Little Elliott Fall Friends

4.5 stars Children’s

I’m in love with this little elephant and his mouse friend. This story is simple but their friendship warms my heart. Little Elliott and Mouse love living in the city but sometimes it gets to be too much, so the decide they need to get away. The two jump on a bus and head to the country where they can enjoy everything the country has to offer.

I liked how the two friends realized that they needed to get away and they chose somewhere, where they could just relax and enjoy themselves and each other. I loved how everyone accepted the two friends in the country and how the two friends fit right into the countryside. The illustrations were wonderful and bright and captured the energy of the book. 4.5 stars

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

5 stars Children’s

Ahhhh, the ending of this book is just super. I don’t really think you need to read these books in order to enjoy them, as I feel each book in this series is super, all on their own. I do recommend that you look, I mean really look at the illustrations on each page as they really do compliment the story. In this story, two turtles come across a cowboy hat and they each try it on. Right off, you notice that these turtle look identical, so when they each slip on the hat, it looks great on both of them.

They realize they need to do something different now, as there is only one hat and two individuals who would like to own the hat. I liked how the friends tried to do different things to take their minds off the hat and how they acted towards each other after they discovered the problem they were having. Super cute story with simple text that I really enjoyed.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

5 stars Children’s

Ha! Now that was a hoot! I loved how confident little fish was during the whole book. He sure was full of himself and his abilities. He actually stole a hat from a bigger fish and then, wore it upon his head. He then, justified his actions, leaving us readers having to decide which side of the argument you wanted to believe. Did you believe what little fish was telling you? Did little fish have all the correct information? Super cute book that even little children will like when they’re old enough to follow a story.

Merry Christmas, Little Elliott by Mike Curato

4 stars Children’s

So where do you find the Christmas Spirit? Where can someone discover that good feeling you get about Christmas? This is the question that Little Elliott must answer as he searches with his friend Mouse, after their visit with Santa didn’t produce the results that he wanted.

As the two friends try different seasonal activities, Little Elliott struggles to find his Christmas Spirit and he begins to lose hope. When a misplaced envelope finds its way to Little Elliott, he takes it upon himself to deliver the envelope to the right person. This action is the beginning of their adventure as Little Elliott discovers what he was missing. This is a cute story with beautiful, colorful illustrations.

Dinosaur Countdown by Nicholas Oldland

3.5 stars Children’s

I liked how straight-forward this book was. It wasn’t busy, filled with unnecessary things or words, it stated the facts and that was it. This book counts down from ten to one and then on the final page, the author reminds us that, yes dinosaurs are extinct.

Each number is given a two-page spread and on those two pages you get a specific dinosaur, the number (1-10) and you get the number written our in words and you an adjective for that dinosaur . So, for 9: it reads 9 nine lazing deinosuchus and includes 9 of them on the page in their various shades of color. What? I don’t know what a deinosuchus is? But, I bet a few children do. There were included in this book, dinosaurs that I knew too. Now, I like dinosaurs but some of these dinosaurs have names that I haven’t heard before. At the back of the book, the author has included how to pronounce some of the dinosaur names, which does help.

It was an okay book but I think the pronunciations would have helped me more, if they were on the page with the dinosaur. I also didn’t care for the illustrations as they didn’t match the language of the book. I did like the added adjectives in the book and again, the simplicity of the book , I enjoyed. 3.5 stars

Up The Creek by Nicholas Oldland

5 star Children’s Picture Book

I think we all can relate to this book, even as adults.  Our dear friends bear, moose, and beaver are spending the day in the great outdoors but instead of listening to nature, they’re bickering.  Fighting over just about everything, as they spend the day canoeing together. 

I laughed as the friends ended up going around in circles, as they tipped their boat and as they encountered some scary waters but these three just couldn’t get along even after each struggle.  There were other adventures that these three had while on their canoeing trip and I smile just thinking of them.  The illustrations in this book are terrific as they work so well with the text.  This is a entertaining book yet it’s also one that has some important lessons tucked inside it.  

One Wild Christmas by Nicholas Oldland

5 stars Children’s Picture Book

We catch up with our dear friends bear, moose, and beaver in this sweet book, as they are celebrating their favorite holiday, Christmas.  As the friends get ready to celebrate, they learn a few important lessons about each other and about life.

I adore Nicholas’ books.  There is something about the characters, the lessons that they teach, and the way the illustrations bring everything together that makes these books special to me.  Using these three different animals, they each have their own special talents and characteristics which play an important role in the books. Each book teaches subtle lessons about life as the story unfolds.  These books are gems.

In this story, as the friends get ready for Christmas, they realize that they are missing an important piece of their Christmas together.  Quickly, the trio rushes out into the forest.  After looking at other options, bear spots the perfect tree! This tree is exactly what they are looking for! Bear’s friends agree, and beaver gets ready to do his job. Wait! Bear doesn’t want to have beaver chew down the tree.  Beaver can’t chew down this tree! Beaver and moose know the tree must come down so they can take it home but bear says, no.  What are the three friends going to do about this beautiful tree if they can’t agree.

