Bob Ross: My First Book of Nature By Robb Pearlman

5 stars Children’s Board Book

I had to check out this board book when I saw that Bob Russ illustrated it.  If you’re wondering if the illustrations are beautiful, the answer is yes!  The illustrations are just like his pictures with different layers of colors, where you feel like you are standing directly in front of the scene that he created.  The reflection in the rippling water,  the haziness of the clouds, and the gradual rise of the sun all help create the mood of picture.  Such precision and detail, they truly are amazing.

The text in this is board is great too.  I love the big, bold print and the tone that the author uses as he asks his readers to enjoy the great outdoors.  Robb wants his readers to appreciate nature and he does that by having them see and experience life outside in the different seasons.  Using a variety of methods: looking at the clouds, listening to the water, talking to trees, looking at animals, and even resting, the author tries to get the reader to fully see nature.

It’s a cute and quiet book for little ones. I like the different seasons and it gives little ones things to think about when they go outside. I think the illustrations could be used for additional “talk time” with your little ones.  Depending on the age, for each illustrations your conversations could involve: what sounds do they think they would hear there, what animals might live there, would it be a good place to visit, and what would they do there?  5 stars.

“Each one of us sees nature differently.  And that’s the way you should paint it – just the way you see it.” 

Nana Loves You More by Jimmy Fallon

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

Yes, Nana does love you more.  As a Nana, I can say I do love this book.  My grandson and I make comments to each other like the ones printed in this book but to have a book that puts it all in print, my heart was full.  I like the size of the book too, it’s a square.  The text is simple and sweet.  The text says a lot, the illustrations are bright, colorful and grab your attention.  Thank you, Jimmy Fallon.  5++stars

“Nana will read to you and sing you to sleep.  And fill you with memories that you’ll always keep.” “More that cats with SUPER cat powers.”

Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! by Laurel Synder

5 stars Children’s Fairy Tale Retelling

Holy Mogoly!  This book is just amazing!  I started this book over and over again and every time, I got a different outcome.  It truly was one terrific book.   If you love children’s books, love fairy tales, love twisted stories, or just love choose your own path stories, this book is for you.

Let me start by saying that this is an oversized children’s book which provides the reader with some pretty fantastic illustrations.  The faces and the drama that occurs in this book falls right into your lap as you open this book.  When the author says “ENDLESS VARIATIONS” they definitely mean it.  As I read this, Little Red Riding Hood ran into characters from other Fairy Tales including Hansel & Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Jack, Snow White, the wolf, a witch, a goose, some piggies, and a grandma. 

Little Red is headed to her grandma’s with a cake, Rosie as she is known in this story needs to pick out a coat to wear.  Does she wear her favorite red cape or a cozy faux fur coat?  This first choice will have you turning to page 6 or page 20.  What will it be?  

If you chose the red cape, you (Rosie) find a wolf waiting on the path.  Oh, no!  He looks ornery and he starts asking you lots of questions.  You (Rosey) wish you’d never seen him or talked to him.  But now what do you do?  Go back home and start over tomorrow or continue on your journey?

If you chose the cozy faux fur coat, you’re (Rosie)skipping along but you soon notice a different house on the path.  Do you knock and meet these new neighbors or do you continue on to grandmas?

You never knew what awaited you when you turned the page on this book.  Was it is a good choice or a bad choice?  I thought that each time I created a new story, it wasn’t a short, senseless story but it was fun.  I enjoyed making all the choices that I got to make and the illustrations were amazing and they really helped make each story great.  I can’t say enough about this book except you have to read it – you really do!!  10 stars+++

Cat & Mouse by Britta Teckentrup

5 stars Children’s Picture Books

Oh, my goodness!  What a cute story about mouse and cat.  I think about a few readings of this book, a couple children could probably retell this story in their own words.  With cute little cutouts on each two-page spread this rhyming story tells the story of a cat chasing a mouse. 

