Like the monster featured in this adorable and truly original lift-the-flaps, pull-the-tabs, turn-the-wheels and pop-ups book, I succumbed to the fearless main character’s contagious cuteness.
The Power of Cute by Charise Mericle Harper ($10.99, Robin Corey Books, ages 4-8) had me from the first speech bubble! “I am not afraid of you!” is spoken boldly by a superhero baby after encountering the stomping and roaring big monster. In what is billed as My Very First Graphic Novel, young readers will find a baby they can identify with; a baby who does not whimper in the face of something scary, but rather, relies upon his own inherent powers to turn what could be a fearsome creature into a reduced-sized, tame and cute baby monster. The clincher for me was when the cute baby brought her new friend home to a house full of cute little monsters, who had already experienced The Power of Cute. Your child’s self-esteem is sure to be buoyed by this charismatic hero, a match for any menace who happens to cross his cute path.
Who doesn’t love giving and getting books as presents? The best part about giving a book as a gift is that you can dedicate it on the inside cover with a personalized book plate or a simple, but meaningful handwritten note. I may donate a lot of books, but I can never part with a book that has a date and message inside, reminding me of a special friend’s present to one of the children or to me and my husband.
In the next few days I’ll be writing about books that would make wonderful holiday gifts whether as stocking stuffers or wrapped and placed under the tree. Or like me, you can plan on giving a book for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Now here’s a book that’s perfect for everyone in the family – The Wizard of Oz: A ScanimationBook from Rufus Butler Seder ($14.95, Workman, all ages) – because we should all have at least one book with the amazing Scanimation technology on a coffee table at home! If you haven’t perused the pages of one of these types of books (i.e. Gallop!, Swing!, Waddle!, and Star Wars: A Scanimation Book), it’s time to be introduced. The book opens with Dorothy’s ruby slippers clicking together because with this technology, pictures move bringing motion with every turn of the page, recreating memorable moments to enjoy all over again. You’ll find famous quotes opposite the iconic images such as the Wicked Witch of the West warning, “Ill get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” or the Tin Man’s line, “The tinsmith forgot to give me a heart. No heart. All hollow.” There are 10 terrific scenes in all and each one cleverly conveys the movie’s progression in much the same way a movie or video work. Why not see for yourself?
We may not get snow here in sunny Southern California, but we do get all the wonderful holiday books to help us get into the festive mood! Ronna Mandel and Debbie Glade have put together a brief collection of recommended books for parents to consider when making up their gift lists this season. No matter what time of the year, one of the most important things to do with your child is read. So buy a book or two, put the kettle on and then snuggle up close to your little ones and explore lands near and far as they come alive with every page you turn. For a chance to be the winner of three of these terrific holiday books, please leave a comment on the blog, LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook and be sure to provide an email where you can be contacted. The contest ends at midnight on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. Scroll down for contest *rules.
Record a Memory: Our Family Christmas Memories (approx. $15.95, Publications International, Ltd., all ages) makes it easy for families to share memories and then treasure them for years to come. The sparkly, embossed cover beckons readers to open the book, fill in the requested info, add voice messages wherever there’s an icon pictured and turn good times into a customized scrapbook. With a little help from an older sibling or adult, even the youngest child can add their input by simply following the handy instructions provided on the opening page. Everyone will enjoy the 48 beautiful pages, with their ample room to include photos of Christmas stockings, Christmas dinner plus places to jot down specific recollections like a favorite Christmas past or yummy recipe. Best of all is the six-button module designed to allow users to record a special memory, making Our Family Christmas Memories a keepsake families will return to again and again. Three AAA batteries are included and the books can be found at major retailers nationwide. Add Record a Memory to the rest of your family’s holiday traditions and capture cherished moments for a lifetime.
A Bad Kitty Christmas ($15.99, A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, ages 4 and up), written and illustrated by Nick Bruel cannot fail when its cover alone cracks me up! Anyone who knows me knows I adore cats and now, having just adopted two maniacal brothers whose exploits compare to those of Bad Kitty’s, I love Bruel’s series more than ever. The picture book opens with, “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the city, not a creature was stirring … (Blam! Crash! Kaboom! indicating sound of garbage pails flying) … Except for Bad Kitty.” If this line does not set the tone for what havoc will be wreaked by this fabulously feisty feline, I’m not sure what does. Soon Kitty shows her disinterest in spending Christmas Eve with Uncle Murray and leaps from her owner’s auto (followed by Puppy), getting lost in the big city until rescued by an elderly lady. After an afternoon of listening to the old lady reminisce, Bad Kitty yearns to return home to his family. Sensing the cat’s homesickness, the caring woman realizes she has an important holiday mission to accomplish. Will Bad Kitty (and Puppy) be reunited with their family for Christmas? Put this book on your holiday list to find out how they all fare. Still eager to continue the craziness? Check out more shenanigans at the Bad Kitty website.
