Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Children's Book Review

It's been a while since I shared my opinion on some of the books we have been borrowing from the library. I promise we've still been reading, though not as much as sometimes. Here we go...

Hi, Harry, by Martin Waddell
This was my favorite in the stack. Maybe Eric and I could resonate with it a little too much. It's about a tortoise who has a difficult time making friends because he moves slow and everyone around him is too busy to stop and spend time with him. Until he finds a like minded creature. Love it. So good at teaching your kids the value of slowing down and paying attention to people. It shows what you can miss out on if you are in a hurry and it shows that you can still make friends, even if you aren't running from one thing to the next. Even the illustrations were beautiful, simple and calm. We try to avoid running from one thing to the next at our house, so I loved this book.

All About Turtles, by Jim Arnosky
Why have I never read any of his books. These are amazing! So incredibly educational. Apparently he's written one on snails too because Daniel was telling me all about it. I love that Daniel is in kindergarten now and is learning all kinds of interesting things to tell me. We most definitely will be checking out more Jim Arnosky books from the local library. Look at the accurate detailed illustrations! Beautiful work! We could read this one dozens of times and more info stick in our memory each time. It's that full of good stuff!

Where Have You Been?, by Margaret Wise Brown
I picked this one up because of the author. I love a lot of her books. Not so impressed with this one. Don't bother checking this one out.

Hedgehog's Secret, by Lena Anderson
I picked this one because the illustrations were sweet. I am a sucker for gently illustrated kids books. But I was disappointed by the story. Not much there. The big secret was that Hedgehog was having a baby, that's why she was too busy for all her friends and nowhere to be found. There just didn't seem to be a good point. Maybe this would be a good book if you have kept it a secret from your kid that you were pregnant and you planned to just come home from the hospital with a baby in your arms. Who does that? Just can't recommend this one.

Preschool to the Rescue, by Judy Sierra
This one I am pretty sure was written by a preschool teacher. My kids didn't do preschool, so it didn't really connect with me. It was fun and whimsical, but just didn't connect with my kids.

What's the Big Idea, Molly?, by Valeri Gorbachev
I am in love with this illustrator. One of the first ones I remember seeing by her was Red, Red, Red. Love that book. Any book she's illustrated I will grab off the shelf. This one is sweet. I love how she imparts a love of nature, color, and creating. I love that the friends make a gift for their beloved friend. Just a lovely, lovely book.

The Tub People, by Pam Conrad
I was surprised by this book. I was sure I would be under-whelmed. (I just heard that word twice on Cake Wars. It annoyed me there, so I'm not sure why I chose to use it here. Sorry if it annoys you.) But I was really pleasantly surprised by the book. It's the story of some tub toys that have so much fun playing together in the bathtub and the drama that makes them so sad. So good. And there is a happy ending that makes so much more fun to read. My kids loved this book. Me too!

Camille and the Sunflowers, by Laurence Anholt
I had really, really big hopes for this book. I love Vincent van Gogh and love the idea of learning about artists through children's books. The artwork was in van Gogh's style, sort of. I wanted to be more impressed and I can't even articulate exactly why I didn't like the book very much. Sorry. Not very helpful.

Bath Time, By Eileen Spinelli
An okay book, but I wouldn't check it out again. Good for one read through and that's it.

The Legend of the Sand Dollar, by Chris Auer
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. It was illustrated beautifully. Perhaps if I was familiar with the legend of the sand dollar before reading it I would have been able to understand it. But I am a grown-up and I couldn't track what the author was trying to say through the kid's explanation. I was disappointed because I really wanted to explain it to my kids and I couldn't. Seriously, the illustrations are gorgeous, I just didn't get the analogies. If you understand the legend, I'm sure it would mean tons more to you than it did me. So YOU should get this book, even though it didn't work for me.

Jam & Honey, by Melita Morales
This was a good book for us because we have a mild fear of bees at our house. This cute book starts out with an interaction between a little girl and a bee, first from the girl's perspective and then the bee's. Very cute. Good read if there is a slight fear of bees at your house.

The Hare and the Tortoise, Retold by Helen Ward
Who doesn't love this fable? So much to learn from it, no matter how old you are. My only annoyance with the book is that it does use the word "stupid" which we try really, really hard not to use in our house. My oldest is starting to read himself and it doesn't work to swap the word "silly" anymore.


  1. Thanks, Cami. I just went through your past book reviews and put holds on a bunch of them. I also want to let you know that I also dislike David Shannon books. Oh, and we just red Camille and the Sunflowers, and my review would have sounded a lot like yours. Thanks so much, and keep it up!

  2. Would you care to do a review (private (do you have my email?) or public on your blog of preschool games and toys? I'd be very interested in that. ALso, would you mind if I copied your idea and did some book reviews on my own blog? That looks like lots of fun! (but I might not ever get around to it. :) )