Category Archives: Children

Maximise Your Child’s Performance: A Concise Guide to Unlocking their Potential by Jennie Segar

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Maximise Your Child’s Performance: A Concise Guide to Unlocking their Potential is a marvelous book of information. Jennie Segar discusses ways to make a difference in children’s development and benefit them academically, professionally, and socially. The book is an invaluable resource not only for parents but also for anyone involved in the caregiving role of children. Segar is well-qualified in the book’s subject matter, as she has years of experience as a parent and in different jobs working with children.

The book is divided into ten chapters with sub-headings and the corresponding page numbers, making it easy for readers to explore chapters that focus on issues of interest. The introduction is a wonderful overview of the specific topics discussed in the book. Readers will gain helpful insight into many topics important to a child’s healthy growth and development. Segar shares meaningful experiences from her own life, offering readers a personal perspective on everything the book addresses.

Some of the discussed topics pertain to positive and constructive approaches to guiding children’s behavior and how playing games can help build cognitive skills. The author also includes the advantageous effects of exercise and healthy eating on a child’s physical and mental development, the educational benefits of learning to play an instrument, the importance of shared reading from an early age, the value of a family-owned pet, and the impact of technology on children.

The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince: Everybody’s Good at Something by Prince A. Sanders

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Several things make a children’s book iconic, like addressing pressing social issues, speaking to adults and children alike, and the test of time. The only box that “The Extraordinarily Ordinary Life of Prince: Everybody’s Good at Something” has left to tick is the test of time. Freshly out of the press, Prince A. Sanders’ book continues building a magically creative universe.

This is the second piece of a puzzle that reflects the author’s childhood. The series is infused with a strongly personal note that immediately disarms the reader, leaving them open to the full magnitude of the experience. The short book is more than just a read; it is an experience of how the world of adults and children intersect.

Seven-year-old Prince is at an age driven by exploration. He spends many recesses chasing after the secrets and wonders of nature. It soon dawns on his classmates that Prince does not follow the script. While his older brother is a star athlete at the school, Prince fails to prevail at sports and live up to his brother’s reputation. Shortly, Prince starts feeling more of an outsider and, worst of all, a stranger to himself.

Prince grows to accept that his path is different from his brother’s and what others might expect of him. But he is yet unaware of where his own path will take him. The road ahead is cleared when he least expects it, at a ballet performance. When the whole family goes to watch a show, Prince becomes entranced by the organic movements of the performers and longs to be part of the magical universe.

The Bubble by Joseph Patenaude (Author) Mauro Lirussi (Illustrator)

Reviewed by Teri Takle

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience the freedom of complete weightlessness and to float on gentle wind currents? Unfortunately, to experience total relaxation as if you were a bubble can only be imagined if you were a bubble. The Bubble is that story.

Blowing bubbles is a delight for people of all ages. It is hypnotic to follow their paths as they maneuver through the air. This thought captured Joseph Patenaude’s thoughts as he observed his children blowing bubbles and developed those memories into a children’s book, The Bubble.

The Bubble is a read-aloud book for children aged two to eight. The basic setting is a coastal environment, so it is an excellent opportunity to enrich different types of places people live.

Lush illustrations match each text word perfectly, emphasizing the environmental settings such as autumn leaves, new springtime life, mountainous regions, stormy seas, colorful marine life, forests, lakes, and fields.

For example, as a storm approaches, the reader experiences the sheer fear of being a bubble encaptured inside its surroundings, being pushed by the wind, crashing into waves, and even hiding in the water. This picturesque perspective is an illustration of the story.

Grandma Mable, Are You Able? by Willie Etta Wright

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Jacob has a life that is different from his classmates. It seems to him that he is the only one without a mother and a father. His grandmother acts as his parent.

His teacher, Miss Green, announces that the students are to participate in a Family Exercise Day this Saturday. While his classmates are excited, Jacob feels depressed. How can he possibly spend a day exercising with his grandma? She is old and deaf, wears false teeth, with white hair and glasses, and sometimes needs to walk with a cane. Grandma Mable wants Jacob to consider exercising her way. Somehow this does not brighten his prospects of a fun day. His only hope for a good day is bringing his dog, Friendly, with them. Of course, his grandmother agrees to the day. Jacob would much prefer to stay home and play video games.

The illustrations are bright and perfectly correlate with the text making this book enjoyable for most reading levels. The recommended reading level is for ages eight to eleven and grades three, four, and five.

Grandma Mable, Are You Able?” has the prospect for vocabulary enrichment using words such as raucous, steady, mishap, and knack, as well as the past tense verbs of spotted, whirled, dangling, topped, splattered, chuckled and darted. What a great way to introduce verbs and suffixes!