This big board book is an older book but it’s one that would never get old with time.  Black cat begins chasing white mouse in the blue house and it continues outside in the yard. 

Mouse tries to hide in some boxes but cat also fits in the boxes so mouse is not safe there. The mouse is fast but the cat is not far behind.  I didn’t understand how there was a” hole in the ground” inside the house but who knows, this might be an old house. I liked the simple illustrations and the action within the illustrations.  A nice fun book to read and the ending was very cute.  5 stars

Home: a Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta TeckenTrup

3 stars Children’s Picture Book

I don’t even know where to begin with this review.  This children’s book is packed with a variety of different animal homes.  I enjoyed taking a walk with the bear cub as he saw all the animals in the forest.  I remember reading about beavers, ovenbird, salmon, rabbits, wolves, terns, and bears in this book and the homes that they make in the forest. 

You will find yourself catching a beat as you read this rhyming book and looking at everything on the pages before you.  There are numerous cut-outs on each page so take your time when you look through this book, you don’t want to miss anything.

I really wished this book would have been printed on heavier paper.  There were tons of cut-outs in this book and in the back of my head, I’m wondering how this book will hold up over time.

I liked the language in this book as the author gives the reader some great vocabulary words as he helps the reader become connected to the forest (snout, dome, weaves, warren, eerie, prowl, unfurled, swarms, etc.).  I had a problem with some of the text being printed on a dark background, I wish they would change the color of the text to a brighter color instead of black when they print on a dark background, it helps the text stand out and helps kids it better.

These illustrations were busy, I mean really busy.  I thought the illustrations took away from the text.  The text seemed swallowed up by the illustrations which was a shame to me.  The cut-outs were great but again, I thought there were perhaps too many of them.  Not every page needs to have cut-outs nor so many.  Again, this is my opinion as this is my review.  The book felt so busy to me.  3.5 stars.

Shape Up, Construction Trucks by Victoria Allenby

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

I have a grandson who loves construction trucks so this one was perfect for him.  With realistic pictures, this book shows a variety of vehicles in realistic settings.  From a dump truck, to a crane, to a lifting hook, to a road roller, there are just a few of the different vehicles that are included inside this book. 

Each vehicle gets a two-page spread and, on the right side, beside that picture, there are some simple words which rhyme that connect that vehicle to a shape that is found on that vehicle.  They have created a larger diagram of that shape underneath the words and they have also outlined the shape on the vehicle so the reader can make the connection to the written words.  A fun and simple book but the learning is important and if you can get them to see this now, that’s great!  I do wish there could have been a few pages that combined a multitude of shapes on one vehicle so the readers could see that.  I like how you can use this for just looking at the trucks or for higher learning.   4.5 stars

Example:  Dump Truck has a triangle on its truck bed.  “Dump truck, Dump truck, Coming through, I spy a triangle, How about you?”

Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher

4 Children’s Picture Book

We read a lot of Pete the Cat books at our house.  My two grandchildren (ages 3.5 years and 3) like to read them.  This is a Wonder Book that I picked up at the library.  I have read this one to them and they have also listened to the Wonder Book.  There are many surprises in this book, I think but the main one is the surprise teacher which turns out to be a substitute teacher in Pete’s class.

Pete is getting ready to get on the school bus for school.  His dad is there but his mom is missing.  When Pete gets to school, he realizes why his mom was missing.  His mom was already at school.    Pete’s mom, Mrs. Cat is going to be his substitute teacher for the day, in his classroom.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what to do so Pete tells her they go to Art but his mom doesn’t know where to go. She takes them to all the different special classrooms (gym and music) instead.  When it’s time for lunch, she takes them outside.  What a confusing day yet the kids are having a great day.  It’s almost the end of the day and they finally make it to Art.  The kids decide to do something special for Mrs. Cat to thank her for such a wonderful day.

