Tuesday, December 10, 2013
When my babies were still scarcely able to open their eyes I started reading to them. I have had a lifelong passion for books and reading and knew immediately that was one thing I wanted to instil in my children - a love of reading. In fact I read essays and articles about nurturing a love for books from even before the girls arrived. One of the pictures in my head that grew in my heart was that of me sitting and cuddling with my kids and reading to them. Those were precious moments, perfect for bonding.
There are a few sweet board books I have still kept from those early years. I will keep them forever because they stand the test of time and will ring true even for grandchildren years from now. I thought that you might appreciate a list of my favourite infant board books because it is the season of giving and gifting and books are always the perfect present.
My Five Favourite Books for Babies:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book
Guess How Much I Love You
Time for Bed
You can click on any one of the above links and purchase directly from Amazon. Time For Bed is a gorgeous little book of rhyme about animals going to sleep. I adore Mem Fox. Good Night Moon and The Runaway Bunny are both by Margaret Wise Brown and they are the first books my oldest daughter ever received. They are timeless and beautiful. I especially love The Runaway Bunny because it gently assures babies and toddlers that a mother's love means you will never be lost. Eric Carle's books are always magnificent and the drawings are truly unique. Guess How Much I Love You is just a sweet little, loving and gentle story. I have always believed babies take in so much more than we give them credit for and their brains are perfect little sponges. What better way to build a relationship than to read with them?
Monday, December 9, 2013
Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure is a whimsical little picture book for any child over the age of four who loves reading about animals. Polarity is a bear who seems a wee bit depressed, or bored with her home in a cage inside the Central Park Zoo. She enjoys the zoo but what good is that when she is caged and not able to explore? She arrived at the zoo when animals still lived in cages and not more natural habitats. These days, many zoos in North America have more spacious environments that more closely resemble life in the wild.
So one day, Polarity hatches a plan. She squeezes the bars of her cage apart, when she angrily sticks out her tongue at the world and the cage breaks, freeing her for the evening. She tours the zoo when nobody else is around. She rides the merry-go-round, dances around, swims with the sea lions and milks every ounce of fun out of her night.
The prose is lovely here and Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure is told in rhyme. The rhyme however is never forced. It flows in a manner that supports and builds the story. Lately we have seen too many children's books with rhyme that impedes narrative because it is so obviously forced. Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo is fun conceptually and a read that demands a bit of skill on the part of the reader. Challenging words and place names add to the reading level and experience here. Although I believe some 4-year-old readers might be interested in hearing this book the skill level is more aptly set about the age 6-7 and up in my opinion.
Polarity was published in 2011 in the US. The setting is fun and the author Sue de Cuevas reads kids well. She is a specialist on the Bronte Sisters and used to teach at Harvard, but here she brings a smart little story to an audience of growing readers and she pens the narrative with a sophisticated touch. The illustrations here are dynamite. One of my favourite things to do when we review books here is to ask my daughter's opinions on the story. Ainsley, 9, enjoyed the story and very much likes books about animals. But her one conistent comment was about the illustrations. "I loved the pictures." We both had trouble choosing just one because there are so many brilliant pictures in this book. Illustrator Wendy Rasmussen elevates this book to art with her incredible pictures of Polarity dancing, swimming with sea lions (my favourite) and then collapsing in exhaustion at end of the night. Rasmussen has illustrated over 25 books, many of which were about animals. I cannot stress enough how magical and captivating her pictures are. These are frameable pages, magnificently rendered with emotion and life. Each picture captures Polarity experiences a larger than life adventure and emotion. Spectacular art.
Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure would be a great gift book for any animal loving children in your life. It costs $17.95 and is a hardcover picture book published by Polarity Bear Books. This book gets a $$$$ out of $$$$$. We received a copy for free in order to review this book. I was not paid to post this review. My opinion is my own.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
My apologies. I have been absent for a couple of months here because I have been getting ready to move and renovating and haven't had any time to read. But now as we approach the end of year 2013 I feel the need to get back to reading and to compile the usual year end lists of best reads. Why not start with Young Adults ages 13 and upto 17?
I plan to bring you a few more as the month progresses. I am gifted here often with some incredible reads from young adult authors and I love that I get to read some gorgeous writing here before my daughter does. Then, of course I share these with her because I am all kinds of awesome like that.
The Secret Ingredient was reviewed here in July.
