skip to Main Content

Adventure On The Go!

I loved Bizzy Bear Off We Go! ($6.99, Nosy Crow, ages 1 and up) by Benji Davies from the moment I picked it up and noticed that the yellow taxi cab on the cover moves! I pulled on the tab to reveal a green bus and motorcycle passing Bizzy Bear by as he embarks on his adventure by plane, train, and automobile.

Through a series of thick cardboard pages, Bizzy Bear hails a taxi, gets stuck in traffic, hops a train across the river, and catches his plane just in time to make it to the beach, where he goes for a sail on the ocean. Each new mode of transportation introduced offers a movable tab that slides to make the car, traffic, train, plane, or boat move in a creative way. I not only loved this interactive element to what is a cute and colorfully illustrated story, but I also found the narrative easy to read due to its careful rhyme scheme and rhythm. This book makes a perfect read-aloud and tactile activity to do with an infant or toddler. It’s the ideal vehicle for getting your child started on learning about various modes of transportation in a fun way.

Reviewer Karen B. Estrada has 9 years of experience as an English educator teaching students ranging from 6th grade to adult learners. She got her start teaching as a participant of the JET Program, during which she spent 3 years living and teaching in a rural Japanese town of 5000 people.  Since then, Karen has continued to teach English and Writing Skills at various levels in diverse settings such as Harlem, New York City, suburban New Jersey, and semi-rural Maryland. She holds a BA in English from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University. Karen is currently taking a short break from teaching as she awaits the arrival of her first child due in late April.

Share this:

A Counting Book To Grow On

I have always loved the bold graphics of Ammo books and that includes this board book designed with your toddler in mind.  Counting in the Garden ($14.95, Ammo Books, ages 18 mos. and up) written by Emily Hruby who teamed up with her brother Patrick Hruby for the illustrations, succeeds on all counts.

Little ones will be captivated by the colorful images of all the wonderful things growing in a young boy’s garden: from 1 onion, with many, many peels to 5 fresh watermelons, shiny and green to 10 tender tomatoes, juicy and delicious! And surprise there are even snails, butterflies, sunflowers and tulips, too, adding a vitality to the world outside just waiting to be explored … and in the end, eaten.  Parents will love reading this book to youngsters or letting them study each page to discover nature’s treasures on their own.

Share this:

Oy! Such an Adorable Book!



Written by Laurel Snyder

Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke


Reviewed by Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA.

Oy vey! Who can argue that Yiddish is not a fun language to speak out loud, even for those of a… non Jewish persuasion? Now, everyone, say it together, please…

“Loads of words from which to choose

Perfect for a preschool SCHMOOZE.”

For those not in the know, that means, what else, a little talk! How about this one…

“Dolly hauling, crawling, stepping.

Babies do get tired of SCHLEPPING.”

We got KIBITZ: joke around

We got KLUTZ: not particularly graceful

We got NOSH: now everyone knows that’s a little something to eat. A nice sour

pickle, maybe?

“From the youngest MAMALEH, to the oldest BUBBE and ZAIDEH,

no one’s ever too young… or too old to learn a BISSEL Yiddish!”

So enjoy this delightful, colorful, little board book with the KINDERS, nu? And always feel free to insert a little Yiddish into any conversation! It will make folks think you’re actually bi-lingual! Shalom!!

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Share this:

How Do You Measure Up?


HOW BIG IS THE LION? MY FIRST BOOK OF MEASURING by William Accorsi inches out all the other measuring books according to reviewer Lindy Michaels of BookStar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.

61wydxmtgsl_sl500_aa300_This delightful board book helps to teach youngins that learning really can be fun. Using the enclosed ruler, each page has something to measure, from a dancing pig, “… from snout to tail, is this pig big?” …to a lion’s height. “Don’t you worry, he won’t bite.”

Illustrated with colorful, felt cutouts, the book can also be used by parents to help children identify colors and objects. I love when a children’s book can be used for more than one thing. And on the last page, there is a ‘grow chart’ to hang on a wall, so little ones can, that’s right, be measured themselves and keep track of how they are growing!

Believe me, after reading and measuring all the items in this book, I know kids will spend hours, days and weeks measuring everything in sight… including you! I say that’s a better thing to do with their time than being glued, mindlessly, to the television!!

