July 6, 2011

The Carnival of the Animals (by Jack Prelutsky)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 11:52 PM 0 comments
Title:  The Carnival of the Animals
Author:  Jack Prelutsky
Summary:  Lose yourself in the fun animal romp of The Carnival of the Animals, a classic orchestral piece composed by Camille Saint-Saens, and now accompanied with new lyrics by Jack Prelutsky and illustrations by Mary GrandPre.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Buy it now!

Blurb:  A beautiful and fun book that covers various segments of Camille Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals, with catchy rhymes by Prelutsky, and energetic illustrations by GrandPre.  Enjoy this by reading the book, listening to the CD, or doing both.  This can be as interactive or lazy of a read as you want it to be.  I bought this for my niece and nephew last holiday season for the concentrated all-day family events when I knew we would all be too busy and too tired to read books all day.  It was perfect.  
Age Range:  General recommended age range is 4-8, but this can definitely work for any younger age.
Story Type:  Rhymes
Scary Factor:  None, although some of the pictures include loud animals showing their teeth, like a lion roaring, and a donkey braying.  I guess it depends on how sensitive your little ones are, but my niece and nephew never had a problem with any of this when they first received this at the age of 3.
Reading Out Loud:  The beauty of this book is that it comes with a fully orchestrated CD of Camille Saint-Saens' music with Jack Prelutsky reciting his new verses.  It's awesome because you can pop in the CD and read along with it or just enjoy them separately.  Each section starts with Prelutsky's reading, followed by the relevant section of Camille Saint-Saens' music.
Rereadability:  Great book and CD to reread/relisten to.  There are 15 sections, including an intro and finale, so you can do it all at once or in chunks.  I love that you can skip around and play the different sections depending on what your little ones demand.  
Illustrations:  Fun and beautiful illustrations by Mary GrandPre, famous for her work on the American version of the Harry Potter series.  Her illustrations really stand out here with great movement and vivid colors.
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A
Published: 2010
Length:  30 pages
(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

July 1, 2011

Corduroy (by Don Freeman)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 11:25 PM 0 comments
Title:  Corduroy
Author:  Don Freeman
Summary:  Classic children’s book about Corduroy, a stuffed bear that yearns for a home and a friend, as he sets out in a department store at night to find his missing overalls button.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Buy it used or on sale.

Blurb:  Corduroy holds a special place in my heart as we follow an adorable bear as he searches for his missing button in a department store at night.  Who doesn’t love a nighttime excursion in a department store?  And the sweet ending will relate to any one who loves (or has loved) a stuffed animal.
Age Range:  Recommendation is anywhere from baby to preschool.  But I can speak from personal experience and say that this works for beyond preschool into kindergarten and 1st grade.
Story Type:  Third person narrative.
Scary Factor:  None.
Reading Out Loud:  A great story to read aloud to your little ones, especially before they go to sleep as they are holding onto their beloved stuffed animals.   
Rereadability:  A quick read, it’s one that can be enjoyed many times.  But it’s a pretty simple and straightforward story, without many nuances to appreciate on multiple reads.  
Illustrations:  Simple and old-fashioned illustrations by Don Freeman, with a distinct old school feel, especially in the pictures of the shoppers at the department store (love the old fashioned outfits and scarves around the heads).  
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A
Published: 1968
Length:  32 pages
(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

Once I Ate a Pie (by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 10:43 PM 0 comments
Title:  Once I Ate a Pie
Author:  Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest
Summary: Snap your fingers and appreciate the lyricism in fourteen poems that reveal the inner thoughts of a wide array of loveable dogs.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Borrow it from the library.

Blurb:  Ever wondered what your dog was thinking?  Once I Ate a Pie explores the inner thoughts of various dogs in the form of free verse poems, accompanied with adorable illustrations that capture the essence of each dog.  The little ones will love the cute pictures and creative usage of font, but will probably not appreciate the poetry until they are older.
Age Range: General recommendation is 4-8.  I think this is fine for kids 2 and older who love dogs because they will appreciate the pictures, but the poetry structure will be best appreciated by the older kids.
Story Type:  Free verse poetry.
Scary Factor:  None, unless your little ones are scared of dogs.
Reading Out Loud:  I always feel pretty stupid reading poetry out loud unless it's silly rhymes like Dr. Seuss but go wild with your best spoken word skills.  The creative usage of words, fonts, shapes and spaces encourages some interpretive readings like imitating a dog as you, "BARK! BARK! BARK!" or altering your volume as you read, "They say I am tiny," and "I am HUGE."
Rereadability:  If your little ones are dog lovers and/or love the poetry structure, then this can be a fun book to reread as it's pretty quick to get through and the fourteen different poems and dogs help avoid boredom.
Illustrations:  Humorous and cute full page oil illustrations by Katy Schneider with realistic depictions of dogs.
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A.
Published: 2006
Length:  29 pages
(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

June 28, 2011

Petunia (by Roger Duvoisin)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 12:17 AM 0 comments
Title:  Petunia
Author:  Roger Duvoisin
Summary: Follow Petunia, a silly goose who thinks she's wise by carrying a book, as she gives faulty advice to other barnyard animals with disastrous consequences.  But of course pride goes before a fall and and Petunia soon learns that wisdom comes from learning how to read.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Borrow it from the library.

Blurb:  Petunia is a classic book from the 1950s with charming old school illustrations.  The silly goose, thinking she is wise for owning a book, goes through a few too many scenes giving misguided advice to other barnyard animals, but the little ones may like the repetitive formula.

