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Kids Book Review: Three New Children’s Books for Mother’s Day 2019

BEST NEW CHILDREN’S BOOKS
FOR MOTHER’S DAY
– A ROUNDUP –

 

My Two Moms and Me board book cover artMY TWO MOMS AND ME
Written by Michael Joosten
Illustrated by Izak Zenou
(Doubleday BYR; $8.99, Ages 0-3)

My Two Moms and Me, a sleek new 22-page board book, looks like it’s as much for the adults reading it as it is for the little ones listening and that makes turning every page a treat. It’s nice to find a board book depicting same-sex families for the littlest family members, their friends and relatives. Whether children have one mom, two moms or even no moms involved in parenting, it’s important they can see themselves and the life they live reflected on the pages of all kinds of books. Joosten, who has also written My Two Dads and Me, describes all the daily activities any family would do from the perspective of the child. The humorous tone of the language adds to the book’s appeal: “At breakfast, we each have a glass of juice. They both like orange, but I’m more of an apple person, myself.” I love that! The families change on every page which works well so readers meet many different kinds of families, some with one child, some with two, some with boys, girls or both, some biracial, some with babies and some with toddlers. Coupled with the cool, contemporary clothing illustrations by fashion illustrator Zenou, My Two Moms and Me is a worthy choice this Mother’s Day.

Mom and Me, Me and Mom book cover illustration
MOM AND ME, ME AND MOM

Written and illustrated by Miguel Tanco
(Chronicle Books; $12.99, Ages 3-6)

If you’re looking for a charming picture book with simple and slightly retro-looking pen and ink style illustrations in shades of coral and black, pick up a copy of Mom and Me, Me and Mom. Similar to My Two Moms and Me above in that a child narrates the story in an almost tongue-in-cheek style, this book captures a mother-daughter relationship and emphasizes its uniqueness. What’s also adorable is that the child conveys what she contributes to the dynamic whether that be helping her mom’s mood or keeping her secrets safe. My two favorite spreads are: in a museum where the mom is studying a modern art paining while the little girl is staring at the water cooler: “I show you how to see things differently.” And then outdoors: “I follow your lead,” which depicts both mom and daughter reading. This one particularly resonated with me having raised avid readers. I have a feeling there’s a quality or activity that Tanco’s chosen to highlight that will also resonate with most mothers.

Superhero Mom by Timothy Knapman bk cvr artSUPERHERO MOM
Written by Timothy Knapman
Illustrated by Joe Berger
(Nosy Crow; $15.99, Ages 3-7)

Superhero Mom, an enjoyable follow up to last year’s Superhero Dad, introduces readers to a little girl who reveres her mom and it’s easy to see why. “She does so many things at once. She zooms from here to theremending … mixing … making … taming tangles in my hair.” We all know someone like that, a mom with energy enough for two. There are lots of super powers on display, all shared in well-metered rhyme,  demonstrating why Mom qualifies as a superhero. They’re totally relatable, too. She carries so much stuff ✓, she appears out of nowhere to kiss away tears ✓, she finds missing toys and, last, but not least, “Every mom’s a SUPERHERO and so is every GIRL!” The art is bold and bright and full of superhero-type energy so I recommend this as an ideal read aloud for any story time since moms are superheroes all year round!

CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO LAST YEAR’S MOTHER’S DAY ROUNDUP

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
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What Makes Your Dad Happy?

What Makes My Dad Happy cover dad playing with childWHAT MAKES MY DAD HAPPY is a charming children’s book written by Tania Cox with illustrations by Lorette Broekstra from Allen & Unwin. Distributed in the U.S. by Trafalgar Square Publishing from IPG,  $11.99, Ages 3-5), this 24-page book will appeal to a broad audience since the dads depicted are from a wide range of ethnicities and abilities. I love that in addition to several Caucasian dads, a father in a wheelchair is shown along with an African-American dad, an older dad, and an Asian dad. Best of all, they’re having lots of fun and smiling loving smiles while interacting with their children.

Whether talking on the phone together, cooking, dancing, building, or playing in the park, dads are simply happy making memories while spending quality time with their kids. And kids just love making their daddies happy with all kinds of surprises. Presented in easy-to-read rhyme with a catchy refrain, “That’s what makes my dad happy, that’s what makes my dad happy,” the book is ideal for reading aloud. Celebrate those special daddy and daughter or son moments by making time to read together and reflect on the different relationships What Makes My Dad Happy conveys.  Plus, giving this book as a gift not just on Father’s Day, but year-round, is certain to make any dad very, very happy!