The five Best young Adult books published in 2013:
1. The Moon and More
2. Just One Day
4. The Secret Ingredient
5.Allegiant These are recommended for ages 13 to 17. Do you have any others to add?
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Take Disney and add some fairies, with a healthy dose of magic, imagination and some horse thrown in for good measure. Well, seriously. You don't need much more than that to pull a grade school girl into a story.
I had never heard of this series until Random House Canada sent Disney's The Never Girls From the Mist this week. But my girls were huge Rainbow Magic Fairies fans and read volumes of those fairy books, so I figured they might be intrigued by From the Mist. From the Mist is written by Kiki Thorpe. The series itself is intended for ages 6 to 10. There are four fairies, each one with a distinct personality. Kate is adventuresome. Mia is a girly girl, who loves dresses, flowers and pretty things. Lainey dreams of talking to animals and Gabby is Mia's little sister, incidentally also the one who most believes in fairies.
While at a sleepover the girls discover a mysterious mist in Gabby's room and set out to explore where it is coming from The mist brings mist horses and horses bring adventure. My youngest enjoys reading about horses and we are working through this one at night together. She still likes me reading to her at bedtime. This book is a wholesome great little before bed read. (Read - not scary or violent)
The fourth book was released today. For a short time you can win one of five prizes of the collection. Each book costs $6.99 Canadian and is a great little chapter book for imaginative girls.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
"I liked the lego drawings. It fills my mind with questions."
Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary is just the kind of gorgeous keepsake book I knew my daughter would twitch on, if she got the chance to review it. This was sent to us in advance of Star Wars Reads Day which is October 3rd. Now I have to say that since we got this book, my daughter has asked for the lego sets related to Star Wars, plus this evening she asked for a Star Wars sheet set and bedroom makeover. I think this one gets 2 thumbs up because it is a compelling little treasury.
Lego Star Wars Dictionary is by Simon Beecroft and published by DK Canada, and it's $24.99 even though I accidentally thought it $27 in the video. $24.99 is not bad at all. It's 87 pages.
Thanks to DK Canada for this book. My opinion is all my own.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
How To Be a Genius by DK Canada is a brand new paperback book for all ages. It's filled with over 350 photographs and illustrations and contains helpful tips on how to keep your brain sharp. There are brainteasers, sudoku puzzle options and mind-bending tricks and puzzles. The paperback is new and out today, September 2013.
See what we enjoyed about this one in the video above. How To Be a Genius, is 192 pages in paperback $12.99. It is a huge keepsake book with great value for the whole family. Only $12.99 is a steal. $$$$$ out of $$$$$.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Starting school can be extremely difficult for some children and some Moms too. Separation anxiety is a formidable opponent for many kids. The more tools you have to help your child succeed, the better. That's why when I spied this book Pocket Mommy and this giveaway, open to Canada and the US., I had to get in on it.
From Random House Pocket Mommy publisher:
Pocket Mommy is a must have book for anyone starting kindergarten or preschool this year. Rachel Eugster is a lovely writer with a flare for words and a unique style. I rarely find writing style to be the thing that jumps out at me most when reviewing a children's picture book, but Pocket Mommy is gorgeously written. Take for instance this phrase:"Chalk dust rose in energetic swirls and rained onto the floor."
Samuel is a reluctant little boy starting kindergarten and he fears being separated from mommy. His mom has a solution and places pocket mommy inside his shirt. Unbelievably Pocket Mommy gets in so much trouble all day that Samuel learns he might be better off at school aiming for independence.
My daughters are both tweens but they loved hearing this sweet story. Every year there is a small amount of separation anxiety, despite the age of the child you have, so this is a worthy tool to have ready for next week. I loved this twist and enjoyed the writing. The characters are fun and how comical that the pretend Mommy is the troublemaker? Pocket Mommy gets a $$$$$ out of $$$$$. It's a very positive little story.
I recall searching for a positive starting school book for my daughter several years ago and I was really put off by the number of storybooks that featured whiny characters who hated school and cried and were not embracing the experience in a positive manner. Or the main character would start school and encounter a bully right away or miss Mommy the entire day. I did not want to place an unnecessary fear of school in my child's head. Pocket Mommy is a great positive example of a good back to school book for anyone. Eugster is from Ottawa and illustrator Goldsmith is from Toronto.
Pocket Mommy is by Rachel Eugster and illustrated by Tom Goldsmith. It is $17.99 in Canada and US $16.95. Tundra Books is the publisher and this book is 100 % Canadian, 2013.a Rafflecopter giveaway