Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kid Konnection - February Releases from Sterling

Welcome to Kid Konnection -- a (hopefully) regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I am going to feature two new releases from Sterling. One book is for babies and their parents, and one is for elementary age children. Both books are very unique and offer something special to the readers!

Summary: Mash, mush, mooshWelcome little ones to the kitchen, with the first-ever cooking-with-your-baby book! Mealtime can be a challenge for babies and toddlers—but eebee’s Mix & Mash has the perfect recipe for cooking up adventures in learning and laughter. It promotes healthy eating right from the start, with great recipes for nutritious, delicious meals (including Curr-eed Rice and Banana) plus playful food preparation ideas that encourage baby to participate. And the book comes with a special DVD, coproduced by Parents TV! This is the perfect blend of smart tips and powerful parenting—a must-have for today’s active families. -- Sterling

MIX & MASH: ADVENTURES IN THE KITCHEN FOR BABY & YOU is unlike any children's picture book I've ever seen. It's actually a cookbook filled with recipes that your baby can make! Seriously -- there are step-by-step instructions so the babies (ages six months and up) can help the parents prepare healthy foods! I know that my kids like to help in the kitchen, and they've been known to try new foods when they help to make them; but this book brings introducing your kids to cooking to an entirely new level.

MIX & MASH is a very cute board book and it's filled with lots of colorful pictures of babies. For whatever reason, when my kids were babies, they just loved books with photos of babies in them. There is also an adorable (albeit funny looking) puppet-type creature on each page -- I think his name is eebee. In addition, the book includes a DVD with recipe demos and a Q&A on play and learning.

There is no doubt that the recipes in this cookbook are healthy and perfect for young babies and toddlers. I probably should have fixed food like this for my two when they were younger and maybe they wouldn't be so darn picky now. Some of the recipes included are: tof-ee finger food, guacamole-ee crunch, and roasted swee-ee-t potato shapes. Each recipe calls for the baby or toddler to shake, squeeze, swirl or whirl the foods. Very cute, right?

If you are looking for a cute and unique book that is also practical, you should definitely check out MIX & MASH: ADVENTURES IN THE KITCHEN FOR BABY & YOU. It would make a fabulous gift for a mom-to-be or a new baby.

Summary: When young Pip accidentally meets a convict out in the marsh one Christmas Eve, he has no idea that his life is about to change--forever. The amazing events following that encounter, and the strange tale of Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella, have made Great Expectations a must-read since it was first serialized in 1860. Now, young readers can enjoy Dickens’s engrossing story in this simplified yet thrilling version. -- Sterling

I have never read GREAT EXPECTATIONS; and truth be told, I really don't have much desire to do so. So when I discovered that Sterling has a series of books called Classic Starts, I was more than a little interested. Classic Starts are abridged versions of classic stories especially geared towards young readers (or in this case -- me!) This series sounded like an ideal way for me to catch up on some classics that I never got around to reading. I began with CLASSIC STARTS: GREAT EXPECTATIONS as retold from the Charles Dickens original.

Having never read the original, I'm afraid that I'm at a disadvantage to judge how much (or how little) of the story was included in the abridged version. And I have to say that I did find the story to be a bit abrupt in places, and I definitely wanted more details and character development. However, I found GREAT EXPECTATIONS to be extremely easy to read, and I think it was the perfect length for young readers -- about 150 pages. I don't think young readers are going to have the same issues as I did.

Now as a mother of a fifth grader, I think this concept of abridged classics is terrific. There is absolutely no way that my daughter is ready to tackle many of the classics, but I'd like to introduce some of the stories to her sooner rather than later. Besides GREAT EXPECTATIONS, there is also THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN, MOBY-DICK, TREASURE ISLAND, and 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA to name a few. Some of the books are also available on audio. I agree with the creators that of Classic Starts that kids will gain confidence by reading the classics in this fashion. They will be introduced to the stories while at the same time not being frustrated by the length or complexity of the book.

One other thing that I absolutely loved about this book were the two sections in the back. One was a list of discussion questions and the other was a note to parents and educators. I think these books are ideal for teachers to use in the classroom to not only introduce the classics and their themes, but to also get children thinking about and discussing books. I thought the questions for discussion were very thought-provoking -- I actually went through and answered them myself! In addition, I enjoyed reading Dr. Arthur Pober's note about how the abridged versions of these classics help young readers develop a love of classical literature.

Thanks to the publisher for sending review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Sandy Nawrot said...

I LOVE the idea of classic starts. I wish I would have had them (or known about them) when my kids were younger. I recently suggested to my daughter when she was looking for another book to read, that she go on a classics or award-winner binge. Uh uh. She would have no part of that. Maybe if I would have started them young, their attitude might be different...

Beth F said...

I haven't read Great Expectations in ages! I have mixed feelings about abridged classics for kids. While I think it's a good way to expand young readers' horizons, I wonder how many will then not go on to read the originals later, feeling that they already know the story.

bermudaonion said...

They both look good, but I just love the concept of Mix and Mash - what a great way to get kids started in the kitchen!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I didn't know about the Classic Starts series -- thanks for the introduction. I have a few readers here who would be interested in them.

Unknown said...

We have some classic beginners series books here in the UK. They are really popular. Lovely feature! I found you through Twitter!

Jackie said...

I enjoyed Great Expectations though it did take me a while to get through it. I'm not sure about the abridged version. I think I'd have to read it to compare. Thanks for sharing!