ANNOUNCEMENTclose

  • Children's Book Reviews

Links to products on Amazon.com are affiliate links and earn money for this website. Read our full disclaimer.
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman

51RiiHDp4JL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

As a mother of two girls, I look for books with female protagonists who aren’t limited by our culture’s definition of “feminine.”  Pink and glitter are part of my daily life, and there’s nothing wrong with that; but I feel it’s important to share books with them that feature girls doing things, not girls doing circumscribed girly things.  It can be a struggle to find books featuring girls in this light and to find books that appeal to both boys and girls, especially in the early independent reading category dominated by fairies and unicorns.  Erica Silverman’s Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa is a winner in this regard.

Kate is an energetic, responsible, and caring young cowgirl.  Her relationship with her horse, Cocoa, is one that reminds me of siblings — they are similar in personality and rely on one another, but they slightly annoy one another from time to time.  The dynamic between people and animals in children’s books is often one-sided, but Kate and Cocoa interact as if peers.  It’s fun to laugh at Cocoa pestering Kate for a snack when she’s all cozy and tucked in to bed, and the arguing over counting cows sounds vaguely like it’s coming from an old married couple.  It’s clear that Kate and Cocoa love one another and work best as a team.

The book is both imaginative and rooted in reality.  There is not a lot of fluff or whimsy, aside from the talking horse thing.  Cowgirl Kate and “cowhorse” Cocoa have very practical work to do, and the story lines of the four very short chapters are also very practical.  There is comfortable dialogue, humor, and accessible emotion.  Early readers need repetition and a clear sequence of events.  Silverman hits all those objectives without the story becoming awkward or stilted.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa is illustrated by Betsy Lewin.  The look is very comfortable, neutral, and warm, with strong black outlines to balance the soft colors.  Lewin’s illustrations are descriptive and are closely tied to the text on each page.  This makes the book pretty and makes the story easier for young readers to follow.  It also offers adults the option of using the stories for a read along/aloud.

Children from preschool through second grade will enjoy the story, the illustrations, and the adventures of a spunky cowgirl and her ornery, beloved horse.  There are several later books in the series, including Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Partners; Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days; Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Rain or Shine; Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House; and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies.

 

Pippi Fixes Everything, Pippi Longstocking Comics, by Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

 

pippiWhat’s old is new again, and this “reboot” of the classic Pippi Longstocking stories is sure to catch the interest of young readers.  Pippi Fixes Everything is one of a series of books that originally existed as comics from the 1950s and were recently translated to English for the first time.   Other titles include Pippi Moves In and Pippi Won’t Grow Up.

Pippi Longstocking is a spunky girl who has a lot of adventure in her life, and her stories are full of kid-appropriate drama and suspense.  Boys and girls alike will enjoy Pippi’s crazy ideas, heroics, and quips.  Pippi tricks burglars!  She rescues children from a burning building!  She has a tug of war contest with her father… using her teeth!  Who can resist this quirky protagonist and her many tales?  All the charm of the original stories and illustrations remains intact.

Graphic novels and comic books are wonderful for struggling or reluctant readers.  They offer illustrations for every brief snippet of text, allowing the child to make connections and improve comprehension.  These particular illustrations are very bold and colorful and directly related to the speaking character’s dialogue.  Each story within the book is only a few pages long, making it comfortable and not overwhelming.  Pippi Fixes Everything is also great for precocious early readers who are able to easily decode words but are still not ready for dense chapter books, or the more mature themes that are frequently found in chapter books.

Whether you are looking for a way to introduce a beloved classic character or are seeking a fun, appealing read for children in preschool through early elementary school, Pippi Fixes Everything is a solid choice.  The timeless themes and vintage charm are the same as they ever were — they are merely presented in a different and appealing way to make them readable and exciting to a new generation.

 

Page 1 of 9  12345... Last » 

member sign-in

Not a member? Click Here to join!

friends of BabyNames.com