October 29, 2010

Children's Book Reviews

As long as I can remember, I've loved to read. Well-written books have always had the power to transport me from wherever I am into the world of make-believe. As a young girl, I spent hours imagining myself the hero of my favorite stories - like Anne of Green Gables or Frodo in Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. In school, I was sent to the Principal's office more than once for reading in class instead of listening to my teacher. What can I say? The topics I chose were more interesting than hers!

It's just my luck that my girls love reading as much as I! We read at least a book or two every night and usually a bit before naps. It's a great "winding down" activity. We go to the library every two weeks or so and max out our checkout limit. We've found some great ones lately and I want to pass them on to those of you who love reading with your kids as much as we do!

Here are five for Friday. You'll notice I've listed the Illustrators along with the Authors. In children's books, the power pictures have to grab the attention of little people is just as important as the words until their vocabularies increase enough to realize the awesomeness of the stories themselves. So, I try to pick a variety of art styles when choosing books for my kids and the text has to be good enough to retain their attention. Also - regarding age level... My toddler is just as fascinated by the pics in these books as my four year old is with the words.

If you are interested in buying them,  you can click the book titles to visit Amazon.com. I am an Amazon affiliate and buying through my link doesn't cost you any extra but helps to support my site.  Amazon has great prices and used options so it's kinda like thrift store shopping (one of my favorite kinds of treasure hunts). Have fun!

 Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me - Author C.M. Rubin, Illustrator Christopher Fowler
The story opens on darling little Eleanor, whose family's penchant for nicknaming gets so ridiculous they finally settle on calling her the letter "E". Part of the reason they can't decide what to call her is that they all have different ideas of who she should be someday. The rhyming language and funny, colorful illustrations bring Eleanor to life as she realizes if she ever wants to have a normal name, she needs to take matters into her own hands.

 Just One More - Author Wendy Silvano, Illustrator Ricardo Gamboa
 A funny little romp through the Andes Mountains in a bus driven by a driver who just can't say no! The bus is soon filled with all sorts of crazy characters and animals. Will they make it down the mountain? You'll have to read it to find out! Funny illustrations with a "rustic" feel.

Most Perfect Spot - Author & Illustrator Diane Goode
The little boy in this book wants to take his mother on a picnic and says he knows the "Perfect Spot". But as they get to the park they are met with all sorts of crazy scenarios that make a picnic seem impossible. Maybe the perfect Spot isn't really a picnic place - but something better!

In English, of Course - Author Josephine Nobisso, Illustrator Dasha Ziborova
Josephine Nobisso, the daughter of Italian immigrants who grew up in the Bronx, is very familiar with the reality of learning to tell a story in two languages. Her book highlights the experience of little Josephine, whose teacher helps her learn the vocabulary words she needs to tell her class a little about herself and a hilarious visit to a farm. Very cute book and not bad for helping native English speakers learn a few new words!

Willow - Author Denise Brennan Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, Illustrator Cyd Moore
Willow is a lively, free spirited little girl who just doesn't fit the mold in her school's art class. Her teacher is  forever annoyed with her for not drawing her pics the right way. While the other kids fear the teacher, Willow shows courage in making her art as she sees it in her heart. Most importantly, she treats her teacher with a kindness that transforms her teacher into a version of her best self. My kind of story. Cyd Moore's beautifully colored illustrations really capture the spirit of the characters and draw you into the story.

Do you read with your kids? What are some of your favorite books?

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