Children’s Books – Reviewed

Lately, I have been reading lots of children’s books. Why? Because most of them are really enjoyable. Many have incredible illustrations. Some have great messages. Others are just plain fun.

A book that I recently read, with some great messages, Mac Learns to Roar: A Mindfulness Book for Kids and Animals written by Stephanie S. Cheung with illustrations by Laura Watson.

And Mac Roared: the title of my review for Amazon. This book is wonderful and teaches children and even adults some very important techniques for mindfulness.

I enjoyed travelling to Kenya while reading Mac Learns to Roar, through the images, the animals and the colorful illustrations. The author indicates in the introduction that this book was inspired by her travels in Kenya. She has included some Swahili names for her characters. I love that, her Pancake Tortoise is named Pendo, Swahili for Love.

Mac goes through an adventure in education, that every young one should be so lucky to enjoy. Dealing with frustration, anger, anxiety, focus and fear. All part and parcel of growing up in the wild. Mac learns to sit in silence. He learns simple techniques to conquer his feelings.

Five stars for incorporating all of these beautiful ideas into your story. Mac Learns to Roar: A Mindfulness Book for Kids and Animals, a book that should be part of every child’s library.

On May 13, 2022, I read Nelican’s Lemons
By Riya Aarini, illustrations by Mariana Hnatenko

There is an old saying about lemons and this engaging and delightful story by Riya Aarini plays on that theme.

Our hero Nelican the pelican finds a crate of lemons, he believes he has stumbled upon a treasure. After one sour taste, he embarks on a quest to unload the lemons.

A rhyming picture book that is sure to enchant children of all ages.

The story takes place on an island beach with beautiful and humorous illustrations by Mariana Hnatenko.

There is a lemon recipe at the end of the book for parents and caregivers to prepare with their children.

Something to add when posting your review to Amazon: I am leaving this honest review voluntarily after being sent a free book.

My review of: Celestina The Astronaut Ballerina written by Donald Jacobsen, illustrations by Graham Evans.

Make sure you check out Mr. Jacobsen’s website for some free reading material.

I like this book because it’s all about following your dreams. It also has nice illustrations that move the story along and allow you to connect with the main characters. A good story about space, astronauts, ballerinas and teachers.

A story that shows the importance of standing up for what you believe in. There are plenty of positive messages to share in this short story and all children should find benefit from following the advice that is shared.

Another book I enjoyed The Tent Mouse and The RV Mouse written by Loretta Sponsler, illustrations by Kathrine Gutkovskiy.

This book is one that happens to be free on Kindle unlimited.

The story is familiar as it is a modern take on an old tale, Aesop’s Fable – The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse.

This modern rendition of the story is wonderfully illustrated. Thomas the tent mouse and his cousin Harvey the RV mouse are lovable characters. This is a story about friendship, love and adventure. A fun read for children of all ages.

And one more book, The Other Side written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrations by E.B. Lewis.

Summary

“A story of friendship across a racial divide. Clover, the young African-American narrator, lives beside a fence that segregates her town. Her mother instructs her never to climb over to the other side because it isn’t safe. But one summer morning, Clover notices a girl on the other side. Both children are curious about one another, and as the summer stretches on, Clover and Annie work up the nerve to introduce themselves. They dodge the injunction against crossing the fence by sitting on top of it together, and Clover pretends not to care when her friends react strangely at the sight of her sitting side by side with a white girl. Eventually, it’s the fence that’s out of place, not the friendship.” (Catherine T. Quattlebaum, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA)

Woodson is one of my favourite authors. She writes powerful stories that make you think about deep issues. From this story children can gain an understanding of racism, segregation, friendship and bridge-building.  The illustrations are really beautiful watercolour paintings that set the tone perfectly.

Children’s Books Reviewed  –  May 2021

Little Mouse Adventures, Yoga at the Museum

Written by Teresa Anne Power 

Illustrated by Emma Allen

Teresa Anne Power has written a lovely book with easy to read text. My family and I loved the story. The ideas presented in this story are all about mindfulness, yoga, art and friendship. They all blend together seamlessly with a visit to the local museum. The book presents a group of wonderful characters, interesting friendships and educational information on yoga poses and classical artists. The illustrations by Emma Allen are really cute and help to move the story along with great fluidity. This is a fantastic addition to any child’s library. 

Children’s Books Reviewed  –  August 2021

fly, little Bird

vola, uccillino

Written by Ingo Blum

Illustrations by Liubov Gorbova

A bilingual book for children written in English and in Italian. This is such a fantastic idea. And it’s a fun story about a scaredy – bird who has to come to terms with what he is meant to do.

The language is just right for beginners in both languages.  As someone who is learning Italian, I found it to be a great read. Whether or not you are continuing or just starting your Italian language classes, this book is helpful.

The illustrations are delightful. They help to tell the story and the words are just a bonus because you could simply follow the story through these excellent illustrations. 

There are some challenges for both bird and reader. New words are presented in both languages and these can be an interesting challenge for the younger reader.

The book, fly, little Bird is a wonderful addition to any child’s library. But especially for those children studying either Italian or the English language.

The Mailbox in the Forest by Kyoko Hara and Kazue Takahashi

The Mailbox in the Forest written by Kyoko Hara and illustrated by Kazue Takahashi is a charming story about a little girl, a first grader and friendship and tradition.

The illustrations are simple and are in a minimalist style, yet they tell the story in a wonderful manner.

The story was originally published in Japanese and has been translated to English in a fairly seamless manner. There are a couple of areas where I found the translation to be cumbersome, the flow of the story was interrupted for me, but only slightly. 

This is a beautiful story that touches on the traditional. The little girl goes to visit her grandparents who live near a forest. While there she makes a “teru teru bozu doll”  a traditional Japanese rain charm. She bakes doughnuts and she writes letters to her friend who lives in the forest.

There is a nice traditional treat included at the end of the story. A template, a blank page with hand-drawn lines. You can print it out or if you have the hard copy book you can cut it out so you too can practise writing your own letter.