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Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon

Looking for Love in All The Ice Places

Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon
Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon, Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013.

Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon (Walker Books for Young Readers, $14.99; eBook $6.99, Ages 3-6), is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey.

The adventures of penguins and puffins will warm your heart in this cozy, kooky story about a perfect pair of thoughtful friends. Fans of Yoon’s Penguin series (Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation) will cheer with delight to read her newest yarn, spinning Penguin’s tale across oceans, ice floes and mountain tops.

When Penguin isn’t knitting, he is usually discovering curious objects and exploring faraway lands.  In this adventure, he finds a lost mitten on the ice, but cannot find its owner. He stitches up a new mate, but offers it to a chilled puffin. Then Penguin and his friend Bootsy begin giving away warm knitwear to various cold creatures until they run out of yarn. The puffins hatch a clever plan, leaving Penguin and Bootsy to follow a wooly trail of adventure.

Yoon’s simple text is perfect for the youngest listeners to follow. She blends short dialogue and humorous asides into the bright images. Parents could read these aloud as desired, thus breaking up the story narrative with a lighthearted tone.  

Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon interior image
Interior image from Penguin in Love, written and illustrated by Salina Yoon,
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013.

The cuddly penguins and huggable arctic critters are thickly outlined in black with bold colored accents. The genius of Yoon’s illustration is the tiny clues and themes woven seamlessly throughout.  The penguins’ yarn swirls across the page in sweet heart-shaped loops: Bootsy in purple and green, Penguin in orange and yellow. They float out to sea, singing a silly shanty, atop a heart-shaped ice floe. Finally, a cover image reappears on the last page in a simple, satisfying argyle pattern that symbolically ties up every loose end.

If you have yet to discover the cozy charms of these friendship tales, I recommend that you scoop up the entire trio of Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation (read Ronna’s review in the April 2013 issue of L.A. Parent here) and definitely this newest heart-warming delight, Penguin in Love.

– Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey

Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the publisher and received no other compensation.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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It’s Another Great Summer Giveaway!

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Welcome to the Albert Whitman & Company blog tour and giveaway for summer.

Good Reads With Ronna is proud to be included in this 2013 summer tour and giveaway. We’re also very excited to offer one lucky winner a copy of When I Feel Worried signed by author Cornelia Spelman (Albert Whitman & Company, $15.99, ages 3-6) with illustrations by Kathy Parkinson. Just follow the instructions below to be entered in the giveaway and good luck! But first, here’s a little something about the book.

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:
We all get worried,  but age and experience give us coping skills. So learning how to deal with this uncomfortable feeling  from a young age is very important.  When I Feel Worried, the latest in the acclaimed The Way I Feel series, focuses on an adorable but nervous Guinea pig who needs lots of reassurance that everything will be okay. In 24 brightly illustrated pages, children will read about ways to cope with worrisome feelings and how to feel empathy for a friend who might be worried, too. Parents will be able to use the picture book as a way to open the discussion about worry and anxiety when they sense their child might be experiencing the very same feelings.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
The giveaway begins today, Friday, August 2nd and runs through Sunday, August 18th ’til midnight. A winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Monday, August 19th. Send your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write Albert Whitman Giveaway in the subject. For an extra entry, please LIKE our Facebook page by clicking here. Find our rules page here.

Be sure to stop by all the other participating great websites listed below by August 4th for a chance to win one of the following titles from Albert Whitman & Company and happy touring. Visit Albert Whitman’s website, too, because they’ll be giving away more books in their newsletter!

A Wild Day with Dad signed by Sean Callahan; The Bear Hug signed by Sean Callahan; A Father’s Day Thank You signed by Janet Nolan

The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh signed by Sean Callahan; Snowy, Blowy Winter signed by Bob Raczka; The Year Comes Round signed by Sid Farrar

The No-Dogs Allowed Rule signed by Kashmira Sheth; Being Henry David signed by Cal Armistead; When I Feel Worried by Cornelia Spelman

The Book Cellar

Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks

Miss O’s Library Land

Young Adult Books – What We’re Reading Now

Green Bean Teen Queen

A Musing Mommy 

The Book Muncher

Carol’s Corner

The Children’s Book Review

Mission to Read

The Compulsive Reader

Wee Share 

Shelf Employed 

The Mod Podge Bookshelf

The Book Monsters

Confessions of a Readaholic

Fire and Ice

The Book Rat

There’s a Book

McBookWords

Crazed Mind

Tattooed Books

 

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Splash!

deep puddleLast week Debbie Glade reviewed a terrific counting book about primates, so she thought it perfectly fitting to review a very different (but equally as fantastic) counting book this week.

