Posted in On The Reading Chair

The One and Only Ivan- A Review


I read this book as part of the Amazon Vine reviewing program. I was given this book for free for reviewing purposes. I am not obligated by Amazon or the author to give this book a favorable review. 

This is a children’s book. I gave the book 3 out of 5 stars.

I liked the story. It was sweet and sentimental. A very touching story of a gorilla who saves a baby elephant. The set up was clever. An entire story told by a gorilla narrator. Very smart thinking there. However, something was missing in the actual execution. It just felt choppy and incomplete. It didn’t feel genuine. There was also a large portion of the book that was just chatter, having little to do with the story. (The book also contains a glossary, which is completely overkill, since each term in the glossary is defined as it is used. A cast of characters would have been more appropriate, or a map of the mall.) The beginning was very slow moving, which is never a good thing in a children’s book. Once it got to the actual story (about 68 pages in) the story moves you through the choppiness and sometimes meaningless chatter. 

This book makes a much better read aloud book than a read it yourself book. Read aloud, the choppiness doesn’t seem so apparent and the slow moving story can be pressed through.

Posted in On The Reading Chair, Uncategorized, With The Kids

Reading With Children

In May, I began keeping track of all the books I read to the kids, along with ratings for each book. This week, we reached the 100 book mark! Yay! In celebration, I’m sharing with you the best books out of that 100 that we loved!

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. This is a fun story about a little girl who secretly loves lima beans. She quickly finds herself standing out far more than she’d like. This is a great book about being yourself and liking whatever it is you like, without thinking about what others think about it.  The pictures are vivid and lovely.

Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka. This is a book of fables. The morals are interesting. I’ll be honest, the kids liked the pictures but were not overly impressed with the actual fables. I, on the other hand, get a good laugh every time I read this book. My amusement is worth something, right? Squids Will Be Squids is a laugh-out-loud-funny-for-mom book, and that is reason enough to add it to your permanent library.

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. Skippyjon Jones is a siamese cat who pretends to be a chihuahua and saves the frijoles from Alfredo Bumblebeeto. The kids runs around yelling, “Skip skip skippito! I fear not a single bandito!” The princess also wants a chihuahua to name Skippyjon Jones. The book is cute and kids LOVE it!

Tuesday by David Wiesner. Let me say, I love wordless books for the can’t-quite-read-yet crowd. Tuesday is an almost completely wordless story (just the time is given) about some very strange frogs. I love this book. The illustrations are beautiful. I can hand it to a kid for quiet rest time and they can’t say, “But MOM! I can’t read all these words!” Because I can say, “You don’t have to read for this book. You just need to use your imagination!”

Parts by Tedd Arnold. A five year old looses his tooth and realizes he is falling apart! This hilarious story will have you and your children laughing out loud.

Underwear! by Mary Elise Monsell. So, any kid loves books about underwear. Underwear rank right up there with passing gas in kid entertainment. This book is about having fun with your friends (in your underwear).

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. Speaking of things kids find infinitely entertaining, I bring you… Poop! So, this isn’t a new one for us. It is a long time favorite. (Along with The Gas We Pas, The Holes In Your Nose, and All About Scabs.) The kids really enjoy these science books! I actually like them, as well. Yes, they have cartoon naked kid parts. If you wish to avoid that, you may want to avoid all these Kane/Miller science books. (Even The Holes In Your Nose lets you know where the other holes in your body are.) I happen to like the transparency of these books. I like that they lay it all out there in a very matter-of-fact way. I know everyone doesn’t appreciate it, but for those of you that do, check out these books!

Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley. The terrible things in this book range from monsters in your closet to dropping your ice cream. I actually don’t recommend this book for before bed reading. I don’t recommend this book for children that scare easily or become obsessed with scary things easily, because you’ll have quite a time getting them unscared and unstuck from this book. The illustrations are great. It is a fun read for adults. Just be warned, your four-year-old scaredy-cat may be sleeping in your bed after reading this one!

Baloney (Henry P.) by Jon Scieszka. This is a funny story about an alien from outer space. Common words throughout the story are replaced with words in other languages, but surprisingly, you know exactly what they are talking about. (There is even a dictionary page in the back with each word, language, and meaning.) The kids found the story fun and a bit silly!

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi Barrett. This has become a favorite around here. The kids laugh (belly laugh) at the awkward predicaments these clothed animals find themselves. The words are very simple, so it would be a great book for a beginning reader. The pictures are fabulous.

Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words by Jane O’Connor. This is not a new book to us, either, but it remains one of Imogene’s favorite books. She adores anything Fancy Nancy and this book is fabulous.  This book is a vocabulary builder, for sure. Imagine hearing a three year old say, “This is quite an excursion!” (That was Imogene’s proclamation when she had to go by stretcher to get a CT Scan.) They will learn that word, and many more, in this book!

Twenty-six Princesses by Dave Horowitz. This is an alphabet book that will not bore you! These twenty-six princesses exhibit good and bad behavior. This book is not just for girls, boys like it as well. It is a fun and playful alphabet book.