Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An Assortment of Books to Check Out from Candlewick Press for Children Ages 3+ (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent review copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.


Candlewick Press


I have been sharing tons of children's books for children ages 0-3 yrs. old. recently.  So, today, I wanted to switch things up and share books for older children, as part of my annual "Welcome in Spring with a Good Book" series.  The books below are perfect for families with children ages 3+, but can also be shared with younger children, as I found my girls enjoyed these books, too.  Some are chapter books from a series, like Judy Moody & Stinky, as well as great beginner books for children learning how to read.  I hope you and your children will enjoy this selection of books from Candlewick Press, just as much as I have been with my 6 yr. old nephew and 8 yr.old niece.  Bedtime has never been more fun, and I love seeing them get excited as they read for a story for once, or know what different big words mean.

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A Is For Awesome

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076365745X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763657451
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 10.1 x 0.5 inches

Synopsis:

"Alliterative and rhyming words of wisdom surrounded by all new art fill this energetic alphabet book by Dallas Clayton. Bursting with color and life, each spread offers a rhythmic phrase and an abundance of artwork illustrating the featured letter. The message of dreaming big and living life to its fullest permeates every page, inviting readers to "learn some new letters that you can use to make magical words and share big ideas." Inspirational artist Dallas Clayton infuses his trademark whimsical art and positive message into an absolutely awesome alphabet book."

My Thoughts:

Back in 2012, I shared a review of Dallas Clayton's other inspirational book called "Make Magic, Do Good!.  To learn more about this book and read my review click here - http://www.inspiredbysavannah.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-ideas-make-magic-do-good.html.  Being of Dallas Clayton as a result of this previous book review, I couldn't wait to read more of his books and was excited to see this new release.  And, just like the "Make Magic, Do Good!" book, this book also has a great positive message of dreaming big and going after what you want.  As children read this book, they are introduced to each letter of the alphabet with positive words that start with each.  For example, the letter "A" is for "Awesome and also Amazin'" and "B is for Beautiful, Big, Bold and Brazen."  The remaining letters of the alphabet follow, all with fun, whimsical and oh so colorful illustrations also done by the author.  I enjoyed reading this book to my girls and nephew and niece, and loved hearing the older children share other words that start with each letter of the alphabet, and about their dreams and aspirations.  This is truly an "Awesome" book, and one worth sharing with children of all ages, as a reminder to dream big and never give up on those dream, even if they find themselves struggling or feeling defeated.  

Troll Swap


  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Nosy Crow (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763671010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763671013
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches

Synopsis:

"Timothy Limpet feels out of place in his troll family. He likes things to be just so, and most trolls, frankly, don’t. Tabitha Lumpit likes things to be loud, loopy, and messy, and she feels like a fish out of water in her very neat family. Sometimes they wonder if their families really see them for who they are. So Timothy and Tabitha swap places . . . with hilarious and touching results."

My Thoughts:



One thing I learned about children after having two daughters of my own is that they are each unique and special in their own right.  My oldest Savannah is more outgoing, says what is on her mind and is stubborn at times.  While, Bella, though quick to lose her cool, is caring and wants to make everyone happy.  Her smile can light up a room, and if she knows you are sick or feeling down, she will act all goofy to make you laugh and smile.  Even though both of my girls are not neat freaks by any means, Savannah is more likely to pick up her messy room when asked, whereas Bella will drag her feet and fights tooth and nail not to do it.  

So, when it came time to read this cute story about individualism, I couldn't help but smile as I read about a little girl named Tabitha who was loud and messy and a nice and tidy troll named Timothy.  They ended up switching lives, as Tabitha's family wished for a more calm, nicer and cleaner daughter, and Timothy grew tired of the moody and messy trolls he lived with.  

While Tabitha and Timothy enjoyed their lives, they soon realized that being clean and tidy or loud and messy all the time was dull and boring.  So, they ended up switching back and realized that being unique was special and fun.

Both of my girls loved the cute mixed media illustrations found throughout the pages of this book, as well as the text looked like it was handwritten, making it unique and unlike other books we have shared together.  This is definitely one book I will continue to share with my girls, and remind that they are both unique and that is what makes them special. :-)

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: #1 Doggie Duties
Or, purchase the paperback version from Amazon for only $4.49.

