BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: April Pulley Sayre

hoppy

 

Title: If You’re Hoppy
Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Jackie Urbanovic
Publisher: Harper Collins
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

If you’re hoppy
and you know it,
you’re a…frog.

If you’re hoppy
and you know it,
you’re a frog.

Or…

 

Why you should read it:

 

When I first picked up this book I expected a retelling of the traditional children’s song, “If you’re happy and you know it”.

I was pleasantly surprised.

This delightful, whimsical tale lets young readers to hop, slop, growl and flap their way through a menagerie of funny animals as they try to decide just what kind of critter they might be. The pastel artwork seems larger than life and will sure to be a hit with readers of all ages.

 
Like-o-meter Rating scale**:  5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Jeff Mack

 

duck

 

Title:  Duck In The Fridge
Author/Illustrator: Jeff Mack
Publisher: Two Lions Publishing
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

When Dad was a boy, he discovered a duck in the fridge! And more ducks all over the house. He tried everything he could think of to get rid of the ducks with no success until he finally came up with a clever idea to get the animals to fall asleep. And himself too.

Why you should read it: 

I must admit when I first started reading this story I wasn’t really connecting to the plot and the illustrations weren’t exactly grabbing me. But by the time the ducks start taking over the house I was hooked. It reminded me somewhat of Tara Lazar’s humorous book, THE MONSTORE, and the dilemma her main character had getting rid of a pesky little sister. This book ended up being a cute read and probably would be enjoyed by younger children.

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about it.

**Rating scale**

 5 out of 5…grab it!

 4 out of 5…think about it.

 3 out of 5…take or leave it.

 2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

**************

 

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Vivian Kirkfield

 

pov.jpg

 

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week’s post is from my good friend and children’s author, Vivian Kirkfield, as she talks about points of view…

 

 

Picture Books: A Child’s POV

By Vivian Kirkfield

 

 

“Read me one more story, please?”

Just about every parent has heard this plaintive cry. Young children love to listen to picture book stories. They enjoy cuddling close to daddy on a comfy couch or leaning back on mommy’s lap as they help to turn the dog-eared pages of a beloved book.

 

Why should we read picture books to young children?

 

  •         We read with them for entertainment and enjoyment. Their messages can help young children deal with many of the challenges they encounter. Reading with young children engages them in the world between the pages. Children are able to relate the events in the book to their own experiences. Studies show that children who are read to at an early age are more successful in school.

 

Which books should a parent read? A parent can:

 

  •        Consult children’s librarians
  •        Check out reviews on Amazon and other book review sites
  •       Ask for recommendations from teachers and friends
  •       Encourage the child to make some choices.

 

What makes great picture book? Whether it is a quiet bedtime book or a rollicking pirate adventure…a great picture book should have:

 

  •        Captivating illustrations
  •        Simple text
  •        Story that a child can relate to
  •        Emotional response

As picture book writers, we need to keep those four factors in mind. But picture books are not the only types of books for young kids. Here is a list of the different types of book formats and what you can expect to find in each.

  •       Board books – for infants to toddlers, hard board pages usually plasticized for sturdiness, simple pictures, minimal text, these days many popular picture books have been redone as board books, but they used to be mostly concept books (numbers, colors, ABC’s).
  •        Picture books – for preschoolers to 4th grade…although ages 3-5 is considered the ‘sweet spot’, designed to be read to/with the child, 32 pages, balance between text and pictures, but recently more pictures than text,1000 word max…but recently 500 words or less are preferred, art tells much of the story, child or child-like hero is at center of story, fiction or non-fiction or concept book, example: Where The Wild Things Are.
  •        Easy-reader or level reader – 6-8 year old, illustrations on every page, usually broken into chapters, shorter sentences and repetition, 2-5 sentences per page, aim is for the child to read it himself, example: Amelia Bedelia
  •        Early Chapter Books – 7-11 year old, 45-60 pages, broken into chapters, each chapter is broken into 3-4 pages, illustrations are small, usually black and white and only on every few pages, 2-4 sentences per paragraph, each chapter ends so they want to turn the page, example: Ramona.
  •        Middle Grade Novels (MG) – 8-12 year old, 100-150 pages, minimal illustrations, invites the child to bring his own imagination to the story, example: series books such as Chronicles of Narnia.
  •       Young Adult Novels (YA) – 12 years old and up, 100-400 pages, complex plots, themes relevant to problems of teenagers today, sophisticated topics, mature vocabulary, example: Twilight Series, Hunger Games.

As writers of children’s books, it will be helpful to remember these parameters.

I think that writing for children is the best job in the world! As Jorge Luis Borges said, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” We hold in our hands the ability to create beautiful stories that will entertain, educate and elevate the young children of tomorrow.

 

Vivian Kirkfield is a mom, an educator and an author who is passionate about picture books, enjoys hiking and fly-fishing with her husband, loves reading, crafting and cooking with kids during school and library programs and shares tips and tactics for building self-esteem and literacy in her parenting workshops. To learn more about her mission to help every child become a reader and a lover of books.

