Category Archives: Children’s Picture Book Reviews

Children’s Picture Book Review: I am a Rockstar

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RockstarBookCoverFor day three of my read-aloud collection recommendations for 2018, I present to you a unique take on a new type of pictures book. I am a Rockstar by Amy Hackler Thibeault is a unique positive affirmation picture book. Each set of pages deals with different issues in building self-image. This makes the book a unique read for bedtime and discussion time with parents, or can be used as a great start for the day.

Each set of pages has questions to think about and affirmations to confirm different issues children might struggle with in their self-confidence. From subjects such as setting goals, getting excited to learn new things, following the rules, taking care of your health to honoring those that support you, this is a well organized book to cover many topics children need to consider and learn while growing up.

I found that this would be a great read-aloud for especially the beginning of the year, to help bolster and bring a class together. Each set of pages had questions to be asked and discussed followed by positive affirmations that can be said individually or as a class. It can also be used mid-year to help reaffirm some of these skills that a class might still struggle with.

As a read-aloud at home, it would be great to start the day using the discussion questions and affirmations. It will also be a great way to create discussions at home.

I am a Rockstar is a great book to help get kids out of bed in the morning and excited about their day. I highly recommend it as a read-aloud for any classroom or home.

I am a Rockstar is available at: Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com. 

 

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Children’s Picture Book Review: The Tortoise and the Hare

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Tortoise_Hare_book_coverpage001On day two of my 2018 read-aloud picks for the new year, I’d like to introduce you to a new kind of take on an old tale. It’s a retelling of the old Aesop’s Fable with a new twist. The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is a cute take on how acceptance of self is a hard lesson to learn.

Tortoise is upset that he is always so slow. He decides that a race with his friend, Hare, is the best way to finally prove he is fast like his friend. He’ll find a way to make sure he wins. Giving Hare something that puts him to sleep before the race, Tortoise runs the race at his slow speed confident he’ll finally win.

When he sees Hare at the finish line, he can’t believe he’s lost again. But his friend convinces him that all he needed to do was be happy with who he was. He didn’t need to be fast like Hare, but happy with his own speed. All Tortoise needed was to be just happy with himself.

This is a great book to help emphasize confidence and believing in yourself and your own abilities. The illustrations are cute and charming, and go along with the rhyming verses of the text. It’s a great read-aloud text to compare different versions of the same folk tale that may apply to several teaching standards. I recommend this picture book as a read-aloud for your bedtime collection.

***The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is available on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Children’s Picture Book Review: Alex and the Lazy Monster

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LazyBookCoverImage_2There is nothing like a good book to start off the New Year for your child. So, this week I’m working on book reviews of books to add to your bedtime reading list for the start of the Year. Here’s a positive way to add new books and spend more time with your child. Reading aloud a book is so important to the development of your child and helps them before entering school. So, hang on, and enjoy my selections this week.

Today, I’m starting with a nice monster book that will help get 2018’s bedtime sessions rolling. Alex and the Lazy Monster by Vanessa A. Newman is a delightful nighttime story that can be read again and again. Told like a mother making up a story for bedtime, this tale of a boy and his adventure with the Lazy Monster might sound familiar to many of us. We’ve all felt like wanting to lie around and do nothing. Alex discovers he has the same problem, and the reason why. He has a new friend, the Lazy Monster.

But this big blue monster is also very friendly and cuddly. When he suddenly discovers rocks in his pockets and sand in his shoes, he knows why he’s been so lazy. His new friend is doing it. But taking them out makes the Lazy Monster tired too. He doesn’t want to hurt his new friend. How can he find a balance?

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Vanessa A. Newman is the author of the picture book, Alex and the Lazy Monster. Available at Amazon.com.

I really adored this cuddly blue monster tale. Instead of just destroying the monster, the author finds a solution where his hero works with the monster to solve the problem. I enjoyed that as a teaching element, and it’s something I look for in a read-aloud. Plus, the illustrations are adorable. You want to give the slothful monster a hug half the time through the book. Any child will like hearing this story read to them again and again. It will give them validation for those times that we need to find a balance between motivating ourselves and resting. This picture book is a bedtime book collection addition for any child.

Alex and the Lazy Monster is available at her website and on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is the second book in the series of Alex and his monsters.

 

Children’s Picture Book Review: Ernest Hummingbird

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Earnest Hummingbird

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and as an app in the IOS store.

I’ve got a real treat for your Holiday list. Ernest Hummingbird is an absolutely charming picture book written and illustrated by David Feiss. Mr. Feiss created “Cow and Chicken” on the Cartoon Network, and worked as an animator at Hanna Barbera for many years. Charming with its cartoon illustrations, this book will take you back to your Saturday mornings.

Ernest Hummingbird tries to follow his dream to be a singer. But everyone around him insists that he should just “hum”, like all the other hummingbirds. Undaunted, he enlists his friends to sing for an agent rumored to be coming to scout for singers. Of course, in a plot twist, Ernest gets his dream. I’ll leave it up to you to discover the ending.