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Entertainment (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076366815X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763668150
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.3 inches

Synopsis:

"Ruff Ruffman has a problem with a capital P. His toilet is broken, the plumber is on vacation, and he does not want to use Blossom’s litter box. With the help of show supervisor, Blossom, and mouse assistant, Chet, Ruff decides to become an astronaut so that he can use the NASA space toilets. Will he solve his dilemma before blastoff? Get ready to find out how space toilets work -- and how astronauts engage in the ultimate recycling! Then grab some materials and learn to create your own basic water-filtering system.
Ruff Ruffman, the lovably charismatic host of FETCH!, jumps from screen to page with a pair of readers that combine comical stories with real-life science."

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: #2 Show's Over
Buy this hardcover now for only $14.99.
Or, purchase the paperback version from Amazon for only $4.49.

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Entertainment (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763672785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763672782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches

Synopsis:

"Ruff Ruffman is having a bad day. First, his fancy pants get stolen, then he gets a message from his boss that seems to say he’s been fired! There’s only one way for him to find out: visit his boss in Australia. To do this, of course, Ruff turns his doghouse into a "green" vehicle (powered by cooking oil from a Chinese restaurant) and adds pineapples to keep it from sinking. Inspired by this Ruffand-ready innovation, young readers are invited to create their own tinfoil boats, then load them with pennies to test how well they float.

Ruff Ruffman, the lovably charismatic host of FETCH!, jumps from screen to page with a pair of readers that combine comical stories with real-life science."

My Thoughts:

These two books are books #1 and #2 in hopefully a long running series published by the folks at Candlewick Press.  Fans of this animated series on PBS Kids called "Fetch, with Ruff Ruffman" will love these chapter book geared towards children ages 6-9 years old.  

Have you or child ever wondered how space toilets worked?  Well, leave it to Ruff Ruffman to find himself in need of a toilet only to find it is out of order and no plumber is available, in book #1. This book shares with children how astronauts go the bathroom in space and how their waste is filtered and recycled.  I can say that I never really thought about how astronauts went the bathroom in space or where their waste goes to.  But, after reading this book with my kids I found it to be interesting and knowledge I could use in trivia games, to break the silence during family gatherings, etc. :-)

The second book has four chapters for children to read, as they read about Ruff's bad day, and his having to travel to Australia to meet with his boss and see if he is fired.  He turns the doghouse into a green vehicle powered by Chinese food cooking oil, along with pineapples to keep it from sinking.  Genius, right?  Young children will get a kick out of Ruff's creativeness, as they turn the pages and read on to see if he makes it to Australia to see his boss, and hope that Ruff still has a job.

And, if these fun books staring everyone's favorite Ruff Ruffman and Blossom weren't enough, there is also a fun step-by-step science activity that your child can make at the end of each of these books.  In the first book about space toilets, kids will make a cool water filtering system.  My nephew knowing that there was a fun science activity at the end of the book, rushed right through this book.  He is not usually a fan of reading, but the story line was fun and engaging, and just knowing that there was a hands on science activity to follow gave him an incentive to stick with the book and read through the three chapters.  The second book's science activity has children making tinfoil boats.  I remember growing up making tinfoil boats with my dad.  So, it was fun to gather the kids up and show them fun activities I used to do.  Then, we took our boats into the bathroom and let them float around in the tub, to see whose floated, and whose sunk.

I was surprised to find that both my nieces and nephew loved these books, not only because they are fans of the PBS Kids series, but because the stories were funny and the added science activity helped make they feel like they were about the journey with Ruff.  I highly recommend these two books, and can't wait to pick up future books in this soon to become popular series from Candlewick Press.

Book #1

  • Age Range: 4 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Series: Judy Moody and Friends
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763670278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763670276
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches

Synopsis:

"Pee! Gee! Wee! Gee! What’s that sound?

With her birthday coming up, Jessica hopes that, just maybe, her present will be a real-live potbellied pig. Jessica can hardly wait for her party with Judy Moody and all their friends. But Judy Moody is acting like a pig-head, and Jessica UN-invites her from the party. To make matters worse, Jessica has snooped around the house and has found zero sign of a pig present. Could her birthday be any more of a disaster? Geared to newly independent readers, this story will have Judy Moody fans in pig heaven."

