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, June 19, 2014

Let's Eat Dinner by Claire Hibbert

Release Date - June 2014

Laburnum Press

Book Review by Bob Walch
Part of the “Sparklers” series that pictures the foods we eat, this picture book looks at dinner time. Featuring full page, color photos of children from various cultures, the author begins by asking a series of questions. “What time do you eat your dinner? How do you help make dinner? Who sets the table at your house?” are just a few of these questions the reader is asked to respond to.

Next we see some of the items one might find on a family’s dinner table. These foods range from rice, fresh vegetables and pasta to fish, meat and desserts.

Finally, at the back of the book is a recipe for cucumber and yoghurt dish called raita. There are also suggested activities to engage the child in food preparation.

This book is a fun way to engage a young child in a discussion of food and what we eat when we sit down at the dinner table.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Body in the Woods by April Henry

Release Date - June 17, 2014

April Henry
Henry Holt and Co.

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

The Body in the Woods is the first in a young adult mystery series by April Henry. The series involves three teens, all from different walks of life, who volunteer for a local search and rescue team. When they get a call that an autistic man is missing in a forest, they join the search party. The teens never imagine that they'll find a body and stumble into a serial killer's sights.

Nick, Alexis, and Ruby definitely are as different as teens come. I like that they are paired, despite being so different from one another, and they form a bond because of their work. Ruby is fascinated with criminal investigations, yet her parents feel her interests are morbid and ban her from continuing her volunteer work, even though it is something that makes her feel happy. Nick appears strong on the outside, but inside he never feels he is good enough. Alexis I really felt for. Her mom suffers from mental illness and often skips her medications. As a result, Alexis often acts as the parent and is forced into tough situations.

With those three backgrounds, the readers form a bond with the three teens. There are times I felt the police were letting them get a little too involved in the police work, especially Ruby, but that also helped propel the story. I loved the details that went into the search and rescue work, it's based on the work of a real team of teen volunteers in Multnomah County. That also helped set the stage for what I think is going to be fascinating series.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Cool Summer Tail by Carrie Pearson

Release Date - February 2014

Carrie Pearson
Christina Wald
Sylvan Dell Publishing

Book Review by Bob Walch

When the summer heats up animals, just like adults, find ways to keep cool. In this picture book for children in the five to six year old age group, the author addresses how various animals adapt to summer heat.

A group of animal babies ask their mothers how humans keep cool and they pose the question in such a manner that they also indicate how they do so. For example, the little frog says, “Do they dig in the dirt so the sun doesn’t hurt their skin when it shines from above?” The mother frog’s reply, “No blanket of leaf bits in a barrow that just fits. They want the warm sun on their skins.”

OK, now you know frogs adapt to the heat by digging a hole in the dirt to lie in or nestle under forage on hot days.

At the end of the book you’ll also find four activity pages that will further engage the child and expand the idea of discussing the way animals (including humans) adapt to weather changes.

Excellent illustrations of the various animals will focus the child’s attention of each set of animals (mother and baby) and the rhymed text is fun to read too. Once you have finished reading, ask your child how humans deal with different changes in the weather.