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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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“Well Done is Better Than Well Said”

Debbie Glade reviews a beautiful book about Ben Franklin.

I can never seem to read enough about Benjamin Franklin. Part of the reason is that he was truly one of the most innovative founding fathers of our great franklinnation. Among his long list of accomplishments; he was a member of the Second Continental Congress, he signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. Another reason he fascinates me is because my daughter attends the University of Pennsylvania, founded by Ben Franklin himself in the mid 18th century.

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin ($17.99, Dial Books, Ages 5 and up) is a beautiful book, the kind you want to keep forever. Author and illustrator Robert Byrd does a marvelous job depicting Franklin’s life with both his written word and his intricate watercolor and ink paintings. In the back of the book Byrd discussed the process of finding accurate depictions of Franklin to complete his illustrations, giving readers valuable insight into the process of accurately writing a biography.

When you open the inside back or front cover of the book, you’ll find wonderful lists of famous Franklin quotes.  You may then find yourself surprised to learn that many of these quotes which we so often use without thinking about their origins actually come from Franklin, including the title of this review!

“Neither a borrower nor lender be.”

Inside the pages of the book you’ll find the story of Franklin’s life in 2-page topic segments. Readers learn about this founding father as a young boy, a scholar, printer, publisher, scientist, inventor, philosopher, political figure and seeker of justice and peace. Franklin was outspoken and a Renaissance man in so many ways.

This book is an excellent introduction to Benjamin Franklin for young readers. The text must be read to the youngest readers as it is quite advanced. But that is a positive because reading with your children is so important and rewarding. After you finish Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin both you and your child will want to learn even more about Franklin, one of our nation’s greatest historical figures.

If you enjoy this book, you may want to check out another book we reviewed about Ben.

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Roses and Noses, Oh How They Smell

Dangerously Ever After ($16.99, Dial Books, Ages 5 and up) by Dashka Slater is not your every day fairy tale. Sure there’s a prince, princess, a castle and a forest. But other than that, you’ve never heard this plot before. Princess Amanita is not your quintessential prissy princess, rather she mostly likes things that are dangerous – a pet scorpion, broken glass and a bicycle without brakes, to name a few.

One day, Prince Florian from a neighboring castle stops by and brings her roses. The princess loves the long, painful thorns that poke through her skin so much that she puts the roses in a vase with the stems sticking up and the flowers facing down. She asks the prince to please give her some seeds so she can grow more prickly roses. He brings her some seeds, but instead of roses, she finds the seeds have sprouted a bunch of sniffling, sneezing noses. (This part of the book gave me a huge chuckle as I am likely the most allergic person on the planet; one who sneezes throughout the day, every day of every year.) Well Princess Amanita is so disappointed with the useless noses that she sets out on an adventure to return them to the prince. But what she discovers is that these noses may be able to serve a useful purpose.

This book is sure to entertain because:

  1. Despite the fact that the book is about a princess, the story is extremely creative, original and humorous.
  2. The main character, Princess Amanita, is independent and daring, unlike so many princesses in so many fairy tales.
  3. The princess looks at every day things in ways much different than most of us look at them, teaching the reader new creative ways of thinking.
  4. Though a very unique plot, the story is still enchanting the way a fairy tale should be.
  5. The illustrations by Valeria Docampo are excellent, vibrant and very detailed.

A while back I reviewed another story about a princess – Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying, that I also loved because it was unique and funny just like this book, yet in a different way. Any story that surprises and delights the reader is worth a look, and Dangerously Ever After is one of those stories.

Note: If your child is an early reader, this book is a bit sophisticated and longer than most picture books, so it is best that you read it together.

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