Tag Archives: Book review

Book Review: Excellent Ed – by Stacy McAnulty

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Excellent Ed
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Date: 2016
Genre: Picture book; preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99
My rating: Enjoyable story showing everyone is excellent 
at something

Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty is an enjoyable and funny read. But more than that, it is encouraging and hopeful.

The Ellis family had many talents. Each child excelled in something, but Ed, their dog, didn’t seem to excel in anything positive.

What the five children did Ed didn’t do in quite the same way. He was not allowed to eat at the table with the rest of the family, or sit on the couch, or use the inside bathroom. And he had to stay home when everyone else left in the van. He just couldn’t understand why. Julia Sarcone-Roach‘s fun illustrations reveal to the reader the reason … one hint – Ed could be quite destructive.

Ed wanted to be excellent too so he would be allowed to do what they did, only he always seemed to make a big troublesome mess of things. Each time he thought of something that maybe would earn him that privilege, one of the children excelled in his or her more acceptable way. Poor Ed began to think he wasn’t good enough to be part of the family! Then one day he was praised for being excellent at something without even trying! It was so easy he didn’t even have to change himself.

The subtle message in Stacy McAnulty‘s Excellent Ed is that we’re all good at something and we are okay just the way we are. It’s a wonderful story with a funny ending, and with great illustrations by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

You can find Excellent Edwritten by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Book Review: I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! – by Karen Beaumont

 

 

 

 

 

Book: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!
Author: Karen Beaumont
Illustrator: David Catrow
Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: April 1, 2005
Genre: Picture book; age 4-7; Gr Preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99, hardcover
My rating: An excellent book in every way!

This is one of the select few picture books I would not want to have missed – ever.

First of all, look at the cover illustration! That child is creating a blissful experience, totally immersed in his art. 🙂

On the inside of the jacket it says “To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” … so I sang it merrily – albeit rather badly – to my dad. And he enjoyed it. Dear man.  :)

This story is hilarious! Karen Beaumont‘s words fit perfectly with the rhythm of the song, and David Catrow‘s illustrations? Oh. My. Gosh. Stunning. Full of expression and colour and fun and hilarity.

The little boy loves painting. The problem is, everything is his canvas. Everything. By the time he has painted the floor and the walls his mother enters the room. “WHAT?” Immediately the paints are put up onto a high closet shelf. Undeterred, he climbs a pile of teetering props – with his little dog nervously watching – and rescues his beloved paints.

This is where the story really kicks in. To the tune of “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”, our little artist begins painting himself, his dog, and everything he missed before. The way Karen Beaumont has each page spread and page turn planned out is so funny with the illustrations. It gives the reader the opportunity to guess what’s coming next and the clue is in the rhyme. Yes, this is a beautiful rhyming book! Right to the very last page there is humour and rhythm. It’s delightful.

Karen Beaumont has other picture books out, and a new one coming this year. You can find I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale – by Penny Parker Klostermann

 

 

 

 

 

Book: A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
Illustrator: Ben Mantle
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: September 5, 2017
Genre: children's picture book
Pages: 40
Price: $17.99 and up
My rating: A very funny story with amusing illustrations 

Penny Parker Klostermann took on the current challenge of mixing up fairy tales and coming out with a fabulous new story. With her new book – A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale – she has succeeded with an added a twist that is both funny and surprising for the reader.

William lived in the land of fairy tales where it was magical and amazing. Even so, William had a problem. He loved to cook, but no matter where he tried to work it just wasn’t a good fit. In one place the main ingredient in the wolf soup was too dangerous, in another his gingerbread men always ran away, and in yet another the customers (in particular, a bear family) were always way too fussy.

William decided to create his own home business. One day he found an order intended for Fairy Tale Headquarters, and he knew he could improve upon the bedtime snacks delivery. What resulted was a catastrophe when he presented his altered menu. For example, the poisoned apple for Snow White was instead a sumptuous Baked Apple with Caramel Drizzle. And what would become of Cinderella whose pumpkin coach was replaced by a delectable pumpkin pie! William has to do something to fix the problem he’d created for everyone.

It’s obvious there was a lot of time and work put into the whole process of creating A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale. Ben Mantle‘s amazing illustrations add wonderful details to Penny Parker Klostermann‘s funny and ingenious story. Cinderella’s expression and posture are particularly hilarious! 

Penny is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, and this book is another wonderful demonstration of her love of humour through her words.

You can find A Cooked-Up Fairy Talewritten by Penny Parker Klostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

Book Review: Are We Pears Yet? – by Miranda Paul

 

 

 

 


Book: Are We Pears Yet?
Author: Miranda Paul
Illustrator: Carin Berger
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Picture book; age 4-8 ; gr. K-3
Pages: 40
Price: $17.99
My rating: a funny & educational story about the growth cycle

Miranda Paul, with her creative imagination, has written a story that’s both amusing and educational in Are We Pears Yet?

Two pear seeds are excited that they will become pears. They love pears. One seed keeps eagerly asking the other, “Are we pears yet?” The other seed seems to know much more about the whole process so explains patiently each time what has to occur first. Soil, rain, sun, cold, a long 2-year nap …   🙂  Then they have to grow into trees, which takes another year! The impatient seeds are getting tired of waiting.

The illustrations cleverly created by Carin Berger present the story in a stage setting. Each scene shows props, stage hands, scene changes .. whatever is required to make the story move along. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.

Eventually – after another two years! – the seeds get to where a final event is about to happen, but the reader’s view is of the two main characters hidden behind a sign that reads: COSTUME CHANGE. When they come out, well … it’s just been such a long wait that it takes some realizing. 

Are We Pears Yet? written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Carin Berger is for everyone to enjoy. It’s fun, entertaining, informative, and quite different, with a chuckle at the very end, too.

