ages 6 – 9



                               

5M4B disclosure

Mr-Tweeds-Good-Deeds

Mr. Tweed is a smartly dressed dog who is heading out for his daily walk. With his dapper suit jacket, striped trousers, walking stick, and extremely tall stovepipe hat, he looks like quite the character. Soon, he reveals himself as a kind friend as he bumps into neighbor after neighbor in need of assistance. Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds by Jim Stoten tells the story of this helpful dog, in a picture book that is part narrative, part counting book, and part ‘look-and-find’ activity book.

Each friend that Mr. Tweed assists is looking for an increasing number of items or creatures- one kite, two kittens, three mice, in that type of pattern. After the missing object is declared, readers are invited to search for them on the following two-page spread that is void of words, but absolutely full of wacky and whimsical illustrations. The town in which Mr. Tweed resides is comprised of a diverse community of anthropomorphic animals living side by side with humans, adding to the whimsy of the book as a whole. The pages on which the objects must be found are busy with interesting illustrations that will likely elicit many “look at that!” exclamations from young children.

Mr. Tweed verbalizes his growing positive feelings about helping others as the book progresses, and in the end, his community recognizes his kindness in a lovely way. Combining a story line with the ‘look-and-find’ aspect makes for an interactive reading experience between adults and pre-reader children. As far as the illustrations, they’re certainly not what you typically see in picture books, and I can’t help but describe them as similar to the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine style– a bit psychedelic with splashes of a wide variety of colors.

I like that this book stands out among picture books with its individualistic style, and many children love the appeal of searching for hidden illustrations. Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds provides a fun reading experience with a unique visual appeal.



                               

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A Collection of Oxford Children’s Classics

The thing with the classics is that you grow up with them, and you love them, and by the time you’re ready to pass them on to your own kids, they are tattered and dog-eared and too-much-loved, and that’s if you’ve managed to hang on to them and not lost them in one of your many moves. It’s time for new versions, and Oxford University Press is obliging by coming out with new editions of all your old favorites. And they are delightful; they contain the original unabridged stories, of course, but also bonus material such as quizzes, reading recommendations, fun and unusual facts about the author, and more. I chose four to look at, but they’re coming out with many more. With these reviews,
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Little Humans #Giveaway

Fans of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York have likely heard about his newest book focusing on young subjects from his NYC photography project. Little Humans, which is already receiving tons of publicity and positive reviews, made me smile, too. A celebration of childhood through simple, encouraging text and gorgeous photographs of young kids, this book is a delight to look at whether you’re little or not. To hear more of my thoughts on this book, please read my full review over on 5 Minutes for Mom, where you can enter to win a copy of both this beautiful picture book and a Little Humans poster.
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Treasury of Bible Stories: Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times

When my kids were younger, I was always on the look-out for good collections of Bible stories. I had the ones I liked, and there were some gifted to us that gradually found their way to a thrift store. I’m fussy–I like the stories to be accurate and the pictures to be good. (No blondes, for example. I have nothing against blondes; I am one myself and I am mum to 2 of them as well. But the ancient Middle East wasn’t overly populated with them.) Magnificent Tales’ Treasury of Bible Stories is a worthy new addition for those of you wanting to add some Bible knowledge to your kids’ lives. Author Kelly Pulley has taken many of most beloved tales from both Old and
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Children’s Activity Atlas #Giveaway

Combining information and entertainment in an interactive format, the new Children’s Activity Atlas by Jenny Slater and illustrated by Katrin Wiehle and Martin Sanders becomes the rare resource that a child will want to look at just for fun. The interactivity comes into play with over 250 stickers to place in correct places throughout the book, as well as in the mini-passport book included in the inside cover in which children can record information that they’ve learned from the atlas by answering quiz questions. The presentation of this book brings countries to life in attractive illustrations and interesting information that will give children a beginning insight to the areas of the world they’ve likely never seen. Please see my complete review over on 5 Minutes for Mom, where
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The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over

