Book News Round Up

I’m counting down the days until Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children comes out on September 30th! I can’t wait to see this, although as with any book that’s been turned into a movie I’m worried it won’t live up to my expectations. What are your thoughts on books vs. movies? Do you feel the movie generally does a good job of representing the book or do you have to think of them as two separate entities?

11 Children’s Books That Help Kids Understand Autism via Romper

Excerpts from Chris Hadfield’s New Children’s Book via The Star

The Darkest Dark is about Chris Hadfield’s childhood fear of the dark and how he was able to get over it. This is on my TBR list for sure. I was lucky enough to see Chris Hadfield present on his life and journey to space and he seems like such a genuinely nice person with amazing stories to tell. Plus the illustrations by the Fan Brothers look fantastic!

An Illustration from The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by the Fan Brothers and showing a boy and a dog on a bed surrounded by spaceships, a planet and a whale.
Illustration from The Darkest Dark

Locke Street Festival Finds

Last weekend was both the Locke Street Festival as well as SuperCrawl in Hamilton. Lots of food trucks, art, concerts and entertainment. I wanted to quickly share a couple of my favourite finds from the weekend.

 

Cover of Edgar and the Treehouse of Usher by Jennifer AdamsFrom the book sale at Epic Books I bought Edgar and the Treehouse of Usher by Jennifer Adams. It looks like such a fun book and I can’t wait to review it.

 

Along a Long Road by Frank VivaMy other find was Along a Long Road by Frank Viva, found at the Hamilton Public Library’s sidewalk sale. I love the simple story and the illustrations in this book, especially how they used a contrasting texture for the road so that the children can follow it along with their fingers.

I was very excited to find these gems and add them to my collection! What great books (children’s or otherwise) have you added to your collection recently?

Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

John Patrick Green Hippopotamister Blog Tour

Welcome to the Hippopotamister blog tour!

Hippopotamister by John Patrick GreenSynopsis

The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

Drawing of a hippo as an artist.

Review

I really loved Hippopotamister! It would be such a fun book to read aloud. Many times with comics and graphic novels the text alone doesn’t give you enough of the story, which makes reading them aloud less fun, but Hippopotamister’s story is so well written that it would be a good book for reading aloud.

Hippopotamister is a sweet and encouraging story that has strong messages about being true to yourself and persevering. I also really liked the way the zoo was written about. As someone who loves animals, I was a little nervous when I saw that a zoo was one of the locations in the book but I was very happy to see the correlation shown between a well maintained, caring zoo and happy and healthy animals! I loved that the book had such positive messages in it in addition to the story, it’s not written in a heavy handed way. It would tie in well to discussions of character traits and being a good citizen, and would make a wonderful addition to any child’s or classroom’s library.

You can buy Hippopotamister here, or visit the Good Reads page for Hippopotamister here.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

May 10, 2016: Perusing Pages
May 11, 2016: Pages Unbound
May 12, 2016: Melanie Hays
May 13, 2016: Midwestern Book Nerd
May 14, 2016: Charmingly Simple
May 15, 2016: Novel Cravings
May 16, 2016: Bookish Babes
May 17, 2016: Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
May 18, 2016: Book Stacks Amber
May 19, 2016: Lyseofllyr
May 20, 2016: M & Em Read
May 21, 2016: Trisha Jenn Reads
May 22, 2016: Twirling Book Princess
May 23, 2016: The Whimsical Mama
May 25, 2016: The Vivacious Hobo
May 26, 2016: Fangirl Confessions
May 27, 2016: The Plot Bunny
May 28, 2016: Reading With Cupcakes
May 29, 2016: Hermit Librarian
May 30, 2016: The Kindred Reader
May 31, 2016: Polished Page Turners

Hippo wearing a chef hat from Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Elliot by Julie Pearson and Manon Gauthier

Elliot book written by Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon GauthierElliot written by Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon Gauthier is a picture book about a little rabbit named Elliot whose family does not know quite how to take care of him. Although they try on their own, they need some outside help and a social worker comes to help educate them while bringing Elliot to stay with a different family.

Generally when I think of stories that talk of foster care or other situations that can be difficult to explain to children I think of those horrifying, cheesy picture books that can usually be found in the parenting section of the library, but Elliot is just a gentle and heartwarming storybook that happens to deal with the foster care system and adoption. The muted colours of the collage illustrations match the tone of the book and support the story well. The text manages to tell of a difficult situation without being down, depressing or preachy, kudos to Julie Pearson for managing that!

