The Grouchy Ladybug

August 17, 2008 at 2:24 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | 1 Comment
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The Grouchy Ladybug written and illustrated by Eric Carle

This is a really cute book that speaks not only to bullies, but to tantrums as well. The grouchy ladybug comes upon a leaf full of aphids that are already being eaten upon by a lady bug in a much better mood. Instead of being pleasant and sharing the leaf with the other ladybug, the grouchy ladybug wants to fight for it. When the happy ladybug unexpectedly agrees to the fight, the grouchy ladybug hedges and indicates that the other wasn’t big enough to bother. Thus begins a trek to find another insect, animal, or mammal big enough to fight (i.e. that is intimidated).

While it’s obvious that the moral of this story is that bullies expect their targets to back down. When the bully doesn’t get the desired reaction, he or she will move on until it’s found. As the mother of a child who used to throw marathon tantrums, I have to laugh at this grouchy little ladybug. My Ally was that grouchy little toddler who just wouldn’t give up when her parents didn’t capitulate to her tantrums. Often, it took her 30 or 40 minutes until she found the whale who batted her back to the leaf where she started. She has much better control over her emotions and I had almost forgot about those days until I read about that wonderful, grouchy ladybug.

This really is a delightful book with illustrations that live up to what one expects from Eric Carle. This book can encourage little children to be nice and stand up to those who are not. It also can encourage parents of those future grouchy little ladybugs. Eventually he or she will find the whale. Just hang on for the hug that’s always there for you at the end.


To buy this book, click here.


The Mixed-Up Chameleon

August 2, 2008 at 4:04 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | 2 Comments
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The Mixed-Up Chameleon written and illustrated by Eric Carle

This picture book tells the story of a chameleon who is no longer satisfied with himself when he ventures into a zoo and sees all of the other wonderful animals. After trying out parts of each animal, he discovers that he is happiest just being himself. The Mixed-Up Chameleon is a wonderful book that teaches children both about chameleons and about learning to love themselves for who they are. That lesson, when done well, cannot be over taught.

My daughters received this book as a gift from a dear friend. Because of Eric Carle’s beautiful artistry, The Mixed-Up Chameleon is as fun to look at as it is to read. It’s also a nice change of pace that it isn’t geared toward girls alone. I would highly recommend this book as a gift for any young child. It’s sure to be treasured.


To buy this book, click here.

Olivia Forms a Band

August 1, 2008 at 2:52 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | Leave a comment
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Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer

Olivia, a precocious little pig, decides to form her own band when she learns that there won’t be one at the fireworks display her family will be attending.  Along the way, she does typical young child things like bribe her siblings for items she needs for the band and complains that in a drawer full of identical red socks that she cannot find the match to the one she’s currently wearing.  The punch line to the story, of course, is that once she’s formed her one pig band that she loses interest before making it to the fireworks display.

I’ve been curious about Olivia since I first learned about her a couple of years ago.  I’ve always meant to rent these books from the library but never had a chance.  When I found this copy for $1.50 at the local Food Lion, i couldn’t pass it up.  Now that I’ve read it, I can’t say that I completely understand the appeal.  Sure, from a parent’s perspective it could be funny to see some of these typically erratic childhood behaviors, but I found this story disjointed.  There was no continuity.  While I don’t expect that out of my children, I do expect it out of the books I read.  Allison has asked me to read it twice, but she only seems to be interested in the pictures of the fireworks (which are nice).  Perhaps this will be more meaningful to the girls when they’re old enough to read and better comprehend Olivia.

As for me, I just don’t get it.

To buy this book, click here.

Little Bit & Big Byte

July 26, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Posted in children's books, picture book | 1 Comment
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Little Bit & Big Byte: A Day at the Beach by Craig T. Feigh

As someone who works in the software industry, Little Bit & Big Byte caught my attention immediately. I really liked the idea of a picture book for my children that related back at least indirectly to my profession. I read this through the first time by myself. It wasn’t what I was anticipating and I wasn’t sure that it would capture my daughters’ attention. I was wrong. They enjoyed the story, the characters, and started learning some vocabulary that will help them as they get older.

At the beginning of the book, the narrator, Little Bit, introduced his dog Click, his cat Browser and his siblings, Big Byte and Joy. Of all the characters, Webster was the favorite. They both thought it was silly that he was shaped like a dictionary. They also seemed to grasp the concept that they should stay away from Vi and Rus. Best of all, when Little Bit told us that Big Byte was 8, Allison asked why he was 8, it was a teachable moment. It really made me happy to explain that there are 8 bits in a byte. It might mean nothing to her today, but it helped to lay the groundwork.

Little Bit & Big Byte is a great way to start introducing children to basic computer concepts and vocabulary. Not only is a good picture book to have at home, it would also be a good resource for preschool and early elementary school educators.

To buy this book, click here.

Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring

July 25, 2008 at 4:03 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | Leave a comment
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Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring written by Ron Pridmore and illustrated by Michele-lee Phelan

This is a beautiful and endearing picture book about a baby turtle who decides to explore his environment on the day he hatches from his egg.  Templeton meets several different types of interesting animals and other wildlife around the pond.  Most importantly, he learns of his mother’s love and that neighbors take care each other.

The author set out to write this book to help instill a love of the outdoors in children.  My daughters are at an age where they love to be outside chasing bunnies and birds in the yard.  It’s not just the animals that interest them, either.  Emma would crouch down and explore colonies of ants all night long if we would allow it.  This book was especially appealing to them.  When we read it for the first time, it was fun to read the descriptions of the new characters Templeton meet and have them guess as to its identity.  We all had fun.  With my children, Ron Pridmore certainly achieved his goal.

