Tag Archives: summer reading

The Walk Back Home by Oliver Jeffers


The Walk Back Home is a cute little story about a boy from Earth who flew into space with his airplane. He ran out of fuel and landed on the moon. A martian also landed on the moon after his spaceship engine broke. The rest of the book talks about an adventure that the boy and martian go on to help them both get back home.

I am a first grade teacher. I read this story to my students for a Read-Aloud. They loved it because they were able to make predictions based on what we were reading. They connected with the characters because they too have had to help a friend do something.

The illustrations are done with water colors. They are clean and demonstrate what is being read on the page. The one complaint I do have about the book is on a few pages, the words are stuck on a part of the page that is dark and the letters are also dark. So, it is a bit hard to see, especially if a child was to attempt t read it on their own. I do recommend it as a read aloud.



Loon at the Northwood Lake by Elizabeth Ring and Illustrated by Taylor Oughton


Ring, Elizabeth. Loon at the Northwood Lake. Illustrated by Taylor Oughton. Norwalk: Soundprints, c1997.


This is categorized as a fiction book, however it has a non-fiction quality about it. The book tells the journey of a common Loon’s journey to a summer spot, where he meets up with his Loon friend. The story then goes on to tell us about how they have two eggs, take turns keeping the eggs safe and warm, and the hatching and growing. The story is written like a fiction novel, but the story is fact for fact on the behavior of a common Loon. The book even has a Glossary, short index and additional information about Loons. It is put out by the Smithsonian Institution. I find the illustrations to be beautiful. The attention to detail nearly brings the ripples of the water, the strings of a feather and the leaves on the trees come to life. Every page is a double page spread with very drab like colors. Reflections of trees and animals are seen in the waters. The illustrations have depth and texture. The drawings of the Loons, chicks, eagles, moose, and fish look like the actual animals. The flowers even have special details added for those of us equipped with the knowledge to be able to label them correctly. The cabins and mountains all add to the whole story. Children of all ages would like this one!


I found this book extremely informative and entertaining. A story within the facts is my favorite sort of story! I absolutely love this book and will be checking out both the author and illustrator to see what other works they have. 




The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter


I’m sure everyone has heard of Beatrix Potter at one time in their life, but probably have no associations to her except the character of Peter Rabbit. She was born in July of 1866 into a well off family. Back then, children were taught by a governess and Beatrix was no exception to the rule. Her love of watercolor led to her many drawings of her animals, insects, archaeological places, and fungi. Her drawings were so attentive to detail that her illustrations of fungi are still used today! She adored animals and had many different ones but favored her mice and rabbits. In all of her illustrations, notice that even though the mice have clothing on, they are still anatomically correct. When she began to lose her eyesight, she let her second love of farming move in front. She adored the country life and when she passed she left her property to a group she formed to protect the beauty of the country called National Trust. This still stands today.


When reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit you most certainly can tell that you are reading words written a very long time ago. Not so much with this book, but in some of  her others there are ideas touched on that would not make our children’s books today; such as the mention of smoking a pipe. Also there is vocabulary that isn’t used in today’s speech that is in the book. Traditionally speaking, or rather modern traditionally speaking, books meant for younger children are short in text and bigger on illustration to help connect the dots. In Beatrix’s books she has a lot of text to accompany each page. For a young reader it may be daunting to look at that without confidence in reading skills. Potter uses lots of descriptions to describe not only scenery but also her characters as well. She has an excellent way of delivering a big idea with as little words as possible. The illustrations are done by Beatrix Potter. She has a very distinct illustration style. She shows a scene from her text and fuzzes the edges. The illustrations are very detailed, but not overly busy. You can tell she has studied the objects or things that she draws. Her usage of color is very primary with varying shades of soft pastels. She uses a lot of white space both around the text and the illustrations.

I really love the whimsical aspect that Potter brings to our eyes. I have an adoration for her as both an author and illustrator. If you haven’t read any of her work, please do start with this one, as its her first work. I LOVE The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck. I read this one a few months ago and actually giggled my bottom off. She was so great at what she did and I hope I have encouraged you to rent or buy her works because her work is wonderful.

By the way, if you haven’t done so please like me on facebook. I am using it as a means to interact with you all socially based on my posts. So far I have a couple likes, but no participation in topics, so please, come participate! 🙂


xoxo, Jade

Curious George Goes Camping based on Margaret & H.A. Rey’s characters


Hello everyone! This is a review for yesterday since I didn’t post one. Time got away with me and well, you know how that goes. I decided to take a different approach with reviewing this book. My normal reviews go into detail without using my opinion, and I save the commentary for the end.