VIVIAN’S  BOOKS:

PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, February 12, 2019) illus by Jill Weber

FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019) illus by Mirka Hokkanen

SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019) illus by Chris Ewald

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020) illus by Alleanna Harris

FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) illus by Gilbert Ford

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Donna M Bateman

Swamp

 

Title: Deep in the Swamp

Author: Donna M Bateman

Illustrator: Brian Lies

Ages: 4-8


Synopsis:

 

“Deep in the swamp, in the warm morning sun,

Lived a mother river otter and her little pup One.

“Splash!” said the mother, “I splash,” said the One.

So they splashed and they played in the warm morning sun.”

 

Why you should read it:

 

I have read many versions of this type of story but, being Cajun, of course, the fact Ms. Bateman’s putting a twist on a bayou tale captures my interest right away. Illustrator Brian Lies brings the creatures of the swamp to life while incorporating vibrant detail of the flora found in southern Louisiana. If you’ve read a lot of variations to this original story you might not want to read another one. But if you are new to this basic tale or just love reading about life on the bayou, you will want to add this book to your collection.

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about it.

 

 

 

**Rating scale**

 

 5 out of 5…grab it!

 

 4 out of 5…think about it.

 

 3 out of 5…take or leave it.

 

 2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

 

 1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Jennifer Hamburg

moose

 

Title: A Moose That Says Moooooooooo!
Author: Jennifer Hamburg
Illustrator: Sue Truesdell
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Ages: 4 to 8

 

Synopsis:

 

Everything starts out fine in the imagination of one young girl when she decides to create her own zoo with a moose that can moo and book reading sharks. But soon things get out of hand as everything from zoo pillow fights to an all-duck jazz band creates havoc in the afternoon. How will she corral those crazy critters and restore order once more to her back yard?

 

Why you should read it:

 

The illustrations of this book kind of remind me of Shel Silverstein’s lovely drawings in THE GIVING TREE. With an ox as a short-order cook and skunks jumping rope, who WOULDN’T want to check out this zany zoo? I enjoyed turning the pages to discover the next what-if in this adorable tale of one girl’s imagination gone wild on a lazy summer afternoon.

 

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

LUNADAR cover jpg

(Buy at Amazon)

Ruler by day, a reluctant pirate by night, 18-year-old Princess Ariana fights for her subjects in the waterfall city of Lunadar. In a kingdom surrounded by fairies and mermaids, and ravaged by deadly Drundles, only a chosen few are trusted to guard her daughter, Candra, as the secret heir to the throne.

But it only takes one ill-fated meeting for Ariana to suddenly be plunged into an escalating web of secrets found in her father’s journal, a deadly kidnapping, and an ever-weakening resolve to turn her back on the call of the merman’s song.

With Ariana’s world falling apart and the future of Lunadar at stake, how will she bring her father’s murderer to justice and fulfill a deathbed promise to protect Lunadar’s legacy?

 

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), ebook edition, is now available from Amazon.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Brian & Liam Anderson

 

monsters

 

Title: Monster Chefs
Authors/Illustrators: Brian & Liam Anderson
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Ages: 4 to 8

 

Synopsis:

 

One horrible monster king summons his four horrible chefs and demands they find him something new to eat. He’s tired of eating only eyeballs and ketchup. They must bring him something tasty to try or he will put those horrible chefs on the menu as the main course!

 

Why you should read it:

 

Thanks to the talented Tara Lazar and Tammi Sauer, I’m on a monster kick right now so my bookshelves are quickly being filled with all kinds of cool monster books. MONSTER CHEFS starts out with an almost comfortingly familiar feel of a fairy tale with the four monster chefs going off in four different directions in search of something new for the monster king to eat. Then the story takes on a delicious twist as each chef comes across something they think would please their king. The final surprise comes when the last chef makes it back to the kingdom where the monster king can hardly wait to try something new. I love, love, LOVED the unexpected ending and thoroughly enjoyed the lovely illustrations which accompanied this delightful children’s book. This book is definitely a keeper!

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Olivier Dunrea

bear

 

Title: Old Bear and His Cub
Author/Illustrator: Olivier Dunrea
Publisher: Philomel Books
Ages: 4 to 8

 

Synopsis:

 

Old Bear love his cub with all his heart. Cub loves Old Bear with all his heart. Sometimes Cub doesn’t want to listen to Old Bear and sometime Old Bear finds out its time to listen to Cub.

 

Why you should read it:

 

I’m usually drawn to picture books talking about the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild because there aren’t as many books available on the subject as other themes. This author not only tells a sweet tale about two creatures taking care of one another, but also adds their own delightful illustrations to help showcase the universal theme of love and caring. Readers young and old will want to snuggle down to enjoy this book over and over again.

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!