Tag Archives: book review

The Night Before Father’s Day by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer


There are some things that I really love about this book. I bought it for my son to read to his dad. He is 8, transitioning from 2nd to 3rd grade. It was easy for him to read and comprehend what he was reading. Another thing that I love about this book is the illustrations. They are really well done and portray a minority family which is something that isn’t often seen in these sort of books. It was a fun read and I enjoyed listening to and watching my son read this story to my husband. It has a mixture of narration and dialect. I liked that he was able to use his “narrator voice” and switch to a “dialect voice.” I’d definitely recommend this story. 🙂



YOU CHOOSE by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart


Hello everyone! I’ve had a lot of messages asking what happened to the blog. I left off letting you guys know things were hectic and to make things even crazier I’ve been back and forth between the doctor for my son and myself since August. I think things are finally starting to settle so I am going to try and catch up. Please bare with me if I’ve promised a review as I am REALLY behind with school, the doctors and my sons extra curricular activities. I will try to get all the way caught up as soon as possible. Prayers for stability in my life is greatly appreciated. 🙂

Sharratt, Nick. You Choose. Illustrated by Pippa Goodhart. Tulsa: Kane Miller, c2012.

This book mainly done in illustrations. The story is as the title indicates, about choosing. The story goes through several scenarios from being hungry and choosing the food you want to choosing what to wear. The level of this picture book looks like it could easily be read by an early reader, not necessarily an emergent reader. Lots of common sight words that are soundable are used, but there are also words used such as “wear” that children may need help with. This is also suitable as a read aloud book. The sentences are in big, bold, black letters at the top.

The illustrations take on practically the whole page. At first, the illustrations seem extremely busy, but as you go on you realize that its not as busy as originally thought. The illustrations are aligned with the text in that when they ask you to choose shoes, they have 50 different pairs of shoes to choose from. Some of the characters that are in the illustrations have idea bubbles with comments, but these characters aren’t shown through out the book.

I think this is an adorable book and would recommend it! 🙂

Arthur Pong And His Smelly Song by Jose Fernandez


I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I thought it was really cute in a stinky sort of way 😉 At first I was a bit confused with no ending punctuation the I caught on that it was being wrote as a poem. I’m not too knowledgeable on the terminology here, so I’ll explain it. It was four sentences but no punctuation and in rhyme per page. The rhymes was done pretty well. There was one exception when I felt the words were a bit forced, but other than that it all rhymed and flowed nicely. This book is a silly type of book sort of like captain underpants. It tells the story of Arthur and how he creates music and well you’ll have to read it because I don’t want to give too much away. Each page has a title and each title is included in a table of contents at the beginning. 


There are simple illustrations done on each page to go with the text. Unlike the cover, the illustrations in the actual book aren’t in color, but rather shades of white and grey. It doesn’t take away from the story, but seems to allow focus on what is going on in the illustrations instead. The drawings are silly and represent the story well. Some of the illustrations are surrounded by white space where as some are boxed in with a light shade. I would recommend this book, but maybe towards an older crowd of maybe 6 and over because there are terms used such as “fart” and “poo” and I know some parent’s don’t really want these words put into young learners vocabulary right away. If you don’t have a problem with that, then read ahead because this one is sure to bring on the giggles!!! 🙂




The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca and illustrated by Mark Buehner


Barracca, Debra and Sal. The Adventures of Taxi Dog. Illustrated by Mark Buehner. New York: Puffin Books, c1990.

I know a lot of people have probably read this book or heard of it before, but I wanted to go ahead and review it anyway for those who have not. It follows the journey of a taxi man and his dog through the work day. The story is told completely in rhyme and is very playful. This would be a great read for a reader moving past level 1 reading.


The illustrations are beautiful. They are very clean illustrations, meaning the lines are straight, and there are next to no mistakes. The usage of bright colors helps bring the story out and show the playfulness. The pictures really help to contribute to the text and let the reader and/or listener visualize what the taxi driver and dog look like, since there were no description’s of them. Some of the illustrations take up the full page while others take up a portion and are put in the center with a border around them. The author and illustrator have come together to create a really adorable story that is sure to entertain young readers!



I Miss You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Illustrated by Cyd Moore


Good morning readers! I wanted to apologize for not posting in the last 4 days. I have had my nieces and trying to keep 2 pre teenagers and my 6 year old son equally entertained all at the same time has been a challenge. Please bare with me as I post the reviews throughout the day for the last 4 days as well as today.


