Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book 393: He's Just Not That Into You

He's Just Not That Into You, by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, Simon Spotlight, 2004.

I've been married, more or less happily, for a little over ten years now, so this book wasn't especially relevant to my life now.  I did, however, date for about twenty years before I got married, and I WISH this book had been around then.

Yes, the advice is simplistic and fairly obvious, but that doesn't mean that single women don't need to hear, or rather, read it.  I wasted a lot of time making excuses for the men I was dating.  It was very hard for me to be a single women when I was in my 30s, so I understand the excuses very well, but I did myself, nor the men, any favors by making the excuses.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book 392: Over the Rainbow

Over the Rainbow, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, 2013, Imagine Books

We checked this book out of the library about two weeks ago, so we didn't listen to the CD. Instead, I just sang the text to my six-year-old son. 

The next morning, my son, without the book, starting making his own illustrations for Over the Rainbow. That was when I ordered him his own copy of this book. 

I am so in love with Eric Puybaret's gorgeous and whimsical illustrations -- I'm pretty sure that before long we will end up owning every book he has illustrated. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Book 391: The Night Before Christmas (Eric Puybaret)

The Night Before Christmas, story by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, Imagine/Peter Yarrow Books, 2010.

It's the day after Christmas and I'm reviewing The NIght Before Christmas, because that's just how I work.

I won't say anything about the text because it is perfect and everyone knows it.  The CD recording with this particular edition of the story was great and really fun to listen to.  The illustrations, however, are why I bought this version of the book (we own at least three others).

The illustrations in this version of the story are pure magic.  They are whimsical.  They are beautiful.  They are elegant.  They are SO very French.  Eric Puybaret's work only just recently popped up on my radar, but I definitely will be buying more books that he has illustrated.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Book 390: Little Critter's Little Red Riding Hood

Little Critter's Little Red Riding Hood, by Mercer Mayer, Random House, 1991.

This is a slightly funnier, slightly gentler version of the classic Grimm's fairy tale -- at least the wolf survived, and nobody else was eaten.  And, as a bonus, it is a lift-the-flap book, so that means even more Mercer Mayer illustrations.

I bought my version through the Kohl's Cares program, so it was a great price, and for a good cause.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book 389: Questions and Answers about Animal World

Questions and Answers about Animal World, Capelli, 2008.

This book is great for beginning readers, who are young enough to ask the questions in this book and old enough to understand the answers.

There are some really great photographs in this book for any kid who is interested in the natural world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book 388: Little Critter's Hansel and Gretel

Little Critter's Hansel and Gretel, by Mercer Mayer, Random House, 2010.

Again, three reasons to buy this book:

1. Little Critter

2. Lift-the-Flap

3. Fairy Tale. 

Add in the fact it was part of the Kohl's Cares program a while ago, that would be a fourth reason. 

I like how Mercer Mayer managed to stay true to the feel of the original while injecting humor, extracting goriness, and making the father's character a whole lot better. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book 387: Steam Train, Dream Train

Steam Train, Dream Train, by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, Chronicle Books, 2013.

I bought this book for my six-year-old son for Christmas because there was a train, a giraffe, and a monkey on the cover -- in that order. I also bought it because I know a little of Rinker's writing. 

I can't comment on how much my son likes this book until after Christmas, but I loved it. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book 386: When We Were Very Young

When We Were Very Young, by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, Dutton Books, originally published in 1924.

Last month, for his sixth birthday, I gave my son Now We Are Six.  It seemed to make sense to get him When We Were Very Young for Christmas this year.

Again, I had a copy of this book as a child.  It was given to me by someone I loved very much.  I read the book to death.  I loved the book to death.  And I look forward to reliving my memories, and creating new ones, with my son.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book 385: Little Critter Jack and the Beanstalk

Little Critter Jack and the Beanstalk, by Mercer Mayer, Sterling House Publishing, 2010.

I bought this book for my six-year-old son for a few reasons:

1.  It is a Mercer Mayer Little Critter book.

2.  It is a lift-the-flap book.

3.  It is a retelling of a classic fairy tale, one that he especially likes.

4.  He can read most of the words.

5.  It was offered through the Kohl's Cares program.

Five very excellent reasons for a book that cost me $5.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Book 384: Ralph Masiello's Robot Drawing Book

Ralph Masiello's Robot Drawing Book, by Ralph Masiello, Charlesbridge, 2011.

Christmas is less than three weeks away, so I'm writing about books that would make awesome gifts.

I love these "How to draw" books by Ralph Masiello.  Here is why:

First of all, because Masiello himself CAN draw -- amazingly well, in fact.  He is a remarkably gifted artist.

Second, Masiello breaks the drawings down into steps that a five- or six-year-old (active) boy can follow.  And by following the steps, my little boy has created some pretty great drawings.

Third, this particular book is about robots.  Robots!  Who doesn't love robots?  Who wouldn't want to create or at least draw his very own robot?  Pretty much every five- or six-year-old boy I know would.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Book 383: The Chaperone

The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty, Riverhead Books, 2012.

I had read about this book about two years ago in a favorable review, so, when I found a copy at a local thrift store recently, I bought it.

I'll start off with what I like about the book.  The writing is deft and engaging.  The reader may not end up liking any of the main characters, but at least they, too, are engaging.  Because Cora was so long-lifed, this book does encompass many of the changing social mores in the US.

Cora being so long-lifed was also the problem with this book.  This book could have ended in 1942 and been complete with just a footnote about Brookes' book.  Instead, the book plodded forwarded, skipping over entire decades in a single breath at times, but somehow still managing to move at rather a ponderous rate.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book 382: A Living Story Book Jack and the Beanstalk

A Living Story Book Jack and the Beanstalk, Crown Publisher, 1962.

It all started on my quest to find The Golden Goose book that I used to own as a child.  I did find The Golden Goose, but along the way, I stumbled over Tom Thumb and Jack and the Beanstalk.  When my son saw the photos of the book, he decided right then and there he needed those books, too.  So I bought all three.

Just like The Golden Goose book that I so fondly remembered from so long ago, this book, although sometimes described as being illustrated using puppets, is more akin with Rankin/Bass productions than the kind of creepy puppets in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood.  (I loved Mr. Rogers, but the puppets scared me.)

The story is competently told, but it is the illustrations that elevate this book from ordinary to extraordinary.  Just look at that cover!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book 381: Rhinoceros Tap

Rhinoceros Tap, by Sandra Boynton, Workman Publishing, 1996.

I bought this book because I love my son.  Really.

This book and the CD are SO ridiculous I can hardly stand it.  Which, of course, is exactly why they have been among my son's favorites for over three years.

If you love the ridiculous, over-the-top style of Sandra Boynton, you NEED this book.  And I will say, that for as silly as the lyrics are, the music is surprisingly sophisticated, and features some very talented singers.