Posted in Book Review

Throwing Cats and Other Bad Ideas

I will start off by acknowledging that I am conflicted in my feelings about today’s book. Today we read How do Dinosaurs Love their Cats? which was written by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I will provide my positive feedback before moving onto some of my more negative critiques.

This fourteen page board book is full of colorful well-illustrated cartoon dinosaurs. The dinosaurs in this book display a wide variety of personality and spunk. I give the book high praise in terms of the illustrations.

There were 139 words in this book which makes the length of the book better suited to a toddler rather than my 10 month old. The cute pictures did, however, manage to keep my son’s attention. I thought the length of the book would be perfect for a toddler.

Unfortunately, I think the content of the first half of this book makes it better suited to children who are 6 to 8 years old. Why do I say that? Well, the entire first half of the story depicts dinosaurs acting “like a brat.” For example, on page four the book asks “If the kitty complains, does she give it a throw?” On that particular page, the dinosaur is shown throwing the cat.

Based on the content of the first half of this book, I think a toddler might get the wrong kind of ideas. Now the second half of the book clarifies that dinosaurs actually love and care for their cats. I would just be concerned that a toddler would miss the point that we do NOT want to act like the mean dinosaurs! In fact, I could see a toddler deciding that it looks way more fun to throw the pet kitty than it does to “give it fresh water.”

This book would be perfect for a child who is in the 6 to 8 year old age range because they would understand the story. An older child would be able to recognize that the book is not suggesting you act like a “brat.”

The issue I have with recommending this book to a school age child is based on the book’s format. The book that I checked out is a board book. Now my 6 and 8 year old are not offended by the idea of reading board books to their baby brother. They do, however, feel strongly that board books are for babies not big kids.

One other odd aspect of this book involved the fact that every dinosaur was a girl dinosaur. I could see a little boy being disappointed by this book because it only has girl dinosaurs.

Lastly, I know some parents have certain words that they do not want their young children to use. This book does include the word “brat,” which I know some parents have on their list of words they do not use in their house.

I would suggest reading this book prior to reading it with your child. As a parent, you will be best able to determine if this book would inspire your toddler or child in all the wrong ways.

Posted in Book Review

Never Touch a Dinosaur!

I am always searching for board books that have lots of textures for my son to explore. Today, I discovered a board book with incredible, textured pages!

Never Touch a Dinosaur by Rosie Greening is the perfect book for a baby or toddler to explore. Each of the dinosaurs in this book have silicone designs. These silicone designs are highly textured and provided my son with endless entertainment today. It was an instant new favorite!

In addition to being a tactile delight, this book has vibrant multicolored words. The pages contain words that are in different colors, fonts, and sizes.

I will note that some of the words are written in cursive in this book. My six year old kept having to chase me around with the book to ask for help with reading the cursive words. I decided this was a great opportunity for her to practice reading cursive, but I could see it being a feature that frustrated a parent.

Stuart Lynch did an excellent job bringing to life the colorful dinosaurs with his illustrations. The dinosaurs are not scary, rather they are downright adorable. The dinosaurs in this book are smiling or making silly faces. They are brightly colored and have different patterns as well.

In addition to its fantastic visual and tactile design, this book is fun for kids to read. The book does not contain a storyline. Instead, each page features a unique set of instructions and warnings about the dangers of petting various types of dinosaurs.

The book also rhymes which makes it fun for kids as well. I will note, however, that some of the rhymes fall a little short of my expectations. For example, the book tries to count “good-bye” and “by” as a rhyming pair.

Never Touch a Dinosaur is approximately 116 words long, so it might be more challenging for a young infant or toddler to sit through. My son seemed amused enough with touching the pages to listen to the whole book. I could see a child potentially getting antsy though.

I would caution that this book does seem to be cheaply constructed. I do not anticipate that the binding on this book would last for a particularly long time. Also, while the silicone textures on the dinosaurs are great to touch, I doubt they are particularly durable. I recommend supervising a young child while they have this book to ensure they do not tear off a piece of silicone. It would concern me as a possible choking hazard.

Despite some of the drawbacks of this book, I still recommend reading this book with your child if they are between 0 to 5 years old. It is a silly book with a sensational design that draws kids in.

After finishing this book, we have now read 492 books of our 1,000 book goal.

Goodnight everyone!

Posted in Book Review

Charlotte Brontë for Babies!

Thanks to Jennifer Adams, the author of Jane Eyre A Counting Primer, you can introduce your baby or toddler to a Charlotte Brontë inspired counting book! If you are a literature nerd like me, this discovery will clearly excite your soul.

This twenty page board book covers numbers one to ten. This book contains approximately seventy words. Despite being a short counting book, it incorporates three direct quotes from the book Jane Eyre. The book also includes words, such as Thornfield Hall and Mr. Rochester.

Overall the book features a much darker color palette than I normally look for in a board book; however, neon colors would have ruined the beauty of this book. The colors while dark are still intense. My son was intrigued by this book despite the dark colors. I thought the illustrations by Alison Oliver were beautifully executed.

Now, I do feel it is necessary to highlight that this book does NOT contain a simplified baby version of the Jane Eyre novel. It merely includes some random words and quotes from the Jane Eyre book. The book has a Jane Eyre vibe, but will give your child ZERO insight into the actual story contained in Jane Eyre.