Book #2
Also, available in paperback for only $4.49

  • Age Range: 4 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Series: Judy Moody and Friends
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763670286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763670283
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.2 inches

Synopsis:

"Rocky is perfecting the tricks for his magic show when Judy Moody offers to be his assistant. Rocky agrees, but it turns out that Judy — or Stella the Spectacular as she calls herself — is the most UN-spectacular assistant ever. When she gets ketchup all over the magic rabbit, the Amazing Mr. Magic has had enough! Is Rocky’s magic good enough to mend his and Judy’s friendship? From Megan McDonald comes a Judy Moody story just right for newly independent readers."



Judy Moody and Stink:The Big Bad Blackout

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Judy Moody
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763665207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763665203
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches

Synopsis:

"Hold on to your umbrella and stock up on marshmallows — Judy and Stink face wicked weather in their third full-color adventure. 

Judy and Stink and the whole Moody family hunker down with beans and batteries, ready to wait out the storm. But along with massive rain and strong winds, Hurricane Elmer throws down ghosts, squirrels, and aliens. Spooky! Just when things couldn’t possibly get any freakier — flicker, flicker, gulp! — the lights go O-U-T out. The Moodys are smack-dab in the middle of a big bad blackout! Grandma Lou proposes musical board games and some good old-fashioned storytelling. Will Hurricane Elmer go down in Moody family history as bad news, a happy memory, or simply an LBS (Long Boring Story)?"

My Thoughts:

While the two other Judy Moody and Friends books are geared towards children ages 4-6 yrs. old, doesn't mean older children can't enjoy Judy Moody.  So, the Judy Moody & Stink books were written with children ages 6-9 yrs. old in mind.  This was the first book that I read in this popular series, as there are two books before this one. And, as I read it, I found just like other reviewers have shared, that you don't have to have read the previous two books to enjoy this new release.

What happens when the lights and power go out at your house during a storm?  Do you try to make the best of it with fun games and scary stories?  Or, do you just sit there holding flashlights under your chins on the couch, waiting for the lights to go back on.  In this cute story, Judy and Stink have to make the best of Hurricane Elmer and a power outage. With the help of Grandma Lou proposing games and storytelling, they are all hoping to make happy memories of this storm, as they wait for the lights to come back on.

My 8 yr. old niece took to this book, and was surprised at the end of it, as she found out she read a 129 page book, the longest book she has ever read.  She loves Judy Moody, and loved  the cute story.  And, when she turned to the last two pages, she read about fun things to do to pass time during a power outage.  And, if that wasn't enough, the front cover had a cool glow in the dark feature, which all the kids got a kick out of.

We will definitely be picking up the previous two books in this series and adding more to our Judy Moody & Stink collection.  Will you, too? :-)

The Odd One Out

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Big Picture Press (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763671274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763671273
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.5 x 0.4 inches

Synopsis:

"Which bird has caught the worm? Where is the queasy monkey? And can you spot the scaredy-cat? Never has a search-and-find game been so pleasing to the eye. Each spread features fun rhyming couplets, beautiful and complexly patterned artwork, and a hidden surprise. A stylish title from the talented Britta Teckentrup, presented in an elegant format."

My Thoughts:

From birds to bats to seals and even penguins, this cute seek and find book with rhyming text will be a hit in your house. Little ones will love helping older siblings search the pages to spot the one that is different.  

Not only was I am fan of the rhyming text which is on the left side page, but the cute animal illustrations really draw you in to look at the find detail of each drawing as you look for the one in question.

This book can be enjoyed in a group setting, or during one-on-one reading time. Savannah loves to pull this book of the shelf and flip through the pages looking for the odd one out, even without having to read the text.  Out of all the spotting books for little ones, I have to say that this is one of my favorites.

Buy this hardcover from Amazon for only $13.49.

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Big Picture Press (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763668915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763668914
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 9.4 x 0.6 inches

Synopsis:

"It’s the year 3000 in Mamoko, but what does the future hold? This is the second book in the revolutionary Mamoko series, in which the reader becomes the storyteller, sharing their discoveries as they use their eyes to uncover the cosmos of characters packed into every page!"

