“Bedtime for Boo” – A Haunting Bedtime Story

I read this to my 4-year old before bed tonight.  She likes ghosts and such, so I knew it would be ok.  The illustrations (by Bonnie Lieck) are very beautiful and kid friendly.

The story (by Mickie Mathis) is about Boo and his family, who live in a haunted house.  Boo is very excited because he gets to go haunting like the big ghosts.  As you can imagine, he is still wound up when they come home at the end of their night of haunting.  Mama Ghost has to get Boo to go to sleep.  She does that by getting him to close his eyes and listen to the world around him – the house, the animals, the weather outside.  Soon, he has fallen sound asleep.

My child liked the story.  She liked looking at the illustrations and pointing things out (like monsters).  It was a nice “quiet” book for us to read before she went to bed, so I appreciate that as well.

This book would be a great Halloween gift for a young child (to be read to), or a young reader (maybe 1st or 2nd grade).

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“Dog Loves Drawing”

Louise Yates (author of Dog Loves Books) has written and illustrated a fast-moving story about a dog who receives a sketchbook from his Aunt Dora.  Dog loves books, but he is initially baffled by a book without pictures and words.  Then he figures it out.

Bit by bit, Dog brings characters to life, and sets everyone on an adventure that is stopped by a vicious monster.  Luckily, Dog has an escape route for himself, and a way to make his friends safe.

My daughter really liked this story.  She thought it was funny that Dog liked to draw, and especially liked the different characters that came up in the story.  My daughters are always coloring and such, so for her it was not a stretch to imagine that the characters being drawn were actually coming to life.

The story and drawings are perfect for my 4-year old.  The illustrations weren’t overly detailed, but it brought home the point that Dog was drawing the pictures.  I thought the story was paced just right.  My daughter was caught up in the action and was sad when the story ended.

This would be a great book for a young child (to be read to) or for an older child to read on their own.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“I Like Old Clothes”

This was originally published in 1976, but is being reissued this summer with new illustrations by Patrice Barton.  I don’t remember the original, but this version is certainly delightful.

The poem, by Mary Ann Hoberman, is especially appropriate at this time in my house.  The girls have been wearing a lot of hand-me-downs, recycled clothes, and DIY clothes.  Much like the kids in the book, they think it’s kind of fun to take something and make it their own (or have mom make it into something new – see my experiment here).  I don’t think the girls think much about the life an item of clothing has lived before it comes to them, but the kids in the story sure do.  They don’t want clothes that don’t have a story – they want to try and figure out how the clothes lived before they came to live with them.

It’s a great story and made me think (as a mom) about how thankful I am for friends who pass along clothes, and how I can take something and make it new to my girls.

Amazon Product Page

I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“Day by Day”

Susan Gal’s book Day by Day, is written for ages 5-9.  My 4-year-old really liked it – especially the drawings.  She liked how there was a “pattern” to the words (what everyone else would call parallelism, I guess).  She liked how the drawings spread across the page and were so detailed.  For her, it was nice to be able to pick out the various parts of the actions.

It’s the story of a community of pigs and how they live – they plant a garden, they care for the garden, they do ordinary chores, they build a house (of bricks, mind you, so the big bad wolf can’t come in – again, according to my 4-year-old).   I think my first grader would be able to read this to her sister, so it’s a pretty easy and quick read.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

“A Song for My Sister”

Lesley Simpson’s story about a young girl named Mira who wishes for a sister is a great story about how what you wish for may not be exactly what you want at first.  Mira’s wish takes four years to come true.  However, when her sister arrives, all she does is scream….and scream….and scream.

The baby only stops screaming at her naming ceremony eight days after her birth (the family is Jewish), when Mira sings her a song.  This turns into Mira’s second wish, that she and her sister always sing duets – special sister songs that they will make up.

My 4-year old liked this book because she thought it was funny that the baby wouldn’t stop screaming.  She is the baby of our house, so other than the slightly younger kids at daycare, she’s never really around an infant.  She really liked that Mira was the one to get the baby to stop screaming – in fact, I heard her singing Mira’s song as she was getting ready for bed.  She likes it when I sing her to sleep, so I figured that would make an impact.

The illustrations by Tatjana Mai-Wyss are very nice.  There’s plenty of expression in the characters and and you can see the Mira’s frustration with her sister’s screaming.  In fact, in one picture, Mira is supposedly sleeping in her treehouse with underwear in her ears and my daughter wanted to see the underwear!  Of course, she couldn’t see them clearly, but we pretended they were there.

This is probably a book best read to children, as it has a few words that may be difficult for a young reader to pronounce.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“How to Babysit a Grandpa”

Jean Reagan’s book How to Babysit a Grandpa is full of useful tips for kids, like what to have for snack when Grandpa comes over, what to do during naptime and Grandpa needs a nap, what to look out for on walks, how to set up a good fort to play in, where to hide when Grandpa comes, etc. Any Grandpa would be happy to have this much fun with his grandkids.

