ages 6 – 9


5M4B disclosure

papa crow

My kids and I can often be seen walking around our yard area trying to pinpoint a songbird up in the trees. There are some calls that are easy for all of us to identify- the American robin’s cheery trill, the blue jay’s jarring calls, and the chickadee’s confident repeating of its own name. Of course, another one most folks can immediately recognize is that of the American crow, though their raucous caws don’t usually convey the same warm feelings as the songbirds. Perhaps after reading Marit Menzin’s picture book Song for Papa Crow, however, children (and parents) may come to have a new appreciation the next time they hear a crow’s caws.

In colorful cut-paper illustrations that convey texture even on the two-dimensional page, the story introduces Little Crow, a young bird frustrated with his own voice. Though he loves to sing, his calls drive away the other songbirds, with whom he’d love to sing. When he’s offered a special, magical seed that allows him to mimic the beautiful melodies of the goldfinch, the cardinal, and the Phoebe Flycatchers, he doesn’t foresee the troubles that come with it. Without his own particular call, how will Papa Crow know where to find him in a time of danger?

I most appreciate the blending of an engaging narrative and story line with interesting facts about various birds that are accessible to even the very youngest readers. (As toddlers, my kids loved sitting on an outdoor bench and watching the bird feeder!) Menzin also provides additional notes at the end of the book with tidbits about each of the types of birds present in the story. I have to admit that I even learned a thing or two!

With summer in full swing, this book makes for a perfect read out on your lawn or in a neighborhood park, with ears at the ready to pick up on any bird calls. I routinely recommend nature-themed picture books, and this one helps children make a connection to the natural world around them with an entertaining story pulling it all together.


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Ready, Freddy! Going Batty

The wee ones love the Ready, Freddy! books. It’s one of the first chapter book series that they started reading, and they felt like such big kids, along with Freddy and his first grade friends. In Ready, Freddy! Going Batty by Abby Klein, Freddy is once again being challenged by the classroom “bully” Max. Freddy has been hearing scraping noises in his attic, which has been keeping him awake at night. As he talks about the monster upstairs on the bus, Max overhears and challenges Freddy to get a picture of the monster that weekend, or else he’s chicken. Of course Freddy can’t back down, but luckily he has his best friend Robbie who volunteers to spend the night and help Freddy track down the monster.
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Hilda and the Black Hound #MMGM

Earlier this year, I was introduced to the Hildafolk series by Luke Pearson. My review of Hilda and the Troll emphasized my adoration of this spunky young character and the adventurous tone of the story in this complex comic book.  What I didn’t realize was that the series had continued with three additional books! Hilda and the Black Hound is the latest, and this fourth in the series has Hilda facing another adventure, of course, with just the amount of pluck and heart readers have come to expect from her. Since the first book in the series, Hilda and her mother have moved away from the Fjords and into the small city of Trolberg. It’s clear that Hilda still misses the wide expanse of the natural world, and
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Kelsey Green, Reading Queen / Annika Riz, Math Whiz #Giveaway

Welcome to Mrs. Molina’s third grade class at Franklin School, a fun group of kids, each with their own ‘thing.’ In the first two books in the series, young chapter book readers are introduced to two girls whose special interests are laid out right in the titles: Kelsey Green, Reading Queen and Annika Riz, Math Whiz. In the first book, Kelsey Green has her nose in a book– many, many books– throughout the story, as she is working hard to both help her class win the school-wide reading contest, as well as to claim the honor of being the student who has read the highest number of books in the entire school. There are some obstacles in her way, though, such as family events that
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TIME for Kids Big Book of When

Kids and their questions. It seems like my children can come out with questions I never would have thought to ask in a million years! I admire their curiosity, and I’m happy that they still see books as resources for finding answers. A new information book full of “801 Facts Kids Want to Know” has caught their attention, answering questions they’ve wondered and providing information to appeal to a wide variety of interests. TIME for Kids: Big Book of When is the kind of book that children will pull out again and again for entertainment (that is educational, too!). Sized like a traditional classroom textbook, this book is way more engaging than I remember any of my old school books to be. Vivid photographs and illustrative maps,
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Fact or Fib?: A Challenging Game of True or False

