Tag Archives: Book review

Book Review: There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight – by Penny Parker Klostermann

 

 

 

 

 

Book: There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight
Author: Penny Parker Klostermann
Illustrator: Ben Mantle
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: children's picture book; pre-school-2; age 3-7
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99
My rating: A very fun twist on an old nursery rhyme

 

I’m sure you know the nursery rhyme that starts with “there was an old woman who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly … ”  And I’m sure you’ve heard several variations of that rhyme. Well, if you haven’t read this one you really must treat yourself to this book.

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann is a very entertaining story. She substituted the woman with a dragon and the fly with a knight. That in itself is funny, but when you see the illustrations it’s quite hilarious combined with the story-telling.

Penny‘s rhyming is fun to read and even to sing-along to, which – yes, I did, just to see how it sounded, you understand. (The rhythm is great, by the way.) She has the dragon swallowing the knight, then the knight’s royal steed – clippity, clippity, clippity, clopping around which became quite annoying to the dragon, the squire with his pants on fire, the cook with his recipe book, and more characters until he even swallowed the castle. Oh my! That was too much. The dragon had the realization he was being impolite and … well, you have to read it.  🙂  The ending has a surprise twist to it, too.

The illustrations by Ben Mantle are beautiful. The characters’ expressions and actions are so funny and in vivid rich colour. Each time I read There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight it makes me snicker, so I expect for children it’s so much fun to read and examine the pictures.

You can find There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann on my BUY THE BOOK page.

I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Advertisements

Book Review: The Darkest Dark – by Chris Hadfield, astronaut

 

 

 

 






Book: The Darkest Dark
Author: Astronaut Chris Hadfield with Kate Fillion
Illustrators: The Fan Brothers, Terry and Eric 
Publisher: Tundra Books (a division of Random House)
Date: September 13, 2016
Genre: children's picture book; pre-school-3; ages 4-8
Pages: 48; hardcover
Price: $17.99
My Rating: An excellent book to encourage children to dream
big and conquer their fears

I was very happy to win from Library Thing a copy of The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield. This is my honest review.

The Darkest Dark is a non-fiction picture book written by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield – with Kate Fillion – about his dream of being an astronaut from the time he was a little boy.

Chris loved to pretend play that he was an astronaut. It was something he imagined most of the time and dreamed about at night.

It was summer vacation when the moon landing was shown on TV on July 20, 1969,  so Chris and his family went to a neighbour’s cottage to watch it. Chris was amazed to see real astronauts walking on our moon. It was then that he realized that outer space is the darkest dark there is, and he knew he had a problem. He was afraid of the dark. How could he be an astronaut if he was afraid of the dark?

That night Chris did an experiment. Instead of waking his parents or leaving his nightlight on he sat in the dark. Before that day he was afraid of any dark shadows and he imagined aliens in his room, but that night something was different. Nothing around him had changed, but Chris had changed. He realized the beauty of the dark sky and he made the decision to overcome his fear so that he could be what he most wanted … an astronaut.

This is a wonderfully told story about Chris Hadfield‘s childhood dream and his fear, the moment his life changed, and that dreams can come true. It is an encouraging story for children – anyone, really – who have hopes and dreams but fear stands in the way.

The Darkest Dark has gorgeous illustrations by The Fan Brothers, Terry and Eric. The pictures are mostly dark, which suit the story very well.

You can find The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Tadeo Turtle – by Janis Cox

tadeo-turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Tadeo Turtle
Author/Illustrator: Janis Cox
Publisher: Word Alive Press
Date: 2012
Genre: Children's picture book; ages 2-6
Pages: 24
Price: $12.25, paperback
My rating: A lovely book encouraging children to 
accept themselves

 

I won this book and agreed to write my honest review of it.

Tadeo Turtle by Janis Cox (Canadian author and retired school teacher) is an engaging story about a turtle not satisfied with how he was made.  He didn’t know the Scripture (quoted at the beginning of the book) from Psalm 139:13-14 that can be applied, in part, to his situation – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.” – New Living Translation

Tadeo (pronounced TAD-ay-OH) was a cheerful little painted turtle who loved to play. One day he met a squirrel who could run up trees, and Tadeo became sad because he couldn’t do that. Tadeo wished he didn’t have a shell that he thought was a hindrance to him.

