Posts Tagged ‘Sterling Publishing’

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?

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?

Write a Review Wednesday: Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose

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 Where’s Walrus. This week we’re looking Sterling Publishing‘s Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose (age 4-7), written by Nancy Gow and illustrated by Stephen Costanza. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing Kids for my review copy.

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There once was a beautiful princess. A typical start to child’s fairytale story, however, this wasn’t your typical princess. Along with her ruby-red lips and fair face, this princess had very large feet. No suitor would take her to be his wife. And while this princess despaired about her unprincessly features, across the land was a prince dealing with his own issues, a very large nose. One day while skiing the princess and prince happen to meet and fell in love. But they both knew they would have to reveal their hidden features to each other. Would true love win out?

Any book that has a princess in it is bound to interest my 4-year old but Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose isn’t your typical fairytale.  Full of fun, colourful illustrations and written in rhyme, Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose is a wonderful book to read out loud; the story reads almost like a song and my daughter loved it. I loved that it was a princess (and prince) story where the main characters weren’t stereotypically beautiful. Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose is a great story illustrating how we shouldn’t judge people by how they look. Imagine the amazing people we would miss meeting if we avoided them because they were different. Although we try as parents to raise our kids to think this way, sometimes a story can be an easier and more enjoyable way to get the message across (versus mom just telling you to behave or not behave a certain way).

Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose opens up a great discussion with kids about how people are different in how they look or behave or in what the believe. The fact that the main characters are a prince and princess makes it that much more impactful, to me anyway. These types of characters are always perceived as beautiful and if they’re not they must be mean (such as the step sisters). Both the Prince and Princess were different but they are still lovely people. And my 4-year old still enjoyed it because of the princess.

To add a copy of Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose to your personal collection, visit your local bookstore or Sterling Publishing Kids. For other great book recommendations for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What are you reading with your kids?

Write a Review Wednesday: Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

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 Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth. With today being Groundhog Day, it seems fitting to review Sterling Publishing‘s Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox (age 3+), written by Susan Blackaby and illustrated by Carmen Segovia. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.

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It’s Groundhog Day and Brownie steps out her door to be greeted by her dreaded shadow. As she laments another 6-weeks of waiting, with none of her friends around, Brownie is knocked over by February Fox, who is trying to eat her for breakfast. While Brownie holds off February Fox from snacking on her, the two look for signs of Spring, enjoy a snack together and make arrangements to spend time together the next day. Maybe the next 6-weeks of Winter won’t be so bad after all.

We are all familiar with the Groundhog Day shadow ritual. Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox is a great book about celebrating the day with kids. I’m personally a big fan of seasonal book but Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox also has a nice discussion angle. The two animal friends looking for signs of Spring is also a great opportunity to discuss the differences in the seasons and what to look for in the Spring. Kids will enjoy making their own Spring discoveries outside and adding to the discussion about other Spring signs.

I love the use of colour in the illustrations too, grey and white mainly, mimicking the cold of winter, with splashes of red (the fox, Brownie’s scarf, flowers poking out of the ground). Even if Groundhog’s Day has pasted, Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox is a great book to read throughout the month of February.

You can add a copy of Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox to your personal library by visiting your local bookstore or Sterling Publishing. For other great books for kids, read through the previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Ten on the Sled

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 Snappy Builder Nativity. This week, keeping in the Christmas or at least the winter mood, we review Sterling Publishing’s Ten on the Sled (age 3+) by Kim Norman and illustrated by Liza Woodruff. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.

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One wintry night reindeer decides to go for a toboggan ride and soon nine other friends join in, all riding on the sled together. But as they twist and turn down the hill, one-by-one the friends fall off the sled until moose is racing a snowball of friends down the hill.

Ten on the Sled is best read, or in our case sung, to the tune of ten in the bed and the little one said, rollover, rollover. You’ll probably find, as I did when reading it to my kids, that you’ll catch yourself singing the book without realizing it. The story was fun and rhythmic to read for both myself and the kids. All 3 of my kids, including my 8-year old loved the story. My 4 and 6-year old loved the pictures of the friends falling off the sled. Each page they looked for the growing snowball of friends that rolled down the hill in the background. I must admit I didn’t notice this at first; my kids pointed it out to me. My 8-year old enjoying singing the rhyme along with me. I actually enjoyed the writing of Ten on the Sled more than the original rhyme because of the varied words; it didn’t just repeat the same words in each stanza.

As the sled got lighter with less friends, it also got faster and you could feel that looking at the illustrations. We read the story faster and faster too which made my kids laugh even more. Ten on the Sled was a quick story but we all enjoyed it so much we read, or rather, sang it two more times that night. This is a nice winter story but also a great counting book. The story goes from ten down to one and was a great exercise in remembering the numbers in reverse order.

You can add a copy of Ten on the Sled to your own personal library by visiting your local bookstore or Sterling Publishing. For other great book ideas for kids, take a read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Emily’s First Day of School, Helping Hand Books

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 Charlesbridge’s Ace Lacewing Bug Detective: The Big Swat (age 5-8). With my youngest starting school this fall, I thought we’d look at Emily’s First Day of School (age 5-7), written by Sarah, Dutchess of York and illustrated by Ian Cunliffe. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Kids Publishing for my review copy.

