Posts from the ‘reluctant reader’ 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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#ON THE BRINK…

Days of Miracle and Wonder: 25 of the Most Incredible Sporting Victories

Written by Dave Tomlinson

The author covers virtually every sport. Tomlinson explores stories of athletes who “choked” when at the brink of victory and others who succeeded in pulling themselves or their team out of the depths against improbable odds.

There have been many near victories in every sport. Jordan Spieth’s last-minute mishap in 2016 in Augusta or the Boston Bruin’s inability to pull off a win against Philadelphia in the final game of the NHL playoffs. On the other hand, some teams have been able to physically and emotionally overcome huge obstacles like the Buffalo Bills come back from a 21-0 score to defeat the New England Patriots football team in a 2011 Wild Card game. In tennis, the 1984 French Open was thought to be a no-brainer for John McEnroe who had won 39 straight matches. Ivan Lendl decided this would be his year. After two straight losses, McEnroe appeared to be on the path to victory. Then McEnroe let his temper get the best of him. That proved to be just enough to tip the balance. McEnroe’s concentration and physical game deteriorated, allowing Lendl to take control and eventually win the match.

Sports fans enjoy the physical game, but also appreciate the mental and emotional talents of the players. This book explores the motivations and personalities behind the sports. I recommend the book for sports aficionados from age eight to eighty-eight.

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#Constant Companion

Silly Milly, the Dane

Written by Sheri Wall

Illustrated by Ilona Stuijt

The author shares her story about the antics of her Great Dane, Milly. Her devoted pet is faithful and funny. She is sometimes a bit naughty. For example, she chews things and tears the cushions. Milly hides in the closet and gets tangled in the curtains. Like her owner, Milly enjoys watching television and getting her picture taken. Above all, Milly is a faithful and true companion.

Most pet owners will find themselves identifying with Milly. This colorful picture book contains short rhymes appropriate for preschoolers and elementary school readers, but any age pet lover will enjoy it.

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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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A CORNUCOPIA OF BASEBALL

Legends of Baseball: from Ozzie to Aaron

Written by Mike Suarez

This book summarizes baseball facts. It features some of the greatest names in baseball from past to present day. Different types of illustrations feature each of the players. The entire book is written in rhyme. The author presents batting and pitching statistics, baseball acronyms, and team abbreviations

This book would make a great gift for a baseball aficionado. When I looked at the cover and the alphabet approach, I assumed it to be a picture book for children. It is chock full of information that an adult baseball enthusiast would enjoy. I don’t think it has that appeal for a young child who will find it hard to sort through so much information on each page.

My rating would be five stars for adults and three stars for younger children. I am averaging the rating at four stars.


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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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