Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I don't like Koala.

I Don't Like Koala - Sean Ferrell
by Sean Ferrel
Illustrations by Charles Santoso

Adam is so excited when he receives his present! He quickly unwraps it and there it is... Koala... Adam doesn't like Koala. Koala looks terrifying. Mom and dad insist in Adam sleep with Koala, and Adam insist in put Koala away.
But when something even more frightening appears, Koala will be all Adam needs to feel protected.
I have to say that I can empathize with Adams' parents. I have been there, pushing, insisting on a toy that will make bedtime easier. I am actually there right now! (The chocolate colored teddy bear failed. We are giving the purple dragon a try... so far without too much success...)

The story is finely illustrated in only a few light colors on a lot of white. I don't know how Santoso does it, but Koala looks terrifying at the beginning and friendly at the end without objectively changing too much!

Age range: 2 to 6 years old.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Where's Walrus?

Where's Walrus? - Stephen Savage
by Stephen Savage

Walrus escapes from the zoo and the zookeeper goes behind him.

At every page we find Walrus hiding disguised in a different situation: in a fountain, among the firefighters, or dancing in a stage. It's funny that the only thing he uses to disguise himself is a hat!

Only when Walrus loses his hat the zookeeper sees him, just on time to enjoy his amazing skills as a diver.

Although I find this wordless book just fine, my kids loved it. Looking for Walrus at each page proved to be super entertaining for them. I should clarify that Walrus is at plain sight (you can see an example in the cover). It's not challenging to find him.
I found funny my 6 years-old son humming a typical "persecution" tune he probably heard from a cartoon while reading the book to himself.

Age range: 2 to 5 years old.
Original post:

Friday, September 25, 2015

A nest is noisy

A Nest Is Noisy - Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long
by Dianna Hutts Aston
Illustrated by Sylvia Long

Did you know cave swiflets make their nests using only their saliva?
And that lampreys make their nest underwater using pebbles as tiny as an almond and as big as a golf ball? And that they carry the pebbles in their mouths?
Did you ever heard of a nest as big as 36 x 16 feet?
And what about the temperature of the nest determining the sex of the baby alligators?
This book is a perfect combination of science, animals and lovely illustrations. And when I say lovely, I mean it!

Age range: 6 to 12 years old.

Other books is the series we have read: A rock is lively

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Red, a crayon's story.

Red: A Crayon's Story - Michael Hall, Michael Hall
by Michael Hall

Red was a crayon, but he wasn't very good at being a red crayon.
Despite his efforts, his parents and teacher help, and his grandparents advise, he just couldn't be a good red crayon. It took Red many disappointments and failures to realize it was nothing wrong with him. He just was blue. When he discovers he IS actually good at being Blue, everything looks easier and more pleasant, and it becomes obvious for everyone what a talented blue crayon he is.
What made Red a "loser" was that he couldn't meet OTHER crayons expectations. Everybody had something to say about what the reasons for Red's failures were, or the best way to make him finally catch on. But nobody took the time to see who really Red was.
I loved the detail of the story being told by Pencil, someone who knows Red, and even tried to help him at some point.
The goal of this book is to display in a funny way the importance of know our inner selves as a first step to excel in whatever is our gift. And also how unfair we are if we judge a turtle because of its skills to fly.

Age range:5 to 10 years old.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Perfect Little Turkey

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey - Bill Harley, Adam Gustavson
The fourth Charlie Bumpers' book
by Bill Harley

During Thanksgiving holiday Charlie's house will be crowded. Mom and Dad are a little stressed because of this. Charlie is expected to be a good host, and he know this is gonna be challenging. But when they ask Charlie to share his room with his cousin Chip, this is just plain insane!

Now Charlie has to write a personal definition of family for a school assignment. That could be so hard when your big brother teases you, your little sister bugs you, and you have to share your room for two days with the most annoying boy in the world! Charlie is really having problems feeling inspired... Family seems to be a big pain in the neck.

But all this difficult situations will be the opportunity for other surprisingly good ones to arise. His siblings will be a great support, his uncle a lot of fun, and the food delicious (not the Brussels sprouts, of course!)

Family can be complicated some times, but it's good to be surrounded by people you love.

Great story to read next Thanksgiving holiday!

Age range: 8 to 11 years old.

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

None the number. A counting adventure.

None the Number: A Hueys Book - Oliver Jeffers
by Oliver Jeffers

Some time ago, my 4 year old son proudly showed me how he could make 6 adding 3+3, and 2+2+2. I showed him we could do 5+1 and 4+2 too. Then he realized we could make 1+2+3 and 1+1+4! I was so excited I decided to push him a little further and showed him we could make 6+0=6! His smile faded from his face all of a sudden, and very serious he told me "Mom, zero is not a number!". When I came across this book I knew it was perfect for him.

This is an original counting book.  Forget about counting conventional things like apples, butterflies or candy corn. The kids will not only count up to ten, but they will play with the concept of the "none", or zero. Though the word "zero" is never used in the story.

The Hueys are hilarious. The illustrations are simple but funny. This is my first Hueys' book but I'll check more out for sure.

Age range 4 to 6 years old.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mysterious Patterns. Finding Fractals in Nature.

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature - Sarah C Campbell, Richard P Campbell
By Sarah C. Campbell
Photographs by Sarah and Richard Campbell

Fractals were first studied in 1975 by Benoit Mandelbrot. They are shapes we find in nature. They are different from one another, but all have in common the fact of having small parts that look like the whole part. They are self-similar.
We can find them everywhere from tiny leaves veins to massive mountains ranges. We find them even in a lightning and inside our body. 
Knowing about fractals helped us to study things that are to small, to big or too complex to understand. Fractals help to find order in what looks messy at the first sight.Taking them as an example man has created systems that work in the same way, as Internet wiring and cellphone antennas.

This book explains in a clear way what fractals are, and how they are different from other repetitive patterns in nature and "perfect shapes" man created. It also includes an afterword by Michael Frame, math teacher at Yale University, who worked many years ago with Benoit Mandelbrot.

Age range:6 to 10 years old.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Bunnies!!! - Kevan Atteberry, Kevan Atteberry
by Kevan Atteberry

This enthusiastic monster is overly friendly. He greets everything and everyone who crosses his path while wandering through the forest. He gets specially excited when he sees the bunnies. So excited that he drives them away... The bunnies don't like to see him sad, so they approach the monster to play with him. The monster's happiness is massive! He shouts, he dances, he swirls, he... he... he sees the birdies and forgets about the bunnies!

The story is hilarious. It doesn't have a complex plot or a deep message. It just provides a precious moment for laughing out loud.
It counts with only a few words. It's all about the character's facial expressions, and reading it aloud with a silly, exaggerated voice. We also" played" the story adding always a new group of animals who distracts the monster from the previous one.
The illustrations are beautiful. I particularly loved the picture where the monster is holding his own tail. So cute!

Age range: 2 to 6 years old!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Monsters Love Colors

Monsters Love Colors - Mike Austin
 by Mike Austin

Monsters love colors. Monsters love to mix colors to make new favorites colors. And what's better than mixing colors ON your friends? They do a lot of scribble, mix, dance and wiggle when mixing colors! Mess is allowed. Color on the walls is ok. Color inside the lines is not required.
This is a gracious book for learning and playing with primary colors and what happens when they mix. I know there are many good books on this topic, but this is a laughable one!
The illustrations are superb, so simple but so creative. The monsters are so cute and friendly.
You know a book is a success when as soon as you close it, your kid wants to start it again right away. And that happened yesterday a few times in a row...
Age range: 2 to 6 years old