Don’t Be Afraid to Say No by Ilona Lammertink

afraid

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No by Ilona Lammertink will help your child realize the importance of when and how to say the word, “no.”

Poor Jill is afraid to say no to her friends because she doesn’t want them to stop liking her. But with the help of her mother, Jill learns saying no isn’t so bad.

This is a wonderful book. Lammertink has created a sympathetic character in Jill, who wishes she said no to her friends more often. It makes her sad and angry that going along with her friends can lead to bad things. With her mother’s help, Jill realizes by saying yes to her friends all the time, she’s actually saying no to her very best friend–herself.  While this can be a difficult thing to teach children, it’s also very important. We want our children to stand up for themselves without being bullies. We want them to share without feeling like they must give up their favorite toys.  We want to slowly make them independent while listening to our direction. I would recommend this book to kids and parents everywhere.

A review of a picture book isn’t complete without some mention of the artwork. I loved Lucie Georger’s style. The variety in the characters’ faces, the details on each page, and the nice combination of colors makes for a lovely book.

The last two pages of Don’t Be Afraid to Say No include information for parents and teachers, a discussion on self-confidence and how we can increase it, and a series of tips to try. You can tell Lammertink has put her experience as a child therapist to work with this book.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 5 – 7 years

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Clavis Publishing; Reprint edition (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605371483
ISBN-13: 978-1605371481

I received a copy of this book from the author’s publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Happy Easter! by Liesbet Slegers

Celebrate spring and Easter traditions in Happy Easter! by Liesbet Slegers.

The colorful artwork and delightful stories of Slegers return in this seasonal offering that is sure to engage young readers. From a hopping Easter Bunny to cheerfully colored eggs, from baby animals to new leaves on the trees, and from baskets to toys, Happy Easter! is as perky as a puppy and just as cute.

Slegers has been one of  my favorite authors/illustrators for a while now. I always enjoy seeing her books in my mailbox. You can’t go wrong with this one if you’re looking for a fun Easter tale.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Hardcover:30 pages
  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing (April 1, 2012)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1605371149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371146
  • SRP:  $15.95

I Have Two Homes by Marian De Smet

I Have Two Homes by Marian De Smet is a touching story that will help encourage young children experiencing the challenges of divorce.

Nina discusses her feelings about her parents’ divorce and living in two homes. Things are different than they used to be, but one thing has never changed–how happy her parents are with her.

This beautifully told book is complemented by the lovely artwork of Nynke Mare Talsma. The gentle colors work so well with the encouraging prose. The reader follows Nina along as she shares how things used to be and how they are now; how things are different and what has stayed the same. Divorce is never easy, especially on children. De Smet has created a book that reassures children of divorce that while things are different, they are still very good. Nina admits at the end:

“It’s strange.

But it is nice, too.”

I can’t think of a better way to put it.

I highly recommend I Have Two Homes. I’ll be on the lookout for more of De Smet’s books.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

 

  • Reading level:Ages 5 and up
  • Hardcover:32 pages
  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing (December 2, 2011)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1605371025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371023
  • SRP: $15.95

I received a free hardcover copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

Little Snowman Stan by Guido van Genechten

Author and illustrator Guido van Genechten is back with another wonderful book in, Little Snowman Stan.

Stan is a little snowman who desperately wants to go off and explore the world. Mister Tophat the snowman tells him he better not move or he’ll melt. Snow Solider insists he stay still and be silent just like all snowmen should. Little Snowman Stan knows he must move, and once he does, he’s not about to stop. He discovers Freezeland where it’s so cold the snow never melts and snow people are free to move around as much as they like.

I’m a huge fan of van Genechten’s books. He is so in tune with children that it shows in every word he writes and every illustration he creates. Little Snowman Stan shows children the importance of being true to yourself and following your instinct. Just because something has always been done one way for a long time, doesn’t mean it can never change. I’m a big proponent of that. While kids might not realize what they are learning in this book, what van Genechten does is foster a healthy sense of independence through Stan’s decision to move. Now, I think this has to be couched with a brief discussion on how some rules can’t be tested–like those on safety issues–but Stan’s story allows children to see that exploring new things can be exciting. While it doesn’t state this, Stan also has the ability to go home if he doesn’t like what he finds, which is another great discussion to go along with this book.

