Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kid Konnection: Picture Book Fun

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you some fun picture books that Booking Son and I have discovered in the past few weeks.

Summary: Gigi is spending a day in the big city—and what a day it is! She travels through town on mass transportation, shops in various stores, goes to lots of museums, meets interesting people and learns about their occupations, and then goes home to dream of her fun-filled and informative day.

Through the use of lift-the-flaps, pull tabs, and changing-picture wheels, readers will learn about birthstones, genres of literature, the history of shoes and makeup, art and its different media, natural history (including the world’s largest tusks, flower, and butterfly!), and mermaids and fairies.

Young girls will have the time of their lives with Gigi—and they’ll learn a lot, too! -- Robin Corey Books

Poor Booking Son! When I first saw GIGI IN THE BIG CITY by Charise Mericle Harper , I couldn't wait to read it. And since I just happen to read Booking Son a book every night before bedtime, I sat down one evening on his bed and pulled out this cute little pink book. He was less than amused and made it clear to me that it was a girly, but he agreed to let me read it to him because I was so excited about it. Isn't he just adorable?

And I have to agree with him that GIGI IN THE BIG CITY was most definitely a book geared towards little girls, but I thought it was absolutely precious. And for just a minute (maybe not even that long), I wished I still had a little girl to read it too. Believe it or not, GIGI IN THE BIG CITY manages to teach almost everything under the sun about girly girl things; and the presentation is interactive with lots of flaps, pull tabs, and changing-picture wheels that make the book so much fun. Booking Son had a great time playing with all of the lift-the-flaps, but he wasn't too sure about the lessons in hair color/styles, makeup, and jewelry. Bless his little heart because he did try!

I just love the idea behind this book. Gigi is heading to the big city where the opportunities are endless! Once she arrives (via mass transportation), she goes to lots of shops and museums; and she proceeds to learn a great deal of useful girly things. For example, when she visits a shoe store, she learns all of the different styles of shoes; and when she goes inside a book store, she learns about the different types of books. Gigi continues to visit all types of museums as well as meet lots of interesting people. The young reader experiences Gigi's trip by opening flaps to see inside the stores and museums, turning wheels to test out different hair colors and styles, pulling tabs to learn about pedicures, etc.

GIGI IN THE BIG CITY is perfect for little girls -- probably ages 4 to 8 (and even a few moms like me!) In fact, I think it makes the perfect gift because it provides so much useful information as well as countless hours of fun.

Summary: Here is an epistolary picture book with a T. rex in a role similar to that of the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

A little girl is turning six in two weeks, and she's decided to invite a Tyrannosaurus rex to her birthday party! Her invitation entices the huge carnivore with promises of fun games to play, the extra-large cake her mother will bake, the goody bag he will get to take home, and, most important of all, how she will be the happiest girl in the world if he comes. But will he?

Lisa McClatchy's sweet, persuasive text is perfectly complemented by John Manders's endearing Tyrannosaurus rex, who can't quite fit under the birthday-party tent or blow out the candles without making a huge mess but is sure to make this birthday party-and this book-unforgettable! -- Random House

DEAR TYRANNOSAURUS REX by Lisa McClatchy and illustrated by John Manders  is another adorable book -- and one that was more geared toward Booking Son's tastes. The book is written in the form of a letter from a young girl to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the little girl is trying to convince the dinosaur to attend. (I found her to be quite persuasive!) She includes directions, an itinerary of the party, and some helpful advice. The anticipation builds throughout the story as the little reader wonders if the dinosaur will come to the party or not.

Both Booking Son and I thought this book was extremely cute. We giggled as we read it and we both liked the pictures too. The illustrations were very colorful and funny. I loved how they showed the huge dinosaur trying to interact at the birthday party. I found Booking Son checking out the pictures a little more closely than he does with some books.

DEAR TYRANNOSAURUS REX is a fun read for preschoolers and young elementary age children. It would be perfect for bedtime or a classroom circle time.

Summary: How much is 1+1? Think the answer is 2? Not always, as this playful approach to addition proves! David LaRochelle takes children on a joyful mathematical journey that will engage their minds and teach them to think about numbers in a creative, outside-the-box way.
Brenda Sexton's wild and wacky illustrations add layers of witty fun to LaRochelle's clever game.