Educational, fun and colorful! What more could a parent ask for to keep their little ones busy, having fun and learning at the same time?

lindymichaelspic1The very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked in Studio City for Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

Share this:

Let’s Save the Animals: A Flip-the-Flap-Book

514uplvdt8l_sl500_aa300_As soon as young children see the cover and unusual shape of Let’s Save the Animals: A Flip-the-Flap-Book (Candlewick Press, $12.99, ages 4-7), by Frances Barry, they’ll be compelled to open it. Kids aren’t the only ones who love turning over all the flaps to see what’s on the other side; parents like me enjoy it too! With simple prose and illustrations, readers learn a little bit about some of our earth’s most endangered species. There are also tips in the back of the book suggesting how readers can help protect these species. This book is a perfect way to introduce the youngest readers to saving the earth and the creatures who live on it.

debbieglade2Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for She blogs daily at

Share this:

Little Pookie Has a Happy Birthday!

9780375865398Are you a big Sandra Boynton fan like me? Are your kids? Can you recite several of her classics by heart? Does a gigantic grin spread across your face as you recall the hilarious artwork in Hippos Go Berserk?

Then I think it’s time to introduce you to the “Pookie” series of Boynton books. In Happy Birthday, Little Pookie, (Robin Corey Books/Random House, $5.99, ages 0-3), the titular Pookie is a precious little pig and today it’s her birthday. Only thing is, the excitement and anticipation have got her up before the break of dawn. This board book is bound to please both parent and child as together they discover the delights a birthday can bring, but not without a nap somewhere inbetween!

Look out for these other three titles in the series:

What’s Wrong, Little Pookie?

Let’s Dance, Little Pookie

Night-Night, Little Pookie

Share this:

All About Art, Artists and Some Architecture, too!

Let’s take a look at a wide variety of interesting art (and architecture) books that have caught my eye. It’s fun to to spend time with your kids reading these books and then going to a museum to experience and enjoy art up close. Of course, there’s always the option to create art at home, outdoors or anywhere you go – think sandcastles and photographs or simply designing a birthday card!

9781402759048mCatch Picasso’s Rooster – by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo (Sterling Publishing/Touch the Art series, $12.95, ages 4-6)

This hands-on board book should even appeal to younger children since it’s all about animals in art. Whether it’s wiggling the whiskers of The Tabby by Henri Rousseau or feeling the texture of a farmer’s blue jeans in Grant Wood’s Boy Milking Cow, the interactive artwork will make the animals seem more real and alive. Follow Picasso’s rooster on an art tour that ends on the Artifacts page with info on all the paintings included in the book. Touch more art by sampling other titles in the series including Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair and Tickle Tut’s Toes.

9781934706541_normLines that Wiggle – by Candace Whitman with illustrations by Steve Wilson (Blue Apple Books/Chronicle, $14.99, ages 4-8 )

Lines that wiggle, lines that bend. Wavy lines from end to end.

Let your kids use their fingers to follow the raised, glittery lines throughout the book. The humorous rhymes weave through the story side by side with criss-crossing lines that take kids swishing and zigzagging about on colorful pages and bold graphics meeting monsters and all kinds of animals. A playful book with just the right amount of twists and turns.

1Paris in the Spring with Picassoby Joan Yolleck with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman (Schwartz & Wade/Random House, $17.99, ages 4-8*)

Spending this summer stateside? Don’t despair, we’re going to visit Paris on the pages of this new book. Yolleck introduces readers to early 20th century luminaries such as Gertrude Stein, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob and Pablo Picasso by imagining how Stein’s friends would spend a day prior to a party at her home. We are taken behind the scenes to observe the City of Light’s sights, sounds and smells and then cleverly switched to a new scene by an occasional “Pardonnez moi!” Priceman’s artwork adds to the fabulous French flavor of this book which kids and parents alike will eat up. *I think this book would be most appreciated by 6-9 year-olds.


Art With Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff
– by MaryAnn F. Kohl (Gryphon House, $19.95, ages 4-10)

Here’s a book that’s bound to keep kids constructively occupied and entertained this summer or the entire year! To give you an idea of how clever this book is, let’s peruse the table of contents to see just what types of everyday stuff Kohl is referring to. For starters there’s address labels, aluminum foil, berry baskets and bubble wraps. Learn how to make things with buttons, cardboard tubes CDs, coffee filters and even coffee grounds! Put together a project from magazines, masking tape, paper plates and more! As Kohl describes in the introduction, the included activities stress the “process of art,” and encourage children to experiment and be creative.

abc-smAn ABC of What Art Can Be – by Meher McArthur with illustrations by Pearl Watson (Getty Publications, $17.95, ages 4 and up)

This witty and whimsical alphabet book is great inspiration for children to find their inner artist. Filled with fun pictures and clever, spot-on rhymes, An ABC of What Art Can Be also includes five “Fun Stuff” pages with 15 suggestions for projects to get those creative juices flowing.