As a parent, the best part of this book was the illustrations.  They are simply gorgeous.  My favorite was the picture of Templeton curled up in his shell on the very first page, but each page afterwards has something else to take in and explore.  I hope that Michele-lee Phelan has a long career illustrating children’s books.

I look forward to reading this story to my daughters again and again.

To buy this book, click here.

Kindergarten Kids

July 24, 2008 at 3:00 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | Leave a comment
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Kindergarten Kids: Riddles, Rebuses, Wiggles, Giggles, and More! by Stephanie Calmenson and Melissa Sweet

My oldest daughter starts kindergarten next month and she is very apprehensive. When I saw this book, I had to pick it up in hopes of getting her excitement level up enough to counteract her nerves. She absolutely loves this book. It’s full of rhymes and she loves finishing them when she can. Her favorite pages are the Halloween pages. Now that she has memorized the rhymes, she likes to give silly answers instead of the correct ones. She cracks me up.

Emma also likes to spell out the word kindergarten using the cover. I can’t say that she’s completely over her fears about going to a new school, but I think she’s developing a pride in joining the ranks of the other big kids.

I would highly suggest this book for parents with children heading to kindergarten (not a big leap based upon the title). I also think that kindergarten teachers might find this useful. It ends with a wonderful poem about being proud of being in kindergarten. I can just see a class of children marching to it and loving who they are.

To buy this book, click here.

Queen of the Class

July 22, 2008 at 2:19 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | Leave a comment
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Queen of the Class (Ann Estelle Stories) by Mary Engelbreit

In Queen of the Class, Ann Estelle anxiously awaits to find out who her teacher, Mrs. McGilligan has chosen to play each of the parts in the class play.  Of course, she sees herself as being cast as the queen.  There can be no other way, until it isn’t her name called as queen.  Instead, she has been chosen to act as the play’s stage manager.  Her teacher feels that Ann Estelle’s true talents lie there.  By working through her disappointment, Ann Estelle learns that doing her best at whatever task makes her feel like a queen.

This is a beautiful picture book.  How can it not be when it is illustrated by Mary Engelbreit?  I read this separately to my daughters and they were both captivated by the story and the pictures.  My 3-year-old usually can’t go a single page without asking a question, but she was (mostly) patiently listening throughout.

The lessons in this book are excellent.  Ann Estelle is mortified and pouty when she learns that Josephine will act as the queen, but she takes on her role as stage manager with creativity and heart.  She learned something about herself by accepting what her teacher saw from the very beginning.  It’s okay to feel disappointed when things don’t go your way.  It’s what you do with those feelings that is important.  Because Ann Estelle put her heart into her role, her shining moment was all the more brilliant because it was without  a jeweled crown or red velvet cape.

To buy this book, click here.

The Rabbit and the Snowman

July 20, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Posted in children's books, picture book | 4 Comments
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The Rabbit and the Snowman written and illustrated Sally O. Lee

When Sally O. Lee sent me an email offering me a chance to review this picture book, I was really excited. Before then I had never considered reading and reviewing children’s books and I could have kicked myself. With two young children who read a lot of books, this is a perfect thing for me to write about. When this book arrived in the mail, I opened the package immediately. Allison is never far from my side and she wanted me to read it right away.

The Rabbit and the Snowman tells the story of Snowman, who was created in a field by a group of children. When the children leave, Snowman is lonely and wonders what he might have done to make the children run away. He gets really happy when Rabbit hops up, they become the best of friends. When spring comes, however, Rabbit sadly can no longer find his friend. Both Rabbit and Snowman both learn to appreciate their friends for who they are. They learn that even though they can only be friends for a season, it doesn’t change their friendship.

My daughter and I thoroughly enjoy this book. The illustrations are beautifully whimsical and the story provides a lot of opportunities to discuss loneliness, other’s feelings, and the changing seasons. From an adult’s perspective, I really enjoyed the text font. It blends in well with the way the pictures are shaded. Being that it’s currently 95 degrees and humid, it’s nice to see and imagine winter scenes. You can definitely enjoy this book year round.

When I was reading this book, I thought that it might come in handy when my oldest daughter starts kindergarten next month. She’s attended the same day care since she was 6 weeks old, but her grade school is much closer to our house. None of the children she has created relationships with will be going with her there. I know that there will be many friends she’ll miss and I’m certain she’ll make many more quite easily. The relationship with Snowman and Rabbit will be a great backdrop to discuss being sad when you don’t see your friends very often.

I whole heartedly recommend this picture book for preschoolers. I’m sure that even younger children will enjoy the illustrations. You might find yourself enjoying them as well.

To buy this book, click here.

Welcome to Literate Housewife’s Children’s Books Blog!

July 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Posted in children's books | Leave a comment
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As the mother of two young daughters, I do a lot of reading of children’s books. I’ve also started getting some review copies of children’s book. In order to better organize the reviews I write for these books, I’ve started The Nursery @ The Literate Housewife Review as an off-shoot of The Literate Housewife Review.

I am starting this without any real idea of what will become of it. I’ll be reviewing everything from picture books to young adult reading. I have some pie in the sky dreams of my daughters writing their own reviews as they get older. I hope that you enjoy what you find here, especially as the content grows.

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