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel
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A Mom’s Summer Survival Kit Great Books Giveaway

The kids are home, the house is a mess, and all you hear is “Mommy, mommy, mommy!”  While we cannot provide an escape plan, we can offer you the chance to win some really super books for when you carve out some ‘me’ time (even if that involves reading helpful parenting books) and find the perfect place to relax, kick off your shoes and read, read, read. OR maybe you know a mom who could REALLY use these books. Score points and enter the contest to win the prize for her.

Good Reads With Ronna has teamed up with Andrews McMeel Publishing to offer a “just what I needed” prize package (worth almost $50) of essential reading and a treat for your little ones, too!

Here’s what you can win:

No Regrets Parenting -Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley A. Rotbart, M.D. ($14.99)

Toilet Training Without Tantrums by John Rosemond ($12.99)

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6 ($7.99)

Numbers Caterpillar-Shaped 2-Sided Board Book ($11.99, ages 3 and up)

The giveaway begins today and ends midnight on July 17, 2012.  To enter, send your name and address now in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com and write MOM’S SUMMER SURVIVAL in the subject. Then be sure to leave a comment below for this blog post and LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook.  You’ll get an additional entry for following us on Twitter @goodreadsronna. For detailed giveaway rules please click here. Good luck.

What we love about this selection of books is that there’s something for everyone which ultimately makes mom very happy. The caterpillar-shaped Numbers book is great in the stroller, in restaurants, and on-the-go. It’s sturdy with an elastic closure, colorful, compact and we’ve discovered there are quite a lot of fun ways to play with Numbers, too. 

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6  is an indispensable and handy item for moms to keep in a glove compartment or purse and is filled with 100 puzzles and games to play with your kids at a picnic, waiting in line for a movie or on a car trip. And there’s such a wide variety of Pocket Posh soft-covered books available to choose from. Into Jane Austen? They’ve got one.  A knitter maybe? They’ve got a Pocket Posh for that, too!  There’s even a complete calorie counter and with its gorgeous cover, you won’t mind pulling it out for all to see even if you did just down a 1000 calories-laden piece of cheesecake!

In No Regrets Parenting there are countless gems to take away from every chapter so that time spent with your children can be the best possible experiences ever. We think Rotbart’s idea about family celebrations is one worth noting. For example, he suggests making a half-birthday, the first day of school, a good report card, the first lost tooth or big snowstorm a reason to celebrate. While he clearly states these don’t have to be gift-giving occasions, nor do they have to become big events, they can, however, quite easily become days the entire family will look forward to year after year. These are really what great memories are made of. In another chapter he emphasizes the importance of walking somewhere local with your child rather than driving there. Taking time to just stroll leisurely (if the situation permits), talk and maybe hold hands is an ideal way to be “present” with your child rather than rushing about in the car to get someplace. Be spontaneous and see what happens.  It might be some of the best moments you and your child have shared in a long time. Broken down in main categories such as Basic Principles, Simple Strategies, Epilogue and an Appendix then put into topic chapters, all areas of life with kids is covered.  The brief chapters are well written and packed with ideas parents will refer back to again. In fact you may be surprised to learn that Rotbart even suggests parents keep the book in the bathroom as it was “not written to be read cover to cover.” If you have young kids or those heading off to college, No Regrets Parenting is an invaluable resource to have on hand, bookshelf or bathroom!

Author John Rosemond has written 15 parenting books and his advice is often “the last word” on many topics and it’s certainly true in Toilet Training Without Tantrums. This is a brief book which should come as welcome news to many readers. Rosemond feels that toilet training is a simple process therefore the book should cut to the chase quickly, too.  Rosemond’s sense of humor (which helps enormously when toilet training because it can be so stressful to so many) is evident from page 1 where he even tells readers what chapters they can skip depending on their current situation/predicament. Most importantly parents will discover that Rosemond believes the old-fashioned way of potty-training is the tried-and-true method and that Brazelton’s philosophy of waiting to see the “seven signs of readiness” is not necessarily what works best. After putting into action and seeing results from the recommended approach presented in Toilet Training Without Tantrums, moms can kiss their diaper bags good-bye.

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Making Breakfast Funny

Kiss ho hum mornings good-bye!
Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts

 gives a delightful and delicious new meaning to facing another morning!

