children’s literature

Review: The Cat in the Hat

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The Cat in the HatBook Review
Everyone’s heard of SEUSS (Dr) (I hope). 4 stars to The Cat in the Hat, an adorable children’s book full of little amusing pictures and rhymes.

Kids love the absurdity. It’s an opportunity for the reader to use different voices… to dress up… to be free and fun and just enjoy reading.

Though it could be used as a way to teach kids about rhymes, as well as what’s real and not real… my recommendation with this one is to just HAVE FUN! Act out all the scenes. Make it a fun Saturday experience with your kids, friends, nephews, nieces, cousins.

Teach kids to enjoy reading.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Giving Tree

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The Giving TreeMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review
I first read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein when I was twelve-years old, but then I read it again in college as part of a course called “Reading in the Elementary School.” My opinion didn’t necessarily change between the two reads, but my eyes were opened a little wider. I never realized it was such a controversial book, nor that the author was sometimes considered not ideal for children, despite writing picture books for them.

The basic gist of the book revolves around friendship/love and abusing/using someone for what they can offer versus just enjoying the time with them. At first glance, it’s a beautiful story about a little boy who loves his tree so very much… playing, swinging, climbing… But as he grows older, he no longer wants those things because he needs the very basic things in life we all need: food, shelter, warmth, water, etc. And he asks the tree for more and more until she is left a small and lonely tree stump. She’s given away her apples and branches, been left alone for years at a time…

For young children, it’s a lesson in how not to be selfish. How to learn the concept of give and take. How to be a friend and not abuse that relationship. Many argue it’s a dark tale about a boy who never really learns his lesson, even in the end when goes back one final time to ask for one more thing — a place to sit before he dies.

Yes, that’s an over-exaggeration of the story, but depending on how/when you read the book, your perception of it could change. I think it comes down to Silverstein choosing not to “sugar-coat” the story… and show everything is all lovey-dovey in the end. He’s essentially saying “People will hurt you. Be careful.” And that is a lesson to teach children.

I’m not a parent, and I didn’t end up becoming a teacher; however, I am a firm believer in free speech and not keeping books away from people. Rather than banning a book, determine the age it should be read. There’s nothing wrong with reading this book at a young age, as long as you’re talking about it with a child. Ask them what they learned. Ensure they see both sides of the story. But don’t let them do it all on their own so they take the wrong message from the picture or the words.

Yes, the boy was an a$$. True, the tree needed to learn earlier when to say “no.” But we all want to feel loved. The book covers so many lessons in life, it’s hard to keep track. For me, in the end, it’s a solid book worth sharing with your kids. Perhaps not in school, as it is a lesson between parent / child / siblings — at home — as a family. All in all, I’m glad I read it a few times, and I hope everyone gives it a chance to think thru everything it’s trying to say.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: May I Bring a Friend?

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May I Bring a Friend?Book Review
May I Bring a Friend? by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers is one of those special children’s picture books we all must love. And for that, it gets 4+ out of 5 stars from this book lover.

I taught this story when I was teaching a class back in college as part of a collection of books on lessons for first graders back in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Imagine being invited to tea by the King and Queen, and having the audacity to ask if you could bring a friend… What could the royal couple do but say yes. And they say yes for several days, all the time our main character brings a new friend from the zoo each and every time. And how will they fit in the castle? And what if they need water? And how do they speak? So many questions for children. But it’s adorable… full of great pictures and rhymes to help with memory. And in the end, the lessons are fantastic. To teach children to be kind to everyone no matter their differences. Oh… what a fun memory for today.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Black Beauty

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Black Beauty Review
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell is a beautiful story meant for older children or very young adults. It was written in the 19th century by a woman who passed away shortly after its publication. I enjoyed the story and have given it a 3 of 5 stars, which is still very good in my book. A few interesting things:

1. The point of view in the book is from Black Beauty, the horse.
2. It takes place in London nearly 150 years ago.
3. It’s still a cherished story for both pleasure reading and education purposes.

I received it as a gift when I was about 8 or 9, as I had asked for several “classics” for Christmas. When I saw the cover, I thought it looked pretty. But not enough to read it. It sat on my shelf for probably two years until one day, I said “let’s just give it a chance.” I was afraid it would be too boring… I’ve always preferred complex plots and strong characters. I wasn’t sure this would really work for me. I was wrong!

Seeing how people mistreated and misunderstood animals was a big benefit of the book. It opens your eyes to things from another perspective, and if it helps just a little to develop a bond between younger adults / children and animals, then it’s served its purpose.

It’s one of those books everyone should read… but not as a forced school assignment. It should be something parents want to share with their kids around 7 or 8… teaching them about how to be respectful and kind to all creatures. And then take them horseback riding to see what it’s actually like. That’s what I did when I finished it… went with a small group of friends to a riding academy / farm a few towns over and learned about horses for one summer. I kinda miss riding… maybe I should try it again. Off topic again… what is up with me today on these reviews! 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Strega Nona

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Strega NonaMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola is the first book in a classic children’s literature series from the 1970s and 1980s. It was eventually made into a cartoon and several other children’s merchandise, all fun and educational toys as kids grew up. I enjoyed the premise of the books but only read the first one, and maybe the second or third (can’t remember). Caldecott award winner!

Strega Nona means “Grandma Witch,” and she helps the townspeople with all their problems through her magical pasta pot. One day, she has to go away and leaves Big Anthony in charge. And even though he was told not to use the pot, he doesn’t listen and causes all sorts of wacky situations.

These books were meant as little lessons for children. It all comes down to teaching the 4 to 8 range why it’s important to listen, what harm can happen if you don’t and how to always be honest and truthful. Valuable stuff… and when it’s in a picture book format, it’s quite strong.

Of all the picture books, these weren’t my super-high favorite ones, but they were still very good. I liked the idea of a witch teaching children, but at the same time… if you want this to be a listen, did she have to be a witch? Couldn’t she just have been a grandma with some magical powers? I suppose it’s a good way to show that not all “witches” can be bad. But I bet kids learned to eat a lot of pasta from them!!!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

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Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the BedReview
4+ of 5 stars to Eileen Christelow‘s children’s story Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, one of a bunch in a series about little monkeys and their crazy antics. This wonderful little book wasn’t published until I was around ten years old, but I still read it one summer in a reading contest held at my library every year. I was so excited to pick out new books… sometimes children’s books meant for kids younger than me, sometimes books meant for older kids… and by 12, I was reading the Scarpetta series about serial killers. What eclectic taste even at a young age!

Who would not adore these monkeys? I remember being called a little monkey when I was a youngin’. And I call my cousin’s and friend’s kids little monkeys now whenever I’m around them. But this one was the best in the series, at least in my opinion… they were jumping on a bed. And Momma Monkey just couldn’t control them… but when they got hurt, they learned their lessons.

It’s books like this that help make or break a child’s interest in reading. If you take the time and read the story over and over again… kids learn what it means to tell a story, to write a rhyme, to sing along, to behave, to listen, to see what happens in a book series over the course of a character’s journey… and this one is all about the numbers… and the countdown… 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Where’d all my monkeys go????

Writing this review makes me smile… I might have to go to the library this weekend just to re-read a copy of this one again. 🙂

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews