Posts from the ‘Parenting’ Category

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

Mary’s Song (Dream Horse Adventures Book 1)

Written by Susan Count

Mary is a twelve-year-old handicapped young lady. Her mother died when she was three; no one wants to talk about it. Mary lives with her father and a housekeeper. The story is set in 1952. Her father constantly searches for a possible medical breakthrough to cure his daughter. Mary is strong-willed and determined. Her best friend, Laura, rides and cares for horses at her home. The girls become obsessed with saving a horse named Illusion who needs surgery. They find ways of earning money toward that end.

Mary’s overprotective father frequently gets upset with Mary’s obstinate behavior. Laura and Mary disobey their parents and end up in trouble often, but that means lots of interesting adventures along the way. Will the girls be able to save Illusion? Can Mary’s father find a medical cure to help Laura walk again?

Middle-grade and young adult readers will find the antics of these two friends’ fun and endearing. There is lots of humor and a few surprises in store for readers. Two strong female role models and a tender story of animal affection will appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading the sequel.

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RIGHT OR WRONG?

E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About What Matters Most

Written by Ian James Corlett

Illustrated by R.A. Holt

 

The author is a Children’s TV writer and animator by trade. Distressed by the fact that schools no longer include ethics and civics teaching in their curriculum, he decided that he and his wife must assume that responsibility. Many years ago when his children were young, he and his wife decided to set one night a week as a family discussion time. Corlett developed a series of twenty-six stories that exemplified different aspects of moral behavior. Following each story, the children engaged in interactive questions for discussion as well as suggested activities.

The following is a list of the topics discussed in these stories: honesty, understanding, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, tact, politeness, loyalty, gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, empathy, charity, trust, willingness, respect, fairness, acceptance, patience, and effort. There are simple colorful illustrations of a young child like the character of Lucy or Eliot featured in each story. A few famous quotations are sprinkled throughout.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend time getting to know what their children are thinking as well as fulfilling a necessary parental responsibility to guide and form a child’s character and values. Recommended for all ages in the family to enjoy and share.

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SEIZING CONTROL

LIAM AND THE GRUMP

Written by Graham-Austin King

Illustrated by Sarah Heseltine

Liam is a young boy who has trouble controlling his temper. His father tells him to reach into his mouth, pull it out and throw it away. Liam attempts to do just that, but his temper comes alive and keeps growing every time Liam loses control. As the story continues, temper incidents escalate. Liam’s mother offers her son a different solution. She advises him to count to ten when he feels like he is losing control.

The illustrations are bright and expressive, perhaps a bit too scary for younger children. The author tries to approach the subject with humor, but some parents may think the message comes on too strong. While the book is targeted for a four to an eight-year-old audience, I would recommend it for the upper age range of that audience or advise parents of younger children to read the story with guidance.

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WELCOMING A NEW SIBLING…

I’M A BIG BROTHER NOW

Written by Michael Gordon

Henry is excited when his mother informs him that he is about to be a big brother. He is ecstatic when mom brings Mia home from the hospital. Henry envisions sharing everything with his new sister, but he is soon disappointed when she seems to do nothing but cry. Mom reassures him that soon that will change. Henry is patient; he is elated when his sister grows into a best friend.

This is the perfect way for parents to introduce a new sibling to the family and model appropriate behavior. Recommended especially for children in the preschool population but it could also be shared with older children.

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WITTY AND WONDERFUL

20 Degrees from Normal: Creative Poems for All Ages

Written by Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris
Illustrated by Fanny Liem

This brother and sister duo has put together a wonderful collection of poems that address a plethora of topics with skill and humor. Almost anyone can find several that will strike a responsive chord. Readers, young and old, will find themselves agreeing with the futility of getting rid of a fly that has entered the house and the annoyance of a leaky faucet. Teenagers will not be able to avoid laughing at the two poems presenting a teenager’s and a parent’s point of view. The importance of everyday objects like the wheel and a lighthouse are simple poems that point out the importance of objects used and seen every day. I really could not stop laughing while reading the poem about a pet spider and the smartest phone. On a more serious note, the authors strike a chord with the poem about a teacher’s real responsibility and the poem which encourages us to soar by realizing that each new challenge entails possible risks.

This collection is certainly enhanced by the double-page spread illustrations of Fanny Liem. They are big, bold and vibrant drawing the eye right into the text. I would highly recommend this collection for any family’s bookshelf. Students in the middle grades and older will be able to fully appreciate the messages of the poems.

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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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RUNNING TOWARD HOME

Rosie the Runaway Raccoon (Not So Serious Jack Series Book 6)

Written by Jack Thompsen

 

Rosie the Raccoon believes that she has a talent for running. She decides that she wants to run against the other animals in the town race. Rosie is eager to win her parents’ approval and asks her mom to make her something special to wear. But Rosie’s mom gets busy at work and forgets her promise. To make matters worse, neither of Rosie’s parents take off time from work to attend her race. Rosie is proud to finish third, but her achievement is overshadowed by the disappointment she feels in what she perceives to be her parents’ lack of interest.

Rosie decides to make plans to run away. She decides that Rome would be the perfect spot. When Rosie overhears her parents talking about the race, she is shocked to learn their true feelings leading to an unexpected turn of events.

This picture book written in rhyme is intended for early elementary school-age children. The story is cute, even if the rhymes are sometimes forced and uneven. Recommended as a bedtime or read aloud story for children ages four through eight.

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