Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reviews: Children's books

I read a lot of kids books, but I don't feel right writing short little reviews for each one of them. And so, I decided to clump some reviews together for these types of books. Check out my reviews of three children's books I've recently read.

Title: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publish Date: October 1, 1989
Genre: Children's

You may think you know the story of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf - but only one person knows the real story. And that person is A. Wolf. His tale starts with a birthday cake for his dear old granny, a bad head cold and a bad reputation. The rest (as they say) is history.

But now it's time to find out what
really happened, in this hilariously inventive retelling of the popular story.
From inside cover

During my two weeks of in-class placement this past May, we (my Associate Teacher and I) were teaching our students about Point of View and Voice. This book was a Godsend for this topic! It's the story of The Three Little Pigs, but from the wolf's point of view. What better way to teach POV than by showing them how it’s done?

The kids absolutely loved this book and so did I! A. Wolf has a great voice and it’s really easy for the students to relate to him as a character. The illustrations also kept the attention of the kids on the book versus other things. There is also a bit of repetition, which gives you the opportunity to get the kids involved in the reading. Definitely a bonus!

This is a really great teaching tool, but it’s also just a fun book to read with any kid. My teacher’s copy was tattered and worn, and I know my copy will be just like that in the years to come! I can’t wait.


Title: It's a Book
Author: Lane Smith
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publish Date: August 3, 2010
Genre: Children's

Playful and lighthearted with a subversive twist that is signature Lane Smith, It's a Book is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age. This satisfying, perfectly executed picture book has something to say to readers of all stripes and all ages.

This is a cute book that addresses the growing issue of technology in our lives. The ape is a book lover, while the donkey (or jackass) is very involved in his computer. While the ape tries to explain what a book is, the donkey asks a bunch of questions like: “Can you blog with it? Can it tweet?” It’s great to see the change of attitude in the donkey as the book goes on.

To look at this from a teacher’s point of view (as I typically do with children’s books), it’s a great way to teach kids how to ask questions. On the other side, the use of the word “jackass” on the last page has me feeling a bit iffy. Although, it is a great opportunity to teach kids that there can be multiple names for one thing.

I think this is a really cute and funny book, and I’m happy to have it in my library. If I find a good way to use it in a lesson when I’m teaching, I probably will. 

The publisher, MacMillan, posted a great book trailer on Youtube. You can see it here.


Title: Too Many Pears
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Star Bright Books
Publish Date: October 30, 2007
Genre: Children's
Source: From publisher through NetGalley

Pamela the cow loves pears--and will do anything to get them. But will anyone else ever get to eat pears again?

I have to admit, I read this because the main character is named Pamela. But it’s a really cute story of Pamela the cow that loves pears so much and will do almost anything to get them, including tugging a tree along with her to get to them! It teaches readers how having too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

This really short book is great for beginner readers. There are some difficult words, but the repetition (“Pamela likes…”) would make it easy for new readers. I also think that children who like farms or farm animals would really enjoy this book. Pamela is a very large, very silly cow, and I can see little kids loving her. I could see myself reading this to my future children.

Buy them all at The Book Depository:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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