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Give Peas A Chance

Peas on Earth ($6.99, Robin Corey Books, ages 0-3) by L.A. local Todd H. Doodler is reviewed today by Krista Jefferies. For her bio, please visit our homepage.

Peas on Earth is an adorable board book by Todd H. Doodler, a pseudonym for author and artist Todd Harris Goldman.  This is an easy-to-handle book that will entertain young children while teaching them the value of peace on Earth.  The author plays with the word “peas” to show how everyone should get along like “two peas in a pod” or like “peanut butter and jelly,” which is an uplifting and positive message for children.  This story blends learning and fun with every color-filled page. Because of the playful artwork, children might not even realize that they are absorbing a valuable lesson, but their parents will certainly appreciate both the images and the intent. The book illustrates a world in which even ants would say, “Bless you!” to an anteater’s sneeze, and elephants and mice would “share their cheese.” The cheerful faces throughout the book happily lead up to the delightful pop-up at the end, which children will enjoy getting to over and over again.  This book is sure to appease any young reader!

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Three Books that Teach Children About Saving the Earth

These three reviews by Debbie Glade are dedicated to our planet.

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How the Weather Works: A Hands on Guide to Our Changing Climate (Templar/Candlewick, $17.99, ages 7-11) is written by Christiane Dorion and illustrated by Beverley Young.

Put a pop-up book in front of me, and watch me revert gleefully back to my childhood. This one is a very sturdy, beautiful, unique, interactive science book with flaps to lift, wheels to turn and tabs to pull. It explains what causes our weather to change and how weather is predicted, and there is way cool page about hurricanes, (which I am all too familiar with, living in Miami.) There is even an awesome pop up that explains how we are adding greenhouse gasses to the environment. I love that fact that this book is fun to use but is about an important and serious topic. You’ll love it because it answers all those weather questions kids ask (and even some you’ve often wondered about). It really is quite sophisticated, so older kids will get the most out of it. This one is a keeper!

E is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World – at Home, at School, and at Play ($18.99, Atria/Simon & Schuster, ages 5 and up) by Ian James Corlett

This is an innovative idea for a book. It includes 26 short stories that focus on the environment. Then questions are posed to make the reader think about solutions to the environmental situations presented in the stories. For example, one story is about a girl named Lucy, who loves to draw and writes many notes, stories and poems and uses a large volume of paper, crayons and pencils. The reader is asked what Lucy can do to waste less paper and make better use of her other materials. I like the way this book makes children think about how they can change their every day habits to reduce waste and keep the earth cleaner.

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climt_cover2How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Environment: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming (Paperback $11.95; Hardcover $18.95, Ages 9-13, Dawn Publications) by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch

Young curious minds get more than just an introduction to the science of climates and global warming when they read this sophisticated 66-page book. It’s packed with detailed facts and wonderful photographs to teach readers everything from changing animal habitats, rising seawater and temperature changes, to what they can do on their own help change their own “Climate Footprints.” There’s also a list of resources, a list of scientists mentioned in the book and a detailed index. I love that this book encourages students to think like scientists, and perhaps even inspires them to become scientists in the future. It sure got me thinking about saving planet earth.

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You Can Change The World

31 Ways to Change the World (Candlewick Press, $8.99, ages 8-12) is reviewed today by Debbie Glade.

0763645060med31 Ways to Change the World is the result of suggestions from thousands of children. The theory is that “Small Actions x Lots of People = Big Change.” Inside this ultra colorful and busy book are 31 really cute and crafty, yet simple actions we can take every day to make the world a better place to live. I love that the book teaches kids about consumption, waste and preservation, plus treating others well. For example, Action #11 teaches you to the love the stuff you already have. Other actions include teaching your granny to text, giving people compliments, taking shorter showers and not starting a war. Hey, maybe this book should be for adults too. In any event, the premise of 31 Ways to Change the World is all for the greater good, and it really is clever. I’m sending my copy to my daughter, who is a freshman in college. I know she’s going to love it. She’ll particularly enjoy Action #25, which is “Talk Trash to Your Parents.”

debbieglade1Debbie 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.

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Plant the Seeds of Peace and Hope

Sean Burgess reviews We Planted A Tree ($17.99, Random House Children’s Books, Ages 5-8 )

weplantedatreeI try not to judge a book by its cover, but you can’t help it when you check out We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow. The title is centered and planted firmly in the leaves of the modernized, cartoon-style tree. And at the roots, two families, one from possibly the USA, the other from somewhere in Africa, all lined up and proudly admiring the result of their awesome arborous accomplishment. I knew right away this was going to be a special read. I got the sense that a connection was about to be made. Definitely, the essential bond between people and plants, fixed in our duty to conserve.

Dr. Wangari Maathi, a 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate is quoted on the first page saying, “When we plant tress, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope.” We plant the seeds of trees, just as we plant the seeds for a family. And like planting a tree, we get the chance to see the majestic growth and changes through years and years of nurture. The simple text by Diane Muldrow, outlined through a little science, is cheerfully and amazingly complemented by the illustrations of Bob Staake. I love reading books to my daughter Teagan and weplantedatreeteaI’m always amazed at how well illustrators enhance the stories. But in the case of We Planted a Tree, I think Bob Staake has artfully expanded the who, what, where and why the trees are being planted. On each page, there were plenty of details Teagan and I could talk about. I think she is already getting a sense of how important tress are to the world’s existence both scientifically and aesthetically. We Planted a Tree takes us on a journey around the world and shares how all families, from any country, can work together to plant and preserve
our botanical buddies.

This was one of the few children’s books that I have sat down to look over all by myself after reading with Teagan. I had to do a little more research about this book and its creators. One great fact I discovered was that We Planted a Tree was inspired by the work done by Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, and its message celebrates nature, growth, and the power of community effort.

Whether it’s Earth Day or Arbor Day, I think any day is a good day to think about our impact and imprint on society and our eco-system. Trees sustain and withstand the passage of time. We only hope the same for our families for generations to come. I wish the book was printed on recycled paper but I do thank Diane and Bob, for a wonderful book that has renewed the sense of how important it is for my family to contribute to cleaning, conserving and saving our Earth.

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Earth Bug Action

jacket-earth-bugsIntroducing the Earth Bugs’ first book! Lu and the Earth Bug Crew Zap the Energy Spikes by Derek Sabori ($17.95; ages 5-10) is just the right vehicle to pave the way for meaningful discussion about energy, recycling and the environment with your children. In addition to its being a fun and educational story to share with kids, the illustrations by Steve Riley and Mark Adams are colorful, creative and so very au courant! So get your copy today and get ready for Lu, Rock, Fern, and Kordy to become your child’s newest BFFs.

page-3I met local author, Derek Sabori at a green event in Pasadena this summer and read the book that evening. I simply did not want to wait until Earth Day 2010 to recommend it to readers.

Boys and girls  (all over, especially Southern Californians, will get a kick from the skate and surf theme which dominates the book. More than that, though, they’ll enjoy the action and adventure as the Earth Bug crew are pitted against the nasty Energy Spikes whose very existence is a result of waste and “un-green” behavior worldwide. While kids will certainly find the battle scene and resourcefulness of Lu’s Earth Bug Crew thoroughly entertaining, parents will welcome that Earth Bug books are printed using soy-blended inks and printed on 10% post-consumer waste paper helping to reduce the “environmental footprint…in an eco-friendly manner.” Readers can learn more and purchase the book at www.earthbugcrew.com. A handy Eco-Glossary is included in the end pages. I’m an Earth Bug. Are you?

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