I enjoyed how the friends worked together and how bear solved the problem.  I thought it was sweet how the friends all enjoyed bear’s solution.  The illustrations are colorful, fun, and cute to look at.  I also like the physical size of this book as I feel that they are a good fit for smaller hands and they’re perfect for lap sharing.   A great children’s picture book.   

The Big Book of Experiments by Dr. Kate Biberdorf

4.5 stars Science

This book is a gem!  Packed with 25 different experiments, I was excited to thumb my way through this beauty.  I have to warn you up front, that I am not into science.  I hated science as a child, as I didn’t understand any of it but now as an adult, I love experimenting and learning from it.  This book fits right in with my needs.

If only as I child, I could have experimented with fun and interesting items instead of the beakers, test tubes and chemicals that we had to use, I think that I would have learned more and enjoyed science.  In The Big Book of Experiments, the variety of experiments is great. Some of the experiments can be completed rather quickly and some can take some time while there are some which small children can complete with little assistance while others, you’ll need an adult or mature person watching over the whole experiment. 

I liked that some of these ideas were ones that I had already completed and some were new to me.  There was Dancing Raisins, Elephant’s Toothpaste, Moon Rocks, Unicorn Glue, Lava Lamp, Neon Brains, and Fake Tattoos, just to mention a few.  I do like redoing experiments

Kate provides visual safety cues to each experiment.  Whether that is a sink, goggles, gloves, a garbage can or adults, as these safety cues remind the reader to be safe when conducting the experiments. Along with the cues, each experiment has a small note about the experiment, a list of supplies, a messiness level, step-by-step directions with colorful illustrations, questions to ask yourself after you’re finished (science questions about what happened and what if questions) and then, the author explains to you the WHY, as to why the experiment worked.  Now, that is some important stuff!  This is the educational element of the book and important for you to read, you do want to become smarter, don’t you?

I liked that most of the supplies for these experiments were normal items that aren’t hard to find. Items like rubber bands, knife, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, shaving cream, balloons, fishing line, etc. There are some that called for some more difficult items, like sodium alginate, calcium chloride, iron oxide powder, dry ice, and copper wire, for which you will have to do some planning to get these before having some fun. I I would have liked an idea where someone could locate some of these items, that would have been a big help.   Some type of indexing at the back would have been great too.  There is a Table of Content but I like indexes in books like these.

It’s a great colorful, fun book and I highly recommend it.  If you’re homeschooling or trying to keep your child engaged, this is a great book to check out.   

Together We Grow by Susan Vaught

5 stars Picture Book

The illustrations in this book are fantastic.  I like how the animals are realistically draw and their facial expressions are fun.  What wonderful messages this book expresses.

There is a large barn where a variety of animals are safely tucked away during a rain storm.  Snuggled inside, all the animals feel safe and secure.  As the lightening scatters overhead and the rain pours down, a family of foxes is left outside.  Discovering a light in the barn, the adult fox glances into the broken barn window as the barn animals stare up at her, their eyes wide.  A fox!  Some of the animals feel threaten by this predator and the message they send, is not friendly.    

As the fox moves away from the window and returns to the family, the barn door is opened. Why?  Good question.  Who exactly opened the door, that is another great feature that I liked about this book.  A beautiful illustration awaits me as I turned the next page.

The other animals watch from afar, as the brave animal approaches the fox.  There is a line that separates them, a line that can be crossed if they are brave enough and ready to cross. 

I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book.  It’s a beautiful book!  There were some strong messages in this book which could be applied to many situations in our own daily lives.  The text and language that the author uses, was dynamic.  Short, simple sentences composed of familiar words mixed with some more challenging words (dapple, prevails, gash, asunder).  I’m going to have to pick up a copy of this one, I think my grandchildren will enjoy it.

I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

5 stars Picture Book

This is a cute story about a friendship between a squirrel and a bear.  They do everything together and the two of them seem to think that size doesn’t matter until one day it does.  Squirrel has had enough!  After bear has sunk the boat, thrown him off the seesaw, blown his house apart, and squashed him too many times, Squirrel needs his space.  He tells Bear, “I think I need to be on my own. If you don’t mind?”…….There’s bearly any room.”

I liked the way Squirrel approached Bear on this matter and the look that Bear gave his friend, it made me smile.  Squirrel thinks he’ll be happier without Bear and he is, for just a short while and then, he isn’t.  But what can Squirrel do now?

It’s a super sweet book and it reminds you that not every relationship is perfect. That you have to work through things in a friendship.  A great book to give, one to share with your children, or even one to add to your library.  The illustrations are adorable, the text bright and easy to read.  An all-around great book.