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My 3-year-old received a welcome postcard from her new school today though school doesn’t start for another month. My daughter has been talking about school and even playing school games with her dolls and older sister, but sometimes pretend play can be different from the real thing.

Sterling Publishing‘s delivery of Emily’s First Day of School was timed perfectly for us. Part of the Helping Hand Books series by Sarah, Duchess of York, Emily’s First Day of School deals with Emily’s adjustment from staying at home with her mom to being in school all day. I like how Emily is a little apprehensive about school, excited but nervous. I think most kids feel that way, unsure of the unknown. I know my daughter does.

The book takes a brief look at the first day of school, more like a top line approach. Emily makes friends and keeps busy during her day and can’t wait to tell her mom all about it. The book, like all the Helping Hand Books, are designed to address new experiences young kids may face. The Helping Hand Books are meant for parent and child to read together, to open discussion and dialog on the subject being read. At the back of each book there are some Helpful Hints for parents, to help make the adjustment easier for the child.

In Emily’s First Day of School, the hints talk about how to prepare your child, how to help your child express their feelings and ensure the first day of school goes well for everyone. Although most of the tips are familiar, after having two kids already in the school system, they are a great reminder that it’s still the first day of school for my youngest.

My daughter loved Emily in the book. As we read the story, my daughter was all about doing what Emily was doing: drawing pictures, playing in the playground, making new friends. The book was a great way to talk about how my daughter felt and what will happen at school this Fall.

The following books are also part of the Helping Hand Books series: Ashley Learns about Strangers, Matthew and the Bullies and Michael and his New Baby Brother.

You can add Emily’s First Day of School to your own personal library by visiting your local independent bookstore. For other great book recommendations for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

How are you preparing your kids for the first day of school? Any books you’ve been reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favourite Books I’ve Reviewed (so far)

I love books for kids. I love the imaginative characters, the whimsical illustrations, the unique story ideas. I love sharing these books with my kids, seeing them fret, cry, laugh, learn, discover along with the characters.

I’m fortunate that I get to indulge in my love of children’s literature each and every Wednesday by sharing with my blog readers some amazing new books being released by dedicated children’s book publishers. I can’t believe I’ve accumulated over 50 reviews on my blog so far. I’ve only reviewed books that I think are really good but sometimes there are some really great books that stand out in my mind. I thought this week for my Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten post I’d share with you my Top 10 Favourite Books I’ve Reviewed (so far, in no particular order).

  1. High Five with Julius and Friends, Touch and Feel (Boardbook, Raincoast books) – A touch and feel boardbook based on Paul Frank’s lovable characters.
  2. The Secret Lives of Princesses (Picture Book, 7+, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A beautifully illustrated and witty tale of those lesser known princesses.
  3. Wolf Wanted (Picture Book, 4-7, Groundwood Books) – A clever twist on combining fictitious wolf characters with the plight of real wolves around the world.
  4. Meeow and the Big Box (Picture Book, 2-5, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A simple yet wonderful view of a young child’s imagination as seen through the behaviour of Meeow and his friends.
  5. Ivy and Bean (Chapter Book, 6-10, Raincoast Books) – A series of chapter books (6 so far) that follow the adventures and friendship of two seven-year-old girls.
  6. Monsterologist (Poetry, 4+, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A fictitious journal recounting the various spookies and scaries recorded by a Monsterologist.
  7. Thing-Thing (Picture Book, 4-7, Tundra Books) – A heartfelt tale of a stuffy’s journey as he’s carelessly discarded out an apartment window.
  8. OK GO (Picture Book,  ,Greenwillow Books ) – A graphically engaging story about taking care of the environment around us.
  9. Chicken Pig Cow (2-5, Annick Press) – A tale of 3 plasticine friends and their friendship.
  10. Alison Dare (Graphic Novel, 8+ ,Tundra Books) – A fun and adventurous tale of a young girl explorer.

If you’re interested in other great books for kids, read through some of the past Write a Review Wednesday posts and come back each Wednesday for new books.

Write a Review Wednesday: The Secret Lives of Princesses

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 Tundra BooksSo Close. This week we’re thinking about one of our favourite topics, Princesses, and had a chance to review Sterling Publishing‘s The Secret Lives of Princesses (age 7+), written by Philippe Lechermeier and illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.

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You’ve probably heard of Cinderella or the princess in The Princess and the Pea story, but what about Princess Oblivia or Princess Miss Hap? You may not know them by name but after reading The Secret Lives of Princesses you may recognize some of them.

The Secret Lives of Princesses explores the lives of the lesser known and sometimes funnier princesses. These stories aren’t your typical princess stories. Like Princess Miss Hap who leaps before she looks, knocking things over and always having accidents. Or Princess Anne Phibian who believes her prince is out there, disquised as a frog, and spends countless hours standing in a pond kissing every green creature she encounters.

