Saturday, January 17, 2009

BOOKIN' REVIEWS for KIDS with "Professor" Bingo

BOOKIN' REVIEWS for KIDS will periodically feature reviews of children's books. As a veteran Reading teacher, these are books I have read and reviewed, and you may like for your children!

Here are this week's listings from "Professor" Bingo!


Ages: 4-8

Whether sharing one’s own coming of age life story with adults in ELEVEN STORIES HIGH or charming children with a delightful tale of the holiday season and finding new friends in TWO CHRISTMAS MICE, Corinne Demas never fails to please her readers. With acclaimed artist, R. W. Alley, whose same water color and pencil drawings grace the pages of the Paddington series, these two talents combine to give young readers a lovely story just in time for Valentine’s Day.

When the dedicated artist and loving daughter Lily realizes there is only one week until Valentine’s Day, she wants to make her Mommy a Valentine that will be just perfect. Each day, however, as Lily tries to make that ideal heart, it just doesn’t turn out right. One day it is too skinny and one day too round. From Monday through Sunday, Lily uses all her paper to try one more time for the heart she will be proud to present. Alas, Valentine’s Day arrives and no perfect heart. With a last minute idea, Lily decides to link the hearts together and present them to Mommy apologetically saying “But none of the hearts is perfect” only to have Mommy let her know how perfect they are because the heart that matters is inside Lily!

Lively illustrations and engaging dialogue to show the frantic frustration and inexhaustible love that our little artist Lilly experiences, VALENTINE SURPRISE not only makes a perfect book for the holiday, but will also teaches shapes and days of the week to young readers. Bright colors, kitties, and Lily’s attempts at creating a traditional handmade Valentine all come together for a simply sweet story that will be read and shared many times for years to come!

Submitted by K. H. (Bingo) originally to Curled Up with a Good Book for Children


The Leanin’ Dog by K. A. Nuzum

Ages 8-12

K. A. Nuzum’s new book, The Leanin’ Dog, tells a first person narrative story about a young girl named Dessa Dean who is eleven years old. The story takes place during the winter in Colorado in the 1930s just before Christmas. Dessa is a lonely child who desperately needs a friend, especially since her mother died. She thinks she will never be happy again. Dessa is trapped. She is a victim of her own mind’s fear, the fear of leaving her home, known as agoraphobia. To make it harder, Dessa doesn’t want her father to know about this fear. He has enough to deal with.

While Father tries to keep things at home going by keeping the wood pile for the stove for food and warmth, he also tries to help Dessa with her school work. Along with that, he tries really hard to kill some animal for their dinner so that Christmas can be special. As father struggles with these things, Dessa still tries to stop what she calls the daymares and tries to keep Father from finding out about them. When Dessa’s ears starts to ache, she knows a period of “losing Mama pain” is beginning. Her ears hurt as her memory takes her back to when her mother died and Dessa’s ears had been frostbitten. She was holding her mother in the snow waiting for someone to find them even though their footprints were blotted away by the snowstorm. That horrible time when her mother died in her arms is something Dessa can’t forget and therefore, she continues to have these nightmares (daymares) and can’t force herself outside the house.

What helps Dessa to deal with the pain and tragedy in her life comes in the form of a canine friend. A stray dog comes into Dessa’s life and gives her someone to love again. The dog is just what she needs--a friend. Here is someone to tell her troubles to and share her secrets with as well as her heart. Dessa finds in the dog a friend who can help her deal with her paralyzing fear of leaving the house. Oddly enough, the dog has a fear as well. He doesn’t like to be closed up in small places. When she finally coaxes him into the house and goes to close the door, he is upset and she realizes she must leave the door partly open as this dog also has a fear of something—a fear of being in small, enclosed spaces known as claustrophobia. In order to ease his fear, the open door adds to Dessa’s problems as it causes the piled up wood to burn quicker and invites marauders to the home.

Slowly, with each friend allowing for the other’s fear to be gently guarded, Dessa begins to find the happiness she has lost and this helps her with her father as well. Together, the three of them help each other to get through the tragedy of losing Dessa’s mother and the joy of the holiday season.

Submitted by K. H. (Bingo) originally to Harper Collins Kids


Written by John Lithgow, Illustrated by Robert Neubecker

Ages: pre-school - 6

This hardcover book and accompanying CD for infants through First Graders will surely entertain the little ones, and find parents singing along with the lilting interpretative reading by famed actor John Lithgow. Fanny and Blue are two great dogs, well loved, even if not well behaved, or very smart. However, as the lively rhythm of the words is read or listened to, youngsters will delight in the story and the rhythm of it all. While Blue is “kind of gray” and Fanny is “all white”, their loyalty and mischievousness is very evident in the story. Fanny and Blue like to chase the cat and make a mess of their owner’s things but find great comfort in cuddling up at night right ON TOP of their master! But one big loving lick makes their master forgive and love Fanny and Blue even more. The pet owner’s devotion to the two animals is one that will teach little ones about what is important about having a pet while also entertaining them. The repetitions of the sounds in the refrain are something that little children will delight in.

Author John Lithgow based the story on his own two dogs and his story is energetic while delightful, rhythmic while comical. Lithgow’s audio is a brilliant, enthusiastic interpretation of the story and is accompanied by a supporting chorus and instruments like the flute that combine to add to the catchy rhythmic tune. The delightful illustrations by Robert Neubecker look hand painted but I believe are digitally rendered and depict the story with broad and colorful strokes. The illustrations will capture every child with the pulsating colors and make this a great read-along book for children. Whether read to, with, or listened to, this is a fantastic book/CD for every child’s collection!

Submitted by K. H. (Bingo) originally to Amazon VINE


g.g. said...

excellent grandchild liked this book

Kaye said...

Hi Bingo, thanks for becoming a follower and I am so pleased you like my blog. It sure does take up a lot of time ,doesn't it? I am on the west coast. It sure is cold up here the last few days. Even my penguins are feeling it! Stop by and visit again.

Bingo said...

Hi, Kaye! Did I list your blog properly on my blog list? I thought I might have gotten the wrong group of penguins?

Kaye said...

The listing is fine. I just became a follower. Keep up the good work! :)

Kaye said...
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