Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: The Snowbear by Sean Taylor


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Snow comes in the night, and Iggy and Martina make a snowbear. But then a sledge ride takes them deep into the woods. How will they get back home again? The Snowbear is a spellbinding story about the magic of snow and the power of a child's imagination. With a simple text and beautiful illlustrations, it will be read again and again. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and bravery make it a great choice for story time, as a bedtime read or on car trips. Children will love the crisp, wintry setting brought to life by Claire Alexander’s art. 
MY TAKE:
There's so much to love about this book.

First of all, there's the story. We don't get snow in my country, but my son and I enjoyed the story anyway. (He's seen snow in books before so it wasn't a foreign idea to him.) I liked how the story played out. Some may find the plot twist a little predictable, but I liked how it gave you (the adult) that Did-it-really-happen feeling while kids will mostly find it cool and plausible. The ending was A+ too. It feels hopeful and beautiful.

I really liked the illustration style of this book. Maybe it was because of the topic, but it reminded me of the cover (both front and back) of The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes. The media used looks a lot like a mix of colored pencils and watercolor, which are my two favorite coloring materials because I love the look they produce. The effect is something soft and somehow nostalgic, which is so fitting for this book.

MY SON'S REACTION:
By now, I've gotten really good at picking books I know he'll like, and as I expected, he loved the book.

He really liked the bear, and he empathized easily with Martina and Iggy who appeared to be close in age to him. Plus, the length of the text and the placing of the line/paragraph breaks were just right for him.

His favorite scene was easily the one where they were sledding downhill. His next favorite scene was the one with the wolf.

Overall, I think he liked the illustration style as well. He took time looking at the pages, which he doesn't really do when the illustrations aren't to his taste.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
And maybe he was right about that. 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Surprise! by Mike Henson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Badger wants to show Rabbit something. But why do the lights keep going on and off? There are plenty of surprises in store for the animals in this simple, vibrant picture book which is both a mystery and a guessing game. As young readers prepare to turn the pages, they can try to predict what will happen next.
MY TAKE:
I enjoyed reading this book with my son.

The book doesn't have a lot of text so it was quick and easy to read. Plus, a good number of that text was the word "surprise," which my son has now learned to read, thanks to the book.

I thought this book was perfect for my son and other kids his age and younger, because there's not a lot of words and with every turn of the page, something happens, so they don't get bored.

I liked the illustration style and the coloring used in the book. I did find it a little odd though that near the end of the book, the font and style/medium used changed. I really liked the font (a serif font) and colors used. I'm not entirely sure what medium was used but it looked like at least some of it could be colored pencils. The colors near the end of the book were more solid and had no visible lines you would associate with colored pencils. 

MY SON'S REACTION:
My son loved the characters in the book, and he thought they were quite funny.

He was surprised whenever the lights in the book were turned off, and the first time it happened, he asked me why it was turned off.

He was able to empathize easily with the rabbit, and he acted sad during the book's plot twist, which I found a little amusing.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Surpr-oh..." 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Inside Out T. Rex: Explore the World's Most Famous Dinosaur! by Dennis Schatz


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The Tyrannosaurus rex has long been hailed as the king of the dinosaurs, but what do scientists really know about this prehistoric creature?
Inside Out: T. Rex offers clues to understanding the most compelling and mysterious dinosaur of them all. Loaded with awesome illustrations and captivating text, a die-cut model within the book’s pages will take you inside T. rex’s body to reveal, layer by layer, how these giant beasts lived more than 65 million years ago.
Each page will bring you deeper into the world of the Tyrannosaurus rex, and show how its specialized anatomy, from its razor-sharp teeth to its massive size, established it as the top of the prehistoric food chain.
MY TAKE:
My son loves dinosaurs, and even though the book is better suited for older children, I had a feeling he would like it anyway, and I was right. This is a book that has a long shelf life. You can buy the book for the pictures and the model, while your child is still learning to read, and your child can still read it and use it when he/she is much older.

The book is divided by body systems, and the text on the pages are divided in small paragraphs that are easy to read and finish. There are a lot of great information in these pages, such as why there are certain parts like muscles and organs that aren't fossilized. The book does point out that there are still many things we don't know about the T. rex because no specific fossils or examples (e.g. eggs) from the T. rex have been found. The paragraphs all have headings that are either statements or questions, and for a few of those paragraphs with question headings, the questions are unanswered.

The book is very colorful and is packed with drawings and photographs, but the best part is the model in the middle wherein kids and adults can better visualize and learn about the parts of the T. rex.

MY SON'S REACTION:
My son is still just learning to read and he has a relatively short attention span, so when I read it with him, we mostly browsed through it.

We talked about the pictures and the drawings. I thought he might not like the model, but he actually did. He found it fascinating.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Based on comparisons to today's animals, T. rex probably had a double stomach. 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review: Think Squares!: A Lift-the-Flap Color and Shape Book by Karen Robbins


SUMMARY FROM EDELWEISS:
Preschool children will find this book's colorful art irresistible as they lift the flaps and learn analytical thinking skills. Ten flaps are uniquely designed with squares that reveal the hidden image underneath. Think! And then lift the flap to see. Teachers and parents can test children on colors, counting, size, differences, beginning reading, and comprehension. Think Squares! will increase language and math skills, along with developing small motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Toddlers and preschoolers will have hours of fun playing with this interactive book.

MY TAKE:
I reviewed the Think Circles! book in this series yesterday, and pretty much everything I said in that review applies to this book as well.

The concept is excellent because you can use this book to teach or review colors, shapes (square), and numbers.

Guessing what the items are is a fun game for kids. I mean, after the first reading, kids will already know the answer so it's not as fun, but the book can be read multiple times anyway because there's other things for the child to identify.

