I lost custody of Animal Planet Strange, Unusual, Gross & Cool Animals almost immediately. I opened the package it came in and my 9-year-old swooped in and said, “COOL! Can I read that, please?” That was an easy answer–I handed it over. I never dreamed I’d have to track it down in his room after lights out to get it back so I could review it. My entire family has thumbed through this book and exclaimed over some interesting fact or another. We all have our favorite facts. My personal favorite is that in 2015 a grad student in Australia discovered two new types of a Peacock spider. Though the spiders have their scientific names, their common nicknames are Skeletorus and Sparklemuffin. Yep. A spider named Sparklemuffin. That brings me joy. I finally stashed this book in my backpack and took it to a restaurant to read in peace and still ended up helping my server track it down online so she could buy it for a friend.
Who is Santa? opens with Santa and Mrs. Claus living in a place called the North Forest. The time frame is not specified other than to indicate that this was a long time ago. Santa and Mrs. Claus are fairly well to do and so she spends her days cooking, baking, and making candy. He spends his time making toys. Piles and piles of fabulous toys that he stockpiles in the outbuildings of their family farm. The toys serve no purpose other than the joy Santa gets when he makes them. They are precious to him and no one is allowed to touch them. Eventually, Mrs. Claus is able to make Santa see how wonderful it feels to give the toys as gifts and his goal becomes to give away all of his beloved toys to the children in the North Forest.
With the holiday season finally here, it’s that time of the year where everyone is discovering what gifts to get the little ones. Well, author Kallie George put together the perfect Christmas package, The Lost Gift. Prepare for an adventure about service, giving and the essence of joy!
The Lost Gift is bound to reach immense success upon its release. It’s an adorable, fun and interactive book between the reader and the children. In my opinion, anyone who has the opportunity to read this book is going to be floored with the story line, the characters and the message.
“Unfold your heart. Sharpen your ears. And never say no to the world when it asks you to dance.”
Furthermore is Tahereh Mafi’s break into the world of middle grade fiction. Alice Queensmeadow is a twelve-year-old who must travel to an unknown land in order to save her father—the one person, she believes, that loves her completely colorless self (a bit of a big deal in her home of Ferenwood). Alice’s father has been missing for over three years having left town with only a ruler. Alice must complete the father-finding quest with Oliver, who just happens to be her worst enemy (or so she thinks), and the pair must overcome many obstacles on their journey—avoid being eaten by the citizens of Furthermore, broken rulers, stolen time, and miscommunication with each other.
Happy Birthday to You! by Michelle Adams highlights the story of a little boy who wakes up to his birthday. The book opens with the boy waking up (he seems to be a happy grade-schooler), and his family is getting ready for the festivities. The story progresses on to show the party moving forward, happy kids coming over to hit the piñata, share cake and presents, and finally to the boy saying goodbye to his friends. The top right center of the board book has a button to push that plays the “Happy Birthday” song, and the last thick page of the book offers a spot for putting in your little one’s own photo, to personalize this book as his / her very own.
Goodnight Bob tells the story of a little guy named Bob, who is supposed to be going to sleep. Bob is apparently afraid of creepy shadows that inhabit his bedroom, walls, windows and closets. He therefore sleeps with a trusty flashlight next to him in the bed. When he hears a strange noise, or sees eyes in the dark, the reader has to turn the page to find out what innocuous object is really there (a nice mouse, or a friendly cat or even a smiling Bigfoot, who all say “Goodnight Bob” to Bob).
What better time to gather with your little ones to learn more about America than during a presidential election year? Time for Kids has introduced a wonderful new book to help in this endeavor titled Awesome America: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the History, People, and Culture by Katy Steinmetz.
Awesome America includes a timeline of the nation from Native Americans through the present day. Not only does it cover major historical happenings like wars, civil rights, and national achievements, but it also provides snapshots into cultural icons, sports, and our diverse landscape.
Animal Planet has been a loved source for learning about the habits of all different kinds of animals for decades now. Their cable network has put forth wonderful programs for animal lovers of all ages. They have also put out some amazing books, the newest of which is their Animal Bites series by Laaren Brown. Within this series, young readers can explore the habits & habitats of Polar, Ocean, Wild and Farm animals.
As always, the Animal Planet photography in these books is amazing! The pictures are gorgeous and include full page and two page spreads, as well as smaller pictures and collages.
I have so much enjoyed Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In… series, which introduces young children to cultures from around the globe. These sweet, simple books are great interest sparkers for young children just beginning to learn about the world outside of their own community. Roman introduces them to modern countries with rich roots like Kenya, Peru, Hungary, and many others, with a simple format that includes vocabulary from the native language, foods, traditional costumes, festivals, and favored vacation spots. Her newest series in this line, however, is historical!
Being a Captain is Hard Work begins with Captain No Beard on the deck of his ship, The Flying Dragon. This particular Captain is a bright eyed cartoon figure who has many friends on his crew–Mongo, Hallie, Polly, Cayla, and Zachary. At the start, Mongo looks through his telescope and notices a storm coming at the ship. He has a disagreement with the Captain who believes that the clouds are not stratocumulus (typical rain clouds) but rather white fluffy clouds that are cumulus in nature. As the storm clouds begin to rock the ship, the Captain relents and agrees that the storm clouds will prevent him from going to his destination, Dew Rite Volcano. We are not told why he wants to go there, but the story is pretty interesting so far.