I love it when my dog pulls me toward a puddle so he can splash through it like a toddler. What little kid doesn’t love a puddle? There’s just something so wholesome about it, don’t you think? The Deep, Deep Puddle ($16.99, Dial Books, Ages 3-6) by author and former teacher, Mary Jessie Parker, will enchant even the youngest of readers and set imaginations soaring (or swimming!).

One day, in a big city, it starts to rain and a small puddle forms. It rains and rains and rains and the puddle grows as do the number of items and creatures who fall into it. From taxis and street vendors to cats and dogs, everything seems to disappear in the ever growing puddle, counting from one to twelve things. Then something amazing happens to make the puddle shrink more and more and more. And the counting goes backwards from twelve to one.

What I love about The Deep, Deep Puddle is that it is so absurd, albeit ultra creative, making it a wild adventure to read as the cover clearly shows. The words have unique sounds, so fitting for a young child’s book, and the vibrant illustrations by Deborah Zemke couldn’t be better. I enjoyed studying each picture for a while, and their adorableness made me smile.

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If you’d like to teach your child to learn to count in a fun, fun way, and you love looking at beautiful illustrations, this is the perfect book.

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A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

Our family has been enjoying Barefoot Books for many years mostly because of their diversity, quality and beautiful illustrations. All you have to do is check out their website here and you’ll see what I mean. There are bilingual books, independent reader books, stories from around the world, games and more. It’s not hard to find yourself wanting everything. However today I’m reviewing a version of A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea (Barefoot Books, $16.99, hardcover with enhanced CD; $9.99, paperback with Enhanced CD, $6.99, paperback only, ages 3-6), adapted by Jessica Law with artwork by Jill McDonald and sung by The Flannery Brothers.

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This classic cumulative song is perfect for print and features creatures such as a shark, an eel, a squid, a crab, a snail and a weed thus introducing nature’s food chain to youngsters in a fun, gentle way. And kids will enjoy pointing out the eel and all the others as they each try to hide from their respective predator.

“There’s an eel and a shark in the hole in the bottom of the sea.

He’s concealed from the shark in the hole in the bottom of the sea.

There’s a hole, there’s a hole, there’s a hole in the bottom of the sea!”

The book works on many levels in that it’s repetitive and sing-songy, there’s a page with numbers where the creatures are counted, all with easy to read text. McDonald’s engaging art is created using textured and painted papers that are then assembled digitally with a bold and vibrant outcome sure to please.

The helpful end pages contain loads of info on the blue holes found in the bottom of sea, the food chain, and the creatures who call the ocean their home. Plus there are words and music included to play with an instrument not to mention the CD containing video animation and audio singalong.

When you purchase a Barefoot Book you are helping the planet as they only use paper from sustainably managed forests.

“Playful, beautiful and created to last a lifetime, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow.” That’s a credo to admire in this day and age of over-packaged goods, and non-environmentally friendly products.

-Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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It’s A Firefly Night Picture Book Giveaway!

ItsAFireflyNight_CVRWe’re excited to be giving away two copies of this marvelous book reviewed by Debbie Glade and perfect for summer!

Enter now by clicking here and you may be one of two lucky winners to receive a copy of IT’S A FIREFLY NIGHT by Dianne Ochiltree. Remember to write FIREFLY in the subject line and please give your name and address in the email.  The giveaway ends midnight on June 17, 2013. For full contest rules click here. Good luck!

What child (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love fireflies? After all, they are the first sign that summer has truly arrived. It’s a Firefly Night ($12.99, Blue Apple Books, Ages 3-6) is a beautiful picture book that celebrates every child’s rite of passage into the warmest season of the year.

The concise flowing, rhyming prose by Dianne Ochiltree offers the youngest readers insight into the story of a little girl and her dog who are out in the yard with a jar, chasing, capturing and releasing fireflies back into the air. Just reading the book will make you want to get out into the fresh air with your family. In the back of the book is a spread with factual information about fireflies. Did you know that fireflies are beetles?

“Flickering quicker,
they sparkle and shine.
I love catching fireflies,
but they are not mine.”

