Ages 4-6

Book Review: Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino

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dougDoug Unplugged 

Written and Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino 
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on February 12, 2013 
Genre/Topics: Robots, Adventure, Humor
Ages: 4+, 40 pages 
 

Doug is a robot who is plugged in each day by his parents to become the smartest robot. All the information about the city is downloaded into Doug, but then he notices a pigeon outside the window. Doug decides to unplug and ventures into the city. He learns more about the city than the information that was downloaded, such as garbage cans smell, flowers grow out of sidewalks, and fire engine sirens are loud. However, there was one thing that Doug never downloaded. A boy in the park asked Doug if he wanted to play, but he knew nothing about playing. Soon Doug and the boy play hide and seek and other games in the park. Doug made his first friend. He went home to his robot parents who still thought Doug was the smartest robot.

I thought Doug Unplugged was a very cute and humorous book. We’re all fully aware how much time children (and adults) spend on computers and electric devices. Sometimes they don’t even know how to experience the real world. I also enjoyed Doug Unplugged, because the people and robots are bright colors so there’s no race. Go ahead and unplug yourself from all devices and explore the world!

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Book Review: Rain! by Linda Ashman

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rainRain! 

Written by Linda Ashman 
Illustrated by Christian Robinson 
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on March 5, 2013 
Genre/Topics: Positive Attitude, Realistic, Weather
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

Two individuals look out their window and see a rainy day, yet they have completely different perspectives about the day to come. One individual is an extremely happy young child who shouts with joy that it’s a rainy day. He cannot wait to put on his frog rain hat and boots. The other individual is a grumpy old man who grudgingly puts on his rain gear. The  viewpoints continue on the rainy day as the boy jumps in puddles and pretends to be a frog whereas the old man frowns at others. They both enter a coffee shop and the boy happily eats his cookie while the man drinks his coffee with a frown. The boy accidentally bumps into the older man who yells at the boy to be careful. The negative feeling almost settles on the young boy until he notices the old man forgot his hat. He quickly gives the man his hat. The frown slowly disappears as he jokes to try on the frog hat too. They walk away both with smiles on their faces. This was a very cute and simple book that demonstrates your attitude can make all the difference.

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Book Review: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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greenGreen 

Written & Illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Published by Roaring Brook Press on January 1, 2012
Genre/Topics: Nature, Color
Ages: 2+, 36 pages 
Awards: Caldecott Honor Book 2013
 

Can a book that focuses on one color be exciting to read? Green is a beautifully illustrated book that displays the many hues of the color green. Some greens are standards such as forest green, lime green, fern green, and pea green. Other greens are more creative with a tiger hiding in green grass, a chameleon in khaki green, faded green on signs, and fireflies with a glow green. Along the book, there are die-cuts giving a sneak into the next green. You can guess the next picture. My favorite die-cuts are the pages with the green fireflies that then turn to red apples on a green tree when you turn the page. There’s a page showing all the green shades. The book also displays pages with no green, such as a red stoplight and a white snow scene. The illustrations appear very lovely like a canvas with bold brush strokes and vivid colors. The last two pages show a young boy planting a tree then shows a grown tree that is forever green.

This is a wonderful book to explore the many shades of green. It’s perfect for younger ages, because there’s only a few words on the page. The book also can be used with older ages to view the unique canvas-like illustrations to then create art. Green is a great book to explore our naturally green world that hopefully stays green.

 

Book Review: Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley

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book biteOpen Very Carefully: A Book With Bite 

Written by Nick Bromley 
Illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne 
Published February 1, 2013 by Nosy Crow 
Genre/Topics: Humor, Animals 
Ages 4+, 32 pages 

 

The book begins with the story of The Ugly Duckling, but then disaster occurs when a crocodile interrupts the story. The book challenges the reader to turn the pages very carefully, since there’s now a crocodile loose within the story. Throughout the book, the ugly duckling appears on the pages almost interacting with the crocodile. While the crocodile is in the book it eats letters and gobbles sentences. When the crocodile is asleep then a crayon is used to draw a tutu and bow, so it no longer appears scary. Finally, the crocodile eats through the pages until it leaves the book from an actual hole in the book’s back cover.

Open Very Carefully is a humorous book that connects the reader and book, since the writing continually asks if the book will still be read with a crocodile. There are also pages when the reader needs to shake the book to hopefully get the crocodile out. The end was especially fun, because there are holes where the crocodile ate pages and climbs out the back. The first time reading it could be fun to hide the back so it’s a surprise.