McCourt, Lisa. I Miss You, Stinky Face. Illustrated by Cyd Moore. New York: Scholastic Inc., c1999.

A mother is talking to her son assuring him her speedy return on an airplane. The boy goes through several scenarios about what she could do to get home incase something happens to the airplane. When I first grabbed this book, I grabbed it because of the dragon on the cover. As I read the story I was a bit disappointed that the book only had the dragon in it in the back, but then I looked at the cover again and see the tiger and things mentioned in the book. I then wasn’t as disappointed, and read it again. With realizing what the story entails, reading it the second time I found it a cute little story.

I really like the illustrations because they look like they were pulled from a dream and they matched the text rather perfectly. The illustrations take up the whole page with blank space for the text.

One thing I didn’t care for was the change in text throughout the book. The “fancy” font was a bit distracting and took away from the story for me. I really liked the detail that was added to each illustration. The illustrator really took their time to make sure that everything was as close to perfect as possible.

I would recommend this book. I would like to suggest to the illustrator to try to change the cover because it is misleading to children and adults alike.



Very Recent History – An entirely Factual account of a year in a Large City by Choire Sicha (Not a children’s book review)


Hey everyone. This book is not my traditional children book review. This is a review on a book that is geared towards an adult audience. There are spoilers. Enjoy!

The book is constructed in a way that it reads as a fiction book, but it is meant to be a factual account of what was going on in the year 2009. The author tells us about everything from the future, I think it was 127 years ahead of this year. The author gives us descriptions of what we already know, such as what credit cards are, how the job market is, etc.; basically things that will probably soon become obsolete in the future.

When reading the synopsis on the back of the book, I expected the book to follow the five guys around and give us a description of their lives and what was going on in the year. It wasn’t exactly that simple. The book is separated in to two parts. In the first part we are given a lot of historical facts about everything, with a story about the main character “John” weaved throughout. John is the basis of the factual accounts we receive as the reader. In the second part, the book is more events and commentary, and mostly talk about drugs, sex, and politics as promised. The part that was deceiving, was that the five guys are gay. I’m all for equal rights, but if someone were to pick up this book they would probably be expecting something different. The author needs to specify that the five guys he is using to get through events are gay. There is no explicit descriptions of any sexual acts, however there are mentions about “blow jobs” and “back door” sex. This book is in such a niche, and is poorly marketed towards the correct audience. It almost makes me feel like the author may be trying to trick people in to reading it in hopes that they will like it.

When I first started reading the book I was very intrigued by the style and for the first 70 pages I couldn’t put it down. Then came more commentary than factual information. It was interesting to see a point of view from a futuristic perspective on our current state of economic grounds. When mostly commentary took over, I couldn’t help but to switch from non-fiction to fiction reading method. I was thinking “There is no way that the author could quote all these conversations between the characters. There is probably some elaboration to these commentaries.” Also, I find the author to be a bit biased and opinionated in his assumptions about the homosexual community. Not all homosexuals are “whores” that can not be faithful to their partners as he suggested. One more thing I found poorly done by the author was it was very choppy. He jumped from one thing to the next with no real transition. Some of the commentary is quoted to a character, while some of it is not and in some cases you are clueless as to who is saying what. One final critique is that the book seemed extremely repetitive with not just factual information, but what the characters were doing. There was no real story line to the story portion.

As far as what I did like about the novel was despite all of the above stated criticism, he does an excellent job with description details about places. In the first part of the book when he goes back and forth from factual accounts to commentary, it was nice and kept me interested. There is talk about condoms in the book and although condoms are meant to prevent pregnancy, they are also used to prevent diseases, and the author gives a description of both uses, instead of just the reason a homosexual would use it. I have a strong background in marketing, and I really enjoyed the plug in and the stressing of how important social networking is. He explains cigarettes, airplanes, and outlaws. I think implying the airplanes will be obsolete in the future is a bit stretching.

Overall I rated the book as a two star. Based on my review, I’m sure you all are saying why didn’t you rate it as a one star if you have such strong negative criticism? I really enjoyed the book in the beginning. I think if the author used the same format throughout, it would have gotten a 3 to 4 star from me. The fact that the potential is there and the uniqueness of the spread, I think it deserves a 2. If the author makes the changes I suggested, I would read it again, and make a new review. 


xoxo, Jade

My friend the Monster by Eleanor Taylor


Taylor, Eleanor. My friend the Monster. Illustrated by author. New York: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, c2008.