While Elliot would be a nice addition to any bookshelf, this would be a beautiful book to give to a child who is entering the foster care system or who is moving towards having their adoption finalized.

Review: Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types

Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types book by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss

I was recently looking for an alphabet book for a child that is really interested in letters. I was looking for something more advanced than the typical beginner alphabet books, something that would be interesting and engaging to a child who loves to create illustrated alphabets, and preferably something with good design.

I found a book that met all the criteria: Alphasaurs by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss. This book goes through the entire alphabet, giving one dinosaur for each letter. Instead of typical drawings of dinosaurs, each dinosaur is made up of letters in a variety of fonts, for example a Brachiosaurus made entirely out of many Bs.  Each dinosaur page also includes how to pronounce the name, the size of the dinosaur and neat facts about each dinosaur.Brachiosaurus

This book was a big hit, not only with the child I had in mind when I got it but the other children loved it as well. There were many dinosaurs that were new to them as well as me. I’ve read many a children’s dinosaur book so obviously I know of Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex but this book included some I’ve never heard of such as Nothronychus, Lambeosaurus and Fruitadens.

The book is well designed, from the fonts used to the beautiful colours. No garish colour schemes here, each page uses about three to five colours that complement each other well. The flaps and cut out details on some of the pages are a nice touch as well.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dinosaur book to add to their child’s collection or for an alphabet book that parents and educators will enjoy too.

Children’s Books for Winter

With this last winter storm melting away, it seems like winter is on it’s way out. So before the snow is gone (until next year anyways!), I’d like to share some beautiful books about snow and winter.

Red Sled by Lita Judge. This book has fun pictures that will make children smile.It’s a wordless story that is told by pictures and sounds, but the story is still told in a clear and powerful way.

Snow Dog, Go Dog by Deborah Helligman, illustrated by Tim Bowers. The beautifully textured illustrations show the story of a dog who goes off just as the flurries of snow start.

Why is the Snow White? by Heinz Janisch and Silke Leffler. This book is perfect for the curious child who is forever asking “Why?”. The book tells an imaginative tale of how snow got it’s colour, with Father Snow finding a field of beautifully coloured flowers and in turn asking them to share some of their colour. This story would also be a great way to open up a discussion of sharing of yourself with others, selflessness and helping other people.

To end this post I have to include The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This has been a favourite of my since childhood and I have read and re-read it to many children over my years of working with children. It’s simple but evocative pictures bring you to a simple but lovely snowy day.

 

Top Ten Children’s Books for Valentine’s Day

Here are my top ten Valentine’s books for kids. A book is great Valentine’s Day gift for children, and you can write a sweet note inside the cover for your Valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. A must for fans of the If You Give a…series.

 

Lily's Chocolate Heart Kevin Henkes

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes. This book is so fun, and it’s great for younger kids too.

 

Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George! by H.A Rey. A classic Valentine’s Day read.

Pete the Cat Valentine's Day is Cool

Pete the Cat Valentine’s Day is Cool by Kimberly and James Dean. Should you skip this book? Goodness no!

The Biggest Valentine Ever

If your kids liked The Biggest Snowman Ever or The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, then this would make a great book for Valentine’s Day for them. If they haven’t read them yet, get The Biggest Valentine Ever for Valentine’s Day and save the other two books for next Halloween and Winter!

Llama Llama I Love You

Even the youngest children will love this book with a sweet message.

Arthur's Valentine

I’ve loved the Arthur books since I was a kid and I’m happy to see that they are still popular. There seems to be an Arthur book for any holiday or occasion.

 

Little Miss Hug

This book is perfect for any fans of the Little Miss and Mister Men books created by Roger Hargreave. Although Roger Hargreave has passed away, the series has been continued by his son Adam Hargreaves.

Pinkalicious Pink of Hearts

My nieces are big fans of the Pinkalicious books so I had to include this on my list. They’re fun to read aloud too!

Franklin's Valentines

Another classic Valentine’s Day book, perfect for children who are already fans of the Franklin series or children who are yet to discover him. Another series where you can find a book for any occasion as well.

It’s hard to narrow it down, there are so many sweet books about love and Valentine’s Day for kids! What are your favourite books to read or give for Valentine’s Day?