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Book Review: Al Pha’s Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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alphabetAl Pha’s Bet 

Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal 
Illustrated by Delphine Durand 
Published May 12, 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Genre/Topics: Alphabet, Humor
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

 

How exactly did the twenty-six letters form the alphabet that we know today? Well, it occurred long ago when a king announced that he wanted someone to arrange the twenty-six letters. A man named Al Pha made a personal bet with himself that he would indeed make the perfect arrangement for the letters. It started with A for his name then gradually everything seemed to naturally fall into place as he organized the letters. When his friend Jay came to visit HI J was formed. Near the middle Al became discouraged, but he told himself NO that he needed to finish. Finally, Al Pha presented his arrangement to the king who then sang the letters. Well of course the king asked Al if ‘this time won’t you sing with me?’ The king loved Al Pha’s letter arrangement and decided it would be known as Al Pha’s Bet.

I absolutely loved Al Pha’s Bet! The writing was fun and humorous with brilliant pictures to match the writing. The alphabet slowly forms on the pages as you read. After reading Al Pha’s Bet you’ll almost agree with how the letter arrangement formed. I’m sure children and even adults will laugh while reading this book.

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Book Review: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

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extra yarnExtra Yarn 
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen 
Published Balzer + Bray on January 17, 2012 
Genre/Topics: Magical Realism, Sharing, Humorous
Ages: 4+, 40 pages 
Awards: 2013 Caldecott Honor and the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

 

Perhaps, I enjoyed Extra Yarn because I love to knit and crochet. Annabelle and her dog discover a small box filled with yarn of every color. Her entire town is either white due to snow or gray from the chimneys. Well, you can just imagine what Annabelle decides do to with all this colorful yarn. She knits a simple sweater for herself and dog, however there’s still extra yarn. Annabelle knits sweaters and hats for everyone in town, but there’s still extra yarn. Soon the town is no longer in shades of white and gray, but cheerful colors created with all the extra yarn. The words are simple with a few sentences on each page.

As a knitter and crocheter I agree, there’s always something you can make with a little extra yarn left over. Perhaps I should share some of my yarn creations.

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Book Review: The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins

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wind blewThe Wind Blew

Written & Illustrated by Pat Hutchins
Published by Macmillan Publishing Company in 1974
Genre/Topics: Humorous, Rhymes 
Ages 3+, 32 pages

We’ve all experienced a really windy day when we need to hold our hat tight and hope nothing gets blown away. Well, everything seems to blow away in the book The Wind Blew. It begins with an umbrella being turned inside out. (Living in a ‘rainy’ city, it always makes me laugh when I see people attempt to hold an umbrella on a rainy and windy day.) Soon the wind blew hard enough that it swept up a balloon, hat, scarf, judge’s wig, and much more. The words are simple and somewhat rhyme. It plucked a hanky from a nose and up and up and up it rose. The book is fun, because you can guess what may get blown away next. Here’s a small clue: the object is something on the previous page but you’re not exactly sure what it is. I read this book in a classroom and the students thought it was funny. I’d also like to highlight that this book was written in 1974, which proves that great books can be discovered anytime. 

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Book Review: It’s Spring!

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springIt’s Spring!

Written by Linda Glaser,
Illustrated by Susan Swan
Published January 1, 2002 by Millbrook Press 
Genre/Topics: Seasons, Nature, Realistic
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

 

It’s Spring! is a colorful and educational book about how the season changes to Spring. The book follows one boy as he experiences different things during Spring.  It begins how winter coats are no longer needed, the ice melts and then there are puddles to jump in. The different senses are in the book as he feels  the soft buds on his cheek, hears birds cheep, and smells daffodils. Spring is now the season to plant and he starts a garden. He notices that the sun shines longer and the days are warmer. The illustrations are very unique, because it’s made with three-dimensional cut paper then layered to give depth and photographed with lights to give shadows. The pictures almost appear as though the flower is popping out of the page. The back of the book provides Spring nature activities. 

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Happy 1st Day of Spring!

 

Book Review: Leaf Man

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Leaf Man Leaf Man

Written & Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Published by Harcourt Children’s Books on September 1, 2005 
Genre/Topics: Season, Environment, Science 
Ages: 3+, 40 pages 
ALA Notable Children’s Book  

 

 

Leaf Man is a colorful book that describes a leaf’s journey. The leaves begin joined together as a ‘man’, but then the wind blows it in all directions. Instead of stating leaves blowing, the book states it as though it was a leaf man travelling. The wind blew the leaf man over vegetable gardens, over meadows, flowing along a river, and flying over mountains with birds. Each page the leaves formed into the descriptions, such as leaves attached to become fish-like when it traveled along the river. Throughout the book it states ‘a Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows’. The pages are die cut that together create a landscape. The author collected actual leaves then made the illustrations to closely resemble the leaves. On the back, there are pictures of each leaf and its name. I really enjoyed Leaf Man.

 

This photo shows the die cuts on the top of each page. Think of each landscape element as a different page.