This is a fun book for little ones.  The lettering is easy to read and the story is smooth and makes sense.  The pictures are bright and colorful and I like that the pictures are separated from the wording so the words are not buried behind lots of action and colors.  Good book for kids who understand what going to school is all about.     4.5 stars

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

The troll was starving. He’d only ate a leather boot and some goop from inside his belly button so when he heard the “Clip, clop! Clip, clip!” on the bridge over his head, he was thinking food. The troll hollers up to whoever is up on the bridge and climbs out onto the bridge, scaring Gruit, the goat.  The troll sings a detailed song about how much he loves eating trolls.  Like in the classic story, Gruit explains about his bigger brother coming soon so the troll lets Gruit cross the bridge and the troll crawls back under the bridge to wait.  Troll, thinking that he’s smart, handsome, and fun hears the second goat and again he pops up on the bridge, ready to eat this Billy Goat.  The troll sings another verse of his, “how I love goats, let me count the ways” song.  The second Billy Goat again gets the troll to wait for the next brother to come across, promising a better meal than he can provide.

Wait for it……oh, the troll can’t wait to see how wonderful this billy goat will be!  Holy Moly!! I don’t think the troll was ready for this Billy Goat.   This is a fun version of the story and I liked the way the troll made up the song.  There were other little parts about the story that I liked too.  I liked the little extras that were thrown in:  what the troll had ate, what the troll does under the bridge, and what the troll says in the book.  Those little things add to the story.  I liked the darkness of the illustrations as to me; this is a dark story.  It’s also a fun story that my children used to act out in the playground and I do it now, with my own grandchildren.    5 stars

The Barnyard Night Before Christmas by Beth Terrill

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

I like reading remakes of this classic and this one was no exception. I tried reading it to my grandson and it got a bit too long for this 3-year-old so we just looked at the pictures and I told him my own version of the story. He liked the illustrations and I saw him later take out the book and was looking through it and telling the story in his own words. In my opinion, that is what reading is all about, taking out a book on your own and going through it – no matter how old you are.

In this version of the story, Santa is “left in a pickle.” Santa’s reindeer can’t fly as they have eaten ‘too much sweet Christmas pudding” and Santa needs to leave for his famous Christmas ride. Back at the farm, the animals are all getting settled inside the barn for the night. Although the mouse wrote to Santa, there is a feeling of hopelessness that Santa will actually visit them tonight, as the animals think about sleep. Then, they heard something! Outside, they all rushed and, in their amazement, they saw Santa standing there in the pasture. He needed their help, but how could these farm animals do what eight flying reindeer accomplish?

What a cute storybook and using your great imagination, this storybook will become a favorite. The illustrations are just amazing!! The facial expressions and the details are spectacular. I loved how Santa was portrayed in the story from the illustrations to his mannerism. The rhythm and rhyme of this book worked without a struggle and I found myself bouncing along as I read it. So many stars and smiles for this book!! 5+ stars

Blue Bison Needs a Haircut by Scott Rothman

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

Ha!  Blue Bison’s hair is long!  He decides that he needs to get a haircut but soon realizes that his usual barber shop is closed.  When he realizes that every shop is closed, Blue Bison decides that he will get a haircut tomorrow.  What?!?  The shops are still closed the next day!  Oh, Blue Bison is mad and he begins to show his anger.  Blue Bison’s mother tries to ease the situation and explain the difference between a need and a want as his little sister, Bubble Gum Bison offers to cut his hair.    Not trusting her little red scissors, Blue Bison heads off to try to solve the issue on his own which leads to him becoming even more upset.  It’s Bubble Gum Bison sister who finally rescues Blue Bison from his horrible mood and saves the day. 

This is a cute book with colorful pages with fun, talking animals. I love the thicker cardstock pages and the facial expressions on the animals are fantastic. Blue Bison over reactions seem typical of small children and I laughed as I read this.  I can’t wait to read this to my grandchildren. 5 stars