Showing posts with label give a book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label give a book. Show all posts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Little kids take on the world: Nino Wrestles the World & Lucha Libre toys (ages 4-8)

The little kids I know have BIG imaginations. Playing with action figures and dolls is still one of kids' favorite activities. One of my favorite books from last year taps into this imagination perfectly: Niño Wrestles the World. Pair this with a set of Lucha Libre wrestling figures, and you'll create lots of playtime fun.
Dressed up in his lucha libre mask, little Niño uses his active imagination to battle some mighty foes. Whether he’s defeating the Guanajuato mummy or exploding the giant Olmec Head, this is one confident little kid.

Lucha libre, the popular masked Mexican wrestling sport, will appeal to kids familiar with it or just learning about it for the first time. Morales brings humor, dynamic energy and vivid artwork to this terrific picture book. She mixes in Spanish words seamlessly, providing great access for Spanish speaking families. But all of my students have loved this.

I love this video with Morales reading the story with flair. It gives you a great sense of how fun and dramatic it is.

Pair this with a set of plush lucha libre action figures and I can see little kids having a great time channeling their dreams of world-domination. To be honest, I have not ordered these but they look like so much fun. Let me know what you think!
CMLL Lucha Libre Plush Doll 7 inches
Yuyi Morales has put together a great Pinterest page for Niño Wrestles the World, full of other fun things to share. Over at her site, Morales has printable coloring sheets for kids to make their own luchador mask.

The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fit for a wanna-be king: Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth (ages 8-12)

Do your kids love graphic novels? Do you know any kid who loves the spotlight or has fun when their friends grab center stage? The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review is a new series of graphic novels that my students are giving a round of applause for the way it combines humor, theatrics, tragedy and puns. It would make a great gift either for comic-book fans or theater fans.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents: Macbeth
by Ian Lendler
illustrated by Zack Giallongo
First Second, 2014
Your local library
ages 8-12
"Macbeth, the hero of our story, the greatest warrior in the land."
When the zoo shuts for the night, the animals gather together and put on a show. The lion makes a natural mighty Macbeth, full of swagger and a taste for power. My students were easily able to imagine why such a beast would want to be king--and Lender's version shares this classic play in a form that is very kid-friendly. Here's how he adapts the witches' famous song which charms Macbeth, setting the plot in motion:
"Double, double,
toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eat the king,
the plot will thicken,
go on Macbeth,
he tastes like chicken."
Lendler mixes humor and puns throughout Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, giving young readers a real sense of the classic play but making it very age-appropriate. Giallongo's illustrations capture Macbeth's slide into gluttony perfectly, make light of the witches and add plenty of ketchup to keep the tragedy at bay. My students definitely give this version of Shakespeare a hearty round of applause.

We were lucky enough to have Ian Lendler visit Emerson last week to share his book with our 4th and 5th graders. He starts out his presentation with a loud bugle calling everyone's attention (see below), just as the young boys did during Shakespeare's time. He shares an overview of the story with students, emphasizing some of the lessons of the story. Our kids highly recommend his visit to other schools, especially for kids who like funny comic books and putting on their own plays.
Ian Lendler at Emerson
Are you looking for a holiday gift to add to the fun? I know my students would love their own stadium horn to call everyone to their performances. They also might want a mighty robe, fit for a king. Check these ideas out:
The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, First Second. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sharks ahoy: fun with sharks for 1st & 2nd graders -- giving books & toys for lasting fun (ages 5-8)

There's no doubt about it: sharks are cool--especially great white sharks. They're fast, they're strong and they're big. Here are three books that spark a little kid's imagination and weave in fascinating facts. Combine them with a toy shark, and you're all set to go.
Fly Guy Presents: Sharks
by Tedd Arnold
Scholastic, 2014
Your local library
ages 5-8
Buzz and Fly Guy are two hugely popular characters with our beginning readers--so I was very excited to see this new blend of nonfiction and cartoons. In this book, Buzz visits his local aquarium and his best friend Fly Guy comes along.
"A shark uses its sharp teeth to rip prey. Then the shark swallows the meat whole--without even chewing." -- already an Emerson favorite!
My students love the combination of cartoon characters and dialog with clear nonfiction facts and color photographs. When the text explains that sharks don’t have any bones, and their cartilage helps them turn quickly, Fly Guy wonders, “NO BONEZ?”--adding just the right humor for young kids. Throughout, the sentences are short and clear, just right to read with kindergarteners or for 2nd graders to read by themselves.

Stink and the Shark Sleepover
by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Candlewick, 2014
Google books preview
Your local library
ages 6-9
Stink and the Shark Sleepover also combines humor and facts, but this time with a longer chapter book that's great to read aloud with young kids. Our students love the whole Stink series--Judy Moody's little brother who has his own series. You really don't need to read the series in order, especially if you're reading it aloud together.

