Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book 380: Twenty-Six Pirates

Twenty-Six Pirates, by Dave Horowitz, Nancy Paulson Books, 2013.

This will be a very short review, because if I write more, it will be longer than the book itself.  This book falls somewhere in the middle of Argh and Ugh.  It's a cute idea, with fun illustrations, but perhaps a little on the slim side as far as story and text go.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book 379: Tom Thumb, A Living Story Book

Tom Thumb, A Living Story Book, Crown Publishing, 1967

When I was a child, I used to have a few of these Living Story Books -- not Tom Thumb, but others.  Recently, I was trying to find some of the books I had when I was a child, and my six-year-old son was looking over my shoulder.  He decided he needed Tom Thumb.  Since he is sometimes "Tom" at school, I couldn't argue with him.

Tom Thumb was done just as well as the ones I remembered, including The Golden Goose, which I recently replaced.  The story was well told, and the illustrations should appeal to anyone who grew up with Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, like Rudolph and The Little Drummer Boy.  They are right on par with those.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book 378: Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, by Kevin O'Malley, and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley, Carol Heyer, and Scott Goto, Bloomsbury, 2005.

I was a little leery when I first heard of this book, and even when I first began reading it.  I never was a purple-and-pink princess type, and I like motorcycles -- well, I like vintage trucks more -- but I can appreciate a great motorcycle.

The beginning of the book does seem to put the kids in the color-coded toy aisles, but then there a shift, and the story becomes far more interesting.  The two wildly divergent stories merge into one very fun story.

And the artwork for the story again seems to be from two competitive art styles, that, by the end work very well together.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book 377: Albie's First Word

Albie's First Word, written by Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by Wynne Evans, Schwarz & Wade Books, 2014.

I love this beautiful book for so many reasons that I'm making a list.

1.  It's a great and very well-told story.  Every word is perfectly chosen.

2.  It's based on a true story of a very famous person -- Albert Einstein, at around three years of age.

3.  It's a relatable story for kids of preschool and early elementary school age.

4.  In this day and age of constant comparisons, and growth and learning charts, it is a great reminder to parents, especially first-time parents, that every child will develop at his or her own rate.  I have one child, who is now six, and I still need to be reminded.

5.  It's a beautifully, wonderfully illustrated book.  The illustrations are absolutely perfect for the text and story.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book 376: Now We Are Six

Now We Are Six, by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest Shephard, Dutton Children's Book, originally published in 1927.

I love this book.

When I was six, my great-aunt (whom I loved very much) gave me a copy of this book for my birthday.  Over the years, that copy was lost, but not before it was practically read to death.  I didn't remember any specific poems in this, but I've always remembered that I loved it.

Last week, my son, Thomas, turned six.  I gave him this book for his birthday.  Later that evening we read from it, and how perfect was it that we read about Sir Thomas Tom.  I didn't remember Sir Thomas Tom, but there is a good chance that my son will when he gets older.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book 375: Dinosaur vs. Bedtime

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, by Bob Shea, Disney-Hyperion, 2008.

How can you not love this book?  It has everything:  An adorable dinosaur with a wide toothy grin, ROARS on every other page, and a storyline.

This perfect little picture book would appeal to very young listeners of stories, and to beginning readers of stories, and to the parents of both.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book 374: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., illustrated by Sarah Ackerley, Little Pickle Press, 2010.

It is hard to imagine a Kindergarten kid getting excited about a picture book about brains, but my son was very excited about this book.  He was so excited about this book that he picked it out when he earned a free book for reading 100 books in just over a month. (Yeah, my kid uses his brain.)  :)

I didn't read all of the denser writing when I read the book to him tonight, but the lighter text and the illustrations were so engaging that I think my son chose well.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book 373: A Living Story Book The Golden Goose

The Golden Goose, A Living Story Book, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1967

You can't go back to your childhood, but sometimes you can revisit it.  And if you are lucky enough to find a book from your childhood that you read over and over again but has since fallen out of print, you have a passport for revisiting.

This book was such a book.  I was probably about three years old and I was grocery shopping with my mother.  There was a display of books in the grocery story, and this book was one of them.  I was allowed to pick out a book, and I picked this one.  My original copy was lost after many years and many moves, but recently I was able to obtain a copy of this very book.  I read the book to my almost-six-year-old son, and he loved it almost as much as I did.

Incidentally, I grew up to become a children's librarian.  I used to write screenplays using puppets to tell classical fairy tales and other children's stories, so this book may have affected me more than my mother could ever have guessed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book 372: Alpha Bravo Charlie

Alpha Bravo Charlie, by Chris Demarest, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2005.

My Kindergarten son was allowed to dress up for Hallowe'en at his school, as long as it was as a character from a book.  My son wanted to be a pilot, and my first thought was "The Little Prince", but not many Kindergarten students read "The Little Prince".  Then I remembered Chris Demarest.    Chris Demarest is kind of my go-to guy for military-themed books, and mostly because of his amazingly timeless artwork.

My son dressed up as a pilot for the Storybook parade at his school, and he carried this book.   And he loves this book, because it is an alphabet book that features pilots.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book 371: The Aviary Gate

The Aviary Gate, by Katie Hickman, Bloomsbury, 2008.

I found this book at a deep discount.  I read the back cover and then flipped through it to read random passages.  It seemed read-able, and since I knew absolutely nothing about Turkish harems in 1599, and very little about the Ottoman Empire, for that matter, I picked up this book. 

Some years ago, I read an article about how hard it is to write good beginnings. I'm starting to think this is not entirely true. I've read several books lately with good to excellent beginnings, that fell apart in the middle and were disappointments at the end. This is one of them.

This book has a very good, well-researched beginning. In fact, this entire book is obviously well-researched. But that beginning and all that research doesn't quite hold it together, especially when confronted by a rather abrupt and completely unsatisfying ending. This book didn't have to end happily for me to have liked, but it did have to end well.