I’m sure many of you have heard of Curious George. He has been a mischievous and playful character in our world since 1939. I found the original illustrators interesting because when they created their books, they didn’t test them out with children. It just so happened that their books were liked by children. They never got the “stamp of approval” for any of their work. Originally the Rey’s were living in France around the time of World War II. In 1940, hours before German troops marched into Paris, the Rey’s fled to the Spain/France border on bicycles taking with them only the clothes they had on and their manuscripts, including the Curious George ones. They had Brazilian passports which granted them access through Spain. Some stories say that the guard let them through because he fancied the Curious George books. Anyway, they then went on to write more Curious George books which are the inspiration for today’s releases of different George scenarios. 


This particular book is about how the man with the yellow hat takes George camping. He sends George on a special task, and along the way George is perplexed by a little girl who pours water over a fire. Being curious, George follows suit and then goes on an adventure that leads up to him being a hero. The book gives listeners a chance to see scenarios that George goes through. Georges character resembles that of an active, curious young child. This makes it very easy for children to sympathize with him. The story is short, but effective in delivering a message to children that every action can have a consequence; such as mistakenly pulling a skunks tale when he thought it was a cat. The illustrations are done by Vipah Interactive, which is done in the style of H.A. Reys. The illustrations are simple and to the point. Some pages have several smaller illustrations to match separate texts. Some of the scene illustrations have no border, rather there is white space usage; where as some use background color and have fuzzy borders. There are no real double page spreads, but this is in harmony with traditional George illustrations. 

This book was fun to read and my son seemed to enjoy it. He loves being able to say when a character shouldn’t or should do something. 🙂

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Tiptoe into Kindergarten by Jacqueline Rogers


Rogers, Jacqueline. Tiptoe into Kindergarten. Illustrated by author. New York: Scholastic Inc., c1999.

I got this book to read to my soon who was stepping into Preschool. He was a bit worried about what going to school entailed and I found that by using this book to show him what he could expect, his anxiety nearly diminished! So, if you have a child who is nervous about starting daycare, prescool, or Kindergarten, I would suggest this just to give them an idea of what to expect. 


This book takes us through the day of Kindergarten. As the pages are turned, listeners are give a description of certain activities that will happen through the day; such as being read to painting. All of the activities listed happen at one point or another in daycare, preschool, Kindergarten, and possible even first grade. The sentence structure is easy enough that if you have an early reader, they could read the book themselves before starting Kindergarten. Throughout the book are double page spreads and single pages with no usage of white space. Rogers uses a combination of realistic colors (meaning she uses correct colors for hair, skin, clothes, etc) and also bright fun colors (as backgrounds or carpets). Although the text uses the term I, we have no insight into who I is without looking at the illustrations. The illustrations follow a little girl through her day. We also get to see her classmates, teacher, and classroom that aren’t described in the text. Usage of thick lines is heavy throughout all of the book. This gives the book a fun, playful tone. Not only are we able to see the classmates, teacher and classroom, but we are able to make assumptions by looking at the illustrations. In one illustration the little girl we are following is coming out of the bathroom and we notice she has green stains on her knees. This tells us that perhaps she had fallen during recess or P.E. 

I really love this book for its premise as well as the illustrations. 🙂

The Big Hallloween Scare Level two ready to read (informal review)


Banks, Steven. The Big Halloween Scare. Illustrated by Heather Martinez. New York, Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon, c2003.

I wanted to do an informal review for this one just because it is a ready to read book and there is a Halloween episode of SpongeBob that it matches. I told my son to pick a book off his shelf, and he chose this one (Guess he is ready for Halloween, LoL). Anyway, describing the text and illustrations with this one would make a formal review really, really short because it matches the episode almost exactly and my brain got a little dizzy trying to sort out the show from this book; if that makes any sense at all. This is a stage 2 reader for young readers. Although my son is not on this reading level, his listening and understanding of it is still possible. He found this read to be hilarious, mostly due to my awful voice overs of the different characters from the show. When he is able to read this one by himself, I really like the way it is set up. The text is placed at the top of the page and so when you turn the page you know it’s there. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Spongebob, then you get a pretty good idea of what the illustrations look like. To be honest, I’m not sure if the illustrator has any involvement with the illustrations for the show, but you can not tell. I probably won’t do a formal review of a book today because I am mentally and physically drained from todays midterms. So I do hope you all enjoyed the review and will enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

xoxo Jade

Miles and Miles of Reptiles by Tish Rabe Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu


This book is from the Cat in the Hat series but isn’t written by Dr. Seuss, rather Tish Rabe. When thinking of Dr. Seuss you think of words whimsical and funny and a lot of times the text just doesn’t make sense; Rabe steers away from this Cat in the Hat series stereotype. This book actually gives a factual account of different reptiles and fun facts about them. One thing that makes this one really interesting is the usage of rhyme that is used in combination with with the facts. It seems almost impossible for someone to create such a detailed, factual, and truthful rhyme that is as long as this one is; but Tish Rabe did it. The illustrations aren’t just about the animals. The illustrators give the Cat in the Hat franchise great recognition by including not only the Cat in the Hat, but also Thing one and thing 2. These guys aren’t mentioned in the text, but it is a delight to see them in the illustrations. The illustrations are in alignment with Dr. Seuss illustrations. Some pages are double spread, some are single pages with several separate illustrations on a single page to match several paragraphs on one page. Although some of the reptiles appear to have the Dr. Seuss/cartoonish look, they look anatomically correct otherwise. The usage of bright colors helps to add fun to what some children would view a science topic to be boring. This book could be used as a supplemental text in a classroom setting or just a fun read. 