Monsters Are Afraid of Babies by Nicholas Tana

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Living in a home with a big brother can be difficult. The older sibling expects a playmate who obeys their older sibling. There is usually a disappointment when the baby does not fulfill this role. Instead, the family member is a screaming, messy, smelly creature who demands all of the attention. The parents now are more tired and cranky than before the baby appeared. Resentment is common.

Now someone brilliantly discovered a way to enjoy the babies for older siblings. The baby keeps all the monsters and things that make noise in the dark away. With quiet nights, a cry frequently annoys everyone in the household. What if those screams scare away all the monsters hiding either in the closet or under the bed?

Wouldn’t you almost welcome those loud noises to cover the usual thumps and bumps in every house? What sounds are unnoticeable during the day, seem to draw attention at night. From a dripping water faucet to the warmth of a furnace, clicking to turn on the night seems mysterious with noises. Due to natural occurrences, monsters hiding in the dark crevices are believed to be creating the sounds of those creaks and bumps in the night. They hide under beds and in dark closets. This reality has been a problem for eons. Darkness and house sounds scare small children, especially ones who don’t fall asleep quickly. Young children tend to believe in monsters making the noise of a furnace clicking on or a clock ticking. Can you imagine the response to a baby’s cry when being abruptly awakened in the dark?

Monsters Are Afraid of Babies is an enchanting story about a young boy adjusting daily to a baby sister into a family. The few words along with a story that perfectly matches the illustrations makes this an intriguing read for children of all ages, particularly three-year olds. The book is perfect for pre-readers because the story can be easily followed through the colorful pictures. Author, Nicholas Tana is a writer in every sense. From writing feature documentaries, comedy-horror series, songs, comic books, a movie, commercials, and now this special children’s book. The illustrations are phenomenal. The night with shades of blue and olive green is perfect with the monsters colorfully hiding in the closet. The warmth of family love penetrates each page enriching everyone’s lives.

When Dog Pals Fly Across America by Rob Kortus

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

When Dog Pals Fly Across AmericaTravel along with Sophie, Wallace, and Sulley; three intelligent dog friends, as they embark on an unforgettable journey across the United States. Sophie and Wallace are border collies and Sulley is a chocolate lab mix. They fly their personal and colorful helicopter making stopovers in every state to visit cool and unique places.

The book is sure to pique the interest of all ages. It provides a truly imaginative look into America’s geography and encourages readers to dive deeper into the sites each state provides. Our country has many little known places so reading this book will have educational benefits as well.

Reece’s Vintage Tales by N. Reece Ho-Sheffield

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Today’s children need relevant fables teaching values. Many of the older fairy tales, along with many of Aesop’s fables refer back to an era with where farming and gardening were standard for most people. We now do not expect women to be helpless damsels in distress who need rescuing or is marrying a prince. As society progresses, so must our perspectives.

Reece’s Vintage Tales, comprising of twelve short stories, is a new approach to short stories for children from seven to thirteen with lessons to be learned along with thoughtful discussions. These stories each have a message which reveals the integrity of the characters while interjecting Christian values.

Each story is short and ideally would be a great read-aloud between a parent and their child. At the end of each is a glossary with a list of the more difficult vocabulary words included. The range is from two to eleven words per story. Parents should discuss these words ideally before reading and unquestionably during the story. The words are added to understand the meaning of the text as the reading proceeds.

The illustrations perfectly match to the stories assisting the reader in visualization. As an example, The Farting Bunny is a delightful story about a bunny who uncontrollably passes gas and is an outcast from his group, The Puffy-Tails. What child wouldn’t want to repeat parts of this tail while laughing? However, the author masterfully changes his problem into a solution, permitting children to view life as gifts rather than hindrances.

Also magnificently enjoyable is the story, Persinette. Persinette, as an empty nester, decides to pursue her dreams. Living in a neighborhood, she viewed others’ successes and decided to join the work force similar to her neighbors. She quickly discovered that what worked for one neighbor did not work for her. Persinette learns that life is more fun following your path.

With more stories like these, it is obvious the value of these educational and entertaining tales based on legends, historical events, Christianity, and creativity.

The author, N. Reece Ho-Sheffield, has written these delightful Christian stories for children. She is well-qualified as a retired pediatrician and geneticist in both the United Kingdom and the United States. She has won the USA Mom’s Choices Award for “The Firefly Story.”

These stories are unusual in their creativity, promoting Christian values, vocabulary, personal integrity, as well as short enough to keep a child’s attention and engagement.

