Posts from the ‘children of all ages’ Category

# Animal Rescue DOGS HAVE FEELINGS TOO…

Lucky’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland (Lucky’s Adventures)

Written by Elizabeth Macey

Illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky

Lucky Charms is an adopted rescue dog who happily lives with her human family and a cat named Hershey Kisses. She is excited to wake up to a snowstorm. Lucky promptly goes out to play with her neighborhood dog friends. They go ice-skating and skiing. The day ends with barbecuing hot dogs. That night Lucky reflects on how fortunate she is to have such a comfortable life with a loving family and so many dog friends. She figures out a way to help less fortunate dogs and rallies her neighborhood dog friends to assist her.

Children will love seeing these dogs take on human characteristics and do the activities they love participating in themselves. The illustrations consist mostly of two-page spreads featuring many vivid drawings of adorable dog breeds. Macey includes a list of suggestions for her readers to get involved in animal rescue. I would recommend this picture book especially for elementary school readers, but it has appeal for a reader of any age.

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#Give vs. Get

The Adventures of Pookie Presents: Mission Fat Hearts

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Yee

Playful pups Pookie and his new sibling Thor are sleeping comfortably in the living room. Kisa, a Christmas Elf, secretly leaves a note on their beds. It tells them to go to the Christmas tree. Kisa surprises them by jumping out. She urges them to go on a secret mission. Santa’s mission is for them to perform an act of kindness on each day of December until Christmas. Their reward will be to see smiles on those who receive their gifts. Pookie and Thor accept their secret mission with enthusiasm. Readers are urged to become co-conspirators and perform the same deeds.

This picture book spreads the true message of Christmas. Children are taught to give joy and happiness to others. Examples of deeds include giving hugs and giving thanks, donations, crafts, caroling, and visiting those who can’t leave home. The book could easily become a new tradition that families could share together.  The secret mission might also be carried out by classrooms and community organizations. My only suggestion to improve the book would be to include illustrations with the tasks. The illustrations disappear as the pages of the book unfold. A bit more color would sustain more interest with the youngest readers.

The Christmas season may have passed for this year, but this book is also a good way to spread the message of love for Valentine’s Day.

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#GIRL POWER

Rad Girl Revolution: The Children’s Book for Little Girls with Big Dreams

Written by Sharita Manickam

Photo Illustrations by Jennifer Elliot Bruno

RAD stands for Rise Above Doubt. This book empowers young girls to aspire to whatever they wish to be. The photographs of girls that range from preschool to preteen ages portray global multicultural images. They include children with disabilities. The message is loud and clear. Career goals should not be inhibited by gender, race or ethnicity.

Images scan girls succeeding in sports, entertainment, archaeology, medicine, law enforcement, civil service, farming, politics, and the arts. No page contains more than four lines of rhyming text which make the book an easy read. This picture book works as a bedtime story, read-aloud, or classroom discussion book.

Having a couple of the girls raise their fist at the beginning of the book is the only part I felt not completely in sync with the message. Recommended for preschoolers through middle-school age readers.

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DOGS HAVE FEELINGS TOO…

Lucky’s Adventures in Winter Wonderland (Lucky’s Adventures)

Written by Elizabeth Macey

Illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky

Lucky Charms is an adopted rescue dog who happily lives with her human family and a cat named Hershey Kisses. She is excited to wake up to a snowstorm. Lucky promptly goes out to play with her neighborhood dog friends. They go ice-skating and skiing. The day ends with barbecuing hot dogs. That night Lucky reflects on how fortunate she is to have such a comfortable life with a loving family and so many dog friends. She figures out a way to help less fortunate dogs and rallies her neighborhood dog friends to assist her.

Children will love seeing these dogs take on human characteristics and do the activities they love participating in themselves. The illustrations consist mostly of two-page spreads featuring many vivid drawings of adorable dog breeds. Macey includes a list of suggestions for her readers to get involved in animal rescue. I would recommend this picture book especially for elementary school readers, but it has appeal for a reader of any age.

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#Building Bridges

Aspergers Books for Kids: Joey the Weather Boy – A Story About Asperger Syndrome

Written by Dr. Sam Caron, PhD

Illustrated by Jeremy Caron

The author of this boy is a psychologist/ventriloquist who has been working with children and their families for thirty years. As a special educator, I applaud his approach. Dr. Caron has used this fictional short story to address the child and parents and then provided an interactive guide to implementing its lessons.

Joey is an eight-year-old boy who does not look at people and is obsessed with the weather. He has an uncanny talent to predict all aspects of the weather. Joey could talk about nothing else. His parents, teachers, and classmates could not understand him. That was okay with Joey because he preferred to be alone.

Joey’s parents took him to Dr. Caron who introduced Joey to Elwood, his puppet. Joey was able to relate to Elwood. With Dr. Caron’s help, Joey introduced a kids’ weather program and began speech therapy. Joey became more comfortable communicating with others. Children and adults recognized his talents.

This book goes a long way in helping parents, teachers, and children to understand Asperger Syndrome. Children who are bored easily, hyperactive or impulsive are not behavior problems. Books like these go a long way to eliminate preconceived notions. I highly recommend this series of books as a good start to building bridges with families who deal with the problem and members of the general population who misunderstand its symptoms.

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SECRET SANTA

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Written and Illustrated by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This Christmas themed story adds a nice touch to the Sophie Washington series of books. These chapter books are geared to middle-grade readers. The black and white line drawings enhance the tale and provide added incentives for beginning readers.

Sophie is now a sixth-grader at Xavier Academy. Her younger brother, Cole, is sometimes a thorn in her side, but she loves him dearly. Sophie steps in to protect him from a new neighbor who is bullying Cole. The main part of the plot involves a series of Christmas gifts that mysteriously appear on Sophie’s doorstep. The signature says from your Secret Santa. Sophie is puzzled. She and her girlfriends try to figure out the mystery. Then she learns that another boy in school is also receiving gifts. Sophie’s grandmother helps them to solve the mystery when a clue emerges. The giver is certainly not anyone they might have suspected.

This book is a beautiful story portraying the true Christmas spirit. Lots of wholesome family values, like supportive family relationships, bullying, and preteen angst are addressed. I highly recommend the book to lift holiday spirits. If you enjoy it, check out the entire Sophie Washington book series.

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SIBLING LOYALTY

What It Means to be a Big Brother

Written and illustrated by Lindsey Coker Luckey

This charming picture book is told in the first person. The older sibling professes his unending love and loyalty toward his younger brother.

The book is written in rhyme. While I believe the story would be just as effective if told in verse, the rhyme succeeds for the most part. This older brother promises to protect his brother from harm, and teach him new skills like how to fish, ride a bike, and play games. He promises lots of adventures. The older sibling injects realism and humor into the story. He admits there will be times when they play pranks on their parents or get into trouble for drawing on the table or bringing bugs into the house.

Many books written on siblings focus on the rivalry and adjustment issues when a new sibling enters the family. This one focuses on the family’s love for one another. The soft, gentle illustrations work to enhance the mood. Recommended for any age reader.

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