A host of new books to peruse!

Note:  Ordinarily, I won’t promote the books of celebrities, as they have the power to market their own, and don’t need my help.  However, this time I’m reviewing two, deciding it is more important to put the messages of these particular books before you, so you can share them with your children.

The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric

Couric shares in this book, an extremely important message about children lending compassion and kindness to other kids who are singled out for their differences and bullied.  It is a great launch for parent-child discussions, building empathy, and constructing bridges instead of walls with others.  There is an amusing rhyme scheme that children love!  Who hasn’t experienced the anxiety of being new to an environment, and seen other people being criticized or left out because they were somehow different from the rest of the group?  The illustrations by Marjorie Priceman are fun, quirky, and cute!  I’d love to see this basic story adapted to middle and high schoolers, where acceptance and empathy are so intensely needed.

dreaming, achieving, becoming, feelingDream Big Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi

This is a delightful book that encourages children to dream about what they want to do with their lives.  Most children dream of becoming something important.  Poppy the pig is no exception.  In this book, she dreams of being a big star, and tries out singing, dancing, and modeling.  Her family loves and supports her unconditionally through these different endeavors.  Those in charge of her activities though, discourage her from these pursuits.  Poppy persists though, until she finds success in something she loves.  When she finds her activity, Poppy fails at first.  Then she practices diligently, develops her skills, and succeeds.   I think it is so important to show kids that dreams, as great as they are, don’t just happen magically, even when they have gifts or talents.  Everything worth having is worth working towards.  A must-read with wonderful illustrations by Tim Bowers.

naughtiness, obedience, dogs, burglars, foiled plansPinkerton, Behave! by Steven Kellogg

I enjoyed this book, being a dog lover!  I have a cocker spaniel who is sometimes inclined toward naughtiness.  She chases cats off her property at every opportunity, and dashes across the street in hot pursuit without watching for cars. She worries me so when she does that!  Everyone who’s had a pet can relate to this story. Pinkerton makes a habit of doing the opposite thing his family wants him to do.  He even flunked out of obedience school!  However, his oppositional ways really come in handy when an intruder dares to break in the family’s home.  The illustrations are great, and portray this loveable mutt as he is–big, sloppy, friendly, and a bit of a nuisance, but a loved one!.  There was a real Pinkerton.  This is a book from the way back machine—1979!  Some of you may remember Pinkerton from your own childhoods.

cycle of life, butterflies, returning, love, gentlenessButterfly House by Eve Bunting

A lovely story with fabulous illustrations by Greg Shed, printed from paintings.  A young girl saves a larva and her grandfather helps her raise it, and keep it safe through its metamorphosis, until the beautiful butterfly is freed.  Then she gets a gift she never imagined.  I’m not going to spoil the surprise!  It is perhaps a metaphor for good karma.  The end of the book also shows kids how to raise a larva.  Any book that inspires gentleness in anyone is wonderful in my book!

        Weird Parents by Audrey Wood

An interesting read!  A boy wishes his parents weren’t so weird.  He feels embarrassed by them clowning around, but doesn’t realize other people enjoy the fun they create.  Then he wishes all parents were this weird, but realizes it isn’t possible, as this would make the weirdness common, and therefore, no longer weird.  This book is unique—the lead character is simply referred to as “a boy” or “my son.”  He hasn’t a proper name.  I’m guessing this was done to keep his story more universal to readers.  Naming him would make it a story about “Jimmy” or “Peter” and his weird parents.   Not naming him lets it be about anyone.  Feeling one’s parents are weird is not extraordinary.  Probably every kid feels that way at some point.  The illustrations are oddly fun.  This boy realizes he enjoys aspects of their weirdness, and loves and accepts his parents as they are.

orphans, wolves, rearing, detectives, mysteryThe Wolf Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi Elisabet Yolen Stemple

This was an intriguing book, aimed at the 6 and up crowd.  It is written from the perspective of a young girl who is trying to solve a mystery from the 1920’s in India.  Her father is a detective.  The illustrations are quite nicely done by Roger Roth.  Two tiny girls are brought to an orphanage in India.  The girls are thought to have been raised by wolves.  They walk on all fours, and have other wolf type characteristics.  Though the missionary man who takes the girls in to his orphanage seems to have good intentions, he does exploit them for profit.  There is a wealth of new vocabulary words to learn. These words are well-explained.  The harm of gossip is portrayed, and ethical problems are brought up, but not expounded on.  The issues may provide a good discussion with kids.