My eight-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the witty and often tongue-in-cheek tales of these princesses. I sometimes had to explain things to my 5-year-old and 3-year-old; they were oblivious to the humour but enjoyed looking at the images just the same. And the images are wonderful, filling the pages with colourful representations of the princesses. Even my husband, who’s not a huge princess fan, loved the look of this book.

The Secret Lives of Princesses isn’t so much a story but a guide book to the different princesses. Along with information on the various princesses you’ll find pages on the types of pets princesses own, types of dwellings and more things that pertain to the princesses lives. And there are wonderful side notes, like on stones (did you know each princess posses at least 1 precious stone) or veils (princesses practice walking around the palace wearing them).

Like a reference book, there are notes to other related items found in the book. We would read about one princess and flip to a note on how princesses travel, then on to another princess. My kids loved flipping around the book discovering secrets and marvelling over the illustrations. There’s even a wonderful quizz at the back of the book to discover what type of princess you are: a tender princess, a mysterious princess, a whimsical princess or (gasp) a fake princess.

The book would entertain anyone interested in princesses but the true humour of the stories would probably be lost on the younger set; my 8-year-old  could see the wit in most of the stories.

For added fun, visit http://secretlivesofprincesses.com/ for princess games, a royal portrait gallery of the princesses, even find out your princess name. The Secret Lives of Princesses is by far one of my favourite books I’ve reviewed so far.

You can add a copy of The Secret Lives of Princesses to your own personal library by visiting your local bookstore or visit Sterling Publishing. For more great books for kids, take a look at the previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight

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 Groundwood BooksWolf Wanted. This week instead of a story we’re looking at poetry. We’ve been reading and enjoying Sterling Publishing‘s Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight and Other Funny Bedtime Poems (age 6-9), written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Stephanie Buscema. I have to thank Derry and Wendy at Sterling Children’s Books for my review copy.

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From a girl who takes her mother’s bedtime wishes ‘sleep tight’ literally to a boy who wants to give you that first thing in the morning ‘kiss of death’, Maybe I’ll Seep in the Bathtub Tonight is full of fun poems all focusing on or around that lovely bedtime routine. There are poems on pajamas, dreams, brushing your teeth, things in the closet and more.

My kids loved these poems; they each had their favourite that they wanted read at night. My 3-year-old loved the poem about the spoiled princess and her pillows (Pillow Squawk), my 5-year-old liked the poem about morning breath (Pucker Up), and my 8-year-old loved the poem about the girl dreaming of sweets and candy (Sweet Dreams).

Most of the poems are written in standard rhymes and they quite funny in subject matter and how they are written.The illustrations are delightful too, filling the pages with colourful images, wrapping the text around.

It’s great to expose your kids to other forms of writing besides the traditional children’s stories you might be reading them at night. Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight and Other Funny Bedtime Poems shows kids that poetry can be fun and entertaining without being too much like Mother Goose. The other great thing about poetry for kids? It’s much shorter than regular stories for nights when you want to read something that isn’t too long. I could read four or five poems which is usually faster than a standard story but my kids feel like they’re getting more.

You can add a copy of Maybe I’ll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight and Other Funny Bedtime Poems to your own library by visiting your local bookstore or other stores like Amazon.ca. If you’re looking for other great book ideas for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: EcoMazes. 12 Earth Adventures

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 reviewed Key Porter BooksThe Mischievous Mom at the Art Gallery by Erica Ehm and Rebecca Eckler. This week we’re reviewing Sterling Publishing‘s EcoMazes. 12 Earth Adventures (age 7+ ) by Roxie Munro, a fitting read with Earth Day’s arrival later this month. I have to thank Derry at Sterling Publishing for my review copy.

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Earth Day is April 22, a perfect time to talk about the Earth and the environment around us. In EcoMazes: 12 Earth Activities, Roxie gives children a chance to explore the different ecosystems on our planet, in the form of 12 interactive mazes. Kids are asked to help divers swim through the coral reef to get to the beach or help a beaver find his way through the Coniferous forest to his dam. Kids trace a path with the finger through the detailed illustrated mazes.

Beyond the mazes themselves, kids are asked to locate a variety of animals in each ecosystem. At the end of the book you’ll find answers to the maze and animal locations, in case you get stuck, as well as a little more information on each ecosystem.

Although the book is listed for kids 7+, all 3 of mine loved this book (age 3,5,7). Each one choose an ecomaze to solve and they all took turns finding the animals. It was great working as a team since not one person could find all the animals on their own; I even discovered some animals unfamiliar to myself.

Along with the research she did at home, Roxie Munro also had the opportunity to visit each of the ecosystems she included in her book. You can read more about her experience with her travel writer husband as well as see some fantastic photos.

You can add a copy of EcoMazes:12 Earth Adventures to your personal collection by visiting your independent book seller or Amazon.ca. Or you can ENTER TO WIN your own copy of EcoMazes by leaving a comment below. Contest is open to both Canadian and US residents but leave your comment before April 14, 2010. After that date I will randomly choose a winners name.

If you’re looking for other great books for kids, take a read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.