Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kid Konnection: Workman Fun

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you some fun books that Booking Son has been playing with all week.

Summary: Every child who wears glasses will know just how Arlo feels, and will feel better because of it. And every parent will want that child to know that glasses are cool and fun and enable us to do the things we want to do. Take Arlo: He’s a shaggy, free-spirited dog who loves to play catch, until one day he can’t. He can’t see the ball anymore. He needs glasses!

In this inventive, interactive picture book created by Barney Saltzberg, the bespectacled author of
Beautiful Oops!, who charms young readers and their parents with a perfect light touch and joyful spirit, kids get to do just what Arlo does to solve his problem. They read an eye chart, look through a fold-out phoropter (that big machine optometrists use), and try on different pairs of glasses—movie star glasses! superhero glasses! mad scientist glasses! And they interact with Arlo as he rediscovers how to be the best ball-catcher in the neighborhood and picks up a new favorite pastime along the way—reading! One out of five school-age children needs glasses. Arlo will show them just how lucky they are. -- Workman

ARLO NEEDS GLASSES by Barney Saltzberg is positively adorable! In fact, I think it's my new favorite picture book. And Booking Son agreed. When I initially saw this book at the Workman booth at BEA, I fell in love with it, but I thought my son would be too old to appreciate it. You can imagine my thrill when he immediately grabbed this little picture book and started playing with it... and playing with it... and playing with it.

ARLO NEEDS GLASSES is an interactive picture book with many cute pull tabs -- one even shows how Arlo sees an eye chart with his uncorrected vision. In addition, there is a fold-out phoropter (I got that word from the book -- it's the machine that optometrists use to check your eyesight) as well as many different glasses for little readers to model. It is so darn cute that I can't even begin to express how much I adore Arlo and his need for glasses!

The book begins with Arlo missing the ball over and over again during a routine game of catch. Arlo's owner tries to show him how to play to no avail, so he decides that it might be Arlo's eyesight that's the problem. He takes Arlo to the eye doctor where they realize that Arlo needs glasses. After trying on many different pairs of glasses including Movie Star ones and Superhero ones, Arlo finds the perfect pair. He and his owner can now play catch, but most importantly, Arlo can do something else he loves to do... READ! Is that so sweet? I told you this book was fantastic!

Booking Son had a wonderful time reading ARLO NEEDS GLASSES, but he also had fun trying on the different styles of glasses. Just check out these photos:

As much fun as this book was to play with (and it really was), this book is also super-special because it deals with a very important topic for many children -- the need for glasses. I had no idea that one out of five children school-age children have a need for glasses. ARLO NEEDS GLASSES is a great way to introduce the issue to kids and show them that the entire process is nothing to be afraid of. I sure wish it had been around a few years ago when Booking Daughter discovered that she needed them!

There is also a fun contest going on where you can win a copy of ARLO NEEDS GLASSES. All you have to do is share a photo of your dog wearing glasses and you could be the lucky winner: Share a Photo of Your Dog in Glasses!
As far as Booking Son and I are concerned, ARLO NEEDS GLASSES is a must-have for any child's library. It's a fun, interactive book that also has a great message for kids who discover that they need glasses.

Summary: A breakthrough paper-folding book for kids—paper airplanes meet Origami meets Pokemon. Papertoys, the Internet phenomenon that’s hot among graphic designers and illustrators around the world, now comes to kids in the coolest new book. Created and curated by Brian Castleforte, a graphic designer and papertoy pioneer who rounded up 25 of the hottest papertoy designers from around the world (Indonesia, Japan, Australia, Italy, Croatia, Chile, even Jackson, Tennessee), Papertoy Monsters offers 50 fiendishly original die-cut designs that are ready to pop out, fold, and glue. The book interleaves card stock with paper stock for a unique craft package; the graphics are colorful and hip, combining the edginess of anime with the goofy fun of Uglydolls and other collectibles. Plus each character comes with its own back-story.

And the results are delicious: meet Pharaoh Thoth Amon, who once ruled Egypt but is now a mummy who practices dark magic in his sarcophagus. Or Zumbie the Zombie, who loves nothing more than a nice plate of brains and yams. NotSoScary, a little monster so useless at frightening people that he has to wear a scary mask. Yucky Chuck, the lunchbox creature born in the deepest depths of your school bag. Plus Zeke, the monster under your bed, Nom Nom, eater of cities, and Grumpy Gramps, the hairy grandpa monster with his very own moustache collection. -- Workman

Another book that Booking Son and I have been playing with this past week is PAPERTOY MONSTERS: 50 COOL PAPERTOYS YOU CAN MAKE YOURSELF! by Brian Castleforte. This isn't exactly a book for reading, but rather it's more of a hands on craft book. It's so much fun! Just look at the first two Papertoy Monsters that we created on a rainy day:
PAPERTOY MONSTERS contains 50 adorable templates so you can create your very own paper monsters. Each template is pre-scored for easy tearing out as well as easy-to-fold lines, and every monster has a difficulty rating. The directions are extremely easy to follow although I admit it took me one monster to get the hang of it. (I suggest starting with an easy pattern and not an intermediate one like we did!) Everything you need to make these cool monsters is included in the book. All we needed was a glue stick and a little patience.

In addition to the 50 monster templates, there are also 10 blank templates so you can design your very own monster. Booking Son was a little intimidated by the blank ones, so I told him we have many to make before we have to worry about coloring our own.

I'm going to put on my mom hat here and mention that this book isn't all about the papercrafting (although that's definitely a lot of fun.) There are also plenty of opportunities for kids to work on their reading skills. In addition to reading (and following) the assembly directions, there are also detailed descriptions about the  monster's backgrounds. These snippets are very entertaining and almost as much fun as the actual monster-making!

Booking Son is almost eight years old and I think most eight year olds (and older) should be able to make these monsters. While he was able to tear out the templates and read the directions, he was still hesitant to make the monsters by himself. He had some difficulty with holding the glued sections together and he wasn't exactly patient, but he did love how they turned out. And, of course, he enjoyed playing with the monsters.

PAPERTOY MONSTERS would make a fabulous birthday gift for any little kid, and it's priced reasonably at $16.95 -- which is quite the bargain when you consider that this book offers countless hours of entertainment. If I haven't convinced you how cool PAPERTOY MONSTERS is, just check out this video:

Thanks to the publisher and PR by the Book for providing review copies of these fantastic 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! 


ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

We have that Papertoy Monsters book too. It is really fun!

bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to get my copy of Arlo! It looks adorable. Vance got glasses in the 3rd grade and if it's ever bothered him, he's never expressed it. I bet he would have loved this book, though - it seems to make glasses cool! My favorite pair on Booking Son is the second pair from the top!

Debbie said...

My 3 year old granddaughter has glasses and she will rarely wear them, so this just might be the book for her.
She is a book lover and a dog lover.
what a great book!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

They all look fun but I agree that the glasses book would be so great for kids in that situation. Booking Son looks adorable!

My entry this week is the last in my series for National Caribbean American Heritage Month.

Karlie said...

I loved the pictures! What a great book for kids.