One night he dreamed that he was free of his shell so that he could run and climb, too. Tadeo was happy about that until a cat spied him and thought he was a rat. Poor Tadeo. He tried to hide among the rocks, and then found one that smelled like home. It was his shell that looked like a rock! It was then that Tadeo realized how safe he was inside his shell, just as God intended.

This is a fun story in rhyme. The rhyme doesn’t quite make the cut in some places, but it’s not enough to throw the reader out of the story. Janis Cox illustrated her story beautifully. I especially like the face of the cat, and the colours Janis chose throughout the story are very pleasing to the eye.

Isn’t this beautiful? I’m showing this image by permission of Janis Cox, the author/illustrator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the back of the book, the author included an activities section with instructions for children on how to make a paper plate turtle, a dough turtle, a rock turtle, and a felt board with pieces to make a turtle, rocks, and water. The author has not left her teaching experience behind as this book is a great tool in a classroom.

Janis Cox also included a research page with links to how to learn more about different turtles, and other interesting information. Tadeo Turtle is a book children will enjoy.

You can find Tadeo Turtle by Janis Cox on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Chapters.Indigo, and Goodreads.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow – by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton

the-very-fairy-princess-sparkles-in-the-snow

 

 

 

 


Book: The Very Fairy Princess: 
        Sparkles in the Snow
Authors: Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Date: October 15, 2013
Genre: children's picture book
Pages: 32
Price: $18 - $20
My rating: delightful story that will encourage young readers

The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow was written by mother-daughter team, the famous Julie Andrews and her accomplished daughter Emma Walton Hamilton.

Geraldine is a little girl who believes in her heart that she is a fairy princess. She wears her tiara all the time and is cheerful and helpful (most of the time) because she has a SPARKLY feeling inside.

Gerry is excited because they are having a Winter Wonderland Festival at school. The best part is the concert when she gets to sing with the chorus.  She does everything she can to impress their music teacher so he will be persuaded  to select her as the one to sing the solo. When he announces that there is a professional singer coming to be the soloist Gerry is very disappointed.

The day of the concert is a snowy one – just right for a Winter Wonderland – and that cheers up the fairy princess. She and her family get ready to go to the school as she warms up her voice. When they finally arrive through the storm the music teacher, Mr. Higginbottom, tells them the storm has prevented the soloist from making it to the concert. He has to make a decision. That’s when Gerry discovers she’s forgotten her shoes! (She does something very creative, which, apparently, is something the author, Julie Andrews, did as a child to remedy a similar situation.)

Here are some of Geraldine’s rules of life as a fairy princess:

  • try to spread joy and wonder whenever and wherever you can
  • take a frown and turn it upside down
  • always be well prepared
  • always be happy to lend a hand in a crisis

The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow is entertaining, realistic, and funny in the right places. It’s easy to read and holds the reader’s attention. Children will be encouraged to believe in themselves and to have a positive attitude. (Personally, I believe this book is especially helpful to little girls who often feel insignificant.)

The illustrations by Christine Davenier are delightful and so precisely capture the heart of the story. Through the descriptive artwork the reader is given a rounded-out view of the story so that the main character is understood even better.

You can find The Very Fairy Princess: Sparkles in the Snow by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: One Plastic Bag – by Miranda Paul

one-plastic-bag

 

 

 

 

 

Book: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling 
Women of the Gambia
Author: Miranda Paul
Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Date: 2015
Genre: children's; age 6-9; gr 1-4
Pages: 32
Price: $19.99
My rating: True story superbly told for children to 
understand its importance

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia was written by Miranda Paul after hearing about this success story and doing extensive research to get it just right.

This is a true story, simplified for the sake of the genre. However, even simplified it is a dramatic and very impressive story of change.

In 1970 Isatou is born in Gambia. She grows up seeing, and then using, plastic bags that seem to be more convenient to use than the handmade baskets she used for carrying things. The problem is the plastic bags, when no longer useful, do not degrade and mix back into the earth like the baskets. They become an unmanageable, unhealthy, dangerous accumulation of garbage in the village and surrounding villages. The plastic bags make it hard for the villagers’ gardens to produce, they strangle the animals necessary to households, and they cause disease. No one knows what to do with the bags once they are no longer useful.

One day Isatou gathers up some of the smelly bags and takes them home. She and some other women wash them and, while they are drying on the line, Isatou watches her sister crocheting. She asks her sister to teach her, and then Isatou comes up with an idea. Secretly, she and a few other women get busy evolving the old plastic bags into useful things – until their impact is noticed over a year later and cannot remain a secret.