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What makes this book standout are the vivid collage illustrations by Betsy Snyder. The colors are both deep and brilliant, depicting the most magical night sky you could ever imagine. It’s a Firefly Night is a great way to kickoff summer with your kids. Just be prepared to get out in the yard with them chasing those glittery sparklers as soon as they appear.

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Light Up the Sky

ItsAFireflyNight_CVRWhat child (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love fireflies? After all, they are the first sign that summer has truly arrived. It’s a Firefly Night ($12.99, Blue Apple Books, Ages 3-6) is a beautiful picture book that celebrates every child’s rite of passage into the warmest season of the year.

The concise flowing, rhyming prose by Dianne Ochiltree offers the youngest readers insight into the story of a little girl and her dog who are out in the yard with a jar, chasing, capturing and releasing fireflies back into the air. Just reading the book will make you want to get out into the fresh air with your family. In the back of the book is a spread with factual information about fireflies. Did you know that fireflies are beetles?

“Flickering quicker,
they sparkle and shine.
I love catching fireflies,
but they are not mine.”

What makes this book standout are the vivid collage illustrations by Betsy Snyder. The colors are both deep and brilliant, depicting the most magical night sky you could ever imagine. It’s a Firefly Night is a great way to kickoff summer with your kids. Just be prepared to get out in the yard with them chasing those glittery sparklers as soon as they appear.

-Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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World Rat Day and Other Poems

World Rat Day: Poems about Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard  Of written by J. Patrick Lewis and illustrated by Anna Raff, (Candlewick Press; $15.99; ages 4 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

0763654027Any concept that poetry is high culture and addresses only the topics of love and death flies out the window with World Rat Day: Poems about Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of. Featuring over 20 poems celebrating holidays as unusual as Happy Mew Year for Cats Day (January 2), Bat Appreciation Day (mark your calendars for April 17!) or International Cephalopod Awareness Day (October 8), this compilation is silly fun wrapped in verse.

If you’re in the mood to appreciate dragons—and let’s be honest, who isn’t?!—then don’t wait until January 16 to do so. Read along as we get an inside look at dragon dining etiquette with “Eight Table Manners for Dragons.”

At every meal, bow your head, fold your wings, and say, ‘Graze.’/Wait till someone screams, ‘Let’s heat!’/Don’t talk with people in your mouth./Never blow on your soup. That only makes it hotter./Don’t smoke./Never remove a hare from your food./Play with your food, but don’t let it run around screaming./Chew your food. Once.

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Each poem has accompanying illustrations that portray the whimsy of the verses. The characters’ expressions are hilarious and the ink wash style presents the scenes perfectly. World Rat Day: Poems about Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of is a great way to start a youngster’s introduction into the world of poetry.

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Bye-Bye Bully Bye-Bye!

Freda Stops a Bully, ($6.95, Charlesbridge Publishing, ages 3-6) written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Tim Jones, is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

How many of you remember the schoolyard bully? You know, the kid who made fun of maybe you, perhaps your friend, or maybe someone you didn’t know.  How many of you wish you’d known what to do about or say to that kid? With bullying incidences being highlighted more and more often these days, preparing our young children with strategies to seek help against bullying has become increasingly important.

As part of Stuart J. Murphy’s “I See I Learn” series, Freda Stops a Bully provides relatable, simple and straightforward tips to help young children handle a bully. The story centers on Freda who likes to wear her pink shoes and Max who calls her “funny feet.”  Freda and her friends try various methods to deal with Max and his name calling. As they try each of the methods, we see what works and what doesn’t. At 28 pages, the book is long enough to cover the story and short enough to keep young readers engaged.

Presented in fun, comic-style illustrations, the book features animal characters situated at home, school and the park. Freda seeks assistance from the primary adult figures in young children’s’ lives: parent and teacher. These familiar settings and adults will help young readers understand and relate to Freda’s predicament.

The end of the book features a review of the four “what to do about a bully” strategies and provides five discussion points/activities for a child to engage in with a parent/teacher. Useful both at home and in a classroom, Freda Stops a Bully provides a good starting point for helping children identify and deal with bullying.

Editor’s Note:  We all know that sadly, bullying is not limited to the playground. With summer around the corner, children may encounter similar situations at a camp, park, vacation getaway or even summer school. Use this book as a gentle way to approach the topic and begin a meaningful conversation.

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