Note from Jade:

My son LOVES science and although he knew just about everything the book told us, he loved it just the same. We are big Cat in the Hat fans in this house and this book was a winner for us! We were talking about alligators and crocodiles the other day. Like most children, he had the misconception that they were the same thing, just a nickname or something. I was able to read him the difference between the two from the book and they also had visual comparisons, all done in rhyme! Amazing!

Wiggle Waggle by Jonathan London Illustrated by Michael Rex


London, Jonathan. Wiggle Waggle. Illustrated by Michael Rex. New York: Scholastic Inc., c1999.

This is a fun, playful and interactive book about sounds different animals make when walking. There are repetition with words allowing young readers to attempt the reading themselves. Along with the short easy to read and comprehend sentences are sound words associated with the animals walking. This gives the reader a chance to really engage listeners. The illustrations used are one of the more simple ones reviewed thus far. When the texts asks what sound is made, there is a simple illustration of that particular animal. Basic primary colors are used to add color. There is also minimal shading. There is a lot of white space used to keep the focus on the association between text and illustration. The book ends with a chance for little listeners to see what their steps sound like.


Note from Jade:

I am sorry this is so late but the majority of my day has been spent in front of my text books. My educational psychology midterm is Tuesday and we have a whole bunch of things due tomorrow. Anyways, I really love this book because it gave me the chance to act silly and make sounds and just be goofy with my son. I’d say the book is good for preschoolers and kindergarten, but the way my son enjoyed it, I’ll include first grade in this as well! I’ve had a few suggestions for reviews, and I promise those that suggested them will see the reviews one day this week! Keep sending in requests! 🙂


How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? By Jane Yolen Illustrated by Mark Teague


This book starts out with a group of questions about what a dinosaur should do. It then ends saying what a dinosaur should do. This is a great book for a child entering school to teach them how to behave in class. They address specific things that shouldn’t be done and let the listener know it shouldn’t be done. They then tell the audience what a dinosaur does do. The illustrations add a little more to the story than the text gives including a comedic aspect. The dinosaurs drawn in the story are what one would expect them to be; BIG! Against the students and teachers in the illustrations, the listeners will be able to see that dinosaurs are much larger than humans. The colors used aren’t bright or drab, but somewhere right in the middle. I think this is done because of the playful element already included in the illustrations. Unlike previous reviews, this book doesn’t rely heavily on line usage in the illustrations. Every page with the exception of the last one is a double page spread stretching the illustrations across two pages and having the text on one. This is definitely a great way for parents to help children transition into a school or daycare setting.


Note from Jade:

I think this is a wonderfully playful story that would be enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences. These Dinosaur books are so adorable. They’re also short and simple enough for an experienced beginner reader to attempt reading it on their own. One thing that I love is the way the author starts out with questions and then ends it with statements and matter of facts. 


If you have any requests for me to review, go ahead and message me. Also, I’ve created a facebook page to go along with my blog. I wanted the facebook page to be a place where I can interact with you. https://www.facebook.com/literarycreature?ref=hl Like my page and see what the question up is. 



Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman


Eastman, P.D. Go, Dog, Go. Illustrated by author. New York: Random House, c1961.

There is no real storyline to this book. It is a beginner reader story about dogs with different colors doing different things. This book is really great for a reader that is just starting out because the words are really simple. The sentences are short enough so that if they are sounding out they won’t forget what they read. The story gives several different topics. They talk about colors, heights, and numbers just to name a few. The illustrations go along with the text. Some pages where there are more than one sentence, there are also more than one illustration. Each of these illustrations go with the individual sentences. For example, The blue dog is in. The illustration is of a big blue dog that is inside a dog house. This gives children an opportunity to look at the pictures if they are struggling with sounding out the words. The illustrations are very simplistic, more simple than any of the books reviewed so far in the challenge. The colors used are very basic: red, blue, green, yellow. Black is used for outlining and shading or anything needed to give dimension in the pictures with color. There is a lot of white space used on every page to help keep the reader focused on reading. The illustrations aren’t busy and keep to just what is needed to let the reader and/or listener know what each sentence is about.


Note from Jade:

I really love this book and what it does. It really gives a range of ideas and thoughts for young children to understand. I would highly recommend this to any reader that is starting out! Btw, sorry this is so late in the evening.