Stink’s parents win tickets for a family sleep over at the local aquarium, and Stink is thrilled! Right away, he runs up to get all his things to bring.
"What's all this junk?" Judy asked.
"It's for the sleepover. There's my shark sleeping bag and Leroy my stuffed tiger shark that I use for a pillow sometimes and my Big Mouth Book of Sharks."
"Is that all?" Judy teased.
"Oh. Yeah. I can't forget to wear my shark-tooth necklace... Check it out. Shark slippers."
"Check it out. Shark slippers."
Stink loves the sea-creature scavenger hunt, the jellyfish light show, and the sharks with their razor-sharp teeth. But will he and his friends really be able to fall asleep after hearing creepy stories?

McDonald clearly loves the science aspect and intersperses this fun story with high-interest facts. Reynold's illustrations help kids create those "movies in our minds" that help all readers--especially ones new to chapter books--build a sense of the story.
Safari Ltd. plastic shark
Melissa and Doug plush shark

Combine either of these with a toy shark, and you'll create hours of fun. I think 1st and 2nd graders would like either a realistic plastic shark or a soft stuffed animal shark. Check these out:

The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen: terrific picture book + gift idea (ages 5-10)

Each holiday I love pairing books with toys that kids will enjoy. Kids love toys (duh!) and these pairings extend the experience of both book and toy by capturing their imagination. This week, I'll share posts each day with fun ideas.

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen would be a perfect grandma gift for a young reader -- especially from a grandma that's still young at heart. Pair it with a sparkly hula hoop and you're all set!
The Hula-Hoopin' Queen
by Thelma Lynne Godin
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Lee & Low
, 2014
Your local library
ages 5-10
Kameeka loves hula hooping and is sure she can become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street--but Mama reminds her that she has to help get ready for Miz Adeline’s birthday. After all, Miz Adeline took care of Mama and Kameeka when they each were babies. How will Kameeka ever get all these things done and get outside to beat her rival Jamara?
"Girl, don't you even think about it. You know today is Miz Adeline's birthday."
When Kameeka heads out to run an errand, she sees Jamara and just can't avoid stepping up to save her reputation. By the time she gets home, it's too late to make the birthday cake! I especially love the ending, as Miz Adeline lets Kameeka see how much she loved hula hooping when she was a kid.
"Neighborhood kids crowd around as Jamara and I hoop."
Godin's text has snap and is great fun to read aloud. Brantley-Newton's illustrations really appeal to my students, capturing the feel of our multicultural urban community.

Pair this fun book with a hula hoop set and maybe you'll inspire some intergenerational or neighborly contests of your own.

Illustrations copyright ©Vanessa Brantley-Newton, 2014, shared via Lee and Low site and Thelma Lynne Godin's site. The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher, Lee and Low Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mermaid Tales - a fun friendship story & gift idea

Our 2nd and 3rd graders are loving Debbie Dadey's new series, Mermaid Tales. If you are looking for a friendship story for a girls who's read all the Rainbow Magic books, this might be a nice choice for you.And since this is the holidays, I always try to find gifts that might make a nice pairing with books - here's a fun, sparkling ball to include for your mermaid loving 8 year old.
Mermaid Tales:
1. Trouble at Trident Academy
2. Battle of the Best Friends
3. Whale of a Tale
by Debbie Dadey
Alladin / Simon & Schuster, 2012
ages 6 - 10
Amazon, your library, Google books
Best friends Shelly, Echo and Kiki are all third-graders at Trident Academy. They share fun times and help each other through struggles that many kids will relate to: anticipating the first day of a new school, dealing with a difficult classmate who thinks she's the best at everything, being the only one not invited to a special party. In Battle of the Best Friends, Echo is invited to another girl's birthday party but Shelly isn't. The friends must figure out how to deal with this difficult situation.

These books provide a comfortable, enjoyable reading experience to our kids who are moving into chapter books. It is a bit more difficult than the ever-popular Ivy & Bean, but easier than Clementine. As the Kirkus Review writes, "While Echo and Shelly are not particularly distinctive, and Pearl and the archetypal token boy, Rocky, are cartoony, the characters' interactions are funny and believable." This friendship-driven story will find many fans. Here's a sample to preview from Google Books:

If you're looking to pair this with a fun gift, look for a mermaid themed toy. You might try the Play Visions Mermaid Ball. My kids have loved these types of hi-bouncing balls. With these mermaid decorations inside, it reminds me of a snow-globe, but actually is something kids can play with!

For other holiday gift ideas, check out these ideas for giving books. For some more favorite chapter books, see my recommendations for favorite series for 2nd and 3rd graders.

