Picture Book Review: Little Robin’s Christmas

Little Robin's Christmas by Jan Fearnley
Little Robin’s Christmas
by Jan Fearnley

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Little Robin has seven beautiful vests to keep him warm in the winter, but he gives them away to animals who are freezing in the snow, until on Christmas Eve he only has one vest left. He meets a lonely mouse who is shivering in the cold, and gives away his last vest. Now Little Robin will be frozen, unless a certain jolly fellow in a red coat can find this generous bird and give him the most precious Christmas gift of all.

Little Robin is such a sweet and generous little guy! He meets a lot of different animals struggling to stay warm in the snow and ice of the winter, and thoughtfully offers them a knitted vest to keep them warm and cozy. Continue reading

School Workbook Reviews: Phonics, Handwriting, Sight Words, Kindergarten, and First Grade

Reviews of FIVE workbooks for children to learn Reading, Writing, and Basic Math during Pre-K, Kindergarten, and First Grade.  Keep reading to see all Five workbooks!
My First Learn to Write Workbook by Crystal Radke
My First Learn to Write Workbook: Practice for Kids with Pen Control, Line Tracing, Letters, and More!
by Crystal Radke

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This adorable book is the perfect way to teach children to write their letters and numbers. Starting with the simplest tracing of lines and shapes, this book provides pages of writing practice for little fingers all through the alphabet and numbers. There is even a Certificate of Completion at the back of the book!

The colorful illustrations will engage the attention of young writers, and there are games and simple puzzles to solve. The lines for tracing are large, so that a child could use a crayon or marker in the beginning as they learn to trace the lines and hold a pencil correctly. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner

Don't Read This Book Before Dinner by Anna Claybourne
Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner: Revoltingly True Tales of Foul Food, Icky Animals, Horrible History, and More (Don’t Read This Book)
by Anna Claybourne, National Geographic Society (Contributor)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Have you ever wondered how much mucus your sinuses make every day? Or what types of insects various cultures around the world consider to be delicious cuisine? Or how much pee rodents are leaving in the walls of your house? Wonder no more, because this book covers a multitude of disgusting and disturbing facts about the gross things of the world.

With sections about rats, toads, plants, insects, germs, food, mold, skunks, mummies, and dozens more, this book will definitely gross you out! Heed the warnings, and do NOT read it before eating! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: One Wild Christmas

One Wild Christmas by Nicholas Oldland
One Wild Christmas
by Nicholas Oldland

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

A bear, a moose, and a beaver all come together to celebrate Christmas. The moose loves to bake and cooks a fabulous holiday meal for the friends. The beaver is especially good at decorating and puts up twinkle lights. The bear does the heavy lifting, piling up massive armfuls of presents and gifts for everyone.
They search for the perfect Christmas tree to cut down and bring home, but the bear loves all living trees and will not allow his friends to cut down any trees! Will Christmas be ruined without a Christmas tree to decorate?

I loved this book! The characters are so cute. The storyline is interesting and imaginative, and the writing is charming and simple for young readers. The story made me smile! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Maisy’s Christmas Party

Maisy's Christmas Party by Lucy Cousins
Maisy’s Christmas Party: With 6 Festive Letters and Secret Surprises!
by Lucy Cousins

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Maisy is inviting all her friends to a Christmas Party, and they each reply with a special letter. Eddie sends Maisy a little calendar to count down the days until the party. Cyril sends her a recipe for gingerbread. Tallulah sends Maisy a star to put on her tree. Charley includes a joke book with his letter, and Maisy laughs and laughs at his jokes. Finally, it’s the day of the party, and the friends have a good time together.

This is such a special Christmas book, with pockets for each of the letters the friends send to Maisy. Inside each envelope/pocket is a letter and a different decoration, recipe, or tiny booklet. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book: My Preschool Workbook

My Preschool Workbook by Brittany Lynch
My Preschool Workbook: 101 Games & Activities that Prepare Your Child for School
by Brittany Lynch

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This workbook has games, coloring pages, and activities to help little ones learn their colors, numbers, alphabet, and basic shapes. Including simple puzzles and challenges, this book teaches children that learning is fun, and coordinates with basic lessons they will be learning in preschool and kindergarten.

There are tracing pages to help little fingers learn how to draw letters and numbers. There are connect-the-dot games and matching games to get them thinking with logic, and to improve their memory. Moving from identifying basic colors into finally reading small words, there are even sections about rhyming words, and counting the syllables in a word. The pages gradually teach the reader their colors, shapes, numbers, alphabet, and simple spelling as they grow throughout the school year. Continue reading

Book Review: The Magic Christmas Ornament

The Magic Christmas Ornament by James Barbato
The Magic Christmas Ornament
by James and Victoria Barbato (Authors) Joe Huffman (Illustrator)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Three siblings hear the story about how their father found a magic ornament when he was a boy. When they examine the ornament on Christmas Eve, the children are whisked away to Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, where they play with toys and meet Santa’s elves. They are given an ornament off Santa’s own Christmas tree, and they return home full of the joy of Christmas.

The writing is good, but has a stiff style, especially in the dialogue. It doesn’t flow as well as it could, but it’s not bad. The story is interesting, but rather simple. There isn’t anything particularly memorable or special in the plot, but it is a sweet story.

The illustrations really bothered me.

Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: Code This!

Code This! by Jennifer Szymanski
Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You
by  Jennifer SzymanskiCarlos Bueno 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This fascinating book teaches children the concepts and ideas behind computer programming, and provides simple coding problems to be solved. The challenges include activities, games, and crafts that can be completed to solve the puzzles, as the reader learns computer coding approaches like binary code, directions, algorithms, loops of code, debugging when there is a problem, and optimizing the commands given to the program. Using logic and simple commands, the reader learns to understand the basic structure of a computer program. Continue reading

NonFiction Review: Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture

National Geographic Kids Encyclopedia of American Indian Hist... by Cynthia O'Brien
Encyclopedia of American Indian History and Culture
by Cynthia O’Brien

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book lists the major characteristics and customs of over 160 Native American tribes, dedicating one or two pages to each tribe and including illustrations and photographs, both of historic cultures and modern people.

The book is grouped by region, showing how the environment and climate shaped their culture and livelihood. Time lines demonstrate the changes and historic events that developed their societies.
Each region section has a tribal story that is a part of that culture’s traditions and beliefs.

Continue reading

Book Review: Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake

Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake by Hugh Lofting
Doctor Dolittle And The Secret Lake
by Hugh Lofting

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Doctor Dolittle returns to the Secret Lake hidden in the depths of Africa to interview the oldest living animal, a massive turtle named Mudface. His journey is perilous, but he has his trusty animals by his side. With the help of Chee-chee, Polynesia, Dab-Dab, Cheapside, Gub-Gub, Jip, and his faithful assistant Tommy Stubbins, the Doctor travels through swamps and jungles to find the old turtle and hear the story of the Flood.

I loved the plot in this one! The first part of the book is taken up with the Doctor’s preparations for the journey to Africa, and then his travels to get inland from the African coast to the Secret Lake. Once they find Mudface, the rest of the book chronicles his adventurous story about Noah and surviving the Great Flood.

The writing is charming and hilarious! The animals are all so funny and full of life, and the ridiculous situations are interesting. I’m amazed at how imaginative all of the Dolittle stories are, and the books never seem to run out of wild material for an adventure.