These wacky equations don't add up…or DO THEY?
1 goat + 1 unicorn = 3 horns!
1 set of triplets + 1 set of twins = 5 babies!
1 duet + 1 quartet = 6 musicians!
1 ant + 1 spider = 14 legs!
1 century + 1 decade = 110 years! -- Sterling

Booking Son is starting to bring home math homework a couple of days a week, so I was interested to see what he thought about the new book 1+1=5 AND OTHER UNLIKELY ADDITIONS written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Brenda Sexton. When I read the title of the book to him, I thought he might get confused. Instead, he started giggling like a nut!

The premise behind the book is that some equations seem wrong (like 1+1=5) but are really correct. For example, 1+1 = 3. The following page explains that 1 unicorn + 1 goat = 3 horns! The entire book is set up that the wacky equation appears on the right hand side of the book and the explanation appears on the following page (after you turn the page.) It only took Booking Son a few equations to get the hang of the book. In fact, he started guessing what the wacky equations were before we even turned the page.

I thought this was a cute book and I liked that it caused Booking Son to think a little bit out-of-the-box. Both of us appreciated the illustrations too. The pictures were extremely colorful with lots of cartoon-like animals, and I'd probably define them as whimsical.

1+1 = 5 AND OTHER UNLIKELY ADDITIONS would make a fun book for teachers to read to kids during circle time. I can easily see Booking Son's kindergarten class really enjoying this book.

Summary: When Leo was less than seven weeks old, he became orphaned in the snowy Himalayan mountains in Pakistan. Snow leopards need their mothers during the first two years of their lives, but Leo was all alone. Luckily, the cub was rescued by a kind shepherd and his family, who hand-fed Leo and kept him safe. But Leo quickly grew too large and was given to Pakistani authorities, who also found themselves without the resources to help him.

When the Wildlife Conservation Society learned of Leo's plight, they knew they had to do something. There was a special place that could save Leo: the world famous Bronx Zoo in New York, the leading experts on caring for and breeding the critically endangered snow leopard. After a rescue that involved a treacherous, winding trek in the Himalayas, an extraordinary partnership between Pakistan and the United States, and the help of dozens of dedicated people, Leo is making the Bronx Zoo his new home, where he is thriving and learning how to be a snow leopard again. 

Readers will delight to make a place in their hearts for Leo, one little snow leopard who inspired an international community to help save him. With breaktaking photographs, Leo the Snow Leopard is an extraordinary story about bravery, kindness, and the wonderful things that can happen when people come together to solve a problem. -- Scholastic

LEO THE SNOW LEOPARD: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING RESCUE by Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff, and Isabella Hatkoff is a little different than the other books that I've reviewed because it's non-fiction and definitely educational. Booking Son and I don't read a lot of non-fiction books; however, he did seem to enjoy learning about Leo and his incredible rescue.

To be honest, LEO THE SNOW LEOPARD is probably geared towards children a little older than kindergarten, so Booking Son and I decided not to read the entire book in one sitting. There are quite a few words per page, although there are also quite a few gorgeous color photographs on each page as well. Booking Son loved all of the photographs of Leo, but I could see him zoning out with the text sometimes. He was just a little too young for the subject matter. It definitely wasn't a flaw of the book!

I actually really liked LEO THE SNOW LEOPARD. Of course, the illustrations were beautiful and Leo couldn't be cuter. However, I also found the story of Leo's rescue to be extremely interesting, and I think kids will agree. In this book, children will learn how different agencies and organizations from around the world worked together to save Leo's life. It's a heartwarming story, but also one that teaches children the importance of combining forces for the betterment of others.

If your child is interested in animals or science or even conservation, then I recommend taking a look at LEO THE SNOW LEOPARD.

Thanks to the publishers for sending me 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!


Aaron's Books in Lititz said...

We'll definitely be bringing GiGi to our next school book fair :)

Laura Fabiani said...

These books look all so adorable. And, of course, my son would like the Dear T-Rex book. He is a dinosaur fanatic.

bermudaonion said...

I want Gigi in the Big City and I'm way past 8! It sounds adorable!!

Katy F. said...

Whoops, my book isn't Moosetache this week, but a couple of picture books. Argh, my browser likes to remember what I entered before and I should have checked the title. At least I changed the URL, right?

marthalama said...

I have to little girls I watch in my day care who will just love Gigi. I think I'll pick it up this weekend.

Sheila Deeth said...

You've got me wishing my kids were young enough for school book fairs again.

Drea said...

Gigi in the Big City sounds like a book my daughter will looooove!