Like all of van Genechten’s books, the artwork is superb. The pale blues and icy whites will have children dreaming about winter weather. It’s my opinion that Little Snowman Stan will get read often if it’s on your bookshelf.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

 

  • Reading level:Ages 3 and up
  • Hardcover:32 pages
  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing (October 1, 2011)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1605371084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371085
  • SRP:  $16.95

I received a free hardcover copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

My Little Troublemaker by Thierry Robberecht

What happens when one well-behaved fairy starts having mischievous moments?

This little pink fairy is never mean and always does what is asked of her. When her classmate, Sabrina begins bragging, a tiny fairy that looks just like her–right down to her pink dress–appears and pours soup down Sabrina’s fancy dress. Soon the tiny fairy is making mischief all over the place. The pink fairy knows it has to stop, so she visits the Fairy Principal, where she learns all about her little troublemaker and the importance of controlling her.

My Little Troublemaker by Thierry Robberecht is an adorable and silly book that aims to teach children about self-control. The humorous antics of the troublemaking fairy cause the little pink fairy to take action. She knows it has to stop and she talks to the Fairy Principal about it. This shows kids that it’s okay to seek an adult’s help when necessary.

My only challenge with the book is the last page, where the fairy admits she tries to be on her best behavior, but every once in a while when Sabrina annoys her she turns her into a lizard or some other animal. She says it’s not her; it’s her little troublemaker. While we can’t expect children to display self-control all the time,  they still need to take responsibility for their actions. We had a problem with this here, where our youngest child would blame the naughty things she did on her imaginary friend. We didn’t make a big deal out of it, but we didn’t allow our daughter to escape a time out just because her “friend” did it.

The artwork by Philippe Goossens is wonderful. The overall design is nice too, with a font that stood out sharply against the colored pages.

I like this book, but I think some parent/child discussion needs to go with the ending.

Rating:  :) :) :) :)

Reading level:Ages 3 and up

  • Hardcover:32 pages
  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing (December 2, 2011)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1605371076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371078
  • SRP:  $15.95

I received a free hardcover of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any for my review.

Top 10 Picture Books of 2011

This took longer than expected. As I mentioned in my last post, selections this year were hard. In addition, I discovered I needed to segregate picture books for little kids (babies, toddlers, preschoolers) from those for school-age children. While some books could overlap between the two age groups, there was no way for me to compile a fair list if I lumped them all into one group. For books where I couldn’t find an age listing, I put them where I felt they fit best. I’ll start off with my Top 10 for the youngest category and then list the Top 10 in the older category.

Top 10 Picture Books for Preschoolers and under

  • Ricky’s Christmas Tree by Guido van Genechten
  • A Cat’s Alphabet Book by Sally O. Lee
  • My Daddy by Guido van Genechten
  • Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo and Going to the Zoo with Lily and Milo by Pauline Oud (I reviewed these together, so I am counting them as one.)
  • One Little Blueberry by Tammi Salzano
  • Oops! by Leo Timmers
  • 1-2-3- Count with Me and A is for Apple by Georgie Burkett (Again, I reviewed these together and count them as one.)
  • Ricky is Brave by Guido van Genechten
  • Thankyouplease by Pierre Winters and Barbara Ortelli
  • Ian’s New Potty by Pauline Oud

There are repeat names on this list, but I felt these authors and publishers truly knew how to create books attractive to this market.

Top 10 Books of 2011 for Ages 3 and up

  • A Dog is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan
  • My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister
  • Will & Kate: A Love Story by Ink Robin
  • Sea Monster’s First Day by Kate Messner
  • The Butt Book by Artie Bennett
  • Not Fat Because I Wanna Be by LaNiyah Bailey
  • The Dancing Clock by Steve Metzger
  • Humbug, A Christmas Carol by Lee Baker
  • My Name is Not Alexander by Jennifer Fosberry
  • Fifo “50 States” by Hayley Rose

Honorable Mentions

  • A Christmas Secret by Candace Hall
  • Frederico, The Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani
  • The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger
  • Marta’s Gargantuan Wings by J. Aday Kennedy
  • Every-Day Dress-Up by Selina Alko
  • Freckleface Strawberry Best Friends Forever by Julianne Moore
  • Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson
  • Don’t Worry Douglas! by David Melling
  • Cinderfella and the Furry Godmother by Dixie Phillips
  • Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClure
  • Secret Service Saint by Janet Ann Collins
  • Seven Miles to Freedom by Janet Halfmann 

Ian’s New Potty by Pauline Oud

From the author/illustrator of Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo comes an encouraging book to help make potty training easier.

