Children’s Book Review: Instructions

Instructions
by Neil Gaiman
illustrated by Charles Vess
In Neil Gaimen’s Instructions, an unseen guide leads an adventurer through unknown lands.  With his instructions, the hero knows to trust the wolves, travel through the forest, and be wary of the ferryman.   The journey, as well as the book’s artwork, is enchanting, but the real magic can be found in the relationship between the hero and guide.  Though the identity of the latter is never revealed, the reader can feel his or her love for the hero, and senses that through his scary adventures, the hero will never be harmed.   The guide never encourages violence of any kind, and often reminds his charge to be polite and generous, as every hero should be.  By following the instructions, the hero returns home, only to find it, the guide tells us, a little smaller than he remembered.  Here, for the first time in the story, the guide gives the hero a choice—to make a new home, to have another adventure, or to rest.  Parents and children will be warmed by this heartfelt story of the guided journey to independence.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder ofBooksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts. Too Many Visitors is now available as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration. http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

Children’s Book Review: Mostly Monsterly

Mostly Monsterly

by Tammi Sauer

illustrated by Scott Magoon

Bernadette is mostly monsterly.  She has claws and she growls, but when she goes to monster school, she’s not like the other students at all.  She sings!  She bakes!  She wants to HUG!!!!  Bernadette doesn’t know how she’ll make friends, until she has an idea.   She can be monsterly in her own unique way.  During recess, she makes a bunch of cards full of snot and other yucky things monsters like.  Her classmates love them!  They’re so charmed and excited that in the end, they all give Bernadette a big, group hug.  Mostly Monsterly is a great story about fitting in without losing yourself for kids 5-7 and a nice break for parents who are tired of princess books.

And if you and your child love monsters, get excited to meet WOBEGON, the parking ticket monster in the upcoming Booksicals picture book….Wobegon and Mildred.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder ofBooksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts. Too Many Visitors is now available as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration. http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

3/12 – 3/18 Children’s Book of the Week: When a Dragon Moves In

When a Dragon Moves In 
by Jodi Moore
illustrated by Howard McWilliam
When a little boy and his family go out for a beautiful day at the beach, little do they suspect that a dragon will take up residence in the little boy’s very own sand-castle. The boy and the dragon do all the best beachy things – the dragon is a fantastic pet – but soon the boy and the dragon grow bored, and a little annoyed at the grown-ups who don’t seem to believe in this fantastic creature. As the boy and his dragon proceed to sabotage (in small and harmless ways) the family’s day at the beach, adults will easily see the classic attention-seeking behavior. But kids and grown-ups alike will get a kick out of the boy and the dragon’s mischevious tricks, and wonder just how much in the boy’s head the dragon really is. 

Great for ages 5+.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder ofBooksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

2/13 – 2/19/2012: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
by Jane Yolen
illustrated by Mark Teague
Dinosaurs have a lot of strategies for not going to bed at night. They can mope, hide, bargain – they can heft their great spiky tails, or shake their huge horned heads. They can jump, they can fly, they can thrash, they can pout – but they don’t. There’s as many ways to refuse to go to bed as there are kinds of dinosaurs, but even dinosaurs know when to call it a night.

A hilarious romp through kid’s postponement tactics, put to endearingly drawn dinosaurs. Great for ages 2 +. Great rhythm – excellent for reading aloud! Be sure to check out my review of another wonderful book by the award-winning Jane Yolen, “The Seeing Stick” .

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

 

1/16 – 1/22/12 Children’s Book of the Week: Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet

Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet
by Kelly DiPuccio 
illustrated by Bob Shea
Gilbert Goldfish has it all – gorgeous home, plenty of food, even a chest full of treasure. But Gilbert has a dream. He thought he got his dream when a great, yappy, lappy dog prances around his little fishbowl – but no; the dog just liked barking, and anyway it didn’t stay. Or when a sweet little mouse stops by to nose the glass of his tank – but no; the mouse splits as soon she realizes Gilbert is not a big, swishy chunk of cheese. Gilbert’s heart-broken when his “pets” don’t work out, but he does get his wish eventually, though perhaps in a somewhat different form than he thought.

