Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Agnes and Clarabelle

by Adele Griffin and Courtney Sheinmel
illustrations by Sara Palacios
age range: 5 to 7 years old

Agnes and Clarabelle are best friends, and that means everything es better when they are together. This is the soul of this inspiring book. Many sweet stories talk about Agnes and Clarabelle friendship.  A surprise party for Clarabelle, that Clarabelle helps to organize too. Agnes' fear of the beach, and how her friend is there to support her and accommodate the plan so everybody has a good time. Agnes' turn of being supportive comes when Clarabelle feels frightened of getting lost in a huge store. And what makes a perfect pizza? Is not the chestnut and chocolate chips toppings, but the joy of making it together.

This short novel for early readers is divide in four chapter/stories called after the seasons that can be read independently. Agnes and Clarabelle are lovely characters, and their stories will make you smile. They remind me in some way the old Little Bear books, where the focus is put on the good things we can do and experience together. Agnes and Clarabelle have this kids of purity and blessedness. The illustrations are gorgeous. Look at that cover! Colorful and uncomplicated. Bright and with texture. I felt like jumping into the book! Thankfully the stories are thoroughly illustrated. Wonderful option for reading aloud at bedtime, or for independent readers.

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

I feel worried

Tips for kids on overcoming anxiety.
by Nadine Briggs & Donna Shea
illustrations by Ryan Flynn
age range: 7 years old and up

Written in the form of a guide, this book definitively looks like an appropriate tool for kids who have trouble controlling their unjustified worries. It starts thoroughly explaining what worrying is, how it is also known as stress, fear and anxiety, what are the symptoms we experience when we worry, how it is useful to worry when we are in danger since it make us to take action, but how it can be a problem when the worry doesn't have any other function but make us feel bad.
This explanation is followed by ways to find what causes the anxiety, and how to know if the worry is real, or if it is about something that only might happen. Many "tools" are offered so kids can find at least one that works to manage their worries: positive thoughts; relaxation through breathing, "calm scene", and "comfort zone" poster; encouragement cards; among many, many more.

I found the approach of this book, "you can be stronger than your worries", very honest and age appropriate. It is a book a kid can perfectly read by him or herself, but probably having an adult for sharing the reading, ask questions and find support is a great complement. I also find out about other titles by the authors that also address the importance of growing as an emotionally smart kid: How to make and keep friends (tips for kids and a guide for parents), and I feel mad. I'm really happy to see how mental health issues are being brought to kids in a language they can understand and relate to. Highly recommended!

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dreaming of Mocha

by An Swerts
illustrations by Eline Van Lindenhuizen
age range: 4 years old and up
Clavis Books

Florence wants a dog so bad... Any dog. It doesn't matter if it is fat, or thin. Quite or wild. Florence would love to have a dog to play and take care of. Mom and dad don't think it is a good idea, so Florence dreams of finding a homeless dog. And the way sometimes happens, her dreams come true. One afternoon a sloppy dog appears in her own garden! His name is Mocha, and it is love at first sight...
At first Florence tries to hide Mocha in her bedroom, but mom finds out in no time. After that she boycotts her parents' posters in search for Mocha's owner. She changes the phone number, and even draws eyeglasses and a mustache in Mocha's picture in order to disguise him. But despite all her efforts Leon appears one day at Florence's door looking for his dog, and he is nothing like her imagined he would be. He is not a despicable person who frightens Mocha away. He is actually a sweet old man happy to find his dog, and Mocha evidently loves him. What is Florence suppose to do now?
Loving story which crushes your heart, but finally leaves you with a big smile in your face. Florence is like any other kid, and her feelings are the main theme in this book. She goes from hopeful to happy, and from nervous to sad, and even confused and guilty.
The illustrations are gorgeous, with an ideal balance between white and color, and focused in all those feelings and in Florence and Mocha relationship. Dreaming of Mocha is a book made for read and reread. 

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Grandma's face tells her story

by Elaine McKay
illustrated by Lynne Bendoly
age range: 3 to 5 years old
eTreasures Publishing

At bedtime, while Grandma sings a lullaby, all the girl is really interested in is the story her face tells. Grandma has spectacular dark brown eyes, and freckles in her chin. And also two little dimples in her cheeks, and a twitchy nose. She even can move her eyebrows separately! All of this tells about when grandma laughs, sneeze, whistle and frowns. 

This is such a sweet story! The girl not only observes her grandma's facial expression marks, she loves them because they tell who her grandma is. Grandma is the referee in family soccer games, because she is very good at whistling through the gap between her front teeth. Grandma puffs her cheeks at the dentist to help the girl feel relaxed. Grandma's face is the best bedtime story. 

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Animal planet strange, unusual, gross and cool animals

by Charles Ghigna
age range: 7 years old and up
Animal Planet
Time Inc. Books

Have you ever seen a vampire squid? Did you know that the proboscis monkeys are born with blue faces? Would you like to take a close look at a water dragon's eye? This book contains a huge amount of interesting things to read and learn about a wide range of animals. It is diveded in four parts, Strange, Unusual, Gross and Cool, although many animals are all these things at the same time! And the pictures are wonderful and abundant.

I found this book surprisingly absorbing. It is all a curious kid would enjoy. The facts are punctual and concrete. The text accessible for the age range. To make the content more clear some animals are joined according to one feature, like "Venomous Creatures" or "Newly Discovered Cratures", while some other are portrayed individually for a deeper view, as in chapter such as "Thorny Dragon" or "Blue-footed booby". And again, the photography is amazing. A strange, unusual, gross and cool addition for the non fiction shelf!

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