Book Reviews, Kids' Corner, Picture Books

Kids’ Corner: Buy, Borrow, or Pass – Children’s Picture Books (February 2017)

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 Hello bookworms!

That’s right, I’m finally back from vacation.  We had a fantastic time in Florida and Disney World, but it is time to get back to reality.  Please bear with me while I get back into the swing of things in the blogosphere.

Enough about me, it is time again for another edition of Buy, Borrow, or Pass here on Cover2CoverMom!

Books included in this post: Flora and the Peacock, Ida, Always, A Child of Books, We Found a Hat & Are We There Yet? 

*Buy, Borrow, or Pass is a monthly feature within my Kids’ Corner division of my blog.  I write mini reviews for children’s picture books and at the end of my review, I state if I think it is worth it to buy the book, if you should borrow the book from the library, or pass on the book all together.  I would like to mention that if I suggest to borrow the book from the library versus purchasing the book, this is not negative.  I only suggest purchasing a book when I think it is a timeless book that can grow with your child, or that will appeal to multiple ages.  I also offer “sneak peaks” into the books, which gives you a taste of the illustrations these books offer.

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*Book titles link to Goodreads & author/illustrator names link to their websites
**I am not affiliated with Amazon or The Book Depository

» Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle

FloraandthePeacocks.jpg

Published: May 3, 2016

My daughter absolutely adored this book.  I had never picked up a Molly Idle book before this one, so I was not prepared for there not to be any words in this book.  Typically, I am not one for wordless picture books, but it is nice to expose children to different types of picture books, especially ones that encourage them to use their imaginations.  Because there are no words, the reader must interpret the story by the illustrations alone.  While “reading” this book, I noticed that my daughter was taking cues from body language and facial expressions.  “Mommy, she is sad!” or “Mommy, the peacocks are being mean.” etc. etc.

flora

Another unique feature of this book were the flaps throughout the book.  This is a “lift the flap” book for children who have learned to take a little more care with their books.  This is NOT a board book, so this book could easily be destroyed in the hands of babies and younger toddlers.  My 3-year-old did fine being gentle with it, but I wouldn’t have given this book to her to look at as a 2-year-old.

Obviously this book would not work for story time, however a teacher could still use this in a classroom setting.  You could have the students look through this book, then write their own stories based off the illustrations.

Verdict: Borrow

*You can purchase this book on Amazon or The Book Depository

» Ida, Always by Caron Levis (Illustrated by Charles Santoso)

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Published: February 23, 2016

Themes: Friendship; Illness; Death; Grieving

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Looking for a good ugly cry?  Then look no further!  I knew how this book was going to end based off the synopsis, but I still couldn’t keep myself from tearing up at this beautiful book.

What a beautiful story of friendship.  Gus and Ida were the best of friends that did everything together, that is until Ida gets sick… This book is based off a true story about a pair of polar bears that lived in the Central Park Zoo in New York City.  The real Ida became ill in 2011, and died within the same year.  Gus lived a few more years and then followed his friend in death.

This book could be used as a tool to help children deal with death and grieving.  The ending message is a positive one about our loved ones always with us in our hearts even after they are gone.  I am not sure I would suggest this book for a story time setting, but rather this book would be best experienced one on one at home.

Verdict: Borrow

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

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Published:  September 6, 2016

Themes: Books; Imagination

I must admit, I am not a fan of this cover.  There is just something about the blue girl on a red background that puts me off.   I think they should have made her black and white like she starts off in the book, or maybe gone with a different background color… Cover aside, please do not judge this book by its cover!  This book is an absolute treasure inside, and I will definitely be making my list of favorite picture books I read this year.

A Child of Books is what I like to call a “bookworm’s delight,” meaning that it centers around the love for books and reading.  This book captured the essence of the magic of getting lost between the pages of a book.

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Illustration wise, this book is so visually interesting.  The illustrators chose to use words as parts of the illustrations.  For example, the little girl comes in on a boat across a sea, and the sea is made up of words and sentences. Not only that, but these sentences are from beloved classics.  I also love how the illustrations progress from predominantly black and white, to having more and more color.

Aside from the cover, my other criticism of this book would be the font that the story is in.  It is a mix of print and cursive, written like a child may write.  While I understand WHY this font was chosen, I can’t help but think it could be hard for young readers to read this font.  It wasn’t an issue for me, an adult reading this to her child, but could be an issue for young independent readers.

Despite my two issues with this book, I absolutely adored it!

Verdict: Buy

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen

wefoundahat

Published: October 11, 2016

Theme:  Friendship; Sharing

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“We found a hat. We found it together. But there is only one hat. And there are two of us.”

Two turtles, one hat.  Who will win in a fight to the death in this turtle version of The Hunger Games?

*Just kidding*

In all seriousness, I did think that was how this book was going to go after reading the first sentence and seeing all the shifty eyes, but I guess we can not have fights to the death in a children’s picture book…

I guess this is the final installment in a trilogy?  I went into this book not having read the previous books in the hat trilogy, but from what I understand, they are not particularly connected?  Anyone have any insight on this?

Honestly this book didn’t do much for me.  Maybe Klassen is an acquired taste?  Maybe I need to go back and read the first two books in order to appreciate this one?  Regardless this book just didn’t have any type of spark for me.  I thought the story was “meh” and not particularly memorable.  While I did like the understated illustrations, I think the lackluster story paired with the black, grey, and white toned illustrations did not work well together, making this book feel lifeless.

Verdict: Pass

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat

arewethereyet

Published: April 12, 2016

Theme: imagination

What a unique little book!  I always appreciate when authors get creative with format.  Every page in this book is so cleverly done, starting with the copyright page that looks like a birthday invitation.  The author really uses every page as part of the book as something visually interesting.  I wont spoil anything for you all, but lets just say this book is full of twists and turns!  Ah how I love a good pun 🙂

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With comic style illustrations, I feel this book will appeal to a wide range of readers, even reluctant ones.  Have a tech savvy kid?  Are We There Yet? also included a robot whose thoughts showed up in barcode form.  If you have a barcode scanner on your smart phone (you can download an app for free) and scan the barcode, it will “translate” what the robot it saying.  I really appreciated how the author made this book so fun to read.  In my opinion, these are the types of things we need to be doing to get kids interested in reading again.

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I did feel like the story in Are We There Yet? was lacking a little bit.  With such a creative format and uniqueness, the story needs to be able to stand out so that the illustrations do not overpower the story.  Unfortunately, I think the visuals did overshadow the story a tad.  This isn’t to say this book is boring, just that I was expecting a little more from the story.

Because there are so many small details, I wouldn’t recommend this book for story time, but rather feel it would be better enjoyed reading one-on-one or independently.

Verdict: Borrow

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

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Have you read any of these books to your little bookworms?

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Kids’ Corner: Buy, Borrow, or Pass – Children’s Picture Books (February 2017)”

  1. Great post -even my youngest only wants to read independently these days so I miss reading picture books. have you ever read any of the Robert Munsch picture books? The are fabulous, funny and have great messages: The PaperBag Princess, I have to Go Pee, Andrew’s Snowsuit and MMM Cookies are a few of our favourites!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ida Always is SO good but totally made me cry. I think it could really help a little person who is grieving. Even a big person!

    Dan Santat’s illustrations are so awesome. Have you read The Adventures of Beekle? It’s one of my favorite picture books.

    Liked by 1 person

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