One Plastic Bag is a story about how Isatou and her friends make a difference in the world through their recycling efforts. It’s a remarkable accomplishment with very positive environmental results.

Elizabeth Zunon illustrated One Plastic Bag by using her skill of collage. Her work is stunning.

Actual photos are included of the women in the story.

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul is a story that will help to bring awareness to young readers. One person CAN make a difference.

You can find One Plastic Bag on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Book Review: Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse – by Lila Hope-Simpson

fiddles-and-spoons

 

 

 




Book: Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse
Author: Lila Hope-Simpson
Illustrator: Doretta Groenendyk
Publisher: DPG: Dery Publishing Group
Date: 2004
Genre: children's historical fiction; age 5-9, gr K-4
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95
My rating: historical event wonderfully-told for children

This is one of the beautiful books I purchased at the children’s book fair in 2016, although my copy has a different cover, as you see below. Apparently, the image above is the newer edition which includes more illustrations.

fiddles-spoons-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse is written by Canadian author Lila Hope-Simpson, who, in fact, lives only a few miles from me. Illustrator Doretta Groenendyk is also a local artist.

First of all, look at this dedication – which seems very suited to the times we are living in – that she wrote in her book:  This book is dedicated to uprooted people from every place and time, whose spirits have proven that after adversity, life goes on.       And sometimes, there is even dancing.

Fiddles & Spoons is a historical fiction, fanciful for the child reader. This story is about a mouse family, the expulsion of the Acadians, and the will to survive.

In the small Acadian village of Grand Pré in Nova Scotia, Canada, life was good. Families worked hard to keep their village functioning and to make a life they could be proud of. The men built sturdy dykes to hold back the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy, creating very fertile farmland along the coast – and those dykes are still there doing what they were intended to do.

Under the floorboards of the homestead of the hardworking Dubois family lived the Souris mouse family. They feasted on the crumbs that fell down through,  particularly enjoying Saturday nights when everyone danced and played their fiddles and spoons.

One night in 1755 it all changed. Soldiers marched in and separated the men from the women and children. Mama Souris was determined to not leave the Dubois family, so she and her family scurried along near the feet of all the people being forced onto boats. It was a long rugged trip until they finally arrived in a new land and were reunited with their loved ones. From there they had to start over. 

Lila Hope-Simpson told this story of an important historical event in a wonderful way, introducing children – and perhaps adult readers – to the Expulsion of the Acadians, which is a memorable part of local, and far-reaching, history. It is not heavy-handed so as to include lurid details of the atrocities committed against an honest, God-fearing people. On the other hand it is not overly gently told so that the drama cannot be felt and understood. 

Doretta Groenendyk‘s illustrations are colourful, playful, effective. I especially like the scenes of Minas Basin and Cape Blomidon which are very familiar to me.

You can find Fiddles & Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse on my BUY THE BOOK page. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

Book Review: The Princess and the Frogs – by Veronica Bartles

the-princess-and-the-frogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book: The Princess and the Frogs
Author: Veronica Bartles
Illustrator: Sara Palacios
Publisher: Balzer + Bray of HarperCollins Publishers
Date: November 15, 2016
Genre: picture book; 4-8 yr, preschool to gr 3 
Pages: 40
Price: $17.99
My rating: such a great example of "girl power"

You know the saying, sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. Well, this little princess just wanted the frog.

The Princess and the Frogs, written by Veronica Bartles, is a clever twist on the Princess and the Frog fairy tale. This little princess wanted a pet that would be her best  friend. It was hard for the Royal Pet Handler to find one to match her specifications – one that liked to swim and play and jump all day, one that would match her green dress and at night would sit on her pillow and sing to her. Finally it was decided that a frog would be the perfect pet.

Princess Cassandra was so happy and everything was fantastic until, in her delight, she kissed the frog. Well, you know what happens in fairy tales when the princess kisses the frog. Yep! She had herself a prince. That was NOT what Princess Cassandra wanted! She put the prince to work in her castle and the Royal Pet Handler had to find another frog for her. Alas, the same thing happened! Several times.

This story is beautifully illustrated by Sara Palacios. The little princess either wears her running shoes or goes barefoot and is always in her tiara and eyeglasses. She is a determined and smart little girl, making the Princess and the Frogs a delightfully funny story with an empowered female main character.

You can find The Princess and the Frogs on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