I’m pretty sure this book was written for my daughters, my niece, and my nephews.  My dad completely fits the “fun grandpa” description.  My daughter laughed her way through this book, except for the part about eating ketchup, because “Papa doesn’t like ketchup, Mom.”

The illustrations by Lee Wildish are fun, colorful, and full of detail.  They truly made the story.

This will most likely be a gift for Grandpa sometime this year.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“The Lonely Book” – A Book Lover’s Tear Jerker

I will admit that I teared up while reading this book. When I was a little girl, I often wondered what happened to the books in the library.  This story answers that question.

A book is sitting on the shelf, and it is well-loved by all of the kids.  However, it eventually falls from popularity.  A little girl picks up the book and immediately falls in love with it.  As is the case with library books, she has to return it.

The book ends up in the library’s basement, dreaming of the little girl who loved it so well.  And a little girl grows up never quite forgetting the book she loved.

I’m not going to give away the ending, but The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer and illustrated by Chris Sheban is a delightful story about the life-cycle of books and the attachments that kids make to the books they love.

Amazon Product Page

I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“Confessions from an Arranged Marriage”

I will admit, when I picked up this book, I figured that “arranged marriage” meant that they had been intended for each other since birth.  A few pages in, and I realized that wasn’t the case.

Then I thought, “Ok, maybe she secretly loves him and will trap him into a marriage.”  Again….not the case.

So then I decided to just go along for the ride and stop trying to predict how the book was going to go.  I’m glad I did.

Minerva doesn’t like the Marquess of Blakeney.  In fact, he is treated kind of as a laughingstock by her.  He was previously engaged to her sister, and she was subjected to unending stories about horses and hunting.  After the engagement failed, he left London for a few years.  They become reacquainted at her coming out ball, which is being held at his parents’ house, due to the close relationship between the families.

However, things don’t go according to plan.  Partway through the night, Minerva has a migraine, takes some medicine, and lays down in the library.  An intoxicated Blakeney decides to play a trick on a friend, and thinks that Minerva is someone else when he begins to seduce her.  Minerva wakes up as an audience appears in the library door. This means that the incident can’t be hidden and the two are forced to marry.

For Minerva, this is worrisome.  She doesn’t know Blakeney well, but her impression is that he is lazy and probably not very smart, even though he graduated from college.  Blakeney doesn’t think much of Minerva, especially since she is passionate about politics, which is one thing his family does well – even though he doesn’t have any interest in it.

However much these two individuals don’t see eye to eye, they must learn how to live together and create some sort of relationship.  Add the following to the mix – a “best friend” who seems a little slimy and untrustworthy, the death of a father, spies, secrets that have been hidden since school, and families who don’t trust the new spouse – and you get an interesting story that brings you in to the characters’ lives so you feel like you are there with them.  That makes for a good story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“The Smiley Book of Colors”

This book, by Ruth Kaiser, is so cute and ingenious.  It’s about how it’s your decision what your attitude is like, but it’s written so simply that kids could definitely understand it.  Plus, each pair of pages is about a different color AND each picture is a smiley face of some sort.  Everything is coordinated…it’s awesome!

I read this with my 4-year old tonight and we spent the majority of the time picking out the smiley faces and determining what they were made of.  She got all of the colors right (except white, which I can understand because it was white letters on a blue page).  I couldn’t turn the page until she had found every smiley and we figured out what the smiley was made out of.

This book would be great for preschoolers and under (to be read to) and probably ok for a kindergartener or first grader to read to a younger sibling.  The message is a good one that could resonate with anyone – even adults.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

“The House at the End of Ladybug Lane” – A Lesson in Acceptance

Elise Primavera’s book The House at the End of Ladybug Lane is a delightful story of a young lady named Angelina who can’t help but get dirty and be messy.  Her parents are neat freaks, and a child doesn’t really fit their “neat” world.

One night, Angelina makes a wish, and a ladybug godmother appears.  However, there’s a problem…she’s slightly hard of hearing.  “I want a pet” becomes “I want a pest” and poof – there’s a pest in the house.  A pest that bakes the most delicious deserts, but a pest nonetheless.  On throughout the night Angelina tries to make herself understood, but the godmother just can’t get it right.

The results are quite astonishing, and the illustrations (by Valeria Docampo) are phenomenal.  My daughter liked picking out all of the little details (finding the ladybug, the pest, seeing what had happened, etc.).

The story boils down to how the expectations of the parents, while good-intentioned and well-meaning, may not fit the personality of the child.  The child may be doing their best to comply, but just can’t seem to get it right.  Rather than continually criticize the child, or be frustrated because they don’t meet the parents’ expectations, maybe the expectations should change to suit the child.

I received this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.