Age Range: General recommendation is 4-8. 
Story Type:  Third person narrative.
Scary Factor:  There is a reference to blood in a completely non-violent manner (Rooster thinking his comb is red because of his blood).  Another scene involves a horse complaining that he's "dying" and "in horrible pain" from a toothache.  Petunia then suggests pulling his teeth out with pliers.  Also, there's a scene that involves exploding fireworks that injure a bunch of animals.
Reading Out Loud:  Pretty good for reading out loud with a lot of dialogue and different characters that you can make voices for.  But I don't feel like the narrative and dialogue flow as well as other books and the encounters can get a bit repetitious.
Rereadability:  My niece and nephew love this book and want me to read it to them often, but I don't think it adds anything on additional reads and it can be a long read to get through.
Illustrations:  Pen and ink illustrations with a style of slightly messy splashes of color.  Has a kind of old school feel to it.
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A.
Published:Originally 1950 (Have the 2000 copy)
Length:  32 pages
(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

June 26, 2011

Ten Tiny Fairies: A Fairy Tale Counting Book (by Dawn Bentley)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 1:42 AM 0 comments
Title:  Ten Tiny Fairies: A Fairy Tale Counting Book
Author:  Dawn Bentley
Summary:  Count along with a dwindling number of tiny and glittery pop out fairies as they visit a variety of princesses in classic fairy tales.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Buy it used or on sale.

Blurb:  Ten Tiny Fairies is a catchy rhyme and useful counting lesson.  The little ones will enjoy visiting classic fairy tales and you'll enjoy having a fast read, but this book is very princess-centric.

Age Range: General recommendation is for ages 3 and up. 
Story Type:  Rhyme and counting
Scary Factor:  On pages 11-12 the fairies visit the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and this page always scares my niece and nephew.  As Belle is happily twirling in the ballroom, the Beast is shown as a dark shadow watching in the doorway.  The little ones don't actually say he's scary but they fixate on him and keep asking who he is, why is he there, why is he dark, is he mean, etc.  So be prepared to assure your little ones that the dark shadow is Belle's friend.
Reading Out Loud:  Lovely counting book with a catchy rhyme.  I like to read it in a singsong voice and each page ends the rhyme with dwindling number of fairies ("...and then there are...[next page] X tiny fairies...") so the little ones can catch on and join in the rhyme/song.
Rereadability: This is a great and fast read that you can read over and over again to your little ones.  Makes a good pre-nap/pre-good night story since it's catchy and short.  And reading it over again reinforces the counting lesson. 
Illustrations:  Colorful illustrations with brightly colored fairies in pop-out glitter dresses (don't worry the glitter is securely glued on and doesn't come off easily).  But the illustrations themselves are not very noteworthy.
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A.
Published: 2004
Length:  22 pages 

(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

June 25, 2011

How Rocket Learned to Read (by Tad Hills)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 11:56 PM 0 comments
Title:  How Rocket Learned to Read
Author:  Tad Hills
Summary:  Learn how to read along with a dog named Rocket as he's taught the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" by an enthusiastic, but seasonal, little yellow bird.

Blurber Blabber Review:  Buy it used or on sale.

Blurb:  How Rocket Learned to Read is a lengthy and cute book where your little ones can join Rocket's introduction to the "wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet" and spelling.

Age Range: General recommendation is 4-8, but I think it works for 3 year olds as well. 
Story Type:  Third person narrative.
Scary Factor:  None, although there is one picture of a growling dog but it's not related to anything scary or violent. 
Reading Out Loud:  Great book to read to your little ones as they are learning how to spell.  There's a good mix of description and dialogue and I like to make different voices for the little bird and Rocket.  But, this book is a bit long and so might not be the ideal book for a fast read. 
Rereadability:  I like rereading this mainly for the spelling parts.  It can be fun and instructive to spell out basic words like "D-I-G" and "W-I-N-D" with accompanying cute pictures.
Illustrations:  Cutesy and colorful illustrations in oil paint and colored pencil.
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  N/A.
Published: 2010
Length:  40 pages  

(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

Tuesday (by David Wiesner)

Posted by Blurber Blabber at 2:06 AM 0 comments
Title:  Tuesday
Author:  David Wiesner
Summary:  Create your own story with some nocturnal frogs on a flying adventure in a suburban neighborhood. 

Blurber Blabber Review:  Buy it now!

Blurb:  Tuesday is another amazing picture book from David Weisner that has vivid, creative, and humorous illustrations that let you and the little ones run wild with your imagination.  The concept is so simple and yet so great.
 Age Range: General recommendation is 4-8, but I think it works for kids older than 2. 
Story Type:  Picture book 
Scary Factor:  None, although the frog faces might be a little scary and the idea of flying frogs entering your home at night might scare the little ones. 
Reading Out Loud:  Great for using your imagination since there's no written story so you can really create a lot of variations of the story by exercising your imagination.   
Rereadability:  Totally rereadable.  My niece and nephew demanded it at least 5 times the day I bought it for them.  And they always remembered the slight nuances in the "story" but also loved to hear slight variations.  Also gives kids a good opportunity to practice their own "storytelling" skills. 
Illustrations:  Great watercolor illustrations by David Wiesner, consistent with his usual style.  There's a lot of humor and details built into each of the pictures that you, or the little ones, can build into the story. 
Medals/Honors/Recognition:  1992 Cladecott Medal.
Published:  1997
Length:  32 pages   

(Read on for the more detailed "blabber" review)

 

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