E’s for Expression,
your personal style.
You might find it soon,
or it might take a while.

colors-smRenoir’s Colors – by Marie Sellier (Getty Publications, $16.95, ages 2-5)

This interactive board book is an amiable introduction to the artwork (and children) of Impressionist master, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. By looking behind eight flaps of varying colors, we get a glimpse of a small portion of a Renoir painting which is then expanded in more detail on the following page with delightful descriptions.

White like Coco’s collar.
White like slightly itchy tights.
Coco does not like this costume,
but Renoir, his father wants to paint him as a clown.
“Daddy, are you done yet?
I want to go play!”

On the pink page you’ll see Renoir’s son Coco’s pink cheeks and on the black page find Jean Renoir’s nanny Gabrielle, whose lock of black hair has fallen over her eyes. Find painting names and dates in the back of the book then head over to the Getty to see La Promenade (The Stroll) in their collection.

catalog_cover_100Matisse on the Loose – by Georgia Bragg (Delacorte Press Books/Random House Children’s Books, $16.99, ages 8-12)

I love an action-packed adventure and this one not only includes a protagonist who just happens to be named Matisse, but it’s all about an art caper that is actually unintended. How does young Matisse replace the priceless painting by his namesake that he replaced with his own art back on the wall of the museum without getting caught? Here you have the premise for a great summer read and a rollicking romp around a museum.

9780810989412_s3The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale — written and illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia (Abrams Books for Young Readers, $18.95, ages 4-8*)

Meet three of the coolest, connected pigs on the planet in this hip new take on the classic tale. These design-savvy brothers have constructed their homes out of scraps (very eco-friendly), glass, and stone and concrete having garnered inspiration from three famous architects: Frank Gehry, Phillip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition to all the exciting and innovative exteriors, the interiors include some unique and fab furnishings from Starck to Stam. A read through of this book offers young readers a humorous (and surprising) story along with a virtual tour of the delightful design world as we know it. *Parents might find this book’s concept more appealing to the sensibilities of 5-9 year-olds .

Share this:

Ugly is the new Adorable!

L.A. Parent graphic artist and mom to Teagan, aged 2, Terresa Burgess has some interesting info to share about the Uglydolls.

“Ugly” doll? Who would want an “ugly” doll? Have you ever seen an Uglydoll? Here’s a little history in case you’re not familiar with
Uglydolls. The origin is actually quite romantic!

The Uglydolls characters are from the creative minds of husband and wife team David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim. Horvath’s soon to be wife, Sun-Min, who at the time lived in the USA, returned to Korea. David was unable to join her. He sent her many “I miss you” letters with his little Wage character drawn at the bottom. As a surprise, Sun-Min sewed this character into a plush doll and sent it back to David. David asked Sun-Min to sew a couple more for the Giant Robot store in Los Angeles and they sold out in one day! A very excited Sun-Min sewed many more and those sold just as fast. That brought on the ultra-big bang of the “Uglyverse”!

My daughter Teagan received an Uglydoll on her 1st birthday. It goes by the name of Babo. Babo means “fool” in Korean. He does look pretty foolish but is quite loveable. Uglydolls have 2 Board Books out with a 3rd one set to release this month. We were able to read and review all three books. Teagan loves the characters and the hubby and I love the humor and off beat story line!

All titles by David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim. Illustrated by David Horvath.
Published by Random House Children’s Books.

catalog_coverABC U Later
Ages 0-4 years

There are many ABC titles to choose from in this world but none are like this board book. “A is for Apple” is probably the only standard line. “B is for Bargain”, “C is for Check-up”…each page has a little scene or skit that represents and follows the sequence of letters. You are also introduced to a vast array of Uglies from the Uglyverse. This book is a huge hit in our house! Teagan loves to recite her ABCs and there are distinctive new words for her to learn. Mommy and daddy love the to read them, too.

Ages 0-4 years

1234U is of course about counting. The book counts up to “10”. Not only are you seeing the number “2” but also see the word “two”, and two items, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to count, calculate and associate the words with the numbers. Again, a big hit with Teagan. She loves counting the cookies and snackies. The artwork is atypical and the content created to count is so kooky! My husband, a music teacher, even shared these with the literature teacher and math teacher at his high school for a laugh!

colorsuglyUgly Colors
Ages 0-4 years
Release date: April 27, 2010

Ugly Colors is the latest edition to the Ugly Board Books. This book continues the hilarious discourse found in the first two books. The pages are full of color “commentary.” Teagan enjoys pointing out and naming colors especially the brown cookies. She’s also learning about a secret color!

