Category Archives: Children’s Picture Book Reviews

Picture Book Review: Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32

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Door32 CoverWhat’s behind door number thirty-two? That’s the question that leads a reader through this marvelous counting picture book called “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32” by B.C.R. Fegan. Illustrations are by Lenny Wen. Through visiting the fantastical Hoo Hotel, your introduced around by the owner to all the rooms, each time warned not to open room number thirty-two. Fairies, trolls, mad scientists, vampire mermaids and other magical amusing creatures await to greet you behind each door. Just don’t open door number thirty-two. By the time you get to the door, the surprise is a logical laugh to end the book.

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B.C.R. Fegan is the author of “Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32”.

I enjoyed reading through this book thinking about all of the teaching applications possible. It is the beginnings of Math at its best combined with a journey through the imagination. You are curious to see what awaits behind each door. The illustrations are a treat for the eyes lending to the creativity of the story.

This book would be a great read-aloud for beginning counting and looking for patterns in literature. With all the fantastic creatures, it lends itself as a Halloween read as well. I’d recommend this book for beginning readers and preschool age children. Parents will enjoy reading this book over and over to help their child enjoy the process of counting.

This book is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Picture Book Review: The Little Book of Character Strengths

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LittleBkStrengthcvrIf you are looking for a read-aloud at home or in the classroom, here is a great picture book for you on social morals. The Little Book of Character Strength by June Rousso, Ph.D. is a page-by-page summary of basic, good moral principles to instill in students and your child. Subjects include: love of learning, courage, perseverance, honesty, humanity, kindness, social intelligence, justice, fairness, leadership, temperance, humility and prudence just to name a few.

Each moral trait is defined and expressed in rhyming lines and beautiful anime-like watercolor illustrations. Each trait can be read daily to inspire a child or taken in groups to help with building vocabulary and character in school. They could also be used as writing prompts to get children to think deeper. I found it to be an interesting book that could be read a page at a time or in sections. It would make a great instructional tool for the classroom or at home.

The Little Book of Strengths is available at: Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. 

***For more information on June Russo Ph.D., visit her website HERE!

Note: I was given a review copy for a fair and honest review. 😉

 

Picture Book Review: Billy, go to bed!

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Billy_Go_Bed_CoverI’m always on the look out for a good nighttime picture book. I think I found one that is realistic and captures the imagination. Billy, go to bed! by Pamela Malcolm is a fun repeating bedtime adventure.

Billy is having trouble falling asleep. He follows his parents’ instructions to go to bed, but each time, something disturbs him. First, there’s a ghost. Then, he can’t sleep because of a skeleton in the closet. Lastly, a vampire stalks him under the bed. Each time, his parents patiently explain away his fears. Finally, aliens land in his room and take him on an adventure. In the end, he finds out he was dreaming about his new alien friends realizing he could visit them the next evening in his dreams.

If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, here’s a fun picture book that will make them laugh and try to make friends in their sleep like Billy. This will make a great read-aloud every night and maybe convince your toddler they’ll make friends while they sleep. Plus, there are a slew of other Billy books that your child will enjoy. This will make a great addition to your nighttime read-alouds.

***Billy, got to bed! is available on Amazon.com.

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Raspberry Sassafras Series

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Allison Holland is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series.

I have found a cute picture book series that stresses the unique factors in each of us. It’s called the Raspberry Sassafras series. With books titled Raspberry Sassafras, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am a Cow and Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow, it’s a series that brings back memories of other animal books like Curious George.

The author of the series, Allison Holland, has created a world where animals have secret abilities that humans never see. The main character, Jane, finds Raspberry Sassafras at a nearby farm on a family trip. Her family adopts the little cow, and that is where the fun begins.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasRaspberry Sassafras, the first picture book in the series, starts off with Jane and her family adopting Raspberry Sassafras from a local farm. They bring the little cow back to the city, and introduce her to her new apartment home and the big city. Jane teaches Raspberry Sassafras about how to adapt to her new surroundings and discovers a secret; Raspberry Sassafras can fly and even talk. Apparently, it’s what most cows do when humans aren’t around. The secret is kept by the family setting up the possible reveal in future books.

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The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The second picture book, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow, deals with Raspberry Sassafras learning to explore her neighborhood and to be accepted by the dogs at the dog park. After a visit to the park, Raspberry Sassafras finds hostility towards her, and soon a sign goes up banning all cows from the dog park. Jane convinces Raspberry Sassafras to face the dogs and their owners, and speak her truth about how she may be different, but still unique, and be allowed to play at the park. Her bravery to face her feelings and the people that were prejudice against her as a cow helps bring change to the park. Cows are officially allowed.

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The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The third picture book in the series is called Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow. Raspberry Sassafras uses her ability to fly to save people from a burning building exposing her secret. Jane and Raspberry return home to find the media is trying to find her. The press is everywhere, and Raspberry Sassafras becomes famous. But fame doesn’t stop here, in fact, she embraces that she can teach others about herself and help people understand more about her differences. She finds herself on TV shows doing interviews and on magazine covers. This all helps her to realize she can finally be herself and not have to hide her real abilities anymore. In the end, Raspberry Sassafras can finally be the real cow she wants to be.

The Raspberry Sassafras series reminds me a lot of the old children’s stories involving Curious George. Raspberry Sassafras is a loveable character that children can relate to. All of the stories make great read-alouds for the classroom since they deal with different themes that can be discussed with a class. The stories all deal with several important themes such being unique, accepting your self, standing up for your feelings, and not hiding and being your true self. I can see this series being a valuable addition to any family’s bedtime collection, and I’m looking forward to seeing what new books will be added to the series.

For more information on Allison Holland, visit her website at: raspberrysassafras.com.

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow


Amazon.com: 
https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

 

Picture Book Review: The House That Daisy Built Coloring Book

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housedaisybuiltI have come across a great birthday or Valentine’s Day present for your child. This Is The Dollhouse That Daisy Built Coloring Book by Emma A Karoline is a take on the old rhyme of The House that Jack Built. It’s loaded with Girl Power. From bunnies, a princess, a doll, butterflies and fairies, it will be a wonderful read-aloud that can be colored for extra fun. Each page takes on the rhyme repeating the sentence from a girl and her dollhouse, to bunnies, to before you know it; you’re trying to remember all the cool and cute fun stuff like in the old nursery rhyme.

I think this is the cutest, present ever. Each child can design their own version of the book with coloring crayons, pens or whatever medium they choose. The pictures are deliciously adorable. Each new addition to the old nursery rhyme pattern made me smile. You’ll definitely want to keep this around for repeated readings at nighttime after the art project aspect is complete. I think this book makes an awesome gift for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and even for the spring.

Recommended ages: 3-8 years old

**Available at Amazon.com.

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. 

 

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.