The review copies came from our home library (tested and loved by our 8 year old). If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Perfect gift for your little daredevil

Do you have a little daredevil at home? My nephew loves everything that goes fast, jumps high and makes loud noises. His dad's favorite hobby? Going to the car races. So we know where this little guy gets his passion!

This holiday I'm going to make him a daredevil cape - bright red and shiny. It's going to be the perfect "go faster" special effect for him. But the book that I'm going to have tucked inside this cape? Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show - it's a fun spoof on a little boy's quest to be a daredevil in his own right.

Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show
by Michael Buckley
and Dan Santat
Abrams, 2012
ages 5-8
find it: Amazon and your local library
Kel Gilligan is a daredevil - brave enough to attempt awe-inspiring feats like eating broccoli, facing "the Potty of Doom," and taking a bath with only ONE assistant. Santat's illustrations heighten both the drama and the humor in Buckley's story. You can tell just by the cover how much kids are going to love this.

Our kindergartners thought the Potty of Doom was hilarious. They are just the right age to remember those little potties and know just what an achievement it is to master them. As the review in Kirkus says,
"Whether he is in underpants, in his caped stuntman outfit or bare-bottomed, young readers (and their grown-ups) cannot help but laugh out loud at the hilarious details of Kel's silly adventures because they tackle them daily and know them too well."

It's interesting that Kel appeals most to kids ages 5-8 who are able to laugh at Buckley's exaggeration and understand that he's really making fun of these small achievements. They know that Kel talks tough, but is really soft inside - especially when it comes to checking for monsters under his bed.

Take a look at Santat's early sketches for Kel - he had originally imagined him as a preschooler, but through editing changes it was decided that Kel should be older, perhaps around 5. Santat developed the flashback device using the parent's videocam to recall the potty and broccoli scenes from Kel's younger days. My kindergartners were a bit confused at these transitions, but it did not detract from the overall impact of the hilarious scenes.

If I can't get my act together to make a red cape, I think this one will do the trick just perfectly: Creative Edition's Red Adventure Cape. I must say that I have not seen this cape in action, but it's gotten great reviews on Amazon.
The artwork is copyright © Dan Santat, shared by the artist. The review copy of this book came from my local review group, the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California, and was sent by the publishers Abrams Books for Young Readers. Thank you to ACL and Abrams for sharing this very funny book. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Friday, November 30, 2012

Playing in the rain! Rain Stomper, by Addie Boswell (ages 4-8)

Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day! Did you used to chant that as a kid? But if you want to know the real truth, kids LOVE playing in the rain. Stomping, splashing, jumping in puddles. I adore sharing Rain Stomper, a fun, high-energy picture book, and it would make a great gift along with a new pair of spiffy rain boots.
Rain Stomper
by Addie K. Boswell
illustrated by Eric Velasquez
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, 2008
ages 4 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
Jazmin was so excited - she was all set to twirl her baton in the big neighborhood parade. Everyone would dance and celebrate together. But then, the clouds started rolling in. Would her special day be ruined?

This book combines wonderful poetry and pictures. The text is vibrant, coming alive with images and descriptions - it works wonderfully as a read aloud. And the pictures make you feel Jazmin's full range of emotions. It's fun to read, but it is also rich and full of possibilities for engaging in interesting conversations about what makes it work so well. Take a look at Boswell's descriptive writing:
Jazmin threw open her front door.
Wind whistled through her hair.
Thunder rumbled the ground.
The sun scuttled behind the clouds.
The sky twisted into a thick, black coil.

Clatter, clatter
The rain poured down in buckets.
walla BOOM
Thunder rattled the bricks in the walls.
(c) Addie Kay Boswell
Velasquez's illustrations are dynamic as they show Jazmin's energy and all the kids as they all splashed, banged, bashed, and clattered on the sidewalk. To see more of the pictures, visit Eric Velasquez's website.

I'd pair this book with a bright red pair of rain boots, so kids could stomp and splash in puddles to their hearts delight.

The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday gifts: books to share, gifts that last

There's a buzz in the air. Kids are getting excited for winter holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. They love the traditions, the family time together, and the gifts. Parents are making lists, thinking about how to make the holiday special for their child. As you think about the perfect gifts for your children, think about sharing books and giving a gift that lasts.

Include books for your children as you think about holiday gifts.
While books might not grab their attention right away, they have lasting power. Take a minute to think about the amount of time and pleasure we get from a book. Combine books with other gifts, to make a package - whether it's a new stuffed animal and a book, or a baseball mitt along with a biography of Jackie Robinson. Throughout December, I'll be sharing ideas for giving books. Check out the tag "give a book" for past suggestions.

