KID'S REVIEWS
By Lyda Whiting

 

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT TODAY?
Written By Joan Buzick and Lindy Judd
Illustrated By James Kevin Sullivan
Music By Joan Buzick
From waking up feeling great to falling asleep in a cozy bed, these children focus on the positive all day long. Helping others and sharing with friends are part of what went right on this day. Imagining possibilities, from grown-up professions to wishes granted from a wishing well, end the day in a fun way.

This book encourages children to approach life with a positive mindset, and encourages conversations between adults and children about what is good about their day. It also suggests questions to ask to encourage children to use their imaginations and to find the optimistic approach to life.

The song on the CD is upbeat and cheerful, and the words are distinct so children can easily sing along. The first track follows the text exactly, which is ideal for non-readers and beginning readers alike. The second track is the song without questions, to sing in the car or while doing chores together.

The illustrations are beautiful and appealing. Softly colored and carefully detailed, they convey movement and love on each page. These are appealing and inclusive paintings by a gifted artist. The children and adults are ethnically diverse, and the family enjoying pizza includes a woman in a wheelchair and children of varying weights and ages.

This would be a great holiday gift for a child, or for a preschool or early elementary teacher. Highly recommended for children ages 3 to 10.

Published by BuzLand Presentations, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore.

 

1-2-3 DRAW BABY ANIMALS
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Written and Illustrated By Freddie Levin
This fun book gives children step-by-step instructions for drawing kittens, puppies, giraffe calves, aardvark babies, and other farm and wild animal babies. It teaches children to begin each drawing with four basic shapes (circles, ovals, eggs, and triangles), which are placed to be the head and body of the animal. Details are added a few at a time, to create a duckling or guinea pig.

The book starts with a short list of basic supplies, drawing tips, and an introduction to basic shapes. There is a note for parents and teachers, reminding them that drawing gets better with practice. The rest of the book is in three parts, including baby pets and farm animals, and baby wild animals. The final and fun section encourages children to let their imaginations go wild, drawing the environment around the animals, inventing imaginary creatures, and coloring their animals in fantastic patterns and hues.

Included are a few facts about each animal, including the correct name for the baby and its parents. Children will love learning that baby giraffes, hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses are all called calves. They will laugh to discover that meerkat babies are called kits and are watched by kit-sitters when their parents are busy.

This book will encourage children to explore their creativity, as the baby animals are appealing and simple to draw. There are also other books in this series, showing children how to draw dinosaurs, horses, cars and trucks, mythical creatures, and more. Recommended for children ages 5 to 9.

Published by Peel Productions, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore.

 

CHA-CHA & ZEE EXPLORE OUR NATION’S CAPITAL
Written and Illustrated By Indigo Tyler
Cha-Cha and Zee are penguins living happily in the National Zoo in Washington D.C. But when a zoo visitor leaves a guidebook behind, they become curious about the world outside. Soon the adventurous penguins are off to explore the city. They visit museums, monuments, and historic buildings, and learn a little about our nation’s history and government, while enjoying the beauty — and the food — of the capital. Cha-Cha and Zee have so much fun that they decide to explore more of America before returning home.

Instead of drawings, the illustrations are actual photographs with the penguins added. The penguins are photographs of live penguins, with the addition of a bow on Cha-Cha’s head, and a bow tie for Zee. The book starts with an accurate but child-friendly illustrated map locating the places in the book.

Children will enjoy the story, and want to explore like the penguins. The pictures will appeal to everyone, especially the picture at the zoo entrance with all of the animals gathered to wish their friends a good trip.

There is an accompanying activity book, which would be great for children and parents to do on the airplane ride to Washington D.C. The kids can even draw themselves as the President of the United States. Some of the activities would be difficult for younger children, however. Recommended for children ages 4 to 8.

Published by TK Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore.

 

JUST IMAGINE
Written By John M. Thompson and George M. Schultz
Illustrated by Wodin
This creative book invites children to explore and travel the world with their imagination. From a tea party in a tree house to blasting off in a spaceship on a trip to the moon, children can discover amazing places when they open their minds to the possibilities.

The charm of this book lies in the colorful and elaborate illustrations. On each page, large sheltering hands form something new: a tree house, a swing, or a boat. The text is illustrated with a large detailed drawing of the children rafting through a swamp full of alligators and birds, or riding dolphins in an ocean full of seahorses and flying fish. In the border on each two-page spread are sketches of animals and plants related to the setting, like dragonflies or fish.

With detailed illustrations and only two or three sentences on each page, this book is well suited to reading aloud. Beginning readers might struggle over some of the words, but can expand their reading vocabulary to include words like “billowing” and “brilliant”.

The illustrations show boys and girls of varying ages and have some ethnic diversity. However, there is some gender stereotyping: the boys blast off on a spaceship while the girls wave goodbye, the girls cook and the boys eat, the girls read a book while the boys play pirate. Also, the drawings may be a little too sweet to appeal to older children. For children ages 4 to 7.

Published by Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore.

 

GIRAFFE OF MONTANA
Written By William Bowman Piper
Illustrated By Bill Megenhardt
Giraffe lives in a cave with a very high ceiling, in a kingdom in the middle of Montana. Although he lives alone, he is never lonely, because he has plenty of friends, including Casper the crocodile, the princesses Isabel and Isabel, and Hal the hippopotamus. When he discovers that Casper is lonely, Giraffe takes a train ride to Florida to bring a special visitor, Allison the albino alligator, to share Casper’s pond.

Giraffe and his friends have many adventures in this long chapter book. They work together to build a railroad, create their own Olympic games, and find the perfect Christmas tree to satisfy everyone. At the end, the friends share a heart-felt gift exchange at Christmas, and look forward to new adventures in the spring.

The numerous characters are appealing and memorable. The stories show the characters learning cooperation, caring, and self-acceptance. There is also a second volume of this series, with the characters continuing their adventures and learning about compromise, forgiveness, and bravery.

The book’s jacket has a colorful illustration, and there are black-and-white drawings at the beginning of each chapter, humorously illustrating the animals and humans in the stories.
The chapters are long and complicated, making this book best suited to reading aloud or together. As each chapter is thirty pages or longer, it could be read in sections over several days or a week. For children ages 6 to 10.

Published by Little Pemberley Press, this book is available at your local bookstore.


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