I Am (Not) Scared by Anna Kang & Christopher Weyan

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is About

“I Am (Not) Scared” is a book about things that children can be easily afraid of such as snakes, spiders, roller coasters, and aliens. The two (nameless) characters in the book taunt each other about being scared of the Loop of Doom, a roller coaster ride. Then they name different things that are scarier than a roller coaster. Then a snake on a roller coaster enters the scene and they ride together.

Book Information

Title: I Am (Not) Scared
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Published by Two Lions, New York (an imprint of Amazon)
Text Copyright 2017 by Anna Kang
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Christopher Weyant
No. of pages: 31 pages

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Christmas Traditions Filipinos in America Miss

It’s Christmas time! Nothing induces nostalgia among Filipinos in America than this season. Back in the Philippines, the Christmas season officially starts when the -BER months come around.

Early Start of the Christmas Season

To some people, it’s a joke, but there are those who take it seriously. In the United States, Thanksgiving is a big holiday, probably bigger than Christmas. Who could forget the shopping spree–Black Friday and Cyber Monday–that follows it?

Filipinos (at least the ones in the Philippines) don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in November and there’s nothing that prevents us from setting up decorations as early as September or October.

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Mr. Biddles by Kristine A. Lombardi

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: Mr. Biddles
Author: Kristine A. Lombardi
Published by Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Copyright 2017 by Kristine A. Lombardi
No. of pages: 32

About the Author & Illustrator

(from the back flap jacket of the book) Kristine A. Lombardi has been collecting old office supplies, fountain pens, labels, typewriter erasers, and antique ledgers ever since she can remember–and found the perfect spot for many of these treasures in her detailed illustrations for Mr. Biddles. The author of two other books for children, Love Bunny and The Grumpy Pete (neither featuring a lobster pyramid), Kristine lives in Montclair, New Jersey, where she tries to make only right-hand turns whenever driving. Find her at www.kristinelobardi.com

Story

Mr. Biddles is about a genius inventor cat who lives by himself on a house up the hill. One day, a lobster named Hobson finds himself on Mr. Biddles’ doorsteps.

Mr. Biddles welcomes the company and he learns to live with someone else–a friend. Hobson became his lab assistant and a friend who watches TV shows with him. But Hobson misses his family. So Mr. Biddles uses his genius to find a solution, a way to transport Hobson back to Maine where his family lives. Mr. Biddles helps Hobson go back home and enjoys seeing Hobson happy with his family.

Because Hobson was so happy with his family, Mr. Biddles decides to go home by himself. Back home, he misses Hobson and was surprised and happy to see him back.

Values or Lessons

This book is an exploration of friendship and what it can mean to a lonely person. While Mr. Biddles is a good inventor, he still needs a friend. Everybody needs a friend.

Another topic that the book explores is dealing with loneliness and homesickness. Hobson misses his family. There are times that kids may go somewhere or that they are left with grandparents and they miss their family.

Mr. Biddles also helps solve a problem–how can Hobson travel to Maine. It was fun reading about how he and Hobson looked for a way to invent a transportation solution to allow Hobson to go home. That is a good quality to develop among kids and certainly aligns with how we tell our son to “try harder” whenever he experiences something difficult.

Artwork

The artwork is great. There are pages and spreads that are full of beautiful landscapes. A lot of pages are also cluttered nicely with photos of papers, cabinets, and other things that you would find in an inventor’s office.

The text is rendered in a serif font, sparse and easy to read. There are no long blocks of text that clutter the pages.

Tea with Oliver by Mika Song

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

Book Information

Title: Tea with Oliver
Author: Mika Song
Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books
Text Copyright 2017 by Mika Song
No. of pages: 31 pages

About the Author & Illustrator

It’s interesting to know that this author grew up in Manila, Philippines. My wife and I lived in the Metro Manila area, too, before moving to Nashville TN. This is the author’s bio on the back flap of the book.

Mika Song grew up in Manila, Philippines. As a child she wrote letters to a mouse who lived under her mother’s desk. She lives in Brookly, New York, with her husband, daughter, and cat. This is her first book. Please visit her website at http://www.mikasongdraws.com

Story

“Tea with Oliver” is about a cat who loves tea. In the book, it shows that he just wants to have tea with someone. Philbert, the mouse, stays under the couch and wants to have tea with Oliver. Philbert writes a letter to Oliver so they could have tea together.

But the letter doesn’t reach Oliver. He sweeps it back under the couch, he thought it was a bug. Then Oliver’s cousin Lester visits him and wants to throw a party. Oliver was happy that there are people in his apartment who would like to party, and who could share a tea with him. Alas, the people at the party just wants to dance and have fun and party! Oliver offers everyone some tea but they rebuff him.

And then because of all the dancing, somebody bumps into Oliver and the teacups fall onto the floor. Everybody leaves after that and Oliver is just as sad because nobody would have tea with him, and worse, his teacups are broken.

That’s when he discovers Philbert under his couch. They have tea together and start becoming friends.

Values or Lessons

The book teaches about friendship, being in a crowd, and the importance of noticing other kids and people around us who also want to have friends. It also shows the challenge of being in a crowd but not wanting what the other people in the crowd wants to do.

Artwork

The artwork is good, I’m not a professional art critic, but the colors are a bit subdued and looks like watercolor. The texts on the page are also sparse and contributes to the mood of the story.

Fun Factor

The book seems to be targeted for introverted kids (or at least that’s how it appeared to me as an introverted adult.) It’s not funny or humorous as other books, but it can be fun in its own way. Our son likes it when we make Philbert the mouse’s voice squeaky and small.

See Fred Run by Kevin Bolger & Ben Hodson

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.

What the Book is about

“See Fred Run” is not a conventional story. It does not have a plot but rather involves Fred and the reader in a conversation about Fred being in a book. It is kind of meta. The narrator/author makes Fred do playful and silly things, which Fred has no choice about.

Fred goes through these things and complain about them. It is kind of silly and funny. But if you were Fred, you’d understand why he is frustrated and wouldn’t want to do the things that the author lets him do.

But all of these are mere backdrop against the real aims of the book, which is to introduce and teach more than 50 sight words meant to help a young reader learn. These sight words are only 1 or 2 syllables. It is too much for a 4-year old to go through all of these things all at once. My suggestion is to turn it into a game where the kid tries to spot these words and read them aloud. Continue reading