I enjoyed this sweet little story of following your dreams and not letting anything stop you. The illustrations are humorous and inviting, pulling you into the story as any delightful Saturday morning cartoon. I would recommend this book to anyone that would need a gift for a child, grandchild, or niece and nephew. It would make a satisfying bedtime story. As a read-aloud in the lower grades, it would teach the importance of not giving up.

As an added bonus, the folks behind Ernest Hummingbird also have a parallel storybook app in the IOS store, with music written by Tommy Thayer from KISS. The narration is by country star Darius Rucker. Link to the app in the IOS store.

Find out more at: www.mechemmedia.com.

Earnest Hummingbird is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

 

 

Holiday Picture Book Review: Santa’s Little Helper

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santashelpercovereditLooking for a diverse take on Santa Claus? Here is a jewel of a story just in time for the Holidays.

Santa’s Little Helper by Ronald Destra is a picture book that brings the magic of Christmas to a boy happily waiting his turn for Santa Claus to visit on Christmas Eve. His parents help Daniel prepare, leaving out lemonade and cookies for Santa. But will Santa really arrive?

This book helps capture the wonder and delight one felt waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Daniel gets to see the wonder and magic of Santa Claus as he becomes his little helper as he climbs into Santa’s sleigh, complete with reindeer. Santa takes him on a journey to help deliver toys to children throughout his town including his neighbors and an orphanage.

Daniel’s journey takes us through that one night a year when there seems to be something extra special in the air. The supportive, loving parents and caring helpful way Santa shows Daniel his annual job adds to the true meaning of Santa Claus, that giving is better than receiving. The illustrations show Daniel surrounded by loving, supportive parents and Santa, all creating a safe haven for Daniel on Christmas Eve.

This is my favorite book so far by Destra World Book Publishing that specializes in diverse and worldview themes for their books. This book will be a great way to show the Christmas spirit either as a read-aloud or a gift.

**For more information about the author, visit his website at:

www.ronalddestra.com

Santa’s Little Helper is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Picture Book Review: Best Friends

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Best Friends by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a great gift for the Holidays.

Here’s a picture book gift for the Holidays about how friendship can help overcome the most difficult struggle a child could face, a terminal illness.

Best Friends by Ronald Destra and Juanita Destra is a picture book about two friends that meet under difficult circumstances. They are both children ill in the hospital. By chance, they are placed into the same room, and develop a friendship to help them beat the odds their illnesses have set for them.

This book was bringing me near tears within the first few pages. I have gone through a life crisis of a heart attack a few years ago, and to see kids facing this kind of life trauma together was such a message of strength. I have to warn, have some tissues near by, you may need them by the end.

This would be a great book for children to read with parents if they had lost someone close to them in their lives. As a read-aloud, it’s diverse illustrations and acceptance of others, even with physical challenges, is a great message to convey to any class.

This book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Birthday Party

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Looking for a unique birthday present for your special someone? The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a cute picture book with a fun birthday surprise.

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The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

The Birthday Party is a book that wraps itself around the theme to never give up on your friends and family. That no matter what, even when it seems like there is no hope, they will come through for you in the end. The plot builds suspense to draw you through the story, making even the reader wonder what is going to happen by the end. You feel the heart ache of Johnny not having anyone acknowledge his birthday. It just makes the ending so much sweeter. The illustrations are also very charming, and the diverse characters make this a great read-aloud for any classroom.

I would recommend this picture book for parents and teachers looking for a book that teaches lessons of perseverance and the love of family and friends.

***The Birthday Party is available at Barnes and Nobles.com and Amazon.com.

 

Picture Book Review: Elijah and the Key of Knowledge & Elijah and the City in Danger

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Elijah and the Key of Knowledge starts this fresh take on exploring reading skills.

I had the pleasure of reading Elijah and The Key of Knowledge for this June’s featured children’s book to get your summer reading started. The author, Zachariah Rippee, does a masterful job of pulling readers into the idea that reading gives you knowledge. In fact, the whole Elijah series is full of themes to get kids reading.

The series begins with the picture book, Elijah and The Key of Knowledge. This book starts out with Elijah as an adventurer like in the Indiana Jones movies. He takes his animal friends, ie Calvin and Hobbes, on an adventure with many obstacles blocking the way. He has to enlist the help of his friends to best the things thrown into his path. It all ends when he finally discovers the secret to the key of knowledge. You guessed it, reading.

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Elijah and the City in Danger is the second in the Elijah series.

The second book in the series I liked better than the first. It has Elijah now using his imagination to become a superhero in Elijah and The City in Danger. In this picture book, Elijah is now a masked hero charged with the safety of THE CITY. He must fight giant dinosaurs, robots and aliens to keep the City safe all while using his imagination, the biggest super power of all.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous joy in these two picture books. Mr. Rippee presents a fun, playful world in which a child uses his reading powers to create big adventures and be the star of his own imagination. The series would make a great read-aloud for teachers wanting to emphasis reading skills, and parents wanting to motivate their little ones to read. The Elijah series would be a great way to start off your summer reading as well.

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Elijah and the City in Danger is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

-Tiffany Turner

Head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection

*Tiffany Turner is the head writer and editor for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection and author of her own middle grade children’s fantasy adventure series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has taught elementary students the love of reading and writing for 18 years, and currently has moved to writing full time. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.