We love reading to Teagan and have enjoyed even the most “baby” of baby books we have shared with her. But what a surprise when we found ourselves laughing out loud and actually reading the Ugly Board Books again after Teagan went to bed. One of the rare moments where there is an exceptional combination of kid and (not quite) adult humor.

All titles can be purchased online at Random House by clicking here.

Share this:

Fun Flap Books

kierananddaddyThese books were reviewed by Heather, a physical therapist and former L.A. mom recently relocated to Manhattan. Daughter Kieran is 2 1/2 years old and new big sister to Brendan. One of her favorite activities is storytime with mommy and daddy and she especially likes to the question “Why?” with each turn of the page.

9780340931936Who Is It? is a series of three, fun flap-style books by Helen Jackson (Hodder & Stoughton/Hodder Children’s, ages 3-5) that will keep your toddler guessing!

With subtitles such as It’s a Princess!, It’s a Spaceman! and It’s the Three Little Pigs!, there is a book to please every little tot. While my toddler hasn’t been introduced to many mainstream characters or the storylines presented in the latter, identifying Snow White or Cinderella is still a bit of a challenge. She subsequently gravitates to the other two books, which feature more generic characters such as a ballet dancer or a pirate. Each page 9780340931974provides five short clues with simple illustrations leading to the identity of the mystery character. Kieran loves to tap her chin as she ponders each clue, such as “She eats a bowl of porridge,”“He wears an eyepatch” or “She wears a golden halo.” Each set of clues leads to the flap that she enjoys opening to reveal them. It also features textures such as the tulle of a tutu, the velvet of Little Red Riding Hood’s cloak and the scaly green skin of an alien to further peak my little one’s interest.

Share this:

Milo’s Special Words

dsc08201These books were reviewed by Heather, a physical therapist and former L.A. mom recently relocated to Manhattan. Kieran is almost 2 1/2 years old and soon to be a big sister. One of her favorite activities is storytime with mommy and daddy and she especially likes to question “Why?” with each turn of the page.

Getting this book to review could not have been more timely. My daughter, Kieran has recently taken to placing orders with us rather than saying the preferred “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome.” Milo’s Special Words (Robin Corey Books from Random House) by Charise Mericle Harper features Milo, a little toddler cat thirsty for milk. However, his mommy (who 2happens to be a bunny) won’t get it unless he uses those magic words. With the assistance of his little sister, Lucy (a puppy), he is able to ask nicely and enjoy his milk. Kieran loves to sit down and read this book with us, which is great to further reinforce her learning of these good manners. This is an interactive book that includes flaps and wheels. I like that although it has these features, they are not on every page. This allows her to enjoy the story with me, rather than focusing on flipping the flap or turning the wheels right away. Her favorite page is helping the mommy “do the laundry” by spinning the large wheel. She looks up at me every time and asks “Why I am helping the mommy do the laundry?” Yet another good act I hope she continues.

Share this:

A Bevy Of Board Books Roundup

img_01151Meet two guest reviewers new to Good Reads With Ronna who happen to be husband and wife.
Michael Faucher is a network administrator for an organ transplant research lab at Harvard Medical School affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital. He has been a journalist and writer for 13 years, writing for The Lowell Sun (MA) newspaper, and music magazines Instant, Northeast Performer, Music & The Arts and Micstand. Candace Faucher is an elementary school teacher in Somerville, MA and is currently on hiatus to care for the couple’s new twin boys, Hunter Robert and Beckett Alexander. The family lives in North Reading, Massachusetts.

Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish (by Lorie Ann Grover, illustrations by Debra Ziss) and The Book of ZZZs, photographs and written by Arlene Alda

smbookzzzs34723267When it comes to sleep, nothing makes anyone happier, baby or adult. Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish is a very fun little book that has big, bright fish drawings perfect for reading after a bath (but before bedtime or a nap). Pretend with your baby while they’re bathing that they’re a fish or a baby shark- probably appropriate if they’re teething- and they’ll be swimming in good dreams all night! Arlene Alda’s The Book of ZZZs has sharp pictures of animals and babies in all sorts of states of nocturnal bliss, sure to encourage your newbies that it’s ok to sleep whenever the urge strikes!

Good Night World, by Adam Gamble and Cooper Kelly

51edc3lhill_sl500_aa240_Although a little loose in its mantra, what’s nice about Good Night World (most recent of the Good Night Our World series) is how it spans the world, highlighting different cultures and animals as they begin and end their day. From the beginning of “Good Morning, rain forest” to “good night stargazers, dreaming of other worlds” very colorful illustrations highlight people around the world to show young readers how everyone else begins, spends, or ends their day!

