Kids' Reviews
By Lyda Whiting

By Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz

Riley is excited when his class visits the polar bear exhibit at the zoo. The zookeeper tells Riley that bears are happy when they are well-fed, as the class watches polar bears eat fish after fish. Then Riley gets a message from his Uncle Max, and Riley is off on another adventure. Uncle Max and Aunt Martha are studying polar bears in Canada, where the bears are getting restless waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze over so they can get back to ice pack. The bears are hungry and wandering the town at night looking for food.

Riley and his cousin Alice help measure and tag a polar bear once Uncle Max has tranquilized it. But they want to help the bears. Riley decides to leave food out for them — but when the children set the food down, they hear a deep loud growl. A polar bear is nearby!

This is the newest book in the continuing adventures of Riley, sure to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The story is exciting and fun, featuring polar bears and other arctic animals. Children and adults will enjoy the science facts on each page, told by real scientists who are studying the Arctic. The illustrations are a unique mix of beautiful photographs and elaborate detailed paintings, showing in detail the beauty of the Arctic.

Highly recommended for all  children ages 4 to 8.

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

Written by Jerry M. Hay
Illustrated by Phyllis Pollema-Cahill

One day as he is paddling his boat on the river, Jerry discovers a wild goose in big trouble. The goose has become badly entangled in a long fishing line, and the more he struggles, the tighter the line pulls. The goose can’t get away, and he could die trapped in the line. Jerry gets in the water to help, but the goose panics, fighting and pecking at his rescuer. Jerry struggles to get the goose loose, talking to him and holding the goose close despite the pecks from that sharp beak. Finally, the last piece of fishing line is untangled, and the goose is free. Jerry has saved the goose’s life, and surprisingly, the goose seems grateful. Honking happily, the goose finally flies away. But the next morning, the goose is waiting for Jerry next to his boat, and an unusual friendship is born.

Gilligan the goose spends more and more time with his human friend Jerry that spring and summer. When the air turns cooler and autumn comes, Gilligan has to make a choice. Will he stay with Jerry or fly south for the winter with the other wild geese?

This is a true story about a wild goose that learns to trust a human and the extraordinary friendship of the goose and the author. Beautiful and realistic illustrations fill the pages, bringing Gilligan and the other wild animals of the Wabash River to life.

Recommended for children ages 3 to 6.

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


Written by Masha Shurin
Illustrated by Valentin Ginukov

When an elephant loses his tail, it’s a serious problem. The little elephant doesn’t want to be known as No-Tail. He searches for his tail everywhere, but despairs when he can’t find it. Then a tiny mouse pops out of the grass, and offers to help — by giving the elephant his own tail!

At the bugs’ party, the cricket plays a lively tune and the bumblebee sings along while the ladybug and beetle dance the lively polka. The monkeys are trying to learn the alphabet, and how to count to three. And the Boogie Man is really a gentle soul who makes toys all day and night for the children who are afraid of him.

The playful poems in this collection introduce these characters as well as Yucky the Bug, a kangaroo mail carrier, and a sailor frog. The Russian version of the poems also appears on each page, giving children a glimpse into a different alphabet and culture.

The author, who grew up in Russia and worked in the Russian circus before coming to the United States, has written poems to capture a child’s imagination. The whimsical and colorful illustrations add movement and fun to each page.

This book, the first of a series, gives children a taste of the flavor and culture of Belarus, a republic of Russia, and the author’s homeland.

For children ages 2 to 8.

Published by White Stag Press, this book is available at your local bookstore.


Written by Patricia Derrick
Illustrated by J-P Loppo Martinez

Mr. Walrus is driving his friends around town in an old school bus, but they have to keep track of the time. They go to the zoo — where the animals climb all over the bus, the county fair — where popcorn fills the air, and Grandma’s house — where they give Grandma a thrilling ride. They stop for lunch in a forest made of carrots, pick up the dog that likes to ride on top of the bus, and go to the store for enough milk and bread to fill the bus to overflowing. Then they head home for their important appointment, dinner with a plate of spaghetti as big as the bus.

The bouncy rhymes and silly pictures propel this story along at a fast pace. The accompanying CD has the words set to music, and children can sing along. Meanwhile, they will be learning counting and how to read a clock as the day goes on.

This book is part of a series of interactive children’s books written by a teacher. Sheet music is included at the back of the book, as well as the original sing-along CD. There is a list of teacher-parent activities to complement and deepen the learning, and science information about walrus.

For children ages 2 to 8.

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


By Francine Jarry and Abraham-Hicks

This CD of uplifting songs brings the “law of attraction” to life in a fun gentle way. The music reminds children that joy and well-being increase when we focus on them, and that we can choose our attitude and look for the positive in any situation. With simple melodies and word repetition, the songs encourage children and adults to focus on happiness and the good things in life.

The songs, including “Feel good now!,” “One step at a time,” and the title track, reflect the teachings of ‘Abraham,’ a group of non-physical teachers speaking through medium Esther Hicks, who co-wrote “The Law of Attraction” with her husband Jerry Hicks. Francine Jarry collaborated with the Hicks to share the ideas from “The Law of Attraction” and other teachings of ‘Abraham’ on this CD.
The whole family can listen to these songs together. The tunes and words are lively and simple, and children will enjoy singing along. Songs from this CD and from Francine Jarry’s first CD, “A New Adventure,” are sung by children’s choirs and used by therapists and workshop facilitators to promote emotional growth and a positive outlook.

For children ages 4 to 8.

Published by Abraham-Hicks, this CD is available at your local music store.


By Hilary Field, guitar and Patrice O’Neill, vocals

This lovely and unusual collection of lullabies will bring peace and relaxation to babies and children. The gentle vocals blend perfectly with lush instrumentals to create the perfect atmosphere for drifting off to sleep.

Songs from the Basque, Indonesian, Belgian, French, and other traditions are given exquisite expression by the vocalist and the musicians. The loving lyrics are sung in a warm and soothing female voice. The classical guitar gently leads, accompanied by mandolin, English horn, and other instruments played by master musicians. The melodies shift gently from guitar to vocals, weaving a beautiful tapestry of calm delight.

Children will hear words of endearment and comfort in English and in the original languages of the songs, including Russian, Spanish, Gaelic, and Italian. There are also two instrumental tracks, one from the Czech tradition, and one from Mexico.

There is a charming Guatemalan version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with delightful lyrics such as “stars are the tiny eyes of sleep.” The version of “Rockabye Baby” from Spain is at once familiar and distinctly different.

Children will find this music a welcome and beautiful part of the sleep time. Adults will find themselves charmed and soothed by this remarkable collection and will learn new songs and endearments to comfort their loved ones. This CD would be an ideal present for parents, grandparents, childcare providers, and preschool teachers.

Highly recommended for children from birth through 8.

Published by Yellow Tail Records, this CD is available at your local music store

Return to the January/February Index page