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in "The World of Mamoka" series, with another book set to be released this fall, and the first one that hit store shelves back in Sept. 2013.  I had never heard about this book.  Have you?  If it wasn't for a secret Santa swap at a friend's house where we picked the first book in this series, my family would never have known about this unique wordless visual adventure.

While there are no words to tell the story, kids will enjoy flipping through the pages and following along as the characters move through the different scenes, and tell a story visually. While this book is geared towards children ages 5-8 yrs. old, I had a blast looking at the colorful action filled illustrations with Savannah, and hearing her tell me her own rendition of the story, which  is different each and every time.  My 6 yr. old nephew and 8 yr. old niece, also loved trying to figure out the story and follow along with the different illustrations, as they took each and every detail of the illustrations in.  I loved hearing them let "how cool," "wow" and other excited words, as they made their way through this and the previous "The World of Mamoka" book.  And, when I told them that another was coming out in September, my nephew added it to his calendar and said he would start saving his allowance now so that he could buy it.  

Your kids will love this wordless story that makes them think and look at all the fine details of the illustrations throughout this hardcover book.  Who says you need words to tell a story?  This book will show you how much fun no words can be. :-)

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Information Graphics
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Big Picture Press (April 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763671223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763671228
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.7 x 0.5 inches

Synopsis:

"The first in a visually stunning series, Information Graphics: Animal Kingdom shows just how interesting and humorous scientific information can be. Complex facts about the animal kingdom are reinterpreted as stylish information graphics that astonish, amuse, and inform, and tabbed chapters make information fast to find. Researched by the Guardian’s Datablog founder and illustrated by the award-winning designer Nicholas Blechman, this is a book of the highest pedigree."

My Thoughts:

For children who are always asking questions, especially when it comes to animals in the Animal Kingdom, this unique style of book will amaze and delight them, as they flip through the tabbed sections to learn interesting and even fun facts.  From record breaking facts to comical and fun illustrations that go along with sections like animal senses, what foods they eat and their families and habitats, children will walk after reading this book having a plethora of knowledge of animals.  By using unique information graphics children of all ages and reading levels will enjoy reading about or listening to you share fun facts, including ones that will make them giggle.

I can see this being a great teaching tool for homeschooling parents when it comes to teaching about the Animal Kingdom.  I will definitely be sharing this book again with my girls once they start grade school and begin to questions different animals' existence and more about these different species.

Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!


  • Age Range: 4 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Series: Toon
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Toon Books (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935179357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935179351
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches

Synopsis:

"The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner 

In this Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner Benny and his sister Penny know it’s wrong to sneak into someone else’s backyard but their mysterious new neighbor – or is it a monster? – may be a thief. They go snooping and discover a lot about themselves and…a new friend.

Bestselling children’s artist Geoffrey Hayes enchants early readers with his charming and subtle storytelling. In this lively caper, the artist’s small-scale ice take on a large-scale issues with enormous comics mastery."

My Thoughts:

With the use of basic text and repetition, this is a great book to use with beginner readers, as they build confidence in themselves when it comes to tackling a book.  My kids are fans of the Benny and Penny books, and this book became an instant hit.  And, like other Benny and Penny books, this story has a lesson to share, with friendship being front and center in this recent release.  When Benny's pail goes missing, he figures it is his new neighbor who has taken it.  But, instead of just asking his neighbor, Benny and penny sneak into the new neighbors yard to look for the pail, even though they know they aren't supposed to.  

Kids will be entertained with Benny and Penny as they read this cute story about making a good first impression, the importance of friendship, and not jumping to conclusions and accusing people without looking at the facts.  Presented in a comic book style format, kids will enjoy the adorable illustrations of Penny and Benny in this beginner book. My girls and I kept delaying when it came time to turn the page, as the illustrations were so captivating and cute.  Can't wait to read more Benny and Penny books with my children.

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To learn more about these and other age appropriate books available from Candlewick Press, please visit their website today -- http://www.candlewick.com/.

Stay tuned as I have more book reviews coming later this week from other great Candlewick Press books, as well as from other popular children's publishers.  And, in time for Earth Day celebrations, I will also be sharing a selection of books that would be great to stay with your children that center around the environment and our planet.


Disclosure:  I was sent review copies from the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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