Chanukah Lights ($34.99, Candlewick Press, ages 5 and up), is written by Michael J. Rosen with pop-art by Robert Sabuda. Not all pop-up books are created equal and when you combine the talents of the masterful Rosen with those of Sabuda, you get a rare Chanukah treat for the entire family to enjoy. Travel across the globe and through time by experiencing eight wondrous and intricately designed scenes of the Jewish Festival of Lights. Whether viewing the Temple where the oil that lasted eight days was discovered, journeying to a shtetl where “six lights flicker,” or traveling to a kibbutz in the Promised Land replete with olive groves and this time showing eight glimmering flames, the faith of those who have carried on the Chanukah tradition is beautifully reflected on every page. This unique interpretation of the holiday will not disappoint.
Create-A-Story Kit: StoryWorld – Christmas Tales ($9.99, Templar Books, ages 9 and up) by John & Caitlin Matthews is just the answer for kids stuck indoors with relatives and other visitors over the holiday break. Christmas Tales allows everyone to take control of their boredom transforming it into fun and games when using the set of cards provided. There are multiple ways to use the colorful cards and a handy storytelling book included that gives tips to get players started. Pick a card and begin telling a tale, or maybe play a card game of hidden clues. Kids can even put on a play based on the card images. My favorite card, The Christmas Ghosts (who appear only at Christmastime) sets my imagination soaring. Thought provoking questions on the card’s reverse side ask: “What stories can they tell about their lives?” “Why have they appeared this year?” Or in my case, the question would be “Why have they NOT appeared this year?” Then I would also incorporate the last question, “Who is able to see them and who cannot?” and so would begin my tale … Make Create-A-Story series part of your family’s annual celebration and see what a good time being stuck with relatives and visitors can really be!
The Littlest Evergreen’stalented author and illustrator Henry Cole, ($16.99, Katherine Tegan Books by Harper Collins, ages 4 and up) really knows how to captivate the hearts of his readers. This is an enchanting story, with an environmental message, about a how a tiny evergreen grows into a Christmas tree and about what happens to him after the holiday is over. Cole’s illustrations are beyond exceptional – so much so that I found myself looking at them over and over again. He uses vivid acrylic paints in such a way that they have crisp edges to make featured objects contrast beautifully with the backgrounds. This artist has illustrated more than 50 children’s books, including several he has written himself. Every child, who celebrates Christmas and loves to choose a fresh tree every year, will also adore this book. It is without-a-doubt one to keep and read every year before Christmas. It sure got me in the Christmas spirit!
*This giveaway will run through midnight on December 23, 2011 (PST). Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us at Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.
*Good Reads With Ronna did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. Three (3) giveaway items worth a total value of $67.97 will be provided by Good Reads With Ronna. The reviews are in our own words and is our opinion. Your opinions may differ.
Serge Bloch was the illustrator for my favorite children’s book of all time, The Enemy: A Book About Peace. (If you haven’t read that yet, you must get it!) He also writes books too. And after writing the popular, Butterflies in my Stomach and Other School Hazards, Serge wrote Reach for the Stars: And Other Advice for Life’s Journey.
The artwork is an adorable combination of simple drawings and photographs, like crumpled paper, and the message is even cuter. The author uses everyday sayings familiar to adults and weaves them into his artwork in clever ways, so young children can easily understand them. The book teaches readers about the many bumps, twists, turns and setbacks we all experience in life and how we can rise above them to soar as high as the stars.
You’ll find yourself taking it off the shelf when you’re having a bad day. It’s just a simple, small, feel good book, that is sure to put a smile on your face and warm your heart. I highly recommend it, and it would make a great gift for a special child (or adult) in your life.
Debbie 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 WanderingEducators.com. She blogs daily at smartpoodlepublishing.com.