Children's Book Reviews

Book reviews by elementary school teachers Kate Glinsmann and Jennifer Sykes.
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Bob & Rob & Corn on the Cob by Todd McQueen

If your kids are as silly as mine, they will definitely enjoy Todd McQueen’s Bob & Rob & Corn on the Cob.  Yes, even the title and cover make you grin.  Open the book to meet two squirrels, Bob and Rob, who happen to love corn on the cob.  They know a rabbit named Ella Mae Dobbs who most definitely does not love corn on the cob.  She’s a food snob who prefers “pan-seared tofu with carrots cut curly and hot cheese fondue.”  The squirrels attempt to convince her to taste corn on the cob by trying her favorites in return for her trying theirs.  When the corn on the cob is added to a kebab, one of Ella Mae Dobbs’ favorite foods, and heated with fire, there is a fun surprise that wins her over. [Read more...]

Puddle Pug by Kim Norman

I have yet to read a terrible children’s book featuring a pug.  Puddle Pug, written by Kim Norman and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi, is the latest in our family’s long line of adored stories about pugs.  If you know a pug, you know they are spirited little creatures — some naughty and grumpy, some silly and playful, and some are a fun blend of many personality traits (sometimes at the same time!).  Norman’s book features a sweet, smart pug named Percy, and he thoroughly enjoys puddles. [Read more...]

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds

Going Places, by twin brothers Peter and Paul Reynolds, is a wonderful read aloud for children in the early elementary age range.  As children grow, we tend to focus on following the rules, listening to instructions, and falling in line.  But we still value “thinking outside the box” and a children’s creativity.  It’s a difficult balance, and it’s one that we see a great example of in this book. [Read more...]

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney

If you aren’t familiar with Anna Dewdney’s Llama series, you are missing out!  My children, nieces, and nephews have all enjoyed Llama and his drama.  Each book highlights a common early childhood problem and, more importantly, how to resolve it.  My daughters especially enjoy Llama Llama Mad at Mama, featuring a very grumpy Llama who is none too pleased to head to the grocery story with his tired, overworked mother.  Sound familiar? [Read more...]

Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

Steve Light has created a masterpiece.  The cover of this book gives you a clear indication of the fun that lies inside.  Its intricate, detailed black and white cityscape shows only two things in color — a little boy and his dragon.  The little boy, you learn, is hunting for his dragon.  Where will you find him?  Open the book.  He’s hiding on every page! [Read more...]

Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino

When I first saw the title Doug Unplugged, I was able to guess the moral of this story.  On the cover, there was an adorable young robot boy holding the plug of his cord and smiling.  I have so often had to lecture my young girls about walking away from devices that I made a very simple rule for video games or computers:  If it’s not for school, no electronic devices may be used from Monday to Friday, and may only be used during limited hours on weekends… unless there’s a storm, blizzard, or robot invasion.  So I admit I come to this book with some bias.  I like my kids to “unplug.”

Doug is a sweet little robot whose robot parents want him to be as smart as possible.  They plug him in every morning so he can download all the information he could possibly need.  One day, as he was sitting there downloading, he gets distracted by a pigeon.  His curiosity gets the best of him, and he unplugs!  He wanders around his city, truly experiencing life, nature, and even friendship and love.  All those nuances and intangibles he can’t learn from his daily download are easily perceived and understood from just one day of adventure. [Read more...]