loose as she imagines what’s in The Queen’s bag. Then one day, just as she is about to meet The Queen, Kay gets a peek in the bag and is surprised at what she finds.

Most kids have a favourite stuffed animal when growing up, stuffies in our house. They become a source of comfort and companionship as kids go through various stages of growth and development. But stuffies have a reputation as being a toy for babies; as you get bigger you don’t need them anymore. When Kay discovers The Queen’s Secret is a stuffy she carries around, it illustrates that even big people have their own security blankets.

My two oldest kids waiver in and out of this “I’m too big for stuffies” phase; they are worried about being viewed as little if someone found out. The Queen’s Secret shows that sometimes we all need something, sometimes.

The Queen’s Secret is a great book for kids dealing with the dilemma of growing up and leaving childhood items behind, though the pink-princessy tone will probably appeal to girls more than boys. I have to thank Nikole from Scholastic Canada for my review copy.

The Queen’s Secret

(age 3-7)

written by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Loufane

Scholastic

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

Book Review: Other Goose

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a big Fall.

 

You can probably recite the rest on your own. Mother Goose stories were popular when I was a kid and are still popular with my own kids. They’re classic rhymes part of almost everyone’s childhood.

But sometimes a twisted version of a classic can be just as good and maybe a little more fun. Chronicle BooksJ.otto Seibold Presents Other Goose: Re-Nurseried and Re-Rhymed Children’s Classics is one such book. J.otto Seibold (also known for Olive the Other Reindeer) puts a unique twist on some of your favourite nursery rhymes.

Follow Humpty Dumpty on his shoe dilemma. Find out what Little Bo Peep’s sheep are up to when she falls asleep. Rock out to Mary Had a Little Band as she roams through the lands. These wacky rhymes use play on words and poke fun at nonsensical rhymes from the original Mother Goose tales. My 4-year old enjoyed these as much as my 8-year old (and it’s hard to entertain an 8-year old with Mother Goose).

The illustrations as just as fun as the rhymes themselves, in true J.otto Seibold fashion. I’m a huge fan of J.otto Seilbold and Other Goose Re-Nurseried and Re-Rhymed Children’s Classics is another great addition to our home library.

I have to thank Crystal at Raincoast Books for my review copy.

J.otto Seibold Presents Other Goose Re-Nursered and Re-Rhymed Children’s Classics

written and illustrated by J.otto Seibold

Raincoast Books

Carrie Anne is a contributing book reviewer on Best Tools for School’s blog and No Time for Flash Cards as well as Managing Editor of EverythingMom.com. You can catch up with her and her three kids on her blog Another Day Another Thought… Or Two.

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