It’s hard to review picture books, at least for me. They’re so short so I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to say about them. So instead of doing up a bunch of individual posts for these, I’ve collected some of the picture books that I’ve read recently and I’ll review them all at once.
Batman is Brave! is a short picture book, done in the style of DC’s cartoon series. It’s a cute book, showing many of the different ways that Batman is brave, from being in the dark to dealing with scary men. It ends with the statement that the child reading the book is brave as well. I really liked this book for a younger audience because the message is definitely a good one, especially for right before bed. It would make an excellent addition to any little boys library. At the same time, though, maybe we should make sure we warn our kids that they aren’t Batman so they don’t try to take on any criminals!
The Blushful Hippopotamus is a longer picture book, so I would say it’s suited for a slightly older audience. In this book we have a Hippopotamus who has an older sister tat likes to make fun of him. Not nice at all! And every time she makes fun of him, he starts to blush. But he has a secret weapon in his friend, who does the opposite of his sister. His best friend talks to him and tells him all the good things about himself so that the Hippo can start to feel better. It works, of course, and it’s nice to see a book that deals with bullying in this way, and reminding children that what matters most is their own opinion of themselves.
This was a funny story about a group of kids that get scooped up to be cooked up in a giant’s soup. Luckily, they’re smart enough to figure out an alternate solution! Instead of being cooked up in the giant’s soup, they tell him that the recipe just means that he needs boys to cook the soup for him. What follows is some fast talking and quick wits from the group of kids as they quickly whip up a soup to help the sick giant start to feel better. I love that it shows kids that smart thinking is such a great thing!
This is a book with a lesson on paying attention, and one I think all school libraries need to have a copy of. Sam has ADHD, and struggles to pay attention in class which is an increasingly common problem these days. But instead of letting the ADHD be an excuse for him to continue to daydream and stop paying attention, in this book he works hard to get better at paying attention. There are some tips and tricks that children can use for themselves, as well, and the information is told in such an engaging way that children are sure to enjoy reading this book without realizing that they’re learning something new.
Magic Words is a translation of an old Inuit creation story, told in a poetic form. In this creation story the animals and the humans share ideas, language, and even their own bodies. This poem is full of imagination and will definitely entice a child to imagine such a world! It’s very short, but what makes this book so amazing is the pictures. The artwork is beautiful, and captures the imagination in this book. The colors are vivid and practically leap off the page. I read this one with my son after he finished studying the Inuit in school and he really enjoyed it. This book doesn’t come out until September 1st, so be on the lookout for it!
This is the story of a little boy whose father flies around the world for business. He tells his son about all the places he’s been, and there is some artwork to show where on the planet he is, as well as some details about what it looks like there. The rhyming in this book feels forced, though, making it not as well done as it could have been, especially when the rhyming patterns shifted throughout. Sure, kids aren’t going to notice that, I’m sure, but it threw me off my reading rhythm so I can imagine it would do the same to others as well.
Oh man, I really wanted to like this one. But wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a children’s book that came across this preachy before. In this book, Papa Balloon has a clear balloon. He goes around from town to town of these different colored balloon towns and brings them all together to show that they all honor the light in their own way and that’s okay, because they’re all still honoring the same light. It had some interesting artwork, but the text came across extremely preachy and I just couldn’t enjoy this at all.
Willie the Taxi Cat drives a taxi, and in this counting book he drives a crazy assortment of other animals around (eight elephants, once!). The art is cute, and I loved the use of alliteration to make each phrase memorable. On the other hand, there are so many counting books out there and this one doesn’t stand out as much as I would have liked.
Clem is a Klutz, and he knows it. But when he meets the Lollipop monster and breaks his lollipop, Clem gets his feelings hurt. This book teaches a lesson to kids about how easy it is to hurt someones feelings by calling them names in the heat of the moment, and reminds kids that most of the time it’s easy to fix by apologizing and talking to the other person. While the lesson was blatantly obvious, for younger kids it’s still a very important lesson to learn. The artwork was cute, and the monsters were not at all scary.
This was an excellent reminder to kids to watch what they eat and to get outside and play as opposed to sitting at home playing video games all day. As a reminder to parents, though, while childhood obesity is on the rise, so is anorexia and bulimia, so please watch your children for signs of that. This book tries to teach children a healthy way to lose the excess weight. Don’t be a Schwoe: Fitness doesn’t extol starving yourself, instead it encourages healthy eating (and possibly less) and getting the daily exercise to help build a healthy, fitter you.