Baby Giggles, by Rachael Hale

51ekcgyqttl_sl500_aa240_Having just purchased my first digital camera, I would aspire to take such wonderful pictures of my twin boys as there are in Baby Giggles, by Rachael Hale. With large pictures and vibrant colors, infants are immediately drawn to this durable board book, while toddlers can enjoy and mimic the smiles, frowns, pouts, and other faces and emotions displayed. With such relatable images and wording that rhymes, it’s easy to show growing children other tots feeling as they often do.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

9781416979173Being a first and second grade teacher, I am automatically drawn to all books by Eric Carle, and this book is certainly no exception. Created for children ages 3 and up, The Tiny Seed is able to reach a wide range of children at varying stages of development, and is an excellent tool for parents to teach about how seeds become flowers. Younger children will enjoy following the little seed on its journey using the bright bold pictures that Carle creates using tissue paper collages, while older children can engage in discussions of what happens to seeds throughout the seasons and rejoice in the tiny seed’s ability to survive and continue the plant life cycle. What I also love about this version of the book is the seeded paper and instructions that are included to grown your own flowers! This is the perfect way for children to first read about what happens to a tiny seed, plant seeds and witness what takes place. From the science lesson to the art possibilities, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle does not disappoint!

Share this:

Flip-a-Face Furry Friends: Same and Different

Sean Burgess is back again as guest reviewer today with his take on a fun new toddler book from Chronicle Books/Blue Apple.

9781934706589_normWith my 18 month old daughter Teagan interested and even more knowledgeable than ever about the parts of the body, the book Flip-a-Face Furry Friends: Same and Different came to us at just the right time. Every time we hold Teagan she always points out the features of our face; nose, eyes, ears, teeth. This book brings new attention to details of the face. That’s why I love this Flip-a-Face book. The reader is asked: “How is the cat’s face different from the dog’s face? What is missing from this face?” Plus, this book is a wonderful way to get kids talking about faces in a fun, interactive way, even making a game of it.

The author SAMi’s vibrant colored animal artwork, like Japanese anime, also features each animal set within its environment on a pull out page. Other animals featured are lion, lamb, cow, horse, tiger and fox.

Share this:

Letting Some Cute Cats Out of The Bag

Cat Cover 7x10.5 wrk DOkay, so I’m on a cat bend right now, but for good reason. Cat, by Matthew Van Fleet with photography by Brian Stanton is fancatstic! The cover alone drew me in with its little grey cat pawing at an unsuspecting goldfish swimming contentedly in a bowl (push the arrow tab and watch what happens) and the in-your-face Siamese with the soft, touchable tail. And what’s not to love about Mo, the Exotic Shorthair? I learned this big orange cat’s name along with all the others from the back inside cover where all the felines featured are pictured in frames with their best face forward. Little ones will not be able to put this book down with its clever push/pull, open/close mechanics and tactile pages. They’ll meet furry cat, bald cat, and a toy that goes squeak, a scary cat, a cute cat , a hide one and a seek. The pictures may also help you decide which breed of cat interests you if you haven’t yet chosen a little kitten for your family. I’m partial to Raja, the Bengal, whose pleading eyes shout “cuddle me now, please.” Who is your favorite?

Share this:

Try Not To Eat These Books

img_55551Terresa Burgess, a graphic artist here at L.A. Parent and mom to Teagan, aged 16 months, has helped review these two new fun children’s books called Books Are For Reading by Sally Becker and Duck & Goose: How Are You Feeling? by Tad Hills.

catalog_cover_100Terresa says she found Books Are For Reading to be a “clever interactive” book for babies and toddlers. They can even take a bite after they’re done reading the book because of the colored textured teethers at every corner. Short and sweet sentences guide little ones on what not to eat (e.g. Toes are for stomping, not chomping!). With its simple, but funny illustrations, this makes an enjoyable read (and eat) for the nibblers in your life. Terresa says she’d “definitely buy this as a gift for someone. ”

img_5581duckgooseThis adorable board book, Duck & Goose: How Are You Feeling? is the third book in a series. “I love the bright colorful and warm watercolor illustrations,” says Terresa. The easy to read, one word text will help young ones identify their feelings and, says our new mom, Terresa, “Parents can act out the different emotions like being patient, selfish, happy, etc.” This book provides a great way for parents to ask their kids “how are you feeling?” and let them know that it’s okay to feel frustrated or angry. The last page is both Teagan and Terresa’s favorite, LOVING. The comical team of good friends, Duck and Goose, embrace in a hug. So cute!

Share this:
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: