Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Welcome to the Neighborhood by Becky Friedman

Release Date - January 2014

Simon Spotlight

Book Review by Bob Walch

Daniel Tiger, King Friday, Prince Wednesday, and the rest of the folks in the neighborhood are expecting a visitor. No one knows who it will be but no matter; the welcome mat will be laid out.

Music man Stan will provide the music and Baker Aker plans to make some special dinosaur bread. The party will be held in the Clock Factory and everyone will be there.

I won’t ruin the surprise my telling you who the special visitor will be, but I’m sure you’ll be delighted when you discover who this special person is.

This is a fun read but there is rather a strong chemical (ink) odor when you open the book. You might want to air it out before you use it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kwirky: A Kid Detective With a Different Perspective by Russell Kane

Release Date - October 31, 2013


Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Daniel Kwirk, a fifth grader at Duckworth Elementary and Middle School, is often teased for being different. Daniel has ADHD and that makes him a little more fidgety and also makes it harder for him to pay attention in class. It isn't long before Daniel does something else that catches people's attention. Daniel discovers that the rare Civil War coins on display at the local library are not the real thing, they're fake. When it looks like police won't solve the crime, Daniel, with the help of his sister, starts doing a little detective work of his own.

Kwirky: A Kid Detective With a Different Perspective sends a strong message that being different is not a bad thing. I think that's the bigger takeaway from this book. While Daniel does do some detective work of his own, I'm not as convinced that police wouldn't have figured it out eventually.

Overall, this was an enjoyable short mystery. From an adult perspective, it's not a perplexing mystery, but I found it to be on par with mysteries like the Boxcar Children or Encyclopedia Dan.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Greedy Python by Richard Buckley and Eric Carle

Release Date - September 2013 (Reissue)

Richard Buckley
Eric Carle
Little Simon

Book Review by Bob Walch

Everyone knows that pythons are big snakes with voracious appetites. But, as you’ll discover when you read this picture book, the python here gets a little carried away. One day he began gobbling everything in sight. A mouse, frog, bird, bat and fish went into his long stomach. They were followed by a porcupine (quills and all), monkey, leopard and water buffalo. Seriously? Yup! This snake is really hungry!

But wait, he’s not done by a long shot! Next Mr. Python spies an elephant.

I’m far too big to eat!” says the elephant. Not really! And with that the snake swallows the elephant!

Now Mr. Python is finally full…really full…totally full…perhaps a little too full, in fact! With all those animals making a bit of a commotion inside the stuffed snake something is bound to happen…and it does! I’ll let you read this clever board book to see how Mr. Python’s story ends. Of course, there is a lesson to be learned here also about being too greedy for your own good.

A lovely, whimsical picture book with a clever story, you’ll want to remind your youngster from time to time to not be a “greedy, green python” when
eating pizza or something equally yummy and filling!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rocks and Minerals Sticker Book By Natural History Museum, London, England

Release Date - December 2013

Natural History Museum

Book Review by Bob Walch

This activity book features 100 stickers to showcase a wide array of rocks and minerals. The information here is rather basic and there’s not a lot of detail, but this is still a good, inexpensive book to get a youngster started on a study of this fascinating topic.

The young reader is encouraged to match the stickers up with the text that describes rocks and minerals as well as explains how they were formed. There are also a few games and puzzles that will engage the youngster in the topic.

Since the stickers are reusable, you can also think of some creative ways of using them other than just pasting them in the book. For example, make flash cards with the sticker on one side and the name on the other. Perhaps you can think up a board game using the stickers or use them to create your own original picture book.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Dinosaurs Really Work! by Alan Snow

Release Date - August 2013


Book Review by Bob Walch

What to know what color dinosaurs were? How sharp their teeth were? Or, perhaps, how large a brontosaurus’ brain was? If the answer is “Yes!”, you have come to the right place. Using his delightful cartoons illustrations and sense of humor, Alan Snow answers these a host of other questions about dinosaurs.

The author/illustrator fills each page with his drawings and plenty of facts about each dinosaur he discusses. There’s so much going on and so many details that the you’ll want to take your time to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Many of the two page spreads feature large illustrations that offer a funny view of what’s going on inside a dinosaur. For example, the Rube Goldberg-like innards of the T-Rex are reminiscent of a pirate ship with tiny green dinos manning the “engine room” while others prepare for an attack in the “nerve center” (brain) of the aggressive creature.

Along with hard facts (a T-Rex could weigh up to six tons) the author shares what he dubs “Dino Jokes”.

“What do you call a Tyrannosaurus Rex when he is wearing a cowboy hat and boots?

Tyrannosaurus TEX!”

Perfect for younger readers who might be a little put off or made uneasy by the more realistic portrayals of dinosaurs, this picture book is not only non-threatening but also a lot of fun. There’s a nice blend of silly humor with solid information which means mom and dad won’t have to worry about nightmares after story time is over!