My only qualm with this book is that it introduces topics I think are too emotionally loaded for kids who are under 9 or 10 years old.  There is enough tragedy and hard things that go on in the world, and the media blasts these across televisions on a daily basis.  I find myself wanting to protect children from these things as long as possible. Kids today have enough to contend with in our world.  Additonally, children being raised by wolves, isn’t a necessary evil to require a cautionary tale.  Your kids aren’t going to run up against children with this problem in their schools, on playdates, or anywhere else.  The only value I can see in subjecting younger children to this story, is to evoke empathy in them towards others who have been greatly disadvantaged.  It is a painful story that is quite tragic.

Stay tuned!  More book reviews coming very soon!  The next group are all artistically inclined…………….

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6 thoughts on “A host of new books to peruse!

  1. What a fantastic collection of books Adriana. And I love the succinct sypnosis and reviews! Who knew Kristi Yamaguchi had written a children’s book? The Wolf Girls sounds very interesting but I agree some of the themes in the book may be a bit advanced for young readers. Or, at the very least, it would be important for parents to deconstruct the book a bit for their kids as they read or after they have read it with their kids.

    Thanks so much for sharing this post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Hope you are having a lovely day! 🙂

    • Thanks Renee! I did have a lovely, though challenging day! Did my longest walk ever. It was supposed to be a 10k, which is like 6.2 miles, but it was 5 miles. That turned out to be a good thing, because by the end of it, I was toast! I told my other half to bring the spatula when he came to pick us up (did it with a friend). I was really dragging the last half mile. Anyhow, I made it! Then I came home and was a couch potato for the next 8 hours, watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. I also watched it rain and gust, and I drank orange tea with a spoonful of honey in it. Yummy! The walk took us through a canyon area that was quite nice. We saw horses, cows, and llamas, along with the fall foliage and a wonderful view. Hope you’re having a fabulous day too. I’ll do the next set of book reviews in a day or two. Thanks for being a loyal follower. Did I tell you I joined Apple Pie Books? You’ll start seeing me on their website. Take care. Adriana

      • Thank sounds like a lovely walk (and recuperation!) It’s so much more bearable if you can walk through nice scenery. Congrats on joining Apple Pie Books. We just reviewed a book “The Idea Tree” written by Mary E. Fam. She’s with them as well. That’s a pretty exciting development for you! Have a great day! 😀

      • Thank you Renee. Yes, I’m excited to join them too! I hope I can be an asset to their team. I’m stuffed full of turkey and all the trimmings. Ugh! Wish it wasn’t dark, I’d go walk it off, but I’ll just have to do so tomorrow. I’ve been doing three to five mile walks on a regular basis now. I walk for at least an hour each time. I’m trying to get my muscles all toned up. THey are flabby after the long time in the wheelchair. A friend of mine is going through a terrible ordeal right now. Her hubby is dying, as I write this–he has only hours to live. I went to her place and brought a pumpkin pie a little while ago, and she is laying next to him, crying. I feel so awful for her. I saw him just two weeks ago, and he could walk around then, a little. I wish there was something I could do it to make it feel better, but I know there is nothing that will make this better. She is losing her best friend. I heard yesterday that he had about a week to live, and now already we’re down to mere hours. It is so painful. She’s a very strong woman, but there’s only so much a person can take, even a strong one. All I can do is be there for her, and I take that as an honor and a privilege. Anyway, I hope you’re having a wonderful evening!

      • Yes, it is a terrible sadness that has been weighing on me for days. I’m sure he’s passed by now, as he only had hours to live on Thursday evening, but I think she is isolating to deal with her grief. She will likely come to our writer’s meeting Wed. to get support. She’s had to miss it for a few months to take care of him, and she’s said she’ll need lots of support, so I’m hoping anyway that she will come and let us be there for her. She’s a neat lady! I wish this kind of crud would only happen to those who do bad stuff to others, and not to good people. Thanks for thinking of her! Have a good night!

  2. Hey Randy, thanks for your support. I do enjoy reading kid books! As an indie author, the hardest part for me is marketing. It is taking up a lot of time, and is not as creative as writing books. I would much rather hire someone to do the marketing stuff for me, and leave me to write and illustrate. Of course, I’m not in any position to do that yet, but hopefully I will be at some point. What about you? What do you find most challenging in self-publishing? Which publisher did you go through? I did Author House. Have a great rest of your weekend!

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