No Honking Allowed by Stephanie Calmenson & Antongionata Ferrari

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! 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: No Honking Allowed
Author: Stephanie Calmenson
Illustrator: Antongionata Ferrari
Published by Holiday House, New York
Text Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Calmenson
Illustration Copyright 2017 by Antongionata Ferrari
No. of pages: 35

About the Author & Illustrator

Stephanie Calmenson is an author based in New York. Here’s some information from her website, http://stephaniecalmenson.com:

“I began my professional life as an early childhood teacher and had the pleasure of reading to children and discovering which books captivate them. When budget cuts left me looking for work, I became a children’s book editor and got to see how a book is made. Planning to go back to teaching, I enrolled in a Master’s Program in Education at New York University where I took a course called, “Writing for Children.” My very first story was published in a children’s magazine. I was off and writing!”

According to Castoro Online, “AntonGionata Ferrari is one of the most renowned illustrators in the field of children’s literature in Italy. In 2006 he won the Andersen Award as Best Illustrator of the Year.”

Story

No Honking Allowed by Stephanie Calmenson & AntonGionata Ferrari tells the story of Rex, a dinosaur who just got a new car and his friend Stego who gets to ride with him. They enjoy the features of the new car: the sound of the engine, the brakes, and the horn. Ooops, but in the city, there is a rule: No Honking except for safety.

As Rex and Stego travel through the city, Rex wants to honk his horn for just about anything: remind a speeding car to slow down, help a dog owner untangle a leash, warn a dino about to litter, and just about anything. But Stego reminds him not to do so because of the rule.

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The Berenstain Bears Play Football by Mike Berenstain

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! 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: The Berenstain Bears Play Football
Author: Mike Berenstain
Published by: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publisher
Copyright 2017 by Berenstain Publishing, Inc.
No. of pages: 30

About the Author:

Mike Berenstain is continuing the legacy of Stan and Jan Berenstain who started the Berenstain Bears series. Mike writes and illustrates the books. According to the official Berenstain Bears website, “He lives and works in the rolling countryside of Eastern Pennsylvania–a place that looks very much like Berenstain Bear Country.”

Please visit http://www.berenstainbears.com/ for more information about the Berenstain Bears books.

Story

“The Berenstain Bears Play Football” is a fun family story about playing a sport outside the home, instead of just watching it on TV.

Football is such a big sport in the United States that watching the Superbowl on TV has become a big family event. In the Bear Country, the Berenstain Bears were supposed to watch the Grizzly Bowl, which is the equivalent of the Superbowl in their world.

The story even takes a jab at the air time that commentators and ads receive. When the cubs got bored waiting for the game to start, they decided to play a game instead. What better game to play than Football?

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My 2017 in Books (or a Report on my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge)

The annual Reading Challenge by Goodreads is an awesome way to inspire people to read and log the books they read on the site. In 2014, I read 40 books; 60 books in 2015; 52 books in 2016; and 15 books in 2017.

Here are some interesting tidbits for my year in books:

I read a total of 15 books in 2017.

That is significantly less than my usual 40-52 books a year over the 4 years. But that’s okay. Earlier this year, I decided to read only 12 books so I could spend more time thinking about and digesting the books I read.

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Review of Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! 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

Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner is a fun book about table manners with dinosaurs! Which kid is not going to be happy learning about table manners if there are dinosaurs in it?! The book addresses the reader it provides some tips on organizing a dinner treat. It includes NOT taking a dragon to dinner.

It then goes through the different scenarios if you insist on bringing your dragon to dinner. They disturb everyone, they stink, they will grab a phone, burp loudly, pound on the table, plays with the food, and many other crazy things that anyone should not do on a fancy dinner table.

But toward the end, it affirms the bond between the narrator and her dragon and suggests eating dinner at home instead. She also gives some tips on how to teach a dragon some table manners.

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A Review of Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder

Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! 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

“Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder” is a story about pirates and Christmas! Captain Bling and his band of pirates were looking for plunder on Christmas eve and they found themselves at the North Pole. They found the house of Santa Claus. They made off with all the toys from Santa’s home. Santa gave chase but eventually gave himself up to the pirates.

Santa checked his list of naughty and nice. But because Captain Bling and his pirates had been naughty, they had never received Christmas gifts. That’s probably why “they acted so rotten, thinking nobody cared… but they’d just been forgotten.”

After being promised their gifts, they seem to have kidnapped Santa! But as it turned out, they were merely helping him deliver gifts for boys and girls. All’s well that ends well with a ship pulled aloft by Santa’s flying reindeer.

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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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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

Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp

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.

Story

This book came out before Papasaurus. Both books follow the same pattern where Babysaurus is searching for one of its parents while describing the parent’s characteristics to other dinosaur kids. In the book Papasaurus, Babysaurus was playing hide-n-seek with dad. With Mamasaurus, however, it accidentally slid and fell off Mama’s back.

He got lost and asked other kids for help to find Mama. Along the way, he gets to describe his Mama’s characteristics and the other dino kids describe their own mamas.

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