This book takes a twist on the traditional children are scared of monsters on the bed story. There is a little boy and there is a monster, but its a role reversal. The text is simple but placement on some pages can be a bit confusing, especially for a child that is reading this by themselves. There is easy to understand commentary between the characters in the book. The illustrations are very simplistic, but also very cartoonish. The coloring isn’t bright, but not entirely dull; but rather a happy middle. There is a lot of usage of white space with no backgrounds. There is next to no dimension or depth with the drawings. The illustrations are outlined, and line plays a decent role in outlining as well as giving things movement. My only disappointment was the story didn’t feel like it had a definite ending. I thought I was the only one, but nieces and son had the same vibe. 


xoxo, Jade

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It’s my Turn! by David Bedford Illustrations by Elaine Field.


Bedford, David. It’s my Turn!. Illustrated by Elaine Field. New York, Scholastic Inc., c2002.


This is the story about two children that go to the park and learn how to share. The story is very sweet and genuine. I love that there is dialect between the two friends instead of using story the entire time. I love children’s books that include conversations. There is an underlying them in this read and that is work together, or play together. There are a few sound words written that give the reader a chance to get a bit silly. There is not a lot of text in the book so I think children could use this in their learning to read books. The illustrations are very cartoon like but this gives the illustrations a playful story. Usage of a double page spread is used in this story to help give focus to the illustrations and in the cupcake drawer.Usage of 2 or more media’s gives this author a wide variety of options on how to draw, color, etc.There is simplistic usage of line we well. The illustrations include only what is needed for them. 

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

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Wilson, Karma. Bear Snores On. Illustrated by Jane Chapman. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2002.

This book gives a fictional look into a bear’s hibernation. Critters file into his den while he sleeps until he wakes up. Each paragraph tells the story in rhyme. The text isn’t too long and the words aren’t difficult to recognize. Repetition with sight words is used. Although the book is fictional, there is a truth element to it. It shows children what could possibly occur while a bear hibernates. The illustrations match the text and don’t really lead into any additional details. Some pages have a single illustration, where some are double page spreads. Although white space is not used, there is usage of color space. For example, on a page where bear is sleeping and a couple critters come into the den, the background is almost a flat brown. In another The picture is bordered with a thin white line and the rest of the page is a light blue with the text on the blue. The proportions of the animals are off, they don’t depict size very well. The bear looks about right but the rabbit look half the size of the bear. This book could be used as a supplemental text to a winter unit with Bears.

Note from Jade:
My son’s teacher read this to them in Kindergarten. It’s a cute story, but I am just a little bit thrown off by the size of the critters. It’s definitely a good read to small children but I wouldn’t go past Kindergarten with it just because the words are so simple and unchallenging to non-introductory readers/listeners.

One Night in the Coral Sea by Sneed B. Collard III


Collard III, Sneed B. One Night in the Coral Sea. Illustrated by Robin Brickman. Watertown: Charlesbridge, c2005. 


At first glance one might assume that this book is a fictional tale, but as one reads on you soon realize that it is a non-fiction book about sea animals on and near the Great Barrier Reef. The book looks small but is full of information; however it is not overwhelming by any means. The book circles around the coral reef, but they also include information on its inhabitants. The text isn’t very difficult to understand, and words that may be confusing are given a definition. Also, the book contains an index, a glossary, and a list of books and websites one could go to if they wanted to find out more about coral. The illustrations are outstanding. The usage of color alone is enough to keep a child entertained. The whole book is done with 3-d texture that the illustrator done with paper. Each page shows the species of sea animals you find in the reef along with their name. There is also a map of Australia that pin points where the reef is located and what type of climate coral needs to grow. The illustrations also give us a visual of how some of the different corals look like. This book would be a great tool in helping a teacher with a coral lesson. A Read Aloud with a parent, grandparent or other adult would be an excellent use as well. 


Note from Jade:

I found this book to be very intriguing. The amount of detail into the illustrations is amazing. The illustrations look cartoonish, but you can visualize what the actual coral or sea animal looks like. What I like about this book is it gives you so many different options to use it with. As a parent I would have my son draw his own coral reef with sea animals. As a teacher, I could use this as a supplemental text when introducing coral reef, then have them also draw their own reef.