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Of Dads and Dinosaurs

ADD2We’re celebrating fathers this month as Father’s Day is right around the corner.  Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? ($16.95, Peachtree Publishing, Ages 3-7) by Julie Middleton is the perfect picture book for young children to read with their dads. It’s cute, it’s clever and it’ll teach you a thing or two about prehistoric creatures.

Are Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? is a story about a boy named Dave, who goes to a museum with his Dad to see a dinosaur exhibit. “Are the dinosaurs dead, Dad?” is the first of many questions Dave asks his father.

“Dead?” Dad said. “Yes, the dinosaurs are dead.

But as father and son tour the museum, young Dave is sure the dinosaurs are trying to communicate with him despite Dad’s assurances over and over again that it’s not possible.

Or is it?

What I enjoyed about this simple picture book is that it’s a heck of a lot of fun to read and is educational. I absolutely love the big, vibrant illustrations by Russell Ayto and the whimsical font which makes the book look like it was handwritten. You’ll be hard pressed to find a kindergartener  or first grader who isn’t fascinated by dinosaurs; these extinct animals were really extraordinary. Besides, what better way is there to celebrate dad, and all of his expertise, than reading an especially fun book like this with him?

For another cute book about dads, check out this review of My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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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.”


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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We Dig This Demolition Book

Karen B. Estrada reviews a new book called DEMOLITION

Whether this squirming baby in my belly turns out to be a boy or a girl, I think books about machines are always fun for kids. One of my brother’s favorite books as a child was about cars, trucks, trains, and planes, but I too loved sneaking into his room and looking at the pictures when I was young. In fact, it was probably the one book we most often read together. Similarly, Sally Sutton’s children’s book Demolition ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 3-7) will be easily enjoyed by either girls or boys. The first thing that attracted me to Demolition was the catchy rhythm with which she depicts the various stages of demolition on each page of the book. Using a rhythm that is reminiscent of a cheer, Sutton cleverly describes many steps that occur in the demolition of a building, ending each poetic stanza with three appropriately onomatopoetic words, sounds of demolition such as “Bang! Clang! Clunk!”

However, Demolition is more than just description of sounds, sights, and heavy machinery that accompany tearing down a building. Enhanced by Brian Lovelock’s detailed pigmented ink illustrations, Demolition tells the story of the destruction of a derelict building, the reuse and recycling of scrap materials such as concrete, wood, and metal, and the building of a community park on the site for the enjoyment of neighborhood children. It shows how re-purposing a space and re-using old materials can be beneficial for us all. Lovelock’s gritty images of dust and debris and, later, crisp illustrations of a grassy playground and smiling children complement Sutton’s onomatopoetic descriptions, with each page of Demolition introducing your child to a new machine and a new process. At the end of the story, there is a page which has an illustrated description of each type of machinery seen in the book detailing what it is and what it does. Sally Sutton’s Demolition is a story from which your child can learn about types of heavy machinery, the steps involved in demolition and reconstruction, and a wealth of new sounds he or she can have fun using when at play deconstructing his or her own projects!

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