Wednesday, May 4, 2016

#MMBBR #ReviewRoundUp #ChildrensBooks @SplashingCow








This wonderfully illustrated picture book reminds us that we can't always control what a day brings us, but we can always control the attitude we bring to the day.
Kimberly Waltman has a passion for reading, theme park rides (minus the hurl-inducing spinning type), traveling, and a very long list of so-bad-but-oh-so-good junk food. Her love of reading and sharing books has led her to her Next Big Adventure as a children's book author. Her dream is to ignite the love and joy of reading in the hearts of kids, young and old alike. She currently freezes her butt off (lives) in Minnesota with her husband and son. Bright or Blue was named a Finalist by the USA Best Books Awards in 2015.

6" x 12"Full color illustrations
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2015

MY REVIEW:
I loved this book!  I love that it is an usual and fun size at 6" x 12".  It makes for a new and enjoyable reading experience.  I adored this book because it helps children learn how to cope with their emotions, moods and adversity.  I love that it puts the responsibility back on them to make their day bright or blue. It helps to create dialogue with them regarding their view on the events that take place throughout the day and how changing their thinking to positive rather than focusing on the negative can make all the difference.  I enjoyed the rhyming prose, vibrant and detailed illustrations.  It is a sure fire hit.  I cannot wait to read it to my classes and come up with a few fun art projects to go with it.  5 stars 


From a circle, a stick figure emerges.
But this stick figure is different.
It becomes a friend.
This simple story about the simplest of creations,
reminds us that love can come from anything,
even from a circle.
After a brief career as a print reporter for three newspapers, including The Wilmington Morning-Star in North Carolina and MetroNorth Newspapers in Denver, CO, Najah A. Jabbar chose to teach. She is passionate about allowing children to express themselves and finding appropriate but honest words to comfort them in emotional times. Currently, she is a liberal arts graduate student at the University of Denver and a licensed elementary teacher, balancing her days between work and family-time with her beautiful daughter, who is her constant inspiration. At night, when her daughter is tucked in to sleep, she finds her time to write children's stories and short stories. From A Circle is Najah's first book. Three more in the picture book series are currently in production. 
7" x 9" vertically oriented picture book.32 pages. Hardcover.
Black and white illustrations on white paper.
Published 2015

MY REVIEW:
I loved that this opens vertically.  This created a new and fun way to read a book.  The simple illustrations in the book had huge heart and created a big story.  I was smiling the entire way through the book.  There was so much love between the girl and the circle.  I loved the dialogue between the two of them, as she drew more and more detail to the circle the bond grew too.  It was written in a way that made the reader feel like part of the story. I feel like this book will spark creativity in young artist and readers.  It is sweet and tender.  I cannot wait to share this book with my boys, class and the parents!  They will all adore it.  5 stars 



Embark on a counting safari from 1 to 10 with this fantastically whimsical picture book for children just learning their numbers. Written by Harris Tobias. Illustrated by Brianne Burnell.
Four Fabulous Fly Fetching French Frogs is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned.
8.5" x 8.5" 
Full Color Bleed on White paper
24 pages

MY REVIEW:
This book is simply adorable.  It is zany and original and one my counting class with become entranced by.  This book makes for an amazing read-aloud.  As the story counts up so do the number of descriptive words used to detail the characteristics of the animals all starting with the same letter of the animal.  One outgoing octopus, two torpid Tibetan tigers, three tranquil ticklish toothless turtles...so much fun right?  The beautiful illustration match the text perfectly.  A hit for sure!  I love that it can help broaden vocabulary and teaches adjectives.  Such fun... 5 stars



We've all heard of Groundhog Day.
But have you ever wondered how groundhogs predict the weather?
No one, not even groundhogs, knew the secret.
Until now.

The Secret of the Shadow was written by Chris Zollner and illustrated by Alexandra Gheorghiu. Chris is an educator by training, and teaches third grade at the San Bernadino City Unified School District. He was a co-writer on a documentary about the UPA film studio (creators of Gerald McBoing-Boing and Mr. Magoo), as well as a writer for a children’s educational program previously in development with PBS.
8.5" x 11Full color illustrations
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2016

MY REVIEW:
This book is jam packed with fun and information.  Groundhogs Day is a tradition that is so much fun and this book takes a new and unexpected take on that tradition.  There is so much information in this book about weather, groundhogs and science, but it is all tied together with an amazingly fun and creative story about how the groundhog really predicts how much winter is left.  The story is a bit advanced with its vocabulary and weather information, so it would be more appropriate for more advanced readers.  It is a great book to facilitate discuss on weather forecasting and kids who find this interesting with be blown away!   

The truth about Groundhogs Day is going to be uncovered once and for all...5 stars 



What happens in a robot zoo when no guests are there? This unique and fun picture book takes young readers on a trip they won't soon forget, and makes us all wish we could come along. Written by Harris Tobias. Illustrated by Bill Barden.
At the Robot Zoo is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned.
8.25" x 6" 
Full color bleed on white paper
32 pages

MY REVIEW:
At the Robot Zoo is a fun and creative look at a zoo of robot animals.  It is so very clever and the illustrations are very fun too. All lovers of zoos and robots are going to get a kick out of this book.  It is a rhyming book that flows beautifully.  It is funny and inventive.   I love all the ways that the writer kept true to animals being cared for in a zoo and twisted it to fit robot animals.  It is really quite brilliant.  I am already thinking of a whole new lesson plan on robots and animals for my Art Through Stories class.  Boys and girls with adore taking this trip the zoo.  It will be a fun and memorable experience for all because this book is perfect for a read-aloud.  5 stars 



When Sammy faces a bully, he tries to get even.
But that makes him no better than the bully.
What Sammy finally learns, helps him and the bully to change.
Connie Spanhake is an elementary teacher in Upstate NY, where you will find her going for long walks with a pen in her hand and a small notebook in her pocket.
8.25" x 8.25" Full color illustrations on white paper Hardcover, 32 pagesPublished 2015

MY REVIEW:
A story about a squirrel that is being bullied and then after continued incidents of being bullied Sammy decides to get even.  But does it make the one being bullied feel better to then BE the bully?  No.  Sammy then feels so much worse and takes steps to make it right.  In this day and age I think that this book is a good book to use to facilitate discussion around the consequences of bullying and how it affects all parties involved.  There many roles people play when it comes to bullies and this book seems to have them all covered.  A great book to capture the bullying epidemic we are facing. 4.5 stars



An inspiring tale about a King who realizes that some things in life can't be bought. For fairy tale enthusiasts of all ages and children everywhere. Written by Harris Tobias. Exceptional illustrations by Cathy-Reene.
The King's Dream is a DartFrog publication: exceptional & author-owned. The King's Dream was named a Finalist by the Tybee Island Book Festival in 2015.
8.5" x 11"
Full color bleed on white paper
32 page
This book comes in paperback.

MY REVIEW:
"The only way to possess a dream...it to live it." This is a great book about becoming the good you want to see in the world.  It is a story about doing good, rather than collecting things.  The best things in life cannot be bought and this book is a perfectly told and illustrated version of that life lesson.  With a fairy tale feel and a touch of A Christmas Carol this story is one that will resonate with young readers.  The King's Dream is an insightful and creative tale that will warn off greed and encourage altruism in the readers.  5 stars



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