                 I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I don’t like to cook and that I’m at a loss most of the time as to how to prepare meals that inspire my family as well as me. My daughters’ dislike of most vegetables doesn’t help the situation either.  If I didn’t feel a sense of moral obligation toward my family’s health, I’d call the restaurants that are programmed into my phone a lot more often than I do already. Luckily for me, others like me who’d rather eat than cook, and those who have finicky eaters at the kitchen table, Bill and Claire Wurtzel have written Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts  ($19.95, Welcome Books).

From Funny Food, by Bill & Claire Wurtzel. © 2012 Welcome Enterprises, Inc., www.funnyfood.us

Comprised of photographs of breakfast dishes (eggs; waffles and pancakes; oatmeal, cereal and fruit; toast, bagels and snacks)—the book is an artistic portrayal of breakfast as you’ve never seen it before.  Bored of eggs? Never fear! Whether fried, scrambled or boiled, turn your eggs into faces, people, animals, bicycles, angels and more. Add fruit, vegetables, herbs, bread, bacon and deli meat to complete your masterpieces. Take a modest scrambled egg, add a slice of toasted muffin, deli meat and a slither of bell pepper, and, voila, you have a turkey! Fold over a sunny side-up fried egg with slices of olive as facial features, tuck it under a slice of whole wheat bread and you have a person in bed. Can’t eat eggs? Try some of the other breakfast options. Transform fruit into works of art—portraits of the Mona Lisa, Shakespeare, and Salvador Dali. Take a banal banana and slice simple strawberries and turn them into a steam train and tracks. Add blueberries as coal and whipped cream as the steam. It’s loads of delicious fun trying to recreate these breakfast delights!

Beyond the inventive and imaginative photographs are some handy tips for aspiring food artists. Ten main tips with accompanying details for creating funny food are included, such as “Take Your Time: Making an artistic creation takes time. Try starting this on weekends when there is time to look at and examine new foods. If the food is created and presented in a joyful manner, the child will remember the food, the nutrition it provides, and the playful experience.” Interspersed throughout the book are nutritional information on the ingredients used (“Whole grain breads are a great source of vitamins, magnesium, iron and fiber—a natural aid to healthy digestion”) and recipes. Whole wheat pancakes, everybody?

I decided to see if these breakfast variations would work on my fussy three year old daughter, who doesn’t like to eat anything not on the breakfast cereal/pancake/yogurt menu. Not being particularly artistic, I started with one of the simpler designs, a scrambled egg pig face with mushrooms and deli meat as eyes and nostrils. While she refused to eat the mushrooms, my duaghter did succumb to the whimsical delight of the piggy egg face and ate that along with the deli meat. Success!

Whether you don’t like to cook or you are cooking for picky eaters, Funny Food: 365 Fun, Healthy, Silly, Creative Breakfasts shows us that healthy breakfasts can be delicious, creative and fun for the family.

-Reviewed by Rita Zobayan

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Why a Baby Needs a Mommy

Instructions: Find Heartstrings and pull

Mom-to-be Karen B. Estrada weighs in on a heartwarming book for new and expectant moms just like her!

Being at the very end of my pregnancy may make me vulnerably susceptible to anything having to do with babies, but Gregory E. Lang’s words of wisdom in Why a Baby Needs a Mommy ($14.99, Sourcebooks, recommended for adults),  pulled at my heartstrings. Adorned with Janet Lankford-Moran’s touching photographs of babies, often with their parents, Lang’s book offers its readers 100 reminders from a baby to its parents such as “I need you to stimulate my mind. I want to be as smart as you are.” Some of the reminders may seem obvious, but many of them are subtle reminders to parents that a baby is not yet capable of reasoning, mechanics, and understanding the way we are, and that it takes patience, compassion, and selflessness to raise a child.

Lang begins his story with a thorough introduction explaining his motivation for writing this book, namely that there were many times in the rearing of his own daughter when he and his wife wished some manual for being a perfect parent existed to assist them in the adventures of parenting. Lang’s hope in writing Why A Baby Needs a Mommy is “to give new parents, and especially moms, most often the primary caregiver, nurturer, and teacher, a glimpse of what they should know about and do for their children.” His words of wisdom, from the innocent lips of a baby, do provide parents with gentle guidance—not so much about what to do or not do, but about what a baby needs and what we as parents may occasionally forget. Why A Baby Needs a Mommy is a book I will leave laying around my home so that, once my baby comes, I can flip through it—particularly on those challenging days when I feel like giving up—and have Lankford-Moran’s charming photography and Lang’s words of encouragement remind me that no parent is perfect, but we are all doing the best we know how. 

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