Posts from the ‘children’s books’ Category

THE MANY ASPECTS OF LOVE

Mom, What is Love: The Various Aspects of Love as Perceived by Children

Written by Lili Benkel-Bergman

Illustrated by Nurit Tsarfati

This book is part of a series of books that attempt to tackle a series of emotions that young children find difficult to comprehend. In this volume, the author tries to explain the many kinds of love that one experiences throughout life. The young boy protagonist knows that he loves his mother because she is his mom. He is confused about his feelings for his younger brother, his friends, and grandparents. He reasons that if his grandparents have a love that is old, why can’t they trade an old love for a new one. What happens to love when a parent divorces? Why do some people love animals more than people? Why do we love some things and hate others?

The book jumps from one scenario to another very quickly. Parents or teachers will need to guide children in understanding the author’s point of view. I think the author’s objectives are sound, but perhaps the book is more appropriate for children a little older who are prepared to discuss these issues in greater depth with an adult. Recommended especially as a read-aloud for elementary and middle school readers.

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SHH….DON’T TELL

Maya Knows a Secret

Written by Daniel Georges

One day Maya asks her dad, “What is a secret?” He explains that a secret occurs when someone else tells you something that nobody else knows. Maya wonders then how does one know it is a secret. Dad explains that they will tell you not to tell anyone. Maya is dying to know a secret, but no one seems to want to tell her one. Finally, she finds one when a storekeeper reveals his secret, but Maya is frustrated when she accidentally reveals the secret to a friend.

The illustrations in this book are adorable and the message is a “spot on” way to explain the concept of a secret to young children. Highly recommended for primary school aged readers.

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AUSTRALIAN JAUNT

Austin the Australian
Written by Christopher Boeckman and Ethan Freeman

Austin is a schoolboy with a vivid imagination and a yen for travel. On this particular day, Austin is imagining that he is transported to Australia for the day. He takes his readers on many journeys including riding on a dirt bike, surfing, deep sea diving, and hiking as he traverses the continent. Austin meets a native friend named Alinga and explores with her. They discover indigenous creatures like koalas, kangaroos, sugar gliders and emus.

This book is richly illustrated with simple, bright images that invoke lots of details. The whole story is written in rhyme that works for the most part. Targeted for children in grades one through six, I feel it is particularly appropriate for grades two through four. It provides an introduction to life in Australia.

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BAD BOY

The Worst Book Ever

Written by Beth Bacon

Illustrated by Jason Grube and Coriander Hale

This book desperately wants to be a bad boy. His goal is to become a banned book in the library. He tries everything to win the librarian’s disapproval. Some of his tactics include using gross words, misspelled words, and made-up words. The book enlists readers to assist him by being loud and doing everything possible to annoy the librarian like flapping arms, wiggling and jumping up and down in their seats. To his dismay, the book makes its way into storytime.

This book is filled with much humor, graphics, and simple illustrations. There are vivid colors, lots of variation in print size, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Bacon playfully encourages her readers to become accomplices in the book’s quest for notoriety.

Bacon targets the book for a kindergarten through grade five audience. Beginning, intermediate and reluctant readers can join in the fun.

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MAGGOT MANIA

We’ve Got Maggots

Written by Kevin Kendall

 

Okay, so this is not the most appetizing subject. This book is an interesting read for elementary and middle-grade readers who are interested in insects. Illustrations are simple and rather cartoon-like. Kendall provides lots of humor as he explains the life cycle of a fly. I feel the most valuable part of the book comes at the end. Readers find a diagram with the life stages of a fly, fascinating facts about the insect, and step by step instructions on how to draw the cartoon maggot portrayed in the book.

I would recommend this book be placed in a classroom or homeschool reference science shelf. The information provided could be a good introduction to a science project. It is an interesting read for children interested in insects.

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GETTING THROUGH FIFTH GRADE

Pi

Written by Lori Ann Stephens

Illustrated by Trevor Yokochi

Pierre Francois is a fifth-grade student who lives in Texas. As you may have guessed from the name, Pierre’s father is French. To his chagrin, Pierre spends his Christmas holiday in France with his grandparents. He tells his readers that he hates fifth grade because the boys are annoying and the girls are mean.

Readers follow Pierre’s troubles in school, his attempt to impress his friends by winning the spelling bee, his first crush on Cynthia, the new girl in school, and his disastrous camping adventure with school buddies. The book has a few simple illustrations. It is a pretty easy read, and I would categorize it as an early chapter book or a good choice for reluctant readers. Especially recommended for readers in grades three through six. Lots of humor and plenty of situations that they will find familiar.

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DANCING TO HER OWN TUNE

Willa the Ballerina

Written by Leela Hope

Willa the Wolf loves dancing ballet, but she feels that her fellow swan ballerinas are so much more talented than she. Cynthia, the lead swan, tells Willa that she looks like a fool and should leave the school. Willa goes off into the woods to have a good cry. She meets up with Tommy the Toad who encourages her to practice and not to worry. Once Willa stops worrying, she becomes a proficient dancer. Willa returns to the dance school before the recital. There will be a surprise in store for Willa and her readers.

This is a cute picture book that teaches preschoolers not to worry what others think, to work hard, and develop self-confidence. While it probably did not need to be written in rhyme, that makes it a good read aloud. Simple but effective illustrations convey the message. Recommended as a bedtime story or read aloud, especially for preschoolers but can be used with children a bit older.

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