Julie Sternberg, author of Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and its two sequels (linked to my reviews), writes books for the younger middle grade readers, with shorter chapters and expressive characters who represent the 8-10 year old age extremely well. My own third grade daughter was thrilled when I told her that Sternberg has started a new series. The first book, The Top-Secret Diary of Celie Valentine: Friendship Over introduces another lovable young girl trying to work through a highly-relatable experience. Friendship in childhood can be filled with ups and downs, and ten-year-old Celie is currently low down because her (former) best friend Lula suddenly stopped speaking to her. No explanation, no reason that Celie can think of. Having to see her every day at
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What’s New from Pete the Cat

I remember when I first came across Pete the Cat. I liked the bold colors and simple repetitive story lines, but I’m not sure that I get the phenomenal success he’s achieved. I volunteer in my son’s library, and these books are hugely popular from Kindergarten on up to 2nd or 3rd graders. These books are all simple and colorful. They don’t really need much more of an explanation. If you haven’t looked at them before, you can check out some of my more detailed reviews of the other titles in the related items below. Pete the Cat: A Pet for Pete (My First I Can Read) Pete the Cat’s Super Cool Reading Collection Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Pete the Cat and
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Frank!

With a seemingly realistic backdrop and a human-like bear as the main character, Frank! by Connah Brecon weaves an imaginatively wild story filled with bizarre happenings. Notorious for always being late, Frank’s trouble really starts when he begins school. It’s not because he’s careless, or even because he takes his time getting moving. No, Frank is never on time because he always seems to stumble into situations while he’s on his way somewhere, and because of his kind nature, he is compelled to offer assistance. Does he come upon elderly people who need help crossing the street, or children at play whose ball rolls into the street? Well, not exactly. While one scenario does involve a cat stuck in a tree, the other reasons Frank gives for
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5 Books for Back to School {Friday’s Five}

I know just about all kids are already back to school but it’s never too late for some good back-to-school books.   This list is geared for the younger set who may be nervous about starting preschool or kindergarten but are also a good refresher for those who are a little older. Pre-School (ages 3-5): How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague. As with the other “How Do Dinosaurs” books, this one shows what dinosaurs should and shouldn’t do at school, some of which are funny and ridiculous. These books would be preachy if they weren’t so well done. Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner, illustrated by Andy Rash.  I reviewed this book, as well as “Sea Monster and
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Monkey Me books 3 and 4

Thanks to Scholastic, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the first two books in the “Monkey Me” Branches series by Timothy Roland – Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey and Monkey Me and the Pet Show.  Branches is “a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book.”  My now second grader is reading on a third grade level, so he’s beyond the target audience, yet he still loves these books about a hyper boy who transforms into a monkey when he gets excited.  Since I somehow misplaced the third book when I received it a few months ago, and the final book comes
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Calvin, Look Out!: A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses

A few years ago, I became enamored with a little starling named Calvin, a book-loving bird who skipped flying lessons in favor of trips to the library and more time immersed in a book. Jennifer Berne’s Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie became a much loved read aloud in my preschool classroom, and it remains a favorite of my own children to this day. Imagine my excitement when I saw that Berne had collaborated with illustrator Keith Bendis once again to bring a new Calvin story to the shelves. Calvin, Look Out! A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses gives the gist of the book’s tale right there in the title, but be prepared for a little silly adventure in the process, of course. When Calvin
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Kindergarten, Planes, and Sea Bears from Chronicle Books

Planes Go by Steve Light is a highly appealing book for the youngest of booklovers. I have to enumerate what I love: I love board books, but this one is unique because of its size, 12 x 6 inches. Fun sound words like “wheeeevvrrruuhmmm,” “huk, huk, huk, wwwhhhiiirr,” “bbbrrrrmmmmmm.” Bright pictures and a fun font make each page exciting. The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud is another uniquely-sized book, at 14.5 x 9.8 inches. It has an old-fashioned busy style of illustration which takes up the majority of the page,inviting readers to find Little Bear on each page, as Papa Bear is looking for him as well. The scenes are diverse, from snow to sand to sea. Planet Kindergarten equates starting Kindergarten to a
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