Book Review

125 True Stories of Amazing Pets By National Geographic Kids

125 true stories of amazing pets book cover: a photograph of a steer being ridden as it jumps over a pole gate like a horse“Paw through these pages and find 125 of National Geographic Kids’ favorite true tales of animal heroes, silly tricks, spoiled-rotten critters, and even pets that have pets of their own.”

Opening with a full page spread of a surfing pig, this book delivers one fascinating surprise after another.  Touching stories of animal helpers and pets that have made heroic rescues are included, but many of the profiled animals seem to have, for better or for worse, quirky owners or keepers who train them to do ridiculous stunts.  Meet dogs that drive cars, a gorilla with a pet bunny and a goat that rides a cow every day.  My favorite: the poodle whose owner disguises it as other (wild) animals (like a lion and a panda) through exquisite grooming and dying of its hair. 

The photography is what makes this book (and other National Geographic books) exceptional. This book is recommended as a bring-along browsing book for families with readers ages 6-12.  It is a good bet for reluctant readers due to the high interest subject manner and the number and variety of animals profiled.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

My Dog Is the Best By Laurie Ann Thompson

My Dog is the Best book cover: pencil drawing of a young boy peering over a dog with long ears who has a ball in front of it"My dog is the best. He does tricks."

What could be more enchanting than the relationship between a child and their beloved pet? ‘My Dog Is the Best’ is a tale of unconditional love that’s accented by simplistic illustrations, leaving readers with that warm and fuzzy feeling that’s so dear to any pet owners’ heart.

An excellent book for beginner readers, parents will love the easy words and repetition that lets children try reading aloud. So why not read this book with your pet at home? Then you can decide if My Dog Is the Best is the best book for you!

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Naomi, Kids World

Eyewitness Plant by David Burnie

Eyewitness Books: Plant book cover featuring a close up image if a flower patter“The oldest seed known to botany comes from North American Arctic lupine plant and is thought to be about 10,000 years old.”

We are surrounded by them, our existence depends on them, yet we never care to notice them. Plants are at the core of all living things, so it is safe to say that we should know something about them. “Plant” by David Bernie gives a well-balanced introduction to this fascinating world of plants. The book is rich in photographs which show in great detail the beauty and complexity of a wide variety of plants and their structures.

This book is a good nonfiction read geared towards 4-6th   independent readers. The vocabulary is at times challenging as new scientific concepts are being introduced, but the book in general does not rely heavily of scientific terminology.

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Jerry, Kids World

Uh-Oh Octopus! by Elle van Lieshout & Erik van Os Mies van Hout

Uh-Oh Octopus book cover: water color scene of ocean, a yellow octpous is center with fish, jelly fish, seahorse surrounding him"Octopus lived in a cozy home under the sea. He had nothing to complain about. He could make himself a decent meal. He had a wonderful view."

Everything is perfect for Octopus until the day a very large and mysterious tail is found sticking out of his cave. All the fish have different ideas of what to do, but will Octopus have the best idea of all?
 
Told with both soft, impressionistic watercolors and crisp ink that show off the details of Octopus's underwater home and the variety of wildlife; both real and imaginary, readers of all ages will find something in this picture book to enjoy. 

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Jennifer Palermo, Kid's World

Sleepless Knight by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost

Sleepless Knight book cover: cartoon figure of a knight and horse cuddling together afraid in the forest at night“Who do you think you are, throwing sticks in the middle of the night, waking up cute little animals?!

James Sturm continues to combine wacky storytelling with “how to” cartoon instruction in this cute little graphic novel.  Is it the Knight’s best camping trip ever or, actually, the worst? Well, it depends which page you’re on.  Follow the Knight and his horse Edward on their madcap adventure involving marshmallows, a cave and a lost teddy bear.

