children’s book

Review of ‘Sean Wants to be Messi’

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Sean loves soccer as much as he hates math, and it seems that nothing his mother can do will change that. She enrolls him in a soccer course, and he eventually overcomes his shyness and plays, scoring several goals. His dreams of becoming like his hero, Leo Messi, cause him to figure out how much money he would have to make in order to buy his mother an expensive house, and voila, he learns that math has a role to play even in an athlete’s life.

Sean Wants to be Messi by Tanya Preminger is a great book for youngsters, using fantastic art and a compelling story that will not only entertain young readers, but provide a lesson on the importance of education. I received a complimentary copy of this book which I give five stars. A stunning addition to your young reader’s library.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Learning My Words: A-Z’

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Learning My Words A-Z is another nice little picture book by Piaras O. Cionnaoith. This one introduces basic reading skills with notes for teachers at the end. Because of the British spellings, it probably would be of only marginal utility for American readers, and a couple of the definitions in the teachers’ notes section are misleading, e.g., for ‘fire’, the effects of fire are given as the definition, rather than a precise definition of what fire actually is.

Despite these shortcomings, it’s still an interesting book.

I give it three stars.

Review of ‘Sir Princess Petra’s Mission’

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Having obtained her knighthood at the age of nine, despite her father’s strenuous objections, Sir Princess Petra of the Kingdom of Pan Pieyu is still not out of the woods. The king is still busy writing silly rules designed to transform Petra into a girly-princess, a transformation she’s willing to do anything to avoid.

When he writes yet another inane rule, sending Petra on a mission to capture the first ever car-panther, a quest she must undertake alone, she has to use all her wits to get around the impossible task. She uses her knowledge of his byzantine rules to point out that, as a knight, she can choose her own steed—and, for this, she selects her dragon friend, Snarl. She is also accompanied by Bograt, the bog witch, who is also a knight—the only other knight in the hapless kingdom, thanks to Petra’s ingenuity—and, the three find themselves bogged down in a boggy land of puny knights and elves who turn out to be anything but enemies.

I received a free copy of Sir Princess Petra’s Mission by Diane Mae Robinson in exchange for my unbiased review. I found this an enchanting little book that is perfect reading for the young end of the young adult demographic. It’s filled with wry humor and titillating prose, sort of Dr. Seuss without the rhyme. In addition, it has lessons for young people, especially young girls, about the power of persistence, self-confidence, and loyalty that will seep into young readers’ minds without seeming like lessons.

If you want to get your young ones off to a good start with their reading—learning while they’re being entertained—I can’t think of a better book to start with. I give it a resounding four stars.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy: Stories 25 – 27’

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Oliver, the elegant cat, and his friends are back again in Oliver and Jumpy, Stories 25 – 27 by Werner Stejskal. In these episodes, Oliver deals with Olly the Owl who helps Oliver find a missing ring, Oliver goes on a visit to the desert to see his sister and her family, and the children of Oliver’s neighborhood discover that on Halloween ghosts can actually be fun.

These stories, wonderfully illustrated, also carry important messages for youngsters without being preachy. Your young readers will be enchanted by them.

Five stars because my granddaughters loved it.

Review of ‘My First Words For A to Z: A child’s first words, Volume 2’

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My First Words for A to Z: A Child’s First Words, Volume 2 by Winston Rose is an introduction to words designed for children aged 3 to 5. It contains an assortment of words, some common, some less so, complete with entertaining illustrations that children will enjoy.

I give this book four stars.

Review of ‘Monster ABCs: An Alphabet book from A to Z’

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Monster ABCs: An Alphabet book from A to Z by Sarah Holmlund is an excellent introduction to the alphabet for young readers. Excellent pictures illustrate the letters of the alphabet and introduce new words that will help any child gain verbal fluency, while at the same time enjoying the experience. Kids will especially appreciate the yellow monster that is drawn in a way that is endearing rather than scary.

Five stars to Holmlund for this entertaining little book!

Review of “Ranch Hero 2: Moooving Velma”

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“Life is indeed a wonderful mystery . . . and not all guardian angels have wings.” This is the main theme of Ranch Hero 2: Moooving Velma, an entertaining tale for children written by Janet Green and illustrated by Linda Cowen.

Barn Barn and his sister Chubadoo are dogs who live on Sneaky Creek Ranch. They are excited because they are being visited by their adventurous cousin Libbi Lou. As the three follow Farmer Max to see what he’s up to, they discover that Velma the cow is stuck up to her udder in a muddy creek.

But, all is not lost. Ziggy, the Hero of Sneaky Creek Ranch, is there to save the day. Now, Barn Barn and Chubadoo can’t see Ziggy because he’s invisible, but for some reason Libbi Lou can see him, and she watches in amazement as he comes up with a plan to get Velma out of the mud.

This is a nice story to read to younger readers, or to be read by those who are learning to handle more complex sentences and concepts. The illustrations are colorful and really help to move the story along. I received a free review copy of the book and was completely enthralled by the vividness of the writing and illustrations, and plan to get a copy for my granddaughter who is an avid reader.

If you’re looking for a good holiday gift for that special young reader on your list, you couldn’t do better than this.