Combine a trivia game and an informational book, and you’ve got Fact or Fib?: A Challenging Game of True or False. Along with its companion, Fact or Fib? 2, these kid-friendly books provide a fun and educational reading experience for all ages. Their small size (about 5″x7″) make them perfect for popping into a purse or backpack as a time-killer when out and about! On each two-page spread, three statements are given about a variety of topics including animals, dinosaurs, bugs, technology, and many more. Two of the statements are absolutely true, while one is a big old lie. With the next page turn, the facts are revealed and the fib is unveiled, along with a little extra context information about each of the statements. While these
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The Baby Tree #Giveaway

It’s an inevitable rite of parenthood– answering the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” Accomplished author/illustrator Sophie Blackall tackles this question in a beautifully rendered new picture book, The Baby Tree. My eight-year-old daughter and I had a little chat about the book, which we’ve enjoyed reading together, as well as about how she used to think babies originated. Check the video out over on 5 Minutes for Mom, and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself while you’re there! Now, let me tell you that I absolutely love this book. I’m already a huge fan of Blackall’s illustrative style, ink and watercolor pictures with a soft quality that immediately conveys tenderness. In this story, a young boy’s parents tell him that
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Bad Piggies: Piggy Island Heroes

My children adore Angry Birds. It started with the original game, and it has expanded to every conceivable facet of our lives from shirts to stuffed animals to board games and – of course, to books. Bad Piggies: Piggy Island Heroes is the first chapter book that I’ve personally seen starring the Angry Birds characters. This particular book, however, focuses on the pigs instead of the birds, which means the “bad guys” are the heroes. I’m always a little tentative when bad guys are made to be the heroes in any book (or tv show or movie) because I don’t want my own children to emulate them. In this book, however, the bad guys are so obviously still bad and incompetent that I’m not concerned
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5 Awesome Moms in #KidLit {Friday’s Five}

It’s almost Mother’s Day. If you don’t know that, get thee to a greeting card store and a florist or chocolatier or jeweler ASAP. As mothers, we might be campaigning for a whole weekend, not just a day. We thought we’d take this opportunity to honor 5 Awesome Moms who can be found in the pages of some of our favorite children’s books: DAWN If you’ve ever met my kids, it would be no wonder why I identify with moms of feisty kids in children’s literature. Sure, the focus of the story is on the character of the energetic child, but the mom is usually not too far behind in the background, ready to help patch up whatever fiasco is the latest adventure for her
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A Pet for Fly Guy

If you’ve never met Fly Guy and Buzz, the big-eyed friends in Tedd Arnold’s easy reader series, it might be that you have younger children who haven’t yet made the leap to that level of books. With his newest creation, picture book readers can join in the fun, too! A Pet for Fly Guy keeps all the lighthearted fun of the easy reader books in the picture book size and story format. After an opening introduction similar to those found in the other Fly Guy books, the unlikely friendship between young Buzz and his tiny buggy pal takes center stage. Like any friends, they love to hang out and play together, and in this story, they spend the day at the park doing just that. Soon they
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Frozen: The Junior Novelization

This past winter, Frozen, was the hit of the theaters. Everyone saw it, and I’m pretty sure everyone loved it. This is one of those movies you can’t see just once, and I know for a fact that we aren’t the only family who has seen it more than once – and bought the DVD the day it came out. You can’t watch movies every day, however, which is where Frozen: The Junior Novelization comes in handy. The junior novelizations are some of the wee ones’ favorite books. It takes their favorite movies and makes them into bite size version of just over 100 pages that retell the movie so they can relive it over and over even when I’ve said no to watching the actual
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5 Great Poetry Collections for Kids #NationalPoetryMonth

With April being National Poetry month, we had to share some of our favorite poetry collections. Most of these books were sent to us for review in the past, but they continue to stand out in our mind. I (Jennifer) am sharing 3 of my favorites first, and then I turn the list to Dawn, who shares two of her favorites. The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry – This is the first book that always comes to my mind when I think of poetry collections. The combination of new and classic poems and great illustrations is a win-win. Kenn Nesbitt’s The Tighty Whitey Spider- I love funny poetry, as does my son. This is one of mine and my son’s favorites. I Didn’t
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