children’s books

Review of ‘Peaceful Night Poetry’

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Do your kids have trouble falling asleep? You could try giving them a glass of warm milk before bedtime, or, even better, you could read some of the fantastic poems in Piaras O Cionnaoith’s Peaceful Night Poetry. A brief, but fascinating, little book of poems and excellent artwork, it will not only help your little one fall asleep peacefully, but it’s a good way to stimulate young minds and instill a love of reading and poetry. As a bonus, along with the poems and art, the author provides ten useful tips for a good night’s sleep. This is truly a great book for ages 3 to 103, that everyone will enjoy.

I give it five stars.

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Review of ‘P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Christmas Lights’

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P.I. Penguin takes a break from decorating his house for Christmas to find out how to improve his decorations. During his journey, he discovers that the secret to a truly decorative holiday is the sharing.

P.I. Penguin and the Case of the Christmas Lights by Bec J. Smith is a delightful children’s reader, with illustrations by Indonesian artist, Adit Galih. Though in Australian English, it nonetheless is still a great way to introduce young American readers to the beauty of language.

I give this one five stars.

Review of ‘Molly the Mole’

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Moles are solitary creatures. With bad eyesight, they live alone in underground burrows. Molly, though, was different. She was white instead of brown, she could see quite well, and she didn’t like living alone. She set out to find a friend, and made friends with a small, gray field mouse, which led to some amazing adventures.

Molly the mole, written and illustrated by Bat Oren, is a cute little book that would be good to share with young non-readers, or early readers. The author skillfully addresses the fact that differences should not matter. The illustrations are interesting, although somewhat repetitive. The use of crayon or chalk in executing the drawings should encourage young artists, and shows the versatility of this medium.

I give this book three and a half stars.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy – Stories 58-62’

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Oliver and Jumpy – the Cat Series, Stories 58 – 62 by Werner Stejskal is the 20th book in the Oliver and Jumpy series. Unlike the first 19, which each have three stories, with illustrations and brief text, this one is a series of five stories, with fewer illustrations, that has Oliver the elegant tomcat telling how he creates stories. These books are designed for early readers. Like the early books, this one contains lessons of value for young readers, but in addition, talks about the creative process of writing stories.

This one might be a bit of a challenge for beginning readers, but with adult help, they will come away from the experience of reading it with an enriched vocabulary, and who knows, this might be just the thing to inspire the literary gene in your child.

I give this one five stars.

Review of ‘Elphie Goes Trick or Treating’

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Elphie is easily frightened, so much so, in fact, that he’s afraid of his own Halloween costume. His friend Fante is brave, and sometimes a bit brash. When Elphie decides to go trick or treating as himself, his kind manner gets him more candy than Fante, but being kind, Elphie shares, and in the end, both win.

Elphie Goes Trick or Treating by mother-daughter team Hagit R. Oran and Or Oran is a cute little story with nice illustrations that demonstrate the importance of friendship and overcoming your fears. This is a nice book to read to pre-readers who are just at that age when they’re starting to vocalize their fears. This book can be helpful in the discussion with them on how to face and overcome those fears.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book. I give this one four stars.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy: 55-57’

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Oliver and Jumpy: 55-57 by Werner Stejskal has three beautifully illustrated stories of the kind I’ve come to enjoy in this series. Oliver, the elegant tom cat, helps save his friends from a flood and teaches them the value of working together in ‘Flood;’ in ‘Lazy Squirrel,’ he teaches a lazy squirrel that it’s wrong to steal from others, and in ‘’Unexpected Lory,’ when his cousin, Lory, runs away from home and drops in on him looking for adventure, he teaches her the importance of listening to your parents.

Each of these little stories is entertaining, while at the same time teaching an important life lesson to young people. These make great bedtime stories for young ones, either having them read, or if they’re early readers, reading it themselves.

I give this one five stars.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy: 52-54’

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Oliver, the elegant tom cat who ‘loves himself,’ is back with his friend Jumpy the kangaroo in three interesting little adventures for little readers—or little ones who like to be read to. In Oliver and Jumpy: 52-54 by Werner Stejskal, Oliver has to babysit for his sister while she goes to the hospital to have another kitten—a job he finds he’s hardly prepared for. Then, when Oliver spots a strange plume of smoke out at sea, he and his friends go to explore, and he finds himself taken captive to teach the chief’s son, of all things, English. In the final story, which is a bit confusing to me, we follow a raindrop from its origin in the sky to Oliver’s drinking glass, where it asks to be swallowed. While the first two stories teach useful lessons, I had a bit of a start at the third one; not sure how I’ll explain that one to my grandchildren. The illustrations, as usual, are superb, and the morals of the first two stories are useful lessons for any age. Maybe the moral of the third story is that everything has a purpose to fulfill; I’m just not sure. This is the first time I’ve found anything critical to say about this series, which are still great for entertaining small ones, and teaching them useful life lessons in the process.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I give this one three and a half stars only because of that last, somewhat troubling story.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy 49-51’

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Oliver, the elegant tomcat, is back with Jumpy and his other friends in another series of adventures that will bemuse and beguile your little ones. Oliver and Jumpy: 49-51 by Werner Stejskal has Oliver getting in trouble with an ice bear when he goes skating with Jumpy’s son, Joey, Oliver tutoring a family of young mice, and finally, Oliver and Jumpy helping to teach a naughty dragon a lesson.

Interesting and entertaining stories that youngsters will love having read to them, with fantastic pictures to accompany them will keep your young ones busy for hours.

I give this one four stars.

Review of ‘Bravo and Elphie’

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Elphie’s afraid of just about everything; he won’t go on the slide or play on the monkey bars until his mom gets him a new pet, the rat, Bravo. At first, Elphie doesn’t like Bravo, because he doesn’t know him, but mom suggests he take him to the park where they can become acquainted. At the park, Elphie learns not only to get along with Bravo, but to take care of him, and his fears disappear.

Bravo and Elphie by mother-daughter team Hagit and Or Oran is a cute little story for young readers or for those being read to that teaches children not to be afraid of things they’ve never seen, and to learn to explore the world around them. The illustrations are nice and will appeal to everyone.

This is a great book for the parent or grandparent of a timid child, to help pull them out of their shells of shyness. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Oliver and Jumpy, 46-48’

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Oliver, the elegant tom cat who is full of himself, is back, along with his friend, Jumpy the Kangaroo. In these three stories, Oliver saves the kingdom of Fairyland from a rampaging wizard, becomes a king who is overthrown by his subjects when he eats the wrong food, and is helped to get his treehouse all neat and tidy by a family of bee gnomes looking for a new home for themselves.

Oliver and Jumpy- the Cat Series, Stories 46 – 48 by Werner Stejskal is another trio of amusing little stories for bedtime reading to your favorite munchkins. Along with the interesting story lines and cute illustrations, each story contains a subtly-delivered moral. Your little ones will be amused and entertained by Oliver’s shenanigans.

I give this book four stars.