Ian is a big boy now. His mom buys him a new potty and big boy underpants. Ian is eager to use his new potty, but the pee doesn’t come right away. He runs off to play and soon feels a funny feeling in his tummy. The floor and his new boy underpants get all wet. At dinner time he gets that funny feeling in his tummy again. Maybe this is his chance to use his new potty.

Ian’s New Potty by Pauline Oud is definitely a book you’ll want around if you’re planning to get your child ready to transition out of diapers. With simple language Ian’s story will encourage your youngster and let him know what he’s feeling and doing is okay. He’ll see the excitement on Ian’s face as he gets to use his new potty for the first time and helps Mommy clean up afterwards.

A nice touch is Ian’s stuffed rabbit named Flap, who Ian speaks to throughout the story. After using his potty, Ian even tells Flap that he’s a big boy now and he’s ready to play.

I would recommend Ian’s New Potty to any family I knew was working on potty training.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing
  • ISBN-10:1605371033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371030
  • SRP: $15.95

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Oops! by Leo Timmers

A little pig takes a thrilling sled ride down a snowy hill in Oops! by author and illustrator Leo Timmers.

Come take a magical ride down a snowy hill with Piggy as he tries to get safely to the bottom where Mommy and Daddy are standing. This is a fun, wintertime book for preschoolers that teaches them about over, around, under, and between. Piggy is acting a bit naughty,  but he can’t resist going down the hill by himself. He soon discovers however, that as he’s going downhill, others are coming uphill. “Oops!” and “Phew!” are words repeated throughout this simple story, whose quirky characters and silly illustrations will have youngsters asking to read it over and again.

I’ve said this about Clavis Publishing before, but I really appreciate that they “get” children. Their books are perfect for little ones. I’m thrilled to add Oops! to our collection.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher:Clavis Publishing
  • ISBN-10:160537105X
  • ISBN-13:978-1605371054
  • SRP:  $15.95

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

 

Kevin’s Christmas by Liesbet Slegers

Toddlers will love sitting down with you to read Kevin’s Christmas by Liesbet Slegers.

It’s Christmas time. Kevin and his family get ready. They put up a tree, set the nativity at the base of their tree, send out greeting cards, and buy food for the Christmas meal. How exciting!

I love Slegers’s books. She really knows how to get in touch with a child’s heart and mind. In this adorable new release in her Kevin and Katie series, young Kevin gets involved in Christmas preparations for the first time. The story speaks to toddlers using words they will be familiar with and has Kevin acting in ways similiar to this age group. Young readers will feel his excitement and joy in sharing this holiday with his family.

The artwork Slegers creates for this one is wonderful. It’s simple, yet uses great colors that will captivate young readers. I also like the multicultural aspect of the book. When Cousin Sally arrives we see she is African American. It’s a subtle message, but one that makes you appreciates family diversity, and can help show kids that differences are great.

This is a sweet story that would make a perfect gift.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Clavis Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1605371041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605371047
  • SRP:  $12.95

I received a FREE copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions. I did not receive monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

 

This book completes 2 out of the 4 books I agreed to read for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. To see my list visit here.

October Storm Behind Us, Now Time to Move On

Photo by: David Molnar, Republican staff photographer The Republican, Springfield, MA

 

Well, it sure has been a week. On Saturday, October 29th, the Northeast was hit with an early snowstorm that left us without power for a week. Thankfully, we had a warm place to stay, but it’s a mess here. Now comes picking up the yard, hauling away downed trees, and cleaning up the house.

I should be back into a more regular blogging schedule by the end of the week. I have several wonderful titles from Tiger Tales to share. Clavis Publishing, Chronicle Books and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books has sent some titles along. I also have a copy of Let’s Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchars that I’ve wanted to talk about. I haven’t read many of these yet, but I want to tell you a bit about them, since some of these are seasonal titles.

One good thing about the early snow, now I’m really in the mood for some Christmas reading.

Hope you all stayed safe and warm this week.

All my best,

Cheryl