You can find Are We Pears Yet?written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Carin Berger – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by featured authors and illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

 

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Book Review: Kindergarten ROCKS! – by Katie Davis

 

 

 

 


Title: Kindergarten ROCKS!
Author/Illustrator: Katie Davis
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: June 1, 2008
Genre: picture book; age 4-7; Preschool - 3
Pages: 32
Price: hardcover: $16-$23; paperback: $8 - $10.40
My rating: enjoyable, entertaining, encouraging for children

Kindergarten ROCKS! by Katie Davis addresses the fear of many children setting off on that first day of school – the anxiety, the worry, the imagined worst-case-scenarios. Dexter has them all.

Dexter is a little boy soon to start kindergarten. Dexter knows all about kindergarten because his older sister Jessica, who is going into grade 3, told him about it. Even so, he’s nervous about it, or rather … his toy blue dog Rufus is worried about it. Jessica encourages her brother not to worry because – kindergarten rocks! Dexter keeps trying to convince himself it’ll be fine, but he takes Rufus along for moral support.

The colourful illustrations – created by the author illustrator, Katie Davis – contribute to the humour of the story. Example: “When we finally got to school, I couldn’t wait to see my classroom.” The illustrations belie what Dexter is saying because in that scene Jessica is pulling Dexter who is strongly resisting.

Much to Dexter’s relief, he discovers he has a friend from pre-school in his class and he soon forgets to be anxious. There are so many fun things to do that Dexter even forgets where he left Rufus. Then he’s worried for a totally other reason and a search ensues.

Told mostly by Dexter himself, Kindergarten ROCKS! is a story young readers and pre-readers will really enjoy. The illustrations fit well with the words to add to the humour and show the child’s angst which is quickly resolved. The images are bright, bold, uncomplicated, and look as if they were created through the use of Crayola crayons which are depicted on one page. And who doesn’t love using Crayolas?

Kindergarten ROCKS! written and illustrated by Katie Davis is a must read book for young children and the adults who read to them. It’s fun, bright, and reassuring.

You can find Kindergarten ROCKS!written and illustrated by Katie Davison my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Book Review: Love, Triangle – by Marcie Colleen

 

 

 

 

 

Title: Love, Triangle
Author: Marcie Colleen
Illustrator: Bob Shea
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date: October 3, 2017
Genre: children's picture book; age 4-8 
Pages: 32
Price: $21.99
My rating: delightfully fun & educational at the same time

Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen makes geometry fun – and it’s not even a math book! Or is it – in disguise?

Marcie Colleen introduces geometry to young readers through her lively characters – Circle, Square, and Triangle. Circle and Square had been friends “ever since they were a dot and a speck.” (Isn’t that a great line?) They were practically inseparable, the best of friends, and appreciated one another for their differences.

Circle and Square’s friendship took on an uncomfortable dimension when Triangle came along. They both wanted Triangle as their own friend and soon their friendship is in danger of collapse. In fighting over Triangle they cause a new problem for Triangle when he attempts to find a way to patch up the friendship between Circle and Square – which is illustrated with humour and play on words.

Marcie Colleen‘s use of language in Love, Triangle is easy and clever. The illustrations by Bob Shea are “spot-on”, amusing and visual of the geometric situations created through the text. His illustrations show geometric shapes for children to discover, and, combined with the text, makes this a wonderful book for classrooms. In fact, because of the benefits (simple geometry, word play, friendship, cooperation, and more) found in this book, Marcie is offering a free cross-curricular guide for teachers HERE.

Children and students are sure to love Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen.

You can find Love, Triangle – written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Bob Shea – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Saving Thunder the Great: the true story – by Leanne Shirtliffe

 

 

 

 


Title: Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil's 
rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire
Author: Leanne Shirtliffe
Illustrator: Georgia Graham
Publisher: Boulder Publications
Date: November 2, 2016
Genre: nonfiction picture book; ages 4-8
Pages: 32, hardcover
Price: $21.95
My rating: A child-friendly telling of a traumatic true event 

Saving Thunder the Great: a true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire, written by Leanne Shirtliffe is a story children will enjoy reading.

It was May 1, 2016, when a fire started outside the northern city of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada.

Jackson was visiting his grandparents in Newfoundland, the farthest eastern province of Canada, and had left his pet gerbil – Thunder the Great – in the care of his mother in Fort McMurray. His mother, Julie, was a young woman working nightshifts, trying to support herself and her son.

On the afternoon of May 3 Julie was wakened by a friend urgently telling her they had to get out of there, the wildfire was spreading so that all 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray had to be evacuated immediately. The fire was moving so quickly she had time only to throw some clothes into a suitcase, grab the gerbil in his cage, and head her car – low on gas – out of the city.

It was a terrifying experience. Along the way Julie stopped to pick up a few people who were walking in the choking smoke and let them out where they needed to go. Julie is the person who took a photo of a woman, Karley, riding her horse and leading her two others to get them out safely. That photo went “viral.” Georgia Graham‘s illustrations makes the reader feel the urgency.

The Fort McMurray wildfires were very dangerous and destructive. Author Leanne Shirtliffe, talked with Julie several times to get her personal story of the events, and through Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire, her story is told on a level suitable for children to read while not ignoring the real-life drama. 

Although the beautiful illustrations by Georgia Graham show how close the fire was to the thousands of people escaping to save their lives, they do not make this book too scary for young readers. Her work is impressive and realistic.

In the back of the book you’ll find two pages of Author’s Notes about Fort McMurray and Julie, who is referred to as Mama through the story. Also, in case you read the publisher’s information on the last page and wonder about it … when I inquired about Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire being listed as a fiction I was informed by the publisher “The book is non-fiction; the cataloguing citation is an error.”

You can find Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire by Leanne Shirtliffe on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