It is challenging for me to identify the appropriate age range for this particular book. At first glance, it is a simplistic counting book that contains short lines such as “1 governess. ” This makes it an ideal book for a child who is 0 to 3 years old. Upon further reflection though, my 8 year old daughter had no idea what a governess was. Both my 6 and 8 year old also needed help understanding two of the three quotes that were included from the actual Jane Eyre novel. The inclusion of more advanced words, like peruse, means that this book can still challenge a child who is a newer reader.

Ultimately, I used this book as a stepping stone to get my two older children interested in learning about Charlotte Brontë and her novel, Jane Eyre. We are now heading back to the library to find an illustrated and abridged children’s version of Jane Eyre.

Overall, if you were a fan of Jane Eyre, I would recommend reading this book with your child if they are between ages 0 to 5. Just please remember I warned you this book will NOT teach your child the Jane Eyre story.

Posted in Book Review

In the Woods

I will readily admit that I would have never picked In the Woods up from the library shelf if my son had not personally handed it to me. At first glance, this book’s cover did not contain the elements I look for when selecting our board books. The cover does not contain the bold, high contrast, and colorful imagery I gravitate towards; rather, it features a more subtle color palette. Even the title uses a muted yellow and not the big bold fonts I usually select.

My son, however, had unmistakably crawled over to the book cubes, looked over several books, and emerged victorious with THIS book. Clearly, this meant the book was coming home with us.

Once we arrived home, we cuddled up to read this twenty-two page board book. The first four pages did not contain any story line, rather each page simply had pictures and two words. For example, page one featured a picture of trees on a hill. The only words on page one are “sky” and “hills.” After these initial four pages, the story begins to unfold.

In the Woods by Elizabeth Spurr uses basic two word sentences, such as “Fish wiggles.” to tell the story of a boy who goes fishing. After catching a fish, the boy and his father roast the fish over a campfire. Afterwards they both enjoy other camping activities before falling asleep in their tent.

The story was perfect for my ten month old because it was incredibly short. The whole book is only forty-five words long. Each page contains only two to four words, which meant we were able to move through each page easily without my son losing interest.

After reading this book, I acknowledge that it contains a charming, sweet story about a son and his father bonding together beside a river. This book would be an excellent choice for a father and his young son to read together. The illustrations by Manelle Oliphant while subdued are picturesque and match the tone of the story beautifully.

I would recommend this book for children who are 0-3 years. This book would also be a perfect option for a child who is just starting to learn how to read.

Posted in Book Review

An Introduction to Peter Rabbit

I grew up listening to the beloved stories of Beatrix Potter and I wanted to introduce my baby to her books. The full length Beatrix Potter books are just too long for my ten month old to sit through. I was ecstatic to stumble upon Hello Peter!

Hello Peter! is a ten page board book that my son can easily enjoy even on his most hyper days. This book only contains thirty-three words which makes it a quick read.

This book is beautifully illustrated just like the classic Peter Rabbit books I remember reading as a child. My son enjoys looking at the pictures in this book. Based on the short length of this book and its incredibly simplistic writing style, I would recommend this book for children under two years old. An older child would likely be bored with this book.

After our reading today, we have officially read 470 books!

Posted in Book Review

Sloths, Monkeys, Parrots, and More!

Our children’s librarian recommended that I check out Riddle Diddle Rainforest by Diane Z. Shore and Deanna Calvert. This interactive flap book provides readers with rhyming riddles that they are supposed to solve. Using the clues, children are able to guess who is hiding under the flaps.

This book has five different animals hiding in it. Monkeys, sloths, tree frogs, parrots, and boa constrictors are all hiding out in this colorful riddle book. If your child is scared of snakes, you may want to skip this book or at least skip the last two pages.

Riddle Diddle Rainforest contains 150 words which makes it a longer board book than my ten month old likes to sit through. The riddles are about twenty words long which makes this book better suited to toddlers and younger children. Obviously my ten month old son does not understand the book, but I would absolutely re-read this book to him when he is between ages 2 and 5.

This book is an excellent choice for kids who enjoy solving riddles. My six and eight year old both used this book to practice their reading this morning. This book contained an ideal mix of easy to read words and more challenging words, such as “dweller” and “victor.”

I would recommend this book for children who are ages 2 to 5 years old.

Posted in Book Review

Peace, Love, and Woodstock!

I stumbled upon a wonderfully psychedelic board book at my local library. Woodstock, Baby! A Far-Out Counting Book contains twenty pages that are jam-packed full of bright colorful illustrations. Spencer Wilson, the illustrator, created a quirky child-friendly book with a 60s feel. This counting book has hippies, bell-bottoms, peace signs, and flower crowns galore!

This counting book only contains seventy words which makes it easy to read to a young baby. Woodstock, Baby! would also be an appropriate book to read to a toddler or young child who is learning to count to ten. With my six and eight year old, this book served as a way to pique their interest in the 60s. We are lucky enough to have a local museum right down the street that has a 60s exhibit that is perfect for my kiddos to explore.

Overall, if you want to share some 60s nostalgia with your little one this is the perfect board book! I think this book is best suited for children who are between 0 to 3 years old.