 

 

 

Book Review: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

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Fletcher and the Falling Leaves 

Written by Julia Rawlinson 
Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke 
Published by Greenwillow Books on August 29, 2006 
Genre/Topics: Seasons
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

 

It is no longer summer in the forest as the green colors are slowly turning brown.Fletcher is worried about his favorite tree that now appears brown and dry.  Fletcher tells his mother that he thinks his tree is sick, but she says that the tree is fine and that’s it’s now autumn. However, the tree doesn’t appear better at all as more leaves fall. He attempts to attach a leaf to the tree, but the wind carries it away. Soon the tree is completely bare and Fletcher notices that other forest animals use the leaves to provide warmth or build a nest. He takes the last leaf home and protects it. When Fletcher returns to his favorite tree he discovers that the once bare tree contains icicles. Fletcher is happy when he sees the beautiful tree.

 

9/11 Book: September 12th Everything Would Be All Right

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Children's Books & More

September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right

by Materson Elementary Students in Kennett, Missouri

Ages 5-7, 32 pages

The horrible acts on September 11, 2001, created questions about what and how to explain the events to young children. September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right is different because first grade students themselves wrote the book. It is a simple book that discusses that ordinary things still occur, such as homework, story time, and 2+2=4. The message is of hope that even after bad things occur that each day is a new beginning. It briefly discuss what occurred, so it’s not very graphic.

 

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Back to School Book: Butterflies in My Stomach

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Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards 

Written & Illustrated by Serge Bloch 
Published  by Sterling on August 5, 2008
Genre/Topics: First Day of School, Humorous, Idioms
Ages: 4+, 32 pages 

The first day of school brings many emotions from excitement to nerves. This is a book to hopefully ease those butterflies in your stomach before you begin school. We’ve all heard unique speech expressions that don’t need an explanation, such as ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, ‘cat caught your tongue’, ‘the early bird gets the worm’, ‘tickled pink’, ‘apple of my eye’, and many more. However, as children these expressions can be very confusing especially on the first day of school when you’re already nervous.

A child begins his first day of school and feels awful from the start when he wakes on ‘the wrong side of the bed’ and almost missed the bus which would cause him to be ‘in a real pickle’. The teacher tried to ease his worries stating that he was ‘all ears’ when he was ready to talk then read a funny book which had students ‘laughing their head off’. He visits the school librarian and learns that you can ‘get lost in a book’. He hopes to play outside at recess, yet everybody must come inside because ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, but the boy is sad because he doesn’t see his dog from the sky. The story concludes with the boy arriving at home and greeting his dog, which made him feel as ‘happy as a puppy with two tails’.

I really enjoyed this book. There are a total of thirty-five idioms throughout the book. You can play a game to find all the idioms and then see who can explain them. It’s amazing how idioms make each language unique. The illustrations are great, because most of the book is simple black and white but the highlighted idiom is in color. I highly suggest this book for the first day of school or whenever you want a good laugh.

 

Book Review: Chopsticks

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Chopsticks

Chopsticks
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Published by Hyperion Books on January 24th 2012
Genre/Topics: Humorous, Friendship, Be Yourself 
Ages: 4-8, 40 pages 
 
Chopsticks were best friends who were always together and did everything together. Nobody could remember a time when they weren’t together. However, something tragic occurred when they attempted new skills together. Chopstick was whisked away for help. and luckily it was a clean break, so Chopstick would soon be better. Chopstick stayed next to Chopstick each day until somebody mentioned that it was time to move on and try new things without Chopstick. Soon Chopstick learned new talents without his friend. Finally, Chopstick was better and together they learned that being apart actually made them stronger yet they still remained great friends. 
 
I really enjoyed Chopsticks and it made me laugh as I read it. It’s a wonderful book to teach young children that it’s okay to work together, but also be apart. There are no pronouns (he/she) in the book, so the name Chopstick is used for both.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Book Review: The Frog Prince Continued

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The Frog Prince Continued

Written by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Steve Johnson
Published May 1, 1991 by Puffin 
Genre/Topics: Humor, Alternative Fairy Tale 
Ages: 6+, 32 pages 
 

I  love Jon Scieszka’s book The True Story of the Three Little Pigsso I had high expectations for The Frog Prince Continued. I was not disappointed as I laughed throughout the book. There is a unique twist on “happily ever after”, ever since the Frog Prince kissed the Princess. She’s also not happy, since his tongue always sticks out, she finds lily pads in his pockets, and he leaps everywhere. So the Frog Prince begins a journey looking for a witch to turn him back into a frog. He meets interesting characters along his journey such as a witch who wants him to finish eating an apple, but he knows his fairy tales and doesn’t eat it. Then he meets a witch with a gingerbread house who is expecting Hansel and Gretel soon. Finally, the Frog Prince returns home to discover that the Princess was worried about him. She kissed his lips and both turned into frogs and together they lived happily ever after.