Posts tagged ‘animals’

#Reality Check

Unicorn for Christmas: Teach Kids About Giving

Written by Sigal Adler

Illustrated by Abira Das

Christmas is nearly upon the castle. Princess Lily already possesses every material object she could want or need. When she decides to request a unicorn for a Christmas gift, the king and queen scour the kingdom to fulfill her request. Up to now, her demands have been met.

To their chagrin, the royal couple cannot fulfill her request. The king commissions the royal seamstress to make a unicorn costume. He places the costume on various animals to deceive the princess. She is not pleased. After many days pass, Lily realizes how hard her parents tried to please her. She hugs them and gives thanks to them for being wonderful parents.

The illustrations are vivid and expressive. They communicate the underlying message. My one criticism is that I would have liked to see her change in point of view explained more clearly in the text.

Parents of preschoolers and primary grade children who are exasperated with children who expect too much will love this holiday book. Suggested as a read-aloud or bedtime story.

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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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COOL ANIMAL STUFF

33 Cute Animals of the World (Cool Facts and Picture Book Series for Kids)

Written by P.K. Miller

 

I would rate this nonfiction book three and a half stars. It is an easy read with basic information on thirty-three “cute” animals. While the author includes a picture for each, the photo is very small and does not reveal much detail. Miller provides a few paragraphs that describe the habitat, interesting characteristics, and notable features for each of the animals. He includes google and wiki links to additional images and reference information on each subject.

This book can best be used as an introduction or reference book. Children in elementary and middle-school certainly would find it helpful as a tool to research an animal science project. Readers of all ages will find it informative and interesting.

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A FISH OUT OF WATER

Monty the fish goes to the Zoo

Written by Vivienne Alonge

Illustrated by Mikaila Maidment

Seems like there are a plethora of children’s books about visiting the zoo lately. This one features a fish named Monty who decides to take a trip to the zoo, but this particular zoo is no ordinary one. Monty views a bear water skiing on the water, a giraffe wearing cowboy boots, a queen dancing with a python, and a tiger eating strawberries and cream, to name just a few. Youngest readers will enjoy identifying the animals and laugh at their preposterous antics.

This is a picture book but unfortunately, the illustrations do not fill the screen on my kindle. Each animal is given a one-sentence description along with the illustration. The book synopsis says the book is aimed at ages zero through eighteen. It is most appropriate for kindergarten and preschool children.

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JUNGLE MATES

The Jungle Crew

Written by Emma Scott

 

The lion walks alone in the forest until he comes across a lonely hippo. The two become friends and the journey continue as new animals like a giraffe, elephant, toucan, zebra, and monkey eventually join in the fun. Each of the animals brings a new character trait or talent like humor, brains, loyalty, and generosity to the group.  The animals bring out the best in one another.

While the illustrations are simple and rather stylized, the rhymes are crisp and sharp. Counting skills are reinforced as each new animal is introduced. I would recommend this book as a bedtime story or fun read-aloud for children ages two through five.

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#Cybils2017 #Finalists

Proudly presenting two more books that were finalists in the contest this year:

EASY READER CATEGORY

FRIENDS FINDING SOLUTIONS…

My Kite Is Stuck! And Other Stories

Written by Salina Yoon

 

All three stories feature the same three main characters, Little Duck, Big Duck and Porcupine. In the first story, Big Duck gets his kite stuck in the tree. His two friends try to help, but only make the problem worse. Children will laugh at the silly solutions the characters invent.

The second tale revolves around Porcupine making friends with a bug. Big Duck and Little Duck discuss the qualities needed in a friend and try to persuade Porcupine why he can’t be friends with a bug. There is a surprise ending.

In the third story, the three friends decide to build a lemonade stand. They model cooperation, patience and hard work. Of course, there are a few hiccups and lots of humor when the friends forget about the main ingredient needed for their success.

These stories employ speech balloons with dark text and brilliant digital illustrations that fill the page. I would recommend it to preschoolers and kindergarten beginning readers. Each story can be enjoyed separately for beginning readers with shorter attention spans.

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK CATEGORY:

SCIENCE, MAGIC, AND GIRL POWER…

Zoey And Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows

Written by Asia Citro

Illustrated by Marion Lindsay

 

What a charming way to combine science, a bit of magic and a strong female role model in an interesting story! Zoey is an inquisitive, intelligent, sweet girl. One day she discovers her mother holding a photograph that appears to be glowing. Her mother attempts to hide it, but when Zoey reveals that she can see the glowing creature, her scientist-mother reveals her secret.

As a child, her mother discovered a purple glowing frog that was severely injured. To her amazement, the frog named Pip began talking to her. Ever since that day, Zoey’s mom had been helping other magical creatures who needed assistance. She installed a hidden doorbell in the barn. Zoey’s mom thought she was the only one who had this ability, but now she understands that Zoey also has the gift.

When Zoey’s mom must travel to a scientific conference, Zoey hopes that she will receive a call for help from one of these magical creatures. Zoey studies her mom’s journals, notes, and photos. Sure enough, a few days later, she hears the bell and finds a small reptile near death in the barn. Zoey gets to work, but there is so much to learn. She sets forth a hypothesis and sets out her materials. Like a true scientist, she uses trial and error and controls in her experiments. Together with her cat, Sassafras, they work to save the creature. Who is this creature? Will Zoey be successful?

I found lots to like in this chapter book. Large print, beautiful black and white drawings, and a table of contents that lists the subject of each short chapter. Citro carefully crafts a multicultural, curious and hard-working female protagonist who is empathetic and appealing to young readers. Children quickly become engrossed with the plot, while hardly realizing they are learning about the scientific method and the reptile species. The glossary reinforces understanding of unfamiliar vocabulary. Highly recommended for beginning readers, but certainly challenging enough for middle-grade readers.

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SIZE DOESN’T MATTER

Deadly Animals: 25 Most Deadly Animals in the World That You Should Know!

Written by Hathai Ross

 

While this book contains a lot of interesting information, I would rate it 3.5 stars because the photos that are included are often undersized and unclear.

The author includes animals found all over the world. Their size varies from the tiny mosquito and tsetse fly to the huge animals like the hippopotamus and polar bear. Habitats range from the sea to the glaciers and arid deserts of the Sahara. Readers will find many familiar names like the lion, rhinoceros, leopard, and elephants, but also more unfamiliar species like the Brazilian Wandering Spider, the Blue-Ringed Octopus, the Cone Snail, and the Cape Buffalo.

Ross describes each animal, its habitat, why it is dangerous, and how it affects humans. Some facts that I found particularly interesting are that the Poison Dart Frog is the most poisonous animal on the planet, the poisonous Puffer Fish is a delicacy eaten by many people, and the cute Polar Bear is not afraid of humans, and when hungry enough will even eat its own cubs.

The book is a collection of individual chapters that provide reference information about each of the twenty-five animals selected. It is useful as a starting point of research on some of the most interesting and dangerous animals with which we share our planet. Recommended for middle-grade, young adult or adult readers interested in animal research.

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