Caught Reading
Include books in your gifts to charities.
Our neighborhood does a charity drive every winter for a local women's shelter or the local children's hospital. Gifts of children's books can be especially meaningful for children struggling at this time of year. Books can help pass the time, they can help you escape in your mind, and they can bring laughter at hard times. I pass on books we're no longer using, and include some new popular books that I know kids will love.
If you shop on Amazon, please support Great Kid Books blog. 
I love sharing books with friends, children and schools. If you've gotten great ideas from my posts, please consider supporting Great Kid Books through your Amazon purchases. First visit Great Kid Books and then click over on a link to AmazonGreat Kid Books gets a small percentage of every sale - money that helps us buy the newest books to review and share with kids and readers. Anything purchased from Amazon counts here - from candles to Kindles, toothbrushes to toys, not just books.
Flickr image shared through Creative Common licensing, thanks to John-Morgan. Thank you for your support, and for helping your children find wonderful things to feed their imagination.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chalk, by Bill Thomson (ages 4 - 9) - creating magic with just a piece of chalk

A young girl asked me the other day, "But is it real?" Young kids are working hard to figure out what belongs to the world of just pretend and what belongs to the "real world". We want to help them make those distinctions, and yet ... and yet... Don't we also want to help them see the magic of our imaginations, the magic in our own real worlds? Chalk, by Bill Thomson, is an amazing wordless book that embraces and celebrates kids' imaginations in a very real way. It's one of my standout books of the year.

by Bill Thomson
NY: Marshall Cavendish, 2010
ages 4 - 9
available on Amazon and at your local library
One rainy day, three kids walk past the playground and see a bag of chalk hanging on a dinosaur's mouth. They look inside the bag. One kid takes out a piece of chalk, and draws a sun. All of a sudden, the clouds part and the sun starts to shine! What should the draw next? Butterflies? Butterflies lift off the ground, coming to life from their drawings.

Thomson creates an exciting, magical story completely through his paintings. At first I was convinced these were computer generated, until I read Thomson's note at the end. All of the artwork was created through acrylic paintings and colored pencil sketches. His precision, perspective and details are truly extraordinary. Young kids will simply be amazed at this story. I'd even read it to 4th and 5th graders, talking about what inferences they make to understand what's happening.

Crayola 3D Deluxe Art SetThis would make a great gift, combined with some sidewalk chalk or even Crayola's 3-D Chalk with a note encouraging your child to make some magic of their own.

For more about this great book, see the publisher's website: Marshall Cavendish. Especially noteworthy is Bill Thomson's essay about the process of illustration in Chalk.

For other reviews, check out Charlotte's Library, A Year of Reading, Bookends, Kids Lit, and Scope Notes. Yes, it's getting rave reviews all over!

The review copy came from my local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Animals All Around: pairing amazing books with a set of animal figures (ages 2 - 8)

Children are fascinated by animals. Young children want to learn their names, older children soak up facts and information about each animal. I love pairing great visual books with a set of quality animal figures for children to play with. Here are three of our favorite books.
Creature ABCCreature ABC
by Andrew Zuckerman
SF: Chronicle Books, 2009
ages 2 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
Zuckerman has created an amazing ABC book, based on his adult coffee-table book Creature. Animal are photographed in crisp, vivid details, against stark white backgrounds. First, you read just the letter and see one photograph of the animal. Young readers will try to guess the animal name. On the next page, you read the animal name and see another striking photograph of the animal. Throughout, the animals are photographed in striking poses full of movement or placed in interesting compositions focusing on a particular detail. Preschoolers will have trouble holding this thick book on their laps, but they will come back to it again and again. Older children, far beyond typical ABC books, will be fascinated by the photographs. Yes, the facts at the end are a bit random, but in our local library, every single copy is checked out. Here's a sample to take a look at:
Creature ABC
Out of SightOut of Sight
by Francisco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
SF: Chronicle Books, 2010
ages 3 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
This striking book drew my 1st grader and my 4th grader right to it. They loved looking at the clues, guessing the hidden animals and lifting the flaps to read a brief fact. Each page spread uses a different technique to show just a part of the animal: silhouettes, patterns, and cutouts only showing noses and tails. Beneath each flap, there is a clear painting of the animal, and on the inside flap is a brief fact. This is a perfect partner book to share, as it's large enough to fit across two laps. My younger daughter even started to read some of the facts along with her big sister. One criticism does stick: the facts are brief and a bit random. This book would have benefited from added information in the back, perhaps with details about the animals and a map showing where they live. Even so, it will be a big hit in our home and library.

Schleich Set of 6 Wild AnimalsBoth of these books would be great with a set of quality animal figures. We have loved Schleich animals, adding to our collection each year. You can also search for single Schleich animals like a hippo, hedgehog, ostrich or giraffe. Learning Resources also does a set of jumbo animals you might like.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday Blog Roundup at Books Together this week for more great nonfiction reading.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.