Posts Tagged ‘Spring books’

Write a Review Wednesday: Star Wars DK Readers

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors. This week we’re participating in DK Canada‘s May the 4th be with You event, supporting reading in Canada thanks to Star Wars. We reviewed Star Wars The Clone Wars: Pirates…and Worse! (age 5-7), part of the DK Readers series. I have to thank Chris at DK Canada for my review copy.

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Get eye-to-eye with the bad guys including Nuvo Vindi and the Separatist leaders, buddy up with jedi and droids as well as extraordinary creatures like the Gutkurrs and Blurrgs, and meet the terrifying pirates Hondo Ohnaka and Turk Falso in Star Wars: The Clone Wars Reader: Pirates…and Worse!!

My 6-year old son is a beginning reader. He loves books and loves hearing stories read to him, but finding a story that interests him enough to practice reading on his own can be a bit of a challenge. There are a lot of leveled reading books out there but he doesn’t have much interest in reading about bunnies or Dora or digging in the dirt so when I was introduced to the DK Readers Star Wars series, I thought these would be ideal for my son. And I was right. He loved the four books we were sent: Watch Out for Jabba the Hutt and Pirates…And Worse! (both level 1); Stand Aside – Bounty Hunters and Boba Fett: Jedi Hunter (both level 2).

It’s amazing just how different leveled readers are from publisher to publisher. Level 1 in the DK Readers series is designed for those beginning to read. Unlike other beginning readers that have 1 sentence on a page, the DK Readers actually consisted of two or three sentences which I preferred as a parent. Most of the vocabulary is understandable but I did have to help my son with a few words. Many of the words are repeated in the story, helping to reinforce vocabulary. The hardest words I found were character names; some my son knew, others we guessed. My son actually enjoyed reading these books and I even found him reading one of the level 1 books to both his dad and little sister; that’s a good sign.

The level 2 books we looked at not only had more sentences per page but the sentences themselves were a little more complex in grammar: He blows things up, and, above all else, he enjoys a good fight. There were also call-outs throughout the story, providing tidbits of Star Wars info; my son loved these elements. In both the level 1 and 2 books we reviewed, my son loved that the topics were on the bad guys; reading about bounty hunters and pirates versus the good guys. The illustrations used are the same as in the animated series, The Clone Wars, drawing a closer connection to the series my son is already familiar with . The only problem I have with this is that many of the illustrations are very dark but this didn’t seem to be an issue with my son.

If you have a child in your family that’s into Star Wars, you’ll love the May the 4th be with You contest DK Canada is running this month. Simply submit a photo of your chid or family reading a Star Wars book and you could win a complete DK Star Wars collection and a Canadian school or library of their choice will receive a complete DK READERS Star Wars set. Plus, for every photo submitted, DK Publishing will donate a “toonie” to Frontier College, Canada’s original literacy organization. For more information visit their site: cn.dk.com/starwars

If you have a Lego Star Wars fan in your home, you might be interested in the review I wrote over at Best Tools for Schools blog: Lego Star Wars: A Visual Dictionary also from DK Canada.

To add a copy of DK Readers: Star War Series to your own personal library, visit your nearest bookstore or DK Canada. For other great books for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What books are you enjoying with your kids?

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Write a Review Wednesday: Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Dream Big Little Pig. This week, with Easter on our doorstep, I thought an appropriate book would be Sterling Publishing‘s Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors (age 4-6) written and illustrated by Lisa McCue. I have to thank Katie at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.

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It’s springtime in the forest and Quiet Bunny loves all the colours. But looking at his own brown and white fur, Quiet Bunny feels more like a winter bunny. He wishes he was a spring colour instead. Then Quiet Bunny got an idea. Using elements from the forest he would change his colour: some honey and dandelion flowers and he’s yellow, some juice from a patch of blueberries and he’s blue. Quiet Bunny transforms himself into a variety of colours until they all are washed away and he’s left with his white and brown fur again. Its the words from a wise owl that remind Quiet Bunny that it’s all of the different colours in the forest, including Quiet Bunny’s brown and white fur, that makes the forest so beautiful in spring. ‘ We are all different colors, and we are all beautiful.’

Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors is a wonderful book for kids on so many different levels. Stories about bunnies make a nice idea for Easter but Quiet Bunny’s story extends past just the holiday season and into spring as a whole. Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors is a great way to reinforce colours with kids too. Each spread in the book talks about a different colour with illustrations emphasising the colour being talked about. With spring here or approaching soon, you’ll be seeing some of these colours outside yourself. Quiet Bunny is a great way to extend the conversation around spring colours that you and your child might see while out for a walk. Quiet Bunny’ Many Colors as has the subtle message about enjoying the beauty around you but also appreciating the beauty that you, yourself offer. A child may like their sister’s straight hair instead of their own curly hair or that their friend doesn’t wear glasses but they do. Quiet Bunny is a nice way to address the beautiful differences in the world without getting too preachy.

To add a copy of Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors to your own personal library, visit your nearest bookstore or Sterling Publishing. For other great books for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What books are you enjoying with your kids?

Spring, Earth Day, and Gardening: Guest Post on NTFFC

Spring officially arrived at the end of March and now the weather is catching up too. This means we’ll be spending more time outside, getting the yard and garden ready for Earth Day and the summer. My April guest post on Allie’s fantastic site, No Time for Flashcards is about plants and gardens. So if you’re looking for some books to get your kids excited about the gardening season and developing an appreciation for plants, be sure to jump over. And if you have a garden or plant book you enjoy reading, please add it in the comments so others can enjoy it too.

You can find my book reviews every first Saturday of the month over on No Time for Flash Cards. I hope you’ll pop by and check out some great books to share with your kids.

Write a Review Wednesday: In My Flower and In My Meadow

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Jeremy Tankard‘s Boo Hoo Bird (3-5 ) from Scholastic Press. This week we’re starting to think about Spring and Easter so we’re looking at two wonderful, interactive board books from Chronicle Books. I have to thank Crystal at Raincoast Books for my review copies.

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In My Flower by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich, follows a little butterfly through her regular day, through the always busy garden to a sunny spot to rest with her family. The illustrations have a country collage feel to them and the text wraps curves adding to the feel of movement on the page. But the best part about this book is the finger puppet of the butterfly that appears in the middle of every page. The cover has a large flower cutout where the bunny appears and this cutout is repeated on each page, getting smaller and smaller but without hindering the finger puppets movement. The flower cutout gives a great layered look to the book as each cutout gets smaller.

The copy on each page talks about one thing the butterfly is doing, like drinking sweet nectar or resting in the warm sun. My daughter loved when I acted out the action with the finger puppet; I would move the butterfly near the flower to drink.

In My Meadow also by Sara Gillingham and Lerena Siminovich is from the same series and follows the same design as In My Flower. The difference is the finger puppet is a bunny and the cutout is a bunny hole. Each page talks about a different thing the bunny is doing during her day, until she joins her family on the last page. I love that both of these stories show the butterfly and bunny doing things on their own, but always end up back in the company of their family.

You could read these books without using the finger puppet as they do just sit in the center of the book, but my daughter seemed to enjoy interacting with the puppet. She even liked looking at the book on her own or reading it to me and manipulating the puppet. And even though my daughter knew the bunny and butterfly were just puppets she loved talking to them and interacting with them as though they were real and telling her the story.

There are other books in this series: In My Nest (bird finger puppet), In My Pond (fish finger puppet), In My Den (bear finger puppet), and In My Tree (owl finger puppet). I know In My Flower and In My Meadow aren’t Easter books, but they do have a great Spring feel and might make a great alternative to chocolate in someone’s Easter basket. If you want to add In My Flower or In My Meadow to your home library, visit your local bookstore or Amazon.ca. For other great book suggestions, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.