Posts from the ‘read aloud’ Category

NOT TOO SCARY

Halloween Short Stories: Spooky Short Stories for Kids

Written by Uncle Amon

This book consists of five short stories and a short selection of Halloween jokes. The characters deal with familiar Halloween themes like pumpkins, black cats, witches, and haunted houses. It is the first volume in a collection of Halloween stories.

These tales are short and do not contain difficult vocabulary. I would recommend them especially for beginning readers in the six to nine age group. They are not particularly scary. I would say they are appropriate for children who are not too fond of Halloween.

The book may be a good choice for a read-aloud or sharing at a Halloween party.

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BE OF GENTLE HEART

Our Wounded Little Chickadee

Written by Pamela Tomlin

Illustrated by Tamar Piper

This book is part of a series that features a girl named Emma and her menagerie of personified stuffed animals. Each of these has a distinct personality and a kind heart.

In this volume, Emma and her fluffy friends are playing in the living room when they hear a loud crash outside. After looking out the window, they discover a small bird lying still on the grass. When they investigate, they discover a chickadee who has been seriously injured. Emma gets a box and lines it with a doll blanket. She and her friends bring the box inside and patiently wait for hours to see if the bird will recover.

After what seems an interminable amount of time, Emma picks up the box and places it under a tree outside in the yard. They are happy to see the bird sitting up. A few minutes later, the chickadee flaps its wings and flies up into the tree.

Emma and her friends demonstrate patience, kindness and a love of nature. Children learn what and what not to do to help an injured animal. The illustrations are bright and effective. My only suggestion would be to vary the color of the text to make it a bit easier to read. Recommended for preschoolers and early elementary grade school readers.

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THE REWARD WITHIN

The Gold Egg
Written by Ule B. Wise (Dan Wyson)
Illustrated by Jaimee Lee

This is a wonderful book for children of all ages. The author writes in crisp rhymes and the illustrations are colorful and appealing. At first, group of multicultural children is sitting under their favorite tree. An old man carrying a cane comes along. He tells the children to look up high in the tree. They notice the abandoned nest of the Kloonee bird high in the tree. The old man tells them the nest is so high because it contains a gold egg. All the children scoff at this, except for Devan who decides to find out for himself.

Devan finds the task daunting. He falls from the tree but gets up and tries again. His friends make fun of him. When Devan finally gets to the top, will he find a gold egg? What does he learn about himself and his friends?
This book teaches children the importance of courage and persistence. Reaching goals is possible if one believes in himself and persists despite obstacles. While this book might appear to be a picture book, its message is one for children of all ages. Recommended as an inspirational read-aloud for children and adults.

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HANDLE WITH CARE

Mr. Hoopeyloops Meets Rex A Very Clumsy Boy

Written by Andi Cann

Illustrated by Fabrice Bertolotto

This is the second book of a series featuring Mr. Hoopeyloops, a talented glassmaker. When Rex, a medium-size boy, overhears Mr. Hoopeyloops telling James he needs an assistant, Rex immediately decides he wants to job.

Now Rex has a reputation for being clumsy and awkward. He constantly breaks things. That is why everyone calls him Rex. He has short arms and big feet like a T-Rex. When Rex visits the glassmaker’s shop, he slips and breaks something. But Mr. Hoopeyloops is willing to train Rex.

One day Mr. Hoopeyloops calls the townspeople to view his newest creations. Rex’s classmates are astonished to learn Rex is working at the shop. They decide they have made a mistake and learn to change their ways.

This book teaches children how to stand up to bullying, develop resilience, and set high goals for themselves. While all children will enjoy the colorful illustrations and story, I would especially recommend it for children in the six to ten age range who are beginning to experience peer pressure.

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GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Familiar Shadows: A tale from The Federal Witch Series

Written by Taki Drake and T S Paul

This is the first book in an interesting series featuring magic, fantasy, and witches. The narrator is a Russian blue cat named Dascha. At the outset, Dascha has just had an argument with the members of her clowder. She comes from a long line of magical cats, but Dascha just wants to live a normal life. As she walks away, she is swept up by an eagle. Her vision is blurred, her hip is pierced, and she senses imminent death.

Suddenly another larger steppe eagle comes along and snatches Dascha away from her captor. When Dascha awakens, she finds herself in the company of the eagle named Glenfry and his familiar, a witch named Henley. These two live apart from a small village, which they try to protect. Dascha learns to love and revere her protectors, who will entice her to embrace her magical lineage. There will be an adventure, danger, and magic along the perilous journey.

This book of fewer than one hundred pages contains interesting characters and plotlines. I would recommend it for readers ages eight and older.

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ARA ROCKETS TO SUCCESS

Ara the Star Engineer

Written by Komal Singh

Illustrated by Ipek Konak

I loved this picture book which featured a determined young girl named Ara. She is aptly named for a constellation that contains seven stars. Ara is obsessed with big numbers. She introduces her readers to a number with 100 zeros, a googol. Together with her computer robot, DeeDee, Ara sets out to find out how many stars exist. They visit Innovation Plex, where Ara seeks experts to help her in her quest.

She meets Kripa, a problem solver, in the Data Center who tells her to have courage. Big Problems are solved with a plan. Next, she greets Parisa in the Ideas Lab, who creates the algorithms that permit computers to solve big problems. The next stop is the Coding Center where Diane writes code that allows the algorithm to communicate with the computer. When Ara and Dee put the plan into action, they come up with an error. So Ara visits Maria, the Troubleshooter, who installs more computing power with a new processor and memory chip. At last, they achieve success. Ara learns that collaboration and teamwork solve problems.

At the end of the book, readers find a journal record of the steps Ara followed as well as an introduction to some superheroes in computer science. There is also a glossary of technical terms from the story. The author targets this book for ages five through seven, though I would highly recommend it for older boys and girls as well. The design of the book features many bright colors and multicultural female role models. They certainly draw the eye inward but may be a bit too much stimulation for the younger reader. Hope to see many more books in this series.

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STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF

The FED-UP Cow

Written by Peta Lemon

Illustrated by Maria Dasic Todoric

This is a cute picture book for preschoolers and primary grade children that reminds them to be true to themselves and their unique qualities. Hilda is a cow who decides one day that she would like to be a sheep. She goes to elaborate lengths to change her appearance but eventually decides being a sheep is not fun. Then she decides to become a pig. That doesn’t work out either. Finally, Hilda is sure that being a hen is the way to go. Alas, she is not accepted there. Maybe being a cow is the right choice after all.

The rhymes flow well, and the illustrations are simple, colorful and attractive. Recommended especially for children ages two through five.

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