Again, I feel like the only thing that is missing here would probably be a starting sentence to set the scene and/or a concluding sentence to round everything out.

MY SON'S REACTION:
He liked this just a little bit more than the Think Circles! book. He was very enthusiastic about the cat wearing 3-D glasses, robots, and presents.

He wasn't as enthusiastic about pointing out the colors, but he pointed out more objects in this book than when we read Think Circles! I think it just so happened that there were more objects here that he liked.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
7 Friendly Squares
What can they be? 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Review: Think Circles!: A Lift-the-Flap Color and Shape Book by Karen Robbins


SUMMARY FROM EDELWEISS:
Preschool children will find this book's colorful art irresistible as they lift the flaps and learn analytical thinking skills. Ten flaps are uniquely designed with circles that reveal the hidden image underneath. Think! And then lift the flap to see. Teachers and parents can test children on colors, counting, size, differences, beginning reading, and comprehension. Think Circles! will increase language and math skills, along with developing small motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Toddlers and preschoolers will have hours of fun playing with this interactive book.
MY TAKE:
I liked the concept of this book. It's a lift-the-flap color and shape book but because it's presented in a way that includes numbers, you can use it to teach or review numbers as well.

The colors are nice and bright, and the placement of the circles for each new set of items is always different but it doesn't feel haphazard in any way.

There's a lot of attention to detail here as well. For all the pages, whatever the number of the main item is (e.g. 8 paint colors), the number of almost all the other decorative elements on the page are 8 as well. In this particular example, there are 8 paintbrushes in the picture. I didn't expect that, but I loved it.

MY SON'S REACTION:
He had a lot of fun reading this with me. The pagination of the e-ARC didn't allow him to guess because he saw the items right away. He didn't really mind, though. He happily counted the main items for each number and even the other elements, if I pointed them out.

For a lot of the items, he started naming the items and their colors before I even started asking him. His enthusiasm remained all throughout, and he was a little surprised after the last items. I think he was expecting an ending sentence or scene to summarize or close out the book.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
8 colored circles
What can they be?
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Review: Little Concepts: ABC Color Apricot, Burgundy & Chartreuse, 26 brand new colors are out on the loose! by Ingela Peterson Arrhenius


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
ABC Color combines learning the alphabet with colors for an educational and fun board book for young children. Each page of this beautifully illustrated book features a different letter and little-known color, so children can learn about both topics at one time! Parents will love spending time with their kids as they learn, and kids will learn the fundamentals of letters and colors. Makes a gorgeous keepsake as children grow! 
MY TAKE:
I enjoyed this book a lot. It's not often that I learn something totally new from a children's book, and I learned a few things from this one. I'm familiar with the word "razzmatazz" and the film "Xanadu", but I had no idea that there were colors named "razzmatazz" and "xanadu". The color and word "zomp" was also completely new to me.

I loved the illustration style and the solid colors used in the book. The style and use of color work well with the way the book is written.

My son and I read this book aloud together and it was a very easy task to me. Most of the book is just the letters and the color's names, so I didn't get tired. However, that doesn't mean it was boring. I don't think I could have asked anymore from this book.

MY SON'S REACTION:
He had a lot of fun reading this book. The first page of the story had the more common colors on it and when I pointed to each one, he cheerfully told me what they were. For the other colors in the book, I read the names of the colors, and then asked him what the colors were similar to. He answered every single color I pointed to, without losing any of his enthusiasm.

His attention didn't wander while reading, even though he couldn't read the names of the little-known colors yet, and it actually felt like he was surprised that he reached the end of the book already.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
But there are so many more colors in the rainbow! 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: The Waiting Song by Natasha Barber


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Nigel is a hedgehog. He's four years old, likes trains, cookies, and is a lot like other kids in class. Nigel is a little different too. Nigel is autistic. He doesn’t talk or say many words. Nigel is not very good at taking turns, or being polite and he really does not like to wait. Nigel thought and thought and came up with the Waiting Song… Now he is able to be polite and wait when he sings his Waiting Song! The Waiting Song is for kids like Nigel.
MY TAKE:
My son gets impatient sometimes, and while it's not that hard to reason with him and calm him down when he gets upset, I loved the idea of a Waiting Song he could sing on his own to help him wait patiently.

I liked the concept of the book. A lot of children do have moments of impatience and it's not always easy to teach them how to wait. Also, there aren't a lot of children's books with autistic main characters. I know a couple of autistic children who I think would love Nigel and enjoy the Waiting Song. If you're interested, you can hear the Waiting Song in the book trailer here.

The illustrations were just okay for me. I'm not sure if it was the coloring or the illustration style that didn't completely work for me, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't work for you.

I read this with my son, and while most of the pages only included short sentences, by the end of the book, I was feeling a little bit tired and my mouth felt kind of dry. I think it might have been the page near the middle that had two paragraphs, one of which was a little longer than the others in the book, that contributed the most to that feeling.

MY SON'S REACTION:
My son liked the Waiting Song. He hasn't learned to sight-read "wait" yet, but he did sort of start to get it thanks to the lyrics of the song.

He enjoyed the start of the book. This was the first time he's seen a hedgehog, which aren't common in our country, so I searched for a picture of hedgehogs and showed it to him. It was a nice learning moment.

After the first instance wherein Nigel tried to take another child's toy, my son insisted we re-enact it. He didn't say "Mine!" though, he just pouted a little.

My son got a little restless about halfway through the book. He's just starting to learn to read, so I think some of the lengthier paragraphs may have intimidated him a bit. Some beginner and early readers may get restless too, so you may want to consider reading the book in sections or making your reading session more interactive.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Nigel thought and thought. "I know!" Nigel shouted. "When I have to wait, I can sing a song." 
RATING:

SOUNDS INTERESTING?


Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.
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