Walk Shepherdess, Walk by Barrett Cobb

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Walk, Shepherdess WalkBarrett Cobb’s childhood was filled with literature and songs. As a young child one tune stayed with her, almost as a lilting lullaby.

Eleanor Farjeon wrote both the words and melody which were first published in Nursery Rhymes of London Town in 1916 and adopted by the American Girl Scouts evolving the little tune into a folk song reflecting to the world a different time, place, and culture for most of the world.

As with most folk songs, throughout the years the song has been modified slightly with the tune and alternative words. This book focuses on the original version. The book is based on a basic three-versed four-lined poem. Some of the vocabulary could be difficult depending on the past experiences of the readers. The story was written with sheep wandering through the nearby hills and uses words, not always commonly spoken in today’s city culture. Some words need to be introduced such as shepherdess, ebony, ram, ewe, fleece, wether, and shan’t. The book explains that a wether is a lead sheep which could be compared to the game Follow-the-Leader.

The music is beautifully performed by the author, Barrett Cobb and can be downloaded through the website listed in the book. The melody is an easy tune which quickly can be a haunting selection, staying with you for days. The simplistic tune is sung by Barrett, who has a beautiful, well-trained voice adding accompaniment harmonies, flute and piano into a memorable performance.

Twelve gorgeous watercolor paintings perfectly parallel the story in poem form as the story progressing reinforcing the poetic story.

After a few readings, it is easy for a young prereader or early reader to sing the melody as the pages are turned with the pictures reinforcing the words.

At the conclusion of the tale, a narrative explaining the poem assists in further demonstrating the theme being jealousy and how to appropriately recognize and turn this into a positive life lesson.

Barrett Cobb is a painter, singer, flutist and now a visual storyteller turning a childhood folk song is an enchanting life lesson for everyone.

The Day Momma Made Me Dance by Patrice Brown

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

The Day Momma Made Me DanceAs any parent will attest, deciding how best to properly discipline a child is far from easy. It is truly a daily struggle and requires a careful mix of patience, sternness, and most importantly, love. In her new picture book, entitled The Day Momma Made Me Dance, author Patrice Shavone Brown offers her own perspective on the correct way to discipline one’s children.

Brown comes to this book with years of perspective and first-hand insight. A self-described visionary, motivational speaker, and go getter, Brown is also the single mother of two children. Immediately from the dedication, she positions her underlying viewpoint for the project: “A mother is strong when her children are weak, a mother stands when everyone else sits, and a mother loves unconditionally from the beginning of birth to the end.” This philosophy of tough love resounds throughout the book.

Gertrude and Toby Save the Gingerbread Man (Gertrude and Toby Fairy-Tale Adventure Series Book 2) and Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf (Gertrude and Toby Fairy-Tale Adventure Series Book 3) by Shari Tharp

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Gertrude is a goat and Toby is a turtle who are best friends and live at McFarland Farms.

They are in the farmyard observing Farmer Sam and his son, Ryan trying to load their prize pig into a trailer to show at the county fair.
Anxious for adventure, Gertrude and Toby decided to follow Farmer Sam, his son, and the pig.

As they were walking, they noticed a flying carpet that seemed to be following them. Almost immediately a girl and boy leaped onto the carpet while being chased by a witch.

Curious, Gertrude tossed Toby onto her back in pursuit of the children.
Surprisingly this how Gertrude and Toby meet Hansel, Gretel, and the Magic Carpet including additional visits from The Gingerbread and The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.

In Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf, the two friends sneak off the farm every Friday while the farmer is shopping. This time the two decide to go fishing.

As they near Trout Lake, a boy rushes by screaming, “Wolf.” Quickly they hide in the nearby bushes for safety. As they continue, the boy runs by again screaming. After he passes, the twosome walk to the lake, enjoying their fishing. Again they are interrupted when the boy shouts again only, this time Gertrude and Toby see the wolf dragging the boy. That is when they decide to help. They followed the wolf to his cave which is very brave for a goat and a turtle.

In Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf, the story intermixes The Boy Who Cried Wolf along with The Three Little Pigs.

Author Shari Tharp won a silver medal from IPPY, Independent Publishers Book Award for the first book in this series as an illustrated e-book with Gertrude and Toby’s Friday Adventure.

Illustrator Jim Heath is a graphic artist and California resident.

The Gertrude and Toby books are for children from preschool to age eight who have a little background with the traditional fairy tales. The books are fun with vocabulary appropriate for the age level and the illustrations perfectly matching the text.

These are great books for expanding imaginations with young children and a creative step-off point into having the readers write and illustrate their own Gertrude and Toby fairy-tale adventure.