Readers ages 6 – 12 will enjoy this silly and short graphic novel at whatever reading and humor level they are at.  Extra fun: Learn to draw the four main characters with some basic drawing instructions included on the endpapers.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

Whose Butt? by Stan Tekiela

Whose Butt? book cover: photographs of the butts of various animals including a bird, forest animals, and animals from Africa"I love taking pictures of animals...Sometimes the animals run or fly away... I only get pictures of their butts..."

And so begins this humourous animal trivia book formatted into a "Guess that butt" game. For each photograph of a butt, the reader is invited to look at the photograph and its clues (tail, feathers, fur, coloration, size) and see if they can recognize the animal it belongs to. The next page will display a photograph of the whole animal along with a short informational paragraph about the animal (and how they use their behind).

Children ages 2 through 9 will find the vocabulary and length right up their alley, but this nonfiction title is perfect for both, the young and old, who enjoy a bit of fun thrown in with their facts. The large photographs and game show style makes this the perfect read-a-loud for larger groups as well as one-on-one sharing. This is the book animals lovers didn't even know they have been waiting for.

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Celeste, Kids World

The New Small Person by Lauren Child

The New Small Person book cover: Shows a the side of a staircase, a young boy of color wearing a green striped outfit sits at the second to the top stair while an older sibling wearing a pink striped outfit sits on the bottom of the stairs. There are various toys on each step."The small person followed Elmore Green everywhere.  It wanted to sit next to him; it wanted to copy everything that Elmore did. It wanted to be everywhere that Elmore was."

Elmore is an only child and things are just the way he likes them.  But then the new, small person arrives and interferes with Elmore’s routine.  This charming picture book portrays Elmore’s feelings toward the new baby and how they soften over time.

The lively drawings incorporate collage materials such as fabric and wood, which add energy and coziness to Elmore’s world.  The book’s layout adds more dimension to the story, with text sometimes tilted or otherwise stylized to emphasize words or Elmore’s feelings.  The fact that this picture book portrays non-Caucasian characters is a plus.

Elmore’s story might add a bit of levity at your house, especially if your “only” child has or is about to become your “oldest”.  This engaging picture book is recommended for ages 3 and up.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Once Upon an Alphabet book cover: rea with a small astronaut boy floating upon title and a blimp floating below title"If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters..."

This picture book, longer than most, may or may not keep your listener engaged. The adult doing the reading is more likely to enjoy the clever humor, as I did. Witty Jeffers offers a story for each letter of the alphabet, each a few pages long. Some of the stories are lovely little poems while others are outlandish or wacky. The text and images play off each other in a remarkably imaginative way, each extending the other. His humans, animals and invented characters --- such as the Whiraffe --- are lots of fun and often pop up in each other’s stories.

This over-sized picture book is recommended for parents and caregivers who are bored with the read-alouds that their kids have been choosing.  Jeffers’ imaginative stories and art will keep you in good humor as you read book after book to your little one.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne

"somethThis Book Just Ate My Dog! book cover. Features a girl dressed in blue dress, coat, and hat holding a leah that trails to the book's spine with no dog in sight ing very odd happened."

You know the crease in the middle of the book where the pages meet? Well, Bella's dog went in and didn't come back out. Help arrives in the form of a friendly boy, a police car, and a fire truck. They also promptly go missing. What's Bella to do by try to rescue her dog herself?

This simple picture book encourages independence, quick thinking, and is silly enough to entice plenty of giggles. A perfect short read-out-loud for those aging from 2 to 7 or anyone who is willing to be a little silly.

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Celeste, Kids World

Super Heroes: Colors, Shapes, and more! By DC Comics

Super heroes Colors, Shapes, and more! book cover: illustrations of batman, green lantern, and superman on the cover“Krypto is White. Catwoman’s cat is Black.”

Learning is always better with friends, so these Super Heroes are here to help. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (just to name a few) are on the scene, and together you’ll learn about colors, shapes, and actions. Made of durable cardboard, this book is perfect for infants and toddlers to learn basics that every child will need. Parents can easily help children associate shapes and colors with characters they already know and love to make learning fun. Super!

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Naomi, Kids World

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