A fun, rhythmic story with some adorable pictures. Great for preschool and up.

Be sure to also check out the Make Your Own Fishbowl craft on the Crafts For Kids page for an excellent activity to go with this excellent story!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors  ~

1/2 – 1/8 Children’s Book of the Week: Stuck

Stuck
by Oliver Jeffers 
Floyd got his kite stuck in a tree. And he really needs it out, now! So, he hurls his shoe up into the tree to knock it out. And that doesn’t work, so he tries his other shoe. And that doesn’t work, so he throws a cat, an orangutan, a front door and anything else he can get his hands on (and a few things he can’t) to knock that kite out of the tree – with hilarious results.

A whimsically told and wonderfully illustrated story. Great for ages 2 and up, but even grown-ups will find it funny.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors  ~

 

12/26 – 1/1/2012 Children’s book of the Week; King Hugo’s Huge Ego

King Hugo’s Huge Ego
by Chris Van Dusen 
King Hugo is a very small man with a very big problem. He cannot and will not consider the ears and feelings of anyone at the recieving end of his epic boasting. He is so haughty, he doesn’t even notice the sorceress he was so discourteous towards casting a very telling little spell on him. Everytime King Hugo boasts, his head literally swells! The king doesn’t even notice for the longest time (with some funny consequences), but even the big-headed King Hugo must realize the consequences of his excessive arrogance and insensitivity, and earn himself a valueable ally in becoming a better person.

Hilarious story with rich, animated illustrations. Best for ages 3 -7.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors  ~

 

12/19 – 12/25 Children’s Book of the Week: Freckleface Strawberry; Best Friends Forever

Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever
by Julianne Moore
illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Freckleface Strawberry and Windy Pants Patrick are as different as can be – which precisely why they become such good friends. Windy Pants is the biggest and Freckleface Strawberry the shortest kids in their class, so when they are both chosen the very last for games, they start to hang out. They discover they have a lot in common – both have families, love books and play pretend. They do everything together! But the kids of their class have very different ideas friendship and norms between boys and girls. Influenced by peer pressure, Freckleface Strawberry and Windy Pants stop hanging out together, and do all the things that their new friends tell them they missed when together. Soon though, the two discover its really much better to do what makes them happy, and learn what a true friend really is.

A smart, quirky, beautiful story about friendship. Part of the Freckleface Strawberry series. Best for ages 4 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors  ~

12/12 – 12/18 Children’s Book of the Week: A Sick Day For Amos McGee

A Sick Day For Amos McGee
by Philip Stead 
illustrated by Erin Stead
Amos McGee is always very busy at work at the city zoo, but he always makes time for his animal friends. He plays chess the ponderous elephant. He races the enormous tortoise. He sits quietly with the shy penguin. He comforts the allergy-prone rhinoceros, and he reads to the owl who’s afraid of the dark. But when Amos feels a little under the weather and can’t come to work one day, his friends come to his home to make sure he receives the care he needs.

A New York Times bestselling children’s book and a very, very sweet story. Great for ages 3 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

12/5 -12/11 Children’s Book of the Week: Flotsam

Flotsam
by David Wiesner 
In this wordless tale, a young boy equips himself to find and examine flotsam – anything that washes in from the sea to the shore. To the boy’s unbounded excitement, an old-time camera, the kind you have to hold in both hands, washes upon the shore! The young boy rushes to get the pictures in the old, barnacle-covered camera developed – and discovers a whole world of deep sea society, captured by countless tentacles and passing fish, and a tradition of human stewardship in passing on the findings.

Winner of the Caldecott award, Flotsam is a beautiful, illustrative tale revealing the possibilities in everyday discovery and inquiry. Great for K – 4th grade, and an excellent opportunity for blossoming readers to tell the story themselves.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~